Andy B's Fast Road/Track build

AndyB-Redtop

Club Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2017
Messages
391
Reaction score
62
Location
Llanberis North Wales
Hi everyone, the time has come to share my own build thread with you. After recently joining this forum a few months back, I have been inspired and greatly influenced by some members on here to feel the need to create this thread! So, a bit about myself.... My name is Andy and im from North Wales, I've been a passionate lover of the Mk3 GSi for at least 15 years, having owned 4 myself over the past 10 years. It all started when one of my mates bought a spectral blue GSi back in 2006, reg on that was J77 RSS if anybody knows of it? The moment I sat and had a ride in it was when i fell in love with the GSi (Cherished memory :love:) At that point... I knew I had to have one!! So, I saved my pennies and bought one myself a few months later for £950, a J reg spectral blue as my second car at 18 years old, I was a happy bunny. Reg on that was J406 NPP, It had high mileage of 140.000, "Allegedly super chipped” and looked a bit scruffy,..... but I didn't care at the time. I had owned this car for 5 DAYS before the fuse box caught fire whilst travelling on the dual carriage way!! It burned the loom and dashboard with it:frusty:..... But I didn't let that get in the way of losing my Astra!! I went and bought a cheap donor GSi for the fuse box and loom, fitted back to this one. Back on the road for a few months, then got rear ended. That was the end of that GSi unfortunately. So I ended up breaking it and got my money back from it (with profit)

IMG_0478.jpg

787.JPG
My first GSi


After losing the blue GSi, I was instantly hunting for another... and found one quick. I bought this one from a chap in Betws Y Coed that I had met previously by selling him some GSi parts from the written off one, he was selling his coincidentally, so I went ahead and bought this one... also for £950. I had this Astra for about a year and I loved it. I regretfully sold it due to losing my licence. Does anyone know where this GSi may be today reg M301 ACC?? So... after having some unfortunate events happening in my life at the time, I decided to pack my bags and leave Snowdonia in North Wales. I moved down to Bournemouth in 2010 and started a fresh new life. Due to losing my licence and then living in a bigger town, owning a GSi was unpractical due to insurance costs and road traffic conditions down there, so i was off the Mk3 scene for quite a while really, didn't stop looking around daily though, because i always had it in the back of my mind that I would have another GSi. I went to view a few whilst down south, but they were not very decent GSi’s.

001.JPG
051.JPG
My third GSi...(2nd was just a donor, never put on the road)


Now I’m back in Snowdonia after 7 long years, one of my main priorities was to buy another GSi. So.. here's where the journey starts...... My intention is to have a project build, Fast road with an occasional track day, I’m fortunate to have Anglesey circuit only a few miles down the road. I was in search of an early dizzy type in glacier white (desirable colour in my opinion). I was fortunate enough to find one for sale up in Keighley in West Yorkshire. So, phone calls were made, and a viewing arranged at Motor-Hub. Me and my mate Paul set off for Yorkshire bright and early on a Saturday morning, my mate Paul also owns a C20LET GSi, in glacier white which is currently off the road and undergoing some surgery. So, here's the car for sale at the car sales.... with an asking price of £3k with no M.O.T.

IMG_2445.JPG

IMG_2414.PNG
IMG_2441.PNG
IMG_2407.JPG




The GSi looked very clean upon inspection, however there were some obvious rust patches here and there, but it only appeared to be light surface rust. The front strut towers were my main concern because i previously had a bad experience with my blue GSi where the strut actually ripped the tower away from the chassis after hitting a pothole. the bonnet being shut actually held the strut in place :bounce: There was quite a bit of under-seal in the rear arches which looked a bit suspicious to me. Structurally, overall was sound. There were a few minor issues that i had found and pointed out to the seller such as.... a snapped ARB link, no CAT, all dash warning lights on and a small hole in the floor pan under the driver’s seat. The seller was not prepared to budge on the price with regards to these issues, but was willing to put an M.O.T on it providing I payed the full asking price! So I took some time to make a decision..... I was quite desperate to get another Astra after longing for one for such a long time, I had travelled a long way to see it and I thought to myself that the opportunity may not come up again soon seeing these GSi's are getting very rare now. So I made up my mind and put a deposit down for it providing all issues pointed out were resolved. The seller advised that the car would be ready to drive away by the following weekend. I was singing and skipping out of the place with joy.


