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1988 GT Exclusive hatch


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I got them off ebay


I have taken the filters (the white opaque plastic) off the bulb holders and put the white LED bulbs in for the moment, and now I can actually see the dials at night which is nice.

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  • 7 months later...

Well they say pride comes before a fall - and of course it's true, especially where Mantas are concerned.

I was running some RCA leads back to the sub box a few weeks ago and noticed a very damp carpet on the passenger side. Lifting the mat, I noticed I had a couple of mushrooms growing as well

Knowing the floor above the chassis rails is normally the first bit to "go" I decided I'd better find out how bad it had gotten as I had no idea how long the car had been letting in water.

I think the leak is being caused by my split door seals. I've checked the battery tray and washer bottle tray from inside the car, neither are perforated or leaking so the water must be coming in the corners of the door seals - I'll do a hosepipe test when I get the chance.

So out with the seat, peel back the carpet on the passenger side first and what do I see.....


Wet newspaper from 1997 and a hole in the floor.


Hole is directly above the jacking point. What causes these to rust upwards? Moisture/condensation forming inside the jacking points I guess?


Glad I caught it early, this would not have been spotted by Mr MOT tester for some years I fear.

So, having seen that I was confident the other side would be the same if not worse

Hey presto:


Bit worse to be honest. Ah well, can't be helped, what's done is done, and a Manta will go rotten as sure as night follows day.

So to tackle this properly the carpet needs to come out and the soundproofing needs to come off. I removed the passenger seat, centre console etc and was pleased to discover the front carpet is in 2 halves which means I could at least take half out today (got to drive to work tomorrow!)

A bit of this:


Left me with a lot of this:


Then it got dark. So next weekend, out will come the seat and carpet on the other side so I can do the same.

Then I will replace the door seals, and after that, I suppose I'd better weld it all up!

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  • 2 months later...

Well, had some holiday I needed to take before summer and it was a dry day so I decided to do a little remedial work.

First up, finish the headlamps.

I recently replaced all 4 of my lights with new convex replacements. The lights are now relayed (1 for dip and 1 for main) so that I can safely run higher wattage bulbs if I choose to do so.

All 4 lenses are now H4 with dip pattern but on the road it makes next to no difference and main beam performance with new relays and lenses is tremendous.

The old wiring was incredibly sketchy so I assembled a new loom which (even with the Scotchlocks ;)) is much better than the old setup which literally fell apart in my hands

Here is the car with the old corroded lights - the driver's side is the worst:


New lights compared to the old ones - convex lens instead of flat glass:


Here's the relay bank and new loom - inner wing really needs degreasing!:


Also tidied up my lives to the battery:


New eyes!


Just needs aligning now but already they are a massive improvement on the old setup


Next job was the dreaded rust.

First up was the rear arch where the arch spat normally covers it. Ideally this needs new steel welding in but a preservation job will have to do for now.

One scabby arch:


Rubbed back to bare metal:


Smear in Bilt Hamber DeOx Gel and coat with clingfilm so it doesn't dry out. I left this on for a few hours.


Clean off the DeOx Gel and coat in Hydrate80 which is a rust stabiliser/convertor. It starts off a blue/purple and goes black when dry.


Added a second coat to the worst affected areas


Tomorrow that gets painted with stonechip black, primer, topcoat, lacquer and then the arch spat can go back over the top.

Did exactly the same to a few spots on the rear panel. No point repeating the words!





Tomorrow when dry it will get finished off

Final job for today I have been putting off for a while. 2 nasty little areas of rot where the chassis outriggers join the floor. Had enough of that crusty feeling beneath my heel so today I cut out the rot.

Passenger side - cut away the rusty floor:


Clean out the inside of the chassis rail which is surprisingly sound:


Fill with DeOx gel and this will get left overnight to work it's magic:


Then on to the (nastier) driver's side.





As you can see the driver's side is much worse, I'll need to repair the chassis outrigger before welding in the new floor section.

Early start tomorrow again, I'm actually quite enjoying this as I haven't done much mechanical work lately.

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Nice wee bit of work there Leon :D

Don't waste your money on degreasers ;) loads of Fairy, wee drop of water and a new paint brush!

Works a treat ;)

Soda crystals work just as well as Fairy ,and is usually a few pence cheaper.

Just make sure you don't have the solution too weak, and make the water as hot as your hand in a Marigold will stand !! :rolleyes:

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Cheers guys

Didn't get as much done as I wanted yesterday but made some progress still.

Firstly, primed and stonechipped the rear end panel behind the bumper:


Then topcoated, lacquered and refitted my bumper. Looking out for a straight replacement as mine is the wrong colour and it's warped at some point.


