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Discussion Starter #1
I've decided to convert a 1970 Opel GT to electric.

As usual with my builds, this is a budget build not just for low cost, but trying to use as much unwanted/recycled/garbage/repurposed items as possible. It's not a performance build.

I'll try to update this front post to act as a table of contents for the progress on the thread.

To be updated, but, rough project specs:

- 1970 Opel GT ($200, but, $700, and up as I go).
- AC Forklift motor (free, from a scrapyard).
- Prius Controller (probably, haven't bought yet), with Damian's prototype brain for it. This might also be the charger.
- Recycled 18650 batteries from tool packs (already have).
- 70mph (110 km/hr) or so top speed (highway speed)
- At least 60 mile (100km) range, 120 mile (200km) would be better, I think I have enough cells.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Donor Vehicle:

1970 Opel GT.

Aka: "MicroVette"
Aka: "Half a Corvette" (half the weight, half the power)
Aka: "Poor Man's Porsche"

Was designed by the same guy who later designed the C3 Corvette.

They were only built for 4 years, almost 50 years ago, 1969-1973. The bodies were made in France, the engineering was done in America, and the assembly was done in what was West Germany at the time.

I'm not a car person. I've never had a dream car. I've never really cared about cars. The only car I've ever even shown slight interest in, for the style, are Corvette. But there was never a year that had all the style features I wanted. I liked the sloped backs on the C2s, but the curved fronts on the C3s.

Turns out, the Opel GT has both of those elements. It's the non-Corvette I didn't know existed.

They were, at the time, the lowest drag car GM had ever built, with a drag coefficient of 0.35... not great for modern cars, but combined with it's low frontal area (it's a small car), it's not going to have too high of power requirements to travel at highway speed.

Small, light, stylish and not the expensive kind of old, the unwanted kind of old.

Perfect vehicle for me.


(Not my GT, I wish).

My favorite feature of the GT are the flip-up headlights. There's no motor, they flip open by the driver's muscles shoving a lever that you have to un-gently slam into place.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SUcTPUZlRA
(Not my GT)

https://youtu.be/e1QavDAiE4E?t=10
(Lever)


These are rare-ish in Canada. Rust proofing was not as much of a thing back then, and most Canadian examples are rusted through or expensive. So, I was looking for one in the desert in the US.

I put word out that I was looking for a vehicle that didn't need to have an engine, and word of mouth led me to an estate sale in Phoenix.

A gentleman had passed away several month ago and had 3 Opel GTs. And he was a hoarder. His brother (the executor of the will), wanted the garage empty so he could have somewhere to empty and go through boxes. He wanted everything in the garage gone. If it wasn't gone by next week, he was hiring someone to haul it away for scrap metal.

With some help, I found another buyer for the nicest GT, and I bought another and some parts.

Yellow GT: $200.
Orange GT parts (body): $200
Brand new seats: $200 for the pair (worth $350 each)
Box of other parts (brand new interior): $100 (worth about $1000).

So I was in for $700 total.

Throw in about $1000 for gas to drive down and haul it back to Canada, I'm at $1700. I don't think I could find something that good, for that price, back home. I'd watched every sale in North America for a few months.

Some generous strangers in the GT community inspected, photographed, negociated, transported, partially stripped the GTs for me, and offered to store them for a couple months on their property until I could find time to pick them up.

The problem (known in advance) is that the front of the car I'd bought (Yellow) was rusted all the way through, and floorpan was rusted out on both sides. The rocker panels (most of the strength) were rusted through big enough to stuff your hand in. So, it would never be a car again.


"The damage doesn't look as bad from out here..."





That's where the orange car comes in. It was an aborted V8 project, where someone had cut out the transmission tunnel to fit a larger engine and transmission. So it was missing about 18" of the middle of the vehicle, but the rest of it was solid.




(View from the engine bay, looking back. Steering wheel is where the driver's seat goes).

It also had glass, popout windows, and a rear defroster (needed for Canada). The yellow lacked these.

So... the plan was... replace much of the rotted Yellow exterior, with the Orange exterior. And keep the Yellow interior body, which was missing from the Orange. Swap trim and glass and whatever else was needed.

