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Opel Ascona B.


paulmanta
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This Topic is a copy paste from my backups of the old topic that I deleted by accident while i was tidying it up to make it read better, the story starts in about november 2006:

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I am about to embark on a long journey to go and buy the mint Ascona that is pictured in the thread Ascona XE project, after speaking to the present owner a few time we came to an agreement and i am massively excited to be booked on the 6.45am train from Penzance to Paddington (London tahn) then muck about on the tube and another surface train for a bit and then meet Lee and buy the car.

I am absolutely revving about it and am likely to get NO SLEEP at all tonight.

I was quite pleased to get the train ticket up for £54.00 in first class !!!(1st class was cheapest ticket for some bizarre reason)

Then i phoned ALL the insurance companies in the world and other planets and managed to get one years insurance fully comp, with legal and windscreen cover (with agreed valuation on the car) for £136.38. its about the only thing i like about this getting older lark. my first Manta 16 years ago cost £600 plus to insure 3rd party.

Will report back on the train/road trip tomorrow night if all goes well.

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Yay !!!

Got back home last night at about 10.30 ish, would have been a quicker drive back but i stopped off to see my sister near Popham on the A303, The drive back to Cornwall was a good one in nice dry weather as well which was a bonus, the car drove well, and seems to do good mpg, mind you i didn't go above 65mph most of the way.

Obviously there are a few little bits to sort out on it, the tiny bit of bubble rust around the rear window will be gone soon when my tame bodyshop work their magic, rear screen out and all done properly, and the seal around the boot opening has a bit of a split, that is no problem as I have about 20 feet of genuine boot rubber in my stock !

I have just looked out the window at it and it is sat in the winter sun shining and looking like it needs driving again.

Thanks to Lee for the deal and leaving a good amount of fuel in the tank, you are a star.

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The list of small jobs has begun !!

I want to change the 4 interior door handle surrounds for new ones that still have the chrome on.

also going to put GTE rear brakes on it as the handbrake is not brilliant and the pedal is a bit long, good invisible upgrade this.

The steering UJ at the bottom of the column is a bit worn, there is a definite clunk when going lock to lock.

the exhaust is knocking on the axle when you go over certain bumps in the road.

the little blisters of rust around the rear screen are going to be history too.

Wow, what a list, should take a saturday to sort over the Christmas break.

This car is making me VERY happy, i have had some bad personal health hassle recently and this is the tonic i needed to sort me out, better than the pills and potions i am on.

My wife and I went out tonight to see the Christmas lights one of the local villages puts on and we went in the Ascona, I enjoyed every moment and keep looking for excuses to drive it.

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Well, i have put the car away in its nice warm garage and have polished it all twice, I have to admit i have removed the radio that was fitted to make way for my nice stereo that has a cd player and FM radio, i have a little cover for it to hide the modern face when i am at shows.

I am also fitting speakers to a new rear parcel shelf, i am making up a new shelf so i don't cut the original one, also a cd changer is getting hidden in the boot behind the spare wheel , once again so you wont see it at all.

I am trying to track down some inner door handle surrounds in chrome as the existing ones are peeling, and i am also about to remove the rear screen and sort the small rust bubbles.

Also going to have the underside of the bonnet re-sprayed and will be putting the new electronic dizzy and coil on at the weekend

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I polished the battery tray today. and the inner wings and the tops of the wing rails. I also made up the new stereo wiring loom which is all getting hidden so you cant see it when it goes to the battery or any of the wire that will be in the boot, Also I thought if I made a complete new separate loom for it it keeps the original wiring intact so it is easy to put back to standard.

I wish the pioneer stereo I have was small enough to fit to the glove box, then I would have left the original radio in the dash. Still I am not driving the car around with no tunes, especially not to Billing, that would drive me mad.

I tried a black grille on it from my stock of such things and it looked too black, the grey suits it well when you see the car in real life.

I will probably drive the 300 odd miles to Billing in the summer with the black grille on then swop to the silver one when i am there, Its a good way of getting round the dead fly problem ! i used cling film on my white GTE one year, just peeled the film and flies off.

