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Datsun310Guy MegaDork
11/25/20 4:32 p.m.

I had a '66 1600 - I believe there are a few dozen grease fitting on this car.   Car looks great!

jr02518 HalfDork
12/2/20 2:22 a.m.

I had requested a quick post mortem of the distributor and I got this list;

I have not torn down your distributor yet but did take a quick look at it, here are a few things I noted:

1)Vacuum advance does not work

2) And/or the breaker plate is seized

3) The “hot wire” from outside the dizzie to the points is in very bad shape

4) There is excess vertical play in the shaft.


Now, the car did start and would run at idle.  The minute you tipped into the throttle it would stumble and run very badly.  Based on his noted faults it makes perfect sense.  I am so glad that I am getting this item repaired before I spend any time tuning the two carbs.  Think of all the hair I get to keep and drinking that I get to avoid.  That and time chasing things that would not fix anything.


I learned in college the hard way, spending money that I did not have, rebuilding a motor in a car that I really wanted to keep that when the dwell meter is bouncing around for no apparent reason that it is not the fresh motor causing the poor running.  It's the dam distributor.


See, I did learn in school!




jr02518 HalfDork
12/8/20 9:46 a.m.

The refreshed distributor is on its way back this direction.  Complete with the correct coil and new wires, one and done.  Yes, I hope.  It was confirmed that it might have allowed the car to start in its former condition, but it was never going to allow the car to run correctly.  Next, the radiator.

In our area shops like "Bob's" are disappearing.  The property might be a super fund site, but in this case they may just lock the doors and just walk.  On top of the normal day to day challenges, Gov. French Laundry has issued new guide lines.  Required cash flow provides opportunity.  I like working with business owners who understand social distancing and getting things done.

Then on the horizon, the front end is going to need some attention, after Christmas.  Full stocking are more important than driving toys.


Mr_Asa SuperDork
12/8/20 10:00 a.m.
jr02518 said:

Yes, pictures to follow.  The differential is complete and back in the car.  Does anyone have a "fix" for frozen grease fittings?  This car has the hardware to lube every conceivable joint and union of parts.  If they accept grease, under pressure.  Mine have decided they need some sort of persuasion. Any ideas?


In my experience they are frozen because the grease has turned rock hard and mixed with crap that has gotten into the fittings.  If you don't want to replace, try taking a propane torch to them till they start to ooze and then poke the little ball bearing with an appropriate sized probe.  You should get a little spurt of molten grease out of them, so be wary.  From then you can let them cool and then regrease as normal

jr02518 HalfDork
12/9/20 6:37 p.m.

The dribble of required parts, continues.  The new thermostat housing is on the way with stainless steal bolts.  I have the required gaskets and the new thermostat that was awol in my car. First, I get to cut the old housing off the head. More split it, to peel it off the frozen mounting hardware. 

The radiator turned out to just require a good soaking in a vat of industrial enhanced water/solvent solution and it passed the request pressure test.  

I will admit that I was looking at the "far east" aluminum substitute, if mine had required a matrix change.  To date this was my first part of the rebuild that did not require a larger than imagined infusion cash. I"ll take the win. The front end rebuild, is looming.


jr02518 HalfDork
12/15/20 9:59 a.m.

You might know that moment in some projects that make you pause and that feeling of being over whelmed starts to creep into your psyche?

That was starting to happen, I can not lie.  I have been a tech inspector at autocross events for a long time.  I intuitively grab the top of a wheel when the car is on the ground and give it a tug.  The first time you do it on the rear end of a car with C-clips holding the axles in place and you get what is considered normal movement, it gives you one of those moments.  And yes, they move that much.

In my case, it is the front end of my Datsun.  Now all the parts are available, that is not the issue I am working through.  It's the pending reality of "while I'm there" that I am working with.  I am glad I left it for last on the first phase of getting the car back on the road.  I have the rebuilt and upgraded distributor in my hands.  Along with the  array of parts to be replaced on the motor, it's almost a runner.  

Giving the front tires, now installed and the car on the ground, a tug was rewarded with that combination of sounds and tire movement that confirmed I will be spending money in the new year that will absorb car/fun money I have yet to budget, or let alone make in the coming year.  Merry Christmas! 

jr02518 HalfDork
12/15/20 7:03 p.m.

Back to the pictures.

This is one of those busy shots that convey lots of in process activity and the need to learn the "roadkill" zip tie wire harness application.

The new distributor is installed, the new coil is replacing the old coil and the thermostat housing is spun around the bolt, the head of the bolt snapped off, but will not allow the housing to be liberated from its current location.  Still working out the wire runs from the coil to the distributor.  The battery will sit on the frame rail currently painted silver.  Painting it the body color is an option, if I can get the paint to match.  This is a great example of the quandary one has to address when they will not "restore", only renovate.  Yes, it is much cleaner under the hood.  Soap and water under pressure have helped. 

Next, the artistic shot of the throttle cable brings into focus 50 years of normal ware and tear of use, that still might work but will be replace in this case to promote proper function.