Got the floor nearly done on one side before I ran out of MIG wire. I'm not a great welder but I've tested it with a lump hammer and pry bar and it's well attached. Needs lots more grinding down as gasless welding doesn't half make a bloody mess! When I'm happy with the welds I'll paint this area.


Also finished off the rear arch with some stonechip and then a coat of underseal. I'll dig out the arch spat today and refit:


Finally, tested the lights.





Main Beam:


I've checked through the MOT manual and can't see anything illegal about having 4 sidelights. Not sure what UK lighting regs say but if I do get any bother it's easy enough to disconnect the inner ones.

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Well seeing as nowhere local could supply flux-cored MIG wire at less than extortionate prices, I abandoned the welding and ordered some online. I'll finish off when it turns up.

So instead I busied myself with the battery tray and washer bottle tray. Both these areas are notorious for corroding and allowing water in which then rots out the floors and chassis rails.

First up, the washer bottle tray. Out with the bottle and this is what we have. Not too bad but in need of attention to stop future rot.


After a bit of action with the heatgun and gasket scraper - I don't want that nasty sticky soundproofing holding water in this area like a sponge:


Wire wheel in a drill to take it back to bare metal where needed and apply some Bilt Hamber to bust any remaining corroded areas:


And finished off with a nice few coats of underbody sealant


Moving across to the battery tray. Once again, pretty sound:


Clean it off and treated exactly the same as the other side:


Replaced all the crumbling seam sealer with gutter + drainpipe sealant which I have been using as a seam sealer for years with excellent results! Then boshed on a topcoat and lacquer. Not overly tidy but it's only a battery tray after all:


All sorted:


Poured litres of water onto both sides and checked in the cabin...... NO water ingress :D Exactly the result I was hoping for.

Cleaned the car up and took her for some proper pics but will post those later :)

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Its coming on verly nicely Leon :D whats next? taking the wings off and doing the wing rails/A posts/inner arches? ;)

Interesting thread :D

Worth doing though. Not long finished doing this on mine although its taken about 2 years as so much other stuff seems to get in the way :rolleyes:

Your Manta is looking good - all that work will help preserve it

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whats next? taking the wings off and doing the wing rails/A posts/inner arches? ;)

Yep after the summer I think.

Got the floor done on the other side, my welding still has a long way to go and my little Clarke gasless welder isn't the best but I seem to have made a passable job of it (I hope!).

It's definitely very solid anyway, tested with the lump hammer :D


Now all sealed up and painted and the same from the underneath. Hopefully that will keep her roadworthy for another year or two...

Polished her up and took some beauty shots:





And a couple alongside the Mrs' Golf GTI




Next up - find a replacement rear bumper, put the carpet back in, find some new door rubbers and rebuild the brake calipers.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well Keith I couldn't wait until summer!

First off I decided to change the droplinks as mine were a bit worse for wear:


Happy with that, I happened to look to the right and noticed something wasn't all as it should be at the base of the A post


Sigh! More grinding and welding then!

So out with a 10mm socket and off with the wing (yes, I struggled for a while before I found the 8mm bolt behind the headlight)


Quite like the "Mad Max" look.....

Here is the area exposed:


After getting jiggy with the grinder:


Actual hole is pretty small, I have to go to a wedding party tonight so will patch it after the GP tomorrow. Need to do a bit of pinhole filling on the area to the left of the hole, and then it can be painted and the wing can go back on. Then next week I'll do the other side.

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  • 4 months later...

Forgot to ever update this at the time but I did eventually get round to welding up the A post:


With the car solid again I moved my attention to the ICE. I've always liked loud music when I'm driving and really wanted to improve the standard Manta system. I had a Kenwood USB head unit already, it was the awful little speakers and total lack of bass that was getting me down.

So, I decided to make a snug fitting and relatively discreet ICE install. The metal part of the parcel shelf was creaking and groaning like mad which was getting really annoying, so it was an ideal excuse to get rid of it!

Started off by marking up and cutting a basic sub box from 18mm MDF. I used long wood screws to fix it all together and then sealed it from the inside. The box is designed to be exactly the depth of the boot (including the original shelf) and the top panel is exactly the same width as the original metal half of the shelf (albeit not as deep)

This means that in effect the new sub box will be the first half of the shelf.


Then I covered it in acoustic cloth using Dunelm's excellent heavy duty spray adhesive:


And fitted my cheap and nasty Ebay subs. "MAXIMUM BASS" apparently! At £16 for the pair I couldn't really argue:


Then I mounted my amp - another Ebay cheapskate purchase. But amps are relatively simple pieces of kit so I thought economising here would be fine. I had this setup in my old Volvo and it worked brilliantly. I know you aren't really supposed to mount amps to the sub box but killing a £35 amp isn't really the end of the world so I did it anyway:


After this I thought I'd better check the box would actually fit. Bingo! Doesn't slide an inch side to side which is exactly what I wanted, and the depth is perfect:


This is where I discovered I'd made a mistake. When I measured up I forgot to take into account the amount of space the amp takes, preventing my sub box from mounting flush against the back seats. So instead, I cut a spacer bar from MDF, carpeted it up and wedged it between the seats and the sub box. It doesn't move a millimeter because it's such a snug fit and fits the bill perfectly.


