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Old 05-15-2020, 11:47 PM   #101
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Battery seems to be draining quickly. We aren't driving more than once a week these days. So we did some testing and cleaning today.

PRELIMINARY TESTING

First did some testing with DMM in series with the negative terminal. When first connecting the DMM, voltage spikes to 2-3A for a second, holds at 1A for say 10 seconds. Creeps down to 10ma after about 45 seconds and stays there for 5+ minutes.

We pulled some fuses one by one but that didn't seem to make any real difference and I couldn't get below 10ma.

We couldn't figure how to do that test with doors locked and car armed. Also didn't see any strange peaks people attribute to OnStar; but maybe didn't wait long enough.

WORK

Cleaned some grounds and terminals (they didn't look too bad but are pretty shiny now)
** Cleaned G101 & G110 (under hood near fuse box/hood strut- needed to remove fuse box to access)

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

** Cleaned battery terminals and clamps

We removed alternator and cleaned terminals and connectors spring 2018

Also, remembered there was a broken iSimple phone charger/FM transmitter connected. Best Buy did a total hack install. That stopped working years ago.

- The 10A glass fuse holder was broken so Best Buy just taped that together and the electrical tape failed last year so the fuse fell out. I fixed that.

- iSimple has 3 RCA cables (white, red, yellow). The yellow RCA cable was taped to the iSimple FM metal transmitter box so might have caused some intermittent short.

- iSimple seems to be on 24/7 so I might disconnect the whole thing. Sound quality is garbage.

TESTED VOLTAGES
--------------------------before cleaning------after cleaning
CAR OFF
@ battery terminals------------12.9V----------12.9V
@ battery clamps---------------12.9-----------12.9

CAR IDLING
@ battery terminals-------------13.6-----------14.0
@ battery clamps----------------13.6----------14.0
@ alt body to batt pos-----------13.9

CAR IDLING, LOAD (lights, radio, AC, rear defrost)
@ battery terminals-------------12.9-----------13.5
@ alternator body to batt pos--14.1

2500 RPM, LOAD
@ battery terminals--------------13.1---------13.3
@ engine to batt pos---------------------------13.3

We did more tests but didn't document everything as it was getting dark. We thought the bold data indicated a ground issue. That seems to have been solved by cleaning the grounds (and maybe fixing the sloppy iSimple radio wiring).
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Old 05-18-2020, 12:44 AM   #102
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Did 4 hours mostly highway this morning (no accessories running). The "secret menu" shows V40 terminal voltage up about 0.7v compared to what was showing in previous months. With accessories running voltage barely changed.

No idea where the V40 voltage is recording from but it always is about 1v below what we measure at the battery terminals. (e.g. V40 previously showed 12.6v, today showed 13.3v. True voltage measured at battery terminals this would be about 13.6v and 14.3v, respectively.)

At end of trip we checked temperature of the battery terminals. Positive terminal was stone cold. Negative terminal was just a few degrees warmer; before cleaning the grounds negative terminal was a bit toastier.

With engine off, we saw 12.7v from battery positive to: battery negative, engine, alternator casing.

Tonight, we removed the iSimple radio gizmo. Best Buy did a total hack job but that is all cleaned up. The two boxes were tied into the 12v cigar lighter so they probably drew current 24/7.
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:56 AM   #103
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

50 page Astra battery drain thread in Italy lol

http://www.astraclubitalia.it/Forum/...3852d1f1d57850
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Old 05-18-2020, 05:10 PM   #104
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

A good thread on Astra electrics and alternator testing. The G100 ground is near starter at rear of engine. I noted other grounds in another post.

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=195861

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Old 06-15-2020, 11:56 AM   #105
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

CD30 radio system sounded worse than usual. I checked the balance and fader and it was obvious driver's tweeter was not working.

So I removed the tweeter panel on the driver's door and it was not properly clipped in so was blasting sound in the wrong direction. Took 30 seconds to reclip the tweeter in properly. Sounds a lot better now (albeit never great).

