Archive for ‘ November, 2014 ’

Uprated Engine Bed/Subframe Bushes

One area that is often neglected, along with front anti roll bar bushes, are the engine bed/subframe bushes, mainly because the bed needs to be dropped to replace them, so there is a reasonable amount of work involved. Additionally because the engine bed captive retaining nuts are floating (i.e. they can move once the subframe bolts are undone) there is a danger that once removed the engine bed could be refitted out of alignment unless the correct jig to re-align the subframe onto the car is used. Correct alignment of the subframe is essential because the wishbones are bolted to the subframe and if incorrectly aligned the chassis settings will be out, affecting the handling.

With the factory subframe mounts there is some compliance/flex in them as they are designed for road use and have a rubber core to help dampen out vibrations, however stiffer bed bushes reduce this compliance removing any flex in the bushes, ideal for improving the chassis and feel both on road and especially on track.

These front subframe mounts feature two polyurethane ‘top-hat’ style bushes that make for simple installation and durability. The bushes house a stainless steel sleeve and are supported by zinc coated steel washers at each end for increased support under load. The stainless steel sleeves should also help to prevent instqances where the bed bolts seize into the factory bushes over time.

These polyurethane uprated subframe mounts are manufactured from two material types; either 80 shore purple material or 95 shore black material. Purple is ideal for road use and black is best suited for track use.

I have chosen the black 95 shore bushes for the car due to its use on track. They are all but solid removing the flex in the bed bushes during hard use, so improving front end feel, especially during cornering and under high loads on track.

Whilst there are also some solid engine bed bushes on the market, manufactured from aluminium, they were unavailable at the time these upgrades were being carried out hence opting for these uprated 95 shore poly mounts.

All being well I will get the engine bed bushes fitted during December.

Uprated 95 Shore Black Polyurethane Engine Bed Bushes:

Black Polyurethane Engine Bed Bushes

Black Polyurethane Engine Bed Bushes

KW Clubsport Coilovers Arrive…..

The KW Clubsport 2 Way Coilover Kit arrived today, a couple of weeks ahead of schedule. Cannot wait to get this fitted onto the car ready for 2015 track days. A huge thank you to Richard Good at KW Automotive for organising this.

KW Clubsport 2 Way Coilover Kit

KW Clubsport 2 Way Coilover Kit

KW Clubsport 2 Way Coilover Kit

KW Clubsport 2 Way Coilover Kit

KW Clubsport 2 Way Coilover Kit

KW Clubsport 2 Way Coilover Kit

KW Clubsport Coilover Kit

KW Clubsport Coilover Kit

Polyurethane Anti Roll Bar Bushes

The car is currently running the original factory anti roll bar bushes (which have now covered 88,000 miles) and these have never been changed so it is about time they were replaced. To replace them I have a pair of Powerflex Black Series track spec (95 Shore) anti roll bar bushes ready to fit.

This will be a job to do when the engine bed/subframe is dropped as I will be fitting a set of uprated engine bed bushes over the winter. Due to the location of the front anti roll bar on the engine subframe, replacing these bushes with the subframe on the car is all but impossible. With the subframe off it makes the job so much easier.

The aim is to get these fitted during December.

1 Piece Replacement Poly Bush (shown in road spec 80 shore purple material – left) and Original 2 Piece Rubber Bush (right):

Poly 1 Piece ARB Bush and Original 2 Piece ARB Bush

Poly 1 Piece ARB Bush and Original 2 Piece ARB Bush

Front ARB Bushes in Black track spec 95 shore material:

Anti Roll Bar Bush - Black Material 95 Shore

Anti Roll Bar Bush – Black Material 95 Shore

Trackday Snetterton 22 November 2014

The MVS Trackdays ( organised track day at Snetterton was a fantastic day. The weather varied between almost dry, drizzle and moderate rain throughout the day and track conditions varied from damp to wet, making driving conditions a little more challenging but still very enjoyable.

