RR's Astra GSi C18XE. All systems GO!

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Thanks both! Andy I put just bog standard oil in the gearbox, 80W GL4 I think. I figured that it doesn't really need anything special!
 
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After a winter of misery, lying on my arse on freezing cold concrete, this thing now has an MoT! It went through easily but a bit of use has shown up a few niggles :rolleyes:

First up, after major faffing with the suspension wishbones, the sodding things just weren't right! I thought I was doing them properly, turns out you should just bash them about, whack the bolts through and show them who's boss!
Basically, after a few miles, they groaned and graunched like mad. You could hear it inside and outside the car at low speed. You could even feel vibration through the floor over the smallest of undulations :rolleyes:

So, I took them out again, fitted new sleeves, whacked them back together again and torqued the bolts properly. So far so quiet... :lol:

Secondly, the exhaust leaks a bit when it's cold. I think. Not entirely sure. It's quiet when it's warmed up so chances of me getting underneath and looking at it = nil.

Next up, tyres.

I'm a proper freak and don't like other people jacking up my cars :noidea::lol:

So, I decided to take the wheels only to the tyre place!

41392007960_4f7b084dcf_c.jpgTemporary by David James, on Flickr

With a set of old steelies on it, it looked like an undercover Met Police car from 1994 :lol:

29330802048_0fc1de7b12_c.jpgSteels by David James, on Flickr

I went for a set of Toyos in 205/50/15. This was the size the ph1 GSis came on.

41392009230_540e53e0d9_b.jpgTyre by David James, on Flickr

Previously, I'd been running 195/50/15, which were ok, but I think looked a bit small in the arches. They also made the car slightly more revvy at speed, better for acceleration though. Annoyingly, a new set of 195s were way cheaper than 205s, but needs must and I wanted 205/50/15s :lol:

195s-

29330802948_df0e3c0a6e_c.jpg195 tyres by David James, on Flickr

And now how it sits on the 205s-

29330803338_d26138099b_c.jpgOSF July 18 by David James, on Flickr

I think it looks a little chunkier :thumb:

Drives well now.

I'm leaving for Germany in exactly NINE DAYS so I need this car to be ok! I have a set of Vectra 288mm front brakes to go on, but only if the spigot rings turn up on time :doh::o
 
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Brakes

I was lucky and the brake spigot rings I ordered on ebay turned up a couple of days back :thumb:

So I set to and started the Vectra 288mm conversion!

Amazingly, after months of looking for a Vectra V6 being broken, I finally found a clean 2.0 SRi in my local yard. Armed with a tape measure, I measured the disc diameter the best I could and was pleased to find they were the correct size :) Vectra Bs are getting very thin on the ground now... :(

Anyway, I bagged the discs & pads, calipers, brackets etc for £40.

I have a diagram for drilling the Vectra discs to 4-stud so printed it out and marked the disc. I drilled through firstly with a small bit, then went straight for the big 'un.

43306049641_c8f23280f9_c.jpg20180709_144826 by David James, on Flickr

Old 256mm GSi disc on the left, Vectra 288 on the right...

You drill 3x holes for the bolts and elongate one (not done yet in the picture above).
I've done this job a few times and will say it's not as quick or simple as it sounds. No matter how careful you are drilling, you will need to use a round file to get things lining up. Also, elongating the fourth hole is no mean feat by hand! Eventually however, you'll get to the point where all four wheel bolts go through and screw in to the hub snugly.

Before you fit the disc, you'll need to fit the spigot rings. These are essential. They position the disc in the right place on the hub as four-stud hubs have a smaller diameter than five-stud items.

I got my spigots from ebay, they weren't overly dear and arrived quickly. They are LASER CUT!, so obviously, that means they're perfect, right? Nope. Mine needed a little tickle with the round file until they fitted -

43306053391_1308df4810_c.jpg20180709_102715 by David James, on Flickr

I cleaned the hub up as well as I possibly could, but the spigot wouldn't fit until I messed with it :rolleyes: Still, once on, they both fitted snugly.

