78 Ascona B

  • figured it might be fun to have a thread that follows the car from beginning to end

    So i ended up in Germany for a few years and the wife is in love with old cars, and i wanted to bring something uniquely European back as well. Originally the plan was to get a mini, but as time went on the love affair kinda went away. We began looking for something with a good body/motor in our price range. After scrolling through mobile.de and ebay-kleinanzag (whatever its called) we stumbled upon this old open lookin thing, the good news was that it was cheap, nearby and looked relatively straight. After a few messages we drove down to take a look at it, the car was in relatively good shape but had a few problems. 2500 euro was asking far too much, i offered him 1500 but his bottom line was 1800. No can do, I was about to walk away when in a last ditch effort to rid of the car he offered 1800 and we would deliver the car to my front porch. It was good enough for my standards, we shake and the deal is done.

    wife with the new car!


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    once with the car came home with us it was time to really start digging into it to find every issue before it leaves us stranded. only issues were that almost every bushing was shot, a leaky wheel cylinder, cracked windshield and the one thing i was disappointed i missed in the initial inspection. giant rusty spot in the frame :/


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    The first order of business was the frame, that HAD to get dealt with first and foremost since I thought that it was rusted through. Once I started cutting away at it I was really relieved that it WASN'T completely rusted away. Metal behind there was pretty solid minus some of the divots in the next few pictures, i hit those all with a dremel and made sure the cancer was gone! After a little welding and a little grinding, I'm all done. I know I'm not the best welder and it's honestly been awhile since I've done any welding but I think that it'll restore the previous strength and repair the damage that was done. since a few parts came out i had the wife sand down and paint one of the sub frame bars.


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    we noticed in a small drive around the neighborhood that one of the running lights was out, no big deal right? we took it out and replaced it but while we were back there we noticed a fat stack of papers. curious, we unraveled them and noticed some 70's era old school french nudie mag tear outs! LOL wife and i thought it was hilarious and kept them. wont post those up though...

    this weekend again another issue arose, we bought the car without a working windshield sprayer! oh well, cant be that hard to figure out right? well im in the process of figuring that for myself. im the worst with electrical so ive determined a few things. first, the motor works, i jerry rigged it to the car battery. the thing spun up and whirred no problem; the second thing is that none of the fuses underneath the dash are blown... except the one i broke by hand LOL


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    I rigged this up myself since i couldnt find a proper replacement, idea came from all of those old rat rodders; did the overflow bottle the same way!


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    i was a little bored and knew that the germans would give me tons of shit for having such a greasey oily engine and engine bay, still need to do the underside still... but progress is progress.


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  • i managed to get it figured out, my first guess was the relay too but when the wiper motor works and looks to be wired into the same relay I got a little suspicious. Tore into the steering stalk and found a wire just hanging loose. Crimped and put back, works just fine.
  • well all the major brake components are functional, no more leaks or anything seized etc etc. the fronts are getting pads and rotors since those guys do most of the braking in a car, used one of the sources i posted somewhere in this site to order the stuff.

    along with it came all of the bushings i could see that needed replacing minus maybe the lower control arms to sub frame bushings. not super sure where i am going to get those (maybe they were already purchased?), may have to do some sort of custom deal where i find something close enough and try to sleeve it? gotta buy a micrometer first i guess. (ill show you the box of goodies when i get around to taking pics)

    i will say i did enjoy driving the car up and down the town street (more like a neighborhood for me but its a town) and watching all the old folk stop and stare, first time ive broke necks like that since i last drove the el camino. the elco is back home in the US...
    anyways i took it home and parked it yet again to start tackling the bushing crisis, started out well with an easy removal of the front sway bar and relative ease removing the upper control arm but ran into some issues with the lower control arm, GRRRR. i really struggled to get it off with the tools i had available, a block of wood, 22mm wrench, a 5 pound sledge and all the muscle in my noodle arms. im sure i PO'd a few of my german neighbors trying to remove the nut, i used leg strength with a little success but most of the movement came from pounding on the wrench with the hammer. at a certain point even the hammer couldnt move the nut any further, damn... i had to cave and go buy more tools, 80 bucks of an impact socket kit and i went back at it. initial plan was to use my torque wrench as a breaker bar but the head was too fat to fit where i needed it to. welp i grabbed the 1/2 ratchet and tried again, took me longer than im willing to admit but eventually i wised up and grabbed the pole from my jack to turn the ratchet into a breaker bar. BINGO! thing came off pretty easy comparatively speaking. woop woop! damn nut was siezed on so tight that it ended up de-threading a portion of the ball joint.
    once that was off the rest of the corner fell into place without too much trouble, sure i had to pound the lower ball joint out with the hammer but it was easy after the previous task. (if there are pics ill post them later)

    that brings me to where i am now, beginning to remove the rust from the bits i took off and after that is paint and bushing replacement time.


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    hopefully the tie rod ends dont give me too much trouble, they're next after both front corners are done....

  • Maybe a bit of OT, but you are really lucky to have a wife that loves old cars. Most people overall puts all those new machines over classics, though it slowly tends to change. My friend working at DSRLeasing has a wife that loves 'em classics as well!

  • LOL no I'm very thankful that my wife puts up with my shit.


    I didn't rebuild the subframe how i wanted since getting those bushings in wasn't worth the hassle. Bought a new one on the other side of the local area, still used but seems like the bushings would pass inspection. No pictures of that! sorry...

    Oh, so during the front end rebuild the tie rod ends were rust-welded on to the steering rack. Had to redo everything outside of the rack itself; no pictures of that either but i did take a pic of the at home alignment i did.


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    While i was at it, i decided to put on the new wheels too!


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    Decided at that point it was time to give it a test drive, too bad that it broke down and was time to rebuild the distributor. shes running again temporarily, but not for long after this bafoonery was required to get it back home. Yes, that is an old accessory belt that it tied to the subframes and tow hook.


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    She ran strong and i got plates on her, though only for a moment. more on that later...


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    Windshield got replaced as well! that was a pita to do. took me a little over an hour to get the rubber on the glass and another 3-4 hrs with the help of a buddy to get it installed. word to the wise, soapy water and thick enough wire will do the trick. align the window from the top and set it down on the lower lip, when you have a thick enough gauge wire any youtube vid will help finish the job.


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  • So i daily'd the car for a couple weeks before another major issue showed itself... I borrowed a pressure cleaner from a guy in the local area to me and cleaned the eff outta the motor/trans. had to figure out where the horrible disgustingness was coming from. found it was a couple of seals in the trans and the valve cover gasket. Ordered up/fixed the issues and the thing was otherwise a good clean motor... until i managed to get oil coming out of the aircleaner box really badly.


    cars oil light came on was clue #1, light oil spray in the bay was clue #2 and opening the box after a rough run was the nail in the coffin of something is seriously wrong.


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    Decided it was time to park it and order tools to help me determine whats necessary to replace/fix, signs of serious blow by was the initial reaction. First tool to come in was a vacuum gauge, which can tell you compression but didnt do me much help... still a good tool for valve train issues, timing and other things.


    made a video showing how i went about that process.


    while i was waiting for the compression tester to show up i had some coolant hoses show up... with a surprise! i was hoping it would stay free since they fit the car but im not sure it'll stay that way. company has asked for them back but hasnt responded to my reply on ebay...


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  • I did the compression test today and will update later when im done editing that video.

    Forgot to mention! i fixed all the freakin door handles too, half of them were non-op when i bought the car. gotta figure out what to do about a bad locking cylinder, put the key in and the whole thing comes out.

    also i noticed my older posts are not showing the pictures like they do in my newer posts, any reason why?

  • Hey, thanks a lot for those videos. I'm waiting for my wife to get me some break with the recent lease I obtained at DSRLeasing and I'll try to pick up something for myself.