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Discussion Starter #141
First thing I did with the body dolly up, was want to inspect the rear assembly. Since I'm borrowing someone else's garage as a shop, conditional on them not needing it, I was never comfortable taking the rear off because it would be stranded on the jackstands. Now that it's on the body dolly it's not as big of a deal. I could at least roll it to the driveway on 5 minutes notice.



I had been spraying insides and outsides of all suspension bolts at start and end of every night for over a week so I figured they'd all be loose. They were. Except for one...



Oh the nut came off easy enough. And the bolt side spun on its own just fine. But the bolt would not come out.

I worked it back and forth. I spun it. I slipped the nut back on and sledgehammered it until the mounting bracket was bent like you can see in the photo above and the nut was mashed like a scoop of ice cream. The bolt would just not separate from the control arm.

Eventually I just spun it with the impact wrench until it started smoking, but all that did was tear the sleeve away from the rubber.

I ended up having to take an angle grinder to it 4 times to chop it down.

I presume the whole rubber and sleeve are pressed into the control arm, but, no matter, since I had an extra set from the other vehicle.

Keith had mentioned that since the torque tube was off, the diff was exposed (badly, caked with mud) and would need disassembly. Luckily I still had the diff and torque tube attached to the original (yellow) rear assembly, so I'm able to swap them if I so choose. I'm not sure how to identify which might be a better candidate (Keith has mentioned that later years have superior seals), but for now, one already has the torque tube on it.

We also had some idle guesses about what components weighed, so, I took liberty of weighing them the next night:



Rear Axle Assembly Weight (no rims): 140 lbs
Torque Tube assembly Weight: 26 lbs
Control arms, Shocks, Track Rod Weight: 18 lbs
Total rear assembly weight minus springs: 184 lbs (plus a few bolts I missed).

Driveshaft weight: 10 lbs
Engine Mount weight: 16 lbs

... if anyone ever searches for those terms in the future, hopefully that helps. (My bathroom scale has crappy precision, don't take it as gospel).

...

As I was stumped for quiet things to work on, 2 filler tasks had been occupying my time for the last month:

1 - Pick away with a screwdriver at the rubber sheet covering the trans tunnel.

2 - Clean up tools and vacuum out the weld/grinding dust.

I was actually stalling for time, because someone had told me an easy way to remove it was to use dry ice to superfreeze the rubber, then smash it with a hammer. Another bodywork guy had mentioned that it gets cold enough in Canada to just let it sit outside on a cold night, and then come smash it just before dawn.

I didn't want to take the car off the jackstands and push it outside until I was done welding, but then the obvious hit me: "Just open the garage door, point a furnace fan underneath the car, and kill a half hour in the driveway with the car running until the Opel is all frozen."

So I checked the weather and it looked like we weren't going to get any more cold (enough) snaps this year.

Abandoning ship I bought a wire cup for the grinder and stripped it off manually in a few hours. Feels dumb that I waited weeks for cold weather just to avoid a few hours work. It's not that much work.



I'll come back and finish it up with a paint scuffer later. I just needed to check for holes, since I noticed a pinhole just below the headlight lever. Again, my goal being to not be welding in the trans tunnel anymore so I could rig up the driveline.

Umm... hmm... hang on, I'd lost the pinhole I spotted earlier...



Uhh, a bit like Clever Tom and the Leprechaun, minus the red ribbons.

I'd run out of easy stuff. The lower, flat, and long weld seams were done. I figured the next thing I do should the be the strongest and the easiest to line up. That was the heater box. I left lots of metal (the box is made of thicker sheet) and lots of overlap when I first cut it out, so I knew it was located well.



Welding went mostly okay, it's hard to reach there. You have to lean over the rockers, around the doorframe a bit, and then forward and then sideways.

Also, these were my first inside corners on the vehicle. The grinder wheel can't reach every area on an inside corner. I bought the cheapest die grinding burrs (rotary files), a $40 8-pack, and they were all junk. Suitable for aluminum maybe. I'd get maybe 20 seconds of grinding out of them before they'd dull. More on that later.

In general, it was a treat to not burn through the second I touched the trigger, if all metal on the car was this thick I'd be fine.



Now that the side of the passenger firewall was anchored at the correct height and width, I could do the long seam.

I originally thought I'd left far too much material here on top, but once I actually sunk the tail end of the trans tunnel down where it needed to be that last inch, it really pulled the dash area back. I was left with butted metal 1/2 way up and even a gap at the top.

Frustrating weld. Get the weld done in about 20 minutes, patiently, 1/8th inch at a time, then an extra stringer on top to make sure it's not just sitting on the surface. Even then, like 15 pinholes. Kept climbing into the engine bay and back to try to fix them. Spent a whole night just on fixing some of this seam before giving up with trying to grind flush.

 

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Discussion Starter #142
Amateur Welding Tangent:

This was the moment I decided that from now on, no more butt or seam welds.

My early logic was: "Don't rely on seam sealer, take your time, weld the whole edge."

