Astra/Kadett MK2 project - El Batallas

Hi there,

I thought I already opened a thread for the car, but seems obvious I didn't... Anyway, since an engine swap is intended for this car, and it would be most likely a z22 unit, I think you all guys might like something different.

Car has been with me since 2009, and only gave me lots of fun and enjoyment. Registered in June 1988, a healthy 16v, almost stock, unless light flywheel and not much more to list. It ran like a dream, set 152 bhp and 228 Nm on the rollers back in late 2011.

I always thought that would be interesting to upgrade heavily this car and see how different can it handle and feel. I usually do a lot of this stuff in my job, as I am ride and handling test engineer, but we do have severe boundary conditions and we can't do anything we want usually. I have here a blank sheet to work in. There are legal limitations, but this is other topic we can discuss in another moment :D

Since this has been a very long project, and there has been changes along development, I will try to summarize major features:

Car stripped and up to rotisserie:

Checking G/H front axle swap feasibility:

Strut towers moved backwards for increased caster and camber adjutment enhanced:

Next up, fully new platform with cross beams and longitudinal rails. First step, set current attachments for seats, handbrake, etc. All must go in the exact same position:

Bye floor:

VIN at place again:

Handbrake back to the place:

Reinforced jacking points:

Spare wheel floor deletion, since I might need space for either device implementation (external ARB or watt links, or whatever):

And right now, preparing Astra MK5 rear axle swap:

So, basically, it will be another car. I've been playing with different ideas for engine, initially it was an X30XE, but considering handling-focused mods, it dropped off. Planned to keep the 16v, just squeezing it throttle bodies (forgot to mention, it's MANDATORY NA, and ITB'd), but the engine caught fire while being fitted in another MK2 I bought in 2019, causing serious damage in my garage and almost a complete loss for any item inside. It has been a tough year, honestly. Obviously, the car was ruined and scrapped this summer, only kept a few usable parts, but mostly it was burnt.

I don't need 3xx nor 4xx bhp, my goal is flirting in the 200's, with the sweet noise of ITB's, and keeping the car light and "simple". Since all "oldschool" engines here in Spain are quite high in mileage, and are becoming expensive, I discovered this forum and z22se capabilities. Another reason is how it sits on the car, just for reference, this is roughly how 20XE sits on front subframe, and how it sits Z22SE, although most of you already know:

So, since Z22SE is an underappreciated but definitely very tuneable engine, I think I will give it a chance. I hope you guys like this project, I will ask for information when I arrive to engine swap, I hope to be soon!
Great work.
vocky is the man to ask about ITB's on the Z22SE.
The BTCC ran the 2.0L version of the z22se for many years on ITB's.
I never fitted my set, gave up and went the supercharge route, still got the parts and it's not off the cards one day. Should work well being forward facing inlet.
Right now, and considering magnitude of this project, is make it back on the road the easiest way possible. I need to homologate all possible mods or at least, get the Spanish MOT, which is almost impossible with mod list I have now, so my plan is to include all feasible items (for example, I can homologate changes in track width, but can't homologate an axle swap, or is, let's say, highly unlikely). So my idea is to prepare a pack of mods feasible to homologate:

- Engine swap (to standard Z22SE). Since they are similar in power output, there shouldn't be problems here.
- Track width increase (front and rear). I won't say what I did there, obviously, only justify there has been width changes.
- New rim and tire size. Nothing special here.
- New brakes size. Nothing special if all is well documented and calculated.

And probably ending here. This is how far we can go here in Spain, roughly. Let's see how can I get the car MOT'd, but I need to put it on the road and try to drive it, see everything goes ok.

I can't use my 20XE since it's mostly burnt, so my idea is to start directly with Z22SE. It's not very hard to get it sorted all electrics and management, get it programmed without ESP, TCS, aircon, etc, in it's simplest setup initially.

Then I can go 2 ways:

- Fit the engine as it comes standard, and drive the car to check all is OK. Once verified, strip engine out, and get it modded. Basically, cams, balancer shafts deletion, raise CR, proper bolts, light flywheel, exhaust manifold, and ITB's + standalone ECU. I hope with this be near those expected 200 bhp. Downside is one engine out required.

- Other idea is to prepare engine initially fit all internals, and run it without ITB's + standalone. Problem is I know how bad engines run with that kind of setups. Anyone tried something similar? Do they cope well with this? Positive side is after this, I might shave some work.

Let's see how I can overcome this :D