It’s been a long time between write ups but I have had so much going on that I have spent so little time on the car. I was also unemployed for a month which was a bit of a stress but I finally found a new job which was such a relief when you have bills and a family to take care of. It kinda left no time for the car. I also got a company car – a crappy Ford Falcon station wagon so I have hardly driven the Astra in months. It’s a good thing I guess as I have not bought petrol for weeks now, the company car came with a fuel card so I’ve been driving that petrol guzzling jalopy around everywhere – Thems the perks.
I have been training more now that I am running my own school – that has been taking up a lot of my time as well. I am really enjoying training others in the Kung Fu style I have dedicated my spare time to for the last 15 years. I get a lot of pleasure in seeing people improve with time and having the same passion for Choy Lay Fut as I do. I have a few students who are really appreciating the hard training I dish out to them every week. If they keep coming back I must be doing something right.
I made a new website for the school, you can go visit it here
and you can visit the google+ page here
If you are in the west of Melbourne and want to learn a traditional martial arts style come down to my school and join us. The first lesson is free so there is no excuse..
I am intending to visit MotorEX this year as it is going to be held in Melbourne – I can’t wait to see all the customized cars to admire the amount of time and work people put into their machines. I will also get a chance to visit my favourite car related jewellery designer “RPM Jewellery“, I’ll be finally picking up one of those tyre rings I wrote about almost 2 years ago.
Hopefully this is just the start of me writing again, there’s just not enough time in the day.
Ok so I have finally got the headlights and the carbon fibre wrap on the hood.
It took a couple of hours to apply, firstly I had to wash the hood and then clean it with some isopropyl alcohol. The wrap was relatively simple to apply onto the hood, it was the first time I had tried it on such a big area but with some help from a friend we did an OK job. The wrap was the 3M scotchprint brand and was really easy to work with, bubbles came out easily with a bit of heat and re-applying the wrap. I guess I will leave it on for awhile to protect the hood from stone chips and scratches, apparently it has a lifespan of 3 to 5 years so I guess it will stay for that long (or until I sell the car or it dies). The good thing about it is that with a bit of heat the wrap comes straight off.
I also spent a few hours putting on the Audi style DRL headlights on. It was also very simple to attach, I did not have to do any soldering or cut any wires, all the attachments were supplied with the headlight kit and all I had to do was plug it in. The only thing I had to do was to pull the headlight levelling motor from the original headlights and put it into the new ones, everything else was pretty smooth sailing. My only complaint is that the headlight doesn’t fit exactly like the OEM ones. I’m pretty happy with them thou, they do add a little difference to my car as compared to the sea of Astras out there. I haven’t checked the lights at night yet so there may be further issues with the lights. The LEDs look great thou at dusk.
Well it looks like I have done as much as I can for the moment. Now will be saving up money time so that I can get the lowering suspension kit I wanted as well as maybe the rest of the Roose Motorsports silicon ancillary and breather hose kits.
Its been a long time since I last posted (six months in fact) and in that time so much has happened in my life that I have had hardly any time to do things to the Astra. Firstly I did my annual pilgrimage to Hong Kong and the fellas won all their bouts at the Choy Lay Fut International Kung Fu tournament. I also did some car spotting in Hong Kong – I must say I am always impressed by the calibre of hot looking cars there. I spotted this nice Ferarri parked in the backstreets of Mongkok, it was looking very out of place.
I also spotted a pair of Mercs that looked like it had a Brabus makeover. The rims were looking very sweet, apart from that the cars were pretty much stock looking – I didn’t really have a look under the hood so I can’t really say what had been done to them.
Then there was this thing… It looked like it was on stilts, very ugly.
I had a great time in HK once again but that wasn’t all that happened. I also became a dad for the second time this year with the birth of my son in November. Xavier has been keeping my wife and I up all night for over a month now and I don’t think it is going to stop anytime soon. Here he is with big sister Isabella.
