Viva GT - resto thread - recap and restart

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Re: Viva GT - resto thread - recap and restart

Postby hbpeter » Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:54 pm

Viva GT's were originally designed to run on 5* petrol, 100 octane. That hasent been available for years, even the best petrol now is around 97octane, and of course leadfree. You used to be able to get addatives that not only replaced the lead but also boosted the octane, not sure if they still available.

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Re: Viva GT - resto thread - recap and restart

Postby jpsmit » Tue Mar 11, 2014 2:57 am

Paul Dawson wrote:Shiny is good. That's a cracking workshop you've got there. Keep up the photos, it's always good to see what others are doing.


Thanks! Not sure it quite qualifies as "cracking." Certainly it is smaller than most garages - and just about 7 feet high. On the plus side it is a double garage with a bit of room for my workbench and tools - and double garages are rare in houses of our vintage in Toronto - SWMBO maintains we bought a garage with a house attached - and I love her for that. On the plus side, because there is an apartment above, even though it isn't heated, it generally stays warm enoughish to work in.

Hopefully this summer it will get painted, literally for the first time. (the house is 60 years old)
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Re: Viva GT - resto thread - recap and restart

Postby jpsmit » Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:14 am

Well, just a short Aaarrgghhh sort of an update.

Spent some time starting to insert the pistons today. Knowing that cleanliness is next to godliness, I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned, bores, grooves etc, etc. Got it in and plastigauged the piston - of course if you don't insert the bearing, the plastigauge doesn't compress. :oops: Anyways, fixed that, sorted it, and got the piston installed properly. Flipped the engine to install the next piston and a bunch of "junk" from the block fell out and landed in the cylinder of the newly installed piston. :( At which point I decided to walk away until tomorrow at which point the piston comes out and we start cleaning again. As an aside, I had very angry thoughts about the shop that boiled the engine. Ah well, that will get cleaned also.

Oh, good news, my rebuilt distributor arrived today - looks gorgeous!

Finally, in the absence of engine reconstruction photos, here are some connecting rod bearing photos. One of the things I love about NOS parts is the original packaging. It amazes me that something that was made when I was seven or eight years old is still around, still in original packaging and still available to be connected with someone who needs it. There is something very tactile about all of this:

So, here is pic one. The box it came in - love the label.

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and then the packaging each individual bearing half came in:

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which then looked like this:

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and which then unwrapped like this:

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The grease was amazingly thick! and then cleaned up like this:

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to be used to bring a Viva back to life again. wonderful!
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Re: Viva GT - resto thread - recap and restart

Postby 1972nail » Tue Mar 11, 2014 7:10 pm

JP, I know how you feel about old parts and their place in the modern world.

My car is similar in that it has been in my personal history since 1979, when I bought it, and many of the new and secondhand parts collected then are still in boxes waiting to be opened and fitted to the car of my teenage dreams ..... and it's all happening this year! :D
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Re: Viva GT - resto thread - recap and restart

Postby jpsmit » Sun Mar 16, 2014 1:42 pm

Quick update. In my previous post I mentioned crud falling out of the block. took it off the stand, set it up vertically, whacked the heck out of it with a (dead blow) hammer. then took air to it then shook it around - and this came out! grrr.

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But, it seems good to go now.

Started installing pistons and all went well, except one - after which the crank would no longer turn. Tried it in multiple cylinders (the pistons are not numbered so far as I can tell) with the same results. Finally, friend Mark came over - and actually was his son Colin (yeah Colin!) who noticed the really tiny numbers stamped in the side of the con rods (our excuse is that we are getting old and eyes getting weak - sheesh) - and that two of the caps were mismatched with the rods - once they were sorted, we were good to go. So, they are roughly together now and, this afternoon should have final assembly (rings spaced etc. etc.)