Ho-hum

Went to get the tracking done as i could tell the tyres were scrubbing a little on full lock so i took it to my ex-workmates garage on the industrial estate where i work, All well so far, They got it on the ramp and started mucking about with it while i had a good root about underneath, I had never seen the underside before so I was happy to find it all in order apart from a tiny bubble of rust on one chassis leg and a bit on the rear boot chassis leg, both easily removed and made perfect in a morning.

The bad bit is the rack has evil play in it, so much so it has worn the guide bush in the end of the rack body oval !! the UJ is shot and the bottom column bush is not good either, Not to worry though i have all the bits in stock and i spent the morning rebuilding a GTE rack to put in, low miles but was all corroded looking and scabby, got it all cleaned and painted and put new track rod ends and rack boots on, just got to swap it all over on monday.

No hurry to do the job though as due to the documents not turning up i cannot tax it, led to an "interesting discussion" in the Post office.

Anyway, its not the best weather to be driving it about so no real loss.

The tracking is done and it 100% better, no scrub or odd feel to it, its really positive now and easier to turn.

In the end i put a self re-conned rack on it and two new track rod ends and a new lower column bearing and UJ, The tyre are going though, they are some odd indian make that slip about too much, going to pop some Firestones on it to finish the steering/handling side off.

Of course i had to polish it again after it got caught in the rain for a bit, but now it lives in a centrally heated garage, which is bone dry and good enough for me to live in.

The front speakers are fitted into the kick panels (not original ones, these are safe) and are almost impossible to see so it all looks as it should.

The rear screen is coming out tomorrow to sort the rear speakers out and also the small scabs of rust around the screen edge.

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I also find myself wanting some nice light brown/beige floor mats...is this normal ?

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I have a Tartan rug on the rear shelf, thought you all should know.

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Well the rear screen came out today and i got to see the extent of the rust round the bit the rubber usually covers, there are a few nasty little holes and some of them have been causing the boot floor to get wet, got the contents of the boot out (carpet, spare tyre tank cover etc) and have dried it all out, also took the rear seat out and the parcel shelf.

I ran the new speaker cables into the boot and also the wires for the amp whilst it is all dismantled.

Also got the 12mm MDF marked out for the new parcel shelf.

Then i thought it would be a good idea to convert it to run with an electronic dizzy, so i swapped the old dizzy for a brand new GTE one and fitted a spark amp unit under the original coil, ran the wire from dizzy to coil and connected it all up and after a bit of playing with the timing it is running very well indeed, the slight lumpy idle has gone and it ticks over very evenly.

Next up is an oil change with a genuine filter and i am going to convert the rear brakes to the later GTE style with self adjusters.

I have removed the boot lid and rear bumper and side trim in readiness for its date with the bodyshop, i have cut all the rotten spots out with a dremmel with a tiny cutting disc on it, and have been left with 9 little holes that are getting welded up by the TiG welder tomorrow, I was going to use MiG but its too splattery and brutal for such tiny holes (1cm by 2cm is average size) I will use some Wurth heat stop putty to prevent panel distortion and will also do a small bit at a time to each patch to keep the heat down even more.

Once it gets into the body shop they are going to spray the panel under the rear window and also the whole bonnet, this is being done because it has microblisters in the paint and is flaking underneath.

Well after the efforts to remove the rust from around the screen We finally got round to TiG-ing the new patches into the car, I used heatstop paste to stop any panel distortion and it seemed to work a treat, the local engineering shop did the tig welding for me as i dont have a tig set to play with yet....but i want one, its slower but more precise than mig and the results are very good on the Ascona, It has had a thin skim of filler over the top of the repairs and will get a little stopper and primer tomorrow in readyness for the top coat, I suspect i will need to blow the paint into the rear quarters to match it in properly then polish it all up

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May well re-paint the rocker cover and the air filter assembly too as these are a bit chipped and have the starting of rust.

Mod wise i have made a new parcel shelf from 12mm MdF and trimmed it in black to almost directly copy the original, the main difference is this one is having speakers in it, nice 6X9s that are plain black and will sound better than the nothing that was there before.

