How do you plan & execute restoration / modification of your Opel projects? - Page 2
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Thread: How do you plan & execute restoration / modification of your Opel projects?

  1. #21
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    Well, as I said, it depends on the condition of the car when it comes in. You did not say what you meant in your earlier comment, Sci Fi, and as I quoted Dumas, "All generalizations are dangerous..." Not all cars need to to be stripped down completely, but if that is what you want to do or need to do, then obviously I would agree that you have the bodywork completed, a la factory procedure, before you hang all the other stuff on it. But if the engine and driveline don't need to come out, why would one ship the car off for bodywork that is likely to be later damaged while you putz around with the other systems?
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  3. #22
    Just Some Dude in Jersey My location The Scifi Guy's Avatar
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    I will say one thing about doing body work on an Opel. DO NOT SAND THE WHOLE CAR TO BARE METAL. To me, that's crazy. Only sand the areas that need work. Nothing sticks to the paint of the car better than the original lead-based paint that was applied right after they acid dipped the car. Nothing. I don't care if you buy $500 a can paint and have the best shop in the world prep your car, it won't stick to the car as good as the original factory paint. Most good restoration candidate Opels still have most of their oem paint and show no sign of rust bubbling up or forming under the paint........after almost 50 years. I've seen numerous cars on the site here where people have completely block sanded the whole outside of their car. Why do that? Do they think they're doing there car a favor by taking all the original paint off and putting on new non-lead paint? As soon as you stop sanding rust starts happening. Within seconds. I have cleaned the protective oil coating off of new galvanized sheet metal and watched the zinc coating go white with oxidation within seconds of cleaning it dry. I've worked with steel in factory settings where I cleaned a piece of steel just before the end of my shift and the next day I would find my rusty fingerprints on the metal. That little bit of microscopic rust are like seeds that are ready to grow into rust barnacles. Paint is porous and can let a teensy bit of oxygen get in to grow those seeds. No one sands the paint off the inside of their restore cars, so why sand all the paint off of just the outside of the car. If you're fixing up a car that has a sheen of rust over the whole thing......well......maybe that car isn't a good restore candidate.

  4. #23
    Opeler Jetmugg's Avatar
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    That's an excellent point about keeping the original paint as a substrate for any future paint/body work.

    The good news for the car I bought it that it's a California car that came to MO by way of Texas. As far as I can tell, it is as rust-free as anyone in this area could hope for.

    In terms of the body, the "bad" news is that the previous owner did a cheap re-spray over the original orange color with a light metallic green. The prep was obviously not very good, as the green is not well adhered in all areas. The PO also rolled the wheel well lips in order to make clearance for wider tires and a lower stance. There is some bondo. I want to sand it down to see just how much bondo is present around the wheel wells, then go back with steel as much as possible.

    My plan is to take it back to the original orange color. When I sand the green, I will make every attempt not to go through to bare metal. I'll probably use an epoxy primer/sealer over the original paint before laying on the new new single stage orange.

    The engine & trans were not installed in the car when I bought it, so I don't have to worry about whether or not to remove them. At a bare minimum, the engine & trans will be treated to a thorough clean-up, fresh gaskets where needed, and a coat of paint.

    In terms of wiring, I've started reading up on installing a complete aftermarket wiring harness. With the engine out and the interior stripped, I think that biting the bullet and replacing the whole harness will be a good long-term move.

    I have a home-made rotisserie that I've used for previous projects. I have not yet decided whether this Manta will get the rotisserie treatment. That decision may have to wait until the initial sanding of the body is done.

    Brakes, suspension, and steering are all areas where I'm a firm believer in using new parts where they are available. New brake lines, replacing any worn suspension parts & bushings, and replacing any questionable steering components are all good choices in my book.

    For the fuel system, having the tank "boiled out" and putting all new rubber (or braided) lines in place is cheap insurance against future problems.

    Great thread - keep those ideas flowing, everyone.

    Steve.

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  6. #24
    Member My location Gordy's Avatar
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    I've heard the problem with leaving a lot of the old paint on can be how the modern primers and paints can have adverse interactions sometimes with the older paints they are put over. Not a paint expert but heard it from people that deal with paint for a living.
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  7. #25
    Opeler JudokaJohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordy View Post
    I've heard the problem with leaving a lot of the old paint on can be how the modern primers and paints can have adverse interactions sometimes with the older paints they are put over. Not a paint expert but heard it from people that deal with paint for a living.
    I'm no paint expert, either. I plan to paint mine in primer first, and only go to bare metal if necessary. I talked with a body shop owner i met at a Buddhist conference in Florida. He recommended DuPont Acrylic. That was what I was leaning toward. He said DuPont has a brand (don't remember the name) that is very good for cars of our era. I know a parts store in St. Louis that sells DuPont. I have dealt with them for some coded spray paint for a friend's car. They were great and treated me well. One of the tags on my Kadett says it was painted with acrylic paint from the factory. Single stage, no gloss or clearcoat.

