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My Opel Astra

I looked for a stable, robust, safe, environment friendly, 5 doors, turbo-diesel car.
And the Astra has got all I wanted and it looks beautiful too.





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Here I will list some issues that it had with pictures and explanations about how it was repaired.

EGR replacement

posted Feb 26, 2012, 11:06 AM by Alexander Rakia

I hooked my laptop to the car's computer & started to diagnose all the sensor readings, numbers & figures under different RPMs, in order to find out the cause for the EML. They made me suspect the EGR, so I diagnosed the EGR with the software & the result was nothing, as if the EGR doesn't exist... weird..  checked the Software DTC faults & got Error P0400 (Which also relates to the EGR). So I took the EGR off, tested it phisically & it was in a bad condition.
So i bought the EGR of that 2002 Astra, installed & wow, I got a completely different car now... :-)  finaly.  No more Limp mode. :-)

Inlet manifold

posted Feb 26, 2012, 10:46 AM by Alexander Rakia

After getting sick of the EML light going on & off randomly, I decided to act.
Got a used inlet manifold from a used Astra 2002, spent some time on cleaning it thoroughly. tested it on the pipes before installing it, in order to finally understand it's function.got it, installed it instead of the dirty & crappy one that my Astra had...  all wend fine the car drove better than before.

But when the car drives down hills, or engine not under load, I still get the annoying EML

Engine Oil warning Light

posted Jul 13, 2010, 11:10 PM by Alexander Rakia   [ updated Jun 19, 2011, 12:58 AM ]

while approaching a traffic light and slowing down, I noticed that the oil warning light flashed a little.  Checked the oil and the stuff and everything seems good and in place.
After 300K'm the red light flashes became more serious and they occur when in low RPM, or when driving backwards, or whenever releasing the foot from the acceleration pedal.
Then the engine is left idle and car is parked the light doesn't flash. it happen only when releasing the foot from the acceleration pedal!

Sample pics:
 
 
Driving forward, without touching  anything. (picture was taken when it just flashed off)
Driving backwards causes stronger flashes

Showed it to some auto mechanics and I was surprise to hear random claims that the engine died. which I believed not, because I knew that it consumes no drip of oil, it's smoke is very clean, passes the yearly emmitions tests easily, most important it drives fast like a hell on the road.  (so sell me no shi..)

After investigation the I found the installed oil pressure switch was actually Italian of Fiat/Luncia !!! (no shame!!!???)
Replaced it immediately by the Opel/Vauxhall Astra's switch & the flickers started to fade out until they vanished completely.
Now gladly no such flashes are there. and the periodical treatment (oil replacement) is approaching...

Radiator cleaning

posted Jul 11, 2010, 10:03 PM by Alexander Rakia   [ updated Jul 13, 2010, 11:04 PM ]

When it is really hot outside here in the desert, the vents work permanently and the temperature gauge is on the middle and when speeding or driving up on any hill, the temperature raises up.  This freaked me out.
So I took the Radiator off the car, and ave it to a radiator specialist repair shop that did wonderful work on it. took it apart and cleaned the pipes in it by a metals thread that he inserted in each pipe on the radiator, one by on. There was a lot of brown mud, calcium, and dirt came out from it - I observed the materials and it was indeed like small stones!  After cleaning & washing it well, he tested it for leaks and handed it to me.
I took it home and washed it again and installed it.

Cost: 20Euros

 
 
 
 Ready to take off the Radiator out
 Radiator is out after cleaning & drying out under the sun
 Ready to install back to place


Thermostat

posted Jul 11, 2010, 9:51 PM by Alexander Rakia   [ updated Jul 13, 2010, 11:09 PM ]

In the winter & cold nights, it would take to ever till the temperature gauge to move up a little, & the internal heater blower wasn't blowing really hot air to dry the front windshield. Then when the summer came, and the coolant would heat easily, then all the water int he system heats altogether and then cooling the engine but hot water is unwise.
Thus replaced the thermostat. took off the old one and found out that it was actually the original one of the car (metallic gasket,  original GM part) it was so much damaged ant didn't even close hermetically when cold, so the coolant was circulating all the time.
Mission done.
Cost: 40Euros

 
 
 
 
 Removed the old Thermostat & was cleaning it's place.
 New Thermostat that actually works :-)
 Thermostat installed Thermostat is ready, now bringing back the rest of the stuff back to position.