I’ve also been looking for a new job, I feel that after ten years in one place it’s time for a seachange, so the Astra has been left on the side for quite some time. I did buy some small bits for it thou:
Some chrome air vents.
A new pair of Heko wind deflectors from Poland as well as tinting the windows (I got it done by a pro and was worth every cent).
I also did some more colour coding.
Stay tuned as in the next few days I wil be carbon fibre wrapping the hood and putting in those Audi style DRL lights I bought a few months ago. Once again Happy New Year everyone.
I started working on the brakes yesterday with a friend and only got the front ones done when the usual Melbourne weather turned dark and rainy. It makes it much easier and faster when there is an extra pair of hands working with you as things just seem to get done faster. Changing the front brake rotors and pads was pretty straight forward, only hitch was having the right size allen key to loosen the bolts holding the caliper to the rotor – so off to supercheap auto we went – this is a given when I work on cars, there is always a last minute stop to an auto shop to buy something, today we got a set of allen keys, some brake anti squeal compound and got back to work. I fitted some RDA slotted rotors to replace the OEM ones which came with the car when I bought it, I doubt if they had ever been changed as the bolts holding the calipers in place were so tight we almost used a full can of WD 40 just to loosen the bolts.
Today we started working on the rear brakes, again the bolts were so tight but with a bit of WD 40 and perseverance we got the bolts off, nothing a bit of brute force and leverage can’t overcome. Once the bolts were off everything was easy to put back together until it was time to push the piston back in so that we could get it over the new brake pads (which were twice the size of the old ones) – no amount of force on the G-clamp seemed to work so I went onto www.opelaus.com to search for an answer – needless to say you needed a special rewind tool to wind back the piston while pushing it back in – SO AGAIN off the supercheap we went – the tool was relatively cheap at $15.95 and much needed for this particular job.
It was a strange little thing – you fixed it onto an extension and then onto a rachet which made the rewinding so so easy – seriously I cannot recommend this tool enough if you are going to do your own brakes, especially the rear brakes. We got it all done today so now with the bedding in.
Well I got most of the priority work done so this week I may visit some wreckers to see what other bits and pieces I can get for the car, I have spotted an Astra turbo in a wreckers recently so I may go out and check if the leather seats and door trims are still there, if I can pick them up for cheap I may have yet another project to do. I also bought a set of headlights on Ebay, the Audi style ones with the DRL strip on the bottom, I will be waiting eagerly for these to arrive.
this is the way I use the spanners to loosen really tight bolts
I have not had any time up until now to do things to my car – so with the 2 weeks of holiday time I have I am going to try and do as much to the car as possible. There’s a big list of things to do which hopefully should not take more than a few days. Today I am going to change the rocker cover gasket, change the rad pipes to the silicone ones I bought months ago and re-fit my air intake pipe with a new bellows I bought (which should make it sit better).
The first thing I did today was the rocker cover gasket, after removing the engine cover I unplugged the coilpack and removed it. It was then an easy process of removing all the pipes and screws that held the rocker in place.
That was the easy part – the hard part was actually prying the rocker cover loose, it felt like it had been welded on, I sprayed some WD 40 on the seal and then tried to cut the seal with a blade, after some effort I got the cover off, needless to say that took a good 30 minutes trying to get the rocker off. So then I proceeded to give the cover a good degrease and clean.
After the clean I decided to re-spray the cover just because I had some left over high heat spray, so bang it was done.
While the cover was drying I thought I would do the rad hoses as well as the new bellows I got for the air intake feed, I drained the rad and ripped out the bottom and top hoses, the top hose was no problem but the bottom hose was a bit tricky as there is not much space to work with. I had to cut the old rubber hose as it was well and truly stuck to the pipe and then proceeded with replacing the hoses with silicone ones. I think it looks quite good.
