O P E L   M O T O R S P O R T    C L U B


Engine Performance

  • Suggested articles, sometimes including step-by-step procedures, are indicated with orange colored text. You can also submit YOUR Opel TechTips, for consideration by the Editor of the OMC Blitz, to: joinomc@opelclub.com
  • From mild to wild, OMC Tech Tips can inform you on the wide variety of options available to increase your torque and speed output. Experts explain the need for cylinder head upgrades, in combination with higher-capacity bolt-on parts, as the source for improved Opel power. Others have installed V6 and V8 engines from other vehicles, sometimes with major modifications, for "land-rocket" performance.

How to Order: Reprints of Individual OMC Blitz issues, can be ordered by mail from the OMC Treasurer (3824 Franklin Ave, La Crescenta CA 91214) for $2.00 each (cost includes postage). This offer is subject to availability.

Oct 2004

How to Modify a 1.9 Thermostat (to fit 2.2-2.4 liter cyl. head), 3 pages
Photos with step-by-step descriptions, on how to custom-machine a fabricated adaptor plate, for installations of larger Opel engines.

June 2004

Modifying a 2.4 liter Engine for a Steel Oil Pan, Dipstick Tube, and Oil Pickup Tube, 2 pages (illustrated)
Photographs show how and where to drill, to swap over these GT components, onto the later European high-performance 2.4 liter Opel engine block.

Aug 2002

Request Reply Final: Engine Stalling, 1 page
Describes effect of clogged gas tank internal "sock" filter in Manta.

May 2002

Head Modification: Valves, Seals, Seats, 2 pages
Bob L. provides tips and specs in answer to questions on a big-valve job; suggests Viton brand oil seals, using spring seats with a minimum diameter, use of chromoly or titanium retainers, and spring rate calculations.

April 2002

Roller Camshafts & Roller Lifters, 1 page (illustrated)
Production status and basic considerations of roller rocker installation in Opel engines.

Jan 2002

Pertronix Ignitor Electronic Ignition Kit, 3 pages
Extensive discussion of pros and cons of installing the Petronix #1847V ignition points replacement kit, and the need to upgrade the ignition coil and bypass the resistor wire. Additional comments on Bosch condensors, Crane electronic ignition, the durability of Blue Streak ignition points, and to check for a worn-out distributor. (Note: Opelers have noted that a power surge, such as that from jump-starting the battery, blows out the receptor in the Pertronix points replacement unit).

Dec 2001

Economical Performance Upgrades, 1 page
Bob L. responds that the primary Opel upgrades are installation of a Weber 32/36 carb and an electronic ignition (Petronix magnetic or Crane optical) system. The next performance level calls for an engine block with high-compression type pistons (9.0:1 or higher), a 38DGAS Weber carb, a ported intake manifold, and a Sprint/FI exhaust manifold with a 2" wide exhaust system. More performance would call for milling the cylinder head .050" and installation of 2.0 Liter Opel valves. Beyond that, is a higher performance camshaft (to .430" lift), additional valve and associated cylinder head porting work.

June 2001

Distributor Maintenance, 1 page (illustrated)
Suggests lubrication of the shaft and breaker plate surfaces done periodically, for smoother timing advance and  performance.

Feb 2001

High Performance Engine Components, 1 page
Larry S. describes his high performance, high torque 2.4 short block, topped with big-valve, hot cam, roller rocker 2.2 cylinder head and a 500cfm 2-barrel Holley carb.

Sept 2000

3.1L V6 in a GT tech article, part three, 2 pages (illustrated)
Final section covers firewall/pedal area modifications, custom engine crossmember, trans mount, Fiero exhaust manifolds, Chevy S-10 bellhousing and clutch, and custom exhaust pipes.

Aug 2000

Combustion Chamber calculations, 1 page
Mathematical formula provided to determine compression ratio.

March 2000

3.1L V6 in a GT tech article, part two, 2 pages (illustrated)
Primarily concerns wiring adaptations for the 3.1L fuel injection system.

Nov 1999

3.1L V6 in a GT tech article, part one, 2 pages (illustrated)
Mike P. describes considerations of various engines, and conversion to a 1992 Camaro engine in a GT. Photos included.

July 1999

GT 4-6 cylinder and V-8 Engine swaps, 2 pages
Discussion of pros and cons of various GT engine swaps, notes 2.8L V-6 and Buick 215 V-8's fit GT's better than most, also the bolt-on Opel 2.2 Liter 4cylinder receives compliments.

March 1999

Performance tips for the street: Components, 1 page
Larry S. discusses his '73 GT upgrades: 2.4 short block with big-valve head, high-profile camshaft, ported intake manifold, Weber 38 DGAS carb, Crane electronic ignition, 3.67 Quaife LSD rear axle, custom oversized exhaust, mechanical advance distributor.

March 1998

Realistic power upgrades (reprint from 4/1993); 4 pages
Bob Legere discusses in detail topics of camshafts vs. compression ratio, exhaust upgrades, intake manifold port matching for Weber carburetors, ignition coils and electronic ignition, spark plug wires, distributor advance adjustment, changing water pump pulley and crankshaft pulley sizes, and a lightened flywheel.

July 1997

Lightened Flywheel for the 1.9 Engine, 1 page (illustrated)
Reprint from 3/1990 Blitz, includes dimensions, for custom machining flywheel from 23lbs to @14lbs. This compared favorably in price (in 1990) at $180. to PAECO (of Birmingham, AL) unit at $450.

Dec 1996

2.4L engine conversion; 4 pages (illustrated)
Nick W. describes installation in an Opel Frontera, covers adaptations to dipstick hole, oil pickup, crankshaft pulley, water pump passage, and relates engine break-in experiences.

Aug 1996

"Dyno Time, Part II"; 1 page
Details on refinements to 155 horsepower/160 lb. ft. torque output Opel engine (described in July 1996 article).

July 1996

"Dyno Time, part I" (Bob Legere report on engine building); 2 pages
Details of a custom 140+ horsepower engine build: 2.0 liter short block, notes on large valve installations and porting of a 1.5 Opel cylinder head, modification of a 38 DGAS Weber carburetor, cam specs.

Oct 1995

"Stage III", 2 pages
Bob L. reprint from ODCA (Opel Driver's Club of America) March 1989 newsletter, concerns engine rebuild performance choices, such as higher-compression pistons, cylinder head remachinging, higher profile camshafts, Weber carburetor upgrades, and installing a freer-flowing 1975 Opel exhaust manifold. Followed by an index to additional Bob L. ODCA articles. (Note: ODCA went defunct in the early 1990's, and copies of newsletters are in private collections).

Oct 1995

"Tuning Your Opel for Performance:, 1 page
Bob. L. reprint from ODCA (Opel Driver's Club of America) January 1989 newsletter. An early article, mentions basic performance issues: Weber 32/36 carb gaskets, true Opel compression ratios and stock horsepower estimates. Also titled "Stage I."

July 1995

Opel V6 and V8 Engine projects; 4 pages (illustrations)
Includes basic mounting notes and photos of V-6 and V-8's installed in Opel GT's, including:  1978 Ford 2.8 liter V-6, Chevy 3.3 liter V-6, Chevy 262ci 4.3 liter V-6, 1984 Chevy 2.8 liter V-6, 1982-1984 Chevy S-10 2.8 liter V-6, Buick 215ci V-8, Chevy 283ci V-8, Chevy 305ci V-8, and different examples of Chevy 350ci short-block V-8's.

July 1995

"The Diehard's Approach to Maximum Power for Opels"; 3 pages (illustrations)
Bob L. describes increasing Opel 1.9 liter performance, through modifying or swapping cylinder heads (ie Opel 1.5, 1.9H, 2.0, 2.2, 2.4 liter), modifying or swapping cylinder bokcs (ie Opel 2.0, 2.2, 2.4 liter), carburetors (ie Weber 32/36 DGEV, 38DGAS, 40DFAV, 40DCOE), camshaft profiles and installation of roller rocker arms (when available), and nitrous oxide, supercharging and turbocharging options. This is a good general discussion article, as opposed to a "how-to" article.

July 1993

Cam Timing and Cylinder Head Performance Tips "Cam Tricks"; 3 pages
Blaine S. explains how the camshaft can be mechanically advanced 4 to 7 degrees compared to the crankshaft, by elongating the 3 mounting holes in the camshaft sprocket gear about 1/16 of an inch. This should only be tried on an engine when there is sufficient valve to piston top clearance. Additional camshaft and valve lifter tips from a "racer" perspective include how to change hydraulic lifters to solid and installing nuts on the rocker arm shafts to prevent changes in clearance.

June 1993

Inexpensive ITB Racing "No Bucks, Low Bucks, Minimalist Racing?"; 2 pages
Gary M. suggests suspension upgrades of anti-roll bars and stiffer Koni-brand shocks, "street racing" tires and wider steel or aftermarket aluminum rims, fromt lowering "sport" spring, and engine upgrades of a Weber 32/36 DGEV carburetor and exhaust header, for power upgrades.

April 1993

Camshaft, Exhaust Systems, Intake Manifolds and Carburetion, Parasitic Losses and Other Improvements, More Upgrade Notes "Realistic Power Upgrades for the Street; 5 pages
(See description, in March 1998, of this article).

June 1992

Popular GT Engine Swaps (Opel 2.0-3.0's & US V6-V8's); 4 pages
Includes photos and descriptions of Opel 1.9, 2.0. 2.2 and 2.4 liter engines (which are generally easy bolt-on replacements in Opel GT's), as well as 2.0 16-valve, 2.8-3.0 6-cylinder and 3.0 24-valve European Opel engines. Non-Opel engines described are the Mazda rotary 13B, 3.8 liter Buick V-6, 2.8 liter Ford V-6, 2.8 liter GM motor, Buick/Rover 215 cubic inch V-8, Ford 289/302 cubic inch V-8, and Chevy 283/350 cubic inch small-block V-8. Descriptions are not in detail, so although there are size and power output notes, this article alone is not all the information you need before starting an Opel engine swap project.

June 1992

Offset Engine Piston Wrist Pin Tips "Laid Back Power"; 3 page
Roger W. explores option and effects of modifying the wrist pin (where engine rod connects to piston) to an offset mount.

May 1992

Engine Rod Length Science/Performance Tips "The Racer's Edge"; 4 pages (illus)
Roger W. describes effexts of modification of length and mounting of the engine connecting rod in a 1.9 liter Opel, including length of time at piston TDC, effects on engine compression and breathing (vs. valve overlap), and mechanical geometry vs. longer-term reliability. Includes theoretical concepts and detailed explanatory illustrations.

July 1991

Additional Street Motor Performance Tips (Letter & Reply); 3 pages
Joseph S. responds to May 1991 article, with additional information:
(1) Racing oil is not suited to street use, as it has no detergents and sludges up.
(2) Cast pistons are preferable for routine cold-weather driving (below 40F).
(3) Suggests using 9:1 compression ratio pistons for street 1.9 Opel rebuilds.
(4) With modifications, a small 4-barrel carb will work on a 1.9 Opel (no install details).
(5) Performance is enhaced with a '75 fuel injection system + custom FI electronics.

May 1991

Discussion: 10 Performance Alterations, "Partial Truths & the Street Motor";  6 pages John M. addresses the following described 'myths':
(1) Big multiple carbs will allow my motor to breathe better.
(2) If I hog out the ports in the head I'll get lots more power.
(3) A long duration cam with overlap will generate lots of power.
(4) The vacuum advance mechanism on the distributor wastes power.
(5) If a little spark advance is good, lots is better.
(6) A set of short tubular headers will increase power.
(7) Big fuel jets mean big horsepower.
(8) Forged pistons make more power and withstand more punishment.
(9) All performance motors use solid lifters.
(10) All performance motors need 20W-50 racing oil.
John's conclusion here, is that it isn't the addition of one higher performance component that results in more horsepower, but that improvement of all systems associated with the engine need to be done together for more power.

April 1990

Tuning Opel's Cast Iron Engine, Scandinavian Know-How; 6 pages
Carl G. submitted comparative horsepower output curves for 5 Opel engines, each with modified fuel, exhaust and other bolt-on components. Covers different carbs and jets, camshafts, valve sizes, exhaust systems, etc.

March 1990

Lightened Flywheel for the 1.9 Engine, 1 page (illustrated)
Carl G. provides illustration for dimensions of a machine-shop lightened Opel flywheel (from 23 to 13 to 15 lbs., in 5 hours of shop time), originally from the European GT-Journal of January 1989, as an alternative to the pricey PAECO source for lightened Opel flywheels.

Sept 1988

Building a "Big Valve" 1.9 Liter Cylinder Head; 3 pages (photo, illus)
Carlos G. itemizes parts and describes machine shop procedures, to convert a stock 1.9 liter Opel cylinder head into a high-performance big-valve head. Parts include Isky valve springs #5005, Isky stte retainers #927ST, Locks (7 degree hardened, machined), Chevy 1.720 intake valves (11/32" stem diameter) Manley #10078, Chevy 1.500 exhaust valves (11/32" stem diameter) Manley #10077, Spring Cups 1.550 O.D., 1.450 I.D. (Vanolia #86600), Valve Guides (brass spiral lock), Valve stem seals (teflon type). Numerous procedures are described in a list. Estimated 20 hours shop labor, article adds finished head spring heighth and flow rate graphs.

June 1988

Installing a 6-Cylinder Opel Motor in a GT, 3 pages (illustrated)
Translation of an article from the German "GT Journal" about the modifications required to mount a 2.5 Liter 6-cylinder motor from an Opel Commodore B GS into a GT: Mounts, steering, cooling, alternator, etc.

April 1987

Oil Cooler Installation; 1 page
Roger L. suggests using high-pressure hoses (with steel braid and fittings from Earl's) with minimun inside diameter of 1/2 to 5/8 inch, and an oil cooler with 16+ fins per inch and a minimum of 6 rows of tubes. When mounting, arrange so inlet tube (from oil filter) is at bottom, to eliminate air and retained heat from the system.

Feb 1987

Consider Disadvantages of Installing Performance Parts Too; 1 page
Notes that installing a part alone, may not provide additional performance, as it is a compatible set of performance parts that will obatai desired results.

Dec 1985

Engine Parts to Use for a "Super Motor", 1 page

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