I'd been suggested a variety of advice on bodywork and did perhaps the worst thing, tried to mix it.

Option 1 - Overlap sheetmetal and rosette weld.

Option 2 - Zero overlap and butt weld.

Option 3 - Overlap, rosette and then seam weld, best of both?

Instead, I thought "Option 3 seems like overkill. If I do that, I'll have 3x more linear feet of weld than I have of seam. I'll skip rosettes, just overlap and then seam weld. If I think it's too weak, I'll drill through one sheet after and rosette weld to add more strength.

And in my hubris, I perhaps misattributed why spot welds and seam sealer are done, thinking it was only for cost. I thought I'd just take a bit more time and do it "properly".

Here's a diagram of where I went wrong:



Posted that to a welding forum for the guys to get a kick out of.
 

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Discussion Starter #143
Back to the heater core, the cowl was floating pretty high above it, so I wanted it clamped down. Went through all of my clamps before I found some both short and deep enough to go up, around the drain trough, and back down (they clamped a piece of wood).



Just needing enough tacks to hold them together. I didn't want to weld more until I figured out how I'm going to grind inside the corners.

Positioning was stupid, it's not that far into the car but it's just about impossible to reach. And if I can reach, I have nothing to hold my torso there while I use my hands to weld. When I went back later, best I could figure was to lay on my back with ass on the edge of the parcel shelf, seat rail grinding into my back, one shoulder in the footwell, reaching upwards to wash myself with the fountain of metal dripping down. Caught my hair smouldering again.



Moving to the right, I next had to weld the underside of the cowl to the side of the car. There's at least a 1/4" a gap here, I'm not sure why. My thoughts:

1 - It was cut properly, but my fitment is terrible (and it's way too late to change).

2 - I cut it out that way (it's about a sloppy angled cut with a cutoff wheel).

3 - I cut it properly but in the mad dash in Phoenix to shove the cars together, I discovered there wasn't enough draft angle to actually make the pieces fit, so I trimmed it.



In any case, with rosette welds being the new commitment, it was time for my first bracket.

I should have picked a simpler bracket for my first.

The passenger wall isn't straight like the driver's side is. The passenger side has has 4 different angles in the vertical direction, and the cowl has 3 different angle changes in the horizontal direction. None of the angle changes match up with each other, so the resulting bracket requires 5 cuts and 7 different bends.



I did make a design error. You get to choose which side of the bracket is flush, and which has cuts taken out of it when you do your origami. If the pieces you're joining butt, then it doesn't matter. But I chose for the flush side to be the wall, and made my cuts along the cowl. The cowl is floating off the wall by 1/4", so all the missing "V" sections had air behind them (versus, if I'd done it the other way, the wall would have the "V" sections, and it doesn't matter because the wall is continuous).



Not that it matters, the welds came out hideous. So much for a pretty bracket. The footwell is no wider than my welding helmet, and I can't reach or look across from the driver's side over the trans tunnel, so this was all welded somewhat blindly with my left hand from me using the rocker panel as a pillow, my hips balancing on a chair outside the car, and me supporting myself into position by lifting myself up on the A-pillar like a monkey. If I had a 3rd arm or a bored child I'd have used them to take a picture.

Let's try the driver's side!

Doug or Roy had helped bend up the edge of the cowl (no way to make it angle itself in otherwise), so that had to be straightened first. Revealing... damage that's not my fault! The front of the yellow car had disintegrated over 50 years, and the cowl had already rusted through when I got it.



No problem, I'll make a wider bracket and cut away the rust. This bracket donor material, courtesy of a BBQ wing (1mm, same as most of the Opel). This time I put the "V" sections along the wall.



Side stepping for a moment, I have to figure out how to weld the far, inside vertical corner of the cowl, since the driver's side doesn't have the heater box, the cowl continues to an underhang below the fender.

A little bracket. A little bashing. And using the gap I just made cutting away rust, I can sort of weld, a tiny bit. A bit more. Missed a spot. Oh well, hold the trigger and hope it fills.



My quality is plummeting. But no one will ever see any of these brackets, ever, after I finish the car. My shame is mine only to bear.

Next, the fitment issue with the gap between the cowl and the driver's footwell. It is what it is, I prioritized the windshield arch and let this be the result.

Not a problem, another easy bracket.



Great, so it's time to weld each of those in. Starting with the side. This is even worse than trying to weld in the passenger compartment, because you're welding 6" deeper into the footwell, the pedals won't let you go as deep, and the steering column support won't let you work perpendicular to the weld. So you're upsidedown and sideways again.

I weld along the side, start doing the underhang, and then notice... what the heck is going on with my holes? The one big hole was already there in the scrap piece, that's okay, but why can I see light through the others?



HOW DID I CUT THAT SO WRONG? I didn't just measure. After I made the bracket I also held it up and traced the outline. Then drew my cut line.

Great. So much for remembering to put the cut lines on the correct side. Now I have 6 semi-circles to fill. One step forward two steps back.