  8. #26
    OpelGT.com Übermoderator My location kwilford's Avatar
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    IMO, each restoration is unique. Some low mileage and well maintained cars merely require a "freshening", which could range from touching up the existing paint, deep cleaning the interior, and attending to a few mechanical issues, to a full re-spray over existing paint, an interior re-do, and perhaps an engine rebuild. That was what most owners do when the car is a decent driver, isn't too badly worn out or rusted out, and just needs some TLC to make it fun again.

    A full restoration, such as we have seen a few documented here (and I have been doing to my '71 GT), is required when virtually all the components are equally tired, there is too much rust or body damage to just repair a few spots, and doing a rolling restoration simply isn't enough. That requires a full-on effort. Is a bare-metal media-blast required? Usually yes, as previous coats of paint (and filler) will hide existing sins. If you leave those sins covered and un-repaired, you will likely regret it later, as doing a 3/4 job is seldom going to last as long or look or drive as well as doing it right.

    Should you do a full-on restoration? Not unless you have a bag of money and incriminating photos of Keith Lundholm. Or you have mad skills, a similar sized bag of money, and a lot of time that requires filling. Retirement might qualify, except for the bag of money...

    A bare metal job has pitfalls, as Gordo has mentioned, as it can be challenging to prevent flash-rust and get good primer adhesion. But the modern epoxy primers are quite amazing regarding ease of application, and they stick, well, like glue, 'cause that is what they are.

    What procedure to follow? Be meticulous in identifying what needs to be done, with lists that start from day one and continue to shrink and grow as the project proceeds.

    Also be meticulous about taking photos as the car gets disassembled, and use lots of baggies and felt markers to keep bolts, hardware and components organized. I thought I had done a pretty good job when I started 30 years ago, but I sure wish I had a digital camera back then. And twice as many baggies and boxes to keep them all in, in an organized manner.

    Oh, and watch lots of car restoration videos and shows. I troll You-Tube constantly when I am working on a particular part of my restoration (media blasting, metal working, rough and finish body work, priming, etc etc ect.....

    HTH.
    Gordy and The Scifi Guy like this.
    Keith Wilford
    Working on the bare-metal, nut & bolt rotisserie restoration of my '71 Opel GT, and may have another GT to build next...

  9. #27
    Opeler My location SpringGT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetmugg View Post
    For the fuel system, having the tank "boiled out" and putting all new rubber (or braided) lines in place is cheap insurance against future problems.
    This is the gospel truth! I am in the middle of awakening an old 80's Porsche and I wish that I had gotten the tank cleaned professionally right at the start. Removal of the tank on this car requires removal of the trans-axle, so I made several attempts to clean and flush the tank in-situ. All it did was cost me several hundred dollars in solvents, fuel filters and plugged injectors, not to mention weeks of wasted time when I thought I had adequately cleaned the tank and pursued other, non- fuel related things that I thought were then causing the no-start problem.

    I finally ended up pulling the transaxle and tank and taking it to a shop that specializes in restoration of classic car tanks and radiators. For about $400-ish they will sand blast the tank clean inside and out, repair any leaks and coat it inside and out. I now wish that I had done it first thing. I should have it back in another week.

  10. #28
    Member My location heliman's Avatar
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    I never have a plan, I just decide what I want, decide on a time frame that is acceptable to get it completed, then make it happen! The most important thing is to have realistic expectations. I have never started a project that I didn't finish before the allotted time.
    71 GT, Ford 2.0 Zetec, Jenvey throttle bodies, Omex engine management. Subaru 6 speed transmission , Ford 7.5 4.10 posi narrowed torque arm rear end. Coilover front end. Electric power steering. Honda Accord 4 wheel discs. In dash Vintage Air, Dakota Digital gauges. Power windows. Keyless entry. Cruise.

  11. #29
    7,000 Post Club My location wrench459's Avatar
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    Q:How do you eat a elephant?
    A:One bite at a time.
    Autoholic likes this.

    Si vis pacem, para bellum "If you want peace, prepare for war"

  12. #30
    Pedal Smasher Autoholic's Avatar
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    Very interesting thread that I will be re-reading many times as I'm sure there are good ideas I've missed.

    While I have not started an Opel yet, here is my logic, some steps can be done out of order but some cannot. This won't be a quick process, total budget over like 3+ years is whatever. My end goals drives the cost, and that I plan to do as much of the work as I realistically can and am willing to learn. I see this as an investment in skills that could translate into business / career opportunities, as well as feeding my drug addiction that I was sinking $750 / month into.

