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Discussion Starter #1
Well, after I bought this vehicle in May 2018, I joined the forum and got some good advice (and gave out some terrible advice in return) but now it's time to start my little progress thread. Nothing as exciting as some of the engineering feats the others have posted, so move along, nothing to see here, unless stories of cheap ebay scouring and bargain bin automotive products (from Tesco, Asda and JTF) interest you.

I was looking for a sizeable lugger in diesel to take me, wife, son and various stuff from NW England to my other place in Malaga. UK plates, down in Spring, back in Autumn, all legal. An estate version of the fatass Megane 1.5dci was likely but the left-hooker swung me to this Combo Tour for £840 (a good price for LHD these days).


Registered in Menorca, 2002 and imported to UK in 2007 where it clocked up 250,000kms by 2016. The last owner had put in a 60k miler 1.7Di engine from a Corsa and righted most mechanicals before I bought it. I just put a new set of all-weathers on the (shabby SXi) alloys, rear springs, new windscreen, roofbox and fresh oil and MOT and set off for the Chunnel, France, and through Barcelona and Valencia to Malaga. Exclusiv front seats my only upgrade:


Seeing as it made it there and back with only leaking AC (a long-running issue), an erratic driver's electric window and one blown H7, I'm coming good on my promise to make it look more of a keeper.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
The photos don't really show it, but the paintwork's as flat as Holland. Here's an unflattering shot (plus sun-yellowed lights and dented wing)


and, just in case you hadn't noticed that bonnet:


So, this month, a new battery (after which it started first time and radio code worked) and to work on the body. I am immensely unskilled at this. I've done what I can with filler, primer and Casablanca White touch up paint but I logged in to the ISS feed and, yep, my touch ups are visible. Still, I've bought an Argos DA polisher (£30), cheap or special offer cleaning/valeting products and done a "that'll do". Wash (Triplewax Wash + Wax - meh), de-tar (Auto Finesse ObliTarate - defeated by wing sticker glue residue but compound and even sanding won't get it off, like a nuclear bunker), clay (ebay blue stuff from China - smoothed the surface nicely), compound (nearly bought Meguiar's but suckered for the pennies some T-cut cost me - cleared the oxidation but signs of my sanding still visible close up) and a polish wax (Turtle Wax Scratch Repair and Renew - useless scratch fixer but easy on+off, decent shine. Simoniz Diamond Wax + Polish was restricted to the roof as it's murder to buff and not very shiny but subjectively looks like better protection).
It's definitely not up to Pep's standard, or the more determined owner, but I've seen younger cars looking worse.
Just the roof left to polish:


and it's done - except for the dented wing, front bumper, alloys and headlights, which are all going to be replaced:





Of all the sub-fiver cheap products (from Tesco and JTF) I was especially impressed with Turtle Wax's Luxe Leather (easy on/off, no gloop in the perforations, nice shine and suppleness without greasiness) and Car Plan Original Black which has done wonders with the pale grey exterior plastics. Looks awful and tacky when first sprayed but dries fine and survives many jet washes so far. I shall report back on what a Spanish summer does to it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The rubbish AC (three regasses - all a waste of time, money and ozone, thanks to various experts) will hopefully be fixed with a replaced condenser, and the radiator has a small leak (also not good for a 6-month, 5,000 mile round trip) needing replacement. So, what the heck, I am going to try and get the CDTi intercooler hooked up (the Di has none, 65hp vs the intercooled DTi's 75hp and 2-3 secs off the glacial 0-60 time) at the same time. The bumper has to come off, so that bobbly grey eyesore will be replaced with this (only a soapy jetwash so far):

and, because I'm a teeny bit anal about Vx griffins on my Opel, this is waiting in my Malaga place for when we arrive:


Before I leave, the Nexen 4Seasons will be transferred to some SXi 15s that look unmarked until kneeling close, and I'm taking another set of 15" alloys equipped with summer rubber (purchased at an embarrassingly cheap price) for swapping onto while I'm there:



These wheels have some scuffs that I should minimize easily enough, and the centre caps are much easier to Opelize than the SXi types, but one wheel seems to have been in the way of some errant red primer and it's not shifting easily. The headlamps will either be some cleaned projectors or reflectors I have bought. The proj's are tidier looking but the reflectors can be used when driving on the right without bothering oncoming traffic.

Sorry about all the boring "basically, I cleaned my car" stuff, but I'll update the thread later with how easy/difficult/impossible the intercooler on a Di job was, and how it improves (or not) the driveability.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks, both. I have to be honest, the camera is being slightly kind. The touchups (mostly on the bonnet, but a few elsewhere) are not leveled very well. It's what you might call a "ten footer" that looks very decent from that distance, and I'm happy enough with that. I might have the courage to close-up-pic the bonnet sometime; think Katie Price without fake tan.

