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Author Topic: The invisible Omega  (Read 13643 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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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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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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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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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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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #15 on: 20 June 2022, 21:33:56 »

As we all know, the engine wants fuel, so out came the 'orrible filthy dirty tank. The fuel lines have these quick connectors on them that need a special tool to undo, so I found the cheapest one possible on ebay and marvelled as it mangled those delicate connectors in about the same way a German Shepherd would have done. ;D 





So I wouldn't lose track of things to do, whenever there was something on the car I wanted to keep, I'd tag it with a coloured ziptie; blue for chop it off, green for undo it carefully and keep all the bits. This foolproof plan was going quite well, until a well-meaning friend offered to cut away the bonnet release ... and I heard a bloody great thud as the accelerator pedal dropped to the bulkhead with no tension on the cable anymore  :'(  Ahh well, that's a throttle cable to add to the shopping list then.





For others, I took the NHS-approved approach of drawing on it with a Sharpie and really clear instructions  ;)  I know this bit doesn't actually make the engine work, but if I'm putting the box in something later and want to mount the gearstick and surrounding bits, it'll be a lot neater to just weld this whole section in place, right ...





Storage space was starting to get a bit tight, so I had to make a couple of teensy-weensy adjustments to the dash panel.  :o 


I was never going to need the whole thing, but what's left is the bit the instrument cluster sits in, so I figured it could maybe be a template for making a dash cowling one day, or perhaps just get used for the frame the cluster fixes into. Either which way, some is better than none.








Truth be told, if I could've kept the whole car, I would have - it was bloody lovely, despite the grot I found as I took it apart. The leather seats would have made for some really comfy chairs, if nothing else. But you've gotta draw the line at some point. I'd got as much out of it as I could reasonably keep hold of, so on a frosty January morning Frank turned up to take it away for the Fire Brigade to do rescue training with. The jaws of life are hungry little buggers, so they probably get through quite a few bodyshells in a year's exercises ...










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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #16 on: 21 June 2022, 14:23:05 »

Cracking thread, keep it coming :y
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Stu.C

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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #17 on: 21 June 2022, 22:24:28 »

With everything now out of the car - and indeed the car gone - there was a kind of mental switchover to wanting to get the engine running. If I'd tried to do it while the car was still there, I'd have just flipped from one thing to another and probably half-finished neither. What's gone is now gone. I had my chance if there was something I wanted, so it's my own fault if I didn't get it. That freezing cold January morning with the car disappearing away was quite cathartic really, I guess...  :o


Anyhows, first order of business was to take stock of what I'd got. I started with what I'll refer to as the main body loom - this runs from the headlights and the round engine bay connectors next to the battery, through the bulkhead to the passenger footwell, across behind the dash and to the driver's footwell. In fact, thinking about it, it may even then poke back out into the engine bay and go down to the lights on that side. One of you will know, but it's not integral to the plot  ;)  I laid out this loom section on the workbench and slowly worked along it to get a feel for what was what, annotating with marker zipties; yellow for "keep it", orange for "maybe" and red for "ditch it".


If you imagine you're looking at it from beside the front of the driver's door, following it round left to right you've got the footwell connectors, ignition & immobiliser, light switches, cabin fuses & relays, instruments, climate control, airbags, more relays, another footwell connector, then through the bulkhead to those brown & white connectors, the fans and the battery terminals.





Yes there's a hell of a lot there, but it turns out (after a lot of reading up on my notes from other's threads) that the only bits you're really interested in to get the engine going are the battery & brown/white connectors at one end, and the immobiliser and ignition at the other. I started out by using the multimeter to do some continuity checks on those various connectors to make sure I'd not lost something along the way. I also checked I had a convenient earth at the ignition end (bottom right in this pic), as I'd need that for my control panel.





For the immobiliser, the simplest answer is to tape the key to the immobiliser ring - the bit that goes round the ignition barrel. The chip in the keyfob gets picked up by the transponder, and an OK signal goes down the wire to the ECU. Without this signal, you can have everything else working but it's never gonna start !





For the ignition, we've got a big red permanent live coming in, a couple of blacks that are live depending where your key is turned, and the chunky black with a red stripe that goes back to the starter.





