My 5dr Diesels..

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Thought I'd introduce my Mk3s. I currently have three, two 5-dr Isuzu diesels and a 3-dr GSi.

Both the diesels are used daily, by me and Mrs Rancid.. I'm sad enough to keep a record of my fuel consumption and they return 54mpg, pretty much without fail. Both are LS's, one with a black interior and the other has a grey one.
Nothing very exciting I'm afraid, but I like them in their own way.. :bounce:

The White one-

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[url=https://flic.kr/p/XVPq3H]36708647685_5dbbe8c894_c.jpg

We've had this one 4 years or so. It cost less than a week's wages and was the subject of a desperate listing on ebay; the lad selling it was moving back to his home country and was going to scrap the Astra if no-one wanted it, he had no choice!
I can't let a good dog die, so took it on. It was filthy inside and out and letting in a lot of water. I cleaned it, pinned the (mouldy) head lining up and assessed it properly.
Underneath the grot was a good car. There was (and still is) virtually no rust. I serviced the Isuzu engine, put a belt kit on it and we've used it ever since.
It has needed an alternator, lower arm bushes, the scuttle panels fitting properly, an aerial, a front hub bearing and recently- glow plugs. Not bad for the service it has given us!!
Now on around 120k.

Onto the newest arrival, the Blue 'un-

[url=https://flic.kr/p/XEReTh]36539256282_640f5f7ff5_c.jpg

[url=https://flic.kr/p/WE3xoG]35873788144_560f30b955_c.jpg

I've just bought this, again from ebay, again it cost less than one monthly payment on a modern sh*tbox!! It's another car that was at the crossroads of its life. It looked 'ok' in the ad, but needed some love. The seller had warmed it up before I collected it and for good reason... it simply refused to start from cold unless you were very lucky!!

It's another Isuzu-engined car and these have a problem with valve seat recession. The valves therefore sink into the head to the point that they're held open all the time by the camshaft and there is a serious loss of compression in the affected cylinder. This lack of 'squeeze' means insufficient heat to ignite the diesel, hence the bloody thing won't start !!
The problem was fixed by removing the shims and fitting smaller ones in their place. It's not a difficult job but I needed to remove the camshaft. I combined the job with a belt change at the same time.
It now runs well. So far, I've fitted two lower arm bushes (so bad that the o/s arm was hitting the subframe and wearing a notch into it..), refitted the scuttle panels better, bought a new aerial (again!), and cleaned and greased the front brake calipers.

I spent a day polishing this one. The paint had turned into blue chalk! The paint on the bonnet is very poor :(. It's ok rust wise, but has a bleb on the base of the nearside rear arch. Looks ok underneath.

It has an MoT next month and will want new top mounts and bearings, I have the parts- just need to fit them and maybe the odd brake pipe.

I will update with any future major jobs! :thumb:[/url][/url][/url]
 
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edessex

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Looking good! I love a good diesel, definitely worth saving. I too am sad enough to track MPG, tend to use Fuelly, but there is a stack of receipts I need to put through!
 

Mr.Negative

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I love my Isuzu daily, its got over 200k miles on it and still going well. I've also gone a little silly with it (side exit exhaust, skull on bonnet and grill, jacked up rear end and slammed front) but love it. Not in the same way as my GSI but very attached to it now :)
 

FrostyWaffle

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I've towed over 4 tons multiple times. It didn't like it, but it still chugged trough like it's a small chore. Red lined it far too many times than i should've and it still rattles as if it were new.

Only crap thing about them is the transmissions they come with.

Isuzu can what GM don't!
 
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Ed, I'm worse than that, I used to use Fuelly but now keep fuel records in a notebook kept in the car, proper 'old giffer' style :lol:
Incidentally, we've run the white one on pro-made biodiesel since 2013; never had any problems at all and costs 75ppl.

They're odd cars really, take an engine made by Japanese industry, put it in a German car and throw it together at Ellsemere Port! I've always liked the Isuzu engine though, they are very refined compared to other 90s diesels, Peugeot XUD, Rover L-series etc. Just a shame they didn't make it with a bigger cc, maybe 2 litres would be nice :thumb:

Blue car to do list-
Fit new top mounts & bearings (already have)
check/ replace metal brake pipes for MoT
fix creaky driver's window
keep on top of that rust scab :doh:
 

edessex

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I use to do the notebook thing, but paperwork gets wet in my car... :lol:

I ran one of my previous Astra's on commercially produced BioDiesel, ran it straight with no issues. That was the Isuzu lump.
Did the same with my Land Rover, but nobody told me to flush it out before laying it up, so after a year I ended up with a tar like substance in all the fuel system!

I do wish mine was a diesel, but then it would cost a touch more to tax...
 
