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Old 11-05-2018, 01:58 AM   #61
AstraFasta
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Some repair & winterization today. I replaced the broken CAP for Coolant Recovery Tank today and added some undiluted DEX-COOL. For fun, added some fuel injector cleaner & cleaned the battery, terminals and local connectors.

ISSUES
Earlier in the week when the P0128 code showed. I noticed weak cabin heat on the highway and noticed coolant recovery tank level was rather low.

REPLACEMENT OF CAP FOR COOLANT RECOVERY TANK
Warning - There are a handful of similar looking AC Delco CAPs (17 PSI, 21 PSI, etc.) so make sure you are getting the correct cap for your Astra.

I picked up an AC Delco Part #09202799 from Rock Auto for about $20 shipped. The new CAP looks identical to the original cap and has the same part number stamped underneath (there were conflicting codes stamped into the caps which looks like some production tracking info).

Last year I replaced my Coolant Recovery Tank with AC Delco Part #93179469 (without level sensor). I found said cap recommended for this tank also (but can't find the sites to link here).

There are some horror stories about removing the old cap. I didn't find it too difficult.

Most importantly, make sure system is cold or you will severely burn yourself from steam.


On my car the yellow cap broke off, leaving the plastic & metal cap "mechanics" stuck in the tank. The yellow cap is threaded. Importantly, the "mechanics" are not threaded. So in my case, the "mechanics" just needed to be pulled straight up. There is a robust o-ring that makes removal a bit difficult. Also, you want to ensure that you do not damage or scratch the tank neck, else the new cap's o-ring will not seal properly.

FYI - in my first effort to remove the "mechanics", I gouged two 1mm groves into the black plastic at 180*. Then, I used a huge flat screwdriver to rotate the "mechanics" a few times. The "mechanics" did not rise up so I knew that was not going to work (I think it did break the o-ring free a bit so maybe helped).

After test-fitting new cap, I added some coolant and ran the car for a while without a cap, squeezing a few of the tubes to try to bleed air out of the system. Installed new cap, drove on highway and cabin heat was superb - super hot. The P0128 engine code still shows but I *suspect* that was due to somewhat low coolant level and will clear itself after a few cycles.

FUEL INJECTOR CLEANER
Found a few bottles of Valvoline Fuel System Cleaner on clearance for 0.98$. Poured one bottle in tank.

BATTERY, TERMINAL, AND WIRE MAINTENACE
Make sure to use safety glasses and understand dangers of powerful batteries before attempting any electric maintenance.

With high-quality multimeter, we checked battery voltage with car off, car running, car running with accessories. Also checked various grounds with car off, car running, car running with accessories.

Cleaned battery, battery terminals, battery connectors, nearby cables and hardware. This significantly improved grounding & boosted charging performance (now at 14.5v with accessories running and engine at idle).

With the Astra off, battery voltage c. 12.4v

- Idling under some accessory load, voltage c. 14.5v

- Idling negative battery post to the engine block c. 0.2v

- Idling negative battery post to the body of the car c. 0.2v

- Idling block to body (I didn't check but should probably be below 0.2v)

Finally, we fully charged battery using a big charger at just 2A trickle charge overnight.

This video and comments are a primer to begin your research:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTGz0PKIl84

Last edited by AstraFasta; 11-05-2018 at 02:04 AM.
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Old 11-05-2018, 10:24 PM   #62
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

A few days of driving and the P0128 cleared itself away. Cause was slightly low coolant and/or failed Cap for Coolant Recovery Tank.
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Old 12-15-2018, 11:43 PM   #63
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Finished winter maintenance:

1. Checked fluid levels. Filled windshield washer fluid with winter liquid

2. Siliconed failing roof antenna gasket. Ran a bead of heavy-duty black silicone between antenna and roof

3. Warmed up car. Drove gently at 5k rpm for a few miles to blow carbon off valves and out engine.

4. Slow charged battery with 2A charger on warm day ~60*F

5. Cleaned some more grounds to decrease resistance in electrics (idling under some accessory load - voltage drop reduced 50%). This should significantly improve charging, decrease alternator workload, and provide more power to headlights, etc.:

- Idling under some accessory load, voltage c. 14.4v

- Idling negative battery post to the engine block c. 0.1v

- Idling negative battery post to the body of the car c. 0.1v

- Idling negative battery post to alternator casing c. 0.1v

Removed following grounds from frame, cleaned posts and wire connectors:

** G101 & G110 (under hood near fuse box/hood strut- needed to remove fuse box to access)

** G103, G105, G109 (under battery- needed to remove plastic battery tray. I think G103 was very heavy-duty.

** I cleaned battery terminals and nearby connectors in October

** I removed alternator and cleaned terminals and connectors last spring

>>Headlights seem much brighter but that is probably just me thinking they should be hahaha

Last edited by AstraFasta; 12-15-2018 at 11:48 PM.
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Old 12-18-2018, 02:49 PM   #64
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Parking brake is freezing in cold weather. Ordered new AC Delco cable 13340395 from RockAuto for $27 shipped. Another fun cold project lol.

Some threads that show how to replace cable; the saturnfans post by @maschinenbauer is awesome. YouTube clowns need better axel stands for health & safety:

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...59#post2119459

https://www.astraownersnetwork.co.uk...ight=handbrake

https://youtu.be/KzQHajRO3F8

https://workshop-manuals.com/vauxhal..._brake_adjust/

https://workshop-manuals.com/vauxhal..._disc_brakes)/
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Old 01-16-2019, 03:10 PM   #65
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Replaced emergency brake cable last week. It was a somewhat rough job on a salty car. Probably took a total of 3 hours but I could see 30 minutes for a southern car.

Needed a second person to push up the exhaust so I could remove the 6 rubber hangers. That was tough. We dropped exhaust just a few inches.

Removed all screws to heatshield but did not need to remove that completely. Just kind of moved it forward and twisted a bit.

Needed to replace a few broken screws on heatshield.

Emergency brake cable works perfectly now.
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Old 01-16-2019, 03:25 PM   #66
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Auto transmission selector broke today in parking lot.

Shift lever moved but showed no resistance. Car would not go into gear.

I removed shift lever boot in car and everything looked fine and robust. Popped hood and saw that the shift cable end (located just under the battery) had disconnected from transmission selector lever ball. I put cable end back on lever ball and transmission shifted fine. Connection is sloppy so this is a one-time fix which is unreliable.

Below is a clever bushing repair kit for $20 which I picked up to resolve this problem forever:

https://www.bushingfix.com/saturn-as...ng-repair-kit/

I estimate repair should take ~30 minutes. I will probably need to remove battery and battery tray for good access. Company has a super 2 minute video that shows how the bushing install kit works.
___

GM has a repair bulletin on this problem and they might also sell a bushing repair kit but I didn't see that part. Another option is to replace cable (13190005?) which is $150 and more painful to do. Dealer quotes below were $600+

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=193372
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=193424
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Old 01-18-2019, 04:07 PM   #67
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

I replaced auto transmission cable bushing today.

The bushingfix kit is excellent and very cheap. The bushing is superb quality and might be a Delrin but not sure of the material. The tool is well thought out and easy to use. Arrived in less than 48 hours.

Repair took less than 30 minutes and is very easy on the Astra. Basic steps:

- Watch company's 2 minute video. Use goggles and research battery safety before starting.

- Remove battery and battery tray (3 x 13mm bolts for tray only).

- Transmission cable, broken bushing and metal linkage are now perfectly visible & accessible.

- Clean old bushing and metal ball end. Make sure to fully press new bushing into black cup of your cable. This step took 60 seconds.

- Replace battery tray. Install and connect battery. Test.
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Old 01-19-2019, 01:31 PM   #68
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2008 Astra XE
Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AstraFasta View Post
Replaced emergency brake cable last week. It was a somewhat rough job on a salty car. Probably took a total of 3 hours but I could see 30 minutes for a southern car.