Rather than muck about with keys and ignition barrels and stuff, I knew I needed a way to have a master cutoff for all power, (eventually) an on/off for the fuel pump and a Go switch for the starter. Browsing the "Fast & Furious" section of eBay got me a genuine knock-off carbon-fibre-style racing ignition panel. It's crap & cheesy, but at 15 quid or so, it'll do the job.  ;D  The main power switch is (supposedly) good for 30 amps, and it comes with a relay - so you can trigger the starter from the big red push button, but not actually have that much oomph go through the switch itself  (because it'd probably melt).





Years ago my dad patiently explained signal-to-noise ratio, whilst I was trying to get some science homework done. Like all good dad lessons, it applies to much more than just that one piece of homework  :y  If there's too much noise to hear the signal, get rid of the noise. So I put the "noise" inside a box for now and everything became much simpler ...




That then meant I could connect my control panel up to the battery, plug the instrument cluster in and confirm that when I flipped the relevant switches, power was going up and down the right wires  8)





It's basic wiring, yes, but it still a buzz when things switch on as expected after all that work ... !  8) ;D
« Last Edit: 21 June 2022, 22:26:21 by Stu.C »
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Nick W

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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #18 on: 21 June 2022, 22:58:18 »

You can get the engine running without the body loom by connecting the immobiliser ring to the engine ECU along with a couple of other wires. That's true of a lot of 80/90s engines that weren't fully integrated into the car. Certain variants of Ford's EEC IV only need an ignition switched live and a battery connection to run, with everything else being contained in the engine loom
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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #19 on: 21 June 2022, 23:47:42 »

Indeed Nick, and that was pretty much the approach you suggested to me quite a while ago. That bottom-up approach of start with nothing and only add as much as you actually need is probably fine if you've been around the block with this stuff a few times. And I certainly didn't ignore it, but I'm a newbie despite my years ...  :y


I purposefully took the more cautious top-down approach of start with everything, and then when/if you have that working, strip away all the bits you don't need. A slower approach, undoubtedly, but it played to my sense of wanting to discover how everything hung together. All of this was way more involved than any previous stuff I'd done on cars, so my logic's that if I started out with a known good loom, any problems were more likely to be simply not having plugged something important back in.


Two paths to the same destination  ;D
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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #20 on: 23 June 2022, 00:24:37 »

I've got an "engine stand" already, but that's more for mounting a block on while you strip it down & build it back up. The centre of gravity is quite high as it's sized for convenience while you're stood up, whereas a running engine would have a lot of wobble on it, I reckoned. Besides, I'm cheap, so I probably bought one that's not even rated for the weight of this engine anyways  :D


There's countless youtubes I've seen of (mostly American) folks running their big V8s on some pretty fancy looking "engine test stands". They've got custom fuel tanks and gauge panels and are infinitely adjustable for all the different engines in one's vast collection. Oooh, that'll do me, I thought. Then I looked at the price of some of them - and they were five times more than I paid for the whole damn car  ;D





So reality set in, I cast my eye around the garage and started measuring up for some nice sturdy engine brackets. After a bit of rough & ready measuring with the engine dangling off the hoist, I came up with a layout that had just enough space for the engine to drop in and the sump to clear the supporting buttresses. Yes, it would have probably been easier/fancier/better/instagrammable to make it out of welded up box section, but the welder's buried at the back of the garage, I've no box section and quite frankly, I couldn't be arsed. No one was going to see it anyway, were they...?  :y  There's nothing actually fixing the engine down - it's just the weight pushing the threads of the original mounts into some holes I drilled in the wood.





Without the counterweight of the gearbox on the back of it though, the engine's very front heavy relative to the mounts, so I bolted the back end down with some flat bar. I had no idea whether revving the nuts off it later on would be enough to get it to jump out of the brackets, so a bit of belt & braces insurance was probably in order.





With the engine secure, I connected up the fuel tank to the supply & return on the engine, connected my "loom in a box" to the engine & the battery and rigged up the fuel pump to a switch on the control panel. This meant that the first thing I could do was prime the fuel system and build up pressure.


Well, we'll call it that, eh. What it actually meant was that I could (slightly more safely) deal with the pressurised fuel spraying everywhere because I'd forgotten to check the lines were nipped up tight  ::) >:D 


All systems ready for Go then. If I've got it right, the next sound you hear will be the sweet, gentle purr of an X30XE ...





