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Old 10-10-2020, 02:14 PM   #1
ProOpel
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Default Astra Tuning (wip)

Hope I'm not posting too many threads lol. I just like my Astra

I thought of making a topic on how tuning the car is going and condense all the other topics into one thread.


Aside from performing standard maintenance my next goal is to try to reach higher HP/torque figures. Granted, the engine isn't very tuneable and I'm sure there are better cars to tune, however I'm not looking at crazy HP numbers just a few more would suffice. Tuning the suspension and handling are more important for me but getting a bit more power would be a nice addition.

For those of you who don't know. A guy on the UK forum was able to get 178bhp on a 1.8L Z18XER by doing several small upgrades and a remap:

https://www.astraownersnetwork.co.uk.../#post-1487386

THE ECU
(the main bottleneck in our cars):

Since our ECU computers didn't get support for remapping, I've been in talks with Thomas Cowles from turbotomsautos.co.uk. He said he could get mine remapped. I'd have to sent it over to the UK for that.

Other options that might enable remapping would be to get a ECU kit with an imported ECU unit, keys, fuse boxes from ebay in the uk. For a "plug and play" solution. I've no idea if this would work, but folks at the UK forum suggested this option.

Another alternative is to get a euro ECU with the simtec 75 chip and reprogram it home, with a tech2 scan or vcx nano Laptop adapter and keep the stock ECU aside in case something happens. Then I could run a EDS remap. It's a lot of work.

These are just a few ideas I've been thinking about. I'm more inclined to go with Thomas offer. I'd just have to get a second US ECU and reprogram it, in order to keep driving the car until he can send me mine back.

But for now I'm focusing on doing basic maintenance.
...
08' Astra XE 5dr
5 spd manual
team2fast 200 sportcat
Autolite XP5224 spark plugs
GM valve cover/PCV (55564395)
OPC body work (wip)
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Old 10-10-2020, 02:21 PM   #2
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Default Re: Astra Tuning (wip)

Yesterday I got the upgraded exhaust manifold with a 200 cat from the folks at team2fast:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/VAUXHALL-AS...72.m2749.l2649

It claims it can increase hp to 18hp. We'll see if that's true, but even if it's just a few horses, it should be better than the stock unit.

My next upgrade would be to de-restrict the rest of the exhaust. Maybe get rid of the resonator or get a high flow unit. I haven't searched to see if there's one out there. Removing it altogether isn't an option, as I'm concerned it would be too loud.

I'm also looking at a duplex exhaust system like this one:
https://www.ebay.es/itm/Fox-Duplex-E...C/333674147624
Attached Images
File Type: jpg FOX-Sportauspuff-Duplex-Opel-Astra-H-ab-Bj.jpg (49.8 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg mani.jpg (95.8 KB, 7 views)
...
08' Astra XE 5dr
5 spd manual
team2fast 200 sportcat
Autolite XP5224 spark plugs
GM valve cover/PCV (55564395)
OPC body work (wip)
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Old 10-10-2020, 07:53 PM   #3
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Default Re: Astra Tuning (wip)

Awesome thread.

Emissions technology has gotten pretty good so I'm not sure the 18bhp claim is reasonable.

These engines clearly pep up with high octane fuel so there is some logic that measures the fuel and adjusts accordingly.

The other basic work I would do include
- new plugs
- consider new coil pack if your plugs were well worn or not changed every 30k miles documented in writing. Worn plugs kill these coil packs. These engines bog down a lot with a weak coil pack.
- clean TB
- clean MAF
- new air filter (there are mods to boost air intake in Europe to look at)
- new accessory belt & tensioner
- consider timing belt kit. I have seen various intervals (longest I ever saw was lesser of 10 year or 100k miles.)
- do a voltage drop test on main connections. Clean them. I posted a lot of the main ground points here.
- for suspension, the drop links and tie rod ends have a short lifespan.
- If you change the front struts, replace the strut bearings as they tend to rot out. Take off the round disc covers under the hood to look. Replace them in any case if you are changing the struts as they are cheap and have broke on a few people here. Also the front springs have broken on a few people (although mainly from northern states partly due to rust).
- the transmission and clutch are not the most robust. so research those if you are looking at big HP increases.
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Old 10-11-2020, 07:10 PM   #4
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Default Re: Astra Tuning (wip)

Thanks astrafasta. I've done some of the things you mentioned already, but stil need to do all the other ones. Good tips on the suspension and other tidbits that I wasn't aware of. I'll look at it when I'm replacing the shocks.

I'm planning to install an anti-roll bar on the front end from one of a Zafira B 2006. It's a 24mm version and much better than the one in the VRX. I was told the car will handle like it's on rails. Same with the back one. Tired of the car bouncing sideways.

I got HR spacers on the back, waiting on longer bolts right now. Should improve the looks and handling too.

I'll do a different thread on suspension tuning when I do all this. So much to do lol.