So.... The following weekend i headed back up North to collect the car. When I arrived, I asked if I could give the car a once over before handing over the full payment. Started the car... all warning lights still on the dash, engine miss-firing badly, ARB still snapped, De-Cat pipe still in place and a huge slop of silicone based gunk in the floor pan hole!! I was not at all impressed!! When i pointed this out to the seller, he said its passed the M.O.T and gave me the certificate. When I asked for the emissions certificate, he could not provide it and said he had lost it! I told him that there is no way this car would of passed its M.O.T without the CAT converter in place, let alone the snapped ARB and all warning lights on. Seller advised these could of happened on the way back from the test centre 10 miles down the road…. yeah right mate!!! Luckily, I had taken note of the millage when I viewed it the first time... It hadn't budged! seller said clocks didn’t work, however they did when I test drove it! Anyway, I haggled and haggled with this guy, he would not knock a penny off the sale and had a very stubborn attitude, he said…. If you don’t want it, we can give your deposit back now because we can sell this car to someone else straight away, we have loads of interests! This really put the pressure on me now. In the end I thought to myself, this guy doesn’t care at all, so F**k it…. I handed him the money sorted the miss-fire and took the car away. Be very wary of motor-Hub in Keighley West Yorkshire guys!!!! Be warned, these are conmen… Google reviews for this place are quite bad.



Now that the car is back home, it was put in my garage to have a full inspection. As mentioned earlier, i am building this car into a Fast Road spec and will be doing occasional track day events. I know very well that a lot of you will disapprove with my intentions because I'm destroying a standard GSi, but that's the way I'm going, I've had standard cars, this is a project that i will be putting a lot of my time and passion into. So... some plans that I've had in my mind for this project....

  • Complete strip down and sort any rust issues, and under-seal
  • Stitch weld some sections for strength
  • Oil seals on engine need replacing as its weeping!
  • SBD TP-208 Throttle bodies, BTB Type C exhaust manifold to suit with a 2.5 tail ... with future plans for TP-225, Cams, pistons, head work. "Funds holding back at the moment, currently buying a house"
  • Engine rebuild is currently questionable because its a good runner as it is. Recently had new hydraulic lifters.
  • Replace all moving parts on car, Bearings, Wheels, etc.... and replace other little things such as brake lines etc...
  • Upgrade suspension and its components, GAZ coilovers, Polybushes, thicker ARB, Strut Braces, Adjustable top mounts maybe
  • New 17" alloys with semi slick tyres...
  • Paint some components for a stylish look
  • Rieger front bumper splitter
  • Rear smoked lights if i can get any
  • Weight saving anywhere possible - stripped interior.
  • 2x bucket seats, decent steering wheel etc....
I would like to highlight that i have been massively inspired by the likes of TomF, **GSI-16V**, DavebGsi, bobcat, Todd100, Mr.Negative, Adz*, harvey..... Reading your build threads has been an absolute pleasure over the past few months. Great work guys :thumb:

Into the garage she goes for some transformation.......:bounce:

IMG_2845.JPG
IMG_2848.JPG
 

AndyB-Redtop

Club Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2017
Messages
391
Reaction score
62
Location
Llanberis North Wales
So, strip down at the front end began. I wanted to get to the rust on the strut towers as soon as possible. As i went along, i found the more i removed, the more i exposed . :hmmm: I found so much little rust patches in the engine bay, i decided the engine had to come out for me to get to the rust and do a proper job at it with a respray to finish....