With a fire extinguisher just out of shot, there was nothing left to do on a quiet Sunday afternoon but switch on the master cutoff, press the big red button and see what happens ...


Go on, click here. You're all intrigued now  :y


https://www.cuyahoga.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/20210124_160907_1280.mp4









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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #21 on: 23 June 2022, 00:35:03 »

Brilliant !  ;D :y
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STEMO

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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #22 on: 23 June 2022, 06:53:06 »

Thar she blows!  ;D
Now, what are you going to do with it?
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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #23 on: 23 June 2022, 20:11:12 »

Thar she blows!  ;D
Now, what are you going to do with it?


Spoiler alert : Keep tinkering with it off and on for at least another year, whilst life stuff gets in the way...  ::) ;D



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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #24 on: 23 June 2022, 21:14:27 »

Fantastic! Well done!

Reminds me of this:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKEMpREO-TY
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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #25 on: 23 June 2022, 22:13:44 »

Thar she blows!  ;D
Now, what are you going to do with it?


Spoiler alert : Keep tinkering with it off and on for at least another year, whilst life stuff gets in the way...  ::) ;D
I'd just keep starting it up occasionally, with a big, daft grin on my face.  ;D
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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #26 on: 23 June 2022, 23:09:44 »


The keen-eyed amongst you who watched the video may have noticed it revving to about 9,000 RPM before I quickly shut it off  ;D  The keen-eyed amongst you may have also noticed the complete lack of a closed intake system. There was probably at least one of you sat there shouting "unmetered airflow!" at the screen. I hear ya folks, I just needed to know that it'd fire up and I'd not broken the bonds of the immobiliser, ECU and engine  :y

Now that I knew I could start the engine at will, it was time to bolt a few bits on so I could run it for longer than a few seconds. Time for a quick checklist;

  • Radiator and expansion tank for the coolant
  • Multirams for the air metering
  • Vacuum lines from the plenum all needed to go somewhere
  • AC compressor
  • Power steering pump
  • Maybe some kind of exhaust ?

Dealing with the cooling at the front was easy as it was just connecting up pipes and mounting the expansion tank in about the right place. But round the back there's the Heater Bypass Valve, which looks after the flow to the cabin. Except I didn't have a cabin any more. And it gets opened & closed by vacuum from the controls inside the cabin. So no control. So random coolant gushing everywhere. Which would have been bad. I ditched the HBV and used some coolant pipe to act as a bypass between the coolant transfer pipe (the big stainless pipe which comes round the side of the engine from the rad) to the coolant bridge - I figured on this being the same flow as when the cabin heating's switched off.



The multirams were simple - just bolt up what was sat in the storage boxes.

The vacuum lines needed a bit of thought, however. I started out with the guide from the maintenance section, but given I had no cabin heating or HBV, figured I wouldn't need the upper vacuum reservoir. This was lucky, because I discovered I'd thrown it away with the car   With no vac reservoir, I just tee'd the vac line back on itself at the main brake servo line. And yes, I'd taken the entire brake servo out of the car too, so I just mounted that up in place with some more wood and connected the vac line up to the plenum. The only remaining vac line not connected was the one that'd go to the carbon canister for the fuel vapour purge, so I just blocked it up for now.





Aircon is a big complicated mess of pipework, compressors, unhealthy gases and assorted gubbins I just didn't want to be dealing with - so I had decided long ago it'd get ditched. Luckily I'm not the first one to deal with that, and the simple answer is to fit a shorter aux belt and bypass the pulley. It's a 6PK1900 or equivalent you want in this scenario - which means a 6 rib belt of 1900mm length. When I took the old one off, it was ripe for replacement anyway.



Power steering was something I reckoned I might be keeping though, but I wasn't sure if the pump was lubricated by the power steering fluid itself and would burn out if I ran it dry. So I hooked up the hoses, and the fluid reservoir, and the steering box and filled it back up with fluid. Yep, I'd grabbed them all too  :y



The exhaust would definitely needed sorting too, as running this with open headers is loud. And when I say loud, that's proper loud with a capital OWWWWW  :o  I bumped into a neighbour who said he'd heard me firing it up while he was walking his dog - he lives at least a mile away   ;D

Ah well, that's a job for another day then, but maybe I'll just fire it up one more time before I put it away ...



