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Thread: Teejay's SRi - Project XER

  
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    Cool Teejay's SRi - Project XER

    It all started back in March 2005. I was looking for a nice VW Golf GT TDi. I soon realised that I couldn’t afford one with the spec I wanted, and after driving some of the lesser models was disappointed. I had previously owned an Astra Mk4 1.6 Sport, which had provided me with hours of fun during my brief ownership. After 3 months I took a corner too hard and it looked like this:


    Anyway I started looking for a similar car again. Thinking the 1.6 would be a compromise between performance and fuel economy. I test drove a few, and tbh there were some real dogs about at the time. Then I stumbled upon a 2.0 SRi with a decent level of trim/spec. It was gonna be a bit thirstier than I was looking for but after driving a 1.6 Mk2 Golf with no heating right through the winter I wanted it. Sods law the day I picked it up it was hot for the first time that year – still didn’t get to use the heating, but I did now have air-con so all was good!!

    Still on the forecourt:
    0-60 in 6.5 secs and 48mpg- winner!

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    So the next 6 months went by, I was commuting from Woking to Reading and burning a tank of petrol a week. Then whilst browsing for Astra pictures in Google I stumbled across www.astra-sport.co.uk and it wasn’t long before I had signed up and started to get the modding bug back, which I had left behind with one of my old Golfs (I’ve owned 3).

    Following recommendations here I went out and bought a load of Meguiars cleaning/polishing stuff and set about returning my car to how it left the factory. The results after a few hours elbow grease were incredible.




    September 2005. It was at this point my Exhaust Manifold decided to crack, something I’ve since realised happens to almost all bigger Ecotec engines. I handed over £500 to Vauxhall for a new manifold etc and this was to be the last time my car ever went into a Vauxhall Dealership due to the high prices and poor workmanship!!
    0-60 in 6.5 secs and 48mpg- winner!

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    How To’s rule

    Not a lot happened for a while. I bought a K&N panel filter at the Christmas party at LMF in Dec 05, and with the derestricted air-box and Veccy C pipe the car seemed to be much smoother to drive. At the same time I cleaned out the Throttle Body and Idle Control Valve and it was then also idling much better. All the know how for these jobs came from the how to's.

    Like most members I bought a new grill as my first exterior change and fitted a sunglasses holder as the first interior change.


    (Yes I know this pic isn't from then, but everyone knows what an Irmy grill looks like, so it's just a shot I like)



    It was around this point that I decided that I wanted my car to be subtly modded; improvements that could easily have been OE.
    0-60 in 6.5 secs and 48mpg- winner!

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    ICE (part one)

    Another long period drifted by with not a lot happening. I moved my factory stereo to the bottom DIN hole, and the storage shelf to the top hole. This has the advantages of the stereo being easier to reach with your hand on the gear stick, and because the centre console curves the top DIN is pointing more skywards, meaning under hard acceleration my phone didn’t get thrown out and dumped in the footwell.



    At the same time I bought some good 6x9’s very cheaply and fitted them to my rear ¾ panels. I wanted some base/better sound but use my boot a lot so a sub/box wasn’t an option. After a couple of hours with an angle grinder they were in, working and all trim replaced. You can’t see any difference but I assure you the sound is much better!!


    (next time I have the back seats out I'll take one of the speaker mounted up )
    0-60 in 6.5 secs and 48mpg- winner!

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    Summer fun

    June 2006 – PVS. What a great show!! Met loads of people, had a great time, saw some brilliant cars and really wanted to start taking a bigger interest in meets/shows. Bought a Powerflex Front Engine Mount off DarrylB who even fitted it for me at the show (cheers mate). It makes a big difference to gear changes under acceleration, and I also believe if this was fitted to the 2.0 as standard then there wouldn’t be so many manifold failures. (The engine moves much less and so there is less strain being put on the exhaust/manifold joints and studs).

    Due to other commitments I wasn’t able to make any more shows that summer but did become a regular at the Westerham SE meets. I also fitted some Alloy dial surrounds and replaced a lot of the dash bulbs with white LEDs.


    (sorry for the blurred shot - I'll take a better one later)

    On the last weekend in August I was driving through Bath when a retard in a Peugeot 206 decided that he was gonna squeeze through a gap that wasn’t wide enough for both our cars and he shattered my drivers side wing mirror – glass, casing and cover. I was really pissed off, but based on the cost of a replacement mirror unit decided to get electric ones on both sides (Every cloud has a silver lining). The wiring loom was not only present but accessible without removing the door cards – bonus! I bought a mirror switch on ebay (and later found out I’d bought it from Norm29 on here). All in all, the fitting took about 20 minutes, again using the how to's. I then drove around with primered mirror covers for a few months because I hadn’t got round to painting them – what a crap excuse!!

    [pics to be added here too]
    0-60 in 6.5 secs and 48mpg- winner!