IMG_2893.JPG

IMG_2894.JPG

IMG_2948.JPG

IMG_2977.JPG

IMG_3177.JPG
Rust.... Rust... Rust.... everywhere :doh:

IMG_3189.JPG

IMG_3191.JPG

Out comes the engine with a little help from a friend.. :biggrin:

IMG_3578.JPG


IMG_3726.JPG

Onto the stand she goes... Early Dizzy type, non coscast head. HH6 block. Fitting the bugger to the stand was quite a mission without taking the flywheel off, got there in the end though. :rolleyes:
 

AndyB-Redtop

Club Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2017
Messages
391
Reaction score
62
Location
Llanberis North Wales
IMG_3657.JPG

After cleaning up the welds, i plastered it with seam sealer and then gave the inner wings a good coating of under-seal and primed the bay..

IMG_3661.JPG

IMG_3600.JPG

IMG_3731.JPG

IMG_3732.JPG

With the engine bay considered done, i moved on to do other little bits like stripping down the front suspension legs. I was very indecisive with regards to choosing a suspension setup, so i came to this forum for some help. I started a thread on having advice on suspension setup which i found really helpful. Thanks to everyone's input on this :thumb:.
 

AndyB-Redtop

Club Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2017
Messages
391
Reaction score
62
Location
Llanberis North Wales
With great pleasure doing the work on the Astra with a little help from friends that can weld, i thought i was rolling along with this build. Initially, i had set myself to carryout work on certain sections at a time to maintain control of myself, however I've gone a few steps ahead of myself now. The car is in bits!! , just a bare shell almost. What was initially a small project has almost turned into full restoration. I have developed a strange and somewhat uncontrollable obsessive illness with this little car... the more time i spend on it, the more attached i get to it which makes me want to treat her with a lot of care... So many parts are being removed, cleaned or replaced. I find the days passing by so fast recently because i am so preoccupied with this build, if i'm not working on the car... I've either got my head down in my phone or on the laptop, engrossed in researching more about building this project.... People have told me that i'm so antisocial using my phone 24/7........ They don't understand that Its because i have to have a few hours fix on Mk3OC everyday :thumb:

So... I've moved on from the front end to the rear, i needed to remove the rear shocks and springs, what a job that was, top mounts seized. I ended up grinding through the shocks to remove them. Rear axle had to come off to polybush it and also needed to replace the rear wheel bearing/hub. As i was down there i thought to take the fuel tank out too because i wanted to under-seal and also clean the tank.

The rear shock top mounts looked very sorry for themselves and looked in a very poor state, one having had a plate made up. the other... well.. it needed attention. Rear inner arches were also rusting away, with previous weld patches visible. There was a small rust patch on the rear turret... It appeared very minor until i put a wire brush wheel to it.... :doh:.......

IMG_3668.JPG
IMG_3669.JPG
IMG_3698.JPG
After putting a wire brush to it :doh:
IMG_3699.JPG
IMG_3830.JPG

After having the nightmare with the rust on the turrets, as it currently stands, they are cleaned up and ready for my mate to repair them and do some stitch welding.

IMG_4012.JPG
IMG_4013.JPG
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 21, 2012
Messages
170
Reaction score
21
Location
SA
great work. Keep it up!
 

AndyB-Redtop

Club Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2017
Messages
391
Reaction score
62
Location
Llanberis North Wales
After removing the side skirts and the rear bumper, i came across some more rust.... not too bad, can easily be patched up. What alarmed me was the amount of under seal in the offside rear arch.... so I started scraping away at it, then it became hard.... it was bloody filler, loads of it too (pic 4&5). I spent quite a while hacking away at it with a hammer and chisel!! This stuff was 2-3 inches thick, ohh and even a couple of the hardener sachets were shoved up in there too!! What a funny surprise that was.. So as it stands, im waiting for these to be welded up by a mate.