How did I not notice this earlier before I'd welded half the bracket on? Because the angle you're seeing the pictures taken from, are angles that are possible for a camera, but impossible for my head to be in. And even if I could, there's nowhere to put a light that wouldn't be blocking my vision, so it was dark.

At this point I put the camera away and finished the welding without it. But wait, it gets better, then worse again!
 

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Discussion Starter #144
Here's the underhang at the edge of the cowl and the bracket, pretty simple:



It's quite a gap to fill, so gotta make sure I fixture it right:



Easy enough. Weld from above first. Do the middle first, come back and move the wood to do the edges later.



From above, that worked amazing. It's been a month since I welded something that wasn't vertical or upsidedown. Not a single burnthrough either the orange footwell or the yellow cowl. I even lay an extra stringer or two on top since I want to be sure it's waterproof. I can't grind or finish any of this since it's in an alcove under the fender, but it looks good so far.

Let's check underneath and weld the rosettes on either side of the seam now:



It didn't get welded at all. Somehow I gapfilled 3/16", laying a bead right onto it, without any of it welding through. As if I was using a copper backing plate. Heat resistant BBQ paint is my guess.

I literally just grabbed one end of the bracket and yanked it away. No point in having metal interfering with the electrical box.

Except that there were a few places it wasn't quite flush. Not a big deal, this was so easy, I'll just lay a few stringers into the gaps and across the seam. And let's get the easy parts of the steering column bracket while we're at it.



I went from zero burnthroughs into the cowl, to 15. Fix those, cause another 15. Fix those, cause another 15. Back and forth, 3 hours later until I've basically tack-filled an inch wide strip along the edge of the cowl and give up. Super for waterproofing, good thing it's only the electrical box below it.



Giving up, because everything I try just makes it worse.

I move onto the steering column bracket. It has some pretty big diagonal scars in it from the way the angle grinder had to cut it away from the donor cars. A couple little patch pieces at least give something for the weld to hang onto:



Good enough.

One oddity. There's a slightly thicker plate that the steering column is spot welded to, underneath the thinner sheet metal of the cowl. I went to weld a little bit around that seam to reinforce it, and it just bubbled and hissed and dripped away, and never fused. I melted probably an inch away from the corner without it fusing or finding a spot weld to anchor to.

From what I can tell, these two layers aren't spot welded anywhere. Nor brazed. They seem to just be glued together and then seam sealed over, at the factory. It ends right at the edge of the cowl



Onto the next thing. Over by the VIN area in the engine bay, over and around the heater box there's more seams to complete.



Few issues:

1 - Even though it's screwed down, they're the first screws I put in when I was joining the two cars to make the windshield arch line up. They held a lot of force from me prying to force everything to fit, and buckled a bit. They need more clamping force and some holes to plug weld through. (This area was brass brazed from the factory).

2 - The gap along the side is too big to fill. It needs a bracket.

3 - There is a tab/wing that goes into the space in the cowl, perhaps to direct airflow (I actually have 2 wings, one from each car). It's almost torn off.

So, first tack the tab down better. Then connect the top better. Then fab and weld a bracket.



So far so good.



I'd tried repairing the vertical sheet metal by building a stack of weld and grinding it flat. It didn't work, but, whatever. After playing the 3 hour game of "Fix it until it's f...ruined" on the driver's side of the cowl, I'm leaving the passenger side alone until maybe later.
 

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Discussion Starter #145
But while I'm squished into the engine bay, might as well clean and patch the reverse sides of the vertical seams below the cowl:



And speaking of which, back around the inside of the car, I've since assembled a variety of options for grinding inside corners. I've tried:

- Dremel with sandpaper drums (10 years old wet climate glue, rips apart in 5 seconds in a dry climate). Burned through a dozen at least.

- "High speed steel" rotary files/grinding burrs. High speed cheese more like it, they remove maybe a pencil eraser's worth of steel before they're just dull noisemakers.

- Die grinder abrasive stones. Made of chalk apparently, they're good at turning abrasive into aerosols, not much else.

- Air-powered miniature belt sander. Good at tearing sandpaper.

It's better, but not great. Good thing no one will ever see this again. As long as the blower assembly fits, it's done.



Now that the cowl is in place and I'm sure I won't have to be bending things away and reaching inside, I can secure the wing-things that follow the windshield arch.



Driver's side done. Being conservative about removing material for vanity's sake, it's an important structural area leading into the A pillar and I don't want any burnthrough craters.



And, passenger side done.

There's a little bit of angle difference between the yellow and orange cars, in terms of where the interior bends are after the windshield arch. Far as I can tell, that wasn't me, they're just not the same angles. Hopefully doesn't matter, as I prioritized the exterior of the car.

Running out of places to patch. Next up are the holes at the bottoms of the firewall cut away by the previous owner. Couple ugly patches to make:



I'll clean them up later. Moving on.

