Hi All,

Over the last couple of weeks I've been looking for an Astra 1.9 cdti 150 SRi with the full XP pack and 18" wheels. I've looked at a couple of cheaper ones and they've generally been pretty poorly looked after.

I've arranged to see another one this weekend that looks like it should fit the bill so I'm hoping it's a good one.

I have a few queries that I hope you may be able to answer for me.

Firstly is there a buyers guide online that gives some pointers as to what to look at on the car? If there is this would probably answer a lot of my questions but if not then some answers to the following would be appreciated.
  • Are there any general weaknesses etc the car has that I should be looking for?
  • I've read a bit about the EGR and swirl flap problems. Are the basic symptoms poor idle, lack of power low down and smoke out the back?
  • If I remove the engine cover and rev the engine while stationary should I be able to see the swirl flaps move on the manifold? Do they move with the engine at all temperatures?
  • What are the symptoms of the dual mass flywheel and clutch problems that I've heard mentioned and when do they normally need changing?
  • Of the cars I've looked at the oil has always been pretty black with a slight grey sheen to it. Is this a symptom of the diesel engine or lack of oil changes? I'm used to petrol engines and golden brown oil. When their oil is black it is usually matt black and it's well past it's best and generally means it's not been changed in ages.
  • How hard and expensive is it to add folding mirrors? This would be useful due to the gap we need to squeeze the car through to park and it seems to be rarely fitted to any cars.
  • What else should I be looking at?
Finally the car I'm going to look at this weekend is a 2005 55 with 39000 miles, FVSH, new tyres and standard in other respects. Overall it's supposed to be in very good condition with just a few stone chips but I'll obviously reserve judgement until I've seen it.

It's a private sale and they're after £7K for it which seems quite a bit to me when cars that are 2 years newer with a lot less miles are only 2-3 grand more however the budget won't stretch to these cars and I've not seen many around cheaper unless they have loads of miles on them.

Is this the kind of money I need to be spending to get what I want or are there other options that I'm missing.

Does anyone have a similar car they want to sell preferably in either black or silver but other colours would be considered (except battleship grey)?

Any advice or ideas that can be given on the above would be very welcome.