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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #27 on: 23 June 2022, 23:11:25 »

I'd just keep starting it up occasionally, with a big, daft grin on my face.  ;D


Well, it'd be rude not to ...  ;) ;D
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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #28 on: 28 June 2022, 10:28:15 »

Then things started breaking  ::)


First up was the fuel pump, and in hindsight it wasn't much of a surprise. It had been sat in a tank of stale fuel for about five years whilst the car was sitting around; occasionally getting started, occasionally getting topped up with a splash of fresh dinosaur juice. Then I'd started to put it to work with lots of moving the tank about, lots of short runs, and probably worst of all - a pretty much empty tank. Checked the fuses, the relay, the continuity and even tried hooking it up to 12V out of the tank, but it was having none of it. Luckily new ones are readily available and replacement is even easier when you've got an invisible car  :y





There was all kinds of muck in the bottom of the swirl pot, including some bits of yellow tape. Sock filter had done its job though, and a new one came with the pump, so I swilled it all out and clipped it back together.





Not long after, I suffered a complete wheel failure  :o  The label in the hardware shop had said they were good for 150kg, but maybe that figure was calculated for a zero gravity environment  ::)  Turns out the wheels were basically pressed baked bean tin lids and didn't take well to being dragged around the not so flat garage floor and driveway.





Couldn't get to the other wheels to unscrew them from the bottom of the collapsed trolley, and couldn't even move the trolley about much with all that weight ! Popped to Screwfix for some much bigger one-piece nylon ones, built a new subframe and eventually jacked the trolley up to get it fitted.  :)





These are the times when you pop out to do one simple little job in the half hour you've got available, and it escalates to something that takes you way longer to sort out - then you realise you never got that original little job done either ...  :'( ::)

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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #29 on: 28 June 2022, 21:14:31 »

I seem to remember February that year as having been cold. Certainly too cold to be messing about in the garage with wiring, so I brought the whole lot inside to work on. The goal here is to drastically improve that signal-to-noise ratio, and strip out the vast amount of *stuff* that I'd just never need - even in my wildest dreams. Again, the project isn't about creating the perfect setup, or necessarily retaining originality - instead it's about trying things out, seeing how things work, maybe even occasionally breaking it and dealing with it. There's no target destination for the engine, no fixed set of requirements or must haves - just the general notion in my head that if I was going to put it into something later on down the line, the bits I'd want are either already there or I know roughly how/where to slot them in.  :y


First up was the engine bay loom, for which there's a bunch of relays and fuses for bits I won't have any more. I'd gathered together the engine bay relay diagrams from the Maintenance section, the wiring diagrams from the Haynes, a bunch of Sharpies, loads of cheap short zipties in different colours and - most importantly - a space where I could just leave things part way through without having to tidy up.





There's one wiring layout for the X25XE/X30XE with aircon (which was your only choice from Vauxhall in the UK, I think), and one for the poverty-spec edition without aircon that Opel made available elsewhere (up until about 1997, I read somewhere). This meant it was pretty straight forward to map out where every pin on each relay came and went, and from that which ones I didn't need any longer, and also which connections I needed to keep.


Testing as I went along was fairly easy. I dragged a 12V battery in with me, hooked the loom up to that, and then carefully plugged shoved the wires for some interior bulbs into the fan and pump connectors. By then grounding out the temp sensors in different combinations, I could make the bulbs light up without having to faff about with the actual hardware  :D


In all, I got rid of probably half a dozen relays and a couple of fuses for the fans, pump, washers & wipers and the Secondary Air Injection. The ECU doesn't get any feedback from the SAI, it just switches the pump on through a relay, but it will complain if there's no resistance on that circuit. The simple answer is to replace the lot with an inline 100 Ohm or so resistor, so the ECU effectively sees less coming back than it sent out.  ;)





You'll also see in the top left of that pic one of the tools that I found indispensable for this project - a set of terminal removal widgets for about a fiver from Amazon. You grab your loom connector, squint at it until you reckon you can figure out where the prong is that locks each pin into the connector, then work your way round the widgets to find out which one is the right shape to press the prong in with a bit of wiggling. After a while, you get used to looking at a connector and having a good idea which widget you're going to need. There's videos on the youtubes that'll explain it in much more detail, but once you get the knack you're sorted.  :y

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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #30 on: 30 June 2022, 11:09:59 »

If the engine bay loom seemed like a lot to deal with, it was nothing compared to the main body loom  :o  This is a beast and connects all the controls on (and in) your dash to the rest of the car. The plan here is to strip out everything I won't possibly perhaps ever maybe need, one circuit at a time - and just keep going until I run out of things to remove. For the moment, I elected to keep the original cabin fuse and relay panels, so that I didn't complicate the task by then potentially mis-connecting a circuit along the way.