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Yes, the only drawback is full-rate tax on these :mad: during hot summers I occasionally add a little SVO if it's cheap enough (offers in Lidl etc are the best) but there is a bit of an ethical issue there as I don't think it's right to use edible food as a fuel.. but a bit is ok I suppose !

I would say though, the 1400 in yours is almost as economical a lot of the time, and much nicer to use day to day IMO!
 

edessex

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I had diesels for years, and then when I went to this I remembered petrols are more fun to drive!

IIRC, veg oils for consumption are still actually taxed as a diesel fuel substitute, hence why the price always stays close to DERV.

...but this might have changed.
 
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Did a bit on the blue car today.

It's been really lovely here today, so I instead of going down to the workshop, I stayed at home and tackled some of the niggly jobs!

First off, the driver's window.
This worked but after it got halfway down, it got very creaky/ noisy and slowed down to nothing before reaching the bottom- it kinda gave up :lol:
I suspected the window regulator was doing the usual- basically starting to bend and about to shear its plastic fittings..
so, off with the door card.

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Amazingly, the door had never been messed with before and everything was untouched. The problem was simply a lack of lube! Very happy about that. A bit of spray grease in the mechanism and inside the rubber/ felt runners and the window worked perfectly :bounce:
Wish all fixes were that easy.
Back together.

[url=https://flic.kr/p/WE3x5f]35873787074_b5847ab647_c.jpg

Next up with the TID (triple information display).
This had a weird fault that I've had before but is usually fixed by swapping the unit.
Basically, the display illumination normally comes on with the ignition and dims when the lights are switched on. This one went out completely when you switched on the side lights, which is very annoying at night time!
Time to open it up..

[url=https://flic.kr/p/XERepm]36539254662_f7f9f2efc4_c.jpg

Hmmm. I'll bet that's the problem and not a lot I can do to fix that! So lets see if we can do something else... After poring over the wiring diagrams and using my multimeter, I decided to isolate the 'lights on' feed to the unit, basically tricking it to illuminate at full brightness all the time the ignition is on.
So I snipped the grey/ yellow wire-

[url=https://flic.kr/p/WE3wWQ]35873786644_0474ba5515_c.jpg

I then insulated it, and tested the unit. It works fine now, doesn't dim (or go out!) when you switch the lights on, so I'm happy for a £free fix. I fitted 1.2w bulbs instead of the usual 2w just incase it's too bright at night.
Voila!-

[url=https://flic.kr/p/WE3wNo]35873786154_2103712820_c.jpg

Really enjoys days like this- You're not covered in grease, just doing easy jobs. And yes, it really did feel like 26 degrees here in Kent today![/url][/url][/url][/url]
 
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Messed about with the blue one again today.

The car came to me with the late(r) 15" alloys with 195/55 15 tyres. They're in fine condition and the tyres have legal tread but I decided a wanted a smaller wheel with a slightly higher profile tyre. Although this wouldn't look as good, this car is a daily driver and I live in a remote location, regularly having to drive along farm tracks and dirt roads.

As standard, it came with steel wheels and 175/65 14 tyres. As luck would have it, I had a set of new tyres in this size but no steel 14" wheels. However, a quick search through my sh*t revealed a set of 14" Cavalier alloys. The only problem was the wheels had been sitting outside for 15 years and were in a terrible state, ummm, a really terrible state! -

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I took them to work and removed the absolutely rotten 195/60 14 tyres. Amazingly, the wheels are in good condition really. There was next to no corrosion where the tyre seats and only a little kerbing. So I fitted the 175/65's and gave the wheels are really good, deep clean. I found the badges for the centre caps too!-

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On the car they went. I won't pretend I like them as much as the 15's.

Even though they're from a (bigger!) Cavalier, they look a little lost on the Astra-F and the 175 tyres look very skinny compared to the 195s. However, both cars are now running the original tyre size and are therefore pretty interchangeable if one of them gets a puncture/ hits a pothole etc. I may sell the 15's if I get on with these little 'uns!

