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Old 04-22-2020, 09:20 PM   #1
ProOpel
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Default Hello! New Astra owner - upgrading to OPC

So I came from Spain to the US a while back, and I'm familiar with the Astras, but never owned one, until recently.

I had a friend who owned an Astra in europe - fun car. But what a shame with GM, they could have had much success with this car, but they are bean counters. Still this car has decent power for what it is, more so than my previous 2010 Civic LX-S, and handing is good on even the XE.

Anyway, I was planning to travel over to Spain to visit family, and get Astra parts to upgrade mine with, but the virus situation happened, and my flight got cancelled. However, If anyone needs anything small, I could get it for ya when I can fly back.

My plan is to upgrade my cheap XE model. Came standard with a manual, and it's mechanically sound, and low miles, but body wise needs paint, and what was GM thinking with those horrendous bumpers? So, I'll be doing an OPC front bumper upgrade, after I get the minute parts sorted. I may do a how-to post once I get it. Will also be getting 18" opel speedlines rims, and suspension upgrades.


Anyway. Only thing I wish I could do is get a turbo engine from the VXR/opc. Has anybody thought of importing an OPC engine over to the states?
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Old 04-22-2020, 11:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: Hello! New Astra owner - upgrading to OPC

Check out the Opel conversion threads here for ideas and part numbers.

There was a company in California selling conversion kits long ago.

Some of the Euro bumpers won't fit. And some of the side lights are different IIRC. The front lights should be different also for different regulations. There were a few refaces of the Astra H during its run.

The Euros don't get that OnStar system so the radios are a bit different (the FM transmission is a bit different also).

The US OBD2 system is also a bit different.

The Euro z18xer has some minor differences to the US, so some engine parts vary.

If you are looking for suspension bits, good luck finding full XR or sporty springs and shocks in the US. Some of the original parts have been discontinued so with all the global varients in body style and engine, getting the right set takes some effort. Maybe you are temped by some adjustable coilovers and matching set for the rear axle.
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Old 04-23-2020, 07:20 PM   #3
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Default Re: Hello! New Astra owner - upgrading to OPC

Hey Astrafasta, thanks!

Oh yeah, I've been a lurker for a while, and ate all the info needed to convert mine to an VRX bumper style. I need to import the 3dr bracket from overseas, and got a seller with the vrx bumpers.

Is the company in California still doing conversions? And do you know if the euro suspension parts are "plug and play" to our US models? I was thinking of getting the suspension from a XR 3dr at a junkyard.
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08' Astra XE 5dr
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Old 04-23-2020, 08:49 PM   #4
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Default Re: Hello! New Astra owner - upgrading to OPC

The website of that california business is down. You can search the forums and try to reach out to that guy if you like.

The European Astra went through some versions and also was sold in van, wagon, covert body styles. The smaller gas engines and bigger diesel engines probably have significantly different weight. So they have more suspension parts options.

Also some Astras seem to have a sports button on the dash with active electronics in the dampers. I don't know much about them.

We just tried to find new coils and struts for my buddy's 3dr XR (with sports suspension option) and that was not possible so he imported from Europe.

Matching the old US spring/strut part numbers is not so easy. If you are looking to replace some struts, for example, you might want to do all 4 wheels with matching springs and struts else you might have a clown car; too lifted or too low or with the front higher/lower than the back.
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Old 04-23-2020, 09:12 PM   #5
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Default Re: Hello! New Astra owner - upgrading to OPC

What brand of shocks and struts did he import?
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08' Astra XE 5dr
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Old 04-23-2020, 10:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: Hello! New Astra owner - upgrading to OPC

Bilstein.
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Old 04-23-2020, 11:38 PM   #7
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Default Re: Hello! New Astra owner - upgrading to OPC

Thanks man. If I import VXR suspension components, would these be a direct bolt on my Astra? I tried to find this info here, but couldn't find it.
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Old 04-24-2020, 12:15 AM   #8
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Default Re: Hello! New Astra owner - upgrading to OPC

I don't recall but search the forums.