And again, I am not restoring anything.  I'm not.

jr02518 HalfDork
12/15/20 8:03 p.m.

Next on to the interior, first an up grade.


This bracket provides a substantial increase in structural integrity for the sheet metal around the brake master cylinder and steering colum shaft.  The brake line bleeding process was completed before its installation, the fire wall was flexing at each application of the pedal.  Not any more.

Given that they built both right and left hand drive models of this car, in low volume, they probably only made/pressed one fire wall.  The recess for the brake system looks to be added on as needed.  There looks to be a seam that might be the source of the flex. Right at the line of rust.


jr02518 HalfDork
12/15/20 8:14 p.m.

More interior, but really the transmission.   Actually,  the shifter.  It flops between the 1-2 and 3-4 part of the pattern.

There is no resistance or detent between the gates, none.  Would you believe the shifter boot, when fresh and intact is supposed to do the trick.  In my case it was not doing its job.  Either of them.


Yes, I will vacuum the carpet.


jr02518 HalfDork
12/19/20 10:08 p.m.

Now it is just a roller, but I"ll take it.  With the holidays next week and money being directed to other than this project, I could use a break.

The car is currently at a friends, anything you see other than a Datsun is not mine.

In the short term, getting it running again is number one on the list.



Airbagman None
12/20/20 9:20 p.m.

I haven’t visited GRM in more than a year, but stopped by to see what’s going on. OH MY! The memories! I had a  67’ 2000 roadster in 1970 and it mostly got me through high school and 2 years of college. The made two version: the 1600 and the 2000 at 1.6L and 2L.  A great fun car - especially when used to VW’s. It wasn’t my mom’s 4 speed 70 442, or my Dad’s W31 Cutlass, but it was still a blast to drive.  I’ll never forget the scream of that 2 liter 4 cylinder at its 7,000 rpm redline! I’ll also never forget the blown head gasket in New Mexico on my way back to St. Paul in the winter of ‘73 (?). It was too long ago.

Somewhere in there is where the nightmares started. I tore down the engine, had to have the head milled flat, and the block, which uncovered a crack in the block deck surface when magnafuxed. 

That fixed, I learned an important lesson: those early Japanese manuals were a hoot to read. When it comes to the timing chain installation, believe the photos, not the written text. I believed the text rather than the photographs. Hey, I was 19. What did I know?

A bunch of bent valves later.... and new ones, it ran very nice if you could keep the twin carbs set up.  (I still have the flow meter if anyone needs one)

The engine was a bastard. It started as a cam-in-block, that was modified to OHC. A jack shaft replaced the cam to run the distributor and fuel pump. 

The cam ran on aluminum “towers” on the top of the head. Do Not Take these off the head!  You will understand line boring first hand.  If you do. Oh, and there are no bearings there either.

I sold it in ‘74.  Bought another while in Texas in the late 70’s. It died a rear end death from a new 16 year old driver. 

I couldn’t stay away. I bought a 70 240Z in 91. Sold it in 96 cause it was too darn hot in AZ and needed a daily driver. 

Wish I never sold any of them.

jr02518 HalfDork
12/20/20 10:33 p.m.

One of the liberating aspects of not working on this project as a "restoration", I can add something new to a bunch of old stuff and not loose any sleep.  Case in point, the thermostat housing. It's more a upper radiator hose attachment point in a stack of parts that bolts to the head and keeps the thermostat in place.  It is finished off with the radiator cap mounting plate.  Include the gaskets and it looks like this.

You end up with this.  Something new surrounded by a bunch of things with well earned patina.  It works.


jr02518 HalfDork
12/22/20 5:42 p.m.

I should have prefaced my comments when I posted the pictures of the car.  I might not be spending any money at this time but items that I have are getting installed.  Staring with the distributor and wires.


Then a much more finished and tidy shot.

This last picture reminds me that I will be spending some time and energy cleaning up the oxidation of the paint under the hood.  Eventually.  

jr02518 HalfDork
12/23/20 10:00 p.m.

Next, reinstalling the refreshed radiator and the hoses.  The fasteners have been replaced and they are all plated.


The hoses I found on the car were all soft and looking for an excuse to fail. Like most of this rebuild I am spending extra on parts that fit.  The lower radiator hose is an example,  the correct molded hose fits and dose not interfere with the steering box.


In addition to the hoses up front, the  hoses for the intake manifold and heater runs are getting replaced.  Getting the system purged is going to be a multiple step process.   The reservoir for the radiator is to the left of the radiator, with the fresh flip cap.  The fill for the system is on the head.  The cap at the thermostat housing is not a pressure cap.  The "Y" in the middle of the radiator connects the reservoir and the thermostat housing to the radiator.

I think I will be jacking up the front of the car to bleed the system.  A couple of times.

Chipping away at it...

Gonna be a great driver.

jr02518 HalfDork
12/24/20 9:57 a.m.

In my case and this project I am doing my best to limit "project crepe".  I took this on knowing I was not going to paint the car. I knew the passenger fender and door had been reworked after an accident.  I can live with rework of the fender for now and at some point I will find its replacement. At some distant point.