Next month, I'll take a pic of the Tour with the better SXi alloys on (all weather tyres) and the summer tyred wheels pictured above when they go on after arrival. Meantime, I have got a used 1.3CDTi rad/condenser/IC - the whole caboodle - on its way to the garage where the Tour now is while I'm away. For the money spent, just the IC and pipework will be worth it and I'd certainly rather cough up for new if the other bits look like limited expiry date. At the least, they'll help to work out what new parts would make the best combination to fit.

Slight comedic moment. I pulled up ready to hand it over, shut the side-hinged rear window and it promptly fell onto the ground (without breaking, TG). The glass is just bonded to a couple of metal strips and whatever glue it is had decided to give up the ghost right then. Another job for the list, but I am sooo glad that didn't happen just the other side of the Chunnel, 1500 miles of howling open window at 70mph all day, yeesh.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Flew back in late last night and whipped round to the garage (unfortunately without my camera/phone). I'll return on Monday and take one or two snaps. It's on the better SXi alloys, 4Seasons rubber transferred, the undented replacement wing in place (looks absolutely terrible, showing that my polishing work on the rest of the body made a big improvement) and George has lined up the panel gap nicely. George is their youngest mech - I taught him at primary school - and my Tour is his pet project; he's doing a great job for me.

The front bumper and lights are off, and here's my good fortune bit. The used 1.3CDTi rad/condenser/IC have all slotted in and appear to be fine. The rad definitely is, the condenser hasn't been fully tested because a split hosepipe looks like the cause of my AC losses (£25 used DTi item ordered already) but checks out so far and the IC is in place with everything hooking up but I'm missing one pipe that's not present on my Di (have some likelies lined up). Potentially saved a lot of cost/labour getting the 1.3CDTi stuff in one lump (NB, anyone with the Di) and I would have been happy if just the IC and pipes had been useful for the money spent.

Not so good is that my window has been looked at and even the glass specialist didn't think rebonding would work. Wish I'd known this while in Spain, where rear passenger windows are common, but I've found two crewcabs being broken in the NW and a replacement should be gettable.

Pics to come, and not too long before it's running cool air in the cabin and from the turbo to the cylinder head.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Here's the front on (no need to obscure the reg plate) and some random animal poo-poo'd my bonnet polishing efforts.


Which now has the standard C diesel IC where there was none. Shiny bright it isn't, but new IC and hoses would have been a lot of money for a few extra horses. Ditto the rad and AC condenser, and I understand (and agree with) the 'false economy' argument against buying them used but I spent the <£50 mainly for the IC bits and it turns out the others have no concerns so I might as well get use out of them (and save install labour). If I get a rad leak or (please no, for a while) AC issue later down the line, I've had some free use. On the bottom left is the dud AC hose with its replacement on its way. Fitting that allows the white 'lift bumper + headlights to go on, as the final bit of IC work is just a bonnet-up job.

Unnecessary side shot, just because the better SXi alloys are on (last year's Nexen all-weathers transferred). Previous pics might not be obvious, but the old ones were shabby whereas 3 of these are kneel-close almost unmarked and the n/s front has a fixable scar+bubble for £30 the quad.


Undented n/s wing on and, even allowing for various greasy hands, it does show how effective the scrubbing was for the rest of the car. That wheel scar also needs work so this whole area has to be deep done, then I shall get the wax off everywhere, fine abrasive polish all over and seal+shine.


I'm in a catch-22 with the rear passenger window:


Of the two leads I have, I reckon the one who's replied also might have lost bonding (but on the hinge side) and the other lead hasn't replied (3rd message lucky?). Spain is full of breakers with this window, but I can't drive down with a bit of polythene and non-Spanish card payments always bum out so having one shipped over won't happen. Really annoying that I wasn't forewarned as I could have just about shoved one into hand luggage and brought it back with me.

Sorry, didn't clean the engine bay (and probably won't):


The only jigsaw piece missing: to connect that 1.3CDTi hose (57mm) to the 1.7 pipe which, right now, goes straight to the turbo instead. I need either a CDTi pipe (not found one) or a 1.7DTi one (available, but can't get solid confirmation - many breakers list DTi or Y17DT when it's actually from a Di or Y17DTL like mine. This pipe is one of the few differences) and probably needing a 57-45mm reducing hose to hook it up. Everything else on the IC side plugs in.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
White is an annoyance (damned van owners bidding, and the normal C coincided with white falling out of favour as a car colour - I see plenty of white Ds; not her from Benefits Street). I paid £50 and travelled (and sat waiting for 4hrs) to Cleckheaton to get mine. Worse for you in EA, Peps. There's a ridiculous hundred-quidder (it's an 11 plate, but come on) that's been hanging around ebay for nearly a year and, typically annoying for me, this recently came up for breaking in nearish Accrington:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vauxhall-combo-van-1-3-cdti-Breaking/273855658697?hash=item3fc311bac9:g:BSAAAOSwaXRczB-6

EDIT: The seller is "unaware of da rules" and included a biz card in pic 3, so it might be worth a text enquiry about shipping. White bumpers do still fetch £40-50, so it's a long shot to get one delivered for meal-for-two money.