And, all the grouchy anti-EV Opel GT owners who snarled that I was "ruining a classic" and "this is just another GT that'll end up in the junkyard" can't piss and moan about it, because I was the only one interested in buying the cars and saving them from the junkyard. Not that I care much, but, I do need GT-specific help and some goodwill in the community is nice.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
TL;DR - It's hard to get everyone to agree. But I kept asking until I had a plan and got it done.

Paperwork

I had to do the chopping while I was down there, as I had nowhere to put 2 cars back here, or a way to transport 2 cars.

This involved many conversations with many organizations, (5 total, each which was entitled to inspection), who had contradicting opinions about what makes a car "a car" and what makes a title "a title". All of this was new to me:

- One confidently said "a car" is the "frame". But this is a unibody car with no panels, and the body isn't stamped. It's one continuous welded body. There is no frame. Does that that mean to replace one rusted fender, "the car" is no longer "the car"? Ship of Theseus comes to mind.

- One said to have titles for every vehicle the parts came from (How would that be possible, if an owner sold different parts of the body to 5 different people?). Another org said I better not show up or mention two titles, because their system has no checkboxes for that and they might say it's now zero vehicles. I can repair a vehicle, but it's one vehicle, one VIN, and to never call it anything else.

- One said that's now a kit car (which can't be imported or driven). I said no, it's a restoration. They didn't process that well and gave up and let me talk to someone else there.

- One said the VIN on the dash is paramount, and the only thing they'd accept. Another said the VIN on the frame is paramount, and is the only thing they'd accept. Pointing out that the metal VIN plate on the dash is riveted literally into foam, which the scalding hot metal disintegrates in Arizona sun after 50 years and most surviving GTs are on their 3rd transplanted dash left some heads scratching.

- Most agreed it was illegal to remove the VIN from a vehicle. No one agreed what "a vehicle" was.

- No one could describe what maximum percentage of a car could be repaired or replaced from other vehicles. I threw out some numbers, 10%? 50%? 90%? I said I would keep asking questions, and repair the maximum amount allowable by their description, and I would list the repairs for their approval before I started. Everyone said "Oh, well, there's no limit, but..."

- I asked "Anywhere I stop, I have to cut and weld, so I'd like to take as much continuous vehicle as possible. Where do I have to stop?" Most said to just take as much as I want, structurally that's better to not be chopping it up into 20 pieces or whatnot, no need to play games.

- Many situations came down to semantics. The exact same physical situation described differently would be treated differently. One organization told me that you never remove the VIN from the vehicle. The VIN is the vehicle. You never move the VIN to another vehicle, that's a serious crime. But you may remove much of the vehicle around the VIN, and replace all the parts you took away with ones from another vehicle.

- The suviving VIN (this wasn't standardized 50 years ago), is in 2 places: manufacturer's plate on the firewall, and the driver's door. The Manufacturer's statement of origin, normally on the A-Pillar, is on the driver's door instead. In some jurisdictions, you have to store and occasionally carry the original door around with you to inspections to prove it was compliant for that year.

- One organization grilled me for 45 minutes about how the advice of another organization is unlawful, illegal, impossible, can't be repaired, will never work, don't you dare try it, etc. And then suddenly changed their tune and said: "But... if you show up with a title in your name, not someone else's title they signed over and a bill of sale, there's not much left for us to determine. Someone has already decided they call it a car, and they call you the owner of that car. We probably won't even look at it. So take your time, ask your questions, and get it inspected and titled in your name before we see it. And do not touch one thing on it between the time you pass that inspection and you bring it to us for our inspection, and tell us that when we ask." And as they seemed the pickiest and most contradictory, that, was my roadmap.

- One org was quite clear. They said "On the vehicle, somewhere, is there a VIN, that is still attached to and has never been removed from a piece of metal that was part of the original car?" I said "Yes, on the firewall". They said "Do you have a title for the vehicle that matches that VIN?", I said "Yes." They said "Then that is a car, and you own that car."

- Some orgs said that what they're concerned about is someone making two cars out of one, and a little bit about stolden parts. If it's obviously an old and low value car that needed repair, and I'm combining cars not splitting them, there's not much concern.

- When I arrived in Phoenix, before touching the cars, I spoke to the chief DOT inspector, described my plans, and asked him what I should do and not do to make him happy with both paperwork and vehicle. I got some solid answers, and did as he told me.

