Vauxhall Astra Mk3 (2 litre XE)

With factory management systems being so heavily biased towards economy and emissions, it's only natural that there's a trade-off in terms of performance. Due to the expense of reprogramming an original system it now makes much more sense to fit a fully programmable ECU instead.

This Mk3 Astra was such a case. With upgraded cams, the already-chipped ECU was coping, but it made sense to improve the engine breathing as well. Along with this, more fuel would be needed, so larger injectors would be required.

Fitting the Canems ECU meant bike throttle bodies could be adapted to fit the XE engine. In this case, Suzuki GSXR600 parts were used. Fuel injectors were upgraded to 330cc/min flow rate items and fuel pressure raised from 2.5 to 3 Bar.

Individual throttle butterflies and inlet runners for each cylinder provide much easier breathing. Furthermore, the restrictive air-flow load sensor was removed in favour of a MAP sensor. Rather than relying on a rotor-arm and distributor cap which can easily fail in competition, the ignition system was upgraded to wasted-spark with modern coil pack.

Coolant sensors and crankshaft sensor could plug straight in to the Canems ECU, as could the main relay which provides power to injectors, coil and oxygen sensor.

On this car, the existing inlet manifold was modified by the ever-helpful Bogg Brothers nr. Malton in North Yorkshire. The motorcycle throttle bodies were respaced slightly to match the port spacing on the XE cylinder head. Along with making things simpler, adapting the original manifold also meant that a custom-made fuel rail was not required.

The Astra is currently being prepared for further competition work later in the year. In this guise, power has been rolling road tested at 191bhp. Thanks once again to all at the Fuel Injection Centre in Bolton for the rolling road work.

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