Needed a second person to push up the exhaust so I could remove the 6 rubber hangers. That was tough. We dropped exhaust just a few inches.

Removed all screws to heatshield but did not need to remove that completely. Just kind of moved it forward and twisted a bit.

Needed to replace a few broken screws on heatshield.

Emergency brake cable works perfectly now.
When I replaced my emergency brake cable I ended up removing all the shielding because the salt had eaten away most of it. I didn't even drop the exhaust to complete the task and maybe took no more than half an hour. I don't remember how big the original cat converter and resonator used to be in the tunnel but with the magnaflow exhaust there was plenty of room to work.

My car now sits happily in the driveway when there's salt or snow on the road
...
09 Vauxhall Astra XR3/STD
18" Team Dynamic MonzaR rims
Eibach Sportline, Whiteline BHR75Z swaybar and EBC Rotors
CD30 Mp3, Insignia jets, vxR surround, sharkfin antenna, Spoiler, Tint
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Old 01-27-2019, 11:34 AM   #69
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

P0128 code appeared on a very cold day. After a few days, I just used a code reader to delete the code.
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Old 02-24-2019, 02:23 PM   #70
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Car is a bit noisy on start up. Sometimes smell dirty exhaust from interior vents when at stoplight.

Looked underneath car and see steam coming from front weld of new flexpipe. Will return to garage to have them repair.
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Old 03-23-2019, 06:30 PM   #71
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Parked car on flat lot for a week. It rained a bit and some water entered from both front doors at speakers.

Fortunately, car stays bone dry when parked at normal spot (with nose facing uphill).
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Old 04-05-2019, 07:38 AM   #72
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AstraFasta View Post
Parked car on flat lot for a week. It rained a bit and some water entered from both front doors at speakers.

Fortunately, car stays bone dry when parked at normal spot (with nose facing uphill).
I had leaky door problems too and speakers' wiring died
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Old 04-14-2019, 12:54 PM   #73
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Spring cleaning this week.

- Alignment & tire balance . Car tracks perfectly and effortlessly, like a new car.

- Major wash inside, outside, undercarriage, engine. Looks great.

- MacGuire's super coating still provides good water beading & shine after 6+ months of salty weather but could use reapplication. This will take less than an hour and is easy.

- Also polished the headlights again with the same Mothers kit (including fine grit sandpaper) which took 4 hours including setup etc. This seems like an annual affair.

So I finished with Sylvania's $10 "Headlight UV Block Clear Coat" (2 bottles- activator & coating). Sprayed activator, waited a few seconds, hosed down, dried. Applied coating thickly with included no-lint towel. Looked pretty good and night light is much brighter & whiter. Hope this coating prevents annual yellowing.

Instructions say only to coat one time. YouTube comment from Sylvania said second coat OK after first coat hardens. The second coat did not adhere too well so there are very minor dripping. Maybe applying activator or scuffing first coat would permit better second coat adhesion.

- Discovered interior also stays bone dry during rain if nose is facing downhill.
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Old 04-17-2019, 04:56 PM   #74
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Spring maintenance:

- Topped off all battery cells with distilled water

- Trickle charged battery with home battery charger on "repair" mode

- Checked A/C operation- icy cold!
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Old 05-14-2019, 06:01 PM   #75
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Today rewelded exhaust flexpipe. Cost $80.

Trickle charged battery.

Will need to rewax car. Meguiar's "Ultimate Liquid Wax lasted a solid 8 months through a somewhat salty winter. I am impressed as water was beading off the paint pretty well until the beginning of May. Water no longer beads off.

Last autumn, the clear coat and black metallic paint was in OK condition as it had been through 9 salty winters, was rarely washed and never waxed before. In my 2 September post you can see the 2-day prep work I did. This week I will do a quick wash, "fine polish", then "Ultimate Liquid Wax". Expect to finish in about 5 hours.