I think some VXR had that active "sport" button; I think that has some logic in the struts, the interior button. There are some posts in Europe of people converting to active and that required activation via Tech2, but I don't know if that is possible in the US.

I thought some VXR had the 2.0T engine so not sure if that is a consideration for the suspension.

An easier upgrade might be new wheels/tires springs/struts/mounts/droplinks. I think Nicolas in Canada has a nice looking astra upgraded.
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Old 04-25-2020, 02:24 AM   #9
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Default Re: Hello! New Astra owner - upgrading to OPC

Yeah, it sounds risky to get parts from a VXR then. I'll definitively would like rims, and the plan is to import those sweet speedlines.

As far as the suspension, I'll be doing some more research, but probably go with Bilstein as you suggested. I just want something bolt on without risking getting the wrong parts from overseas with all the trouble that entails.
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08' Astra XE 5dr
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Old 04-25-2020, 11:00 AM   #10
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Default Re: Hello! New Astra owner - upgrading to OPC

There are a few threads here on suspensions.

I think one guy got Bilstein struts and Eibach springs matching. Maybe another did some lowering and said it was brutally harsh and uncomfortable.

As you note, even the XE handles pretty well, so the chassis is quite stiff and performance oriented IMHO.

You will only get so much performance from a FWD vehicle with an economy engine. But given the poor condition of US roads and aggressive speed control, a supercar is quite useless here other than for photo shoots and showing off.
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Old 04-25-2020, 11:08 AM   #11
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Default Re: Hello! New Astra owner - upgrading to OPC

This is a bilstein buying guide from a retailer. There are adjustable coilovers. I suppose the B4 is closer to XE and B6 or B8 is closer to XR.

https://www.bilstein-shocks.co.uk/pa...n-buying-guide

Some of their offereings. I don't know if this shop will ship to the US. You can find some in the threads that shipped here.

https://www.bilstein-shop.com/bilste...-p-262667.html

This looks like the Bilstein catalogue. Note parts numbers seem to have changed recently. There is a language flag at the upper right corner.

http://web1.carparts-cat.com/default...01&14=1&12=100
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Old 04-26-2020, 02:52 AM   #12
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Default Re: Hello! New Astra owner - upgrading to OPC

Cool man, appreciated. I'm checking it out. You are right that roads here don't offer much, but you should come to Alabama, there's a section of a very twisty road called 25, super fan. It's like a mini version of the dragon tail, or whatever it's called in TN.
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08' Astra XE 5dr
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Old 05-02-2020, 06:58 PM   #13
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Default Re: Hello! New Astra owner - upgrading to OPC

So the OPC bumper is on its way to the states. I found a seller on ebay. After shipping and taxes (unsure why ebay / Alabama charged me $22 bucks in taxes) came to a total of 350 something bucks. Also got the center bracket support, and will be getting the foam support, but want to see if I can modify the existing one by cutting it.

Next is choosing rims. I found a seller willing to ship me VXR 19" rims, but it's pricey. So I've looked around here and people say the Aura's, and Pontiac G6 rims should work?

I did some quick photoshopping to see how they would look like on my Astra.

These are specifically 18" 5 pole rims from the Pontiac G6, and the other are from the Aura, also 18" rims, which look similar to the 12 pole Opel speedline rims. These are cheap at the pull-apart


Thoughts?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg g6potiacrims.jpg (74.5 KB, 12 views)
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File Type: jpg aurarims.jpg (187.4 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg OPEL-ASTRA-333.jpg (75.4 KB, 10 views)
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08' Astra XE 5dr
5 spd
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Old 05-02-2020, 07:00 PM   #14
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Default Re: Hello! New Astra owner - upgrading to OPC

Finally, this is how the VXRs would look on a silver Astra.
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08' Astra XE 5dr
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Old 05-02-2020, 07:39 PM   #15
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Default Re: Hello! New Astra owner - upgrading to OPC

There are some posts here on wheel choices. This site gives you an idea of wheels that might fit. There are several SAAB alloy wheels with close offset. You don't want to vary that much but find a tire and wheel expert to advise.

https://www.wheel-size.com/size/saturn/astra/2008/
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Old 05-02-2020, 07:58 PM   #16
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Default Re: Hello! New Astra owner - upgrading to OPC

Cool, thanks! The calculator says the offset is et41 on 18"s on the Aura, and et37 on the 5 pole 18"s on the Astra. I will go to the junkyard next week and see if I can find an Aura's 18 rim, and install it on the junkyards Astra.