Cheers
...
08' Astra XE 5dr
5 spd manual
team2fast 200 sportcat
Autolite XP5224 spark plugs
GM valve cover/PCV (55564395)
OPC body work (wip)
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Old 10-11-2020, 08:09 PM   #5
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Default Re: Astra Tuning (wip)

Also the front coil spring rubber insulator that goes on the bottom of the springs is NLA. I just cleaned the old ones and reused. They have some holes in them for draining. You could also look for some replacements but keep this in mind so you don't get stuck waiting for parts.

You could also replace the front bellows (typically they also come with the rubber bung for the strut shaft).

For drop links, I changed to metal ones; that improves handling noticably.

The drop links and tie rod ends are available with grease fittings; if you keep them lubricated say every oil change, they might be the better choice.

Rear shocks and springs are super easy to change.

You might find some Brembo front discs in the US...not sure if they also fit the XR. I got the Bosch pads which stop fine. You can source higher performance bits in Europe.
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Old 10-12-2020, 01:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: Astra Tuning (wip)

Silly question, but what is NLA? Do you happen to have a pic or part number so I can put it in my cart on ebay.

JFS sent me some links a while back and it's getting time to replace mine as one's bushing is worn out already. They are much better quality than the OEM.

I was looking at replacing the calipers and discs in the future with something big. like 340mm plus discs, but I'll need adapters. I use the car for uber sometimes and the extra stopping ability would be nice but the current brake has been quite capable actually. The astras came with big rotors compared to what the brits and euros got.

Appreciated!
...
08' Astra XE 5dr
5 spd manual
team2fast 200 sportcat
Autolite XP5224 spark plugs
GM valve cover/PCV (55564395)
OPC body work (wip)
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Old 10-12-2020, 02:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: Astra Tuning (wip)

not available.

The coil spring insulators look like these including the holes which might be for drainage; not sure if these are the right size. I reused the old ones.
https://www.rallysportdirect.com/par...ameter-springs
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Old 10-12-2020, 03:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: Astra Tuning (wip)

Thanks, now it makes sense. I'll see how mine are. I might get some from ebay.co.uk or ebay spain (you can use the same US login on these sites and be able to see more items for our cars!).
...
08' Astra XE 5dr
5 spd manual
team2fast 200 sportcat
Autolite XP5224 spark plugs
GM valve cover/PCV (55564395)
OPC body work (wip)
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Old 10-12-2020, 03:57 PM   #9
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Default Re: Astra Tuning (wip)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProOpel View Post
I'll see how mine are.
You can't really see until you disassemble the strut as the wear would happen at the bottom of the coil where it contacts the strut. But if the rubber insulator is completely trashed you might see that when installed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProOpel View Post
I might get some from ebay.co.uk or ebay spain (you can use the same US login on these sites and be able to see more items for our cars!).
I didn't know that trick!
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Old 10-14-2020, 11:49 AM   #10
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Default Re: Astra Tuning (wip)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AstraFasta View Post
You can't really see until you disassemble the strut as the wear would happen at the bottom of the coil where it contacts the strut. But if the rubber insulator is completely trashed you might see that when installed.

I didn't know that trick!
Cool! Thanks man

Btw, you can also go to ebay.de, ebay.es etc. Each of these sites have items that the other countries will not. If an item I'm interested in doesn't have intl shipping I often ask the seller if they'd be willing to ship it, and sometimes they do. The stock US ebay only shows us so much of Astra items.

The ebay.co.uk will show you the good stuff. Anywhere from used brake calipers, discs, engine parts, wheels (VRX, Irmscher, OPC stuff). The only thing that kill us is the euro/pound exchange.

Mercadolibre.com is another place to get Astra parts from s.America, and the dollar would work in our favor there.
...
08' Astra XE 5dr
5 spd manual
team2fast 200 sportcat
Autolite XP5224 spark plugs
GM valve cover/PCV (55564395)
OPC body work (wip)
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Old 10-14-2020, 12:05 PM   #11
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Default Re: Astra Tuning (wip)

Yesterday finished off installing the new 200 sport manifold/cat in the Astra. Installation is a bit different than with the stock OEM, but not by a lot. I had to cut some of the plastic on the fan shroud in order to get the o2 sensor in.

The manifold fitted very well, like OEM. I had to use different bolts to secure it to the head though. Three extra bolts to bolt it to the flex pipe as well (the company doesn't supply you with bolts).

And got two brand new GM/Acdelco O2 sensors. The one on the middle of the exhaust was a bit hard to reach, but not by a lot. It's in awkward position.

As far as the performance improvements. Well, due to some other performance problems I'm trying to chase in the car (possibly a bad fuel pump/filter) that's giving me erratic issues still, I can't totally tell if there's a major improvement in acceleration just yet.

BUT, I do notice the car pulls better on "wot". However, until I can resolve the other issues I don't think I'm going to see the full range of improvement just yet.

