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Over Winter Jobs


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Well work is now on the finish straight for John R's Hatch Back. You might remember that last winter John booked his car in so i could retro fit the standard Opel Lefthand drive Air Con.

While i had the car John asked me to make a list of other things that needed doing and a couple of bits that needed finishing off.

So this year John dropped the car off to me with a choice off two different projects for the car.

A) Strip out the engine and strip out the engine bay completely, Have the engine bay re-painted re-do all the brake lines with proper GM brake pipe repaint sevro and cylinder etc and then fit a 2.4 cih engine fully re-built to our spec.

B) Remove, strip and rebuild the front & rear axels & suspension with new bushes etc. Wax oil and some other smaller jobs.

Well due to various things beyond our control the engine and engine bay refit will now have to wait until next winter

so plan b came into force.

So to wax the car properly it need stripping so first job was to remove the engine and gear box. It needed a new clutch anyway so while its apart i'm going to replace the standard 8.5" clutch and flywheel with a new 2.2 9" clutch mated to a Monza 3.0 Flywheel and longer cast iron release arm..

With the engine and box out the next job was to remove the front axel and strip it down so the main parts could go of for blasting. This is what you end up with...


and this is the rest of the parts that have been stripped, cleaned and painted.


With that job done the rear axel was stripped down of all its bits which have also gone off to be blasted. The curren axel isn't going back in as John has picked up a nice new bit of kit to replace it.

While the other parts are way i'll make up some new Caliper fit brake pipes for the axel, strip, clean and rebuild the rear calipers and all the other bits that go with it.

The last thing to get off the car was the fuel tank and pump assy. With the tank off the sender was removed for inspection and all the paint stripped off so it could be inspected for any bad rust spots.

With no real problems found with the tank apart from the odd dent all the rust spots were treated and the tank repainted with a litre of Schultz. This will also be followed by a coating of wax as well, it is a Hatch Tank atfer all!!.

With the underside now bare the next job was to plug any holes into the cabin and mask the car up. Now you could say that its a waste of time masking the body up if your waxing but i'd rather spend a few hours with the tape than have to go over the car afterwards and get all the over spray off.

This is how the car looked after masking


The other proble to over come was the temp in the work with an outside air temp of only a few degrees, i needed to get the wax hot.

Normal process for this is to bump the wax can in a bucket of hot water but that wouldn't last long. i needed to keep the heat going.

With that in mind i found an empty 25ltr metal drum in the skip at work so i took this back to the shop and cut the lid off set it up on some bricks and place a propane burner underneath and half filled the drum with water.

It took about twenty mins with the burner on full to get the water to almost boiling at which point i suspended the five ltr wax can in the water and turned to gas down to a simmer.

This worked really well and the wax stayed hot in the gun and was very thin so it got in all the gaps. The full underside was coated including the wheel arches, all the box sections and sills, in total fifteen litres of wax went on the car...............and i ended up looking like this


What a horrible and dirty job.

So thats about it at the moment. The door cards have got to go back on with new vapour shield and i've got to find a way of fitting an oil cooler in the front of the car that already has a A/C Condenser and fan there.

more to follow



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Quick update. Spent last Sunday checking the new rear axel and swapping the half shafts from old to new.

The internals all look good and it doesen' look the diff has ever had any oil looks like its straight out of the box.

the inside looks like this


brand new, by looks of it LSD, this should be fun to play with.

The halfshafts were pulled from the old axel due to them being fitted with long studs for the rear discs and it was easier to swap the complete shaft.

Shift tap with the slide hammer had the shafts out. On inspection one shaft bearing was ok so was cleaned and greased up to go back in


The bearing on the other shaft showed signs of grease seeping out so i ended up have to swap the longer studs out and replace them on the other shaft.

New gaskets were made for the shaft plates and with the caliper brackets cleaned and repainted the axel was put back together with new diff cober gasket.


Next job is to make new axel brake pipes and fit up the torque tube



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  • 3 months later...

Well thought it was about time for a belated update.

So all this winters work has been completed.

So what has been done this winer.

Swapped out the standard manta Axle for a new Manta LSD Axle.