- Arizona is not a "title only" state. You can only get a title transfered to you after it passes inspection/smog/etc, at the same time they issue you your license plate and registration. This seemed like a gigantic obstacle, until I mentioned it wasn't running. If you declare it's not in running condition, then they will issue only a title, but it has to fail an inspection first. I said "It doesn't have an engine, does that count?" and they said "Perfect!"

- Being a hoarder, the paperwork wasn't completed properly. This involved some double-overnighting paperwork back to other states from the previous owner 15 years ago. And then it still being wrong, and driving around town tracking down other people to notarize new documents. And on that day, state-wide the title system nearly failed and slowed to a crawl. I spent 6 hours at the DMV that day.


I ended up spending a week longer in Phoenix doing all the work that I planned, but it got done. Inspected at 3 different organizations so far, and transported.


"The Car" is the yellow car, with the intact firewall, and intact original VIN. That stays. The transmission tunnel below it, that stays. The floorpan, that stays. All one continuous interior body. Bumper, lights, reflectors, wheels, front and rear suspension, doors, steering column, wiring harness, dash, instrument panel, brakes, e-brake and lever, all stays. Exterior body pieces from the Orange car were used to repair and restore what was rusted on the Yellow.

Temporarily, it had the yellow doors on it until I had it home.


(The ugly one, obviously).

I gave away the original seats, the engine, the extra windows, all the exhaust, headers, honestly I don't even know all of what, the guys stripped off all the gasline components before I even got there. The only things I had to pull was the engine before I left, and the gas tank when I got home. The other guys got free parts, I got free labor. Fair trade.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
TL;DR - No EV content yet, still restoration stuff.

Inventory Time

I stripped and packed just about everything I could off of both cars before I left. That and boxes of misc unknowns from the deceased's garage.

Lacking a garage of my own, I rented a storage unit to unpack and take inventory of exactly what I had and maybe identify what I would be missing and have to look for.

I've since figured out some of the unknowns here, but, here's most of it.





















(cont'd, 10 pic max)...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
















Things I need:

- Transmission (there's 3 available locally for cheap).
- Rear orange tail light lens (available locally).
- Clutch (? Or is that part of the transmission ?)
- (Maybe windshield?)
- Windshield rubber ($129)
- Rear window rubber ($125)
- Door window rubber ($?)
- Brake lines (??? Napa/Autozone/??? I know nothing about how to replace these).
- New master cylinder? (apparently old ones aren't safe enough? No idea what to get to replace it)
- The missing half of the seat rails.


Hood needs to be rebent, and I'm not sure what to do about it being rusted all the way along.

I don't want to weld it, it'll make the paint blister on the opposite side.

I'm still half thinking I can get away with a 20' paintjob by using touchups. I really don't want to do blasting, priming, painting, etc. But maybe I'll have to.

Maybe I'll just wirewheel into the crack there, then epoxy the support beam back to the sheet. I've got some long welding clamps to hold it down, bricks would work too.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Phase 1: Bodywork Bonanza

Before I start doing much electical planning, I need to have a body that's usable.

Two main issues:

1 - I need to finish up replacing the exterior body panels, (completing the Orange around the Yellow), they're just jammed (really jammed) into place right now around the original firewall and trans tunnel. I'm dreading getting them back out to work on them as it took 3 of us to get it in there and it fits by a hair. Windshield fitment has me particularly concerned, as only the lower rim is original and my spacing might not be perfect.

2 - The exterior body panels aren't as rust-free as I'd hoped. There's a couple holes, and the start of rust along the bottom edges.

Cosmetically, I wasn't as careful to protect the paint during transit (first time hauling, and certainly first time hauling a car), so there's a fair amount of transit damage to the paint. I'm considering a stop-gap solution that avoids stripping and painting the entire vehicle, just because feature creep kills my projects.

Incoming several posts worth of body shots...






















(10 pic max, cont'd below)...
 

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Discussion Starter #9














...

Particularly with the rust, I don't know what I'm doing besides "remove all rust with grinder" and "prime and paint".

I could back the wheelwell spots with new sheet, weld in place a few places.

...

