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I've Saved Moon Monkeys Cavalier !!!


MANTAMAN
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This is probably a title that sounds familiar to a lot of you...

Recently Steve Hugill AKA Moon Monkey posted his MK 1 Cavalier on this website as being broken for spares,looking at the photo's he posted the car is really solid so i thought it would be a real shame if it was scrapped,enevitable i had to go and save it,so yesterday (Saturday 20th January 2007) i drove upto Wideopen just north of Newcastle in my Bedford Flatbed,bought and loaded up the poor old Cavalier and drove back to Milton Keynes.

This was something of a mission,the Bedford is only happy cruising at 55 mph max and when loaded will drop to 35 mph going up hills on motorways much to the annoyance of lorry drives,Steves flat is 258 miles from home and it took me 4 hrs 55 mins going and 5 hrs 25 mins coming home,add to this a couple of hours greatfull hospitality and tea at Steves and it was a long day.

Here are some photos of the car lifted from Steve's thread about breaking the car.

MoonMonkeysMK1cav.jpg

MoonMonkeysMK1cavrearview.jpg

MoonMonkeysMK1cavrearsill.jpg

This shows the rear of the sill which is solid,like the rest of the underneath.

MoonMonkeysMK1cavChassierail.jpg

This is the passenger side chassie rail,perhaps the first sign of a rust blister,so no poking with screwdrivers etc !!!

MoonMonkeysMK1cavinterior.jpg

The interior is all there and looks like it will only need a bit of a clean.

MoonMonkeysMK1cavspeedo.jpg

Here is good reason not to scrap the car.

Here are a couple of photos from yesterday,one from Steves window showing the Cavalier on the Bedford with his Manta infront of it and the other shot is of the Angle of the North with a big Statue in the background !!!

MovingMoonMonkeysCavalier0003.jpg

MovingMoonMonkeysCavalier0004.jpg

Now i've got to decide what to do with it,the Autobox has gone wrong and perhaps the 1600 engine as well,a lot of you will immediatly think stick an XE 16 Valve in it,tempting but i'm not going to pay the price people are asking for certain parts,i do have a spare five speed Cam In Head gearbox so that is the likely option with a mildly warmed up CIH engine.

There might not be a lot happening for a long time as i've got an enormouse que of cars waiting my attension,but at least is safe and has a future.

I've got piles of all sorts of Manta parts,i might even have something you need!

surplus parts bought,whole cars considerd. M/B 07947 640505

OMOC Member number 2658F

Ian Virco,area rep,Beds Herts and North Bucks.

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Uhm.. Ian.. Got a question, how many mantas are you up to now? As far as i know, you've sold one, and gained 2! [:D]

Sills?, what are those bits of rust laying on the floor then?

BOJ, Jodie, Chicken$h!t

Spares, Racer in waiting, GONE! [:(]

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OMOC 5714

http://www.clockservicing.co.uk/ For any clock repairs try here.

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Yes,i know its another car but this had to be saved from the crusher,its far too solid,and it looked like i was the only one prepared to save it/had the transport to save it,so off 'oop norf' i went.

Haven't got any plans for it yet,there is a huge back log of other cars demanding my attension,but for now its safe.

I dont think its going to get a full retoration,it doesn't need it but its not perfect so it wont win any prizes at car shows,i think the best idea for it is get it back on the road with some mild,sensibly improvements so it lives on for many decades to come.

I've got piles of all sorts of Manta parts,i might even have something you need!

surplus parts bought,whole cars considerd. M/B 07947 640505

OMOC Member number 2658F

Ian Virco,area rep,Beds Herts and North Bucks.

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Hi Mantaman..... The Cav sure looks well worth saving, you must have plenty of space, time and cash to take on several projects.

Iv'e been tempted to take on extra cars in the past, but one at a time, is more than enough for me.(However, I do have a BSA motor cycle to work on, when I take a break from the Manta restore)id="size2">

Mal.....OMOC #6022 H9OP6tnFJvCgw3kz3xgONVPRv4v9t6WR0060.jpg Start your Manta restoration today........ before it's too late!

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  • 1 month later...

Finnally got round to looking at the 'Moon Monkey' Cavalier,which has now got another shorter name,CUSTARD,due to it being the colour of cold custard!

Had a go at getting it started,found the spring in the contact breaker points in the dizzy was broken so the nicked the points from my other MK 1 Cavalier and it started,but boy did it clatter so it was soon switched off.

Took off the cam cover and i could see number 1 cam lobe was scored so i decided to mount thorough investigation of the state of the top end of the engine,so off with its head!

Now this is where thing get a little cloudy,the head has been off this once before and new valve guides put in,why a 43k or less engine would need this doing is a mystery,plus the head gasket was put on with lots of Hermitite sealant which it shouldn't need.

CustardtheCAV0001.jpg

Photo of headless engine in Custard the Cav

Taking the head apart revealed several problems,first what appeared to be three quarters of some sort of shim was laying in the head (where is the other quarter?)and the broken halfs of one valve spring cap cover,taking out the solid lifters revealed three of these to have their faces worn and cracked and on taking out the cam this too was ruined,most of the lobes lightly pitted and number 8 lobe 'blue'd' due to running hot.Oddly despite going to the trouble of having new valve guides put in whoever did this didn't have unleaded valve seats done at the same time.

Flea-gay to the rescue! looking on the auction site i saw a 1600 cam for sale and from a different seller a 1600 head gasket set,i won both so for £37 total for both delivered to my door i have two of the bits needed to effect repairs.it must be an good oman these parts turning up on Flea-gay just when i needed them,the cylinder head is at a local engine repair engineers,being checked for being 'flat' and having unleaded valve seats put in,well this conversion might as well be done while the head is off,it will stop there being any problems with filling up with petrol in the future.i could really do with some hydrollic lifters to complete the update of the engine but i dont think i have any spare having updated other Mantas in the past.

CustardtheCAV0002.jpg

Photo of Various parts on the bench.

Also having a go at the brakes,the calipers already having been removed by Steve,they need new short solid pipes,already perchased by Steve and new brake pads,the old one are down to the backing plates!plus on the bench you can see the cam cover and air filter housing which i'll give a clean with a wire brush and paint before they go back on.

Now the big question,the gearbox,initial attempts to move the car when it briefly started suggest its 'F**KED' !! I dont like auto's and would be very annoyed if i got all the engine work done and got the autobox working only for the box to go wrong on me again,or worse still,if the Cavalier became surplass to my fleet of cars and i sold it disscovering a few months later that the autobox had gone wrong and someone else was considering scrapping the car,after all the time,effort and expense of rescuing and repairing it.

What I am seriously considering doing is converting Custard the Cav to manual tranmission using a Five speed Manta box,i have all the parts,section salvaged from tunnel of scrap Manta,gearbox,clutch,cable,pedal,prop shaft,flywheel etc etc This would make A nice car out of it,it has been converted with a Weber carb,it'll run unleaded,have a trouble free transmition with a good top gear,all it'll need is a modern radio and it would be an ideal everyday classic!!!

More news and photos as i get more done,provided i can get rid of this cold i have as i type this !

I've got piles of all sorts of Manta parts,i might even have something you need!

surplus parts bought,whole cars considerd. M/B 07947 640505

OMOC Member number 2658F

Ian Virco,area rep,Beds Herts and North Bucks.

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I have a spare 4 speed box (and the 1.6S still attached to it!) I'll be looking to sell to add to my ever increasing budget estimation on my A build!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

OMOC #5988

hmackay at opel-manta.com

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I hae a few guid reasons for drinkin’

And yin juist entered ma heid

If a man canna’ drink while he’s livin’

Hoo the Hell can he drink when he’s deid!

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Thanks Shug,but i've got all the bits i need which ever route i take,well perhaps not got any hydrollic lifters,plus there is problem of moving the engine and box half the lenght of the country,not cheap which ever way you try and do it.

I've got piles of all sorts of Manta parts,i might even have something you need!

surplus parts bought,whole cars considerd. M/B 07947 640505

OMOC Member number 2658F

Ian Virco,area rep,Beds Herts and North Bucks.

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Pete, You could wait till Ian has worked his magic on it and got it all fixed up with the 5 speed in it and buy it off him, I am sure he would be glad to get some room/money back and know it went to a good home.

Its a good retro colour as well, Its exactly the sort of car i would drive around. (but i have lots)

I've seen the nations rise and fall, I've heard the stories, heard them all...

---paulnewport "at" breathe.com---

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nice to see the old girls getting fixed up....

i'm so glad it wasn't something pathetic like a pipe come loose or something... that would have been a reet kick in tha knackers!!!

i get the feeling that it couldn't be in better hands!!

hopefully when september comes around I'll be going to college so that if I buy something like that i may actually be able to fix it rather than having it sat forever till some one rescues it...

definatly glad some one did...

hope it all goes well ian!!

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CUSTARD [:0]!!! When I had a 1977 Cav that colour it was known as BABS after the colour Babs Yellow - now anyone who has (or had) a baby in the family will understand the reference[:I].

I believe a certain Explosives guy called Blaster Bates used to refer to his Volvo (of a very similar colour) as the Flying Sh!te.[:)]

Good luck with the motor Ian - more power to your elbow (as they say).

GB in Leicestershire

OMOC 5655

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  • 7 months later...

Havn't reported on Custard the Cavalier for a long while,the idea was to have it done for Billing,the week before the great gathering was spent working feverishly with the help of Ian Newnham but that failed due the lack of some parts.Since then Custard has but put to one side while various other things have taken prioritory.

Before Billing the five speed conversion was all but completed with the 'new' transmition tunnel top welded in place and the five speed box,prop shaft,clutch pedal etc fitted.

FivespeedconversiontoCav0001.jpg

A rather empty engine bay waiting the return of the re-vampd engine and transmition

FivespeedconversiontoCav0003.jpg

'New' clutch,well one i had about that had very little ware

This last two weeks i've been trying to get Custard back on the road and spent ages doing all sorts of little jobs that take up endless amounts of time,the brakes for instance,the fronts have had new flexable hoses and the solid pipes either side renewed.on trying to bleed through the system with new fluid i discovered that the rear N/S wheel had its wheel nuts put on cross threaded so i had to change the studs,lots of hitting and cursing with a lump hammer!

The head has been overhauled with unleaed valve seats,a new camshaft and i've dug out a set of hydrolic lifters for quiter running,currently its all back together but i cant get it started,i've a spark and timing so i think its fuel,possibly air locked in the fuel pump or the Weber carb float valve stuck but i hope to have a look at that tomorrow.

I've got piles of all sorts of Manta parts,i might even have something you need!

surplus parts bought,whole cars considerd. M/B 07947 640505

OMOC Member number 2658F

Ian Virco,area rep,Beds Herts and North Bucks.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Think its about time i put some more words about progress or rather the lack of,spent weeks going round in circles with the engine but i have now got it running.

The transmition tunnel has had a Manta 5 speed top welded in place and since the photo was taken it has been seem sealed and painted

FivespeedconversiontoCav0001-1.jpg

With the engine,box and prop etc in place and all parts connected up i tried starting it only for it to chuff and bang and blow fuel up in the air out of the carb.Obviously something was very wrong,i did a compression test an there was hardly anything there so it was off with its head again.when taking the head off i discovered that the cam timing was about 70 degress out and i know it was set right when i put it back together so i stripped the engine down to just the crank,rods,pistons and block whilst still in the car.

DSCF0001.jpg

Luckly there was no damage to any of the engine parts,sprokets,cam chain,pistons,head,valves etc so it was a case of building the engine back up carefully making sure the cam timing was spot on.

DSCF0004.jpg

With the engine back together and the ignition timed up a second attempt at starting it was made and.... it just about spluttered into life back firing and blowing fuel up through the carb.for this to happen an inlet valve must be open on the upward stroke of a piston or pistons.so i did another compression test and the figures came out very high- 1=151psi 2=151psi 3=147psi 4=154psi the engine should have a compression ratio of 8.8 to 1,number 4 cylinder is making nearly 10.5 to 1! This suggest the head and/or the block have been machined to within an inch of thier life,this on an engine that should have only done 44k miles,something odd going on there. So when i compression tested the engine there could not have been a valve open thus suspicion fell on the hydraulic tappets i'd upgraded the engine with.i changed these for the original solid tappets and what do you know... THE ENGINE RAN,Infact it starts immediatly and ticks over nicely all be it slightly rattely until i adjust the tappets properly.

DSCF0005.jpg

Yes the blue cam cover and air filter housing might be a bit much for some peoples taste in a yellow car but they were both rusty so i cleaned them up and gave them a spray with Hammerite,it would only take a few minutes in the future with a can of black Hammerite to tone them down again!

I have since come up with a theory about how the cam chain jumped,with the engine machined so far when the hyraulic tappets pumped up the valves touched the pistons and stopped cam (though i didn't see any marks on the pistons) thank goodness nothing got bent or broken,i think i had a lucky escape there.

But Custard still got its own back,the day i finally cured the engine problems i caused another lot of trouble.Trying to refit the interior i knocked over the arc lamp twice,fearing it would singe the seats i put it outside of the car shinning through the windscreen,the lamp is so hot it caused the windscreen to bubble and crack! so now i need another winscreen for a Four Door Cavalier which are susposed to be hard to get being different to the coupe/hatch/Manta windscreen.will i ever win with this Cavalier?

I've got piles of all sorts of Manta parts,i might even have something you need!

surplus parts bought,whole cars considerd. M/B 07947 640505

OMOC Member number 2658F

Ian Virco,area rep,Beds Herts and North Bucks.

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Thats cool. Always wanted a 4 door Cav mk1 as a family car. Would just drop in a 1.8/2.0 ecotec to keep it fuel friendly (both MPG and unleaded)

Good to see these old cars are not being forgotten in the "glamour" of the sportier Manta. Just think how many of these things used to be around, and how few there are now....

Good work!

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Dare i say it but the finnish line is in sight...

I've been trying out Custard to see what nees doing for a MOT,driving up and down the farm entrance track.The engine starts straight away,runs nicely and pulls well,it bl**dy better do the trouble its given me getting it back together! All FIVE gears engage but the clutch thrust bearing i found for it 'grumbles' but i can live with that,i had one that survived like that for two years till other problems sidelined the Manta.

The cracked windscreen problem has been solved,my friend from the Cavalier and Chevette Group,Richard Watt had a spare,so today with the help of him and his friend Tom the old screen came out and the replacement was pulled into place with a lenght of cord,i've never changed a screen before but apart from 'shoving and bumping' to seat it properly it wasn't that hard a job.i also replaced the silver strip in the screen rubber.the old strip had lost its silvering/gone black and i had some new strip bought from Woolies (addvertise in most classic mags,they're near Peterborough and they sell a seal that will do a Manta boot/hatch) it wasn't too hard to get in with the correct tool when i got the knack and now Custard looks much smarter.

DSCF0028.jpg

This shot of Custards new Windscreen and silver strip has caught a vertical reflection.

Now i have various 'odds and s*ds' to sort out,like the number plate on the front and the number plate light at the rear.i also plan to put a CD/Radio in but that can wait till after its road legal,hopefully i'll be posting good news on this thread very soon.

I've got piles of all sorts of Manta parts,i might even have something you need!

surplus parts bought,whole cars considerd. M/B 07947 640505

OMOC Member number 2658F

Ian Virco,area rep,Beds Herts and North Bucks.

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Did you not fancy modifying it to make life easier? [:o)]

Hope it'll be getting a good polish after the MOT [;)]

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

OMOC #5988

hmackay at opel-manta.com

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Be the change you want to see in the world - Gandhi, India

Quit whining and shift yer **** - Shug, Edinburgh

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Been chasing the odds and s*ds jobs today,fitting the drivrs side rear door handle properly which ment taking off everything from the inside of the door and undoing the door latch,the door handle had been put back with only one nutand the door skin flexed everytime the handle was used,this like every other job on this Cavalier turn into a mission,trim never seems to clip back together like it should.

Got some new wiper blades,though knowing how i opperate the originals were OK and i've nicked them and put broken ones on sometime this year to replace split ones on another car.also got some 50% brighter bulbs from Halfrauds in the hope of seeing where i'm going at night when its back on the road,yes i know 50% of s*d all is still s*d all but they might help!

There will be more photo's when i get it cleaned up,i've got plenty of Autoglym colour restorer and a mains polisher so i hope it will come up nice.

Yes that is a Vauxhall Royale saloon behind it,known as the Whale,well what else would you call something blue and over 17 feet long! There is also just visable the roof of an Astra MK 1 estate behind that,the place also has Four Manta's,MK 1 and MK 2 Cavaliers,the Bedford and a Carlton GSI on a body roller having its sills done,want a project car or three?

I've got piles of all sorts of Manta parts,i might even have something you need!

surplus parts bought,whole cars considerd. M/B 07947 640505

OMOC Member number 2658F

Ian Virco,area rep,Beds Herts and North Bucks.

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Bloody hell Ian

You've been at it some! Good to see that car finally back together and driving after all the hassle. Hope it turns out to be a decent daily and you can get onto something else now [:D]

Sills?, what are those bits of rust laying on the floor then?

BOJ, Jodie, Chicken$h!t

Spares, Racer in waiting, GONE! [:(]

Animation18.gif

OMOC 5714

http://www.clockservicing.co.uk/ For any clock repairs try here.

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