In prior years, we replaced the outside mirror housing a few times and removed the door panel for water repairs. So we probably dislodged the tweeter inadvertently.
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Old 08-16-2020, 07:40 PM   #106
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Battery drain resolved
Pulled the fuse 36 (OnStar™ Module/OnStar™ InterfaceModule/Display). Car can sit for weeks with virtually no battery drain. No center display, however. OnStar schematics and pictures are here

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...94#post2348594

Clunking noises resolved
There was an odd clunking sound under the hood when stopping on an incline or starting on a decline. User GOOB determined the non-stock transmission cooler was loose. Added some zip ties above in front and behind to secure it well and offer some shock absorbtion. Clunking is gone.

Also, epoxied 3 pieces of broken plastics on the front end (added support plastic for a better bond). Two headlight mounting tabs and one tab for the plastic tray above the radiator. All the thunking sounds are gone when driving. Car sounds very solid now.

Also, picked up some parts for a big summer tune up. Details TBA.
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Old 08-17-2020, 06:46 PM   #107
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AstraFasta View Post
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.
Today, Polished the headlights again, which took about 3 hours.

Despite 2 coats of Sylvania "Headlight UV Block Clear Coat" (2 bottles- activator & coating,), headlights were super yellow and crusty after 16 months.

I'll try to find a different protection product.
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Old 08-31-2020, 08:24 PM   #108
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

We did a major service on the Astra Saturday. Took about 2.5 hours total, including set up and clean up, thanks to a truck mechanic buddy at his garage (with 2 "helpers" and all the tools). The mechanic was incredibly skilled so this was a clinic.

OBSERVATIONS
A few weeks ago, steering became just slightly vague. Inspection indicated:

- FL wheel had very slight play when grabbing at 3-9 o'clock. Suspected wearing FL tie rod end

- FR tie rod end boot was torn

- Brakes began grinding and whistling slightly sometimes first thing in the morning. RR brake pads were almost worn and rotor had seen better days. Assume from sticky RR emergency brake cable that we replaced c.2018 since all other pads had plenty of life left

- Both rear shocks had leaked slightly

- Strut mounts rusty when looking from under hood (as seen after removing the round plastic tops). After dismantling suspension, mechanic buddy noted all springs and front struts looked good; he didn't inspect the rusty strut mounts but said he didn't notice any obvious defects either.

REPAIR WORK
- New front struts (AC Delco 93195924 & 93195925)

- New front coil springs (Bilstein 37-163563)

- New front strut mounts, bellows, hardware, etc. Cleaned & reused the coil silencer rubber tubing from old springs

- New drop links & tie rod ends for both wheels

- New rear shocks (AC Delco 93182103)

- New rotors and Bosch ceramic pads on all wheels

CONCLUSION
Car rides softer and absorbs bumps more smoothly and quietly. Handling and steering are tight and confident. Braking is strong and smooth. Steering tracks incredibly straight and smooth on the highway, even before alignment. Car rides like it just came off the dealer's lot. Totally worth the effort.

This is a 5-door XE with OEM 16" steel wheels. Height of car above front and rear wheels looks just like it did previously, and is perfectly balanced IMO. The XR and sport suspensions seem a bit lowered, so keep that in mind wrt above part numbers.

The Haynes workshop manual was helpful for torque data and basic disassembly / assembly. There are plenty of YouTube videos and forum posts with more info. DIY types can access a variety of professional service manuals on-line as recommended at South Main Auto on https://youtu.be/L1FxoQI_Fw4
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Old 09-23-2020, 10:40 AM   #109
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

After driving a few hundred miles for the suspension bits to settle in, we had the wheels aligned. Toe in was slightly off on both front wheels and the steering wheel was slightly "crooked". The shop had a Hunter alignment machine and they took it for two quick drives during the process; we saw the tech spend just over an hour total on the alignment.

Also had shop balance and rotate tires.

Car is slightly more balanced and effortless to drive. Having the steering wheel in at 12 O'Clock proper when driving straight is a nice bonus.

Replaced noisy windshield wipers.
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Old 09-23-2020, 01:17 PM   #110
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Squeaky adjustment mechanism so greased squeaky driver's seat parts.
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Old 10-09-2020, 07:08 PM   #111
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

This week, we completed an 84k mile service.

New batteries for key FOBs
CR2032 Maxell made in Japan.

Changed oil & filter
Mobil 1 Extended Performance Synthetic 5W-30 Oil & WIX 57674 filter.

