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Super Moderator
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So here's the test, for all of you neophyte engine rebuilder experts. And no hints from the classicopels crowd, since I already posted the answer there.

What does this picture show that you should NEVER do when re-assembling a recently rebuilt engine? Here's a clue: if one is bad, two is good, and three is awful!
 

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Super Moderator
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What, I don't get it?;)
 

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Detritus Maximus
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So that's what that noise was! I thought it was a sticking lifter.....
 

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Opeler
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I don't know the answer, as I don't understand the clue .

However, if that were my crank I would be having words with the person who didn't finish the chamfering of the oil ways.
 

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OPEL-LESS!!!
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i believe the clue was supposed to be interpreted as in 1 bearing is bad because you need 2, 2 bearings is good, because it should be that way and 3 is bad because thats too many. the main cap is off so there must have been another bearing in the main, totaling 3 bearings for one main. havent been able to keep up with forums lately because my comp crashed, straightened stuff out and i'm finally able to post once again!!!! power to me.
 

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Member
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Now that I can tell what I'm looking at, I'll comment.

1. Bad chamfer.
2. Bad crank regind... appears to be no fillets at either side of the journal. A sure way to break a crank if this is going to make any HP of consequence.
3. Some one had to really try hard to stuff three bearings in. It would be almost impossible not to know something was wrong as the engine was being assembled. There's no way to torque the cap and not know something is wrong... by feel while torqueing and by just looking at it.
4. This is more likely a "spun" bearing. This means that the person assembling the engine did not measure everything properly before and while putting the engine together. Also, it probably wasn't torqued properly... and a lot of other stuff in the "probably" catagory.
 

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Opeler
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Actually the previous assembler forgot to install the pressure plate, I understand that the clutch disc was there. Obviously the clutch pedal pressure was a bit low, but i guess he figures that with things being lubed up it was just easier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Ah, some of the classicopels list members are starting to chime in. And "ftl" is aka John Warga, whose garage the evidence is residing in here in Calgary, and who took the excellent photo, and even was the first to identify what the hell we were looking at. THAT'S why it wouldn't spin over!

The award goes to.... (drum roll please!)

greeensmurf!!!

Way to go Jared! And Bob Dennard had the rest of the answer. Yep, the unfortunate engine re-builder (using the term somewhat loosely, to say the least) had an engine with a spun rod bearing. But not in THIS connecting rod! No, somehow when he reassembled the engine with new con rod bearing shells, he forgot (overlooked?) the old bearing shell, which was still properly seated in the connecting rod. So he slipped a new shell in the rod over top of the old shell (under the crank, which was in place), and a new shell in the rod cap, and dutifully torqued it down. He claimed to have "done it by the book", but I NEVER read that paragraph. And the strain placed on the rod cap bent the rod bolt into the shell. You can see the little round indent on the "inner" shell.

Unfortunately, he also neglected to plastigage the bearing clearances, since not only did this bearing have a NEGATIVE 60 thousandths of an inch clearance (the thickness of a shell), the rod with the spun bearing, even when fitted with new bearing shells, had over 10 thou clearance. Interestingly, the crank mic'd out on-spec, but the diameter of the rod "hole" had increased, such that the new bearing shells don't quite touch at the ends when it is torqued up. I guess it was actually stretched in some fashion?

For more on the story, read the posting at http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/classicopels/message/33538

I have also posted a few photos of the car in my album, at http://www.opelgt.com/photopost/showphoto.php/photo/2003/ppuser/11112

Oh, and as Gary mentioned, the final straw was the poor fellow slid the clutch disk over the input shaft of the transmission (which was still in the car) and then dropped the engine in with the flywheel in place but NO PRESSURE PLATE! No need for an clutch alignment tool.

Thanks for playing!
 

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70's Opeler, back 4 more!
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Keith,

Tried to go to the link for more on the story but all I got was this log in screen. And, I'm not a member.

How many other people have directed links at the Yahoo members site? I know of couple.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sorry about that, but I presumed that most members here also subscribe to the classicopels list. If you don't, you probably should, just to be able to access the files and the help from the list.

Here's the story, in two parts:

A Sad Day in Leduc, Alberta, Canada....