With the interior floor panels, I was thinking of cutting along the lines indicated, forcing the two floors together with self-tapping sheet metal screws, and maybe removing one screw at a time and replacing it with a rivet. Then perhaps weld along some of the overlap seams, which I aim to be in structural corners where the box beams from the seat lie.

I'm a bit concerned about that leaving flaps of metal for water entry along long overlaps, but not sure what to do about it. Silicone, seam sealer, epoxy? Running a watertight weld bead long distances along sheet metal with flux-core seems a bit like a fool's errand.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Day 2 - Bodywork Progress (catching closer to the current day):

- Pulled the doors back off. Probably the last time Yellow doors will be on this vehicle. Harder than it seems with one person.

- Pulled the gas tank out, the last remnant of its gas engine history. Had to lift the rear end to get access to the nuts (in the wheelwell, 10mm), that hold the brackets that block the gas tank bolts. Had a hell of a time removing the tank itself, it appeared stuck by some inconsistent contraption somewhere towards the back. Most of you would not have taken 30 minutes to figure out that, gee, a gas tank has a fuel line attached to it, which can only be yanked so hard before it refuses to let the tank move any farther. I finally removed the fitting along with the rest of my dignity.

- Elevated the end of the headlight cable and started dumping penetrating oil into it every 5 minutes. Pretty sure it's the lever that's frozen stiff, not the cable. Soaked the lever too, but, no progress yet.







Lots of room for batteries. If it wouldn't throw the weight distribution off so much, I'd put them all where the gas tank was and have the car visually identical.

Since I'm adding 200-300 lbs of battery, I'm not sure what to do differently with the springs. They're not coilovers, so, adjusting them isn't easy. Presumably the height of the spring won't be changing, so, that means finding another pair of springs the same dimensions, but slightly thicker or harder tempered material.

Suspension is black magic to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Day 3 - Bodywork Progress:

- Bought 2 more jackstands, lifted the vehicle up on all 4.

- Weighed the big motor, 255-260 lbs. I can just barely lift it with my fingers around the edges. This is good news, I was worried it was 300-400lbs.





- Weighed the small motor, I don't know why, I won't be using it, but anyway, about 100-105lbs.





- Daily routine of pumping penetrating oil up the headlight cord and soaking the lever, and hammering on it finally yielded results. It still jams if I push it all the way forward, but I think it's 80% of the way there now and if I don't end-jam it, I can actuate it smoothly without the hammer now.



Running out of busywork to help procrastinate the necessary upcoming bodywork I really don't want to have to do. Even started sorting my tools on the temporary workbench.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Day 4 - Bodywork Progress:


Bodywork Plan:

- Was thinking "I could use a creeper to get under there and take a close look, maybe I should build one", I've seen a creeper at a thrift store one day in my whole life, and that day was tonight on my way past. Done.

- General layout, Orange is missing the whole trans tunnel from a suspected V8 mod. Yellow only has the trans tunnel, floor dies before the rockers. It has 5 out of 6 seat rails, and some patchy floor.



- Took a peak up her skirts. This is more challenging than I imagined (like all of this is). The floorpan does not just bend up to meet the seat box rails, nor does it gap them. There is a full box there. This is obvious, but didn't cross my mind until now. Yellow and Orange will definitely not just mesh by virtue of pushing hard enough.





- Best I can figure, this is how to get it done. I suspect there's not enough draft angle in the box sections for the two pieces to nest like dinner plates, so extensive surgery is required. Cut the yellow before it binds the in orange corner. Cut the orange before it binds in the yellow corner. Cut the captive nuts and floor off of the yellow under the box. Then yank the two together with sheet metal screws. Unscrew them one at a time and rosette weld the hole. Grind it flush. Consequence will be that the yellow floor sits 1 sheet metal thickness high, and 1 sheet metal thickness inside & forward.



Had two choices there for doing the interior weld. Fold the orange floor out of the way and do a full seam from underneath, or gouge it in stitches from the top and grind it flush. I'm leaning towards stitches.

Also, I have almost zero chance of getting the yellow piece out of the car by myself (took 3 of us, crowbars, flexing metal and one corner of the floor cut away, hammering, floor jacking, and several hours to get it in). Means I can wedge it around a bit in there but everything will be a tight fit for grinder or saw. It's probably a week's worth of evenings if I have to remove the firewall section.