Some mechanic must have changed the oil pan bolt for a 17mm with crush washer. Seems to fit perfectly but does not accept the small rubbery o-rings.

Cleaned air intake system
Removed a few acorns and cleaned dust from airbox. Inspected newish air filter and banged out some dust; still looks very good. Cleaned throttlebody and butterfly valve with TB cleaner and a rag.

Drained & filled coolant
About 5 years ago, a mechanic did a super cleaning of the cooling system and replaced virtually all the hoses (as described above). Spring 2020, we drained and replaced 1 gallon of coolant for a thermostat change. Old coolant was very clean and clear.

So rather than go through a full flush, we simply drained the old coolant and replaced with AC Delco DEXCOOL 50-50. Used this basic guide. http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=187195

Replaced waterpump
Replaced the waterpump (AC Delco 252947 $50) with included gasket. Old waterpump worked fine but due to age and mileage we replaced as maintenance item. We also wanted to inspect the gasket (which was in good shape and showed no evidence of leaking, plus coolant level has stayed rock solid for 5 years). New pump might be slightly quieter but probably not.

The pulley was T45 (3 bolts) and the waterpump was E8 (5 bolts) IIRC. My pulley bolts had blue loc-tite on them. Probably easiest to remove and replace pulley if the tensioner is locked into place with a pin. Guidance included Haynes manual and this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDmIv7jD8Hw (although our radiator seems to be slightly different).

Inspected accessory belt and it looked to be in excellent condition. Belt and tensioner were recently replaced.

Also test drove car a few times and noticed no issues with oil pressure, coolant temperature, fluid levels, leaks, etc. Need to top off coolant with a few ounces tomorrow when engine is cold.
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Old 10-10-2020, 01:27 PM   #112
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Waxed headlights 3x with Macguire's Ultimate Wax

To try to prevent rust, painted new strut mount, nut, and the threaded part of the strut. Did this by opening hood, removing the two plastic disc covers, and cleaning the area with alcohol & cotton swabs. Once dry, we cut a hole in a cardboard box to prevent overspray. 3 coats of shiny black farmer's implement spraypaint. Also added o-rings to the plastic disc covers.

Refurbing the rubber pad at the b-pillar. Cleaned and spraying with a few coats of Billy Mays' Flex-Seal. This is part 13123710 and no longer sold AFAIK.
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Old 10-11-2020, 11:03 PM   #113
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AstraFasta View Post
This week, we completed an 84k mile service.

New batteries for key FOBs
CR2032 Maxell made in Japan.

Changed oil & filter
Mobil 1 Extended Performance Synthetic 5W-30 Oil & WIX 57674 filter.

Some mechanic must have changed the oil pan bolt for a 17mm with crush washer. Seems to fit perfectly but does not accept the small rubbery o-rings.

Cleaned air intake system
Removed a few acorns and cleaned dust from airbox. Inspected newish air filter and banged out some dust; still looks very good. Cleaned throttlebody and butterfly valve with TB cleaner and a rag.


Drained & filled coolant
About 5 years ago, a mechanic did a super cleaning of the cooling system and replaced virtually all the hoses (as described above). Spring 2020, we drained and replaced 1 gallon of coolant for a thermostat change. Old coolant was very clean and clear.

So rather than go through a full flush, we simply drained the old coolant and replaced with AC Delco DEXCOOL 50-50. Used this basic guide. http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=187195

Replaced waterpump
Replaced the waterpump (AC Delco 252947 $50) with included gasket. Old waterpump worked fine but due to age and mileage we replaced as maintenance item. We also wanted to inspect the gasket (which was in good shape and showed no evidence of leaking, plus coolant level has stayed rock solid for 5 years). New pump might be slightly quieter but probably not.

The pulley was T45 (3 bolts) and the waterpump was E8 (5 bolts) IIRC. My pulley bolts had blue loc-tite on them. Probably easiest to remove and replace pulley if the tensioner is locked into place with a pin. Guidance included Haynes manual and this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDmIv7jD8Hw (although our radiator seems to be slightly different).

Inspected accessory belt and it looked to be in excellent condition. Belt and tensioner were recently replaced.

Also test drove car a few times and noticed no issues with oil pressure, coolant temperature, fluid levels, leaks, etc. Need to top off coolant with a few ounces tomorrow when engine is cold.