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Old 05-16-2019, 10:05 PM   #76
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Washed, polished, and waxed car tonight. Looks awesome. Took 3 hours total, including set-up and clean up.

Used leftover Meguiar's liquids noted in previous post.

Since I did so much polishing work last September, the Astra's finish was in pretty good shape, just didn't bead water and was not so shiny. So I was able to skip the electrics and polish/ wax "exclusively" by hand.

The Meguiar's polish & wax were very easy to apply and remove by hand at dusk at say 60F. Last autumn, I found the polish was difficult to remove, maybe due to: poor condition of paint, drill polishing pad, hot weather and maybe a bit of sun.

Based on prior application of the wax, I am optimistic this will last until next spring. Time will tell.
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Old 06-01-2019, 11:01 PM   #77
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Today's fun:

1. Removed and cleaned ground on driver's side of engine block. Required E10 socket which I didn't have when I previously cleaned a bunch of other grounds.

2. Replaced front sway bar drop links. These are rapid-wear items on the Astra and a popular problem. Symptom is an irritating front-end hollow clunking noise when hitting small bumps and road defects.

After replacing the links, all clunks disappeared. Car is much quieter; steering and handling are more responsive. Drives like our newish Buick now. Very happy with results.

This took the afternoon. Only 4 nuts but each one was rusted and brutal to remove. The bottom nuts are a tough reach. To remove OEM links, I used a 17mm open-ended wrench on the back nut and a 18mm socket (socket can't be too deep or bottom nut will be a problem; if socket is too shallow you won't get enough purchase on nut).

OEM links looked like glass reinforced nylon. I replaced with 2x Moog metal with grease fittings; this looks like replacement:
https://www.fme-cat.com/overlays/par...r%20Bar%20Link

The Moog required a 18mm open-ended wrench on the back nut and a 18mm socket. Follow GM torque specs.

FYI - the Astra's OEM drop link fasteners varied wildly so you may require different tools (some even had T30). Also after-market fasteners will likely vary.

This is NOT a job for hand tools if your threads have some oxidation. I can't emphasize how brutal it was to work the old nuts off, not just breaking the nuts free but every single turn; took a few hours. Even screwing the new nuts on new links was tough. There are some good powered tools that would make this job so much easier.

I found it helpful to lift both front wheels from the ground. There are a few videos and tutorials around the internet for safe and correct procedures; study them before trying this project.

Also, any strange sounds or vibrations from front-end should be looked at immediately by a qualified mechanic as some can be dangerous.
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Old 06-02-2019, 09:17 PM   #78
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Replaced the spark plugs today. Car has 75k miles and plugs were previously replaced at 45k miles.

-- There was a bit of oil in the black plastic valley we see just after removing the long plastic cover but before removing the coil pack. The coil pack looked fine (maybe a bit of oil inside each of the 4 tubes but outside looked new).

-- There was no oil pooled deep inside the 4 spark plug alu holes. They were very clean except a touch of burnt oil at the bottom around each plug.

-- All 4 spark plugs were:
------ oily on the ceramics.
-------oily on a few threads nearest the ceramics.
-------dry on threads closer to electrodes.
-------dry on electrode area (just a light dusting of light grey/brown color which seems normal from other cars).

Source of oil? The PCV membrane seems to be sticking and I think that is causing the valve cover gasket weeping AND the wet spark plug ceramics. Not 100% sure but I ordered an OEM valve cover from Daewoo in N Korea for $60 shipped (comes with gasket, PCV membrane, bolts).


Last edited by AstraFasta; 06-02-2019 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 06-04-2019, 09:32 PM   #79
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

By popular demand, to begin your research on sway bar drop links

https://www.astraownersnetwork.co.uk...on-the-Astra-H

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmvRO21Yy6U
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_sE_DFyuwA
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Old 06-06-2019, 08:31 AM   #80
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

My sway bar links are fine after 110k miles on original shocks too. No clunks.

I still don't see how you could be having so many issues at such low mileage. This car is very simple. Was yours in a flood or something?
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