28436669527_5b12d4a861_c.jpg20180709_114350 by David James, on Flickr

Now the disc goes on and the bolts all screw in cleanly. I'll admit, a re-drilled disc looks pretty Heath Robinson, (particularly on the hole you elongate) but they work fine and are totally safe. In fact, the standard disc has lots of left-right play with the bolts in loosely so there's no need to be spot on with the drilling, the spigot ring alignment is the important bit.

Unfortunately, I had to use the old discs as I've run out of time to order new ones. They're not too worn but it's not ideal. Will have to do for now.

Now fit the caliper. It's easy, the brackets go straight onto the big-block legs and the caliper aligns perfectly. I took everything apart and cleaned/ greased as necessary. Your original hose will bolt straight up as usual.

With the wheel fitted, the caliper is very close to the inner part of the rim-

43306049881_659a799386_c.jpg20180709_131136 by David James, on Flickr

So close in fact, that the caliper rubs on the stick-on weights on the inside of the wheel :doh:
It's actually the caliper bracket that rubs, so I filed it a bit. No problems doing this, it's plenty thick enough to lose a few thou on the corners!

I enrolled MrsRon to help bleed the brakes. The pedal is ok now, but not amazing, probably because the pads need to bed in. I went for a blat this evening and already the brakes feel stronger than the old 256's.

Leaving for Germany in 4 days!
 

Kev_mk3

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I comment on a picture on facebook. Have fun youve just missed the most epic weather ever btw
 
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Nurburgring achieved :thumb:
Great fun. The Astra is very out of its depth, just not enough power to keep out of the way. The handling is not really up to it either but it does at least slide very progressively. Tyres grip well. Brakes not getting too hot (unlike the Type-R...) but I really don't have the pace to trouble them :lol:
Pictures when we get home!
 

Kev_mk3

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Nurburgring achieved :thumb:
Great fun. The Astra is very out of its depth, just not enough power to keep out of the way. The handling is not really up to it either but it does at least slide very progressively. Tyres grip well. Brakes not getting too hot (unlike the Type-R...) but I really don't have the pace to trouble them :lol:
Pictures when we get home!
Happy days :D dont need power just need handling which sadly the mk3 doesnt come with :lol:
 
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So... The Nurburgring :love:

I'll start off by saying, this place is petrolhead nirvana. It's everything you'd imagine it to be, and a whole lot more. Sure, it's a rich man's playground but luckily they also let people like me go there!

I went with two pals, in a Civic Type-R, standard apart from drilled/ grooved brakes and an Audi R8 V10, also standard.
We met at Le Shuttle and just had time for what would be the first of numerous trips to fast food outlets.

42590282605_1b87f95083_c.jpgAt Dover by David James, on Flickr

The drive through France, Belgium and Germany was fine apart from epic traffic on the Brussels ring road and a constant battle against the relentless heat inside the Astra. I've never lusted after aircon, but after 6 hrs of searing heat (which eventually made me feel physically sick), I was about to keel over. It was almost unbearable at times.
Anyway, we got to our home for the next four days, and what a treat....!

41687033660_984a9f91fd_c.jpgHouse view by David James, on Flickr

We stayed at a place called Hain, a sleepy village with epic views. Our place had a glass fronted living area, which looked out at magnificent scenery. Sort of like the place a Bond villain would own, just as a getaway from the rigours of running an evil empire.
It was a 30 min drive to the 'ring, so quite convenient.

We went for an initial ride out in the Civic to scope the place out on the evening of our arrival and immediately realised, the whole place was so big and magnificent, we had to ask a friendly local in a Fiat Uno Turbo (remember them?!) where the Nordschleife entrance was.
When you find the place, you visit a very nondescript cabin to buy your laps on the 'Green Hell'.
Five laps (to use any time in the next 3 years) costs 150 Euros.

After a disappointingly **** night's sleep, we returned the next day and parked up in the overflow paddock.

41687036200_d5cd95e103_c.jpgAt Nurburg by David James, on Flickr

Something for everyone here! The sheer variety of vehicles is great. There were plenty of UK, German, Italian, French registrations there and without exception, people are happy to talk and socialise with like-minded individuals.

