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DarrenH 1989 astra merit D estate

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  • time seems to be whizzing by uncotrollably the last few years (hope its not just me) bit of a shock when i saw that it was september last year that i declared the sump bolt on "borrowed time". it started reminding me recently with a few drips on the drive, so i dropped the oil yesterday.

    one small victory for sump swapping on the vauxhall diesels, they are reverse flow cylinder heads (inlet and exhaust ports on the same side of the head) so that means no downpipes to move out of the way! For the same reason the sump is unique to the 1.7 diesel and vauxhall capitalised even more by making it larger to increase the service intervals.

    More weapons grade nerd stuff, they used the same ductile iron cranks as the 1.8 8v big block engines, but the main and big ends were induction hardened to withstand the shock loads from the huge compression ratio and self ignition. Also look at the size of the con rods, they almost touch the crank webs ! People often cite this over engineering and weight of components as the reason that diesels dont rev very high. It is a small contributing factor, but most of the reason is the speed at which diesel burns and the fact that combustion is set off so late (compared to petrol engines) it just has less time to burn it.

    close up of the sump plug "boss" no threads left whatsoever,

    new gear to go on, genuine sump gasket, its a weird gasket i could feel that it had metal strip inside it to add strength, plus it also has dowels round the bolt holes to stop you over tightening and distorting the sump

    all buttoned up. i dont go as far as painting bolts, sorry this is a working daily driver

    Last edited by DarrenH; 06-04-2020, 11:52 AM.


    • Was the new sump a lucky find Darren?


      • Originally posted by mick g View Post
        Was the new sump a lucky find Darren?
        Yeah I found it on eBay last year for 32 quid! (it's was LMF selling it)


        • Looks good Darren how is the old girl not seen it for a few years now, last time was at OSR


          • Originally posted by Danny View Post
            Looks good Darren how is the old girl not seen it for a few years now, last time was at OSR
            the cars been great tbh, almost like I bought it new, but 25 years later. I do feel like its spoiling to a certain degree though, like I'm using up its goodness by daily driving it, and that it will end up as another knackered astra in 5 years. Dunno, its not exactly a DB5 though is it
            Last edited by DarrenH; 10-04-2020, 06:00 PM.


            • Howdy! back with a covid sports-hearse update. Its been just over 4 years since i decided to contract my carbon footprint even further by going from a 40 year old car with 12mpg round town, to a 30 year old car that does 40mpg. Still no certificate from Greta, no DM's from children working in the cobalt mines, bloody ungrateful zoomers.

              About 3 weeks ago i started hearing some grumbling from the cam belt area, then last wednesday when i was topping up the washer fluid i noticed the coolant header tank was empty. yeeeh, in my defence ive honestly not seen any evidence of a coolant leak, well, not until it took 5 litres to "top it up". I owed the car a cam belt anyway, it was changed about 10,000 miles ago (a relative pup) but that 10,000 miles ago was in 2004. i bought a new Gates cam belt kit and sourced a water pump, 25 quid for genuine GM (noooice !!) thanks to autovaux once again.

              air cleaner assembly removed, my first surprise was a segmented cam belt cover, this is just in case you only want to see 1 third of the cam belt. the book of lies claim this was an upgrade from the 1.6 diesel which had a 1 piece tin cover.

              left hand section removed which reveals the water pump, is that a bit of barrel distortion from the cell phone lens or is there a bit of a funny angle on that ?

              aux pulley removed from the crank, 30 year old allen bolts came undone (victory !) unusual that its got two pulleys, this would be for a power steering pump which i don't have, maybe its rationalised or deliberate lump of steel for harmonics

              all 3 cam belt covers removed, that was pretty easy spring clips i hope i remember to flip them all back.

              vauxhall diesel engines have their own separate haynes manual for some reason, in that manual it said only the injection pump has a timing mark. the injection pump also has a vernier pulley as standard, the camshaft is not keyed to the cam sprocket (alarm bells) that would be one hell of a spanner party if you had to time the injection and cam timing from scratch

              well the haynes lied or i got lucky as the crank, camshaft and the injection pump all had timing marks (little drill holes). bit fruity that the engine marks are just notches in the plastic backing plate, but if it was a tooth out it would be very noticeable. anyway, i got the engine to TDC and greeted with all marks aligned so thats a good start.

              unbolted the water pump (which is eccentric and provides the means to tension the cam belt) last remains of the coolant caught, here it is next to the new pump. notice the difference in impeller, lovely cast alloy scroll on the genuine pump, bent steel on the pattern version. wont make much difference on this engine but its the reason why people seek out genuine pumps on the sportier versions.

              video below of the pump, i was a bit peeved after all this hard work that there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. the search for my coolant leaks continues (giggles)

              this is where a couple hours work turns into an afternoon, another unique feature of the diesel engines is an engine mount through the middle of the cam belt, bah.

              lovely new Gates cam belt kit which comes with the idler, the manual called this a jockey wheel, eh? but then one definition of jockey is "struggle by every available means to gain or achieve something" well played haynes, well played

              in this photo ive fitted the new pump and its retaining bolts loosely, you then need to tension the cam belt by clocking the eccentric pump with a C spanner. I don't have a C spanner but i do have a T shaped spanner with a wooden handle, improvise adapt overcome

              voila one cam belt tensioned with GM tool KM45996789.99, aka "twisting it with thumb and fore finger through 90 degrees on its longest stretch" after that all the covers refitted

              what a rewarding afternoon, all the feelgoods thoroughly topped up. Now all i need to do is run the engine up and fill it with coolant, undo that handy bleed nipple on the thermostat housing to let the air escape

              Last edited by DarrenH; 27-07-2020, 09:18 AM.


              • Great work with a bitter twisted ending
                My GTE diary and the mk3 Arctic 3.0 V6 diary.


                • lol nice update tho


                  • alrighty! the thermostat housing arrived yesterday, lets see if we can self sabotage undoing some more steel bolts in aluminium housings

                    theres some small differences in casting despite being a genuine part. the bleed nipple is no more (wonder why!) also the original has what can only be described as a "resting pad" for the cam belt backplate, that's been "simplified" too by the looks of it

                    popped the new housing on and i also fitted a new O ring on the thermostat (which provides the actual sealing between the two halves of the housing) now we are back in business!!

                    naturally i then moved onto the Wisch Wasch Wasserbehalter, you can see the plastic has rubbed through over the last 30 years, it was almost invisible to the eye apart from water pouring out and not being able to see where from!!

                    even on this simple task i nearly got foiled, its an early tank which used 2 pumps (one for the front screen, one for the rear) at some point they changed to a single pump which simply reversed and used one way valves to send it down a different pipe. short version i had 2 holes when i only wanted 1. so i plugged it with very tight fitting blanking grommet and some sealant!

                    Last edited by DarrenH; 01-08-2020, 06:34 PM.


                    • Originally posted by DarrenH View Post

                      the cars been great tbh, almost like I bought it new, but 25 years later. I do feel like its spoiling to a certain degree though, like I'm using up its goodness by daily driving it, and that it will end up as another knackered astra in 5 years. Dunno, its not exactly a DB5 though is it
                      Nice work Darren, It still looks well just keep on top of it and im sure it will be good for a long time to come yet
                      Thanks for all the photos i love looking at this sort of stuff