I then cut the rear parcel shelf using the old fibreboard one as a partial template. Smoothed all the edges off with an orbital sander which made a hell of a mess in the garden. I test fitted it along with the spacer bar and tried to shut the boot. SPOT ON!

Here it is in place:


Now I needed something to stop the sub box from sliding backwards. Using the old boot carpet as a template, I cut a sheet of hardboard, and fixed a small strip of wood to butt up against the sub box. The whole lot got carpeted and slotted in. The sheet of hardboard is wedged against the rear panel, so it can't move, and the strip of wood stops the sub box from sliding back. I need to make the small infill panel that goes on the left side but I was running out of carpet:


I didn't want the rear shelf to be a featureless plain sheet so I considered a few options and decided to go with 2 raised sections, just to break it up a bit. So first I marked out:


Then cut up some wooden strips with the mitre saw:


All screwed down and the edges sanded smooth. It gives the shelf a bit more rigidity and some contours:


Went with 8" JBL GTO speakers. I've always used JBL in the past and been happy with them. I'll amp these shortly but for now they will run off the head unit. The Manta has a lot of parcel shelf hence I chose such big units:


Fitted the speakers to the shelf. Even though this will be carpeted over the I thought the grilles would give the speakers some protection:


And started the carpeting. I tested what effect the carpet would have over the speakers. Almost none. If anything some of the tinnier treble is a little muted. Happy with that, I stretched the carpet tight over the raised sections and glued it down.


One of many test fits! When I was happy I screwed the shelf to the sub box with some small piano hinges:


I still need to stretch the carpet tight around that corner but the install is basically done.


Looks relatively stock which is what I was aiming for:


Same from the inside:


And subtle from the outside:


Now I need to wire up the rear speakers, finish off that boot floor panel, and then I can start thinking about how to get some sound into the front. The original design leaves a lot to be desired! Thinking of making some footwell pods but not sure at the moment.

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absolutely brilliant work being carried out here!, the car seems to be in very good condition and the mods look as if they where stock, straight out the factory! :thumbup

And you've got to love a hacth in monaco blue!! might even change my one from white to monaco blue :blink:

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  • 3 months later...

Not updated this in a while.

After sorting the stereo out, it was time to sort out a few gremlins for the MOT.

Sorted all the dodgy earths for the rear lights.

2 brand new front calipers

Adjusted the handbrake as best I could

4 new tyres


With that it passed the MOT straight through - no advisories!

And for Christmas a new suede wheel to replace my tatty Irmscher original


Coming up next year, lots of changes to the interior lights! Watch this space.

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So out with a 10mm socket and off with the wing (yes, I struggled for a while before I found the 8mm bolt behind the headlight)

It's a right 'pain-in-the-ass' that bolt :( I think everyone has fallen for that.

I reckon the fittment and 8mm bolt was fitted 'only' to cars for the UK market?

Hendrick and Hans (the designers) were probably still p**sed because what the RAF did to their granny's house!

"Ah lets pi*s off them tommies" :lol::lol: (pun)

Noticed you've went for the 185's? 195 were standard, could have went for 205's also. I believe the 185's are easier

to get hold off. I've had all three types fitted (on different mantas over the years).


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  • 2 weeks later...

Stage 1 of my "re-vamp interior lights" mini-project

Puddle lights:





Relatively simple to do, just take a live feed from pretty much anywhere and then connect the earth to the courtesy light switches. The difficult part is feeding the wires through the trim and to the dashboard as always with things like this.

Despite appearances the lights are actually white not blue, they have a slight blue caste to them like all white LEDs but the main thing is they are BRIGHT which was what I wanted.

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Very nicely done this. I'm starting to get a bit more into originality as I'm getting older but as long as I keep seeing well fitted ICE installs and descrete mods like this then I'll never go completely mad :D

There is a JBL speaker set that fits quite well into the original manta speaker holes either side of the parcel shelf, but I'm sure the one's you have are loud enough. Also lucky you've fitted that drifting steering wheel with all the snow :lol:

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Hi I just read this thread through and its rally interesting to me. Just as a note doesnt the passenger side mounting point rot because the drain from the sunroof feeds down there or is that another part of the chassis it rots? Just a thought so you didnt have to redo it again soon. I think it only needs a few inches more piping to vent onto the floor outside.

Keep up the good work.

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