Diesel Injection Pump

posted Jun 27, 2010, 11:52 PM by Alexander Rakia

The other thing that went bad was the Diesel Injection pump.
After a small quantity of air that entered the system, the pump chocked and died after serving it's 200,000KM.
I was expecting to put a new pump at some point and it just came earlier than expected.
Gladly this happened at home and I was not stuck on the roadside.

It is a Bosch VP44 diesel pump.

After talking / interviewing many mechanics and rejecting many, I found one that actually has experience with those cars.

Now to get the pump:
Not used one, because it may equaly die in a month, two or whenever you most need it, and the price to install it is not that cheap. and this is not a DIY because it deals with the Engine timing chain so better not to screw up with that.

For the record Best place to get these pumps at:
1. Germany! very wonderful service and the price is abit high.
2. UK, Ok service but the repair shop is far away in the UK villages so what was saved on the price will be spent on an expensive train ticket + probably a rented car.
3. Home, well price is as high as the Germans.


Cooling Control Module

posted Jun 27, 2010, 11:36 PM by Alexander Rakia   [ updated Jul 5, 2010, 7:44 AM ]

After a trip to the DeadSEA in a very hot day, while climbing back from it in a high speed over the lovely road in the desert mountains, the car overheated a little.
Let it rest and continued the trip slowly back home. 

Checked the the Radiator pipes, drained it's coolant liquid away put fresh water instead temporary to wash the system for the second time since I bought this car & once again the water was not clean.
Checked the Radiator fans and they work in two speeds each. This car has no therm switch (therm-unit) that would instruct the fans to start.
The Cooling Control Unit is ok, because when I turn the switch on wait I see the following yellow light (see picture)
and when the engine is on, so all those lights go OFF and car drives OK.

Picture:

The weekend after, I decided that I recheck the water again, so By draining it, and yet once again I get pieces of stones on my hands but still less than the times before, so thats it. I judged that the radiator must be cleaned.   & so it was, I took it off the car and took it to radiator cleaning place, it was so dirty!
it had mud and stones and all kinds of junk and rubbish in it.
got it thoroughly cleaned and leaks proofed (for ~20Euros)

Then installed it back to it's place and indeed you can feel the difference. the fans work less now.

so far it works now on water to get it cleaned again, and then will drain it and replace it with Blue/Red coolant liquid.


vacuum servo pump

posted Jun 27, 2010, 9:10 AM by Alexander Rakia   [ updated Jul 11, 2010, 10:01 PM ]

The pump was weak and the vacuum pipes where in a mess thus the Turbo charger valve & Inlet Manifold Windows valve didn't work and the car would go in limp mode after the speed of 100Km/h
Got better (used) vacuum servo pump that made the Turbo charger valve work but the Inlet Manifold Windows valve still didn't work.  And I don't know about the EGR valve.

Then later on in a free day, I've refurbished the old Vacuum servo pump really good and installed it instead the used one, and now every thing works!
Turbocharger works well + Inlet Manifold value also moves as needed and all the vacuum system works as needed.

Mission accomplished successfully.

Cost: 35Euros

Book

posted Jun 27, 2010, 9:07 AM by Alexander Rakia   [ updated Jul 11, 2010, 9:51 PM ]

The car came without the manufacturer's book, gladly there is amazon.
The precise book can was found in German, finding its English translation was easy in the uk.
Mission done, book arrived safely.
cost: less than 20pounds


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