Underneath, I had a slice missing from where I was overly enthusiastic with the grinder, where the seat rail meets the transmission rail:



And that should be the last of joining the two cars together!

A serving of humble pie... after 10 months elapsed (really only 3 months of evenings, the 6 months I didn't do work doesn't count), this is the amount of work I figured I would do in about 4 hours at Doug's place before driving to the inspection office with the car and heading home.

Partially that's because I thought the VIN was in the driver's footwell and wasn't aware I'd be removing a windshield, dash, and cowl, and all that complicated internal welding. Because I hadn't done my research.

Partially that's because I'm doing a lot more work than I would have then (it would've been a chop and tack, gorilla tape the seams, not finished welding).

Partially that's because I'm restarting my momentum every night, I work 7 days a week so there's no sinking into a good workflow and riding it all weekend.

Partially because I have to time my grinding to the first 30 minutes of the night, and then work around whatever else I can do without grinding noise.

But mostly, "Just overlap them and weld" involved a hell of a lot more decisions about exactly how and where to do those things than I imagined it would. Where do I cut? Where do I weld? How to I cut it? How do I clamp it? How do I position myself? What order does this need to be done in to prioritize the areas that need to be perfectly fit? Etc.

I'm frankly lucky that zero welding, and bodywork stomped roughly into place was accepted without more than a glance at the vehicle. It's legal, it just would've been a lot more questions to answer.

Anyway, big milestone for me:

At this point... I no longer have 2 cars to join together!

I have 1 continuous car, that just needs a lot of work.

Time to take a break from welding!
 

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Discussion Starter #146
Now that I have a car, I want to work on the driveline. That's the fun and rewarding part, where you at least get to see that the motor spins and turns the wheels. It's a temporary step that's just going to have to be undone soon, the car is nowhere ready to be rolling, but, it's a mental milestone that makes the project feel worth doing again after 10 months of tedious repairs.

Before I can even think about mounting the motor, I need a rear suspension, torque tube, and driveshaft to connect it to.

After removing the rear suspension that can't reasonably be run without rebuilding it (diff has been exposed to dirt for decades perhaps), I rolled that away and rolled in my spare, original to the Yellow car. It's a lot harder for 1 person to do than I imagined. The bolts for the torque tube aren't very long, the angle has to be just right, and the whole thing wants to flip and flop around. It took me most of an evening.

I get most of it hooked up, and then remember that the passenger shock mount is just a gaping hole. If you recall this:



What the previous owner had done, presumably around the time he cut away the transmission tunnel, was to remove not just the driveshaft, but the torque tube that leads to the differential as well.

The torque tube is 1 of the 3 points of contact for the suspension (5 if you count the shocks, 6 if you count the track rod). If you remove it, there is nothing that prevents the differential from rotating around the axle and pointing straight up or down (instead of forwards).

What Doug and Mike discovered as they tried to make the car roll, is that the whole suspension was dragging. Doug later discovered that the passenger side shock had punched right through the suspension mount. Doug fabricated two temporary plates to sister what used to be the shock mount so that the vehicle could at least roll around.

Since Doug got it done before I ever even saw my cars, and they'd served their purpose so well, in the 10 months that've followed I've never even taken a closer look at them. Doug also took time to chop out the undamaged matching section from the vehicle carcass I left in his back yard, and sent it my way to use a patch piece.

So, since I was looking forward to getting a break from welding... time for more welding!



It makes a night and day difference to be welding metal that's just a tiny bit thicker than the 1mm used most places on the body.

I reinforced it underneath, but couldn't fit a grinder in to make it look pretty. I'll revisit with a wire brush and some primer later.

The challenging part about this was positioning. I could not get into a position where I could see what I was welding. The gap between the suspension cross member and the upper parcel shelf member just barely fits a welding mask sideways, definitely no room for shoulders to clear. The suspension beam is digging into your ribs, the angle iron above the sway-bar mounts is digging into your hips, the lower parcel shelf cross member is digging into the side of your knee. Just a miserable place to weld sideways.

Trying to see what I was doing, my mask started sliding off into the gas tank area. Tried to catch it, let the stinger touch metal, got a quick zap of welder's flash. 1/4 second tops.
 

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Discussion Starter #147
Tangent story:

Next day is fine. Second day I get 4 hours sleep, eyes kind of sore the way they'd be when sleep deprived.

Left eye was especially bothering me during the day. Dripping tears, red, itchy, and not quite painful but irritating.

Come afternoon it hurts enough I want a nap, but, after a few seconds of my eyes closed it hurts even more. It's unbearably irritating, I can't fall asleep. I attempt to wash out my eyes a half dozen times. I try to sleep, can't. I keep rubbing it despite knowing not to, like scratching a mosquito bite it's the only thing that provides temporary relief.

Down the rabbit hole of self-diagnosis, hospitals not being a great thing to visit right now and it's too late for clinics. Do I have pink eye? What's pink eye? It's not welder's flash, I've had that before, feels like sand you can't rub out from under your eyelid. This now feels like a shard of metal under there.