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Well I have done the last bit of putting the Ascona bodywork back together, I have had the back panel under the rear window sprayed and and also the rear quarter panels as there was a tiny spot of rust from a stonechip on the passengers side, we have machine polished the boot lid and it has come up very well indeed and the colour match is spot on, I have also degreased the bonnet inside and painted that so it is all smart and shiny, the new subtle speaker shelf is trimmed and fitted along with the nice jbl 6X9 ebay bargain speakers i bought for the car.

seats are refitted and I am going to Tax it tomorrow now i have FINALLY got the vehicle documents, not bad considering i bought it in December !!

only little job to do next will be the wear on the drivers seat, a company in America are sending me a sample of some cloth to try and match the fabric so i can have the seat repaired properly, failing that i will have to get a lot of the nearest cloth they do and re-cover the lot ! hardly original i know but i am not having a slightly different drivers seat.

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Right on !! I am going to spray the bonnet and the back drivers side door, the door seems to have a ding in it that has been touched in but i am aiming for perfection so its going to be minted !!

Then the GTE rear brakes are going on it. possibly a set of Astra calipers up front if they fit behind the ATS alloys, all 13 inches of em.

did the last of the radio wiring as well, it sounds really good, nice and clear and good sound separation. considering its all second hand gear off Ebay and stuff i have had for a while its all working well together.

just got the build the Sub box in its disguise. [;)]

The spray work is now behind me !! thank the "higher deity".

Now......Brakes.

well this morning it chucked a big wobbly fest and the brake fluid warning lamp stayed on, i checked the fluid and it had indeed gone, or most of it at least. Bit of a mystery as to where as all the pipes are fine and the calipers are not leaking, this leads me to conclude that the trouble lie in the rear drums. Have to investigate myself up a nice fully re-built 1800 back axle and GTE spec rear brakes this week and accidently fit that under the car. that will solve the small problem of the hand brake being pants and the possible leaky rear cyls at the same time.

might give a higher cruise speed too.

plus it will be all painted up and shiny.

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I had to fiddle didn't I ?

There was no reason to remove the front screen to clean the rubber properly, but I am glad i did, there was the startings of rust in the area covered by the rubber, so this has now been sorted out by using the dremel and fine grinding stone, its all in bare metal and i have treated it with rust killer.

Now i have an excuse to re-spray the scuttle panel to match perfectly the recently re-sprayed bonnet.

seems to be tomorrows mission.

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Done a lot more today, I have had my paint lads re-spray the scuttle panel and blow/blend the new paint halfway up each A pillar and the wing tops, the blend is very good and makes the new paint match seamlessly to the older paint, once this was done i mopped and polished the whole car and its looking very smooth indeed.

I also went out and had 4 new tyres fitted to replace the dreadful indonesian "gajah tungall" tyres that were fitted after much hassle trying to get the right size tyre i finally settled for Avons and the difference is incredible, the car grips and turns and even rides better, plus it is quieter, well worth doing.

And in the spirit of the day i also did an oil change, nice genuine GM filter and oil went in and i cleaned the plugs and looked at the air filter. changed the brake fluid too, and i wrote it all down in the service history folder !!

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I had a burst of energy that coincided with a slack bit at work and i stripped all the rear brakes down, removed the old manual adjusters and finally fitted the GTE spec drums shoes and "self" adjusters and springs, also had to change the wheel cylinder due to one being all leaky and the other half seized, of course the brake pipes then didnt match the new cylinders as the flare on the pipe were wrong. so i had t do that, then i couldnt get a pedal properly due to the fact that some idiot (not me one of the others who inhabit my workshop) had put engine oil in a brake fluid bottle, only noticed after i had nearly filled the reservoir that it was flowing slowly. now need to flush the whole lot out tomorrow. nice.

oh and i put on a new handbrake cable too, the old one was frayed a bit near one of the ends.

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It helps to have an MoT to drive a car on the road. [:I][:I]

I only realised it was out by sheer chance, i was looking through the history and making a space in the folder for the tyre receipt when i spotted the car ran out of MoT 10 days before.

