1997 Astra F Estate Project.

  1. Matt Thomson

    Matt Thomson Member

    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    North Ayrshire, Scotland
    Well, I'd put the very beginnings of this project up on the "Learning to weld" thread so some of you may have seen bits of this already. I got some good feedback and great tips/pointers. Unfortunately this quick tidy up and MOT has grown arms and legs somewhat so thought it may be worth a thread of its own due to the sheer amount of work needing done. Please feel free to comment, advise and pass on any information or tips that may be relevant. I'm just a newbie at this so if you see something I've don't wrong or something that doesn't look right don't hesitate to point it out......thanks!!!
     
  2. Matt Thomson

    Matt Thomson Member

    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    North Ayrshire, Scotland
    At first it seemed not too bad. A little rough around the edges. Generally quite nice looking for a 20 year old motor.... 20170731_150347.jpg 20170731_203318.jpg
    Unfortunately that didn't last long.....
    It all went downhill from there.....quickly..

    Just got the front bumper off and it wasn't looking promising

    20171111_222206.jpg
    And that was just what I found within a few minutes...... 20171111_222147.jpg
     
    migmag likes this.
  3. Kayos

    Kayos Member

    Messages:
    4,369
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Always liked that shape Astra, I've had several as well as a few G's

    They always rotted away or rotted away actually. Except the 3 door zero spec merit, that just died and never recovered
     
    Matt Thomson likes this.
  4. armalites Member

    Messages:
    3,661
    Herefordshire
    The 90s were a good decade for Vauxhalls, some properly thrashable motors. I've still got the 1992 Cavalier SRI(last of the pre-cat cars) that I bought when it was 3 years old. Haven't driven it for 13 years, I was at one with that car and nobody ever understood why my one went so well. It used to stay with Cavalier GSI no problem and friends with RS Turbos were always convinced I'd done something to it. I had a fuel card back then and had that car off the end of the clock on several occasions.

    I see the Irmscher badge, looks like an Irmscher exhaust?
     
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  5. Matt Thomson

    Matt Thomson Member

    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    North Ayrshire, Scotland
    Aye, it's an Irmscher exhaust, decals, spoiler and wheels. It's nothing fancy, just a 1.6 8v
    But I always quite liked the look of it when a couple of friends owned it before me. To be honest if I'd known it was as bad I'd never have taken it on as although i was a Vauxhall mechanic and served my time on them I have absolutely no idea when it comes to bodywork. This is my first attempt. I thought it would be a cheap way to practice my welding and fabrication skills on a car in got for free as I was intending in doing a camper van self build so it was cheaper to screw up a free car than an expensive van. I only took the car because it's last owner begged me to so it wouldn't get scrapped. But to be honest, now I'm glad I did. I'm really enjoying it and learning a huge amount. Even my welding skills are.....not bad.....lol. Definitely an improvement from when I started....
    The 90's were good years for Vauxhalls. Some pretty tough classic motors. I'd love to get a cavalier or nova but I'll see how I do with this first....
     
  6. Matt Thomson

    Matt Thomson Member

    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    North Ayrshire, Scotland
    I started off at the front end on some brackets that nobody would see if I made a mess. 20171120_202349.jpg

    It was way beyond saving so I decided to break out the pen and cardboard.
    It actually worked out pretty well....
    20171120_225234.jpg

    The finished article....

    20171120_231908.jpg

    It looked almost genuine when fitted....

    20171122_232308.jpg
     
    • 20171120_232409.jpg
    migmag, jerrytug, decca and 11 others like this.
  7. steveo3002 Member

    Messages:
    4,850
    cambridge uk
    how are the arches? worked at a vauxhall bodyshop when they still roamed the earth
     
    Matt Thomson likes this.
  8. Matt Thomson

    Matt Thomson Member

    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    North Ayrshire, Scotland
    The arches????
    Outside......surprisingly good at a glance....
    The inside?? Well........a picture says a thousand words......

    20171112_221202.jpg
     
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  9. steveo3002 Member

    Messages:
    4,850
    cambridge uk
    hmm yeah..good ol vauxhall lol
     
    Matt Thomson likes this.
  10. Matt Thomson

    Matt Thomson Member

    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    North Ayrshire, Scotland
    Aye, kept me in overtime for years!!!! 20171128_180328.jpg

    That started off as a 1" hole behind a previous repair........

    20171201_170637.jpg

    Ended up a bit bigger.......

    20171209_205430.jpg

    But managed to fill it up..... 20171209_212741.jpg
     
  11. Matt Thomson

    Matt Thomson Member

    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    North Ayrshire, Scotland
    The front inner wheel well wasn't much better. It was like Swiss cheese...
    20171230_172211.jpg

    Decided to cut up an old steel locker and made some repair panels for around the steering arm hole.....
    20171231_222702.jpg

    And used a ball pein hammer and an old bag of cement to contour the odd shaped sections...
    20180113_162911.jpg

    Like for like it actually turned out not too badly.....

    20180113_175156.jpg

    20180113_182434.jpg

    And with a good grind and some zinc primer was almost passable .....

    20180113_183913.jpg
     
    Dcal, Dieselkid 63 and zx9 like this.
  12. steveo3002 Member

    Messages:
    4,850
    cambridge uk
    ok you asked for comments...looks like aerosol stone chip straight on bare metal?

    if its a keeper epoxy primer like jotun jotamastic is 100x betters and will protect it best
     
    Matt Thomson likes this.
  13. Matt Thomson

    Matt Thomson Member

    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    North Ayrshire, Scotland
    Ooh, which part?? The black patch with my hand in it or the silver part round the steering hole??
     
