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1983 Berlinetta Hatch


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I thought I'd start up a wee project thread as I'll be doing a few bits and pieces to my new Manta.

It's a totally standard 1983 Berlinetta 1.8s Hatch.

I'm not planning on doing much to it, just keeping it on the road will be the main thing. However I've just bought lowering springs, new dampers and a Sportex exhaust system for it.

I'll also be changing the wheels and tyres over the next few months.

I'm a very keen amateur mechanic so I'll be attempting all the work myself.

First job will be a full service, what should I be checking and changing for a service?

I'm thinking :

Air , fuel and oil filters

Engine , Gearbox and Dif oil changes

Coolant change

It's already had plugs leads dist cap, rotor arm changed recently.

Is there anything else I'm missing?

Here's some pictures of the car.





I also own a Subaru Impreza RB5, I've had it for over 7 years and I do all the work on it too. It's been modified a bit and is running at 290 bhp at the moment. I plan to do a fair bit of work on it this year and it'll be off the road for a while, thats why I bought the Manta.

Here's a few pictures of it with my mates 3.0s Capri for anyone thats interested.



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I think it is the varijet carb Kev, cheers for the info.

Hi Andy, Yes so far it seems pretty solid, it's been very well maintained.

I'm going to stick it up on the ramps this afternoon to get a real good look underneath.

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I got the car up on the ramps today and had a good look underneath and it's solid :D I'm well chuffed.

Lots of credit due to the previous owners.

I have noticed that the nearside bumpstop is detached and sitting at the bottom of the spring and the metal cone is bashed in, looks like I'll have to sort that out when I change the springs.

Apart from that it's fine.

I also noticed that when I was parked up today in town someone has hit my front bumper ans scraped it down to the plastic, leaving a few gouges, f##kin bas#ards! If I'd done that I'd at least have left my contact details, some folk have no conscience.

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I once watched somebody reverse into my Sportshatch hard enough that it rolled back 6 inches with the handbrake on, then drive off. Luckily there was no damage to mine and I didn't care anyway because it was a shed :D

Looks like a lovely car you've got yourself there mate.

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  • 3 weeks later...

looks good, nice scenery too

my red one looked the same but was a 1.8S not a Berlinetta,


no headlight wash / wipers wipers

no rear screen wash wipe

no opening rear side windows

steel wheels

suggest you do the water pump when you replace the cam belt, as pump is the belt tensioner, pump seal needs to be broken to do the job anyway so should be replaced

good idea to put some coolant flush through the system before you drop out the water pump as you will need to replace coolant anyway

cam belt is so easy to do on the 1.8, a shifting spanner gets in behind the water pump to tension up

on these its good to run engine oil flush through before changing the engine oil, gets any residue out of the hydraulic lifters

have a close look under the windscreen washer bottle and battery as they can be problem areas and make sure all mud and dirt removed from inside the wing at the door pillar, that's a bit of a problem area when mud build up in there, I needed to do some welding in that area and the bottom windscreen corners myself.

mud sitting on top of the petrol tank where the filler pipe connects into the tank, can cause holes in top of tank

also good to get a small screw driver or welding rod and make sure all drain holes are clear at the bottom of each front door pillar by the jacking point, along the sills, bottom of each door and corners of the boot lid, plastic drain bung things behind the rear wheels can get choked up too.

have a real good look at the sill above the rear jacking point, keep an eye on these

I think this spec, if its the same as my red one has felt type underlay under the carpet rather than the barium loaded foam that's in the higher spec cars, either of these sound proofing measures will hold water if you get or have a leak, like any car. the passenger side has a piece of particle board in the foot well at the bulk head, if water gets into that it will expand and go like wheetabix

if your little rubbers on the end of the doors have vapourised, you can get them here http://www.afterbuy.de/afterbuy/shop/storefront/start.aspx?shopid=54004

enjoy your Manta, it will always be very desirable being a 1.8

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Well, I've managed to get a few jobs done on my manta this week in between knocking down my old house (i'm going to build a new garage in it's place).

I've fitted my new sportex exhaust, my car now has a wee note to it. I've also sorted out my brakes and got rid of the judder.

Today I thought I'd have a go fitting my new springs.

I've done the prep work this morning.

I removed the stabiliser links (both of them snapped off!) I've also split the lower ball joints from the stubs.


I've compressed and tied my new springs ready to refit, the plan is this afternoon to cut the old springs before removing them, with either with a plasma cutter or old fashioned gas axe :D I think this will make my job much much easier.

