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1970 Opel Gt - Purchased July 1972 - Chartreuse - restored - 3000 miles as of 02-16, 2021 -
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Over the past couple of days I replaced the upper and lower ball joints on my GT, just on the driver's side and replaced the spring eye bolt as it had rusted pretty badly. So I cleaned out the sleeve really well that goes through the rubber bushing, and greased up the new bolt really well and began the process of putting in the new spring eye bolt, a simple task, right. It took a lot of words that I cannot repeat here and trying different things/ideas,fiddling and playing with it I was finally able to get the bolt inserted into the hole closest to the front of the car, VICTORY, that took the first hour, a celebration was in order and it was short lived. So now I begin having thoughts that the other hole will be easy to line up and I take a look and I do not even see the end of the bolt only the rubber bushing. How can that be? It is after all a straight shot, right - wrong. I tried everything I could think of and studied the situation looking for something that I was doing wrong but hey this is straight forward kind of stuff, round peg in a round hole, not rocket science. So after fiddling/playing with it for a while, adjusting the height to different levels, to see how that impacted the geometry I was finally able to insert a leather punch about an inch and then a Phillips screw driver but there was a lot of pressure on that screw driver and when you pulled it out the hole all but disappeared, you could see just a sliver of the end of that new shiny silver bolt, as that bolt was not coming out-worked too hard to get that half done. So the problem is that the sleeve/bushing must be moved enough and in some way held to allow the bolt to get through. I tried for about an hour and 1/2 to take a C clamp and what would be best described as a thick metal ruler to wedge it in between the control arm and the sleeve/bushing from beneath and using the clamp to force the sleeve/bushing over enough to allow me to slide the bolt through. It just did not work and I tried over and over and over - just would not work. So I am thinking, if I can't push it to where it needs to be how can I pull that sleeve/rubber bushing over about 1/4 inch because we all know the spring arm is not going to move... So this is one of the endearing things about our Opel's and that is coming up with solutions for problems when we are not equipped like a professional automotive repair shop. So the wheels are turning and I think "what if I have a turn buckle and that led to the solution that finally made it happen". I took some very hi gauge picture hanging wire and ran that wire around the sleeve/rubber bushing and looped it to the other lower control arm for good support. I then put a wrench between the wires and starting twisting/tightening - well you can only do that so much and you just don't have room to turn it anymore. I knew I was going in the right direction, getting close, movement was verified so, I call my wife to assist me and while I pulled down on that very taut wire with everything I had, the screw actually lined right up with the hole and Susan taped it with a hammer and bingo it actually went through. I can't tell you how good I felt finding a solution to that problem as I was getting to the point that I thought, well I'm screwed, can't even drive it to a mechanic. Anyway it was a very frustrating afternoon but by keeping at it a solution finally presented it's self. I have no idea how or why that screw was not lining up, or how it could be off so much, but was so happy to solve the problem. I saw nothing on the forum about it and just wanted to have a record/ solution available in the event this issue happens to someone else,.I am not looking forward to a repeat performance on the passenger side. See pictures

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Also while everything was out of the way I used Rustoleum truck bed liner to apply over the spray on under coat that I put on 25 years ago - this Rustoleum is by far a superior product and went on easy and dried to a hard finish, unlike the spray on application. Highly recommended. It appears to really seal everything and should be easy to keep clean as well.


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Can Opeler
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Lol nice job. I just use a smaller bolt to get the eye lined up and then knock the correct bolt in with a hammer. If you are quick enough the correct bolt will take the small bolt’s place before the spring goes out of alignment.
Then I take a flat head screwdriver to align the other side of the eye and smash the bolt with a hammer again. If you are lucky the screw driver will be pushed out and the bolt will be through both sides.
It’s worked for me on all of my suspensions.
 
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Solo II is fun in a GT!
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Looks great. I have used a Center Punch to line mine up.
 

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Über Genius
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There's a tool called a spud wrench for just these issues. I had to use one to put the drive wheel back on a carnival ride when I was 19.

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Opeler
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The ol' "piss shirt bend bars" trick...


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Good thinking. However, as you twist wire it work hardens and becomes brittle. Doing that under increasingly extreme load was rather dangerous, as, if the wire shatters, the spring is going to release and you'll be gettin' summer teeth.
 

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1970 Opel Gt - Purchased July 1972 - Chartreuse - restored - 3000 miles as of 02-16, 2021 -
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The ol' "piss shirt bend bars" trick...


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Good thinking. However, as you twist wire it work hardens and becomes brittle. Doing that under increasingly extreme load was rather dangerous, as, if the wire shatters, the spring is going to release and you'll be gettin' summer teeth.
Actually the only thing that the wire was moving was the rubber bushing/sleeve - the spring was held in place by the jack...the wire was very highly rated picture handing wire, more like cable, which would have gone a great deal further however physics got in the way and I could not longer twist it, that is where my pulling and weight came into play - I was able to roll the wire up, albeit with a few kinks, for use another time. When I do the next spring I am going to see if I can clean and thread the new bolt in first before I do all the other work. Perhaps it won't be as hard to line up if the spring eye has not been moved yet.
 

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1970 Opel Gt - Purchased July 1972 - Chartreuse - restored - 3000 miles as of 02-16, 2021 -
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So today brought me face to face with my most recent nemesis, my second experience with what I considered to be one of the worst Opel GT repairs and there are a lot of bad ones, and the one that I am refering to, " is the dredded spring eye bolt replacement." Suprisingly the one today was not nearly as bad and I did not have to resort to using the giant turn buckle that I used before, that was the picture wire/cable about 1/8 inch in diameter that I used to move the bushing over to line up the holes, used it to pull the bushing to where I wanted it. Anyway after jacking up the spring/ lower control arm to about the height where it would normally sit, and of course I am watching the holes checking for alignment as I jack it up, when the rear hole starts looking pretty good. I insert a screw driver and fiddled/played with it until it was close and then using another screw driver I was able to just push the rubber bushing back towards the interior of the car and the hole lined up and in goes the bolt, wow pretty easy. I then turned my attention to the front hole and it is way off, by half. However this time the bushing was much, much easier to move around, not the same kind of very powerful tension that I experienced on the first attempt on the drivers side. Using a screw driver to push the bushing/sleeve toward the interior of the car the holes lined up, as if by magic, I was shocked it was that easy and I was able to insert the old bolt. Now with the new bolt already in place and the old bolt in the other end it was a simple matter, as others have described, to just take a hammer and pound the new bolt forward and bingo, it was almost a spirtual experience. The day before the first bolt took somewhere between three to four hours and today I was done in about 25 minutes. The way I did it today which I just discribed was not an option the first time, just too much tension. So today I had cleaned out the sleeve really well and greased up the new bolt primarly in the hopes that grease will prevent future rust hopefully eliminating the risk of turning it into the bolt from hell for the next owner, who will be my daugher. See attached picture of her helping me during the early restoration project. If memory serves this was right after the car was returned from the paint shop which would have been 1998 and 1999. The picture is on an album of early pictures prior to owning a digital camera. So the torch will be passed and my daughter will become the next cartaker of this beloved GT. I read an article about that recently and we truly do reach a point that we become care takers of these classic vehicals of years gone by. When I started my project the car was only 25 years old, now it is a half a centry old. So for many of us really taking care of our GT's is very important knowing that there is a limited amount of GT's out there and the crusher is greeting more and more of them as the years and the rust take it's toll. Say hello to the next owner of a 1970 Chartreuse GT.

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Ah, the good old days and here is to the new good old days...................................
 
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