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Thread: Dave Dempsey's '97 Astra Sport 2.0 5 Door

  
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    Dave Dempsey's '97 Astra Sport 2.0 5 Door

    Right heres the story of the 5 Door.

    With my white MK3 GSi still resembling a giant mechano set, and with my Black GSi now heading to the breakers in the sky as its being used as a partial donor for the white GSi, I was becoming unsettled of not being able to get my MK3 fix.

    So after sitting around my garage one night with a few mates, and looking around at some of the parts I had ammased (a fair few things were bought as and when they were available as I had always been in two minds over the end result of my white GSi, but with it now being returned to standard its left a lot of parts redundant). With that I decided to get a hold of a decent MK3 shell and use that as the basis for a general run-around come track car.

    After a few weeks of looking around I had decided that early pre-95 GSi;s were basically a waste of time as most are needing bodywork of some sort. I also decided that later GSi;s were out as they were only ever Sports in drag and didnt warrant the extra money given it was going to be taken to bits anyway. So with that I started to hunt around for a decent Sport. After considering a few (including estates), I came across this 1997 2.0 5Door Sport via a local trader that we deal with through work.

    After a quick look around it, I found that bar a few scuffs here and there, the general condition of the shell was more than adequate for what I wanted, the only bit not really 100% being the tailgate which has some rust around the hole where the wiper motor comes through. So with a bit of arm twisting a deal was done and I picked the car up on the 19th of April.

    Once home I gave the car a quick going over, there were a few issues with the car but all of these relate to parts that are shortly destined for the bin.









    In the next week or so the car will have the 2.0 Ecotec resigned to a near by skip, and will be replaced with the C20LET from my Calibra. Along with this will be the following items:

    • Courtenay Actuator
    • Wallace Performance FMIC
    • Full stainless steel exhaust system
    • F28 6-speed gearbox with Quaiffe LSD
    • Bilstein dampers and -40mm springs
    • 5-stud conversion
    • Black Diamond drilled and grooved front discs
    • Uprated front pads
    • Front and rear strut braces
    • Alloy flywheel
    • All rubber suspension components replaced
    • Wallace Performance P2 chip


    As well as another few items on the way.

    The Calibra has already started to be stripped






    Hopefully the swap over wont take too long to carry out. The current Sport wheels have been replaced with a set of GSi wheels with R888 tyres which were put on for its first track night on the 20th of April (and wasnt a great success due to the knackered suspension and the engine spending half the time running on 3 cylinders), hopefully the next outing will be a tad more successful.

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    Right, well yesterday having the day off, and with Turbodave haivng a "**** it Im no going to work" moment the two of us set about disconecting all the ancilliries from the Calibra. I had already spent some time taking out the radiator, air box, discontectting all required pipework, removed the ecu and wiring loom etc. which mainly left: discontecting the front pipe, disconnecting the prop from the transfer box, and removing a few other items from the engine bay to allow better access and also any other items that were being kept before the car went to become a baked bean can.

    So with that in mind we cracked on. After a bit we decided to take a trip through to machine mart, as there were a couple of items we wanted to get and also to have a look at an engine crane as bringing the one from work up is a bit of a hassle. So after a nose around we found a very nice Clarke engine lift, however the shop assistant pointed that it was a VAT free day the next day, so baws to that we;ll wait, and left with a nice wooden trolley for pushing the engine around on.

    Once back we cracked on and by 9pm everything was finished, with the subframe dropped off and only the 2 engine mounts left holding the engine in ready for it to be dropped. It was at that point I decided baws to it, one way or another lets get it out tonight. This left 2 options: 1. head down to work with the trailer and get the engine crane or 2. improvise.

    So with improvisation being the name of the game we cracked on. This involved using a scissors jack at the rear of the engine to hold it central whilst the jack that was previously holding it was removed to start lowering the car:



    With that it was time to remove the axle stands and lower the car down:



    we then decided that to make things easier it would be a good idea to drop it onto our newly purchased trolley:



    With that it was time to lower the car down so that the engine sat on the trolley:



    Then it was time to remove the remaining 2 engine mounts:



    We then found that the horn was getting in the road, so rather than remove the 2 10mm bolts holding it on I cut the fecker off with an angle grinder (its been atleast a month since I set the garage on fire with the angle grinder and I was feeling like living on the edge)

    From there there was also a slight precise adjustment required to a bumper mounting bracket to aid space (yip brute force/ignorance and it was bent out the road:



    From there tha engine was lowered onto the trolley and then the car subsequently jacked up to full height to allow clearance.

