Tag Archives: Astra

One hundred and ninety…

Another 10,000 miles in the Cockroach…still not a squeak.

Target? 250,000 🙂

190,000 miles

Borg Key AKA eBay Flip Key Fail

So you’ve got an old Astra G AKA Mk4 and you’re jealous of the Astra H/Mk 5 dudes with their fancy schmancy flip keys and you see a Flip Key Conversion kit on fleabay and you spring for one.

You get him in the mail, take him to your Go to key cutter buddy then and spend 20 minutes trying to get all the tiny pieced assembled on your kitchen table. Satisfied you run out to your car ‘flip’ the key and feel all cool.

Fast forward less than 12 months, you go to flip your key and it doesn’t quite come out, but with a bit of goading it flips out and off you go. Repeat this process several times and what you are not noticing are hairline cracks in the monkey metal shit that the hinge is made from until one day >>SNAP<< the whole thing snaps off in your ignition.

Luckily for me I was at work and quickly rigged up a Borg Key bodge – Mini Mole Grips to attach the key, door remote zip tied into plastic bag and immobiliser chip zip tied into front section of bag….yes it will get me home where I can spend 20 minutes swapping all the bits back into my old style Vauxhall key body that I saved…

Lesson? Avoid the cheap shit on eBay

Astra Borg Key

Final piece of the jigsaw

Been collecting body parts for the Astra for the last two years and finally the last piece of the jigsaw has been found…a GSi Turbo front bumper, complete with grilles and fogs.

They are getting quite scarce now and command some fairly serious money as a result so this was a good find. The rest of the collection comprises of side skirts, rear bumper and rear boot spoiler, along with the already fitted steering wheel. Next task now is to find a Paint Shop who will colour match these to my car (or blow everything over…)

Astra GSI bumper

Astra GSi bumper


I suppose I am OCD about some stuff, probably quite a lot of stuff actually!!

Anyway, since I’ve had the Road Angel I’ve also been using a Griffin PowerJolt in the car. It’s a true 10 watt USB Charger giving 5 watts per port which packs quite a punch. I’m tempted to swap him out for a Scosche Dual USB Car Charger which really does kick some ass pushing 12 watts (2.4A) but so far I’ve had no problems.

The idea for the PowerJolt was so I can run the Road Angel Gem+ and a TomTom at the same time using USB charging cables or run the Road Angel Gem+ and charge a SmartPhone or BlueTooth headset without switching cigarette lighter adapters all the time…less clutter.

The next problem and the reason for this post was the mess of cables now hanging around in the car so I set about running a charging cable directly up under the Road Angel location on top of the center console through the dashboard.
This turned out to be quite an epic as the ICE had to be pulled out and disconnected, Center Console partially out, ashtray, lighter facia and Glove Box all out just to run the USB cable.

It looks neat and tidy though so I am happy with no more OCD twitches…

One Hundred and Eighty…!!

So…The Cockroach…the car that refuses to die, has rolled across the 180,000 mile mark without even a whisper.
He’s never broken down, is on the original clutch and most of the original exhaust. Sure he eats through ‘consumables’ like tyres, brake pads, oil, filters, sensors and is now on the second battery from new but other than that this is one neat car and I love it 🙂

180,000 miles

For Kevin

Kevis is a work colleague, not based at our site but he drops in every once in a while. Months and months and months ago he started asking me about the GSi Turbo steering wheel I had behind my desk.
I said “Oh, that’s going in the Astra soon”

Weeks would pass, Kevin would drop in again and joke about the steering wheel still being there. Then months passed and although he called in he stopped asking about the GSi wheel.

I’ve been called a Sloth with bike builds, in fact someone once said glaciers move faster than me and now I come to think of it even my niece calls me Gary The Snail.

So this is for you Kevin…..IT’S DONE 🙂

Old one off…

‘New’ one on

Gaitor Aid

My leather gear gaitor (which turned out to be fake leather halfway thru this task) has been with me for 168,000 miles so I guess owes me nothing. He was starting to get very tatty around the top though so 10 minutes on FleaBay later and I’d scored a new, real leather, replacement.

In fact it was a twofer deal and I got a handbrake gaitor thrown in the bundle too. Not in a big rush to change him though as there’s lots of aggro involved and my current one is still fine.