  14. steveo3002 Member

    Messages:
    4,850
    cambridge uk
    the black stuff?

    anyway all the hard work youre doing , epoxy will protect it properly if thats what you want
     
    Matt Thomson likes this.
  15. Matt Thomson

    Matt Thomson Member

    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    North Ayrshire, Scotland
    Ah, right I see. The patch was zinc coated, painted both sides with an etch primer, the areas that were getting exposed to the heat of the weld got zinc weld through primer then the whole thing got a coat of primer after the weld then aerosol tetrosyl. I'll need to look in to this jotamastic stuff. Can't say I've heard of it, but yeah all that info is good as I've plenty to learn. I definitely want to protect it as I'm intending in keeping it a while and rebuilding it properly....
     
  16. bricol Member

    Messages:
    627
    N.Yorks, UK
    My experience with epoxy paint over 10 yrs of use, unless the surface is seriously abraded, ie sand blasted as per manufacturers instructions, it's no better than "ordinary" paint and might be worse. Lifts off in sheets but stays instact, so you can't see it's not attached anymore. Stuff on the blasted metal was still firmly attached and doing it's job.

    I used to use primer and then two coats of different colour machine enamel ('cos I got if free when work chucked it out) and then a good blathering of underseal. If the underseal got knocked off, I could see the different colours paints exposed.
     
  17. Matt Thomson

    Matt Thomson Member

    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    North Ayrshire, Scotland
    My intention eventually once it's all done and back from the paint shop that the whole underside of the car is gong to be done with Gravitex and all the voids/box section done with waxoyl. Once I'm done with the welding and fabrication it's going to the body shop for some serious tlc and getting painted inside and out so should be just about completely water tight. That's a fair point about abrading the surfaces for a better key on the metal. I wasn't sure if that was a good idea as the panels are all zinc plated and didn't want to loose another layer of protection.
     
  18. Matt Thomson

    Matt Thomson Member

    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    North Ayrshire, Scotland
    The sill was an absolute mess..it was nothing but sealer holding rust and shoddy repairs together.... 20171216_172620.jpg

    That had rotted through and made the bottom section of the wing disappear......
    20171216_205145.jpg

    I reckon it turned out not badly, but was a pain in the backside as I was using gasless flux cored 0.8mm wire. It was after a chat with someone on here that I sorted out a big gas bottle and changed to 0.6mm for the thinner bodywork stuff, but still worked out OK in the end.... Didn't even need filler, just gave it a coat of primer to keep it sealed till it gets painted...

    20171216_222652.jpg
     
  19. jpmillermatic

    jpmillermatic Member

    Messages:
    715
    USA-NY
    I have to say for a newbie you are doing amazingly well...your fab skills are fantastic, man....keep at it.

    I like the shape of the little red wagon....looks nice. honestly, to have those inner arches rot that way, in some ways is better than having the rust come through the outer panel...but only in some ways...Im sure its much harder to get to....

    JP
     
    Matt Thomson likes this.
  20. Matt Thomson

    Matt Thomson Member

    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    North Ayrshire, Scotland
    Thanks, I appreciate that. It's been a bit of a learning curve. I make the odd patches and panels at work but they're all aluminium and pretty flat. Easy enough to make. Any of the complex stuff the metalwork shop deals with that. I just fit them rather than making them. It's a bit of a challenge, but that why I'm really enjoying it, it's a bit of a change from the norm. The inner arches shouldn't be a problem, I managed to source some replacements from Germany and now I'm feeling a little more confident I've decided to save myself a lot of hassle and time by just replacing the whole rear quarter. It wasn't an option to start with as they were coming in at around £300, but I managed to locate a supplier who had it delivered for the grand total of £35. Buying the individual repair panels comes to more than double that, and there's still the welding and fitting. I reckon it might turn out OK as I recently fitted the sill back on after a lot of cutting and fabrication and my welds were pretty invisible... I had to rebuild the inner sill at the rear and the inner wheel well too. It was a horror show in there. Even to the stage that the jacking point could be pulled off with my bare hands. Some scrap metal and ingenuity had it back looking quite reasonable.

    The front corner of the chassis leg was rotten so made one of those up.

    20180128_153225.jpg
    The back end of the sill and wheel arch were non existent....

    20180225_143647.jpg
    A lot of mig wire, hammering and beer later....
    20180315_181353.jpg

    The inside of the wheel well was a mess and the seat belt was anchored to nothing.....
    20180225_143709.jpg

    But again, beer and wire fixed that too....
    20180314_210751.jpg

    I'm quite proud of the wheel well, especially since it had to be made from a few different parts as I don't have the tooling to make something as curved as that. It looks like one piece.

    The inner structure of the sill was gone too, again sheet metal, bench grinder and hammers fixed that..
    Screenshot_20180428-212208.png

    20180331_234401.jpg

    Finally put the new sill on and for a pattern part it wasn't a bad fit but did have a joggle missing at the front for the wing to recess in to.
    20180402_143042.jpg

    The welds look quite smooth too..they're a bit scratched looking as I only had 60 grit belts for my linisher.....
    20180402_143110.jpg

    All in all though it worked out pretty nice. It's given me a little more confidence to tackle the more difficult stuff.....

    20180407_214132.jpg

    As you can see the wing sat out a bit because of the missing joggle but I cut it and reshaped it and it sits quite nicely now.
     
    monky harris likes this.
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