For those that know (or know of) Katherine McCoy (aka “Kat, the Crazy Opel Lady of Leduc”), here’s an update. She is planning to emigrate back to the States, to the Salem, Oregon area to be precise. She has already exported her GT and bought a daily driver (a Chevy Corsica). She sold her Manta (from PA) and her Kadetts (from CO and CA) to her neighbour. Which left the ’75 Ascona Sportwagon. It had suffered a spun rod bearing this spring (after overheating) and her (soon to be ex) husband had attempted a repair. But he couldn’t get the engine to rotate, which turned out to be a scored rod bearing (or so it seems), and possibly other mechanical malfeasances. Like a “forgotten” clutch pressure plate. As of last week, the car was banished from the McCoy garage, and went to a Rent-a-Wrench for another attempted repair. Sadly, to no avail. And she HAS to get to Oregon by September 20, so her kids can start school. If a bit late.

So it was either rescue the Ascona SportWagon, or it was off to the crusher in lieu of the rent owing. John Warga (fellow Calgary Opel GT owner and frequenter of this site) and I drove to Edmonton Saturday in his Grand Cherokee, pulling our local Vintage Sports Car Club of Calgary towing dolly. I bought the Ascona from Kat, paid off its debts, and we towed it back to Calgary, to temporarily reside at John’s house in his driveway. The plan is to pull the engine and determine the extent of damage. The car came from Tacoma WA this past winter, and is virtually rust free, with excellent glass all around. But the interior is pretty trashed, and the body has its share of small dents, as well as fading paint. It looks MUCH better in a picture.

So my quandary is this. I need another car (especially an Opel) like I need another hole on my head. Which is what Myrna might give me if I don’t reduce our car count, currently at six. We only have three drivers in the family. If the engine checks out, it will still need a fair bit of work, such as a rebuilt radiator, probably some brake repairs, certainly a major re-wiring, and a bunch of minor body repairs to allow it to be painted. And a fairly major re-upholstery of both seats and probably the rear seat as well. Dash is also somewhat cracked, but the headliner (thanks to Kat’s endless scrubbing) is pristine. But it has the Fuel Injection, and the Big Brakes! So do I try to resuscitate it, either for myself (WHY!!!) or my daughter (and she also says WHY!!!). Or sell it, maybe back to Kat when she gets on her feet. Or do I do the logical thing, and install the FI and brake package in my GT (or John’s), part out what is needed in the Opel community, and crush the rest?

What to do???? Stay tuned. And here is a picture of the Ascona, and her very sad former owner.

Keith Wilford

’71 GT
’75 Ascona SportWagon (with Fuel Injection and Big Brakes!)
2003 Honda Odyssey
2002 Lexus IS 300
1988 Honda Prelude Si 4WS
1987 Toyota Celica GTS


Can You Identify This Rare Opel Malady And Other Organ Donor Stories

OK, before you read any further, open up the first attachment and see if you can identify what it is. This particular “thing” kept a recently “rebuilt” engine from being able to be turned over (as in, it was acting seized”). No really, open the photo…

Well, are you stumped? I was too. Here’s the story.

This engine came out of the Ascona SportWagon that I recently bought from Kat. To reprise the tale, it was a salvage yard special from Tacoma WA when Kat rescued it last winter and brought it up to Alberta. It’s a 1975, with the EFI and big brake package and virtually no rust and perfect glass, so it’s a fairly interesting car. Shortly after she brought it home, it overheated and apparently “spun” a rod bearing, resulting in a very loud engine knock. Larry tried to rebuild it, but by his own admission, he really isn’t mechanically inclined. He replaced the con rod bearings, honed the cylinders and installed new rings. But after installing the engine in the car, he discovered that the engine was seized. And the reason why….???

Well, it was too sad. He had installed new con rod bearing shells, and missed removing one of the old shells. The picture shows what happens with two bearing shells sitting one atop each other in the con rod journal. So, instead of having ½ to 2 ½ thousandths of an inch clearance between the two bearing half-shells and the crank journal, there was THREE bearing half-shells. An extra bearing shell is 60 thou (thousandths of an inch) thick, and the rod cap jammed the extra shell into the crank rod journal. So that’s a BAD thing.

Unfortunately, it also damaged the connecting rod. The rod bolts caused the inner edges of the con rod journal to be bent inwards, which then forces the bearing shell into the crank.