Next will be to check again for other codes and see what the problem is.
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File Type: jpg thumbnail_20201013_173136.jpg (124.8 KB, 11 views)
...
08' Astra XE 5dr
5 spd manual
team2fast 200 sportcat
Autolite XP5224 spark plugs
GM valve cover/PCV (55564395)
OPC body work (wip)

Last edited by ProOpel; 10-14-2020 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 10-16-2020, 01:10 PM   #12
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Default Re: Astra Tuning (wip)

Question. I'm upgrading my old injectors to VRX ones. However, the OEM injectors have a long neck:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/4-GENUINE-D...53.m1438.l2649

but the VRX ones don't:

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/6noAA...cA/s-l1600.jpg

A seller told me they wouldn't work, but I'm getting conflicting info from astraownersnetwork as some say they will work.

Any thoughts?
...
08' Astra XE 5dr
5 spd manual
team2fast 200 sportcat
Autolite XP5224 spark plugs
GM valve cover/PCV (55564395)
OPC body work (wip)
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Old 10-16-2020, 01:22 PM   #13
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Default Re: Astra Tuning (wip)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProOpel View Post
Yesterday finished off installing the new 200 sport manifold/cat in the Astra. Installation is a bit different than with the stock OEM, but not by a lot.
Did you see any leaking around or below the oil cooler (which is behind the exhaust manifold)?

The big gasket is the one that seems to fail from time to time on the z18xer; symptoms would be motor oil & coolant mixing and/or leaks around the oil cooler.

Replacing the gaskets looks to be easy once the exhaust manifold is removed (removing the exhaust manifold is more challenging for those of us in rusty states).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9evgbhJnVU
https://www.vauxhallownersnetwork.co.../#post-4163390
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Old 10-16-2020, 01:50 PM   #14
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Default Re: Astra Tuning (wip)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AstraFasta View Post
Did you see any leaking around or below the oil cooler (which is behind the exhaust manifold)?

The big gasket is the one that seems to fail from time to time on the z18xer; symptoms would be motor oil & coolant mixing and/or leaks around the oil cooler.

Replacing the gaskets looks to be easy once the exhaust manifold is removed (removing the exhaust manifold is more challenging for those of us in rusty states).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9evgbhJnVU
https://www.vauxhallownersnetwork.co.../#post-4163390
Ha! I'll keep this in mind in the future! Mine seemed dry other than dirtiness around the head. I'll take a second look as it's easier to see everything now with the new manifold.

Was yours leaking?
...
08' Astra XE 5dr
5 spd manual
team2fast 200 sportcat
Autolite XP5224 spark plugs
GM valve cover/PCV (55564395)
OPC body work (wip)
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Old 10-16-2020, 02:32 PM   #15
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Default Re: Astra Tuning (wip)

I don't think it is but I have the o-rings and rubber gaskets so will do that for preventative maintenance some day. The header bolts are pretty rusty so not excited to do it.
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Old 10-16-2020, 02:44 PM   #16
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Default Re: Astra Tuning (wip)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AstraFasta View Post
I don't think it is but I have the o-rings and rubber gaskets so will do that for preventative maintenance some day. The header bolts are pretty rusty so not excited to do it.
My condolences lol. It's not a fun job, specially getting that heat shield off! But, when looking at doing the starter or even the rack, it looks simple in comparison.
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08' Astra XE 5dr
5 spd manual
team2fast 200 sportcat
Autolite XP5224 spark plugs
GM valve cover/PCV (55564395)
OPC body work (wip)
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Old 10-16-2020, 07:48 PM   #17
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Default Re: Astra Tuning (wip)

Boy, that looks great! Would have nice to get a dyno baseline in advance, but it sounds like the car wasn't running well enough anyway.
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Old 10-16-2020, 09:59 PM   #18
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Default Re: Astra Tuning (wip)

Quote:
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It's not a fun job, specially getting that heat shield off!
Cant you just bend the heat shield to remove it. Then rebend when back installed?
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Old 10-17-2020, 12:40 PM   #19
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Default Re: Astra Tuning (wip)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Astra08 View Post
Boy, that looks great! Would have nice to get a dyno baseline in advance, but it sounds like the car wasn't running well enough anyway.
Thanks! I'm planning to get it dyno'd eventually but need to get that ECU reprogrammed to take advantage of all these mods.
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08' Astra XE 5dr
5 spd manual
team2fast 200 sportcat
Autolite XP5224 spark plugs
GM valve cover/PCV (55564395)
OPC body work (wip)
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Old 10-17-2020, 12:46 PM   #20
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Default Re: Astra Tuning (wip)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AstraFasta View Post
Cant you just bend the heat shield to remove it. Then rebend when back installed?
I bent it since I wasn't gonna need it, but still a pain to remove as everything is to tight there.
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08' Astra XE 5dr
5 spd manual
team2fast 200 sportcat
Autolite XP5224 spark plugs
GM valve cover/PCV (55564395)
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