Astra – 2.0L XE

Darren’s comments:

I’ve run the Astra for several weeks successfully now, and attended a rolling road event at Gerald Dale Motorsport Saturday 12th March. 

I was pleased to find that the setup was making good power, and the early run in the morning made 189bhp at 6333rpm with peak torque of 169lbs. Gerald said it was overfuelling immensely, which is fair enough cause the pressure was set at my best guess from the FSE add on fuel gauge. 

Later in the day we adjusted the pressure back using an exhaust gas analyser, and a second power run showed [email protected], and peak torque of [email protected] Which is much more like it. This adjustment also filled in a big trough in the torque curve below 4000rpm, as well as the nice 8bhp gain. I wasn’t too concerned with the peak torque drop because the area under the graph had increased somewhat. 

Well, sorry for droning on, but i thought you would appreciate finding out your 196 kit is spot on, out on the road. I will be in touch in a short while to book a mapping session, see if we cant get that torque back up : ) 

Astra, 2.0L XE

An update was received from Darren in February 2006 after the Astra had been on the rolling road at Track’n’Road Performance. 

6 years into Astra GTE 16v ownership, a few twists of fate and splash of money, the Astra has progressed quite a fair bit in a short period of time. I drove the car for 3 years before deciding that, actually, you could teach an old dog new tricks when I slotted the popular SBD MT196 kit under the bonnet.

With excellent results the Astra remained a daily driver for nearly 2 years until winter 2004 where it was consigned to the garage for a desperately needed engine rebuild. Ok, so maybe I was kidding myself originally, but eking an extra 40bhp out of a high mileage 20XE had taken its toll, it was burning oil and power was down to almost factory proportions. The soundtrack was still there but the pace that the chassis desired had disappeared, it was time to sort the whole lot out.

The initial strip down revealed average wear, but it obviously wasn’t happy. So, the premise was simple, gather all the parts from SBD to make a solid reliable bottom end. The big purchases like 87mm omega pistons, and swanky steel SBD valve train were the first into the parts bin. Rebore, new bearings, seals all round and heavy duty bolts/studs clamping the whole lot together. A steel oil pump gear and nylon relief valve were also slotted in for extra safety. While I reassembled the block with epic and quite alarming (by my standards) attention to detail, the head was sent off for a mild clean up and porting. All the major engine components were on the bench by about February for the final assembly and slotting back into the Astra.  Ultimately I was aiming for SBD’s MT215 kit specification, but I decided to run the new block in using the standard cams, just for ease of conflicting sequences. The engine remained in this specification for nearly a year due to other set backs with the shell, but all the groundwork was there. With the first thousand miles out of the way the engines vigour had returned with interest. For the stato’s I squeezed a new personal best out of the engine at santapod [email protected], my local rolling road showed promise with [email protected] with an astonishing torque curve.

At the end of 2005 the money and motivation arrived to finish all the good ground work, I upgraded the exhaust manifold for SBD’s type C and had a full 2.5 inch exhaust system hand made to accompany it. 2005 also saw the purchase of SBD’s hydraulic cams – 284 Degrees dur – 11.4mm lift inlet, 278 Degrees dur 11mm lift exhaust, a pair of vernier pulleys and a more stable fuel pressure regulator. The engine responded well, nudging 210bhp on 2 separate rolling roads events, on the SBD MT215 base map.

2006, fresh start and new hopes. After a few months of financial break over the new year period, myself and Jamie booked our cars in for a full rolling road mapping session at track n road powerformance in essex. It was a brilliant day, kind of sealed the deal where the MT215 kit is concerned, ironed out a few mileage related technical problems and got the fuelling chemically correct over the entire rev range. Drivability was improved and power and torque took a nice hike to [email protected] and [email protected] , really impressed with how the car drives now, and looking forward to track days and events this year.  

Engine: 2044cc 16 valve dohc, Poole A-spec flowed coscast head, 13mm colsibro valve guides, 3 angle valve seats, SBD valve springs, SBD steel valve spring retainers and platforms, SBD 284 Degrees dur – 11.4mm lift inlet cam, SBD 278 Degrees dur 11mm lift exhaust cam, sodium filled exhaust valves, ARP head stud kit, Jenvey 48mm parallel throttle bodies, ITG air filter, flowed 7° SBD inlet manifold, MBE 967E 3D engine management, SBD loom, wasted spark dizzyless ignition, BERU HT leads, BRISE competition starter motor, FSE “black top” fuel pressure regulator, 100psi fuel pressure gauge, 8mm stainless steel fuel lines, 87mm forged Omega pistons, 7.2kg flywheel, ARP flywheel bolts, balanced crank, SBD aluminium underdrive crank pulley, ARP heavy duty rod bolts, ARP main bolts, ACL lead/copper turbo deisel main and big end bearings, SBD steel billet oil pump gear, SBD steel cam belt tensioner, SBD steel cam belt idler, SBD nylon oil pressure relief valve, 13 row mocal oil cooler, Serck alloy coolant radiator, silicon coolant hoses, SBD type C manifold in 316 grade stainless steel, full 2.5 inch stealth systems exhaust in 304 grade stainless steel.

2.0L XE in Astra