Onto the track. With Green Hell card in hand, you filter towards the track entrance, scan your card and off you go!

41687036620_6e09dceb3c_c.jpgStart by David James, on Flickr

I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a bit daunting as you join the track. You're mixing it with some seriously fast machinery, just waiting to tear past you.
As above, I found the Astra very out of its depth! I'm sure half the problem was me; the idiot braking for corners you could take flat out etc, but it was my first time there! I'm not sure how long it would take you to learn the track but after 5 laps, I was slowly remembering where a few corners were :lol:

The biggest problem I had was with the GSi's handling. Where it feels relatively taught on public roads, it felt sloppy and wooden on the track. The steering seemed very slow and when the car lost grip, it drifted quite neutrally, which then scrubbed off any speed you'd built up, leaving you rolling and floundering out of the corner, which then showed up the C18XE's lack of grunt. If you messed up in the Civic or R8, you'd have so much more power, you could almost redeem yourself with the throttle out of the corner. The Astra was also quite unsettled on twisty sections like Schwalbenschwanz, the back would bounce around a bit, making you close to crapping yourself at times :lol:

41687037060_a3cdcf8245_c.jpgOn track2 by David James, on Flickr

29623958388_d5087f7af8_c.jpgOn track by David James, on Flickr

I suppose I was a bit spoilt by the (much newer and more capable) Type-R and R8. They both felt safer and faster. I think I was holding up many cars and having a constant stream of Porsche GT3's and BMW M-divisions up your jacksey, then screaming past at 150mph takes concentration :doh::lol:

We then let the cars cool down and decided to take a ride out in one of the many 'ring taxis' touting for business!

29623960178_b0c71cd8a8_c.jpgApex taxi by David James, on Flickr

This thing was utterly amazing. You pay your... ummm... 250+ euros and a proper driver takes you for a hot lap in a very modified BMW M3. I have never been around corners so fast in my life. A really incredible experience and well worth it. The guy really knew how to drive, very humbling!

Pictures of your fleet are compulsory (and make you look like a proper noob) but we didn't care!

41687038990_ede0cbfaa7_c.jpgEvening by David James, on Flickr

Would I go back? Definately! Would I take the Astra GSi? Not without some mods. I knew it would be a little out of its comfort zone, but I didn't feel as if I was enjoying it as much as the others. Maybe I was expecting a little too much?
Whatevs, it was an amazing experience. If you're even the tiniest bit into cars, you'll love the Nurburgring :biggrin:
The atmosphere is so good and everyone is happy to talk and show you their cars.
 

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BUY YOUR GOD DAM PHOTOS :lol: it is a pet hate that people steal them as its peoples lively hood ffs :lol:

SX is scary at speed one false move it could go completely wrong. I wish you where over when I was I'd of taken you out to show you how 136bhp (not far off the c18xe tbh) is but what a car that handles is like. I was upsetting quicker things, even a VXR Nurburgring wasn't happy I passed him :lol: You never learn it, just hope for the best as you never know if the next corner has fluid or anything its really a scary place (yet beautiful) .

Apex's bmw is beautiful but they have upset a lot of people in the area with constant give aways etc but enough politics from me :lol:

I think you make of the place what you put in, for me its just beautiful and I cant get enough of it even if I don't lap :thumb:
 
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Yeah perhaps I should have paid for the picture :lol:
It's an amazing place, just for the scenery. You'd never get bored of the rolling hills and forests :love:

Would love to go out in a more sorted Mk3 to be honest... Mk3oc Nurburgring meet next year? :biggrin:
 

Kev_mk3

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Would love to go out in a more sorted Mk3 to be honest... Mk3oc Nurburgring meet next year? :biggrin:
I am going just need to decide mk3 or swift :lol:
 

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Looks like you had an amazing trip! I really need to get myself there one day in my Astra. You have to remember though the mk3 is based on a mk2, so it's 80s technology in the handling and it definitely shows its age these days! But a few mods and they can be very capable. As Kev says you don't need power to be fast, it's jsut having something that can carry speed through corners :D
 

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