I lift my eyelid and sweep a neodymium magnet under it. I was grinding the second night and did get some spatter ricochets in my face. I find nothing.

Off to a pharmacy for eyedrops. It's better when my eye is open.

Eyedrops don't help. They do nothing.

Whelp, off to emergency clinic an hour later.

Emergency is a ghosttown. Screened at the door for Covid symptoms. Give them my symptoms, tell them I was welding and grinding, no chalky discharge, doesn't feel like welder's flash, I suspect a bit of grinder wheel in there.

Doctor comes to see me. Takes him forever to find the equipment he needs, no one remembers when it was last used.

Doctor asks me to open my eye all the way. I can't, lights are too bright and I drove over in the dark. I tell him I can hold it open or he can. He looks at it, tells me there's a black spot on my iris.

I ask him how they can get it out. He says they can't, it's welder's flash. I suspect he's concluding that just because triage wrote that down. He claims he's sure.

Okay, I ask what they can do about it.

He says first he'll freeze it. Good. It'll feel weird otherwise with someone touching my eyeball.

Then he'll scrape the burn away with the tip of a needle.

... umm.

So I lay back, and he's getting ready, and he can't seem to find anything he needs.

He freezes my eye and we wait.

He goes to flush my eye out with saline, but doesn't seem to know how the bottle works and sputters my eye with it like the mustard bottle does if you don't shake the mustard to the tip first. He apologizes.

I ask him if he's done this before. He says "First time."

... umm.

We wait a bit more for a nurse, to help hold my eye open, which, either from the freezing, the tension, or looking up at the bright lights on the ceiling is refusing to open.

I ask, since it's his first time, and it's, y'know, an eyeball, if I should tough it through and just stay up all night, and go to a specialist in the morning.

He says "Oh, I was joking. Just joking."

Ohhhhhh. Okay, so what are we really going to do to my eye?

"Oh not that part, we're still scraping it with a needle."

... umm.

He says the reason it hurts when I close my eyes is because eyes don't really ever stay still, they flutter a bit. And the burn is rising up from the surface of the cornea like thorns, yanking on the eyelid over and over. If it was over the retina or the lens, he'd say wait for a specialist because it could affect my vision. But since it's just over the iris and I haven't had any change to my vision, it's like having a bug on the windshield.

The nurse dude comes over and holds my eye open so the Doc can scrape away. He tells me not to move my eye, or he'll scrape the wrong part. I pick a dot on the ceiling and stare like it's the last pussy I'll ever see.

He scrapes for 10 seconds. Zero pain, but it's disgustingly unsettling. The needle is pulling my eye sideways as he scrapes and then when he lifts it goes back to center like a punching clown. I doesn't hurt, but I can hear it. Like someone scraping your cheek with their fingernail. Like trying to light a match in slow motion. Why is it this noisy? I'm grimacing and trying to keep my eye still.

He stops. Whew.

"There" he says.

What now?

"Oh I'm not done. I'm just taking a break. Here we go again."

Two more rounds.

"There, I think I got most of it."

I sit up, ask what I do when the freezing wears off if it still itches.

He says it shouldn't, he scraped most of it down, but gives me the rest of the freezing tube and says I can add one drop every few hours if it helps me sleep.

How long until it's healed?

"1-2 days. You shouldn't notice anything."

Damn, that's quick. I ask how big the burn was.

"Maybe 1mm x 0.5mm", and he draws a picture of my eyeball and shows me where it was. Tells me if I use the flash on my cell phone I could probably still see some black flecks of the burn.

30 seconds of scraping for something smaller than a pinhead. I guess it's good he was taking his time.

After that my eye hurt and was still dripping tears, but it felt good to keep it closed. Slept no problem. Sore the next couple days, but sure enough, day 3 feels normal.

0/5 stars. Would not recommend.
 

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Discussion Starter #148
Anyway, now that the rear suspension and torque tube are in place, it's time to think about the driveshaft. No point in mounting it, because I'm going to have to haul it around and try to fit different things to it.

Here is it next to the motor:


(aside - That's my 200th photo in this thread).

The inside of the driveshaft splines are about 1", the outside of the motor splines are about 1.6".

For comparison, the cross section on the tranny output from my mid-sized 4x4 SUV is only 1.2".

Cross-sectional-area-wise that motor shaft is about 2.5x the real estate, so, can easily handle 2.5x the torque.

Batteries are good for some 700+ hp.
Speed controller is good for 480 hp.
Motor I'm not sure of, I think 480 would be too high for more than a sprint.

Doesn't matter, differential will need a dentist if I try to use much more than stock. It's just a fitment problem.

Even if I'm just building a coupler myself, I'm going to need something to interface with the GT's driveshaft. That means the output shaft from an old transmission. The local GT Co-op has several, including one that Keith stole the input shaft from 15 years ago.

Here's the motor, Keith's rebuilt but obsolete 4-speed for scale (55lbs vs. 255lbs for the motor), and the parts tranny:



In the inset photo above... going through old photos Doug and Roy took of the previous owner's garage, there was a transmission there.