As an aside, this is the second time I have brought an engine to have work done and had it come back with parts mismatched or mislabelled (and I could have mismatched them myself) This really isn't about blaming the shops (there were two and both reputable) as much as to remind myself that when it comes to these cars, the more you can do (and label!) yourself the better. Among other things I have a hunch that most shops assume you will be replacing every part - not understanding that with older engines, parts need to be reused as they can't always be replaced)

hopefully pics at 11
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Re: Viva GT - resto thread - recap and restart

Postby jpsmit » Mon Dec 08, 2014 6:38 am

Time for an update. Actually, more than time since the last post was March! Once again, the Midget has gone into hibernation for the winter:

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There she goes....

And now I have some room in the garage to get back to the GT. I did do a little work over the summer, but, it was a terrible summer here - short and cold and wet - it is already being referred to as the summer that never was. Add to that the Midget being off the road for almost two months - turned out to be not just clutch hydraulics (all replaced) but then the new parts wouldn't seat properly due to the tolerances being out. But I digress.

Over the last days i am almost done the undercoating scraping - still the most boring job ever, but i am very close. Also the engine is slowly being built up, oh and I removed some nasty shelving and replaced it with a workbench - what andifference, and about the same storage.

So, we continue. Will post pics soon.
In the meantime, quick question. Do I need to pickle the tappets in oil before I intall them? Thanks!
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Re: Viva GT - resto thread - recap and restart

Postby 1972nail » Mon Dec 08, 2014 10:10 pm

Pickle the tappets? You can if you wish but as their made of a very hard steel it won't make a pick of difference. Excuse the pun please.
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Re: Viva GT - resto thread - recap and restart

Postby jpsmit » Tue Dec 09, 2014 4:18 am

1972nail wrote:Pickle the tappets? You can if you wish but as their made of a very hard steel it won't make a pick of difference. Excuse the pun please.


Sounds good - no worries then.

This brings me to a question - on Ebay there are currently a couple of tappet adjusters - do I need one or is there a work around?

Also, here is what I have learned:

1. Either Vauxhall designed these cars to be restored, or fully biodegradable - this judging by the number of rust traps under the car, especially in structural areas like link arm mounts etc. etc.

2. There is a remarkable amount of oil sludge at the bottom of an old oil pan. I thought I had wiped it out - but then went back with a cleaner and scrubbed - If I were reviving an engine, I would want to drop and clean the oil pan before I ever changed the oil and tried to start it up.
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Re: Viva GT - resto thread - recap and restart

Postby droopsnoot » Fri Dec 12, 2014 11:51 am

You can use a standard allen key of the correct size to adjust the tappets, but most of the "proper" tappet adjusters have a flexible shaft which can make it easier to get access. Because of the way the adjuster works, you have to do a complete turn to move it from one adjustment point to the next, and with a standard allen key you can end up with the handle bit pointing in the wrong direction or hard up against a bit of casting.

If the adjuster is one of the flexible shaft variety and it's not too expensive, I'd say it was worth getting. Don't pay massive amounts, as well as the proper Vauxhall Rite-way tool, there were aftermarket ones as well, so they're not rare by any means (often seen at autojumbles over here for a pound) - it will probably cost you more to ship than buy.

Your comment about rust traps is true, but don't forget that a lot of people don't really do any kind of basic maintenance, especially where it comes to underneath the car, and when it's winter and the weather is awful, so just around the time when it would benefit most from having the underside properly hosed down every couple of weeks. But there are loads of places I've found when I've been working mine and wondered why it was done in a particular way. Very often it will be to simplify (and therefore make less costly) the production process.
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Re: Viva GT - resto thread - recap and restart

Postby 1972nail » Fri Dec 12, 2014 7:23 pm

Well Mike, if you can find the flexible adjuster tool for a pound please buy me one..... They tend to make over 20 pounds on ebay... I'll sell it to add to my Firenza Development Fund. I already have one that I've had for years and was inherited from my late father-in-law.

There are allen keys with 'ball' ends, one of those might be suitable.
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