Someone Else's Problem: Condition: Opel. 1999 Astra G

kalf

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In most cases I would agree with you on that, but in my opinion the "mods" done to this car are so bad/wrong, it gives it some more personality. And lets be honest the Astra G itself simply is one of the most boring/plain looking cars found on European roads.
 

93Flareside

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In most cases I would agree with you on that, but in my opinion the "mods" done to this car are so bad/wrong, it gives it some more personality. And lets be honest the Astra G itself simply is one of the most boring/plain looking cars found on European roads.

Yes to both, it’s great.
 

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Yeah, this is definitely a non-design. But then again, so was practically every Astra...
 

93Flareside

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Yeah, this is definitely a non-design. But then again, so was practically every Astra...
That’s GM for you. Makin’ generic boxes and then wonders why sales are bad.

So something I noticed yesterday checking around the engine bay after I replaced a burned out low beam bulb, lately I’ve noticed that when and only when I drive through a couple of small towns between Breisach and Riegel, when I slow down in towns and navigate through, it develops a weird idle, the surging type as if a vacuum hose is off or the idle sensor is borked. I cannot get it to repeat while driving to work, driving through Freiburg… it’s so weird. Checking vacuum lines, all I can see that would be suspect is the fuel pressure regulator, the elbows are starting to look crumbly, but are intact. I’ll need to order some vacuum line along with a fuel hose. It’s annoying how there’s no generic auto parts stores here. ATU is as close as i could find, but it was like a leaner Pep Boys. *sigh*
 

93Flareside

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I got a new radio, also figured out why the old and new one weren't keeping the stored data, the constant 12v and switched 12v were flipped. Also while driving today I found it difficult to get into 5th gear. As I was on a road with no place to stop, eventually I shoved into 5th hard enough, heard a snap and now I can shift into 5th like normal. So I'm guessing a shift guide or something was in the way and I now made room. sorry not sorry.

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All that stuff in the lower part of the HVAC knobs is dried foam coming from the ceiling... I'm just not cleaning it.
 

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James May would not be impressed!
 

93Flareside

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Some developments for the positive on the cooling front!


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Thermostat is this weird all in one block thingy. I have learned that a set of pliers is really helpful when undoing the hose clamps, but a set of wire strippers/crimper/cutters will do the job as well, only with more hassle. Probably doubled my time installing it while one of my neighbors diddled on his phone across the alleyway never looking up from his phone.

At least this time he didn't let his kid inside his car to beep the horn for shits and giggles.


So after buttoning everything back up after removing 2x 8mm bolts and two clamps, I refilled with water (it's been straight water for a month now since visiting @loose_unit as it loses so much during my drive to/from work it's not worth coolant.) I went for a test drive. initial results seem good as normal back road driving means the temp gauge sits around 85-87C. I found an empty side road and let it idle.

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At this level, the cooling fans kicked on, temperature dropped below the center line, and the fans turned off. This happened twice before I decided to beat the crap out of it on said back roads. Made a cyclist nearly shit themselves as I went way too fast around a corner, but other than that, the temp gauge did come up to nearly the center line, but after I backed off the temperature dropped. This didn't happen before and it would require me to either blast the heat and pray it drops or pull over, see the bypass tube for coolant isn't flowing water, and give the upper radiator hose a squeeze to prime the water pump again and see water flow again.

Lastly, when I first took off, I turned the heat on, it was naturally cool. When the engine started to warm up, the temp gauge lifted off 0, not up much more until the engine got more heat into it, but still. That's way more results than what I had before. Previously I would have heat within 10 minutes of driving while the gauge said the engine was still stone cold. This is good news. The last test will be tomorrow after work because it loses about 1 liter of coolant/water between refilling from the previous day and coming to work. Typically I refill before I leave work and the 30 minute highway drive home and one drive to work meant it lost 1 liter of water. So, we shall see what happens.
 

93Flareside

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And I'm straight up pissed off with this thing. I only trust driving to/from work because it leaks out the entire overflow bottle of coolant which has been water for the past month. The mechanic I chose isn't available for the next 3 weeks. I can't just go for a drive because I worry that I'm going to overheat, I can't go for a drive in the black forest because the elevation makes coolant loss worse and hills cause more stress, thus heat. So I'm basically stuck with a vehicle that only goes to and from work. The quest for something better is moving faster now, I was hoping to keep this until next spring, but I don't see that happening.

I do drive farther. Today I drove to a car dealer thinking they were open today, which was a lie. Halfway there (woooooah, livin' on a prayer!) I stopped for water as it was low. It was only 25 miles/30ish kms, like really?
 