As always, very appreciative of your write-ups.

I always worry about gouging or stripping the head of a bolt on the way out, so I purchased three new waterpump pulley bolts to replace what was removed when I recently replace my own waterpump. And yes, the Locktite worked well and I stripped one of what was there. The replacement bolts were changed by GM, now a male Torx fitted bolt that required me to obtain a lower profile ratchet than what I had on hand.

This item below worked well for allowing offset clearance and also had good leverage for retracting the accessory belt tensioner to slip that belt on.

https://www.harborfreight.com/14-in-...het-67994.html
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Old 10-11-2020, 11:22 PM   #114
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Thanks JFS. Every European car I have owned required a fair bit of maintenance and the Astra is no exception. That said, the Astra now drives like a new car and almost looks like one.

Awesome wrench- I'll get one!
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Old 10-15-2020, 02:04 PM   #115
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Minor rust repair at bottom inside of passenger door around seam.

Ground down strip about 18" x 1/2" of paint to bare metal with drill wire brush, dremel small grinder, and hand sanding. Sprayed with Rust-Oleum rust converter. Might coat with some of that shiny black farmer's implement spraypaint later this week.
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Old 11-22-2020, 10:41 AM   #116
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Stripped and repainted roof rails with 2 coats of flat black Rustolieum spray paint. A few years ago, we refinished the rails using high-temperature coating which was not too durable.

Noted occasional vibration in steering wheel at highway speeds. Rotated passenger side tires and noticed no real difference. Rotated driver's side tires and vibration completely disappeared. So now driver's side rear tire/wheel is the suspect. Visual inspection indicates wheel and tire appear to be in good condition (good quality Goodyear tyres might have 5k miles on them). Since the tires were balanced this autumn, the tire shop said a wheel balancing weight might have fallen off; will set an appointment Monday morning to get that wheel inspected and rebalanced.

Reinserted driver's side plastic peg of rear hatch tray. Removed the hatch light bulb to prevent burning hand. Inserted plastic peg and rotated it 180* or more to lock in. That peg seem to fall out every year.

FYI - When removing the wheel lugs, I broke a new 3/8" HarborFreight breaker bar (the square tip with the springy ball sheared off). Upgraded to a 1/2" (the 25" model was $13.99).
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Old 11-22-2020, 11:12 AM   #117
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Quote:
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FYI - When removing the wheel lugs, I broke a new 3/8" HarborFreight breaker bar (the square tip with the springy ball sheared off). Upgraded to a 1/2" (the 25" model was $13.99).
I know this is contrary to all the experts but I lube my wheel lugs with molykote anti-sieze and torque to 80 lb ft. Been doing this for 30 yrs and dozens of vehicles without problems.
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Old 03-06-2021, 12:58 PM   #118
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Passenger mirror is failing with white blotches (that was an eBay replacement glass & 2 sided tape kit we purchased just a few years ago).

- Purchased a new mirror (with integrated heater element and plastic backing clip from Germany on eBay for about $25 shipped.

- Purchased the plastic roof rack covers from Latvia for about $12 shipped. Goob recently lost these 4 covers and thinks there is more wind noise without them.
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Old 03-15-2021, 09:23 PM   #119
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

Last night, P2096 popped up 1 minute after filling with gas at truck stop, on a brutally cold and windy night. I cleared the code and it hasn't returned for a few hundred miles (car is back to closed loop but code reader still states not ready).

P2096 is a generic code for "Post Catalyst Fuel Trim System Too Lean Bank 1".

In 2015, both emg77 and I had that code and exhaust flex pipe repair was fix. I SUSPECT this is the issue today.
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=207844

Detailed code diagnostics are here. There are several other possible causes.
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=195908

satlite440 noted "i would be looking to see if the purge solinoid is blown.. unplug it at the elec connecter and see if there is still vacum.. there should not be any vac when the connecter is unpluged"

tallNewfie had rear o2 sensor issue, but he had bad drivability also
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=167686

Last edited by AstraFasta; 03-15-2021 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 03-16-2021, 09:39 AM   #120
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Default Re: Astra 45k mile service - inexpensive & runs like new!

What code reader do you use for your Astra? Do you recommend it?
...
Former: 2005 L300, 2007 VUE Green Line
Current: 2008 Astra XE
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