A78F1BB0-86C8-480E-94CB-1D70A130BED2.jpeg
BC32E188-5437-4359-A805-A1052F0783D5.jpeg

EB1E7ED4-71A5-4F03-AD4F-63FDE2EB7330.jpeg



7C5418EB-D7D6-41A5-BDA8-C13AC26477A2.jpeg

803E7661-287B-4E5B-AD7C-8CD9E7A36789.jpeg

B2C5081F-C4C0-4602-9010-90FAD415ED54.jpeg

07D2702B-839E-4428-A7B7-6860CF206297.jpeg

34FCD6F2-F0BD-4F2A-8E54-8F7DAC469E39.jpeg

6849ACE2-DB8E-4370-989B-E23CEED0CC1E.jpeg

Got every last bit out of that grinding disc :bounce::lol:
 

Attachments

DavebGsi

Administrator
Club Staff
Regional Co-Ordinator
Club Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2006
Messages
10,565
Reaction score
376
Location
essex
No idea where it is in my thread, but my rears were the same! The top part rotted our, went to get that repaired a d it turned out the entire tube wasn't connected anymore to the boot floor! Only by seem sealer.
So Ronnie worked his magic and built me rear turrents for rear coilovers, took a shed load of welding and fabrication but was sorted in the end!

Glad to see you got a diary on the go, love a good story! Can't wait to see more!
 

AndyB-Redtop

Club Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2017
Messages
391
Reaction score
62
Location
Llanberis North Wales
In the meantime, I’ve been doing other little bits and bobs. I made a start at removing the sound deadener, I hadn’t done this before and heard it was not a very nice job to do because the stuff got everywhere when using heat,:lol: However!!.... I personally had great pleasure and satisfaction in removing the stuff with a heat gun and scraper, it was like picking at a scab :bounce: weird or what!! I found this stuff to come off so easy, yes it was a little messy, but I think being so cold in my garage this time of year, once the stuff was hot and takky, it scraped off easily and hardened almost instantly due to the cold environment. So it was manageable without leaving a mess. I then cleaned the scraped area with diesel, it just dissolved the stuff and cleaned it up very well. The rear foot wells were a bit tricky to do due to the way the sheet metal had been pressed. Only the front footwells left to do now.

C8F86A45-F996-44B2-B7F1-69F7B261B3EC.jpeg

60D41071-779F-46FB-A06D-0FBAEA61229A.jpeg

8DA333FE-D552-4686-B38B-A2B822767793.jpeg

FF38D2EA-0137-4994-B399-D20CB8561747.jpeg

81D6B6F1-E0F3-4FA5-AB56-C4D6AE1A2751.jpeg

7F0641B4-4374-4E22-B4C2-0F4D144A88E1.jpeg

So guys... if you want this stuff removed from your car, you now know a guy who has pleasure doing so :lol:

After removing the fuel tank, it looked a bit scruffy externally, i had decided to paint it anyway so i sanded it down, cleaned it and gave it a couple of coats of hammerite. When I inspected it internally, i was very surprised to see that it was in immaculate condition, even all the fuel removed was clean! This tank can’t be the 26 year old original.... surely. Fuel pump looked good too. I also got rid of the carbon filter thing too!!

7355E329-3844-44B8-8E17-1D56DCFE7D3F.jpeg

8D013684-474F-4BE3-A718-579F64F93CD9.jpeg
 

AndyB-Redtop

Club Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2017
Messages
391
Reaction score
62
Location
Llanberis North Wales
With the rear axle off, I stripped it down, cleaned it up and gave it a couple of coats of hammerite, did the same with the subframe, wishbones and ARB’s

I made a start on the polybushes a few weeks back.... I started with the wishbones, i used a 10mm drill bit to remove the majority of the rubber, which left me with the the metal shell left to do, I used a haxsaw to cut 2 parallel grooves, then used a flat screwdriver to knock the shell out as it collapsed in. Same thing for the rear axle too. I actually expected it to give me a right battle, but it wasn’t bad luckily. The polybushes I bought were the Strongflex yellow race type, however the wishbone rear bush was only available in the red street type. This is because the yellow is considered too stiff to flex it that part of the wishbone.