- I can see concrete through the doubled-up floors in a few spots. Floor will still need some patching out of the sections I cut away.



- Looks simpler from a top-down view.



...

...

That's all I got so far. And that's the easiest part. I think I can do all of that floor work cutting prep without moving anything else. I'll want all the other sections prepped and test fit and lined up for welding before I finalize it though.

- Attempted a windshield repair. Rust flakes would not clean up with water or WD40 and a rag. Inside of the windshield is basically the surface of a file. Almost nothing came off. So, I scraped it with the edge of a magnetic pickup tool a hundred times. Some material came out, but it also filed away a 45 degree section of my pickup tool. Also, anyone's guess as to how scratched that glass is going to be. Maybe it'll polish out, or I can use a glass filler to repair the finish. Oh well. Also, WD-40 instantly liquifies the windshield gasket. Great for cleaning off your fingers though.



- Bodywork isn't done. Second easiest part is the rear of the Trans Tunnel (driveshaft tunnel at this point). And it'll be tricky. There were 3 sheets of metal. I think there's a mostly cosmetic top, a cosmetic bottom, and a flat structural middle that holds the majority of the strength.



My plan is:

1 - Probably weld a narrow-ish (3/8" wide?) bit of angle iron in the middle line, for the trans tunnel to sit on.
2 - Can opener the bottom sheet a bit, so it clears the 3/8" long lip as it passes by.
3 - Weld the middle from above.
4 - Hammer the bottom back into place, seam with a 1" wide 1/16" strip welded on either side, yanked tight by sheet metal screws.
5 - Bigger da gob, betta da job, to gap fill the top. Or use another helper strip if the gap is too large. Maybe a semi-circle helper ring I'll tuck between layers before I drop it in place.

I think that takes care of the Trans Tunnel section.

Then there's just:

- The floor rails with a huge gap,
- The verticals that don't line up because I cut 3/8 on the wrong side of the line and ended up with 3/4" too much material,
- The steering column that I know is binding because I couldn't reach the back with either the saw or the grinder and the cut is all wonky.
- The critical windshield arc that I know is messed up and bulging.
- The meshing of the firewall to the fenders, A-pillars, etc. Which I spent the most amount of time on in Phoenix and actually turned out respectably with 3 days of work and help from a retiree with with 35 years bodywork experience.

But I think the floor is holding up (.. ha...) all of those other ones and exacerbating all their issues because the floor can't be where the floor is supposed to be right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Too Long, Didn't Read? - Passenger side floor is almost done, see pictures.

Day 5 - Bodywork Progress:

- Hemmed and hawed about doing it perfect, had no one to bounce ideas off of, eventually just got out the grinder and got to work.

- Jacked up the back of the trans tunnel until it popped clear of the cross member. Shed a tear for the hour we spent ramming it into place there.

- Was too chicken to pull the whole yellow piece out, which would be the right way, and probably has to be done later anyway, but... chickened out. Kept jacking up the trans tunnel to get enough room to stick an angle grinder between the two floorpans.



- Began gouging the inside of the orange seat rails, so that the yellow can nest there.



- Realized that the yellow trans frame rail is welded underneath the floorpan, and would need to clear the entire orange box seat rail, so the end of the seat rail has to be removed. Also removed yellow floorpan under yellow seat rail so that orange can nest underneath.



- Kept trimming Orange on the trans-tunnel side, to clear the entire yellow trans tunnel frame rail (orange has no frame rail, previous owner drilled out the spot welds and removed it). Needed trimming up front too.



- A peak inside the end of the yellow seat rail without belly pan. Not much left of the front either, so I just cut through the rust about 2/3 of the way until there was metal on the pan again.



(cont'd).

- Trimmed little bits and pieces until I thought the yellow would nest. Still needs the captive nuts ground off the yellow.



- Hadn't considered that the seat rails are not continuous hollow structures, they're obviously made of separate C-shapes of metal welded at the flanges. So they still won't nest. I have to choose between a vertical slice on the orange at the seat rail joint, or, a 90-degree pair of cuts into the yellow and remove the resulting flap.



I think I'm going with option 1, as, that far towards the interior, the orange is weak and the yellow is strong.

...

So once I make that cut and drill out the yellow nuts, the passenger side floor should be done.

