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Discussion Starter #1
I purchased my first Opel Gt this last weekend!!! I was able to get a rust free (minus battery tray) car that had just had the engine and all go items removed about a month ago. She (Bobbi) needs an engine, trans, exhaust and such along with interior. This car is to be built for myself to enjoy and then turned over to my son once he is 16...I have 9 years for the project. I am heavily leaning toward a 13B rotary or Renesis. I can pick up either for about 2k here in SoCal for engine and transmission and even sometimes a whole parting out car. I have looked at some of the RX7 threads and like what I see, but no-one has really tackled a Renesis and I worry that the 6 speed manual transmission is too short. I am open to other alternatives, but really want to stay around 2-3K for engine and transmission as I need to still spend money on cage/interior/rear end/paint. I want about 150-250 hp to have fun, but not die. Thanks so much for comments.
 

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I purchased my first Opel Gt this last weekend!!! I was able to get a rust free (minus battery tray) car that had just had the engine and all go items removed about a month ago. She (Bobbi) needs an engine, trans, exhaust and such along with interior. This car is to be built for myself to enjoy and then turned over to my son once he is 16...I have 9 years for the project. I am heavily leaning toward a 13B rotary or Renesis. I can pick up either for about 2k here in SoCal for engine and transmission and even sometimes a whole parting out car. I have looked at some of the RX7 threads and like what I see, but no-one has really tackled a Renesis and I worry that the 6 speed manual transmission is too short. I am open to other alternatives, but really want to stay around 2-3K for engine and transmission as I need to still spend money on cage/interior/rear end/paint. I want about 150-250 hp to have fun, but not die. Thanks so much for comments.
Welcome to the community, we have several non-opel swaps, one or two are the rotary. Try contacting Marty Rimmer GTRotaryTXon this sitehe has done the 13B swap
 

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Opel Tinkerer and Rescuer
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Being your in California, a european 2.4L from Opels Unlimited or Opel GT Source would be about that and need less work to fit in. May have to rebuild it.. but you will more than like rebuild any used motor you get.

The 2.4L doesnt affect suspension and such.. so overall its a much easier job.

I only mention this because IF you do ever sell, the 2.4L is seen as an upgrade and can help the price, a non-Opel swap is seen as more custom and can decrease the value of the car.

Just an idea. The Rotary swap is one of the least complex to do from a fitment standpoint as its smaller than the Opel drivetrain.. but more complex as the motor is speciality motor. As Gene said Marty has done it, and for the life of me cant remember but a guy in either Canada or Washington state has done one and done it REALLY REALLY nicely. He shows his at the Tacoma meet.
 

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I want about 150-250 hp to have fun, but not die. Thanks so much for comments.
150 hp + in a GT is quite a bit hp when you consider the power to weight ratio as the GT is a very small and light car compared to just about every modern car out there, you don't quite realize how small until you start looking at modern engines and break out the tape measure

The second thing to keep in mind is the GT's origins as it's originally based on a 1.1 liter sedan with about 60 hp, it's worth keeping in mind when you set your final hp goal as the body isn't the stiffest

Rear axle, again the Opel rear axle isn't the strongest and while it will handle 150 hp you start pushing it when you hit 200 hp

There are workarounds for everything but it's def worth keeping in mind as the only thing left of the GT when you're done will be the basic body shape so you're about to start on a fairly huge project. Doable but def a lot of work and as always around here most people will recommend a less ambitious projects including the 2.4 engines that GoinManta mentioned, bags of torque and about 125 honest hp at the flywheel, combined with the more modern Getrag 5 speed and you not only have a pretty quick GT but as GoingManta mentioned you've also added some value to your car.