I recall Doug even mentioned this, and said it was missing a bell housing. I figured it would be useless then. (Typical EV conversion involves an adapter plate that connects motor face to bell housing).

I don't know who ended up with it, if anyone. I would've walked right past it.

Prior to seeing the tranmission, I could not have identified it as such. I know nothing about cars so, the only way I'd identify a transmission is by the distinct shape of a bell housing.

Driveshaft is rusty but maybe salvageable. I only have the one. The nose cleaned up decently, giving the rest a bath in Evaporust while I work on the tranny:



Apparently special tools are required to properly disassemble a transmission, of which I have none except the not-so-subtle application of persistence.



So far so good.

Depending on how far back I can get the motor into the transmission tunnel (and where I want the center to be), will also depend on how much of a driveshaft extension I need.

If I want the motor to stay above the trans rails (like the transmission does), the farthest rearward I could put it is about this far:



However, I previously thought the lowest point on the car was the bottom of the trans rail. Having see couple GT undersides now, I note that the exhaust pipes are way lower than that, so I could have some room to play at stock clearances.

If I'm going to have the coupler be that long, it can't be unsupported all the way from the motor shaft, even if the motor shaft is as beefy as it is. So that means probably keeping the tail housing on the transmission, which has seals, a bushing, and a bearing (that I would have to replace with a sealed one or add a seal to, since the transmission body would be absent). That's roughly the right length, and I could mount that to the face of the motor with an adapter plate.



Something like that.

I was reluctant to do that, but it has the added bonus of solving my only really critical dashboard concern: speedometer/odometer.

Except, this is an "old style" tail housing and is not a match for the cable coming off of either of my instrument panels. I need a different speedometer worm gear or something to make it work properly.

Else, Plan B is to pick a longer driveshaft (is the torque tube end any kind of "standard" size?).

...

And that kind of brings you up to what I've been up to the last 2 months.
 

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Wow Matt you have certainly been busy and productive :) I'm not sure we can allow you to have two months of no posting and then you appear out of no where o_O That is a lot of posting, but very detailed and interesting :) I would say if you were an amateur in welding to start, you are a pro now. Very nice welding.
Your car is going to be amazing when you finish. Thanks for sharing all the pictures and detailed information. Keep up the good work and remember we are coming into better and warmer days :)
 

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Opeler
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Amateur Welding Tangent:

This was the moment I decided that from now on, no more butt or seam welds.

My early logic was: "Don't rely on seam sealer, take your time, weld the whole edge."

I'd been suggested a variety of advice on bodywork and did perhaps the worst thing, tried to mix it.

Option 1 - Overlap sheetmetal and rosette weld.

Option 2 - Zero overlap and butt weld.

Option 3 - Overlap, rosette and then seam weld, best of both?

Instead, I thought "Option 3 seems like overkill. If I do that, I'll have 3x more linear feet of weld than I have of seam. I'll skip rosettes, just overlap and then seam weld. If I think it's too weak, I'll drill through one sheet after and rosette weld to add more strength.

And in my hubris, I perhaps misattributed why spot welds and seam sealer are done, thinking it was only for cost. I thought I'd just take a bit more time and do it "properly".

Here's a diagram of where I went wrong:



Posted that to a welding forum for the guys to get a kick out of.
All of that, and you still missed where you went wrong. Yes, you could TIG weld it, that takes time and is more expensive. Tis my preferred method of welding for thin material and personal stuff I want to have the absolute best quality welds. Core wire IS NOT the way I would weld any sheet metal. Your amperage is higher because you need more heat in the puddle to melt the flux, THAT'S BAD for sheet metal, heat = WARPAGE. If you had purchased .023-.024 filler wire and used a gas regulator and a 75/25 covering gas, you could have set you amperage such that you would have had a great deal more control of the heat and material input to the weld joint and thus LESS warpage. But that knowledge tends to come with literally decades of welding experience, so not unusual for novices to run into issues like that.
 

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Speedo is not a problem, just use a GPS speedometer like I have in my car, made by Speedhut. There is a thread on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #152
All of that, and you still missed where you went wrong.
Uhhh... nope.

"And, I'm well aware that my crappy $40 flux-core welder is the worst possible choice for welding thin sheet metal and I should've just bought (or built) a MIG. I even have a bottle. But... one of the things that I like about my project is that I've basically been able to do it all with about $100 of shitty tools"

The lesson was, "Within the limitations of the tools I have, I chose the wrong method. A different method would have worked much better." Not, "Go spend more money on different tools." Of course buying better tools makes the job easier.

But that's like saying "You lost a race and made some poor driving decisions, here's how to drive better" and someone saying "You lost and the solution is to buy a faster car". They're not wrong, it's just not very contextually useful. You could have won the race you were in, with improved driving methods.