Otherwise, both diesels are running well. Last tank did 550 miles on 45 litres of diesel, which is about 55mpg I think :thumb:[/url][/url]
 
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Mr.Negative

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i loved my old cav wheels, they were given to me and I painted them white and fitted some decent tyres (I did fit the caps too in the end after smoothing and using different decals) -



Most people don't like the wheels, I do however and think they look well on your car :thumb:
 

Mr.Negative

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I ran them on the GSI for a while before selling them to run the original irmschers
 
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They look mint, nice work! I'm getting used to the wheels on mine a bit more now, maybe because they're already as dirty as the rest of the car :heh:
The switch from 195/55/15 to 175/65/14 has had absolutely no noticeable affect on the gearing whatsoever, which is what I wanted. It has made the ride a little more compliant over rough roads though, so all good.
I had planned to change the top mounts today, but have a serious case of CBA, so that may not happen :lol:
 

FrostyWaffle

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They look mint, nice work! I'm getting used to the wheels on mine a bit more now, maybe because they're already as dirty as the rest of the car :heh:
The switch from 195/55/15 to 175/65/14 has had absolutely no noticeable affect on the gearing whatsoever, which is what I wanted. It has made the ride a little more compliant over rough roads though, so all good.
I had planned to change the top mounts today, but have a serious case of CBA, so that may not happen :lol:
Wern't most astra's equipped with 14's anyway?
 
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They were Frosty! I kind of wanted to put the car back onto its original tyre size. The 15"s looked much bigger on the car.. but the reality is, the rolling radius is much the same :thumb:
 
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Finally got the top mounts and bearings changed today. I went for Febi Bilstein parts.

The old ones were getting pretty bad, but to be fair to them, they were over twenty years old!

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I started to strip it down. I always use a big bar to release the bottom ball joint, and put a rag between it and the bar to stop any damage to the ball joint rubber or the CV joint gaiter. I stand on the end of the bar and whack the strut where the joint goes through and it pings apart in no time, zero damage :)

[url=https://flic.kr/p/XRH27Q]36662133896_522444b4b0_c.jpg

Remove the leg from the car. You'll obviously need to unbolt the caliper and support it as above and disconnect the steering track rod from the strut. I don't know why, but the track rod end can be an absolute pig to remove from the leg. I make my life easier by unbolting the whole track rod from the steering rack (remove the lock tab and undo the 16mm bolt) and dragging the whole lot out through the arch.

Fit your spring compressors and undo the top mount nut. Sounds easy, doesn't it?! Well the problem you'll have is holding the damper rod still while undoing the nut. An air gun will rattle it off but if you don't have access to one, you may have to get inventive... ;)

With the nut off, lift off the top mount, bearing and plate and if necessary, plastic/ rubber upper spring seat.

I'm always unsure which way round to fit the strut top bearings!!! Some Haynes manuals say to fit the bearing with the open side uppermost. This is wrong. The bearing should be positioned so the open side is lower, with the damper shaft passing through it.
The yellow arrow shows the closed top of the bearing, which is bolted firmly to the top mount by the damper shaft, allowing the spring, its upper plastic seat and therefore the whole leg to move on the bearing lower-

[url=https://flic.kr/p/XjR7qu]36312901260_f8a81d9225_c.jpg

What doesn't help is the Febi bearings look different to the original ones, with less of a 'cup' to the closed side, even though both the original bearing and the new Febi one had identical markings on them, 'INA, made in Germany'.

Check out the wear mark on the upper spring support (red arrow ^^^). This shows how worn and saggy the top mounts were- the metal support had been rubbing on the underneath of the top mount. I reckon this is the graunching noise you can sometimes hear from your struts when steering at low speed...

Make sure you align the plastic upper spring seat correctly. There is a notch set into the upper spring mount moulding. On the driver's (right hand) side of the car, this notch faces towards the back of the car. On the left hand side, the notch faces towards the front of the car.

[url=https://flic.kr/p/XENHxG]36538764002_c264f8b83c_c.jpg

One side nearly done, your prize is having to do it all over again for the other side :lol:

[url=https://flic.kr/p/XjR7tA]36312901440_4b66ffc297_c.jpg

While the legs were off, I could assess the rear wishbone bushes I'd fitted a couple of weeks back. Again, these are Febi parts. Seem to be holding ok so far (I hope I get a couple of years out of them!) I also waxoiled the metal brake pipes and areas normally covered by the strut.

[url=https://flic.kr/p/XENHRh]36538765022_fcb4249b33_c.jpg

I forgot to take any more photos but the car seems to sit a bit happier at the front now. It's definitely higher on the driver's side; looks a lot fresher. MoT this week so hopefully everything is now done for a pass!

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TMODAlpha

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Very nice level of attention to detail there. Well done on the top mount swap.
 
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Thanks, it's not a job I like doing at all on these :(
For starters, the hub nut can be a pig if its rusted in place! Then I had both drive shafts stuck firmly in the hubs. I used a big bolt with a point ground into it to fit on the end of the drive shaft and hit it hard with a big hammer. They both started moving eventually but I'm always a bit worried about damaging the hub bearings :doh:
Also, it's not visible in the pictures but I now leave the steering/ track rod in the leg and unbolt each of the 15mm bolts on the steering rack. It makes the whole thing more awkward to handle but the track rod end can be so difficult to release from the strut and this way, no damage is done!
 

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