If 125 hp def isn't enough the 2.4 is quite popular in rallying here in Europe and while not cheap to tune it doesn't take too much to get it into the 150 hp + range you mentioned and it has a ton more torque than a rotary. PJ Romano has very nice built 2.4 in his GT, pretty darn quick and sounds awesome

Best of luck with whatever direction you choose, looking forward to seeing some updates
 

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Is this wise to put your 16 year old into a high H/P Opel?
Depends on how much you like him and how much life insurance you have on him.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
In reply to giving to my son....I started with a Supra as a 16 year old and got a job as a delivery driver 3 days after getting my license. Also the other two cars in the household right now are both well over 300 hp each...I think I have a power complex...HEHE. I do like the idea of the 2.4 but I need to get an idea of price.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Confusion come...so I have a line on an Rx-7 engine and transmission ($300, but have to act this week and engine needs rebuild) or original running 1.9L with 4 speed that was pulled 6 years ago for $400 plus shipping (about $200). I am leaning toward the 1.9L and eventually build it up to 2.4 when funds are available. Need input please...:ugh:

Also wife said we can go to Riverside for the meet up in 2 weeks..woot.
 

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Opel Tinkerer and Rescuer
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The Rotaries are expensive to rebuild if memory serves.

Is the 1.9L built or high compression ? If not I would wait. If your going budget to save money I would NOT get a low compression 1.9L you will not be happy with it. You can tell easily.. 1.9L and 2.0L pistons are flat on top. The low compression ones are dished.

Real question.. have you built a motor ? Not hard.. just wondering if you know what to look for..?

If your going to be in Perris for the meet.. see what Todd can do for your budget.

I would get an older 1.9L High compression motor from him. Doesn't matter how old the motor is if your freshing it up anyway ( and you should) . He may have something good for you or maybe not.. But I wouldn't spend money on a used 1.9L sight unseen unless it was a high compression or a 2.0L rebuild.

Speaking of that, given the motor is out of the car and an "Unknown" motor. New Bearings, Timing chain and timing pad kit, and Gasket set minimum. Thats like $300 or so.

YOU buy that from Todd, he may just throw in a good block for about $100.
 

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If you buy a low compression Opel 1.9L engine, you want a 1971 or early 1972.
Removes the valve cover, and there will be a year casting ID to identifying the head.
Later Opel blocks are prone to cylinder head stress cracking.

Opel CIH Engine/Cylinder Head:
Early (1968-1972) 1.9 cylinder heads had “10-bolt” design.
Later (1972-1975) 1.9 cylinder heads had “12-bolt” design.
12-bolt design has 2-allen head bolts to secure head to timing cover.

http://www.opelgt.com/forums/group-...no-good-according-machine-shop-next-step.html

http://www.opelgt.com/forums/6a-engine-mechanical/23174-cracked-heads.html#post208374
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The Rotaries are expensive to rebuild if memory serves.For all of the seals alone it is about $1000 and price goes up as any actual parts are needed to be replaced. Also going into a motor saying it needs a rebuild scares me (price wise)

Is the 1.9L built or high compression ? If not I would wait. If your going budget to save money I would NOT get a low compression 1.9L you will not be happy with it. You can tell easily.. 1.9L and 2.0L pistons are flat on top. The low compression ones are dished.I will ask, but I am thinking if it is original from a 1972 as claimed it is the built engine. I do plan on building up to a 2.4 as money allows.

Real question.. have you built a motor ? Not hard.. just wondering if you know what to look for..?I have not built a motor. I am a qualified micro-minature repair technician so I am used to a much smaller scale, but my brother is a liscenced shop mechanic who would do the grunt work.

My brother and I are kinda dividing the project. I provide money, research and raw labor and he will provide tools and familiarity with the car parts. I am an engineer by trade and not a mechanic, but with better mechanical know how and ability to follow directions than the typical Jack.

Thank you for your input and questions. There are a few "seized" 1.9 engines on Ebay, but they look awful so the one in Nevada for $400 sounds good to me. I do actually have the 4 speed that was originally in my car, but would be upgrading to the Gertag if I stick with Opel engines.
 