Core wire IS NOT the way [...] If you had purchased .023-.024 filler wire and used a gas regulator and a 75/25 covering gas, you could have set you amperage
So my cheap gasless flux-core welder with only a High/Low switch on it for power control...
- If it wasn't flux core.
- If I had the ability to use gas on it.
- If it had amperage control.

... then it wouldn't be a cheap gasless flux-core welder with no power control. It would be a MIG welder.

And if my aunt had balls she'd be my uncle, as the phrase goes.

The problem isn't that I was using 0.030" flux-core wire in a MIG welder. The problem is that I don't have a MIG welder. I have the cheapest possible $40 flux-core welder that almost everyone buys as their first welder because it's cheap and simple.

And if I was going to buy something, I wouldn't buy a MIG, because I can already do 95% of the jobs that a MIG can do with my flux-core. I'd buy a TIG so that I can add the exact amount of heat I want without also adding material and inducing warpage when that material cools.

Heck, 10 years ago I built most of a TIG welder from scratch for making bikes and jewellery:









 

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Discussion Starter #153
Speedo is not a problem, just use a GPS speedometer like I have in my car, made by Speedhut. There is a thread on it.
I could temporarily, just duct tape an old cell phone to the dash with a speedo app.

But I don't want to modify the instrument cluster, and I'd like to use as many original gauges as possible, just repurpose them. That means I'd need some kind of speed sensor plugged into a microcontroller that powers a motor that physically turns the speedometer in the cluster. I could do that, but I'm not quite sure how, and it's a lot more work than just putting the right gear (or cable?) on the old tail housing I think.
 

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Discussion Starter #154 (Edited)
Threads are useless without pics.

Videos are better than pics.

I was feeling kinda depressed about it having taken me 10 months to do this work (10 months elapsed, 3 months of work). All I've done is weld the a little bit of sheet metal, I compare what I got done after 2 weeks of evenings and think "that's it?".

So, I did a little panning tour of where I've welded. Moving just slow enough to say "X to Y" for each seam. Turns out, it's a 5 minute video of me just monotonously reading out what got welded:


It still doesn't feel like it should've taken this long, but, it does feel a bit more like I have been actually progressing.

In other news, I asked for specs on the motor shaft from the manufacturer, and to my surprise they sent me an entire page of data just for the spline.





I took that to The Gear Center, a gear/driveshaft store to see if they could find anything that could fit. They got stumped and said they'd look into it for a couple days for me. Not promising.

Went back to the forklift junkyard I got the motor from, he'd originally said he was going to try to save the gearbox for me when they got around to scrapping the rest of the machine. I presumed since I never heard from him that it wasn't a priority before they hauled it to the junkyard. Confirmed that, yeah, that was the case. He said I could try the forklift company, but to not expect it to be affordable. They have another pair of those lifts they're turning into a single working one, but it might not be for months if at all.

If the gear is too expensive, or I can't find it at all, my plan is to spin the motor up, use the grinder to shave the teeth off (I don't have a lathe, I don't want it disassemble the motor, and the shaft is hardened anyway), and then build a taper-lock coupler instead (a sleeve with a matching hole through it, a slot cut longitudinally through it, and then a pair of screws on each side to clamp it tight):



This is actually the normal way of coupling odd shafts for EV use. Apparently taper-locks are just as strong as splines if you build 'em right. Never heard of anyone breaking them.

After picking up the motor 2 or 3 times, I've had enough of that. I'm expecting to do that at least a half-dozen times, and I don't think I could do it a half-dozen times safely without a jack. 255lbs is enough to pin me and break ribs if I screw up, and it'd be hours before anyone would find me. I'd jig something up with a ramp or my floor jack if I had to, but, I'll want a motorcycle lift to work on my motorcycle, and, might as well buy it now since they're 50% off ($60). That'll help me lift the motor into position (the car being on the body dolly, I'll then move the whole car to where the motor lines up).

 

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Threads are useless without pics.

Videos are better than pics.

I was feeling kinda depressed about it having taken me 10 months to do this work (10 months elapsed, 3 months of work). All I've done is weld the a little bit of sheet metal, I compare what I got done after 2 weeks of evenings and think "that's it?".

So, I did a little panning tour of where I've welded. Moving just slow enough to say "X to Y" for each seam. Turns out, it's a 5 minute video of me just monotonously reading out what got welded:


It still doesn't feel like it should've taken this long, but, it does feel a bit more like I have been actually progressing.

In other news, I asked for specs on the motor shaft from the manufacturer, and to my surprise they sent me an entire page of data just for the spline.





I took that to The Gear Center, a gear/driveshaft store to see if they could find anything that could fit. They got stumped and said they'd look into it for a couple days for me. Not promising.

Went back to the forklift junkyard I got the motor from, he'd originally said he was going to try to save the gearbox for me when they got around to scrapping the rest of the machine. I presumed since I never heard from him that it wasn't a priority before they hauled it to the junkyard. Confirmed that, yeah, that was the case. He said I could try the forklift company, but to not expect it to be affordable. They have another pair of those lifts they're turning into a single working one, but it might not be for months if at all.

