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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, new member here and I entered formalities in the other thread section. Basic recap: I owned a 1971 GT from 1990 to about 1997 and traded it in for a truck. Flash forward about 24 years and I recently purchased a “1970” Opel GT.
I say it is a 1970 (ish) GT as it has a 1971 engine in it. The rest of the car is a 1970 and it was finish built December 1969. The person I bought it from had decided to weld up the head lights and do a few other things that will be corrected.
I live in Ontario Canada, Opels are seldom seen. I have never seen my original car again and finding them for sale is rare - unless they are modified, pimped out for big bucks or scrap. My wife has been looking to get an Opel back for years and she found one - about 3200 km (2000 miles away).
November 26 my son and I and a friend drove my truck and trailer out the 3200 km’s from Ontario to Calgary, picked up the car, got some parts and trailered it back 3200 km. It was quite the adventure. I met up with Keith (who is on the board here) and a couple other Opel enthusiasts. It was a great day!

The car is relatively rust free, but needs some metal work. The wiring is crap. The interior needs a big face lift and the engine has some issues -more on that later

some pics:

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Welcome. What a shame he welded the headlight buckets in. One of the most endearing features on the GT. Oh well.

Hope things aren't mangled beyond repair. You probably have a lot more patience than me. I am reasonably skilled at metal work (albeit slow); but the welded up headlight buckets would have been a deal killer for me.

Best,
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Restoration continued :

once we got the car home I rinsed off the road salt and it went into the garage. It came with a cracked windshield (red tape in pictures) and that was punched out quite quickly. I also removed the 1/4” thick bond on the head light openings and will chop them out soon.
At pick up time I had met up with Keith and the gang. He threw on a brief tune up session to see where the engine stood. Compression was 105, 115,125 and 123 or something like that. Cylinder #1 was off and 2 a bit low. We did some timing adjustment and checked the advance and retard on the distributor. There were some silly long spark plug cables and a few other interesting mods to things so we left it at that.

back home I did a bit more “investigation” and found the hydraulic lifters had been probably set up like normal tappets. Correction of this did not change the poor compression reading. Changing the spark wires did improve some running - I found that the wires picked by the previous folks were not connecting at the distributor very well. I did a boroscope check on the cylinders and found what looked like a valve strike on the #1 piston crown and the honing of the liners looked very poor- I abandoned any further diagnostic as the engine will not be going back in.
My son and wife inventoried all the spare parts and started taking off all the outside stuff - back windshield, rear lights, front marker lights etc

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sorry it may be hard to see the above picture as it a picture of the boroscope screen- basically the top of the piston you can see the round impression

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Part of my parts that came back was a 1971 engine block and head - I have that apart and will post info next on that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
@LynnB - thanks for the response - yes, there are a few words about the previous owner best left unsaid but basically they cut the tops off the buckets and welded them in and pitched all the rest of the headlight gear - rod, rotators, etc. I think I have enough to put it all back as the car did come wit spare buckets and covers. I acquired the other parts and have a new cable on the way from OGTS

as for the spare engine. It is a 1971 with the dished pistons. :

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given the state of the onboard engine, I tore this one down to see if it was a good rebuild candidate:

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as it sits tonight I have it pretty much apart save for the valves. The cylinder bore is measuring 3.659 to 3.660 and the con rod journals and main bearing journals are all to original spec.

the intention is to rebuild the engine with new pistons, bearings, seals etc to be a 1970/71 engine. Nothing really fancy - but a nice running engine. The engine currently in the car will need to donate parts and after that will get opened up for a look see.
Basically there is nothing amiss with the second block so the intent is to restore it and get a car
Going. The engine currently in the car has a few issues - it may be a candidate for a bore out and go from there.

Today we stripped the original rims of the 1981 and 83 tires and these rims will get blasted and repainted at some point.

A big order went into Santa at OGTS and it was super great to talk to them and they still had me on file after about 28 years - LOL.
 

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Hey Brent, it was great to meet you and Carter. Welcome back to the world of Opels, and welcome to the Calgary Opel Co-op. Brent's Co-op membership came via a transfer from the Previous Owner, and between the Co-op for the extra engine and some other parts, and my personal Opel parts stash for rebuilt headlight rotators, I believe we have provided him a very good foundation for the restoration of his Opel GT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
@kwilford : it was a most excellent time to meet up with you and become a co-op member. It was essential for the cars restoration!

This weekend Carter and I will go for the big part removal blitz and that should take care of a lot of stuff. After that we will set up for engine removal and suspension removal. I will take pictures as we go and Carter is taking pictures and documenting all the parts, putting them in bins and baggies for easier reinstalling.

February will be a busy month.

Were the original pistons installed in an engine identified on the piston- as in: were they stamped 1,2 or 3? Or are they just sized by measuring and comparing?
 

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Congrats BrentH, and welcome to the fun,
this will keep you busy for a while, I look forward to your progress
You will have exceptional fun with this project
 

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Congrats, that gt will be a lot of fun. It looks pretty solid and is definitely a good candidate even if the headlights were welded in.

