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Thread: Car Biography - My Old Zafira GSi

  1. #1
    Regular Member Maverick's Avatar
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    Default Car Biography - My Old Zafira GSi

    Back in September 2001, I sold my MK3 Astra Sport which was a project car for 4 years and the Mrs sold her MK3 Astra LS. The idea was to sell both and buy a Vectra SRi 2.6 V6 to replace them both. I had a Company car at the time so we didn't need three.

    So this was actually Mrs Mavericks car.

    So I ordered the following :-

    Vectra B SRi Saloon
    2.6 V6 in Solid Black paint
    Beige Leather and heated seats
    Electric Sunroof
    Colour Sat Nav
    Cruise
    Phone
    Xenon Headlights

    So the order was in and wait started. Then we went to some friends house for dinner and I saw an advert on TV with the "Daddy Cool" song, it was the new Zafira GSi Turbo advert. I have found out since that it was the first time the advert was aired!

    So first thing on Monday morning, I went to Marshall Vauxhall in Leicester and cancelled the Vectra and ordered a Silver Zafira GSi Turbo with Phone loom, Leather Pack and roof rails. The wait was on!!

    The first Zafira GSi's were actually built by Opel as Elegances abd then shipped off to OPC to have the following work done.

    Engine and gearbox change.
    Bodykit fitted
    Suspension fitted
    Interior Fitted

    So after a 6 month wait, March 4 arrived and I took FJ02 ALU home. It was part of the first batch of GSi's built and really turned some heads when I drove it home.

    Here it is.



    (Rear Lights were photoshopped)

    Unfortunately, over the next six months this GSi was plagued with little problems like rattles, noisy balancer shafts etc.

    In September 2002, we met with the dealer and the Vauxhall Engineer and it was agreed that they would replace the car with a new GSi. We had done 8000 miles in the car during this time and Vauxhall wanted £2000 to swap it, we refused to pay this as the car should have been right, so they charged us £350 to cover the admin costs, this was then picked up by the Marshall's.

    Vauxhall even paid to swap the private plate over. So this exchange cost us nothing.

    We asked about some more options and Vauxhall agreed that as long as a car with our original spec was not built we could specify what we wanted and pay for the options not already on the original build.

    So we ordered the roof mounted DVD player.

    Onto December 2002 and the new car arrived. But all was not well, the roof mounted DVD player was ripped out on the ferry over from Belguim, along with 30 other Zafira's! So a new car had to be ordered again as there was loom damage.

    This was not a bad thing as in October 2002, Vauxhall announced a mild facelift to the Zafira range, which included the following on the GSi.

    Higher grade leather
    20/40/20 split rear seats with 3 x 3 Point rear belts
    Clear rear lights
    New Style rear spoiler
    Slightly re-styled GSi wheels
    Matt Silver Console
    New Instrument Style

    Also a load of new factory options were available. So in addition to the leather pack, phone loom and roof rails covered by Vauxhall, Mrs Mav and I looked at the options list and also added the following.

    Rear Parking Sensors
    Roof Mounted DVD System
    Climate Control
    Winter Pack

    The only thing not ordered was the sat nav, I wanted the colour display but this was not availabel in the UK on Zafira so left it out.

    Vauxhall even colovered the cost of ALL the extra options as goodwill for being messed about. Perfect service from Vauxhall.

    Wind forward to March 14th 2003, and I bought FN03 OWF home, just over a year after taking delivery of the first GSi, we even had the orignal GSi whilst this was all going on and gave it back with 14000 miles on it!!





    The Irmscher Exhaust was fitted before delivery.







    The following day on a Saturday morning, the first modifications were added with just 58 miles on the clock.

    A Courtenay Side mounted 9L intercooler, Courtenay Hose kit and Pre-Cat replacement pipe were added. Also an Irmscher grill was added for good measure.




    The plan was to have the Courtenay CS3 package (Now called Stage 2) which would produce 250bhp and about 260lb/tf. Bare in mind that back in 2002/2003 tuning options for the Z20LET engine was very limited so I worked with Courtenay to help develop alot of the parts for the 2.0 Turbo engine.

    The re-map was done after the car had done 1000 miles, and drove really well and suprised quite a few people. The results were 238bhp and 241lb/ft, some what lower than expected. But more on this later.

    The brakes were also upgraded in the summer with Courtenay grooved discs front and rear.



    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    At Trax 2003, I decided to go out on track which again suprised many owners to see a bus going round the track at such a quick rate.







    Although this was a great experience, it did show up a few area's on the Zafira's chassis whcih could be improved upon.

    So in September 2003, I decided to improve things under the skin so to speak. Again another call to Courtenay and a set of Bilstien B8 dampers were ordered to go with the standard springs. I didn't want to lower it for practical reasons. The traction control was also made switchable as well.