If the gear is too expensive, or I can't find it at all, my plan is to spin the motor up, use the grinder to shave the teeth off (I don't have a lathe, I don't want it disassemble the motor, and the shaft is hardened anyway), and then build a taper-lock coupler instead (a sleeve with a matching hole through it, a slot cut longitudinally through it, and then a pair of screws on each side to clamp it tight):



This is actually the normal way of coupling odd shafts for EV use. Apparently taper-locks are just as strong as splines if you build 'em right. Never heard of anyone breaking them.

After picking up the motor 2 or 3 times, I've had enough of that. I'm expecting to do that at least a half-dozen times, and I don't think I could do it a half-dozen times safely without a jack. 255lbs is enough to pin me and break ribs if I screw up, and it'd be hours before anyone would find me. I'd jig something up with a ramp or my floor jack if I had to, but, I'll want a motorcycle lift to work on my motorcycle, and, might as well buy it now since they're 50% off ($60). That'll help me lift the motor into position (the car being on the body dolly, I'll then move the whole car to where the motor lines up).

Matt, Well Done ! Making an Opel, and Making a video of the making.
I have been figuratively crossing my fingers and holding my breath, hoping you wouldn't
give up on this project. Now I can relax a little, and say I am really impressed with your
persistence and accomplishment !!

I have driven up Canada's East coast to Halifax continuing to Peggy's Cove N S and up the West coast
to Vancouver and by ferry to Victoria, but never into the Canadian central expanse. I might feel compelled
to make that trip to see your finished Electric GT. Please continue to keep us updated....
 

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I have driven up Canada's East coast to Halifax continuing to Peggy's Cove N S and up the West coast
to Vancouver and by ferry to Victoria, but never into the Canadian central expanse. I might feel compelled
to make that trip to see your finished Electric GT. Please continue to keep us updated....
Umm, hey Roy, we are not exactly in the "Canadian central expanse'''. I grew up in that expanse, in Winnipeg to be precise, kinda' straight north of Minnesota. Now I (and I guess "we", since most of you have figured out that Matt and I live in the same city) live in Calgary, just a short drive east of the Canadian Rockies and that famous little resort town called Banff. So when you are road tripping, drop on by to see me too!
 

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Discussion Starter #157
Matt, Well Done ! Making an Opel, and Making a video of the making.
I have a fantasy that I can properly document most of my projects in an interesting way. Which usually means lots of hassle, lots of footage, and never any videos.

The pictures and text are more for me to track what I'm doing. The video is more to show others what's happening.

I have so far 23 hours of footage of me doing work on the car. And, I don't waste a lot of camera time. 2-5 minutes of a particular task, usually.

I just have no time to edit, script, narrate, and otherwise produce it down to the perhaps hour of interesting things to watch.

Heck, lots of time I don't take the time to record what I'm working on, if I'm frustrated or trying to problem solve. Generally just turn it on when I'm doing the work, or part of the work before I have to kick the camera out of the way to get stuff done.

Maybe when I'm done I'll actually edit the footage into something more cohesive.

Right now it's pretty boring. It's probably 20 hours of welding and grinding, welding, and grinding. Welding and grinding. Poorly.
 

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I too have been enjoying your project and glad to know you are going to keep at it. Very interesting to read your progress with pictures and now videos are even more impressive. I may have to join the parade and venture up your way when you have completed your project. Yes Keith, I will make sure to look you up as well. Love that area of Canada. Calgary and Banff are absolutely beautiful.
 

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Discussion Starter #159
Haven't worked on the car in a week. Not motivated to go back to the weld 'n grind deathmarch just yet.

Trying to knock some more problem-solving items off of my to-do list.

Brakes.

What do I do about brakes?



My brake situation:

1 - I have the brake booster, master cylinder, but the reservoir is cracked (I can rig a temp solution).
2 - I have the front brake lines still, I had to disconnect them. Rear brake lines I think were cut away by previous owner, so I probably have partial stubs of them, maybe both sides.
3 - I have no idea if either the booster or the master cylinder work.
4 - I plan to just re-use the original brake system, so I just want it working like it does on a normal GT.
5 - Lacking a vacuum line, I have an electric vacuum pump.

How should I go about trying to diagnose/fix this?

- Should I throw away all my brake lines and order new ones? Or try to clean them?
- Can I just buy brake lines locally and a bending tool, or is this GT-specific kind of thing?
- Do I put it all back together and test it when installed, or do I test/inspect the booster/master on their own before I do that?
 

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Buy all new brake lines, the three flex hoses and probably a master cylinder. The originals are all way passed their usable safe life spans. The rubber flex hoses mite look ok but they swell up internaly and block off flow. Cut my old ones and witnessed what everyone was saying.

I baught my lines from OGTS. They have a really nice kit with all the required lengths with fittings all ready to go. You simply hand bend everything into position, secure them to the chassis, and tighten up all your fittings....
 
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