Cavalier Redtop 20XE Engine Conversion

Just found these old photos of when I installed a Redtop (20XE) into my M-Reg Cavalier GLS.The ‘XE came from a friends crashed Astra GTE.

I think this was September 2005.

The Cavalier had a rubbish 2.0L Ecotec engine, and at about 160,000 miles it started to cut out randomly and wouldn’t want to start now and again, so it was the perfect opportunity when sadly this GTE got written off in a smash.

Engine and F20 gearbox coming out of the GTE through the front, saved jacking up.

Cleaning up the engine, and replacing oil seals. Had to take the Gearbox and Flywheel off to get to the “rear” Crankshaft seal. 
Changed the Crankshaft and Camshaft seals, cambelt, water pump, idler and tensioner pulleys before fitting he engine, much easier out of the car! Made a tool to hold the Camshaft sprockets when tightening up the Camshaft sprocket bolts. Saved using a spanner on the flats on the camshaft inside the cam cover.
I noticed the clutch was no good when the gearbox came off, so I swapped it for another I had lying around.
Some of the M12 threads in the engine block casting had filled up with corrosion, so I re-tapped them. These holes hadn’t been used in the GTE, but were required for the Cavalier (down to engine mounts and brackets for driven accessories, like power steering etc..)

Cleaned up the CV joints and replaced boots on the bench too, beats doing it under the car!!
Dropping the engine in. Always very straightforward from above with the gearbox attached, quite a lot more tricky when leaving the box in the car.
Modifying the Cavalier GLS exhaust at the Catalytic converter to fit to the cavalier SRI (20XE) manifold I bought for the job. The manifold needed a spot of welding repair where the circular flexiable seal had worn through.

 Re-aligned the clutch at the end of the job, see home made slide-hammer, with uncommon M7 thread on the gearbox input shaft.



Mk2 16V Vauxhall Astra GTE – ABS fault finding repair

After my semi-classic 21 year old GTE failing the MOT on a missing ABS bulb, it was time to find out why the bulb had been previously removed.

My immediate thoughts were of nightmare hassle and vast expenses… I’ve written this to help others to understand the system, and have some confidence in trying to repair their ABS issues for free, themselves.


(Image taken at the excellent Midlands based Lutterworth MOT Centre:

With a bit of help from friends on the forum, and the good old Haynes Manual, I managed to find the fault and repair it for free!

Is there a fault or not?:

After fitting the bulb in the dashboard, the ABS light was permanently ON. This spells trouble, and is why the the bulb had previously been removed, to mask the fault.

However; your car will fail it’s MOT if the bulb doesn’t light. It should illuminate for a couple if seconds when the ignition is turned on, this proves that the ABS is gong through a self-test, if it can’t be seen to self test, then no MOT.


Fault diagnosis:

This is done for FREE, using a humble paper clip, or short piece of thin single core wire. No need to fork out for expensive diagnostics from an auto electrician.

With the ignition off, locate the diagnostic connector in the engine bay, near the LH strut top (the only connector that’s blue). Disconnect and remove the plug side, then short out pins A and K in the socket with your paperclip. It doesn’t matter if the paperclip touches chassis, as it’s at Ground potential anyway.

What should happen:

Switch on the ignition, and watch the ABS light. It should flash out a series of fault codes, note the codes down and look up on: you ideally want to see lots of 12’s being flashed out, that means all is well. Each code is flashed 3 times, and real fault codes are seperated by 3 x 12’s.

Mine didn’t do that… the light just stayed on… grrrrr…..

So, with some more help from, I was pointed on the direction of looking at the Relays…

The ABS hydraulic pump unit contains two relays, one for the hydraulic Pump and one for the hydraulic Solenoid valves. There is a third relay, external to the pump unit, for ABS surge protection.

Bench Testing:

Using the Haynes manual wiring diagrams; I bench tested all the relays, by applying 12Vdc to the coils and checking the contacts open / close with my multimeter… This is how I found the fault!

The Fault was found:

The external ABS surge control relay (K47) didn’t want to click when I applied 12Vdc to the coil. (There is a diode in series with the coil, so you have to have the power on the right way round, otherwise it won’t click). I took the plastic cover off the relay, checked through the circuit with the multimeter, and found an open circuit between the coil and pin 31 on the relay base.

The Exact Cause:

Looking closer, I found a Dry Joint where the relay coil -ve side was soldered to the PCB!!! It mush have shaken loose with years of motoring.



So a quick re-solder, and re-assemble, and hey-presto – she worked! :o) yay!!


I then got the car throught it’s MOT re-test at the Great Lutterworth MOT Centre: who come highly recommended, superb guys running the place, petrol-heads and classic car enthusiasts themselves!


New wheels for the Astra GTE

After my unlucky journey where I lost 2 tyres, I took it as an opportunity to fit some more sensible wheels! So a bit of emergency eBay and forum hunting, I located a set if Speedline Alessios, unfortunately located in Braintree, Essex…. I drove down in my wife’s car to collect them, and was home by midnight… next task is to sell my 17″ wheels.

The seller had in has garage one if the most amazing mk2 Astra GTE’s I’ve ever seen. C20LET engine, very nicely restored body, fresh parts and paint… it was stunning, and a privilege to have a look round.

He’d attended the Billing VBOA (Vauxhall Bedford Owners Association) rally this year, and said there were only 12 mk2 Astra GTE’s at the show! Getting very rare these days…

Broken down :o(

After a great day at Cranfield working on Lightning XS458, I had a troublesome journey home…

On the M1 I felt some vibration through the steering, so pulled into the nearest services, and inflated my tires. Upon inflation of the rear left, it made a funny creaking noise… looked behind it and found it was literally splitting open in front of my eyes! So I fitted the spare and carried on…

Then the front right blew-out about 10 miles later near the next services (A45)! Damn Damn Damn… ran out of spare wheels…

To cheer myself up, I walked to the services and got some food.