    I then stared at an empty space for a bit:



    Then realising there was no engine there anymore went and found it and stroked it in a highly worrying manner:



    So what do you need to remove an engine: 1 trolley jack, 2 axle stands, 1 wooden trolley and **** all common sense

    Engine now needs a few gasket replacing, a good clean up as well as a few other bits before it moves into the Astra Sports engine bay as its new home

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    Well been a busy night out collecting a few bits and pieces for its forth coming transplant:

    - Mechanical F28 gearbox convereted to 2-wheel drive (the F28 out the calibra is an electrical speedo type and has a whine from reverse, the new one is in perfect working order so the other box will be kept for spares).
    - Organic clutch (I have anew GM clutch but got offered this so rude to say no)
    - 288mm DBA slotted front discs with EBC redstuff pads (and a new set of greenstuff pads) with V6 calipers

    also managed to pick up a set of new Irmscher softstars and should have the suspension here in the next day or so. All being well it should be a busy week or so. Hopefully got an exhaust sorted out as well so its all systems go, hopeful y have it altogether for the Vauxhall speed sunday at Knockhill on the 20th of May.

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    Well its been a weekend of progress, not quite the progress initially hoped for, but progress none the less.

    Started yesterday morning with a quick change of wheels. I had the tyres from the Turbo rims swapped onto the Softstars during the week, and although they could be doing with a lower profile they will do just now as they were more or less brand new when I got the Calibra. So with that done most of the rest of Saturday was taken up with dropping the engine out of the black GSi as I want that away asap.

    Once the engine was out the Astra it was back to the LET from the Calibra, the box and transfer box were still attatched, so whipped them off, then took the clutch off to have a look......yip well and truly ****ed. So it was called a day at that.

    Todays plan was to have a quick tidy and a lazy day, however once up and about I started to have a look over the engine. The plan had been to basically drop it in the Astra as it was, as in general it wasnt too bad when in the Calibra, however there had always been something at the back of the mind with this engine, the previous owners words of "me mates a mechanic and looks after it for me", then finding a burst fuel pipe pissing fuel straight onto the exhaust, the fact he had told me his mate had fitted a clutch 20k ago and the clutch was again ****ed, and also the fact there were in the region of 300 cable ties holding bits in place when the engine had came out set the little wheels in the back of the head turning, so a quick check over and there were a few things I wasnt happy with. So with that and a bit of thought, I decided **** it, go with the do it once do it right idea, strip it, new gasket set replace what needs replaced and check everything before re-fitting. So 4 hours or so later and it revealed the following:

    - half of the exhaust manifold bolts were between finger tight and loose, this is excluding the 3 that just werent there at all as there were snapped studs in their place.

    - one boost pipe had a split

    - crackshaft oil seal leaking (this was suspected anyway and had been in line for being replaced along with the leaky sump gasket)

    - wiring loom needs a few bits sorted and re-taped

    to name a few. Plan now is to take the head off, get it checked, have the bottom end inspected (just to be on the safe side), then rebuild it replacing the required parts, as well as repainting/refinishing part as they go back on. The two water pipes on the turbo are also looking fairly well corroded so will need to look at them, also going to get the turbo checked whilst its off as well.

    So whilst the progress hasnt been in the right direction, it has progressed and atleast once back together Ill be much happier with it. No pictures today, will have some during the week hopefully.

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    Well another night of progress, the gearbox arrived back last night now with the Quaiffe dif fitted.
    Tonight myself and Turbodave bashed on stripping the engine down. Whipped the cams out and off with the head, this revealed a bit of a suprise. it would seem that this engine has had a problem at some point previous in its life. Before stripping it down it looked like it was running a 2 layer head gasket, however once off with the head this clearly wasnt the case, it would seem that at some point both the head and the block have been skimmed, and because of that its running a metal spacer plate as well as the head gasket.

    So with that bit out the road, we continued to strip the rollers and water pump off and off with the sump gasket. Once the surfaces of the block and sump were cleaned up we proceeded to replace the crank shaft oil seal, this was done easy enough with a bit of thought.

    We had then planned to refit the sump and leave the gasket sealer to cure, but due to the industrial strength sealer that had previously been used and with evidence of the baffle pate having previosuly being bent and pulled back together, the decision was made to just order a new one.

    I then spent a little time cleaning out some of the lifters before calling it a night. Tomorow Ill need to order a new baffle plate and a new water pump. The head is now away having the broken studs removed. By the time thats back the bottom end should be built back up ready for the top end to be done.

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