    Step 1: Research the sh!t out of it if it is a new-to-you vehicle. This can take months or even years depending on the vehicle. Save an insane amount of info and pics. My absolute dream car is a 427 Cobra with a 427 SOHC, that folder is 11 years old, has over 11,000 images and total file size is just over 3 GB's. My Opel GT folder has over 10,000 images and is over 2 GB's in size. I've spent almost every single day in the past 11 years, at least thinking about a car for at least a hour a day. Usually lots of reading and research is done. Ya, I have a disease. Step 1 is the easy part for me, cars are my cocaine.

    Step Detour: Reproduction of defroster vents completed for at least initial batch. Yes, I'm still pursuing this and I'm still waiting on the 3D scanner that was supposed to be ready for shipment in February. I'm aggravated at the company but the scanner should be worth it.

    Step 2: Plan where the restoration will happen and what tools you can expect you'll need. Surf the web enough, you'll find all kinds of interesting garage setups. Some people will rent out a storage unit, some will buy a Conex, some will even plan a change in houses or buy a garage condo. This is where I am right now, aside from the above detour, figuring out where the restoration will happen (don't have a garage I can use) and what tools I will anticipate needing.

    Step 3: Be patient and buy the right car. This will be the hardest part for me, once I'm ready to pull the trigger on the GT I'll have to wait for the right one to pop up. I'm about to sell my 2014 Mustang GT, as I purchased a used Lincoln Navigator to downsize my vehicle finances to accommodate my drug addiction. It also has the ability to tow stuff, like say a GT.

    Step 4: Crank the music and become a stripper, document and bag everything for later. No, I'm not talking about my night job. I plan to take a GT down to bare metal, there is a specific color of green I want it to be. I plan to use Gibbs Brand on the bare metal surfaces to prevent and remove rust while I'm waiting to paint the car. Haven't decided on green with black stripes or not. Documenting everything will actually happen in every step after this too.

    Step 5: Paint the car myself. I'll do all the body work, priming and painting of the car. I already have some of the tools I'll need to cut and buff the paint. I'm seriously considering Ceramic Pro as a a final clear coat to prevent my paint from getting scratched. As body has to be done at this stage, installing a roll bar will happen at this time and if I make changes to the rear suspension, that too. Anything that has to be welded to the body as to be done at this point.

    Step 6: Tear down and rebuild the engine, including blueprinting and balancing. I want to do a 2.4 L conversion, but I'm open to displacement. What I want is ~200 RWHP with a Getrag 240. I plan on creating a tri-y exhaust header and possibly a cherry bomb exhaust system. I also really want to create a tubular intake manifold, designed specially for a 38 DGES. Some of you may remember my quick and crude CAD drawings. All machining work that has to be done will be outsourced. Might consider contacting an Opel specialist for head work, might go full nuts and do it myself.

    Step 7: Strip, paint and rebuild all parts that aren't purchased new, such as the axle, front frame members, etc. Most of these parts will be painted gloss black. Many of these parts will be small projects, small rewards by themselves. Gas tank will be either restored or replaced at this stage.

    Step 8: Start reassembly of mechanical assemblies. Front suspension and rear suspension should be pretty easily installations. Engine will be harder but as a whole assembly, not insane. One of the things I love about the GT is the simplicity, you have whole sub-assemblies. Routing brake lines will be done after the front and rear suspensions are installed, before the engine is installed. This makes it easier to use some long wire to plan all the bends for brake and fuel lines.

    Step 9: Electrical system, install a new and ready to drop in electrical system. Knowing me, I won't be able to resist repackaging the wiring with a braided loom. Oh and a dry cell battery will be in the back of the car under the luggage platform where the A/C system normally would go. Screw having an 80 pound battery up in the nose.

    Step 10: Install interior and all glass. Dash and related parts go in first, then roof insulation, headliner, floor insulation, carpet, seats, door trim, etc.

    Step 11: Registration, insurance, etc. All the stuff I need to legally drive it.

    Step 12: Car shows and pleasure cruises. Possible family heirloom someday.
    Last edited by Autoholic; 03-27-2017 at 12:19 AM.
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  13. #31
    Member My location Gordy's Avatar
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    Backtrack a bit on your final steps. Because the headliner goes under the rubber gaskets of all the windows you will want to put the headliner in before you put any glass in. Your post was a good read otherwise.
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  14. #32
    Pedal Smasher Autoholic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordy View Post
    Backtrack a bit on your final steps. Because the headliner goes under the rubber gaskets of all the windows you will want to put the headliner in before you put any glass in. Your post was a good read otherwise.
    Thanks, now that I think about it that is how it needs to be. I did remember the dash needs to go in before the glass, makes it a lot easier to install.
    ~Joe
    "Autoholism is an incurable addiction medicated daily with car porn." ~Me

    "the sickest of the sick — a car guy who is collecting parts for the restoration of a car he doesn’t even own yet." ~Anonymous

  15. #33
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    When I want to do something I figure what do I need to do to get it done, then think about how and maybe toss some ideas around with my dad, then I dive in and go with the flow.
    1962 olds f85 cutlass: 455, 4l80e
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