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jr02518 HalfDork
4/11/22 4:24 p.m.

As it turns out, the ignition module was bad. The vendor who put the distributor together has tested, diagnosed, repaired and is shipping it back.  We are good to go!

Then there is the front end.  I have springs and shocks that will be non race car stiff, but not stock as delivered by the factory.  I have the largest front sway bar that will work without having to engineer a new front suspension and the bushings needed to refresh the a-arms are ready to be installed.

Note to self, do not drive this car without lubing the a-arms. The design of this front end is built around zerk fittings, lots of them.  

jr02518 HalfDork
5/1/22 8:54 p.m.

The project battery has been recharged.  Making the trip to Solvang allowed me to make some contacts and get some input on the set up for the rebuilt front end of my car.

I know better than say I have everything I need to rebuild this part of the project.  Not even close.  

jr02518 HalfDork
5/5/22 10:12 p.m.

Yes, to really fix things or issues you might have to reduce the offending item to an completely dissembled state. Right?


To add the correct shocks to the front of the car, only one little change is required.  But to install this one upgrade, it might just be a Pandora box project. 

To be honest, no engineering was required to complete this upgrade. Someone years ago had come up with this solution.  Again, I am not inclined to recreate wheels with this project, but I have taken advantage of multiple solutions that are readily available.


jr02518 HalfDork
5/8/22 11:53 p.m.

During the reassembly of the front end, one of the issues involves the upper and lower a-arms.  Specifically, the bushings and their instillation.  The working elements of this design are basically a metal on metal on metal,with grease between the layers.  I would like to know the " Rockwell" hardness of the three metals, one of them is much lower than the rest.

The first photo may not show it well, but doing the research on the reassembly offers a number of rabbit holes to spend hours of time and effort.  Our path to completion started with the lower a-arms and the two sections that are bolted to the lower ball joint mounting point.

One of the issues with the bushings it the torque settings that is posted, for the completed assembly, 144lbs. on the outer nuts.  My life with the older BMW's, the 1968-1976 2002 had me used to some larger numbers. The stub axil nuts on the rear trailing arms is one that request 248 lbs, +/- 48.  The cotter pin placement might explain the range.

In this case, the mounting of the lower a-arm needs to be able to rotate when every thing is completely snugged up.  In this case, mission accomplished.

The next shot includes the reason for the updated spring perch.

More projects to addressed but a quick disclaimer, painting the undercarriage during this project does not mean the car is getting restored.  In any way.


Piguin New Reader
5/9/22 3:59 a.m.

Of course not, simple protection from  the elements. Absolutely nothing to do with th 'R' word :)

Always good to see updates on this. First drive after the refresh approaching!

jr02518 HalfDork
5/11/22 1:25 a.m.

PSA: "If" your car does not have cotter pins and the nuts that take advantage of them, you might have an issue.

In my case we started on the drives side of the car, removing the tie rod from the spindle was accomplished with a firm hit with a hammer.  The inboard required a pickle fork.  The boots that protect the mounting bolts and hold the grease, were completely toast.  All of them, both sides.

Then starting on the passenger side we had an "Oh Shi." moment.

First, I apologize for the size of the pictures.  But what was found was a bent tie rod held in place on one end by a pinch bolt on a stripped tie rod. The nut was no more than finger tight.  I had not given it a shake a head of time.  The car was not a driver when I purchased it. 

Bottom line, this was an issue just waiting to happen.  Again, I had planned to replace both sides based on the ripped or missing boots.

Lesson learned.  Cotter pins have a couple of jobs. 






jr02518 HalfDork
5/11/22 8:54 p.m.

Working out from the a-arms, the races are fresh in the hubs and the disks are just skimmed. This combination, along with some new bearings and brake pads will get the car into driver configuration.  

For now.


So the before shot, the car looks like this.

I can't wait to get the car off the jack stands.

jr02518 HalfDork
5/14/22 10:51 p.m.

No, it did not come off the jack stands, yet.  But until the tie rods arrive, we are done.  To review, other than the upper and lower ball joints every thing that is consumable was used up and now replaced.  The pervious owner replaced these and the reality of the rest of the front end, had the car parked.  Reading the manual, it boils down to maintaining the car starts with a grease gun.