93Flareside

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To add to the above post, the rear brakes sound like they're completely burned through after being replaced at the beginning of the year and only started being driven at the end of August. The rear calipers do not seem to fully release or the pads are sliding nicely in the caliper. Instead of the usual annoying squeak, it's just metal on metal noises now.
 

kalf

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So pretty much a case of 2 steps forwards, 3 steps back. Pretty frustrating with any car, but especially frustrating/infuriating with a daily driver.
 

93Flareside

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I learned on the autobahn today that the 2.0L Opel engine can overheat, make clunking noises, and it just means it needs water. Originally the temp gauge said it was slightly over 12 o'clock, perfectly normal range. I shut it off, turned it back and then the temp gauge went into the "bro, the fuck?" mode.
 
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93Flareside

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Alright, warmest day in a long time of 27 degrees. I had a few errands to run, pick up the rear brake pads for the Astra, go home from work, take Hank my dog for a walk, return some stuff at the stores in Freiburg, which I'm a good 25-30 minutes away from where I live.

First order, as for what I've been doing for a little over a month now after work:

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Give my car a drink. It's always thirsty after work.

I got a call from the parts store I ordered rear brakes for the car from, the brakes don't fully release and drag enough that within 5,000kms (I thought I've driven more for some reason) and the pads are down to the metal backing. Since I didn't know how bad that was, I never knew they were wearing so bad until it was too late. I get to the store, pick up the brakes, open the box because I saw a photo of drum shoes on the side of the box. Yup, they ordered drum shoes. I figured since ordering car parts in a store in Germany requires them to read your registration card, you would have an even less chance in getting wrong parts like is possible in the USA where you just give year, make, model, engine size, maybe transmission type. As I did this before going back home because work is closer to Freiburg than I am, I had to go home and still let Hank out for a walk. But before all of that, the Astra was showing me how thirsty it is.

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Drove 30 minutes home, let my dog out, got things to return to store, checked to make sure I had the receipt for the brake shoes and return with Hank riding shotgun.

Refill overflow tank before departing home.


Once I get to the parts store I tell them the problem in broken German after it's been dragged behind a garbage truck. They don't believe me, then double check in the parts system against my registration card. Then ask to come out and see the rear brakes. Guy looks at them and has a "well, what the fuck?" look about him. They apologize and wanted to make it right, but I said that I wanted to do a good thing but I'm replacing the car in a couple of days (stay tuned!) anyways so I would just like my money back. Thankfully, they obliged.

Before leaving the auto parts store, refill the overflow tank.

Go to the nearby Bauhaus and return things. This time I didn't bother and just cranked the heat while at traffic lights.

Made it home no problem, but I took it "slow" as in, no more than 110km/h.
 

93Flareside

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Sunday = Ruhetag, NEIN.

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Today between @thomas and I, alternating when one gets frustrated, got the starter motor off, looked at the plastic coolant pipe that is leaking and compared it against the one I was told to get by the mechanic friend of my neighbor. They did not match and so, we went to the basement and found a half used tube of 2 part epoxy. I cleaned the spot off on the pipe, and smeared as much as I could and left it for half an hour. After that the starter motor was reinstalled and also because I have it, replaced the flex pipe on the exhaust that I damaged, because I'm not used to lowered cars.

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with the new pipe being a touch smaller, and Thomas at the back of the car, the exhaust system was pushed forward as I tightened everything down. This means the tailpipe also doesn't stick out as far which is good. There's still an exhaust leak somewhere, but it's way better than before.

After all that, I filled it up, and drove the 25 minute drive home. I had dinner, took Hank for a walk in the park and came back. Checked the overflow bottle and to my surprise, coolant is in the tank and at the proper cold level. I'll check tomorrow after work and see if this actually was the fix. Some bleeping epoxy....

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This pipe (or one like it) is mounted on the back of the engine by the firewall, and above the starter motor. There is of course a seam along the outside of that pipe. 23 years of hot/cold cycles finally caused that seam to split and once the engine is hot and pressure in the cooling system is made, then this will leak. I just hope it lasts until at least the end of this week.
 

kalf

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I would say "if it looks stupid but it works, it aint stupid", but even that saying his its limits :ROFLMAO:.
But then again, if it works long enough until the car gets replaced it's done its job.
 
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93Flareside

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I’ve done worse for TÜV

Thing is, I don’t even know why I did it. It’s not that there’s a hole, but the pipe slides out of the bigger clamped bit.I don’t even know why I did it other than for some style points.
 

93Flareside

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Nothing new to report other than, this will be the last full week I will be driving it. It still leaks some water, but we've gone from, needing 1 to 1.5L for every journey, to maybe half a liter at most. Plus, I do not have to worry about checking the overflow tank every time I stop.
 
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