Took it straight round to the Lads who do my Mot's and they got it in straight away, passed with a couple of small advisories which i knew about and am going to sort out when the motor comes out for a clean and paint up in the winter.

I think i might have cleaned it again as well. [:D]

Well in preparation for the Billing outing I decided to investigate the random fuel gauge readings, I took the sender out of the tank and found a damn great chunk of the printed circuit board was missing, this explains why when i fill up to the brim the needle shows full, then after about 120 miles it shows empty, i fill up again and only get about 12 quid in before its full, Needles to say i have put a new sender in and it reads all the way across the range now.

Had major trouble this week with the rocker cover leaking, i tried two new cork gaskets on it and even used the blue hermaphrodite stuff but it seems to leak over the manifold and smoke no matter what i do.

To solve this temporarily i have put my alloy Opel GT rocker cover on with a 2.4 frontera rubber gasket, now it doesnt leak at all, only problem is it looks really good on the car and i will have to polish it now.

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Billing was a great sucess, it was a brilliant drive up and back (just over 700 miles !!) and I had a great time again, the car performed faultlessly and it was nice to take it for a long drive after the poor weather we have had. I had to go home early on sunday so missed the concours which was a shame as its a good way to conclude the whole weekend.

Thanks to James and James+lisa who followed myself and Alan up from the wilds of the south west, Do it again next year ? different route up perhaps.......

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Alan (my mate who came with me to Billing) got married in september 2007 and asked to be taken to the Church in the Ascona, and then he and his new wife left the church in a split screen camper and we drove together to the reception where i got a few good pics of the car in all its official glory.

alwedscone.jpg

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Well the Ascona has not missed a beat, its still shiny, still clean and is trouble free.

I have however bought a new Weber carb for it to boost its performance a little, i even managed to get a cast adaptor plate to go on the top that lets me use the standard air filter assembly instead of swopping to a K&N so it will still look standard in the engine bay.

Not put it on yet but am hoping to escape to the workshop tomorrow and have a play.

I had hung on as long as i thought safe and then popped a bid in to my Max which was a quite a bit higher than what i ended up paying.

I then went and bid on the weber to standard air filter housing plate on ebaymotors in America, paid almost as much for the plate as i did the carb, probably because its for a BMW 2002 ! it does fit the Ascona air filter housing like a treat though.

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Update 25/6/2008.

I have finally found and fitted a passengers side door mirror and also fitted a set of clear front indicators, I took the car for its MoT today as well and it went straight through with only a couple of minor advisories, same as last year !

Next big event for the car is Billing in July.

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Took a while to read through It'd be nice to see this in the flesh, I must have missed it last year. I was thinking you'd be in the V8 coupe this year but I understand it's not back together again.

Is the electronic GTE ignition system easy to fit in place of the old mechanical one? I wouldn't mind doing this on mine with a cylindrical coil.

It's not a critism, but how come you make so much effort on trying to maintain an original look, like with the K&N and stereo? I know it can be a shame to cut speaker holes in classic parcel shelves, but things like a head unit and K&N bolt-on are all easily reversable and (in my opinion) look better than the original equipment, even on an otherwise original car.

Where can you get 2.4 frontera rocker cover gaskets from? My local factors only do cork ones for all the CIH engines and I too am going to be using an alloy GT cover which doesn't seal as well as the rustable ones.

Very nice 'scone and the silver grill definately suits it.

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Rick, I think the reason i am trying to do reversible or hidden mods to this car is that EVERY car i have owned or still own apart from this one has been modded to within an inch of its life, I just want to be subtle with this one and try to resist the big wheels and engine swops that i normally go in for.

The electronic ignition was easy to do, the worst part was fining a feed for the coil that was switched from the ignition, the original feed has a balast wire and would knock it back to about 10V it is pretty much plug and play, the loom between the coil and spark amp thing and dizzy is all simple and the plug leads are the same, its really only the feed that is a pest.

As for the 2.4 rocker cover gaskets i get them from Andy Clears at Drive vauxhall, but they dont fit the steel rocker covers, only the alloy ones.

