Investigating the damage on the Vectra

It has been around 16 months since I have done any work on the Vectra, mainly because it is low priority on my to-do list. Apart from popping over to the garage every so often checking up on it, no work has been carried out other than removing the headlights allowing me to start inspecting for any potential damage below the surface.

It was February 2017 when I moved the car from its previous outdoor parking spot into this garage. You can read about this move and the issues I faced in my previous post.

While I haven’t done any work on the car I have managed to buy a replacement front bumper and drivers side wing on eBay for an absolute bargain of a price, they both just needed painting in the correct colour.

You may also remember the battery had completely failed, so during the January sales I bought a new one for around half price.

More recently, scrolling through Facebook I came across a Vectra in the same colour that someone was breaking. A quick message to the seller and, (another), replacement bumper in the correct colour was purchased. I did ask about the front wing I require however this one was damaged.

So, that same evening I searched through the Vauxhall & Vectra groups on facebook and found yet another Vectra in the same colour breaking. Within a few minutes a replacement front wing was purchased. A few days later, both parts arrived from two corners of the UK, and united in my garden.

This week I went over to the garage with my son. We fitted the new battery, quickly checked the oil level, (filthy oil, but correct level), and without hesitation the engine fired into life, all be it with a bit of smoke, but for the first time in 16 months it was moved out into the sunlight.

The first issue I found, as I did when I last moved the car was the rear brakes were stuck on, so it did drag locked rear wheels for a meter or so before freeing up. But, the car moved out under it’s own power!

A quick walk around the car and it was obvious that storing in the garage had helped look after it. There was no mould/moss growing on it, if anything there was less than when I parked it up. However, there are numerous cobwebs and a layer of dust.

Three of the rubber exhaust mounts have deteriorated, which is why the left hand side has dropped. Just a temporary fix to hold it back in place for now.

Now its time to start stripping the damaged parts from the car. Firstly, the front bumper. This didn’t take much, just a couple of torx bolts in the passenger wheel arch, two plastic pins under the bonnet and four more under the engine into the subframe. Unplug the wiring for the front fog lights and outside temperature sensor, and the bumper is off.

Now I can get a good look at the impact point from the crash, and compare it to the good side and I’m pleased to say it’s very good news. When you consider the car that hit mine had its front wheel complete with hub, brake disc & calliper completely removed on impact, this shows how tough the Vectra is.

Apart from a thin panel that holds the front wing and bumper in line and a tiny, insignificant crease in the front bar, everything looks good. The two pictures below show the comparison, the first being the passenger side with no damage, a good reference for how things should be, then the damaged side. This shows how little work it will take to sort things out.

And from this view, you can see how straight things actually are. It’s all looking very good.

For the Aircon radiator though, it’s a very different story. There is significant damage to the lower section and it almost goes without saying that it no longer holds the aircon gas, rendering the system useless. As it doesn’t affect anything with the car other than the comfort of the occupants, I will leave this at the bottom of the list for now.

On the plus side, this impact did protect the main radiator behind it, so the engine cooling system is in full working order as far as I can tell.

At this point I went to remove the front wing, only to find I forgot to put my socket/spanner set in the van. So I decided to just check around the car again, fire up the engine and with the help of my son, film the smoke being produced before parking it back in the garage.

I will investigate the smoke at a later date. Could it be just dirty three year old diesel? Could it be oil burning? It certainly doesn’t smell of oil. But anyway, for now thats where I am at. Hopefully it won’t be another 16 months before the next update!

Any questions or suggestions, please do contact me.

Until next time, thanks for reading.

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