Brake Fluid….

Recently Pagid DOT 5.1 has been the preferred choice of brake fluid. A respected name in braking systems, the fluid is relatively inexpensive (compared to many) and has a Dry Boiling Point of 269 degrees C and a Wet Boiling Point of 184 degrees C. With the good brake cooling that the car has fitted the DOT 5.1 fluid has been excellent in service, offers an excellent pedal and has never caused any issues and never suffer from heat.

After some further research a couple of fluids from ATE were picked up on the radar; SL6 and TYP200.

ATE SL6 is specifically designed for cars with ESP and ABS due to its low viscosity and whilst it is a DOT 4 fluid has a Minimum Dry Boiling Point of 265 degrees C and a Minimum Wet Boiling Point of 175 degrees C. More than ideal for road use.

ATE TYP200 is again a DOT 4 fluid with a higher viscosity than ATE SL6 of  but capable of operating at high temperatures. A Minimum Dry Boiling Point of 285 degrees C and a Minimum Wet Boiling Point of 198 degrees C.

The minimum Dry Boiling Point for a DOT 4 fluid is 230 degrees C, and Wet Boiling Point is 155. For a DOT 5.1 fluid the minimum temperatures are 260 degrees C Dry and 185 Wet.

ATE TYP200 way exceeds the minimum benchmark for a DOT 4 fluid and also exceeds DOT 5.1 temperatures, so will be the brake fluid used come the next fluid change.

Both types are supplied in metal 1L containers meaning if sealed and unopened have a shelf life of up to 5 years.

ATE SL6 and TYP200 Brake Fluid

ATE SL6 and TYP200 Brake Fluid


Well that was unexpected……

After fitting another UEC, the non start issue where the fuel pump was not getting a 12v feed appeared to have been solved. Certainly for around 4 months, until it reared its ugly head again.

With a direct feed to the pump, the pump ran so again no issue there with the fuel pump itself. So the next thing was to remove the UEC and take a look. Upon inspection, X2 pin 56 in the UEC (fuel pump feed) was showing signs of corrosion which was not there previously. Swapping the UEC to another car proved that the UEC was not at fault and was working fine, which then suggested an issue within the wiring somewhere. Luckily Vauxhall/Opel factory wiring diagrams make it easy to identify what goes where within the UEC and associated plugs. Read more

Rear Braided Brake Lines

Some images for reference for installation of braided rear brake lines on Astra H, in no particular order.

Piano Black Facia Upgrade

Once you go black, you never go back! Time to freshen up the interior.

Piano Black trim was introduced from 2007.5 model year onwards and gives a much cleaner look to the interior. The car is a 2007MY (identified by the VIN) but had silver facia from factory. Whilst a few of the other trims also changed in the factory built cars with piano black interior, the existing trims still work well with the piano black so there is no need for them to be changed.

So  having collected the necessary parts from various sources including a few second hand parts and a couple of brand new ones, it was time to change from silver to piano black.

There are plenty of pictorial ‘how to’ guides online, so there is no need to reinvent the wheel here (it is basically remove six T20 torx screws in order, remove stereo, heater controls and panels, swap over the switch panel in the main facia and refit the black panels), so a couple of pictures of the piano black parts, and a before and after will suffice.

These trim panels can be quite expensive new, unless you know where to source them from, so buying used is often the most cost effective option. The heater controls and stereo are the most expensive parts, followed by the steering wheel stereo controls.

I tracked down a set of heater controls, stereo controls and lower steering wheel panel (blank no vxr logo), CD30 head unit, gear lever panel and storage tray second hand over several weeks looking round for ones in good condition. The lower steering wheel panel with the vxr logo is not expensive so may add that at a later date.

The main 2 switch facia panel and the anthracite centre vents were sourced brand new as they were about the same price as second hand ones kicking about eBay.

To save having to replace the screen and head unit, a head unit that had been divorced previously was bought so it could be coded in to the existing screen using Tech2. The last thing I wanted was a stereo and screen that were paired together, supplied with no code and not divorced. There are plenty of head units kicking round eBay that are not divorced and many head units supplied with screens coded to each other so you have to replace both items. Personally I prefer to stay away from anything without a known code. Providing the code is supplied even with paired units, they can be reset and then recoded using the original vehicle security code, which makes any potential future diagnostics much easier.