I will be in the Ascona at Billing again this year and we must meet up and have a smoke together ! The V8 is not coming because I was a muppet and made a cock up with the drivers side exhaust manifold and now i need to re make it again but this time not have the downpipe trying to go into the bell housing moulding for the clutch slave cyl, I only nothiced when i went to bolt the rest of the exhaust back on and the pipe was behind this huge lump of alloy. Also the Ascona is MoT'd and insured and i have the money for the tax, the V8 needs it all and would cripple me in fuel even if i could get it ready in time.

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It looks quite low for standard suspension and I'm sure roof mounted ariels aren't original. Let's see more of this sort of thing

Is this the same colour that Joe Greaves' 1975 B is in? Cetainly like it what ever it is, some paintwork you just can't stop polishing!

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The springs were new, put in by ChrisB before i had the car which i was happy about because it saved me a job, Asconas are too tall in standard form.

I had the bonnet polished properly today, fine sandpaper and a polishing mop. when i had the bonnet sprayed to get rid of all the stone chips the bodyshop polished it but missed a big bit that stuck out like a sore thumb under the lighting at the Nec last november, i have not used the car much since and had not got round to sorting it till today. Now its like glass.

As for the Arial, pretty sure its been on it from new.

Oddly enough about an hour after i put the new tax disc in the window it started raining and has been horrible ever since.

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Ah, like when I wear my back brace.....

...I stand corrected

There's a scientific name for what you're experiencing with the rain, now that you've got it ready for the road, it's called 'sods law'. I'm sure when we all try to get our cars ready a few days before Billing it will be pissing down relentlessly!

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  • 5 months later...

A small update is due on this car i have done a few bits to it, mostly maintainance but the main thing I have changed is the seats, I had a chat with Ian Goacher at Billing this year after he beat me in the concours cav/ascona class (i got second) he told me he was planning to do a few changes to his immaculate bronze ascona andthese changes included the interior, naturally i asked if I could have first refusal on his seats as mine were worn, faded and the drivers seat has a rip on the bolster. Well just before this years NeC show Ian phoned me and offered me the seats and we decided I could collect while I was in Brimingham for the show, result is after a lot of driving (672 miles round trip) i now have mint as new seats in the car and no longer have to try and track down the correct fabric to do my previously planned retrim on my old seats.

With that job out the way I have started to collect the parts for a 5 speed conversion, watch this space.

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Glad to help the with continued improvements to the Ascona Paul.

My interior is now complete and in the car! I must admit I soil myself every time i see it. I went out on a limb with it and i think its paid off. I suppose I'll have to get some pics up when i can. Having some paint done after xmas so I'll do them then.

Not @rsed who wins the class at Billing as long as we show all the others that Ascona's were allways better than Manta's anyway!

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

I swear opel put a coat of saltwater between the metal and the primer and then sealed the whole lot with rubber so it didnt dry out.

I have spent the last two days peeling and wire wheeling underseal from the inner wings of the Ascona, I found surface rust (lucky no holes) in the usual places, I only went into the inner wing area to change the brake pipe that looked a bit crusty and was poking round with a torch and found an end, of course i picked it and was amazed when a damn graet sheet of rubbery stoneguard came off in my hand and left a patch of brown death.

I think in retrospect my reaction was extreme, I took both bumper, wings, grille and headlights off and have stripped and "hydrate 80'd" the whole lot, etch primer tomorrow followed by a load of Wurth's finest rubber under seal that goes off hard and then more primer and metallic green topcoat. Better than new ! but about £100 worse off in paint and understuff, not to mention hours of my life gone on rust again.

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No denying that.

The front wings are off to Surface Processing to be stripped, cleaned and electro primed.

I had a good poke about today and found some surface rust on the inside and think its best to kill it dead, no holes or real grot yet but it might get worse if i dont deal with it now.

They quoted £90 per wing to stip and coat so its no too bad, since i have a crate going up i might put a couple of other bits through the process too. I have a pair of A series doors and a boot lid that would benefit.

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