I did purchase an additional pumpkin for the differential.  Having one to add some sort of LSD in the future I can justify, that and I was able to have it delivered at a price that was very happy with.  The steering wheel upgrade to a smaller, thicker one came about from cars I had years ago.  It has been installed in both my long departed 510's and 1600/2002's. It's not perfect, but I can have it worked by the gentleman who will be reshaping and recovering the seats. These I have to have, rebuilt.

The next round of parts is needed to finish off the things that have surfaced during the refresh do date.  The vintage of somethings is unknown, but the oil and grease covering stuff , when removed no longer hides their continued usefulness.  

This leaves the front end, other than the ball joints.  These must have been so bad that the warn out tires could not have been ignored.  But to have had it that taken apart and not address the other warn out components, how and why?  One more reason I might now be the care taker of this car. 

TurnerX19 SuperDork
12/24/20 11:45 a.m.

These cooling systems bleed out easily. Fill it from the cylinder head and run it at idle speed with the heater valve on for a minute or so while topping it up there. Close the cylinder head cap. Open the recovery bottle cap and run it to temperature (no load) and see how much accumulates in the recovery bottle. Top up the bottle and cap it. 

jr02518 HalfDork
12/27/20 1:51 p.m.

I am hopeless.  True to form and three days into a four day weekend, I have been internet shopping.  First, my well loved and slightly ratty steering wheel will be going back into storage. I found a Racemark rim, hub and horn button that I convinced my sef is going to be better and less ratty.   

And I added to my spares package a 4 speed that I hope I never have to take advantage of, replacing the one in the car means having to pull the motor.  I am hoping that having this available will mean never having to use it.  I know, but it has worked for the old BMW units that I have as insurance.  Having to buy one when you need it opens you up to rash decisions, right?

But I did show some restraint, I only purchased the transmission. Only.

jr02518 HalfDork
1/8/21 7:49 p.m.

I am very happy, I am out of parts to put on the car. That I have. Now I have to spend the money I have yet to make to buy the next round of parts that I know I need.  You have to set and have limits, right?

But I need to have a budget on rebuilding the seats.  As a quick review, the previous owner was tinny. The seats were set as far forward as they could be locked in place.  The seats were build with an unknown amount of extra stuffing to make them work for her.


No, I am not going to look under the dash cover, or replace the ratty cover. No, but I do have a new/old Racemark steering wheel that is smaller than the stock "bus" wheel.  That gives me more room for the soon to be reshaped seats.  Because I, am not tinny.

This is what they should look like.  I'm hoping to have more side bolster and a lower seat.  We will see.  Tomorrow, we take what I have to the upholstery shop and create a budget, that will require money that I have to earn, to make it happen.  Got to have goals, too!



damarble New Reader
1/8/21 8:17 p.m.

Great project. Roadsters are represented here pretty well. Yours is in much better condition than mine, but I do have many of the same things to address.

hobiercr (FS)
hobiercr (FS) SuperDork
1/8/21 10:40 p.m.

In reply to jr02518 :

Damn, we have the transmission from our Challenge roadster for sale for a year. Wish I had known you were looking for one.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/9/21 7:36 a.m.
hobiercr (FS) said:

In reply to jr02518 :

Damn, we have the transmission from our Challenge roadster for sale for a year. Wish I had known you were looking for one.

Where do you have yours listed? I've seen them on 311s.org and cl for basically free and they seem to just sit. Shipping is killer too.

Long story short, I'm about to scrap mine lol.

Edit, I should be clear that I'm looking at trans' in similar condition to mine, which is "been sitting around for 40 years, dirty, and no idea if it works"

hobiercr (FS)
hobiercr (FS) SuperDork
1/9/21 7:01 p.m.

In reply to Robbie (Forum Supporter) :

I posted ours on 311s.org, FFB Marketplace, and CL without a single bite. I just don't think there is much of a market for them. Ours is all clean and purty, but we have no clue if it works. 

jr02518 HalfDork
1/9/21 9:43 p.m.

First, the seats have been dropped off and part of the puzzle comes onto focus.  I will not be doing the labor.  In any way, shape or forming of foam.  No, the foam is available new.  Given how few of these cars were produced the parts support is awesome.  For a vender to have recreated an injection mold for both a left hand and right hand seat is amazing.  And I get to pay for the privilege.

Yes you can glue and shape foam, but labor is getting expensive,  I will be buying a non standard combination of fabric centers, think Recaro cloth and naga on the permitter.  Leather is not in the budget, for the non seating surfaces.  With any luck.

Time to get back to work.  I will be keeping the stock head rests.  I have to have something to explain to the purists.  

jr02518 HalfDork
1/18/21 6:55 p.m.

I got a call from my upholstery shop this morning, I was right.  The seats have so much extra foam in them to make them work for the previous owner, that calling them over stuffed was an understatement.  He was trying to explain the layers he found and tomorrow I will drop buy and see it first hand.  I am not sure what he thinks he can reuse, he is the expert.

I, just have to pay for it. Remember, labor is expensive.  

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