The driver's side is not a mirror image. The trans rail takes some extra bends and has extra width for the driver's feet, sooner. Doesn't change anything structurally. On the driver's side I have the entire yellow floor pan and all 3 seat rails, but I can't see why I'd do anything differently. I'll cut off the outside seat rail and the majority of the under-seat area from yellow, and perform surgery exactly the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Day 6 - Reverse Procrastination!

- Stopped by the storage unit "just to pick up a bracket" for another Opel guy.

- Well, while I'm here I'll just take a look at the driver's side.

- Can't find the sharpie to draw some cut lines, guess I'll just score them with the grinder.

- Well, a little grinding won't hurt, just to get the under-seat area out of the way so I can see what I'm working with.

- Well that's not so bad, new grinder disk, might as well use it up.

- Well I might as well get down on the creeper and take some pictures from underneath so I know where to cut next time.

- Camera battery is almost dead? Can I reach the angle grinder? While I'm here, might as well just make a few cuts.

Couple hours later the floorpan has finished being cut on both sides and trimmed for the transmission frame rails.

A little bit of vacuuming to do and need to drill out the captive seat nuts from Yellow, and then the floor will be ready for a test-fit.







... Heck I even remembered to take the bracket I originally went there to pick up.

Today was the 15-day cancellation window to let them know I'm out at the end of my nearly-free month. Committed to being gone before July now.

And, I'm now caught up posting to the current day. That's where I sit.
 

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Since I'm adding 200-300 lbs of battery, I'm not sure what to do differently with the springs. They're not coilovers, so, adjusting them isn't easy. Presumably the height of the spring won't be changing, so, that means finding another pair of springs the same dimensions, but slightly thicker or harder tempered material.
For stiffer you want thicker wire, or fewer turns, not harder material. And you want either a longer free length with the same stiffness, or a stiffer spring with the same loaded length.
 

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Suggestion

Get a length of scaffolding pole a couple of feet longer than the car and make a couple of supports - can be timber -
Then make a rotisserie for the body shell - it's small enough and light enough for this to be a relatively simple job

That will make fixing all of your bodywork a ton easier
 

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Discussion Starter #17
For stiffer you want thicker wire, or fewer turns, not harder material. And you want either a longer free length with the same stiffness, or a stiffer spring with the same loaded length.
Good to know. I don't think I'd trust my own interpretation of any suspension component, so I'd probably just say "I have X, I've added Y, what would work?" and have someone who knows prescribe an answer.

I mean, what I'd really like to do is replace the whole garbage rear suspension with something better (maybe even a whole EV assembly, motor and all), but, while that's easily within my abilities build-wise, it's completely black magic to me decision and planning-wise.

Actually I did look into a Smartcar EV, I think someone here was selling one, and, it's damned close width-wise.

Duncan said:
Get a length of scaffolding pole a couple of feet longer than the car and make a couple of supports - can be timber -
Then make a rotisserie for the body shell - it's small enough and light enough for this to be a relatively simple job
I've considered that, lots of guys do. I could walk up and measure one from a local guy who built one and straight up duplicate it. I've also considered whether it would take more work to build that than it would to just finish the job. I think it's net negative if this is the only work I'm doing. If I'm sanding it back to metal and repainting, it would just about be a necessity. If I was doing suspension work, sure. But just for bodywork, I think it's faster to just do the job than to build the tool to do the job easier.

I'm really trying my hardest to stay on task and push for completion, since so many of my projects die at the 80% line. I think I'd rather have a crappier car I can drive, than a nicer car I'll never finish... much as every little improvement I could make to it is frustrating to let go of.
 

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I don't think I'd trust my own interpretation of any suspension component, so I'd probably just say "I have X, I've added Y, what would work?" and have someone who knows prescribe an answer.
This is one of the challenges of a relatively rare vehicle, although in this case there seems to be good enthusiast support. There might be a substitution from a heavier model using related components (another Opel or the Chevette?) that would work.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
- Hit a deer last week. Everything between bumper and engine was shattered. Brought up the trailer, spent 2 hours loading it poorly. 2 minutes down the road blew a tire on the trailer. Long night. Spent the whole week learning far more about cars and what components are than I ever wanted to learn about ICE vehicles. 4 trips to the junkyard, (know how Pick N Pull techs drain antifreeze when prepping vehicles? They jab an awl into the lower radiator hose, leaving an imperceptible scar, and a leak that only shows up when you reach temperature).

