Archive for the ‘ Maintenance ’ Category

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

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

Redline CV-2 Grease

Trackday cars are subjected to more extremes of use than road cars. The engine is subjected to more sustained hard use and the brakes, the tyres, wheel bearings and CV joints are also be worked harder with more heat generated.

Because of the harder use and higher temperatures experienced one area often overlooked are the CV joints. They will be subjected to higher temperatures, heat from the brakes especially will radiate into the CVs and driveshafts so a high quality CV grease is a good upgrade.

The CV joints in the car have already been stripped, cleaned and treated to new grease and boots and so will the spare shafts when they are cleaned and re-greased.

Redline CV-2 is my chosen grease.

CV2 Grease

CV2 Grease

Red Line Synthetic CV-2 Grease is formulated to withstand the extreme pressures and high temperatures found in racing and other high-performance wheel bearings and CV joints. The red moly compound and synthetic formulation give it a much higher load carrying capacity than black moly disulfide greases. Its excellent low-temperature flow, high-temperature stability, and very high drop point (melting point) of 900° F + (480° C+) allow it to be used at temperatures ranging from -100° F to 500° F (-70° C to 260° C), compared to a commercially available off the shelf CV Grease which has a sphere of operation between -10°C and 120°C CV2 is far superior.

It is highly resistant to oxidation and corrosion, and it has minimal effect on rubber seals. Automotive applications include wheel bearings, CV joints, U-joints, and general chassis lubrication.

CV2 Technical Info

CV2 Technical Info


Amsoil 5w-40 AFL Engine Oil

Time for another engine oil change before the next track outing in April. I am switching over to Amsoil 5w-40 European Car Formula (AFL) Fully Synthetic oil.

Maximum Engine Protection
AMSOIL European Car Formula contains high-quality anti-wear additives and surpasses the tough ACEA oil specifications for high-temperature/high-shear viscosity. It provides outstanding protection in high-rpm, hot-running engines and delivers dependable long-term performance for the extended drain intervals set by European automakers.

Manufacturer Approvals:

  • BMW Longlife-04
  • MB-Approval 229.51
  • Porsche A40

Recommended For:

  • ACEA C3
  • Chrysler MS-10850 (supersedes MS-10896)
  • Ford WSS-M2C917-A
  • GM dexos2™ (supersedes LL-A-025 and LL-B-025)
  • Renault RN0700/RN0710
  • Volkswagen 502.00/505.01

Full Spec (Click on Image to open PDF):

Amsoil AFL Spec

Amsoil AFL Spec

Electrical Gremlins Part Two!

Well it would appear that the electrical gremlins have reappeared; the moment the car pulled out of the pit garage at Snetterton at the last track day!

With previous checks on the other electrical units carried out, the next logical place to look had to be the instrument pack, as this was still playing up. Vauxhall charge a retail price of £346 + VAT for a brand new instrument cluster. Having done yet more research it appears that a fault of some sort within the instrument cluster can cause the issues that have been experiencing.

Common faults with instrument clusters can manifest themselves as follows:

  • Background illumination failure.
  • LCD has pixels missing or is completely blank.
  • Warning lights flickering or dim.
  • Gauges flicker till vehicle warm.
  • Intermittently vehicle does not start.
  • Intermittent loss of power to the complete instrument cluster.
  • Complete power failure to instrument cluster.

Now whilst I do not have all of the symptoms, certainly six of the above faults have been evident.

Removing the instrument cluster is pretty straight forward, once the upper and lower cowls are lifted clear the instrument cluster is held in place by 2 x T20 torx screws accessible at the bottom of the cluster; one each side. The cluster can then be removed from the bottom and once the multi plug is removed the cluster can be carefully lifted clear.

The cluster was then sent away for inspection and specialist repair. It was confirmed that there were a couple of issues with the circuit board(s), so these were repaired and the unit returned in a couple of weeks ready to fit, complete with a 2 year warranty on the repair work that had been carried out.

Fitting and programming the instruments (IPC) back into the car the expected result was ‘instrument panel functioning normally.’ Sadly this was not the case and the instrument needles dropped out as soon as the engine was started and the lights flickered!

So back to square one almost, and start again.

Thinking there was still an issue with the repaired instrument pack (IPC) the repaired cluster was then tried in another car; a car which had no other known issues. The repaired cluster functioned perfectly. So there was clearly no issue with the repaired IPC.

So another known working instrument cluster from another car was tried, but this played up as soon as it had been programmed and the car started. So the problem was clearly somewhere in the car.

The DTC’s remaining at this point were now just three:
U2100 IPC No Communication CANBUS Low Speed.
U2140 REC CANBUS No Communication with IPC
U2116 REC CANBUS No Communication with UEC

which was an improvement from when this first began as every conceivable DTC was present indicating lack of communication between everything electrical! UEC, REC, IPC, CIM…..

Looking at the DTC’s it suggested an issue in the REC.

Time to recheck the other electrical control units again……

Unplugged the stereo, just in case it was causing an issue. No change.

Try another known good headlight switch, because in the past the lights had been coming on randomly. No change.

A known good Rear Electrical Centre (REC) fitted and programmed. Still issues with the IPC.

A known good Underhood Electrical Centre (UEC) fitted and programmed. Still issues with the IPC.

The UEC that was tried had no fuses or relays in it, these had to be swapped across from the existing unit, so in case the issue was with one of these items another known working UEC was swapped across. All the pins and terminals were cleaned with electrical contact cleaner, and a coat of Ultra2040 water repellant (just in case) applied to the terminals in the wiring loom. Again no change, IPC still playing up.

REC multi plugs removed and cleaned with contact cleaner and refitted. No change.

So time to start checking earths……

Checked the 3 earth points next to the UEC. No change.

Removed the REC (again!), to gain access to an earth point behind the L/H/S quarter panel trim. The retaining nut unscrewed by hand….. so it was removed and the earth point and the retaining nut were cleaned with some 800 grit paper. The two earth wires were refitted and secured by the retaining nut.

Battery reconnected and engine started….. IPC functioning correctly.

So then it was just a case of swapping the REC back to the original one, the UEC back to the original one with the original fuses and relays and finally the IPC. After each individual unit was swapped back the car was started to check no issues had reappeared.

So chasing trouble codes turned out to be a slightly loose earth on the REC.

Note: Each time any electrical unit was removed the battery was disconnected prior to removal to prevent any current surges which could damage any electrics.

Amsoil MTG 75w-90 Gearbox Oil

Spec sheet for Amsoil MTG Gearbox Oil (Click on Image to view PDF):

Amsoil MTG Spec

Amsoil MTG Spec

Gearbox oil designed to work at high temperatures and still offer good protection, essential oil for the M32 gearbox.

New CIM Fitted and Programmed

In time for next week’s first trackday of the year the new CIM (Column Integrated Module) arrived today. The temporary ‘slave’ CIM used for diagnosing the fault was removed having first been reset on Tech2 so it can be used again and the new CIM fitted. It was then programmed to the other modules in the car and the keys were reprogrammed to the immobiliser. Programming using Tech2 is pretty straight forward, you programme the High, Mid and Low Speed CAN configurations, enter the VIN, programme the keys (both of them – the spare is often forgotten about!) and enter the key number.

Torque figure for the steering wheel to steering column is 30Nm, using blue threadlock.

Astra H CIM

Astra H CIM


Astra VXR Sprint.....

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