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Vivaspeed's No.2 Viva - 1967 HB SL90

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Discuss here -> //oldschool.co.nz/index.php?/topic/33890-vivaspeeds-no2-viva-discussion/



Well, seeing how owning multiple of the same type of car seems acceptable around here, I thought I'd start a project thread on my latest acquisition.

I bought this 1967 Vauxhall Viva HB SL90 a few weeks back now but due to other things going on this has been the first weekend I've been able to work on it, take photos etc.

Did a few little jobs today so it can go for a WOF check, but mostly just played around with it.

The SL90 is the higher spec HB Viva, so has more plush vinyl seats, wood grain veener on the dash, front discs as standard (as opposed to drums) and a few other minor improvements.


It's got an 1159cc motor, with a slightly-better-than-stock cam and a Weber 28/36 DCD carb. When new, 45 years ago it was meant to produce 69 BHP.


Interior is largely complete, but a bit tatty in most places, looks nice from far, but far from nice. Will get some attention in the future.


Nice wood grain veneer and bus sized wheel.


Even has an orginal AM radio - "His Master's Voice" with a single centre speaker. Works too...


The wheels that came on it aren't right - they're 4x100mm not 4x4" (101.6mm) so they can go on a Corolla we own instead. I rummaged through the parts store of bits I've hoarded for Vivas over the last 10 years and there is a reasonable set of 13x6" Ward alloys. Had a play with them for fit and seem to fill out nicely. Will get some 185/60/13 rubber on them maybe this week.


Then applied generous helpings of Autosol and elbow grease


Also in the parts bin I've got a front sway bar, some rear low springs (need to get fronts made), a GT40 coil, and some gauges (oil,tacho, etc) which will get fitted over time.

Plans are to get a WOF on it, swap wheels over, then fit some of the other bits. I got a 1256cc motor with it as well, so one day might build a fresh engine but the 1159 goes okay for now.

Here it is with its stable mate...


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So I took it for a WOF check during the week at a local place which seemed like a reasonable place but not somewhere I'd been before.

Came back with 17 things to fix, a variety of lighting, steering, suspension, wheels (had original ones on it), seating, right down to a door hinge being worn (it's still one of the better ones on Vivas I've owned!).

First things, I chucked on the new wheels to make it look good (also addressed 3 of the WOF issues).


Then I took them off to fix stuff underneath.


Steering rack is shocking - rough and the bearings are worn - it had to come out and I thought I could swap in a good HC one I have as a spare but the shaft to the steering column is about half an inch too short and I can't bodge it up.

Decided to open up the rack and have a look at the inner workings. Was filled with brown rust water grease... not really grease at all :( Will send it away for reconditioning. Name of the place escapes me at the moment.


Some bushes were no good, but everything is available for replacements (this particular one is common with Torana). Might also upgrade the radius arms to HC parts which are gruntier and have a kink in them to clear wider wheels.



Next steps, needs a new wheel bearing, attack the rear brakes to make better and improve handbrake, sort seats and and door hinge.

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  • 2 months later...

So, a number of things have delayed progress on this but it's now ready to go for a WOF again. Long past the 28 day recheck!

Front wheel bearings (replaced both), radius arm bushes (Torana Nolathanes are exact fit).


Steering rack rebuilt by PG Hydraulics in Auckland, new tie rod ends.


Rebuilt rear brakes, i.e. everything - drums machined, shoes, wheel cylinders, even had to replace solid brake lines as they were stuffed and destroyed themselves undoing the wheel cylinders.

Seat release catch had gone wrong so had to peel the seat and figure out how to make it work again, sorted thanks to Melbar cables and a $25 new cable with a clevis arrangement.



Was a prick of a thing to get the seat vinyl back on nicely - I will never be an auto upholsterer!


And finishing touch, a nice new Ramflo filter on the Weber - just because.


Also had to replace a headlight, adjust lights, and a number of other shitty little jobs. Raided the Viva parts pile for a few bits so no dramas.

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A quick update - took it for a new WOF and flew through, apart from the seat belts - faded and worn webbing.


They had some cool hardware on them which I would have liked to keep but it was proving to be a challenge to find someone locally who could remanufacture them using the original hardware so I settled on a set of boring modern belts with nice NZS standards.


Went to change the belts and the top mounting points weren't captive nuts so had to remove half the rear upholstery to refit the new belts (arm reaching around in the cavity trying to find the mounting plate). Took the opportunity to refit the rear parcel tray and get the back seat in place (it never quite fitted right before).

End result - success!


Doesn't run well when cold, so might investigate that a little more and also I think the diff/driveline needs attention as a few runs up and down the motorway at 100kph have revealed some strange noises and vibrations, although may just be the poor little pushrod 1159cc trying to keep up! Generally goes well and is very respectable on the motorway.

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  • 5 months later...

Update time.  Haven't done a lot as I've been quite busy recently, but have played with suspension in the last little while.






Got some new springs made up for the front, custom from Chamberlains/Cobra in ChCh.  They are super awesome to deal with and have made me custom springs in the past.




 Backs were some old lows from the race Viva and are about right.


Also made up some new lower arms, new balljoints etc and have got sway bar mounts on them which were only fitted to the later model Vivas (and possibly only the big 1800cc ones).




Finished product:






Not super low, but has dropped about 50mm from where it started.  Few finishing jobs to do such as roll the front guards and fit the sway bar.  That's a tomorrow job.


Also - workshop cat!  He's been hanging out a bit recently, but isn't a fan of the rattle gun.







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So a few set backs this weekend, but some more progress.


Rolled some guards.



This is what the shiny new parts look like - couldn't finish fitting the sway bar because it fouled on the sump (it's off an 1800 OHC car which has a different sump configuration) so I need to space the subframe brackets down a bit.  Need longer bolts!


Took it for a test drive to settle the springs, lost a wheel centre cap which was annoying, but the front has come down to the desired height.  Back is okay on the drivers side, but the passenger side sits about 40mm too high.  Rear springs are some random ones from the parts pile and free height is the same, but under load one compresses more than the other so must be different spring rates.  Will get some new ones made at the right height.


Can't see the high side because it's in the camber of the road, but this doesn't look too bad.




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  • 2 months later...

So I did some stuff on this today for the first time in ages!


New springs for the rear went in some time ago, still a bit high at the left rear.  Will investigate that a little further.


Put in a mechanical temp gauge and got that working properly, also re-routed and replaced some heater hoses that were pretty dodgy.  I didn't take any pics of that though.


I also made a start on a 1256 engine build - harvested some organs from one of the engines KK brought down from up north for me, so now have a cam to send away for a mild grind, and a head to play around with.



Also have a complete 1256 which will be the base for the rebuild.
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  • 1 month later...

After a few other distractions of late, I've done some more on this...


Added a suspension spacer bush thing to get the suspension level, turns out the drivers side spring is meant to be 5mm longer than the passenger side, so got a nolathane spacer ring to put on top of the spring.  It's level enough now, I can't be bothered doing much more for now.


Will take it for a WOF and wheel alignment this week if time permits.


Also, I've acquired some goodies for the 1256 I'm building - twin Strombergs on a Brabham manifold, exhaust, cam back from Voldo (Thanks!) with 20 degrees extra duration and 20 thou extra lift or thereabouts, and some NOS cam bearings from Tardme.


Also, started playing around with porting a head for the new engine.  Ports are tiny and was really hard to work in there with standard 6mm burrs on the die grinder, has cleaned up okay but needs a lot more hours on it.  Got most of the cutting done, now to make it tidy and finish it off.



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  • 4 months later...

Time for an update.  Less than two weeks out from Nats and a trip to the South Island I thought I should do some prep on the car.  Nothing like a deadline to makes things happen.


Haven't done much on this for ages, nor a big one for updating a project thread.  Today this happened.




Issue 1: Gearbox.  The car had a sweet running gearbox, no crunches, but it would jump out of gear which was dumb.  I have many spares, so found what seemed to be the best one and the last owner said it was sweet.


In it goes - has been about 10 years since I last changed a gearbox in the car, on a garage floor.  Went well and all done by lunchtime.


They're tiny, crappy gearboxes (4L oil pack for size reference)






Issue 2: Diff.  So the standard diff is really badly worn and was leaking, so I assumed it had insufficient oil in it.  Yep, and it had the constitution of bad gravy. Teaspooned out the swarf from the bottom of the housing.  This will need replacement one day if I can find a good one (have some spares somewhere).




Issue 3: Cooling. It was getting hot at idle and on a decent climb up a hill, not so good for the trip ahead so popped out the radiator and took it to the rad man.  Also gathered up some new cooling bits, hoses, thermostat, etc.  Will reassemble when the radiator comes back.  Also have a larger mechanical fan off a later model 1256 engine.




Issue 4: Music. When I got this it had a single speaker, AM only radio that worked intermittently.  When buying gear oil today, Supercheap had headunits for $65 on sale, and so a purchase happened, fitted it up to the original single speaker.  Will try to get some boxed 6x9s for the rear footwell as there isn't really anywhere to put speakers, and I don't want to cut up the rear parcel tray.  Yay! music can now come from discs, iDevices or the FM band. High tech.  Thought about doing a discreet install, but looks okay under the dash.




I put some new carpet in the boot because it was old and rank, when using it as a template on the new carpet the wind caught it and wrapped a 40 year old shity, mouldy carpet around my face.  So foul.


Next tasks, get the radiator back and into the car, sort out the cooling system, give it a tune up, test drive and hope the gearbox is a good one, then get a wheel alignment.


Off to the shower with a bar of Solvol soap to get all the British-ness off me...


Nats ahoy!

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Exciting pictureless update.


Radiator back, was 90% blocked and had a stuffed tube on it.  Should be sweet now.


Put some stuff back together, fired it up and ran it through a few gears on axle stands, new gearbox seems to be quiet and do what it should.  Even managed to back out of the shed without calamity.


Tried to sort out coolant hoses, but got thwarted by a stupid heater hose that involved dismantling half the heater assembly.  Then the new hose wouldn't fit so I gave up and went to cook dinner.


Shall finish it tomorrow night and take for a hoon.


Oh, and I've got some 6x9s sorted for the trip.

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  • 8 months later...

After much procrastination, and a decision after Swap Meat that I needed to build a new engine for it.  I did something on it, well not it, but parts for it.


Grabbed a complete 1256 "big block" motor for it from my spares hoard.




There was some crazy goop inside the water pump, a mixture of rusty poo and evaporated coolant.  That went straight in the scrap bin.




Started the big strip down.  It's had a rebuild at some stage, non-standard frost plugs, prominent hone marks in the bores, and 0.010" bearings stamped "Aug 96". I guess it was done sometime in the mid-late 90s.  Heaps of flaky carbon in the bores.




Found it had an electronic dizzy in it - damn, wish I had found that sooner as I would have fitted to the car ages ago.  Only the dizzy part of it, so will have to find an igniter and other bits to make it go.




Got it stripped down to the basic block.  I'll take it somewhere to get it cleaned up, fresh hone, etc.  All the bearings looked in good order and the crank also looked pretty good so I'm thinking it will get away with new bearings only.  Chuck in some rings, new gasket set etc, etc.


Might be a "pay someone to do it" job, or maybe I will tackle it over the Christmas break if I get a chance.


Place to say chuck it away and get a proper engine -> //oldschool.co.nz/index.php?/topic/33890-vivaspeeds-no2-viva-discussion/

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  • 2 months later...

Progress has been made.  (only because I paid someone to do it)


Fresh engine built - 1256cc "big block" Chevette motor - to replace the 48 year old original 1159cc unit.


This project kind of got a little out of hand.  It started as a simple clean and machine, fresh rings and bearings type job, but then a whole lot of things happened. The bores were too worn so it needed oversized pistons - luckily I had some 30 thou over pistons, which would have been sweet, except one had a broken ring land when it was pulled out of the block they were in.  Nothing available in NZ, so off to eBay UK to help me, and a lovely set of 20 thou over high compression Heopolite pistons were found, as was a new oil pump.  3 days later they were in NZ.




The guys at Custom Works were machining and assembling the short block for me, but as we'd missed out on getting parts before the xmas break, I really had no time to finish it off, and they were mostly there so I got them to finish it off for me.  Pretty happy with the end result, except they painted it black and I wanted it dark blue because I prefer that colour (and I think I've seen somewhere that was the colour the Blydenstein engines were).  A can of VHT quickly fixed that problem.


Next problem, was the oil pump I got was the centre drive type, not the offset drive type so none of my distributors would fit it.  Again, back to the UK to get a NOS Bosch distributor for it, these only came on 1981-onwards Chevettes so wasn't a common part here.  It's the same innards as many other Bosch JFU4 dizzys (Escort, VW, etc), so parts are everywhere and it's not a crappy Delco unit which will have the shaft wear out and will go wrong.


It's also got a ground cam in it (thanks to Voldo at Kelfords), and with the higher compression, might go a little better.




I then added the last bits - water pump, clutch, etc from my hoard of NOS Viva parts.




So, for the price of a Japanese engine repower package, I now have a pushrod engine that might make 60 bhp and will leak in about 3 days.


Need a few little bits (oil filter, thermostat, plug leads, etc) and will check my carb jetting (Weber 28/36 DCD - I sold the dual carb setup I had shown before as I decided not to use Strombergs on it) before I make some time to fit it and run it in.


(oh, and the steering rack shat itself so it's out and getting overhauled, so engine will follow that being replaced and getting a new WOF)

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  • 1 year later...

Over a year later, an update.  A whole lot of nothing happened because I moved cities.


I chucked the new engine in, big thanks to KK and Manu who came over to lend a hand.  Really appreciated that.  I don't have pictures in progress, but you can imagine what an empty engine bay looks like along with the smiling faces of Manu and KK.


Old engine -




New engine -




Have run it in a little bit (a few hundred miles) but it's not well tuned and I didn't have much time or motivation to sort it out.  I've chucked on my wideband now to have a look and the mixture is all over the show, leaning out on acceleration and open road cruising.


Rather than mess around with the old DCD, I came up with another plan.


I have finally managed to get this bit of unobtainium from the land of hens teeth and rocking horse shit.  Took me 10 years of trying to get this off a guy who was never going to use it. 


A super rare Blydenstein sidedraught manifold.  I've only ever seen one other like it, and that was a photo from the UK.




It is a combined manifold and rocker cover, but the downside is the engines have two ports in the head for an exhaust pre-heating setup.


So, my dilemma is what material to make the gasket from?  Standard, they have a cork gasket for the rocker cover and an exhaust gasket type material for the intake.  I would use standard gasket paper, but not sure if the exhaust port will cause a problem with that and burn the paper, leading to a leak or some other unwanted events.  


I'm pointing to the intake port, but about an inch inwards from both intake ports are the exhaust preheating ports on the head.




Or should I make the whole gasket out of some other material - like exhaust gasket material - but that would be a bit shit.


Another option is to bung up the exhaust pre-heating outlets with a frost plug - although not sure the size would be standard.


Give me your thoughts here please -> //oldschool.co.nz/index.php?/topic/33890-vivaspeeds-no2-viva-discussion/page-2







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  • 3 weeks later...

Tuning woes be gone.

As I said above I chucked on the wideband and went for a hoon.

I have now got the jetting for the DCD carb off a guy with an identical spec engine build so will compare with my current jetting. From what I've seen mine are a bit too small but I think I knew that already.

Jets are cheap and easy to get so will finally do something with it until I can get a DCOE to chuck on it.

*picture less update - imagine some carb stuff and jets etc.

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