I then placed the new gasket into the rocker cover with some silicone sealant and waited for it to dry. In the meantime I started working on the air intake bellows, no pictures of that as it wasn’t that interesting. Anyways I let about an hour go by before I placed the rocker cover back in place and bolted it all down. Hopefully this will stop the engine from leaking oil onto my spark plugs.
For anyone attempting to change their own rocker cover gasket I would suggest that you try and use a blade to cut the seal away before carefully lifting the cover off. It may take a while but it can be done if you persevere. Also give the cover a good clean with degreaser especially around where the gasket sits. Clean all the oil out and put a small amount of gasket sealer around there so that it will hold the new gasket in place while you are trying to mount it back on the engine block. It’s all pretty straightforward stuff but if you do the simple things it will save you a headache in the long run. Changing the rad hoses was easy but make sure you drain the rad first or else you will have coolant all over the car. Also remove the bottom hose first because if there is any leftover fluid it is better it come out from the bottom rather than the top hose where it will go all over the engine. All very common sense stuff really.
Tomorrow I will be doing the brakes and if time permits putting on the strut bar I bought ages ago – stay tuned for more pictures.
Well the first of what I ordered a few weeks ago has just arrived, The Armster Armrest I ordered from the UK arrived in super quick time – excellent delivery service from all the way in the UK. I can’t recommend this seller highly enough – www.teamtorquesteer.co.uk. The communication was excellent, the person I dealt with kept in contact and informed me of everything that was happening with the order. I was able to track the parcel all the way from the time it left the UK to the time it got delivered to me. I have no hesitation in going back to this company to buy more stuff in the future. Excitedly I opened the parcel – I was surprised to see how small it was, I imagined it to be bigger.
It took about 15 minutes to fit it onto the console of my car, I didn’t even need to drill holes, the self tapping screws supplied just dug into the plastic and I was able to fit the whole thing onto the car with just a screwdriver.
It covers the hand brake a little bit but I am still able to use the hand brake without having to move the armrest into the up position. It doesn’t really bother me at all and now I have somewhere to rest my arm.. lol. Also the extra storage space is a blessing as the Astra is not well known for it’s ample storage spaces up front. I just have to do something about a cup holder now. The build quality of the armrest is very good, the colour of the plastic is almost the same as the console and the black leather (actually I think it’s more like pleather) fits in well with the rest of the interior (Now I will have to look for leather seats for my car…. it never ends does it??). I am very happy with this purchase, hopefully the rest of the stuff I have ordered will arrive soon. Stay tuned..
I finally got my finances back in check so I went on a mad buying spree for the car. Firstly I got new Brake Rotors for the front and back. I will get some pads later on, I will probably get those at the local auto store as I can get a discount at one of them.
Secondly, I also splurged on an Armster Armrest from the UK.
I don’t know why the car did not have one in the first place so I decided to get more storage space and give myself some small creature comfort at the same time.
Thirdly, I found a few leaks in the car, the most worrying one was the bottom radiator hose which began weeping after 4 days of extremely hot weather, I have tightened the jubilee clip which seemed to have stopped it for now but I decided to get some new hoses anyways, so I bought some silicone hoses from Roose Motorsport.
As soon as the parts arrive I can get on with the job of giving the radiator a good flush, replace both top and bottom hoses and also fixing a slight leak with the rocker cover gasket. When I changed the sparks the other week I noticed that 3 out of 4 of the sparks had a film of oil on them, this is clearly an indication that the gasket on the rocker cover is at it’s end. So off to LMF Vauxhall I went and ordered a new rocker cover gasket as well as a few other things.
Well it seems I will be busy doing car things in the next few weeks. I really enjoy doing things myself as I find it not only a learning experience but a rewarding one. You get to learn about cars as well as be safe in the knowledge that you have done the repairs and/or servicing yourself and not rely on a mechanic who can say they have done this and that when they have not, and also know that the parts you have used be what you wanted to use.
Stay tuned for more pictures as the parts get to me.