    This was after a set of 7 x 18" Technomagesio Detroit F1 Alloys with ET49 (Zafira GSi runs ET47) offset and 225 40 18" Avon ZZ3 tyres were fitted










    Spring 2004

    Whilst at another rolling road session at Courtenay, it was clear that the exhaust system was the restricting factor as to why the CS3 (Stage 2) package was not doing what it should, at this time there was not an after market system available. As we wanted it doing right, I approached Milltek and they agreed to have the car for a week to design and build an exhaust for the Zafira GSi.

    This was the result.



    Back to Courtenay and with the fitment of a 200 cell sports cat to go along with the downpipe and Milltek, 252bhp and 266bhp were recorded, so a happy chappy and the car drove sooooooo much better.

    I wasn't really happy with the wheels on the car, as the car ran 225 tyres and the rims were only 7" wide, which made the tyres sit too narrow. I got a tip off that the 18" 11 Spoke wheels as fitted to Vectra C in ET41 format were being released in ET45 for Astra G Coupe, I was also given the part number for these wheels so a set were ordered, along with new Yokohama Parada Spec 2 tyres. I got these 6 months before they were available on Astra!

    I was also told that these 18" wheels were supposed to be the factory upgrade wheel for Astra GSi and Zafria GSi but Speedline dragged their heelsand they never became an option. The difference was very noticable, better offset and the tyres sat much better on a 7.5" rim.





    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    We did establish that the 9L intercooler upgrade was not ideal in the Zafira, so I asked Jon at Courtenay about a lower mount version, so this was duly design and built and the prototype sent to me at home, when you may ask?

    The day before PVS 2004 and it had never been tried before, so I had a busy day!

    But it all fitted first time and made yet another major improvement in performance.









    I also hated the silver headlights and as the Astra GSi had the dark style, and the Zafira didn't, I decided to do my own. These were fitted two days before PVS, than by Saturday at 11am, the new intercooler was fitted and a mad rush over to Courtenay for a run on the rolling road before we headed off to PVS the next day.

    This pic shows the modified headlights, new lower intercooler and engine detailing.



    The results now were, 265bhp and 276lb/ft. VERY pleased, but as you know it becomes addictive!

    Things stayed as they were until about winter 2005 when I decided to give the engine bay a little make over.

    VXR Turbo (Courtenay got hold of these turbo's before the Astra VXR arrived at dealers!)
    Re-Map (By this time Stephan Klassen had started to do Courtenays software so improvements were expected)

    I had got rid of all the blue additions and gone for a more factory look, the VXR turbo was fitted and a re-map done.

    Results 266bhp and 279lb/ft, but the drivability of the car was much better.



    Uploaded with ImageShack.us



    In early 2006, we added a VXR 80mm AMM, and a set of VXR injectors, and I said to Courtenay lets see what we can get out of it. Another re-map and the results were amazing! Re-mapped live on the rolling road bespoke to the car.

    300bhp




    303.5 lb/ft



    The car was like a rocket, and was alot of fun, but in anything but dry weather, it was a nightmare, losing traction on full throttle in 4th gear in the wet. The novelty soon wore off, so I had a chat with Jon at Courtenay and mapped it againbringing the the power down to 275bhp and the torque down to 270lb/ft.

    It was the right decision as by losing that small amount made a big difference. We enjoyed this until the summer of 2006, when we sold the car to a local guy in Leicester, when I say local, it is 1 miles down the road. I put it back to standard and the guy still has it today so I see it several times a week.

    It is now running 260bhp thanks to a load of Courtenay bits again.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope you enjoyed it.

  2. #2
    Regular Member Steven's Avatar
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    Default

    Lovely machine Matt

  3. #3
    Full Member Leemarksmith's Avatar
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    Vehicle : Vectra

    Trim : SRi (VXR Styling)

    Engine : Z19DTH (Re-mapped)

    Year : 04

    Mileage : 110k

    Default

    Awesome machine - Trying to get the missus away from the Audi idea and get one of these at min

  4. #4
    Regular Member glenboy's Avatar
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    Default

    Great write-up there Matt............

  5. #5
    Regular Member KevinG's Avatar
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    Default

    interesting reading, thanks

  6. #6
    Regular Member deano1's Avatar
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    Vehicle : Vectra estate

    Trim : Sri xp2

    Engine : 1.9 cdti 150

    Year : 2008

    Mileage : 100000

    Default

    wow you really do make your cars one ofs superb m8

  7. #7
    Regular Member
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    i want, lol

  8. #8
    Regular Member rushy's Avatar
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    Vehicle : SRi


    Engine : Z22SE (2.2 Petrol)

    Year : 2004

    Mileage : 137000

    Default

    My favourite one of you Car Biography so far Matt

  9. #9
    Ex Vec-C Admin Deztroyer's Avatar
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    agreed another fantastice write up Matt =highly enjoyable

    thanks for taking the time to write it

    0-Large smile ......every time it's driven

  10. #10
    Regular Member Maverick's Avatar
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    It has always been my favourite too.

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