I'll post the results later.


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What I did was used the spring compressors to compress the spring then tied the springs with strong 8mm rope quad wrapped at either side. Once the springs are in place I'll cut the rope.

The compressors were hard enough to remove while on the work bench, I think you're right, they would be a nightmare to get out while on the car :)

I've not refitted the new springs yet. I've been sorting out my bump stops this afternoon as they were in a fair state.

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you will need to find bolt in bump stops preferential with an 8mm stud, like the MG ones?

these are a pure B to try and press in like the original ones, easier to bolt through

most bump stops will be M10 and needs the hole drilled out a bit

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if you haven't done it already dont cut the 'old' springs, un-broken Manta front springs are in short supply, you could save someone else's 'bacon' with them.

The spring compressors you have can just be used with Manta front suspension, you need to add a distance tube between the 'nut' (hexagon/socket drive) and spring hook so as the 'nut' projects below the bottom of the lower wishbone/suspension arm. Another alternative i have heard of with this type of spring compressor is to replace the hook nearest the 'nut' with a flat bar with a hole drilled in each end so as the bar goes under the lower suspension arm and the remaining end hooks pull the spring tight to the lower arm.

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if you haven't done it already dont cut the 'old' springs, un-broken Manta front springs are in short supply, you could save someone else's 'bacon' with them.

Sorry mate, I chopped them up with the plasma cutter. It was the safest and most time efficient method I could think of at the time.

Thanks for the info on modifying the compressors, the second method you mentioned would give you a similar tool to the one used in the haynes manual.

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I've had a busy day today, got the bump stops sorted, they were in a sorry state when I started, both sides were like this with the rubbers detached.


I trimmed up both sides, removed about 50mm.


I then made round bases from 4mm steel, I cut off the nipple bits from the rubbers and threaded them with a nut, drilled holes in the metal bases and tapped a thread in each one so I could screw the rubbers in place. After welding them up I gave them a good clarting in underseal and fitted the rubbers.

I'm quite chuffed with the results, it's neatened them up a bit. :)


I fitted the compressed springs, bolted up the lower ball joints and cut the rope, everything sprung into place fine.


The rears were a doddle compared to that, they came out and went in no bother.


The car is now sitting much lower, this is exactly how I wanted my Manta to look, I'm well chuffed with it!


I also started working on my new wheels, bought from a member on here (cheers Kev!) They are a bit grubby but in excellent condition considering they came off a scrapper. I just need to get decent tyres bought, I'm probably going for Falken ZE912s.



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Yeah, I thought it looked a bit lower than 40mm especially when compared to the pics I posted at the top of the thread :D

I think it might be 40mm lowering springs for a GTE?

I'm quite chuffed with it, the lower the better!

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40mm all round mate, got them from losuspension.com

I`m using the same ones on my berlinetta but with a 55mm drop , looks the same drop as mine tbh,

Looking good pal , glad ur happy with your wheels ,

(that the wife in the 3rd pic from the bottom ;) )

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  • 2 weeks later...

UPDATE (Non Mechanical)

I have been doing a bit of digging on the net to see if I could find out a bit of history about my car. It's in such good condition that I know it must have been owned by an enthusiast but there's not much history with the car at all. The guy I bought it from had been told that one of the owners was a mechanic at the garage who originally sold it but he didn't know if that was true or not.

I eventually found a for sale ad on retrorides from last year so I contacted the chap to see if he could tell me anything about it :) This is part of the reply I got.

"It was sold new at my local vauxhall garage in the same year I started my appentice-ship there. (I'm still there!!). It was owned by an old chap who really looked after it and wax-oyled it religiously which has saved the usual rot spots from developing. He lived 6 miles from the garage and it stayed like that for years. Then as far as I can tell, a young lad bought it who worked in a factory across the road from the garage and he spent a load on tidying the paintwork which was just tired by then. I remember him coming into the garage buying trim clips for it. Then it disappeared. To where I dont know. Untill about 4 years ago when I was helping a friend out in a farm workshop and spotted it under a load of sheets and blankets in a corner. He said he had bought it ages ago with the intention of restoring it but had never got round to it. A deal was done and a good service ,new drivers wing and a general good going over it passed its MOT and was used on weekends when it was dry. The rest you now know. The original bill of sale was with it as well when I sold it. I hope its still there.

Good luck with it and I really hope you have some fun with it. It does deserve to be pampered now."

I'm well chuffed with that, it's good to know a bit about my car and it was nice of the guy to take the time to tell me a bit about it!

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