And that is only half of it. Another rod (I suspect the one that had the spun bearing) is also “stretched”. Or at least the diameter of the hole is now bigger, such that the new bearing shells don’t touch at the ends, and the bearing clearance is about 10 thou (versus 2.5 thou max)

And the cam is toast. Three lobes are worn flat and one bearing journal is scored, which probably means that the cam bearing is also scored. And the lifters on the worn lobes are shot.

The good news? Well, the block looks OK, the cylinders are only slightly worn (with a bit of ring ridge, but not more than a thou or so) and the pistons are perfect. The cylinders need a more thorough de-glazing, but are round and straight. The head looks perfect, and this was a BIG concern, since it had overheated and it IS the later 12 bolt heat, supposedly susceptible to cracking. And the crank looks good, with only one rod journal below spec, and the mains are perfect. The oil pump measures up OK, and the cover is only slightly scored.

So, what to do? Kat still hopes that she can get her life in order, and come back and reclaim the car before the snow flies. I just doubt that Kat can achieve all that needs to be done in order for that to happen, so the Ascona will probably face another fate. Be restored to its original condition? Nice thought, but not by this cowboy. A certain GT has precedence. Can it just be fixed up enough to make a decent daily driver? Well, there is a lot that would need to be done: two new rods, all new bearings, grind the crank, hone the cylinders, a complete engine gasket kit, new steering rack boots, rebuilt radiator (it has a hole), new clutch disk and pressure plate (the old one was “lost”), the seats are SHOT, the wiring is pretty bad and the fuse box is nowhere to be seen. It seems like the required investment is getting close to the value of the car, and that doesn’t include the TIME. Of which I have almost none, since my current place of employment is short an entire management team. Except me. And my old Prelude is in parts in Myrna’s half of our garage, waiting to be fixed up for Ashley to use as a daily driver this winter. But enough of my problems.

I was truly hoping that this would resolve itself more easily. If the general condition was better, and the damage done to the engine less severe, it might be worth fixing. But I am just not prepared to add to my list of obligations by fixing this car up. So, if Kat isn’t able to come get the car by November 1 (six weeks), the good parts will be organ donored, and the remainder will be made available to the Opel public. Anyone want an Ascona SportWagon body?

Stay tuned…

Keith Wilford

So Many Opels, So Little Time…
 

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70's Opeler, back 4 more!
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Keith (or anybody else)

Fill me in on the classicopels Yahoo site. How do I find it? How do I become a member? And how much does it cost?

Thanks,

Chris
 

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"Newbie"
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What causes just one rod barring to be spun? i removed the engine from the gt (out of the top btw) removed the oil pan and the only the #1 cyl. rod bearing spun. looks like the crank is scarred. rod is still smooth. so is the cap. I don't want to risk repair without probable cause. any help would be appreciated.

travis.
 

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It probably began as a lack of oil between the crank and the bearing. As the steel journal wiped bearing material away, massive friction occurred and heat built up, then the gap made room for one bearing shell to slide up between the other shell and the crank.
Just one is all it takes. Did the bottom shell end up on top? I don't know why mine went that way, you'd think it would be the other way around.
Don't re-use that rod unless your machinist okays it! And, I found that you shouldn't "mix in" another odd rod with the three originals. I bet the weights are very different.
I love Keith's rod bearing story. The moral is, try to kind of pay attention when messing with stuff. Or something like that.
 

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Old Opeler
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In this Instance ...

What causes just one rod barring to be spun? i removed the engine from the gt (out of the top btw) removed the oil pan and the only the #1 cyl. rod bearing spun. looks like the crank is scarred. rod is still smooth. so is the cap. I don't want to risk repair without probable cause. any help would be appreciated. travis.
The most usual cause of a spun con rod bearing is .. Detonation.
Try putting a used shell on a steel plate and tapping the centre of the bearing material side with a ball penne hammer and see the ends of the shell close up. This happens in the rod and the ends come in enough to wipe the oil film off the journal ... and Eldorado!
Although, resizing of the rod end is important during a rebuild it is usually NOT lack of crush when the bearing shell is fitted that causes a spun bearing. Once the oil film is gone the rest is down hill ....... no matter how 'tight' the crush was.

However, in the instance quoted by Keith - the 'engine builder' actually slid the new bearing shell in over the top of the old one .. and the engine locked up, so could not be started!
 
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