I just checked, and one or two of the the G6's 18s rims have a positive offset of 37, so these should be a direct fit it seems.

https://www.wheel-size.com/size/pont...i-gxp-usdm-223
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08' Astra XE 5dr
5 spd
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Old 05-09-2020, 01:25 AM   #17
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Default Re: Hello! New Astra owner - upgrading to OPC

Time for an update. I have the sideskirts, and OPC spoiler, among other tidbits coming to the states around mid-May. I'm still trying to find someone to ship me the XP style lip spoiler for the rear bumper.

I also got an Aura 18" rim from pull-a-part, and it fits just right. It only rubs a bit the splash panels, but I believe it's because the panels are missing two nuts that hold them tight, regardless I may have to change to a lower profile, and narrow tire.

Check pic. It needs to be lowered to look just right. What do you guys think?
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File Type: jpg thumbnail_20200505_174659.jpg (203.7 KB, 11 views)
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08' Astra XE 5dr
5 spd
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Old 05-09-2020, 01:35 AM   #18
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Default Re: Hello! New Astra owner - upgrading to OPC

And here's a few photoshop edits to see what the Astra would look like after mods.

I'm trying to decide what color shade to paint the rims. White rims look rallyish, which isn't bad looking at all. Default color matches well with the car too. Dark green rims, with tinted windows, break the silver color monotony a bit, and it helps .

All in all, I paid 28 bucks for the rim. Can't beat the price for value.
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg 5.jpg (197.0 KB, 12 views)
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08' Astra XE 5dr
5 spd

Last edited by ProOpel; 05-09-2020 at 01:45 AM.
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Old 05-09-2020, 02:50 AM   #19
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Default Re: Hello! New Astra owner - upgrading to OPC

Looks like a clown car!! That will be sorted by the springs.

The wheels look awesome.

If you change the springs and struts, you might want to change the strut mounts whilst you are there. If the old strut mounts are rusty, you might not be able to disassemble the strut assembly to retrieve the rubber bump stop, rubber cover for the bottom of the coil spring, and rubber dirt accordion. My buddy replaced the whole lot so did not need to disassemble the struts.

Drop links are rapid fail items on the Astra, so you might replace them also.

Also I think some of the nuts and bolts need to be replaced with new; maybe they are torque to yield.

This is a decent primer for struts
https://www.bilstein-shocks.co.uk/pa...n-buying-guide

And the catalog
http://web1.carparts-cat.com/default...01&14=1&12=100

Note the Saturn, Opel, and Bilstein numbers were all changed since 2008 so that makes matching somewhat maddening

EDIT - Want to sell a couple of hubcaps if they are in good nick?
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Old 05-09-2020, 01:47 PM   #20
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Default Re: Hello! New Astra owner - upgrading to OPC

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProOpel View Post
And here's a few photoshop edits to see what the Astra would look like after mods.

I'm trying to decide what color shade to paint the rims. White rims look rallyish, which isn't bad looking at all. Default color matches well with the car too. Dark green rims, with tinted windows, break the silver color monotony a bit, and it helps .

All in all, I paid 28 bucks for the rim. Can't beat the price for value.
If you like, I have a pair of Febest links you can have for the cost of shipping. When I was doing my front end rebuild last summer, I had access to a Samoan friend who will do anything for pulled-pork, fries, and some suds. I really did not need his help doing the work, but the entertainment value of having him around made it so I ordered THREE sets of links. They were all in a race to be here by the Saturday we planned to work, and only the least desirable pair got here on time. At some point, I have a set of Whiteline links to install. These Febest parts are supposedly German designed, but made in China. They are unopened and ready to ship. Say the word. If not you, I'll be happy to send these to anyone else that needs them. Amazon link here:

https://www.amazon.com/4743454AC-Yea.../dp/B00IEJNMYU
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