New to the Opel Community in Pennsylvania
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Thread: New to the Opel Community in Pennsylvania

  1. #1

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    New to the Opel Community in Pennsylvania

    Hi all, I just came across your website and I'm hoping that I can use it as a resource. I'm an engineer by trade - former mechanic, but will always be a car nut. I have several project cars including a pair of 60's Mustangs and a 90's Thunderbird. I don't actually own an Opel, but I have a yellow Opel GT hanging out with the Mustangs at my garage. The Opel belongs to a friend of mine; I am helping him restore it for his mom, who I believe bought the car new.

    I believe the car is a 73 (don't remember off the top of my head) with a 1.9 liter. It runs and drives, but has a very bad rod knock - I believe the engine has probably spun a bearing. I am planning on removing the engine in a few weeks to determine what it needs to be rebuilt. I do have a Chilton manual for it, but was wondering if if you guys have any advice on rebuilding and where to get engine parts for the 1.9L. I have no previous Opel experience, but I have rebuilt a couple small block Ford V8s and have also done work on Honda and Nissan engines. One of the things I'm hoping to determine, is if it is possible or worthwhlie just to get a rebuilt engine for it.

    I appreciate any advice / recommendations you can give me.

    -Carlo

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  3. #2
    Opel-ing since '74 opelgtguy's Avatar
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    Thumbs upWelcome

    Hello Carlo:
    Welcome to the site. Some of the greatest people I've met are on this list,
    and will be more than willing to offer help and advice.
    The foremost place for parts - and I am sure most will agree - is Opel GT Source in California. There are several other vendors who carry new and used parts. You can find links to them all right here at OpelGT.com.
    Keep us posted on your progress, and good luck.
    Rick
    Hatboro, PA
    73 GT
    75 Manta

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    Welcome Carlo, you can go either way on the Opel CIH engine, purchase a rebuilt or do it yourself. But, this is not your typical overhead cam or overhead valve motor. It has the cam in head, so you can't treat it like a standard US V-8, as far as milling the heads if they are a bit warped. Any change in the head or block mating surface will impact the cam timing. This is covered rather extensively in the forums on this site. Just run a search with key words, like cam timing or head milling and you'll get a lot of info. In fact run a search on any subject and you could be reading info and hints for a long time. Welcome to the world of Opels, and be careful, folks have been know to come up with a serious case of Opelitis, just helping other Opel owners.




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    Thanks for the warm welcome and the advice. I'll keep an eye out for the symptoms of Opelitis. I guess joining an online Opel forum is a bad sign though....

    I must admit that the Opel definitly gets lots of attention from people. Anyone who stops by the garage asks about it. Some want to know what kind of car it is. Others know what it is, and want to check it out because they haven't seen one in years. And, I do correct the people who think that it's a Buick.

    -Carlo

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    OpelGT.com Übermoderator kwilford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmd146
    I'm an engineer by trade - former mechanic, but will always be a car nut.
    That describes several folks on this list. Myself, James Coronato (NP61WP), and a few others. Welcome to our madness, even if it is only temporary (or at least for now!)
    Quote Originally Posted by cmd146
    . I do have a Chilton manual for it, but was wondering if if you guys have any advice on rebuilding and where to get engine parts for the 1.9L. I have no previous Opel experience, but I have rebuilt a couple small block Ford V8s and have also done work on Honda and Nissan engines. One of the things I'm hoping to determine, is if it is possible or worthwhile just to get a rebuilt engine for it.
    First, get a genuine Opel Factory Service Manual. They are readily available on eBay, and many used-book stores have them. Get a FSM for a '71, '72 or '73 model, since the earlier versions had different wiring and slightly different transmissions and differentials. The '74 Opel FSM doesn't work for the GT, since '73 was the last year.

    Generally, it is better to rebuild what you have rather than get a "rebuilt" engine. There isn't a source for "rebuilt" Opel engines (except Roger Wilson of Roger's Opel Engineering, and Bob Dennard of TGSI, both in CA; both specialize in HiPo engines only , but Bob seems to have fallen off the face of the earth). Beware of so-called "rebuilt" engines such as I have seen on eBay, and even advertised here. A fresh coat of paint and even new rings and bearings DO NOT qualify it as a "rebuilt". It takes a lot more than that on any engine, but especially on a 30 year old Opel engine.

    Opel CIH (Cam In Head) engines are almost always worth rebuilding. The engines are very durable, with an excellent quality block (high grade cast iron) and a forged crank. Opel-specific pistons (either the stock low compression dished pistons or the earlier high compression flat tops) are available up to 0.040" (1 mm) over,. Go with the Hi CR pistons. Or you can use Chevy Small Block 265 pistons with some machining and an Opel 2.0 head gasket to get to a 2.0 litre. Rods are usually only available used, and you might need a set if one is spun and the journal is too large to re-size. Try to get a set of earlier (pre-73 I think?) rods, as they are forged versus the later cast rods. If yours are forged, then you can get just one, but make sure they are re-sized and balanced along with the pistons and crank. Also get the mains re-sized and line bored. Thirty years can cause a lot of alignment shift.

    Heads are the weakest part, especially the later (post mid-'72) 12 bolt heads with induction-hardened exhaust seats. They are VERY prone to cracking, which usually results in their demise (no practical way to fix them; just find a earlier 10 bolt head and get exhaust seat inserts installed). MAKE SURE that you get your '73 head magnufluxed. Cracking is too common, and rebuilding an engine with a cracked head is a waste of time and money.

    Cams are also a bit problematic, and are prone to lobe wear. New ones (or re-grinds) are readily available. New lifters (NEVER use old lifters on a new cam) are easily bought, as are timing chains.

    Parts such as seals, gaskets, rings and bearings are often available from your local supply store, but OGTS (http://www.opelgtsource.com/) is an EXCELLENT source for parts, for such things as pistons and other Opel-specific items. Not to mention the EXCELLENT advice they provide for techniques of Opel engine rebuilding. DO NOT rely on your local machine shop to know what they need to know. They do NOT!

    Good luck with your friend's GT, and if you need any advice, use the search feature here, and if you can't find what you need, ask away.

    HTH
    Keith Wilford
    Finishing up a bare-metal, nut & bolt rotisserie restoration of my '71 Opel GT

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