It also meant that the car wasn’t given quite such a hard time and it kept temperatures down. It was obviously harder to get heat into the tyres, meaning starting with higher pressures, but it also meant they were not subject to overheating. Speeds were slightly lower and reduced grip meant braking had to be smoother but progressive meaning that brake temperatures were lower and cornering speeds were also slower. Overall this also kept gearbox oil temperatures lower and the water temperature didn’t go above 90 on track due to everything being worked less and not put under as much stress.

The wet conditions meant that the usual ‘dry’ lines were abandoned in favour of ‘wet’ lines meaning searching for grip off the usual lines round the corners where more grip was available, keeping away from the apexes and braking slightly offline where more grip exists. Overall the Nankang NS-2R tyres performed faultlessly, gave excellent grip levels and offered a lot of confidence given the conditions and far outperformed their price point.

So the last track day of the year for me, now heading for the closed season giving some time for a few more improvements to be carried out. Counting down to the first planned track day of 2015 in February.

Image courtesy of Torque Photography:

A Wet Snetterton

A Wet Snetterton

Some images from the day by Torque Photography and MSVT Photography:

Astra H Useful Information

Useful Astra H Information:

Read more

KW Clubsport Suspension

I’ve now owned the Astra for about two and a half years and have run it on some good suspension which is one of the key elements to producing a quick track day car, but the aim was to always fit a KW coilover kit when the right time came.

Over the time I have owned the car I initially ran factory VXR original equipment (OE) dampers with DAP Road springs – a great fast road set up that was capable on track.

I very quickly upgraded to Bilstein B8 dampers and DAP Race Springs, more geared to track day use, but still an excellent road set up for the money. This has served well over the last couple of years but the time has come to upgrade again.

The KW suspension set up will be fitted over the winter. Without doubt the best set up for track day use, but still retaining some road manners. KW Clubsport 2 way coil overs, height adjustment with independently adjustable rebound and compression damping. Full stainless steel bodies with top mounts.

KW Clubsport 2 Way Coilovers

KW Clubsport 2 Way Coilovers

Front Wheel Bearings/Hubs

Over the past few track days it was becoming more and more evident that there was some front wheel bearing noise; a slight hum/rumbling noise had turned into a more noticeable and off-putting rumbling. Initially it was only noticeable under hard cornering on track when the bearings were loaded up, but more recently it had become very apparent on the road as well, so it needed addressing. They had covered neartly 90,000 miles over the last 8 years, and whilst they are not prone to failure I suspect the last few years of hard use and heat on track will not have helped the cause.

On Astra H, the wheel bearing is an integral part with the ABS sensor, and so comes as a complete hub assembly which makes them somewhat costly. Astra H VXR shares the same hub assembly as Astra H 1.9 CDTi 150PS models, part number 93186389, which is designed to take the heavier duty driveshaft/cv compared to the other models in the range. I sourced a pair of Genuine GM Vauxhall Opel Bearings for £144 each, less than local motor factors selling good quality aftermarket bearings, and a big saving over the recommended Vauxhall dealer price of over £350 each.

Hub Assembly - Wheel Bearing and ABS Sensor

Hub Assembly – Wheel Bearing and ABS Sensor

I can understand why people use non genuine cheap parts off ebay etc, due to the high cost of the genuine parts, but having researched these options myself I was unable to get a straight answer as to the manufacturers of these parts. I was searching for a well known reputable name such as FAG (who provide genine OE bearings and manufacture these bearings for Vauxhall/Opel) or SKF, but the cheap options were not manufactured by a recognised name. Due to the use the car is put through I was not prepared to risk the ‘ebay bargain hubs’ which you see at around £45-£80 each, hence the choice of genuine parts but at a lower cost than good quality hubs from local motor factors.

So it was time to carry out the work. Read more

Astra VXR Sprint.....

%d bloggers like this: