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Opel Commodore Project Underway


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My car was a Rekord 1.9 Auto, only mod is a Manta 5 speed fitted to improve drivability. Needs work (don't they all) mainly sills and rear arches. Got some work done on it last year but its now back in storage, I actually came close to selling it at one point as I had no storage.

Your rebuild and quality of work is most impressive, the car looks fantastic.

Where did you source the quarter panels? The little chrome B pillers that goes down with the rear side window are not in great shape on mine either.

I live in Belfast and unfortunately it won't be at Billing this year but after seeing yours maybe next year!

I'll definately be registering with the Dutch forum.

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An older photo when she was legal, I always find the petrol cap location pretty comedy!

Cheers

Steven

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Hi All,   Some pics from Holland in 2014 for your interest :                           Did ok in 2014 too - best Commdore A :    

Been a long time since I posted on this thread but thought I'd give you an update. I've been back to Holland again last September to the Big Opels meet, its an excellent show. Whilst I was there I spo

Hmmmmm in my eyes perfection, the way all vxopels should be restored so they will be around for the next generation. Awsome

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Hey Steven - great to have another madman on Rekords and Commies :thumbup

The rear quarter panels are £££ expensive and come from Opel Calssic parts in Holland. You can't get them shipped as they are just too large(I had a long 24hr road-ferry-road-ferry-road tript to collect in my old volvo but they do respond to e-Mail enquiries :thumbup - though they use BACS transfers and not Paypal for payment :( - but they can get hold of a lot of parts you may need.

On the dutch Forum there is a great list of parts suppliers and using worldwide searches on e-Bay can yield some great stuff too.

Once your registered on the other Forum let me know.

Hope to see you at Billing next year B)

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Sincere BIG THANKYOU :D(- to everyone who voted for me on here in the Chairman's Cup on Sunday at Billing - guess it must have been a lack of custom paint and air-ride that lost me the best in show :P - but hey I am just sooooo proud to have won the pre 1975 griffin trophy - thanks again for everyone's support on here - it got me and the Commy there in the end :thumbup

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  • 2 months later...
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  • 1 year later...

I was in Holland the same weekend but at a different show, the Dutch Opel Manta Club show, i didn't get a big trophy but i will remember that show for other reasons......... (oh, Natalia where are you now?)

i remember the day we collected 'The Commy' from Crewe, not that far in distance but you have had a long journey to get where you are now Simon, you and the Commy deserve the awards.

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I received the Commodore back from Suffolk County Mantas(SCM) in 2010. The bodywork and internal trimming was complete and to a good standard and the car had an MOT. I used an engine builder who will remain nameless, but not Simon Peckham proprietor of SCM. This was a mistake as it turned out. There have been numerous issues(too many to list them all!), the first of which was that the engine builder had lost the fuel injectors which had to be sourced from the USA and I had to engage the Services of Richard Shrive to get the fuelling sorted on the engine. The tank had a blocked return feed and nothing inside the tank had been cleaned, so pickup filters were also mostly blocked. Richard Shrive had to jet wash the tank out and clean both the pickup and fuel sender with solvents. I asked Richard to move the fuel filter into the engine bay so it would aid maintenance. After fitting the injectors from the US, the engine ran, albeit roughly.

The car has won trophies, in 2011 it won the Griffin Trophy for pre-1975 cars at the national VBOA show at Billing Aquadrome. In the same year it attended the NEC Classic Car Show and attracted a lot of interest. It went to the Big Opels Treffen in Holland in 2012 and came away with best in show on their 20th anniversary.

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All in all it is well recognised by Vauxhall/Opel enthusiasts, both home and abroad.

In March 2013 on the way back from the regular MK Classic Car Club meeting the engine started to misfire badly and I just managed to limp back to my unit to lay the car up.

I then spent the next six Saturdays with assistance from Ian Virco, Ian Newnham and my neighbour Terry Potter at the units trying to resolve the misfire. We checked plugs, leads, the points (all 3 sets in the dizzy), the wiring to the fuel injectors(continuity testing) and the injectors themselves(built a cleaning rig for them using a jam jar and an old mobile phone charger!), cleaning and testing each one in turn. I also replaced the fuel pump and adjusted the pressure on the regulator(several times!) to ensure there wasn't a marginal pressure issue. So all in all at this stage we were all pretty confused to say the least.

Now the engine always had been a bit noisy at higher revs and this became the focus of my next investigation, removal of the cylinder head to investigate the cam and the pistons. As it turned out this was a good call as the engine had been rebuilt with a number of gaskets missing (sealant used instead) - but by far the most fundamental problem was that the pistons had been put in 180 Degrees out! This resulted in a burnt out cam, three bent valves and a number if hydraulic tappets requiring replacement.

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In 2012 I sourced a 4 speed Monza auto box and had intended at some point to install this to replace the under geared 3 speed unit fitted as standard. With the engine issues this brought this forward as the engine and box had to be removed to start the engine strip-down as the marks on the tops of the pistons coupled with the very poor state of the camshaft and ancillaries meant that the bottom end had to be checked too.

After sourcing an engine crane the engine was removed :

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and then disassembled to reveal that the crank journals were scored and a complete regrind with plus 5 thou white metal shells was necessary. This was done by T&L Engineering of Elstow, near Bedford.

Pistons etc removed :

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The camshaft replacement was a longer journey and after sourcing from Germany what turned out to be a bent camshaft at great cost and time and getting the refund from the suplier, I turned to aftermarket suppliers, piper camshafts based in Folkstone and found that they could still supply cams for the 12v CIH engine. I called them and arranged to send my cam to them so they could compare the blanks they held with the one from the Commodore. It turned out that they were identical patterns and the new cam was cut and returned. On receipt, the cam turned out to be 3 thou too big on the journals and it was returned to them for reworking, though when it came back it fit the head like a glove. The Head had also been cleaned, valves straightened and seats re-cut to within 1 thou, so no valve seat re grinding required :-).

Rebuilt head :

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With the engine now down to the block the restoration of all the components began with the sump-pan, which had a large dent in the bottom in addition to the rust pock-marked surface.

Sump refinished :

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Terry Potter who restores classic bikes and does the best paintwork I know greatly assisted in removing the dents, blasting the pan, etch-priming, filling, prepping, priming and top-coating the pan to a great finish and in its original colour.

The crank and bearings were refitted, together with the timing chain/oil pump, tensioners and casting including gaskets.

The head was rebuilt completely and refitted and the top timing chain gear wheel attached, not forgetting the nylon bush to locate the cam against the cone-shaped adjuster plate held in by the three bolts with a gasket(none fitted first time round).

Once everything was put back together, ensuring the correct torque applied to all engine bolts, the correct gaskets and using ABRO 999 high-temperature silicon based sealant(this is the best I know of) from Ebay for around ten pounds for a tube, the whole lot was ready to be painted.

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The water junction manifold was stripped of ancillaries everything reconditioned and repainted in the Opel engine colour:

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The starter Motor was also stripped and re-painted.

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The intake Manifold was cleaned.

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The Exhaust manifolds were de-rusted and reprinted as well as the down pipes to the middle silencer box. The twin pipes run all the way through, from the engine to the tail pipes.

The replacement auto box was cleaned, old fluid drained ready to be attached the freshly repainted engine.

Ian Virco and I then attempted to fit the engine and box from above, which
, as it was now 11cm longer proved impossible :

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so on another day with Terry's help we managed to get the engine and box fitted by dropping out the front subframe which surprisingly is only located with 4 main bolts. The remaining nuts were disconnected from the steering control arms and damper and finally the brake lines were disconnected before the body could be lifted off the subframe. We lifted the body off using the engine crane to give the required clearance.

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Terry and I located the engine and gearbox onto the freestanding engine mounts and with the engine crane supporting the load, Terry fabricated, welded and fitted a support to lock the front hubs against the engine and gearbox to ensure the engine didn't strike the new paintwork on the sump and also to allow us to move engine, gearbox and subframe as one on the front wheels.

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Once this was achieved we rolled the engine and gearbox to one side so we could lift the body approx 4 feet clear of the floor so we could roll the engine and box under.

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I must admit we were both sweating a bit at this point. However with some judicious dropping positioning and repositioning we got the whole lot back into place.

Next I refit the manifolds, exhausts and water cooling system pipe work including radiator, thermostat and heater control valve.

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Next up was the oil pump, water pump pulley and fan, alternator and belt.

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The wiring was up next and I cut off the old injector connections as these were past it and I fit new spade connectors including heat shrink. This took a while and after I refit the starter motor and wiring and turned my attention to the kick-down cable. I made an angle bracket. A toolmaker friend of mine Tony Tong made me a stainless ball on a threaded shaft to fit the eye crimped onto the end of the kick-down cable. I drilled a 10mm hole through the plate to bolt the plate to the existing kick-down bracket. I cut a square hole through the new angle plate to locate the new kick-down cable upwards through the new plate as it had a existing bulkhead plastic sprung clips on the housing fitted onto the new cable. After trial fitting, I painted and fit the bracket. The new ball and threaded shaft was an exact fit for the hole in the end of the accelerator linkage which was bolted in place and the ball greased and clipped into the eye. As the cable was facing upwards then I dripped some engine oil in to lubricate the cable.

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Next up was the gearbox mounts. The weight of this had been fully supported by the jack whilst we trial fit some plates to act as templates for the box section we had decided to fit.

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The aim of the conversion from my point of view was to avoid any welding or cutting of the bodywork in fitting the new 4 speed gearbox. After cutting down the box section profile to accommodate the existing gearbox mounting rails, the holes were drilled to accommodate the stand-off posts from the mounting rails and then holes drilled and bolts welded through from the top of the box section to locate to the original gearbox support. After trial fitting the box section we cut down on their lengths o tidy up, sharp steel ground off and then both painted in silk black. The whole lot was then bolted into place.

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Next, the gearbox linkage had to be shortened and a new control arm fabricated as the original one had the wrong shaped and too large a hole to accommodate securely.

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This was trial fitted to ensure gear selection was working as expected.

We turned our attention to the gearbox wiring, which Ian Virco had previously decoded (thanks Ian :-) ) and then we fit this connections to the two gearbox solenoids, a switched live and an earth. The gearbox control ecu is now located behind the three lower clocks in front of the centre console.

The light never worked on the centre console, so I ran a separate live feed off the side light fuse in the fuse box and hey presto - we have light. The blackout for the illuminated gear position indicators needed re-blacking and refitting to tidy up. But all works fine now.

Aside from timing up the engine, bleeding the brakes and adjusting the hydraulic tappets to finish off, there were some cotter pins requiring replacement on the steering damper. My good friend Tony came in again and made some new nuts which were thread locked and refitted.

Here's some finishing pictures for you :

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The car now has an MOT and is Taxed, ready to enjoy again :D

Edited by Stonymanta
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Some nice work there Simon, I was wondering where you and your car had gone as I think it's been a couple of years since we had a chat at Billing. There is something to be said about doing the work yourself if you want it doing right, couldn't believe the pistons were in the wrong way round. Have you still got the white Manta ?

Mick H.

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It's a wonder you don't have some form of legal redress against the original builder of the engine. What a disgrace.

The new engine looks superb and hopefully you will be able to fully enjoy the car now the engine is sorted. It all looks superb

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Some nice work there Simon, I was wondering where you and your car had gone as I think it's been a couple of years since we had a chat at Billing. There is something to be said about doing the work yourself if you want it doing right, couldn't believe the pistons were in the wrong way round. Have you still got the white Manta ?

Mick H.

Hi Mick - yeah - we had the rained off Billing and then last March it slowly became apparent that there was something fundamental wrong. Yeah, this has been down to a bare block and back up and as you say, if you want a job doing properly....

It drives a whole lot better :D and I will hopefully bring the Commy to Billing this year.

I still have the White Coupe, though this is somewhat stuck in the back of MANTAMANs workshop, through no fault of anyone's, save for some time to get the car out, across to my unit so work can begin again. The issues with the Commy also put a large hole in time to get the Manta moved along too. Will be working on getting this resolved in the coming weeks....

I should see you at Billing for a catch-up with you and that lovely coupe of yours too B) !

Simon.

Edited by Stonymanta
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It's a wonder you don't have some form of legal redress against the original builder of the engine. What a disgrace.

The new engine looks superb and hopefully you will be able to fully enjoy the car now the engine is sorted. It all looks superb

Thanks for your sentiments :) and yes I had thought of several parts I would like to have inserted in said person sideways :angry: !, though unfortunately this has to be put down to experience as it was an informal arrangement.

Still The end result speaks for itself - have a peek : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ikj5j2rJR5A

Simon.

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  • 3 months later...

Simon had lost his job and needed the money but just recently he has got another job so the Commy is staying with him for the forseable future

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Been a long time since I posted on this thread but thought I'd give you an update. I've been back to Holland again last September to the Big Opels meet, its an excellent show. Whilst I was there I spoke with Eric Romijn who is Mr Commodore in Holland. I had shown him the issues I was having with starting and he too was confused why. I said we would visit him on our last day in Holland as I wanted to see the Steinmetz Commodore A Coupe he was restoring. So on the day when we arrived it was p*ssing down and eric waved me into the main workshop and asked me to lift the bonnet.... well i was suprised but he worked most of the day on it and there were a few things wrong. No power to the cold start injector, a duff relay and the dizzy shaft bearing was badly worn. Eric replaced the dizzy with new condenser and points. He is the man on these cars and it was starting on the button... so all sorted we left with 15 mins to spare. It wasnt expected but boy was I a happy man when we left.

Project images are available to Club Members Only, Click to become an OMOC Member.

Project images are available to Club Members Only, Click to become an OMOC Member.

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