All suspensions bushes have been changed

All the underside stripped and resaled

All suspension parts have been repainted

Fuel tank stripped and cleaned

Clutch and flywheel has been changed for a Monza Flywheel and 9 inch clutch

New clutch cable

Various other small jobs done.

Rolling road tuned, now puts out 139.8 BHP and 159 lbs of torque.

Moted / taxed and being used as my everyday car for the summer.

So what does the car look like now.............

Well it will be featured in the next issue of Classic Car Mart.

Here are a couple of pictures from the photo shoot.







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Thanks for all the positive comments about my Manta.

I have to say it is a lovely car to drive, turns a few heads as well..........

A couple of drivers on the M40 got a shock when i blasted past them..... brought a real smile to my face.

Special thanks to Andy for all the work and tweaks he has done.

Will be developed a bit further this winter..............


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  • 1 year later...

Well thought it was abought time to update this thread with the latest updates on the always ongoing project on my hatch.

So the next steps have been to build a new 2.4 cih engine.

With a lot of help from Nick, Louis, Paul, Andy and lots of other Opel guys I know around the world the 2.4 engine build has been completed.

The original engine as you can imagine has been stripped to a parts basket.

Most of the original parts have been binned.

New parts, cam, valvles, valve seats, valve springs, new cam, valve guides, valve seats pistons, bearings (modified) new Mahle 95.00 pistons,etc etc. in fact almost everything is new.

The bores as we all know on the 2.4 have suffered from "piston slap" so to get round this problem new "Ductile liners" have been fitted.

All bearings and pistons have been coated, this was done by a company in the US. The tops of the pistons have been ceramic coated. The bottom end bearing have been modified to include a "spary" hole to squirt oil up the bores to help with ware.

The crank has been ground and polished as well as balanced. When i talk about balancing the crank, i actually mean the crank, front pulley, flywheel, and clutch have all been balanced within "1gram".

All the parts have been weighted and balannced as well as the engine has been CC'd on each Piston. This should give a very smoth running engine with loads of torque.

All the work that has been done has been to standard new GM parts, so the engine has not been built as a race engine.

CC of the new engine is 2,412.49

Valve Seats - We;;tite hardened

Cylinder Liners - Ductile Liners

The new valve seats have been ground to 30/45/60

Vavle Size (Inlet) 44.8

Valve Size (Exhaust) 40.00

Stem Size 8.8

Cylinder Finish Plateau honed 35Deg

Stroke 85mm

Compression 9.6215.1

New distributor

The engine is now sitting with Andy to fit, with the new wiring loom etc,

Will post up some pics in the next couple of days.

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Looks nice.

A couple of questions.

Does the monza flywheel fit straight on in place of the old one? and what are are you doing with the thermostat and hoses as the hosing is quite a bit different to the old 2.0l


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I'd just add to Johns answers. If your looking at the Monza flywheel then you might also want to look at getting a heavy duty LHD Clutch pedal as these are a bit longer and aslo the cast iron brace between the trans and engine.

As for the stat housing we have a special part for this and all will become clear soon



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Hi Both

Thanks for the info. Im going hydraulic on the clutch and have a frontera 2.4 clutch plate which i haven't got round to working out what that will fit on yet!

Also got the cast iron brace, so should be ok with that.

Haven't started building mine yet as have a 2.1 to get back together and sell first to fund some of the work on the block etc..

Are you running injection or carbs on it? im going to be running throttle bodies and full injection on mine.

Will be interesting to see what you do with the thermostat :-) i have had it in bits just trying to figure out how to run the hoses and where to put all the sensors etc..


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Hey Andy

what bolts did you use for the 2.4 head? been trying to work out where to get them and do you know where to get a new cam chain without the split link?

Also what clutch are you going to be running? i have a new 2.4 clutch cover but the flywheel for those looks massive :-)


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Hi John, thanks for the info. I have bought lots of bits from Gill in the past and got my manifold from him last year, and cam chain kit for the 2.1 engine but need another one now for the new engine! I have a friend who spends a few months each year in Florida so he brings parts back with him, which is very handy :-)

I didn't know if there was someone over who did them to save me waiting.

What clutch are you going to run with the 2.4? Been looking at options but am not sure what will fit straight on, as don't want tomhave to get things made to fit!


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