Part Numbers as used (RHD):
Facia Panel 2 Button RHD (non keyless entry): 13250668 (Production Number: 13141094)
Centre Vent Anthracite: 13249995
Heater Controls: 13308176 (Production Number: 13308173) Various Idents including: GJ4 NC3
Trim Panel (Gear Lever): 13250636 (Production Number:13166385)
Steering Wheel Stereo Controls: 93190342 (Production Number: 13251120)
Lower Steering Wheel Cover Plain: 93197879
Lower Steering Wheel Cover VXR: 93193200
*Storage Tray (RHD): 13250645 (Production Number: 13133278)
*12v Charge Socket: 13110430
*Cover: 13249341
* the storage tray, cover and 12v socket can usually be sourced second hand as a complete unit.

For the sterring wheel controls, it is often cheaper to buy a second hand wheel with the black controls alreadfy fitted, especially if you are not worried about the VXR lower cover.

Silver Facia

Silver Facia

Piano Black Facia

Piano Black Facia

Nankang AR-1 Tyre Information

The latest information:

Nankang’s latest MSA approved tyre is on its way…

The new NANKANG AR-1 will be available in 15″ to 18″ in the first phase, with more sizes to be added over the coming months

The AR-1 is looking to be a faster, more refined track tyre, aimed at the track enthusiast who is hunting lap times.

With only one compound option and with all tyres being produced with 5.5mm tread depth, the AR-1 is positioning itself in amongst the greats of the track tyre market.

Though the AR-1 is a List 1C tyre (for 2016), it has recently achieved EU tyre labelling meaning it could easily fit in amongst the MSA List 1B tyres for 2017.

RAC MSA Tyres List 2016

The RAC MSA 2016 Approved Tyres Listing:

PDF Icon

RAC MSA Blue Book Section L Tyres 2016


RAC MSA Blue Book Section L Tyres 2016

An eventful Saturday…..

Saturday’s trackday at Snetterton (20th February) was yet another enjoyable event. Great organisation by MSVT and the staff at the circuit.

Conditions were however tricky to say the least. It was dry and overcast upon arrival and overnight rain had left the circuit damp and the racing line was slippery and conditions too some getting used to. Even crossing over the dry line in the wet caused the rear to loose grip on occasion, with only one minor off onto the grass just after Riches. A drying track towards mid morning made it much easier and a reasonable dry line appeared.

Expected heavy rain at lunchtime was only an hour or so of light rain so it was back to using the wet line in the afternoon, on a much emptier circuit.

A mid morning alternator light after only a two or three sessions, brought that session to a premature close, the fault being a shredded multi-v belt. Strange considering it was an almost new Conti belt. Fitted a spare previously used Gates belt which sorted the issue getting the car back up and running, with no further issues for the rest of the day.

Other than a failed alternator belt, the car performed faultlessly all day. All in all another great day.

Front Brake Pad Check

A routine check of the front brake pads prior to the first trackday of the year. With around 6.5-7mm of material remaining (new pads have 10mm of pad material), these pads are about half worn so will be fine for the next couple of trackdays.

Rear Brake Inspection

Prior to this season’s trackdays it was time to check over the rear brakes as on visual inspection the pads looked a little low.

Rear pads are not expensive at under £25 a set, so it made sense to replace them as they were about 60% worn. Having covered 4,000 miles, they certainly wouldn’t last the coming 2016 season.

New set of Pagid pads:

Pagid Rear Pad Set

Pagid Rear Pad Set

Tailgate Struts

The original tailgate struts had become somewhat tired and were failing to lift the tailgate only supporting it when fully open. Not the end of the world on a track car but on occasions annoying when the tailgates shuts itself on you!

Due to the use the car gets it was difficult to justify buying new at £24 each for aftermarket items, let alone hwat genuine ones would cost and I did not fancy buying non branded cheap eBay parts. Searching round a little used pair came up from a 2008 car for £10.99 delivered. Ideal and a very simple swap over in seconds.

It is worth noting that 3 Door Hatch, 5 Door Hatch, Van and Estate have different part numbers.
3 Door: 13220159
5 Door: 24463829
Estate/Van: 13122695

This should help identify the correct parts.

Tailgate Strut 3 Door

Tailgate Struts 3 Door – 13220159

Astra VXR Sprint.....

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