I found a neat ‘How To’ online that helped this task immensely and it was all done in a little over half hour (20 minutes spent trying to stretch the new gaitor over the gear knob…)

Before & After shots 🙂

More Leather!!

Been on the hunt for one of these for a while, an Irmscher Leather Armrest. Neat for stashing various items in to keep the cockpit clean and uber cool for that relaxed driving posture when out on the open road.

As with all Irmscher products its very well made and very well designed, you don’t lose access to the rear passenger ashtray (even though I don’t smoke) and it doesn’t screw up access to the handbrake, unless you are into doing handbrake turns (I’m getting too old for that shit now).

Piece of cake to fit, set some pilot holes with the Makita Cordless and used a quarter inch drive ratchet with Torx bits to drive the fixings home 🙂




Stop The Pigeon

I’m not a violent person and these days I go out of my way to avoid killing anything that walks, crawls, flies or slithers but every now and again there is an unavoidable situation….and this was one.

I do a LOT of miles in my car, most weeks 500+ and on this occasion a 1000+ miles in one week and I never engage in any acts of roadkill, in fact wild things rarely even try and sacrifice themselves so I should consider myself lucky. This is a good thing as the front of my car has now been rebuilt several times..

Anyway’s I was on the home commute, doing round 80mph when this Wood Pigeon (Brainus Smallus) tries to take my Astra on, suffice to say it was all over rather quickly and the view in my rear view mirror looked like someone had just put a King Size duvet through a garden shredder…!!

When I got home I discovered the full extent….pieces of skull wedged in small crevices with pieces of flesh still attached…..brains all over my bumper, bird crap on the splitter and feathers?….well EVERYWHERE in the engine bay, in my AC radiator, my coolant radiator.

Two hours of hot water, Chemical Guys Maxi Suds II and Dodo Juice Tropical Red Mist later and you would never know I played Stop The Pigeon

Pimp My Ride – Astra interior upgrade

Amongst (many) other vehicles I have owned seven Land Rovers over the years but have also had a Vauxhall Astra obsession for a very long time and have owned several: Mk1 estate, 2 x Mk4 LS estates, a 1.7 CDTi ECO4 Mk4 and my current baby a Mk4 1.6 SXi Dual Fuel.

Duel Fuel is working out kinda neat with this whole Global Recesssion thing as I can fill the LPG tank for £30 and get around 360 miles out of it (not to be sniffed at!!). Of course I would really like a 200BHP GSi Turbo but I have a long commute for work and the petrol bill would suck so I have the SXi Dual Fuel to be ‘sensible’.

I’m very attached to this one and have done over 150,000 miles in it, we’ve been through all sorts together and now and again I show it some love, this time with switching the cloth interior for a set of Full Leather from a Bertone Turbo Coupe, complete with heated front seats 🙂

Switching Astra interiors is relatively easy if you have the right tools – a good quality Torx set (T40 and T50), flat blade screwdrivers, phillips screwdrivers and a wrench for the battery terminal.

First and foremost disconnect the negative terminal on the battery, this is required as the front seats have electronic Pre-Tensioners linked to the Airbag system (that need taking apart) and this will freak out the ECU, lighting up your dashboard and requiring a visit to your local GM/Vauxhall garage to have them reset stuff with their OpCom…

Disconnect your negative terminal

Now you can start ripping stuff out.

Rear seats ‘before’ shot 🙂

Detach ‘hidden’ brackets for seat back on both sides…leave the spring tensioned bracket attached.

Seat belt mountings, left and center (T50 Torx)

Check out all the detritus under the seats from years of having Mountain Bikes in the back…

Rear mounts for seat back (T40 Torx)…stuck under the chassis for the LPG tank!

So that’s the rear seat back and bench out, plus the seat belt mounts

Time for the new leather seat backs to be fitted to the old brackets….then the new bench

Front seats. Remove the two rear T40 Torx, lift the seat from the back and tip. Disconnect the Pre-tensioner (pull out the orange lock pin and squeeze the black tongue) under the seat and slide it out from it’s housing.

Remove the lower front seat belt mount (T40 Torx) and out come the front seats

Reverse the sequence and re-connect the pre-tensioner into the new seats, in go the new fronts…nice eh?

Just need a good clean and some leather restorer to detail them now 🙂


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