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Opel Tinkerer and Rescuer
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The Rotaries are expensive to rebuild if memory serves.For all of the seals alone it is about $1000 and price goes up as any actual parts are needed to be replaced. Also going into a motor saying it needs a rebuild scares me (price wise)

Is the 1.9L built or high compression ? If not I would wait. If your going budget to save money I would NOT get a low compression 1.9L you will not be happy with it. You can tell easily.. 1.9L and 2.0L pistons are flat on top. The low compression ones are dished.I will ask, but I am thinking if it is original from a 1972 as claimed it is the built engine. I do plan on building up to a 2.4 as money allows.

Real question.. have you built a motor ? Not hard.. just wondering if you know what to look for..?I have not built a motor. I am a qualified micro-minature repair technician so I am used to a much smaller scale, but my brother is a liscenced shop mechanic who would do the grunt work.

My brother and I are kinda dividing the project. I provide money, research and raw labor and he will provide tools and familiarity with the car parts. I am an engineer by trade and not a mechanic, but with better mechanical know how and ability to follow directions than the typical Jack.

Thank you for your input and questions. There are a few "seized" 1.9 engines on Ebay, but they look awful so the one in Nevada for $400 sounds good to me. I do actually have the 4 speed that was originally in my car, but would be upgrading to the Gertag if I stick with Opel engines.
Then your set.. building an Opel engine is easy.. just a few quirks.. but no worse than a standard small block.

By BUILT I mean rebuilt.. with 2.0L pistons.. avoid low compression motors have 25% less power and are weak. Like I said wait at least until the June Bug meet. Then you can get a schooling on the motors.. and know what to look for even if you dont get it from Todd. Avoid seized motor, more work than they are worth.

For a cheap "Throw it in and go" Todd will have something. But I would still recommend new bearings and gaskets at minimum. Opel motors are tough.. but as old as they are now days.. just better safe to at least put new bearings in it.
 

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Just to add to Charles's Input. Opel 1.9 motors are notoriously hard on exhaust valve guides. Not a difficult fix, just something to consider.
 

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Just to add to Charles's Input. Opel 1.9 motors are notoriously hard on exhaust valve guides. Not a difficult fix, just something to consider.
Yep getting new valve guides and seats on a good head isnt too hard or expensive. Any shop can do it.. VERY similar to Small Block.

Again, why save $200 and risk the rest of the work.. :)

That said.. for $400 or less, if your willing to just roll the dice.. Todd may have a motor that you can just throw in it. Who knows he may have something fresh. Never know.
 

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400+ shipping for a low comp engine doesn't make much sense unless you know it's good condition. At best the low comp engines had 75 hp at the flywheel ..... some say it could be as much as 10 hp below that using today's more "honest" measuring methods

By those same methods a high comp 1.9 has 90 hp but it's a more lively engine

Rebuilding a rotary engine .... know little about them but I do know that you're not ready to drop it in there yet so spending thousands on an engine that doesn't even fit the way the car sits today makes absolutely no sense to me. If you come across a cheap one that is ready to go then perhaps it will make sense

According to your post you don't have the skills to do all of the work yourself, that means this project will rely on someone else having the time to provide what you can't do yourself and that right there to me screams "stalled project" unless you keep things fairly simple to start with

If you stick to the Opel engine in one form or another there are people here who can guide you through pretty much any problem you may encounter. If you go down the rotary route, as exciting as that may be, you will be on your own for the most part as there are very few on this board who've worked on one, let alone installed one in a GT

But at the very least, keep the "sub projects" to a minimum and don't buy a rotary engine that will need a lot of work before it goes in if you decide that's the way you want to go
 

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My two cents...

You can, if you don't rush, find someone that's practically giving away a (short) block. Find a head for a buck and a half, a gasket set for another buck and you are driving.

Or, step your budget up a notch, call the ad below, work a deal and (probably) for a G, including shipping, you can have a decent monster.

1974 Opel Manta A CIH Engine & Transmission
 
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