Congrats, Sam
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
For the engine guys out there - I am measuring things up to make sure I order all the required parts. Sadly I believe a new cam shaft is in order.

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the lifter is also dished for the #2 cylinder - it is a hydraulic one and is free moving

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I do not have a spring tension gauge but measuring the springs the #2 intake is about 0.020 longer than shortest intake spring and around 0.010 longer than the other two.
Anyway looks like the cam shaft will be in the bin….
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Carter and I went at it today and stripped out a bunch of the interior, drained all the gas, pulled off the rear bumpers and found a few nests (no one onboard so it was ok). Looks like a few updates were attempted - like the fuel tank vent system hoses are all new and draining the gas only put a small amount of rust into the pail.
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All the rodent stuff was cleaned out. The carpet and foam is all original and went to the bin. The back deck carpet is new, however, so I saved it. At least for now.

We removed the doors and side windows and pulled the dash and console. Pulled off the hood and windshield wiper motor. Found additional rodent home and got rid of all that.
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Tomorrow we will pull the engine compartment apart, remove the wire harnesses and maybe get it up on jack stands.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It was a bit of a slow day today on the car as my lad chose to have a bit of a sleep in. We did manage to pull off all the engine auxiliaries and I got the “wire harness” pulled back to the cockpit. I also cut out the welded in head lights as I was sick of looking at it like that.
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I don’t know why the square holes were made in the light bucket holes - that will be fixed.

Other finds: looks like some less decent person used the drain hole in the front cowling room pull the car with what I believe is a chain hook.
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Some banging about with a mallet and I was able to get a few dents out and once the car is flipped I will weld up the mess.
The other couple issues: very poor installation of the bracket for the alternator- no bushing on the lever arm has smashed the aluminum front casing piece. This will need to see the mill to repair.
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And the other issue I was texting @kwilford about : the nylon cam nut/spacer was not installed when this engine was rebuilt

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Oh and the worst gasket installation on the exhaust/intake. I broke the screw off - oops - but check the gasket out:

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And the exhaust to exhaust pipe was on with 3 screws (yes screws) and one partly threaded bolt. The manifold has a few issues with shoddy repairs. I will be interesting to make some repairs.
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Some rust on drivers side - we will fix this up.
 

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Ahh, the joys of a 52 year old car that has seen FAR too many owners in its life, and likely few of them had a hot clue. Not just about Opel GT's, I mean about anything...

I noticed the extra square holes below the headlight buckets when I was peering into the voids from the engine compartment. Weird. Wonder what the PO planned for those?

My strong recommendation is to bin the old cast iron exhaust manifold, and replace it with either the full or "shorty" header that OGTS sells. The heat stove was useful when these cars were winter-driven. But for all but the coldest days, it just boils the gas in the carb. I went so far as to "header-wrap" my Sprint exhaust manifold (only came to North America in the EFI '75 Manta's and Ascona's) to reduce the intake manifold temp (and general underhood temp). Works the treat.

I don't like to see corrosion in A pillars. Usually indicative of systemic rust. Hopefully not.

Good work so far. Just the tip of the ice floe, of course. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Back for a few more things on the car. Ground out most of the headlights back to the original flange piece. Removed the front wire harness, fuse box and heating system. Also took out the headliner and front and rear quarter panel covers. Did a big vacuum of the car and found some rust.
Rear passenger quarter panel hid a bunch. Not through
the panel, that is good. Drivers side floor panel - not so good - it will need more repair. Found some broken off bolts where the rear deck support bracket goes and banged out some dents in the back floor pan. Tomorrow I hope to pull out the entire wire harness and the gas tank and then perhaps work on the front and rear suspension for dropping out the engine.
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Todays progress had me remove the gas tank and I took out all the wire harness. Picture below shows a rust issue and a welded up rear marker.
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this is the drivers side - it will need a fix.
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Interior carpet holders/grommets- suppliers???
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just need to note missing side light.
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Brent: I have a spare pair of the headlight "on" body panels in fairly good shape. I am talking about only the bulbous side of the roll over headlight sheet metal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
@RBYoung : thanks for the offer - those I have 4 - LOL I was surprised that “lighting” seems to be the “out” on this car - very strange.
I received my first order from Opel GT source yesterday. I should have a sweet interior when it’s all done and a new engine :).
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So it has been a slow couple days with Christmas coming and the move on to get my lathe restored. Just a couple things working away on the car.

Gas tank is out and soaking in parts cleaner. I carefully took the fuel level sensor apart and cleaned out a good 1” to 1-1/2” of gooey sludge out of the bottom. Careful not to damage the wires I cleaned up the rest with a small tooth brush. The float now goes up and down and I hope works. It will get tested prior to re-install when the dash gets its big test.

I gouged out and filled the craters in the dash and fixed a few other issues. It needs some finishing and then we will see what it will be covered in. :

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I took apart the heater and put a new core kit in, cleaned the fan, tested it at low and high speeds, drilled out the damper rivets and installed new rubbers. Also de-rusted and painted anything rusty. Should work quite well now.
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