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    Rimming

    In September I found that I was to shortly need new tyres on the front (they were replaced about 12 months previously and had covered 15,000 miles). I looked around for the random 205/50R16 tyres, which are needed for the SRi’s standard 16” alloys, but because of the price it looked like it would be cheaper to get a set of used alloys with tyres. This is where ebay came to the rescue. A short trip up to Yorkshire to collect them (with a brief stop off to meet the East Mids region at their monthly meet) and I had my new wheels. This is a photoshop of the wheels I decided I wanted about 6 months prior to this:

    [photoshop to be added]

    They are off a Vectra C ‘Elite’ and had the wrong profile tyres for an Astra. Back on ebay again and I found some Dunlop SP3000A tyres going cheap – god knows why as they were so new they still had the little rubber bits that get left when the tyre is pulled out of the mould. All in all once I had sold my SRi wheels and the Veccy tyres it had cost me about £90 (including petrol) to upgrade from 16’s to 17’s with the slightly larger 215/45R17 tyres. I chose these for that slightly softer ride and because they are bigger they fill the Astra arches better than the Vauxhall fitted 215/40R17.

    This is the wheels fitted (on a very dirty car - it had just been to Yorkshire and back).


    And as commented at the time “it’s crying out to be lowered”, but I couldn’t afford it then. This is taken with loads of stuff in the boot (to give that lowered look ) and is a little cleaner.
    0-60 in 6.5 secs and 48mpg- winner!

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    Lazy Days

    Christmas/Winter came and went with no changes being made. The occasional clean but I was busy doing other things so didn’t have much time for the car.



    I did however do my own cambelt change, including rollers, tensioner and water pump. A job I highly recommend for testing your heart!! There’s nothing quite like the feeling of freezing your balls off for a few hours then have them get sucked back inside when you go to start the car for the first time afterwards. It all worked fine and with the engine warmed up I went for a thrash to see if it was better. Result – car running much smoother than it was before.
    0-60 in 6.5 secs and 48mpg- winner!

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    Diy

    Like a lot of folks here, I also have a ‘Blue Peter’ streak running through me and like to do things myself. So I removed and painted my bump strips. I actually thought the car looked better without them (if you could have the holes welded up) but as an every day car that just isn’t practical.


    I then realised that with Bump strips painted the skirts looked shockingly bad. Out with the rattle cans again and this is the result:



    The handles will also be done in the not to distant future cos they’re ‘letting the side down’ now
    (pun intended).
    0-60 in 6.5 secs and 48mpg- winner!

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    Lights, hopefully no speed camera, Action!

    After having alarm issues and random warning lights come on (even with the ignition off) I tested the battery and found that it was foobarred. A quick trip to the Vx parts department saw me £45 worse off, but I now have a huge 72Mah battery to replace the weeny 55Mah one that was dead.



    At this time I also fitted some additional luggage space lights. It had happened on several occasions where the boot was nearly full, and because of the poor location of the OE light I couldn’t see what I was doing. These lights are fully wired into the normal tailgate switch and are hence only on when the tailgate is open.

    [pic to be added later]

    With a lot of the trim removed from the boot I decided to rewire my tail lights, brake lights and fogs so that they were in what I consider a better combination. Whilst driving in poor weather and at night the tail light/brake light combination is not a good method of advising the following car that you’re stopping. A separate Brake light is far more noticeable than a light that is already on getting brighter. I used a relay so that the existing brake lights were also illuminated - effectively giving me 5 brake lights. (No excuses for running into the back of me - except being blinded maybe). I also chose this time to tint my rear lights in the same manner as OE tinted rears. They will be replaced in the future – but this will do for now.

    Brakes on:


    Self tinted rears (look OE so long as you don't get too close).
    Before & After:
    0-60 in 6.5 secs and 48mpg- winner!

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    Stop, Carry on!

    I have long had issues with the brakes on the Astra – ie they are poor. Now on paper the Astra has better brakes than most other hatchbacks, in practice they just don’t seem to be up to standard, and if we’re gonna have more GO then we need to have more STOP too!!

    The next mod was a 308 Big Brake conversion for the front. I opted for the Black Diamond Drilled/Grooved Combi Discs with a nice dark finish (I don’t like chrome). I know the faces won’t stay dark once they’ve been used, but it should save me having to paint the bell and outer edges to stop them rusting.

    I have gone for Greenstuff pads, but have painted the rear of these black as green would clash with my recently painted callipers, which are now JCB yellow!!!

    From this:


    To this:

    (this pic clearly highlights the fact my car needs lowering!!!)

    (I’m still bedding them in and will give a verdict in 200-300 miles – or by Monday )

    edit: Ok, after 300 miles (roughly) mostly on A and B roads I am pleased to advise that these brakes are brilliant. I've not had a 'spirited drive' yet, so can't advise on brake fade, but brought the ABS on a few times when braking like I used to (oops). I just need to get my Goodrich brake hoses fitted and Dot 5.1 brake fluid in and my brakes will have the spec they need.

    edit again: after nearly 1,000 miles I have to say these brakes are brilliant!!!
    0-60 in 6.5 secs and 48mpg- winner!

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