First thing to do then is open up the loom so you can get to all the wires...





If I wasn't doubting myself before, then seeing that lot spread out was the point it kicked in  ;D 


Apparently, the absolute worst way to remove loom tape and heatshrink is trying to slice it open with a razor blade or a knife. No matter how careful you are, at some point you're going to either cut the end of a finger off, or slice through a wire without realising. The best way I found to do it was with a variety of different sized seam rippers (or unstitching picks) from the crafting aisle. For a start you're pushing a blade away from you, so much less likely to stab yourself. The pointy bit is rounded off so you can slide it inside the loom tape and it pushes all the wires aside, before a tiny little blade slices open the loom for you. I was as sceptical as anyone, but once you try it, it's speedy and magical...





Stripping the loom back is then a "simple" repetitive process of picking a connector you're not keeping, checking it against the wiring diagram to be sure it's the one you think it is, double checking, and then cutting every single wire on it back to the other end. That other end is going to be either another connector (such as the big ones in the footwells), or a joint in the loom (such as where a load of earths, or the speed signal come together). If you want an easy start to get into the swing of it yourself, go for the bright yellow & purple of the airbag system - you can't miss it (probably intentionally)  ;D


Little by little, that signal-to-noise ratio improves...





Remarkably, there was only one occasion where I realised 8.273 milliseconds after cutting a wire that I was meant to be keeping it  :D


Eventually, I got to this much more compact version. (I checked the datestamps, and it's three weeks later). The remaining loops of wire here and there are for "things to deal with later", such as all the warning lights on the dash, or all the MID connections.





As I went along, I'd made a note of the major circuits I'd chopped out (on the basis either I wouldn't want them down the line, or a theoretical target vehicle would already have them taken care of anyway);


  • Airbags
  • Windscreen wipers/washers
  • Aircon
  • Aerial
  • Heater blower
  • Horn
  • Rear window heater
  • Indicators & hazards
  • Bulb failure warning
  • Alarm
  • Powersounder
  • Cruise control
  • Heated seats
  • Traction control
  • Ultrasonics
  • Electronic Climate Control
  • Cabin lighting
  • Stereo / amplifier / CD changer
  • Power steering
  • Exterior lights
  • Ignition switch

Blimey, that's quite a lot for a machine to get you from A to B  ;D   Once I'd stripped the loom back to this point, I ziptied it all up to keep it structured, dropped it back in the box, connected it back up the engine ... and was relieved when everything worked first time and it fired up again ...  :y


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STEMO

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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #31 on: 30 June 2022, 11:35:41 »

You're a glutton for punishment, Stu.
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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #32 on: 30 June 2022, 12:18:19 »

 ;D  Some people build models of tower bridge out of matchsticks. Some people (for no apparent reason) golf. There's even a group in the next village that knit jumpers for trees and lampposts...


During our various lockdowns (which spanned the story so far), this whole project simply gave me a chance for a half hour break here & there. Research was quite easy on the old interwebs, and any tools or parts I needed were generally only a couple of days post away. Yes I might have taken some long diversions along the way, and others would no doubt have done things differently - but at the end of the day, it's my hobby project not theirs  :y
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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #33 on: 30 June 2022, 17:26:07 »

;D  Some people build models of tower bridge out of matchsticks. Some people (for no apparent reason) golf. There's even a group in the next village that knit jumpers for trees and lampposts...


During our various lockdowns (which spanned the story so far), this whole project simply gave me a chance for a half hour break here & there. Research was quite easy on the old interwebs, and any tools or parts I needed were generally only a couple of days post away. Yes I might have taken some long diversions along the way, and others would no doubt have done things differently - but at the end of the day, it's my hobby project not theirs  :y

Well said Stu and power to your determination, enthusiasm and pure bloody skill that leaves so many of the rest of us in awe!!  Keep going with this fascinating project 8) 8) :D :y
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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #34 on: 30 June 2022, 22:51:14 »

Because I can play about with it in my head, a hypothetical destination for the engine could hypothetically use the Omega instrument cluster instead of its' own. Logic says that'd be easier than trying to get a whole load of other instruments from a completely different vehicle to understand the output from the ECU, but I've seen some transplants where folks are keen on preserving the retro vibe of original dials. Keeping the original cluster made it easier for me to have a running engine too, so I went with that  ;D


To give flexibility down the line, I worked through the cluster's 26 pin connector and wired up a couple of stub connectors for all the warning lamps, and anything else that wasn't taking a feed from either the ECU or whatever I'd kept in the loom. If you work on the premise that a target vehicle's already got indicators, for example, you could then simply connect that circuit up to the Omega cluster and bam!  Plus, it kept them tidily out of my way for now and I get to claim later on that it was intentional...  ;)





Because - as Stemo notes - I'm a glutton for punishment, I then spent a couple of evenings harvesting wire from the remaining body looms, which run all the way to the tail from the front footwells. The only thing back there I was remotely interested in was the fuel pump & gauge circuits, so 99.87% of this is technically scrap. Don't know about you though, but I hate it when you're following someone else's wiring job and you've got say a circuit on grey with a yellow stripe, and then suddenly it becomes dark green at a joint because that's all someone had knocking about at the time.  :-\ 


Harvesting the wire now means I can colour match to my heart's content for years to come - and it's free ...  :D





It's like déjà vu all over again ...  ;D   ;D





But the end result was remarkably satisfying, and sooooooooo much easier to store and pick from later  :y






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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #35 on: 30 June 2022, 22:54:03 »

Well said Stu and power to your determination, enthusiasm and pure bloody skill that leaves so many of the rest of us in awe!!  Keep going with this fascinating project 8) 8) :D :y


Thanks for the encouragement Lizzie - I've been meaning to write all this down for ages,(as much for myself as anyone else), so it's good to know there's an audience  :y
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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #36 on: 30 June 2022, 23:46:47 »

Right, I promise that's (probably) the end of the loom updates, so let's get back to the engine  :)


Any destination for the engine will most likely be needing custom exhaust headers. The Exhaust Gas Recirculation system does not form any part of that plan, and besides, it's ugly and too sticky-uppy above the sleek lines of the plenum  ;)  To deal with the physical aspect of getting rid of it, there's two parts to consider. The first is a simple blanking plate for the two small ports on the side of the plenum, and the second is a blank for the exhaust manifold. I had a rummage in the plumbing fittings box in the garage, and got myself a 15mm brass compression stop end. It's actually two pieces, and we're only needing the nut. Take the nut, take a coin of the realm, use a smear of exhaust paste to hold the coin inside the nut after you try and put it on fifteen times and it keeps falling out, tighten it up and the job's a good 'un  :y  If I was truly OCD, I'd have made the nut line up or something...  :D





Which then leaves you with the question of what to do with all the EGR stuff? If you unplug it, the ECU throws codes at you, because it wants to see feedback from the valve. I suppose you could try and tuck the EGR solenoid out of the way somewhere, but that doesn't seem very finessed. Luckily plenty of other folks have already solved this exact problem on a variety of engines, and for the X30XE there's a schematic out there for an "EGR cheater circuit". What this does is take the inputs from the ECU, and produce outputs that are within the range of values the ECU is expecting to see coming back.


Rather than make out like I'm a whizz at everything and I had it solved in a jiffy, I'll let you in on the secret that I'm a bit rusty on my electronics schematics interpretation, so I set all the components out on a breadboard to see if I'd got the circuit right. All you need is some resistors, some diodes and a relay - but like many things, the devil's in the detail. It's dead easy to test, at least - if you plug it in and the check engine light goes out, you're onto a winner  ;D





With a working circuit, I then needed to transfer it onto some copper stripboard, to give me something conveniently small to stash away...





And here's the finished article in all its glory  :y  It's only about an inch square, so it can get tucked out of the way with the ECU and that's another item ticked off the list...





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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #37 on: 01 July 2022, 12:49:21 »

Excellent work.  :y
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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #38 on: 01 July 2022, 14:20:04 »

Well said Stu and power to your determination, enthusiasm and pure bloody skill that leaves so many of the rest of us in awe!!  Keep going with this fascinating project 8) 8) :D :y


Thanks for the encouragement Lizzie - I've been meaning to write all this down for ages,(as much for myself as anyone else), so it's good to know there's an audience  :y

Oh, yes there certainly is on this forum, which after all is designed for motoring adventures like this one.

I certainly have learnt through the excellent photos, and enlightening explantions, far more about my Omega, and what we drive around in and rather take for granted.  This thread should go into the Guidlines sections for great reference. :-* :-* :-* :y :y
« Last Edit: 01 July 2022, 14:23:08 by Lizzie Zoom »
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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #39 on: 01 July 2022, 14:54:19 »

In the maintenance section, entitled'How to totally, completely and utterly destroy an omega'.
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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #40 on: 01 July 2022, 16:19:49 »

In the maintenance section, entitled'How to totally, completely and utterly destroy an omega'.

That is the negative, but with all engineering when you dismantle a machine you learn how it was built, and with this fully referenced exercise it shows areas of an Omega we do not normally see.  For anyone restoring one of these beauties the information given could valuable help.

Whether or not many of us are up to all this is another story! ::) :D :D ;)
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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #41 on: 01 July 2022, 17:20:05 »

absolutely and 100% agree . this is the fun part of owning and maintaining "anything that you plan on keeping ".
the best way (as you have found out) of bring able to work on / repair  anything is to understand fully how it actually works in the first place.
well done stuart.
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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #42 on: 05 July 2022, 20:59:08 »

I'd go with classifying this thread as edutainment, rather than reference  ;)  and freely concede that I'm standing on the shoulders of giants with a lot of the content  :y 


But yes, I've always enjoyed taking stuff apart, to try and get an idea how it works. Admittedly, putting it all back together, not having bits left over, and having it working again at the end is a probably less than stellar track record over the years though...  ;D
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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #43 on: 05 July 2022, 21:39:56 »

With all of the plugging things in, unplugging them, chopping bits out of the loom and whatnot, the ECU's got quite a few stored fault codes. Now the old paperclip test is all well and good when there's one or two, but it had got to the stage where I was sat there for six and a half minutes transcribing the flashing of the Check Engine Light into fault code numbers. My cup of tea kept going cold !!  :(


A search of the options on eBay told me I could have a USB dongle that plugs into the data socket for about twenty quid and upwards. These older engines don't have the more modern OBD2 interface that are common across all manufacturers these days, rather an Opel-specific protocol, so the pocket generic code reader I already had was no use.





There's a bit of dicking about with getting the software to work on modern flavours of Windows, but once it's done, that's it. Instead of six and a half minutes, it now took about six and a half seconds to get a list of stored codes - and then clear them  :y  Yes, they'd have eventually sorted themselves out but it's easier when you're not chasing down ghosts...





The other thing it enables you to do is access some of the live data that's buzzing through the ECU, mostly sensor readings and values calculated from them. Instead of guessing, you can readily see that your intake air is at 18°C, your coolant's at 77 and the O2 sensors on both sides are reading about the same...





You can then also hit the Record button and save the data stream to a file, "for later analysis" as they say. Of course, the analysis is only going to be as good as one's understanding of the data, versus what's good and bad - but other folks can help with that if you've actually got the data rather than guesstimates.  :y


As a fr'example, one can then map the outputs from one engine runs, compare what you got with what you wanted, and so on and so forth ...






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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #44 on: 24 July 2022, 22:52:52 »

Next on the list (and it seems slightly out of sequence) was a game of 'find the vacuum leaks' - a never-ending fun game for one or more players aged 6 and up  ::)


Even though I was running the bare engine inside a small garage that echoed and bounced the noises all over the place - added to the fact that my hearing's knackered and I'm half deaf with no stereo and no sense of direction - the thing just seemed noisier and hissier than it ought to be.  :-\  So we started a slow process of working around the top of the engine trying to work out where the holes were, or weren't, or might have been. Some were more obvious than others. The hose from the intake pipes to the Idle Air Control Valve has a tee in it that goes off to the vacuum valve for the plenum multiram. At some point in the past, this tee had split around its shoulder and been taped up. Time passed and the tape dried up with the engine heat (as you see below), so in came a whole bucketful of un-metered air to the intake system. We'll add that hose to the shopping list, but for now I sealed the shoulder up with liberal amounts of superglue and wrapped it in fresh blue tape (as a more obvious aide memoire)...





This then lead me round to the back of the plenum and that vacuum valve for the second multiram. At some point it's got a teensy weensy bit bashed, and not just the cover for the electronics but also the valve body was bust. It wasn't working as a valve, was leaking vacuum (or sucking in air), and wasn't opening the multiram at four thousand and something RPM. Luckily, it turns out I had a spare, as the exact same valve is used for the front & rear multirams and the
Secondary Air Injection system, which I'd already ditched.  :y





There was still more hissing though, and I couldn't work out where it was coming from. I connected up a vacuum gauge I'd had lying around in a box for years, and checked every connection I could find - from the input & output to the front multiram's vacuum reservoir, the plenum from the output to the charcoal cannister, and the tee off the line that goes from the plenum to the brake servo. I struggled finding a definitive answer as to what the "correct" vacuum should be, but found a few references here and there suggesting it should be around 20 in/Hg or more.





I was still getting a reading somewhere down 18 in/Hg, so there was still a leak somewhere I surmised. It still sounded hissy too, but like I said - no amount of leaning my good ear close to the action was helping me work out what was going on.  :(  Until my young daughter made the terribly modern suggestion of "just record a video on your phone daddy, and move the phone around instead of your broken head". Genius  ;D


That lead me back to the pipe running to the brake servo, and it wasn't until I moved a random clip that it became obvious. I guess that clip's to stop two hoses rubbing - but the irony was the clip seemed to have rubbed through one of the hoses itself.  >:(





With this (giant) hole patched up, I was now getting a consistent 22 in/Hg reading and it seemed like the hissing snakes had been banished from the garage  :y








Tim reckons we're in the green zone, at least  ;D
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VXL V6

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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #45 on: 24 July 2022, 22:59:49 »


That lead me back to the pipe running to the brake servo, and it wasn't until I moved a random clip that it became obvious. I guess that clip's to stop two hoses rubbing - but the irony was the clip seemed to have rubbed through one of the hoses itself.  >:(





With this (giant) hole patched up, I was now getting a consistent 22 in/Hg reading and it seemed like the hissing snakes had been banished from the garage  :y

The brake servo pipe usually wears through in that position because if the spacer clip isn't fitted the pipe rubs against the aircon pipe.  :y
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Stu.C

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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #46 on: 24 July 2022, 23:15:23 »

Whilst doing all the leak hunting, I also noticed that the front multiram wasn't moving at all. It sits at the top of the front intake pipes, and is supposed to open above 3,400 RPM. I checked the vacuum valve itself with 12V on the bench and that was fine. The valve is fed vacuum from the reservoir tank at the back of the bagpipes, along the white hose you see. When the ECU opens the valve, the vacuum pulls the solenoid arm in, which then rotates the spring-loaded cam of the multiram valve and opens it. Except it didn't budge.


Lots of squirts of spray degreaser and manual moving of the cam arm soon freed it up though. I guess it dried up and the spring stiffened over the years. May be an idea to check yours - if you've got this far  :y  Gave it a quick squirt of silicone grease and it's now merrily rocking back and forth when I tweak the throttle.  :)



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dave the builder

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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #47 on: 25 July 2022, 09:20:33 »

A very interesting read  :)
Not sure how true it is ,BUT ...
I heard silicone contaminates the Lambdas ,not sure how much silicone is in silicone grease  :-\
but i thought i'd mention it ,just in case there's any truth in it .
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Stu.C

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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #48 on: 25 July 2022, 10:10:21 »

I heard silicone contaminates the Lambdas ,not sure how much silicone is in silicone grease  :-\
but i thought i'd mention it ,just in case there's any truth in it .


Well, hopefully not a problem either way Dave. In truth, it's only a wee squirt on the spring that's on the outside of the multiram valve unit, so nothing should have gone into the intake itself. Time will tell I guess...
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MikeV6

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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #49 on: 22 September 2022, 11:43:22 »

Fantastic work Stu.
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Stu.C

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Re: The invisible Omega
« Reply #50 on: 22 September 2022, 20:06:55 »

Fantastic work Stu.


Thanks Mike  :y


The story will surely pick up once more - when I've finished rebuilding the garage, at least ...  :o
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