part 2

VXR En­gine Trans­plant Fol­low­ing on from last month, Grif­fin Au­tos com­plete a VXR en­gine trans­plant and fit the Z20LEH into an As­tra Coupe.

Performance Vauxhall - - LAKESIDE MEET - Words and pho­tos: Rob Hawkins

In last month’s tech sec­tion we fol­lowed Grif­fin Au­tos as they made a start on the VXR en­gine and M32 gear­box trans­plant into an As­tra Coupe which pre­vi­ously had a Z20LET. In the last is­sue Grif­fin re­moved the old en­gine in less than a cou­ple of hours and ser­viced the VXR en­gine in prepa­ra­tion for fit­ting it to the Coupe.

This month, there’s more work in­volved, in­clud­ing swap­ping over var­i­ous com­po­nents to en­sure the VXR en­gine and gear­box can be fit­ted and will run prop­erly. Luck­ily, there are no body­work mod­i­fi­ca­tions re­quired to fit the en­gine and gear­box and in this re­spect it’s a fairly easy swap.

One of the ma­jor dif­fer­ences be­tween the Z20LET and VXR’s Z20LEH con­cerns en­gine man­age­ment and the en­gine wiring loom. The later VXR uses a CANbus sys­tem that isn’t com­pat­i­ble with the older As­tra Coupe. Grif­fin Au­tos has found a so­lu­tion to this prob­lem by fit­ting the Coupe’s Z20LET loom to the VXR en­gine, in­clud­ing the crank, cam and knock sen­sors. They’ve also dis­cov­ered that the VXR’s in­jec­tors and air­flow me­ter aren’t com­pat­i­ble un­less the ECU is remapped, so the Coupe’s com­po­nents have to be used in­stead. The Coupe has a map­pable ECU so larger in­jec­tors and the air­flow me­ter from the Z20LEH can be fit­ted along with a remap.

Fit­ting the larger six-speed M32 gear­box into the Coupe is rel­a­tively easy. The gear­box mounts have to be swapped over, but luck­ily they all fit in the same lo­ca­tions as the Coupe’s orig­i­nal F23 ’box and line up in­side the en­gine bay. The gear link­age and gear lever from the M32 hous­ing need to be used, and will be fit­ted to the Coupe.

Set aside a full day to swap over com­po­nents and in­stall a VXR en­gine and M32 ’box into an As­tra Mk4. The fol­low­ing pages cover step-by-step guides for swap­ping over the an­cil­lar­ies be­tween the en­gines, mak­ing the nec­es­sary gear­box mod­i­fi­ca­tions and fi­nally fit­ting the en­gine and ’box. Dif­fi­cult y rat ing: 5/5 Time ta ken: One day Screw­drivers, pry bars, span­ners, sock­ets, pli­ers Two-post ramp or large trol­ley jack and sub­stan­tial axle stands Two trans­mis­sion jacks, two trol­ley jacks or two large bot­tle jacks Breaker bar Ca­ble ties Im­pact driver Pen­e­trat­ing fluid Var­i­ous ham­mers Con­tain­ers to drain oils and coolant

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