AE6E38B1-E31F-44C5-9E6D-15DC5F691654.jpeg

3BF48EFC-AAD8-4091-BDE5-8ED561135DFC.jpeg

D2F3D02A-A145-4D05-B81E-FCB5664C8083.jpeg

A0C4A50E-90A1-4585-A11A-902CD64666A7.jpeg

588F9D49-D109-42BD-8A7A-2EF4A657B336.jpeg
The outer ARB on the axle is a thicker 22mm BNC motorsports, inner is standard.

80926DE3-FA72-4E8E-B037-6E7FB784D0CB.jpeg

4D37B206-277A-4A08-9759-849536C4FE28.jpeg

Im quite particular with colour coding :biggrin:
 

Attachments

astranaut

North West & North Wales Regional Co-ordinator
Regional Co-Ordinator
Club Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
10,801
Reaction score
180
Location
Colwyn Bay
Nice work. I may have bought the seats in my car from you some years back :lol: friend of mine went to look at a 330d in that place a few years back, seemed a right dodgy outfit and the reviews say broadly the same. Look forward to updates, dying to strip mine as well. I had the same delight with my sound deadening, had to rip it out to have the floor welded and it came off in massive chunks, front and back in about a half hour :lol:
 

AndyB-Redtop

Club Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2017
Messages
391
Reaction score
62
Location
Llanberis North Wales
Nice work. I may have bought the seats in my car from you some years back :lol: friend of mine went to look at a 330d in that place a few years back, seemed a right dodgy outfit and the reviews say broadly the same. Look forward to updates, dying to strip mine as well. I had the same delight with my sound deadening, had to rip it out to have the floor welded and it came off in massive chunks, front and back in about a half hour :lol:
I broke 2 GSi’s back in 2009-10, I sold 1 set of seats to a gut I knew, cant remember what I did with the other set, could well of been you then :biggrin:. Yeah, that car sales is very very dodgy, more worryingly - Theres 4 GSi’s currently for sale there :aaargh: Whoever buys them needs warning.
 

Kev_mk3

Administrator
Club Staff
Regional Co-Ordinator
Club Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2005
Messages
37,696
Reaction score
384
Location
C:\Uk\Chester_North West
I cant believe you paid £3k for that and I have heard reports of them being dodgy as hell.

Good to see its coming alive and being restored to its former glory
 

AndyB-Redtop

Club Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2017
Messages
391
Reaction score
62
Location
Llanberis North Wales
I cant believe you paid £3k for that and I have heard reports of them being dodgy as hell.

Good to see its coming alive and being restored to its former glory
Well, the amount of miles I’ve travelled across the UK over the last 2-3 years viewing countless GSi’s (only in white) was getting extortionate only to be disappointed by every one, i got really fed up with the desperation of finding one, it was causing me a lot of stress. So, i was quite happy to pay £3k for this because it was actually the best condition i had viewed in years, yes I think it was a bit much, but i looked at the reality of it, i was either to take it away as it was and be happy putting all the searching to an end, or spend more time, money and more importantly to me, the stress of it all. I had enough of it, so made the decision. I had traveled quite a way there too. The car isn’t in that bad of a way, it may look it at the moment because I’ve stripped it bare as part of my project to transform it into a race car. The damage I’ve revealed would of been difficult for me to detect upon viewing, plus its a gamble you take buying an old car. The engine however has a lot of receipts for recent parts and a head rebuild. I’m happy with that.

Yes, those guys are right crooks! They don’t seem to have any knowledge about cars!
 

DavebGsi

Administrator
Club Staff
Regional Co-Ordinator
Club Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2006
Messages
10,565
Reaction score
376
Location
essex
i had the same thing when i bought my second gsi, i wrote the first one off, was desperate for a second one and needed another car. but at the time there was nothing for sale at all. finally a gsi came up, it was over priced and i went all the way to basically scotland to view it, and it was even worse in person! but i had to take it throu time wasted and because its a short term loss, but i always knew i would get over it!
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top