Really burnt out on automotive bullshit, kicked my feet out from under me on doing it for fun and on a deadline, and used up half of my time available before I have to move :/.


Day 7-ish, Progress:



- Drilled out the seat rail bolts. First one I gradually stepped up to larger and larger sizes, then used pliers underneath to rip out the last bits that were left. Holes 2-5 I just left the largest bit in the drill, drilled down and wiggled around in a circle until the whole nut pipped loose, 10x as fast.



- Trimmed the rear of the trans tunnel floor a few times so it wasn't so hard to fit. Bodywork on a small car is like moving a couch: a 2nd person makes it 10x as easy. Climbing back there, bracing with my feet, using a lever to shove it forward, it being caught on something, not sure what, crawling out, poke and prod at suspected parts, climb back in, repeat.

- Some hangups underneath, dealt with one-by-one.

- Couldn't find the seat rail bolts (didn't look hard), used the spare door hinge bolts since they were tapered anyway for easy starting and had huge washers.

- Floor is fitted!



- It's not perfect, I think it's still sitting 1/4" high in some places (and 1/4" forward somehow, judging by the floorpan), but I can't tell without drilling a peep hole. There's dirt and debris underneath, needs to be removed for better fitting later anyway. But, it's mostly in!



- Rear of the trans tunnel... to think I had to use a crowbar to get this to clear the lip of the crossmember, but now that it's seated, there's 1/2"-1" gap for me to fill.

- My earlier sketch of where the 3 layers of sheet metal go was wrong. More details on that when I get around to fixing it.



- Heading underneath now that the seat rails are located and floorpan is roughly correct. This should be an accurate representation of the gap there is to fill on the trans rails. 1/4" and 1/2" or so. Again, I'd cut away this much, earlier, just to make it fit via crowbar. Amazing how much extra room there is now.



...

Firewall/Windshield arch now has lots of room and lots of play in it.

Next up is making a template of the windshield area to properly locate and/or size the bodywork there. Not that there's much choice about it, but, definitely want to do that before I start anchoring and welding the seat area.

...

6 days until my nearly-free first month is up. Looks like I won't get it done, so, probably should schedule 2 of those days to pack up and move elsewhere.
 

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Day 8: Barely any progress.

Getting overwhelmed with how much work to do in too little time, and not really knowing how to do any of the remaining work. I can do 1 or 2 of the ~5 areas that need help, but, I can't, I have to do them all perfectly before I start welding.

Mucked around sweeping and tidying just to stay busy.

- Unbolted the seat rails and lifted them up to clean between the sheets and inspect them. Some odd findings.

- These were nested perfectly, and yet, 1 foot farther down towards the footwell, suddenly the floorpan doesn't match up by a 1/4". What gives?



- Seat rails are flush and touching at bolt holes, but, 1" to the right, somehow at least 1/4" vertical gap. This one I later discovered may be the result of the orange being pulled into a dome shape, so it must be jammed somehow and the bolt yanked it flush.



- Not sure what to do about that, and about double floorpan in general. At first I was thinking "Extra material is good!" and now I'm thinking "The gap between the two will hold water, which will rust both faster than if one layer was just bare."

- Thinking about how to sleeve the inside of the trans rail to bridge the gap. "All I've got is some scrap bedrail, I don't want to go buying stock just for this..." Oh. Bedrail pressfits perfectly in place. Just gotta trim it for length and round the edges so it nests easy. Then either gouge-weld or drill it to rosette weld. About due for some good luck.



...

And that was it for the night. Too scared about screwing something up to take out the grinder and grind anything. All kinds of places on the firewall need trimming. Considered cutting the yellow into a top and bottom section. Top would have firewall and a bit of a vertical piece, bottom would have the tunnel and floorpan. Then I can fit them separately. Except, that's probably the best locating place on the vehicle. Maybe if I use 3 pieces of flatbar and self-tapping screws above and below where I intend to cut, so that when I'm putting it back together I can just re-align those flatbar strips.

More or less resigned to not being out by the end of the month. Yet rent is as much as I paid for the two cars. Hrmph.
 
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