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My astra C20XE conversion project


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Jun 29, 2015
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Hi all

I always wanted to start my own diary of my astra c20xe conversion. I have been restoring the car since 2017 (!!) when I came back to Cyprus from the UK and finally got a c20xe in my hands. We had the car in the family since 1997, basically from new, and I have always taken good care of it. My first car ever, learned how to drive, took it almost everywhere. And it's still with me. The car was actually imported by the son of Opel's main dealership in Cyprus, which came somehow customized with irmscher front, rear and side skirts, rear spoiler, and corsa gsi 14 inch alu wheels.


Baetween 2007 and 2017 that was my daily driver, until a major fload at my work's parking lot forced me to dismantle the car and start the process! Thankfully my father has a workshop so I have all the space and tools needed for such a job. The only drawback to this was that my house is on the other side of the town, and trying to find space between work, family, kids and the car, was and is still a struggle :) I am trying to convince myself that this is the main reason that this project has taken so long, and not the fact that these projects just end up being a masive neverending money pit :lol::lol:

So as I said, the new engine was imported from the uk at the beginning of 2017, with little to nothing known about it. Took it for a bargain price of 700 quid (roughly 850 euros with shipping) with engine, loom, gearbox, 277mm discs and brakes, and exahust manifold (oh I miss those days!!). The only think I knew about the engine was basically that it come off a corsa.

One think that always really bothered me was that the car had two minor accidents years ago, so the chassis was literally damaged front and rear. Unfortunately, I was too young to pay attention to repairs back then. So the overhauling, or conversion, process began....



Out is the 1.4 engine..


Damaged front end which we did try to repair..IMAG0659.jpg

Fixed a much as I could, coated and painted. Unfortunately parts are pretty rare here so didnt have any other options..


Interior and dash out...

And finally a cleaned and painted engine bay...

Factory floors scrubbed and cleaned ..



And dynamat installed.

Both sides finished. Also added dynamat down the tunnel and inside the front doors..IMAG1215.jpg
Nice to see what your working with
Nice to see what your working with
Thanks mate. I will try to update as much as I can in the next few days/weeks and then as progress evolves. I have just started another project which is basically a continuation of this astra, that is used as a donor car. So quite a lot coming up.
This was my first experience with these types of engines, so I started learning as I went through. Initially, I found out that this was the coil pack version, also known as the late type. But something strange started to evolve, looking at the bottom. The markings on the casting seemed to be missing the C, 20xe so I knew there something going wrong. Looking online I found that the letter C on the C20XE was actually desginating the catalytic converter that was later on added due to new emission regulations. But mine was missing, which was contradicting the late type of the cylinder head. The belt pulley on the crank was round though. So something wasnt right... So upon investigation I actually found out that the engine had the late cylinder head type (also confirmed with the part number on the head casting), which was "married" with an early bottom end. I guess the one who did this wanted to make use of the lighter crank in the earlier 20xe version .. (?!) who knows!

So work on the engine began...


Engine fully serviced and refreshed.


Engine also came with a set of red magnecor's (that was a nice present)!
Clutch seemed good so did not replace.

Stainless steel breather from tx auto installed. Also bought the stainless steel water pipe that goes behind the engine (no photo though!).

And a few other presents from roose arrived! :)
Exhaust manifold also received some love..IMAG1128.jpg
A bit of paint and some heat wrap added..
Engined dropped in...



Moving on to a bit of wiring...





Wiring connected up and piping, exhaust, and hoses also.

Big 277mm brakes installed with vented discs.


And a set of brand new 17 inch wheels...


The car was also lowered on a set of brand new H&R H&R Cup-Kit 50/40mm
And now the true story began with over 4 years (!) of troubleshooting and trying to figure out problems and problems...

So as I said earlier in this thread, the engine came to me with no known history. One thing that I found out at the beginning was that the botom end was from and early 20xe, while the head and ecu from the late coil pack type. Since the day we connected the wiring and tried to start the engine, we faced idling issues, hard to start at various conditions, lumpy driving, unexpected shutting down and then not starting, and so on. Despite all these, the engine was running ok at 2500rpm + or second gear onwards. The car would run for a few days (with its lumpy idling, hard to start problems), then it would sit in the garage for a few months. Litteraly chasing our own tails..

During those periods, lots of time and money was spend on new parts, almsot replaced all sensors more than 2 times, beginning from the obvious idle valve, crank sensor, AMF and eveything else that we felt suspicious like injectors. A true money pit... One of the first things that we found out was that some of the sensors, such as the TPS, were wrong! Early type TPS on late type ecu. And also injectors.. cream early ones, instead of late blue.

Wiring loom came out a couple of times, which had quite a lot of problems that I repaired, and head was also rebuild; wanted to eliminate possible air leakages through the guides. ECU was repaired a couple of times due to burned lines, also replaced with a new one. But still to no avail!!

Timing was something that I really cant remember how many times we checked.. I even made a graphic that I shared on social media just to be sure that I understand things correctly. Still the car symptoms were the same.. Sometimes the car would feel sligthly better, but in general not realibly driveable.


Nevertheless, during that time, I found out something that really got me excited about the engine., despite the huge amounts of money and time thrown at it at the time, and the huge frustrations. Upon inspecting, I found that the cams did not seem original. Upon further examination, I verified that both inlet and exhaust cams were actually fast road piper cams!! Considering that I paid 700 quid for the whole engine and auxiliaries, and that the cams cost more than 500 for a brand new set, then that was a true steal!!

But despite my findings, repairs and efforts, the car was still sitting in the garage.. I never felt like giving up, so the more the problems persisted, the more I stood my ground against all..


Inlet cam with piper cam part number..


Exhaust cam with piper cam part number..

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