If only you were somewhere on my NW-SE route to the Chunnel, I'd bring that bumper down with me and bung it at you on the way. I could always have stuck it out of that gaping rear window - I am getting no response at all to my enquiries on that front. I thought about using a carbide drill through the glass and permanently bolting it closed, but have read that you can't drill through tempered glass at all, ever. I even have access to a CADCAM laser cutter, but that's not going to work either. I'm thinking surely the glass area where it bonds to those pathetically small strips could be etched with HF acid to strengthen the glue bond? Must be some sort of answer. I bitterly remember flagging up on this forum that a pair of glazed sliding doors went on ebay for a quid or two and I passed because the panels were Star Silver. D'oh!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Good on yer. We shall have to race each other to upload the first new-nose Combo. I might just Amundsen you, as my AC hose has arrived and (crossing digits) a successful pressure test will allow the front to go on. Whether the lights will be proj or std depends on the beam pattern really as I don't want to faff with swapping to stds after crossing the channel; I'll look into some quick-swap mod over the summer as I want to move by early June. Similarly, the terrible (o/s at least) fogs will have to stay symbolic for now. Not much fog expected anyway. If time weren't pressing, I'd throw in some DRL/Angel Fogs even though they're cack and last no time at all but it's prob for the best to take my time anyway and get something with more longevity.

Possible progress on the window and maybe the same vehicle will provide my missing link on the IC pipe (no sign on ebay nor new parts places) as the window donor is a CDTi.
 

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Continuing the Amundsen theme, I might just find Pep's Norwegian flag already when I reach my destination. The AC system has been pressure tested. The £25 breaker's hose has solved that leak, but the condenser (I bought a rad/condenser/IC job lot for <£50) has a short shelf-life and some bubbles/dye have been detected in the cooling fins. I'm 'sophical, it was a good price just for IC and the rest working would mean the gods smiling on me (which never happens). A brand new, Valeo, condenser and drier from the garage's local supplier is ca £150 delivered tomorrow. That's as good as any internet, but I found Delphi for £90; the trouble is shipping would be "within 4-5 days of payment" and I can't risk a bottleneck of holdups (the window and missing-piece IC pipe are two enough already). I've asked the mechs to see if their local has the Delphi cheap but, if not, to go ahead with that Valeo to get me moving quicker (and cooler).

I've resisted the tempt to buy unnecessary tart-ups (body colour bumper and an £8 centre armrest excepted) like silver vents, handles etc, and I'm glad . Concentrate on the essentials. Note to self, and anyone reading that sweats >24C like I do, buying a car. "The AC's not very effective" can be as expensive, time-consuming and off-putting as any engine or transmission problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Went ahead with the quite pricey Valeo condenser but it had at least turned up before the weekend (new drier, nice to have when renewing as a vacuum only does so much, included). Meantime, the hunt was on for the pipe to connect the IC outlet hose to the engine. There's only one that's going to work for the 1.7Di and that's the 1.7DTi pipe. Bit of a rarity now and compounded by so many Combo breakers listing them as DTi when really they're just a boggo Di. Found a few Astra DTi listings and got a pipe semi-locally for £15. I've been conscious of all this 2nd hand IC gear potentially sending crud into the delicate turbo, smashing it to smithereens that will then wreak havoc in the engine. No chance of neglecting that thought with this pipe, though, it looks like it's been shoved up a coalminer's :censor: for several years. Take more than a quick blat of compressed air prior to fitting. Not confident that my 1.3CDTi IC hose will reach the DTi pipe (an Astra's IC is a different shape with the outlets in a different place) but I happily live 3 miles from a pretty major silicone hose maker/stockist. More expense if needed, though.

Getting nowhere with a replacement window (in this country). I'm going to see how adhesives might work with the current glass-hinge join and, if not successful, just bonding the whole pane to the entire rubber seal. I never open the blasted thing anyway and could always tear the lot out and replace it with Spanish glass and rubber later. The end is in sight.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Sorry Peps, the white bumper race is won (although I don't have the facelift bracket guides - and I'll be fitting the Opel grille in Malaga so no rush). AC working, and I'll carry a spare compressor with me JIC, intercooler all hooked up, just the leccy window and some tracking tomorrow to be ready for loading up and heading south. George the mech even gave the replaced wing a quick polish so it matched up to the rest of the body. My adhesives look to have bonded the glass back to the hinge so no need to glue the whole thing shut. I'll post 1-2 pics tomorrow, after I've paid what will doubtless be a pretty hefty bill. A lot of new OE parts and a lot of hours. Should be regular maintenance only for a while now, I hope.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I'm glad to hear that. I wonder if you'll need the 'lift guides (mine's an 02)? The wing-meet is a bit bulgy without them, but I'm still pleased to see it on - I even forgot about the AC work carried out. btw, the crisper (£2 the pair) reflector lights are on. The (£9) projectors would have been more hassle/time although I can consider that at my leisure. I did notice (too late, back home, stressful collect trip) that the back covers were missing after I'd bought them. tbh, I know that the std types don't dazzle oncoming in EU and that's enough for me to settle for them anyway.
 
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