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Author Topic: The invisible Omega  (Read 13646 times)

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Stu.C

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The invisible Omega
« on: 20 June 2022, 00:48:01 »

Not all Omegas are quite what they seem. Not all Omegas have shiny paint. Come to think of it, not all Omegas have paint, or seats, or body panels, or wheels  :o  I'll start the story with where I am today, then wind the clock back to see how I ended up there.


Let me introduce you to "The invisible Omega" ...  ;D





Well, at least it's got a control panel  :y





It all started back in 2016 when I needed a stopgap car for a couple of months, between a diseisel Focus that I was loathe to throw any more money at for an MOT and the arrival of a new lease car. Like many a good car purchase, I wasn't really looking, but kinda was at the same time. A faded-glory 1998 Elite 3.0 manual popped up while I was scrolling through Pistonheads. It was cheap, slightly dented, crucially had 9 months ticket left and although it was 300 miles away it was only down the road from my father-in-law. Queue one hastily arranged family road trip ! Green Flag cover in my back pocket, straight back onto the motorway and I didn't dare touch any of the buttons until I got home  ;)





Stopped at the M6 Toll services for a quick break, and as I was giving it the once over a cocky young lad shouted across "Oi grandad, yer' caravan's fallen off" ...  ;D  Signed up to OOF when I got home - seemed like the right thing to do  :y


A week later we set off on a 1,000 mile holiday round Scotland, with sod all preparation other than a quick oil change and a bit of air in the tyres. Pretty much everything worked on it, driving was effortless, it didn't really squeak or rattle and as a bonus the CD changer was stuffed with the previous owner's AC/DC collection  >:D  It even had a TrafficMaster button, and a text-based satnav - but that was pretty useless as it didn't recognise postcodes and would only vaguely direct you to the general location of the nearest large town ! But it made the right noises when you put your foot down, and my seven year old daughter loved the sunroof...





I pootled round in it for another couple of months, revelling in the luxury of Vauxhall's most expensive offering back in the day. The lease car arrived, it got parked up "just for the moment" - and sorta sat there for a while. It didn't get forgotten though.  Although the MOT was long gone, I kept it charged up and turned it over once in a while, whilst vaguely thinking "I must get round to selling it or something". The bodywork was scuffed and dented, the underside was rotten as hell, but it was a damn good engine and felt like it was too good to just throw it away.


Around that same time, I'd happened across a couple of folk's build threads over on the Scimitar owners forum, where they'd got to various stages of Omega to Scimitar transplants. It was all fascinating stuff, but way more spannering than I'd ever done on cars. Somehow I didn't really notice I'd started collecting together notes from those threads, tucking them into a virtual notebook with an assortment of links, pictures and screen grabs I'd found along the way. Time passed, and I drifted away to other things. In fact, quite a lot of time passed, but those notes kept getting added to. At some point I chanced across a YouTube from a fella putting the same engine into a cracking little MGB, which ended up being Nick W's mate, which led me back here...

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Stu.C

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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #1 on: 20 June 2022, 00:52:39 »


Then lockdown came along, there was nowhere to go and not much to do. I had a garage full of tools, a Haynes, the interwebs and a bucket load of curiosity. "Could I actually pull that engine out and get it running standalone?", I found myself wondering. There was no deadline, I was in no rush - just a little bit here and there to take my mind off the world, as much as anything. If it broke or didn't work, I'd lost nothing on it. Anything else was a result...








I diligently started the "simple" 407 step engine removal procedure ...





I knew I'd need to buy a few new tools, but one of the best early purchases was a label printer, a pack of cheapy label spools and a couple of boxes of resealable food bags in different sizes. Anything that got unplugged got a label. Anything that got taken off had all it's nuts & bolts & whatevers stored in a bag with a description scribbled on in Sharpie, so it didn't instantly fade








The only thing that really put up a fight was one of the manifold to downpipe nuts. It wouldn't budge. It rounded off. Plusgas didn't help. It was having none of it. Quite frankly, it was an excuse to order a set of those nut extractor sockets for the ugga-dugga; they've got a sort of reverse thread on them and bite into the nut. It took a fully charged Dewalt that started smoking before it shifted, but eventually it was free. I just kept undoing stuff until I ran out of things on the list to undo, and the next step was the engine hoist...





I'm sure the 'book time' for getting an engine out was rather less than the weeks I'd spent doing a little bit off and on, but who cares ? It was out, it seemed to be in one piece, it was on a dolly and it responded well to getting hosed down ...





Stage one complete ...  :y
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STEMO

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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #2 on: 20 June 2022, 06:58:28 »

Great thread, Stu  :y Hope it's not going to take as long for you to complete as the actual job  :)
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Nick W

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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #3 on: 20 June 2022, 10:16:22 »

That MGB is nearly due for its second MOT :o  Engine and installation have given no problems, and the car has been repainted.


The biggest change has been the diff ratio as although it's about the same as an Omega, losing a third of the weight makes first gear redundant. Low geared cars are horrible to drive, so he's acquired an MGB V8 diff which raises the gearing to a usable number. We suspected this might be necessary having been similarly caught out with Capri V6 and 2.0l Escort swaps - there's a reason Ford fitted those cars with much taller gearing than the 'normal' engines! Another friend's VVC Metro needs the same, as the stock 1100 gearbox currently fitted means you can't actually use much of the power, whereas the matching gearbox would allow the choice of four gears for 30MPH.....
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Stu.C

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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #4 on: 20 June 2022, 13:05:33 »

Cheers Stemo  :y


Yeah Nick - I've been keeping tabs on it's progress and the work Ian's done documenting stuff on his site has been a massive help. Diff ratios is a whole line of thought, and I've kicked that can down the road for the moment.  :)
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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #5 on: 20 June 2022, 13:10:06 »

As I said before, this really started out as a curiosity project where the running engine is the goal itself. There may be other stuff happens with it afterwards, but for now this was the scope. So I set myself a few ground rules to keep in mind as I went along;
  • Service parts are within budget, but be prepared to cut your losses if something big/expensive gets broken
  • Some special tools, or regular ones I just don't have yet, will be needed - but don't go mad, eh  ;)
  • Stick with standard stuff - no custom ECU, no 'performance' parts just for the sake of it
  • Try and salvage everything I might need - it's free now, so try to avoid buying the same things back later on
  • It's a pocket money project - if there's no pocket money left, it can wait
  • Learn, document and have fun 
You'll probably be able to call me out on every single one of those "rules" down the line, but hey, ya gotta start somewhere  :y


To give you an idea of how rotten the shell was, you can see the crusty inner wing and chassis rail in the engine bay pic further up. When I got to it, I was able to pull the ABS module free with bare hands, bolts and all. It was a similar story on the other side. Parts of the front sub-frame were a touch crumbly too. I didn't take many pics of the grot, just congratulated myself that I hadn't kept a fanciful idea of checking the oil and dropping it in for an MOT.  :D





I started taking the dash apart, and soon discovered that it was all designed for ease of modular assembly on the production line.  :o  A far cry from the relative simplicity of my Capri.


Taking it apart, or getting at things to be serviced down the line was obviously a massively secondary consideration on the part of the designers. But as each piece came off, a little more got revealed and it was absolutely fascinating. You're peeling away layers like you're on Time Team, but as you go deeper you get an understanding of how it all went together, which bits were built as modules beforehand, and which were likely assembled on the line itself. And you see how much *stuff* there is. There's tonnes of it, with wires and motors and plastics and screws and bolts and vacuum lines.





Everything was slowly coming apart, with the benefit that I could fiddle for half an hour while the dinner was cooking and then just shut the door on it for the night - it's not like there was any danger someone was going to drive off in it !  ;D


With the dash, centre console and loads of thick foam sound-deadening panels out of the way, you gain about an extra two foot of cabin space...





I made no real attempt to be picky as I was going along - that would've just got in the way. If it was loom, (or wiring harness, or whatever you want to call it), it came out. If it was attached to the loom and was possibly contributing to a working engine, it came out. If I wasn't going to use it in a month of Sundays, it either stayed put or went in the bin.





If you've ever pulled a thread on a jumper and it just kept going and going and going and going. That ...








I worked all the way from the engine bay to the fuel tank, and anything in between was fair game. If you've ever wanted to know just how much wiring there is in your car, this is most of it ...  :o











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STEMO

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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #6 on: 20 June 2022, 13:16:38 »

Jesus wept   ;D Bet there's a few bob in copper scrap there.
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Nick W

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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #7 on: 20 June 2022, 14:10:48 »

I recently cut 3kg of extraneous wiring and stuff out of an Mx5 loom that we're using in a friends kitcar. And that doesn't include the 2metres of cable from resiting the battery over the gearbox bellhousing.
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Lizzie Zoom

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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #8 on: 20 June 2022, 17:47:29 »

Wow! ;D ;D

That is some fascinating work that you have done.  You obviously have the patience and skill to strip down an Omega like that  8) 8) :y :y

It is amazing what goes into building a relatively modern car, as opposed to the cars we used to know way back.  Will stripping down an electric car be as challenging?

Great stuff. Keep having fun Stu :D :D ;)
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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #9 on: 20 June 2022, 18:07:54 »

Brilliant thread. We dont see threads like this often enough on OOF these days.  :y 8)
That 3.0  engine and manual box are the perfect combination to go into the Chevette shell I dont own and probably never will, but it is my fantasy project.  :D
Might be an idea there for a home for your running gear though.  ;)
I too have removed a complete look from an Omega and its astonishing just how much wiring there is in one.
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STEMO

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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #10 on: 20 June 2022, 19:35:32 »

Brilliant thread. We dont see threads like this often enough on OOF these days.  :y 8)
That 3.0  engine and manual box are the perfect combination to go into the Chevette shell I dont own and probably never will, but it is my fantasy project.  :D
Might be an idea there for a home for your running gear though.  ;)
I too have removed a complete look from an Omega and its astonishing just how much wiring there is in one.
That's loom, Albs, loom.  :)
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Migv6 le Frog Fan

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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #11 on: 20 June 2022, 20:34:20 »

Just testing your pedantry reactions old man.  :P ;D
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STEMO

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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #12 on: 20 June 2022, 20:39:33 »

Just testing your pedantry reactions old man.  :P ;D
I aim to please  :y
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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #13 on: 20 June 2022, 20:41:22 »

Just testing your pedantry reactions old man.  :P ;D
I aim to please  :y

Thats one word for it.  ;D
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Stu.C

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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #14 on: 20 June 2022, 20:44:44 »

Great stuff. Keep having fun Stu :D :D ;)


Thanks Lizzie  :y   I'd shake at the prospect of doing this on an electric car. At least this is old enough that I can see how most of the stuff here is working, whereas something truly modern I figure is just a collection of sealed modules...
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