So, if you ever get to work on one of these, you might find a excess volume of  grease and road grime covering everything.  They are not a British car, but looking underneath you could never tell the difference. Again, I am not restoring but we did take the time to clean things that included wire brushing the fasteners.  A torque wrench was used in the reassembly of these parts.  To that end I must take a moment and thank a very dear friend for his efforts, knowledge and tools.  Without Robert's help this project would not be happening.

Robert worked out getting the a-arm bushings installed with out loosing his mind or patience. It hinges on removing the lower spring perch and keeping everything, all the other fasteners, loose until the bushings are in place. The key to remember the torque setting of the bushing is a guide.  The mounting of the lower a-arm assembly does have to be able to rotate. Doing this the car, without removing this assembly might happen, I do not think it would be any fun. 

Next, installing the sway bar, for the second time did not happen in any way that was easier than the first.  The fact that Robert was able to get installed by him self is a testament to his ability.  So we are waiting for the tie rods and this project is done.  Next, the carburetors.   

Just a quick side bar on the bump stop and its mount in this picture. In todays world a manufacture would have called up someone in engineering and they would drawn up something in solid works that would do the required load calculation for the potential forces of the bump stop coming into contact with the upper a-arm. Not in this case. The mounting block is in fact a sheet of metal bent, folded and then welded as required.  Think of this as origami using a sheet of metal.  Ok, yes a metaphor for a 1960's something Japanese car.



jr02518 HalfDork
5/21/22 7:07 p.m.

The car, is still on jack stands.  Just in case you have to replace the front disk brake pads and can not find anything on the Internet to help, you are not alone.  One tip, if you look for Dunlop Caliper refresh, that helps. But only a little.

The universal destain for these calipers is very evident in the number of comments on their care and usage.  Yes, they are small by todays standards.  Yes, they do not have what is today, any semblance of a return spring to retract the pads from the rotors after brake pedal applications. Yes the rotors are solid and thin to beguine with.  These are a copy of a British design, made by a Japanese company but they are true to the intent of their designer.

But, to get the old pad out of the caliper, their will be carnage and the old pads might be sacrificed in the process.

The question I still have is why does so much green brake fluid come out of these things when you are watching youtube. 

jr02518 HalfDork
5/26/22 5:08 p.m.

The incremental process of getting this car back on the ground, continues.  The tie rods are in the car and the rotors are back on the spindles.

Next the calipers will get cleaned of the years of neglect and the brake pads will get loaded into place.  So close to driving the car, on to  the trailer for its trip to the alignment shop.

jr02518 HalfDork
5/26/22 7:55 p.m.

And the calipers are on the car!

These were designed to stop a car with 150 hp, not a extra pony!  My 1600 engine is only good for 96.


jr02518 HalfDork
5/27/22 11:02 p.m.

Going into the long weekend, nothing on the car is going to get accomplished. And I am ok with that.  The car is running, the timing was a bit tricky. Turns out the something old part of the distributor and the something new part give you more to to loosen and turn to get to the desired setting.  Now that it is set, the motor starts with just a touch of the button.

On that, the previous owner did not have the finger dexterity to turn the keys. So to accommodate her hands the key was augmented with a starter button.  Again, you would never know she lives with a disability that would hobble most people.

On to the next round of projects for the car.  To include a period Racemark Steering wheel and working on the shifter for the 4 speed gear box. Imagine the rubber shifter boot as the part of the system to center the selector between the 1-2 and 3-4 gates of the shift mechanism.  But first, I am purchasing some Motul Brake Fluid, 5.1 and lots of it. Getting the Japanese Dunlop calipers bled correctly is a chore.

jr02518 HalfDork
6/2/22 10:35 p.m.

I am no longer surprised at the continuing amount of deferred maintenance that this car has survived.  The why I can understand, but the people who did work on the car provided very little service to their customer.

Brake fluid, fresh brake fluid is now in the system.  What was vacuumed from the system was way beyond its use by date.  I am not sure you could just do a fluid exchange without disturbing any number of things that would cascade into a complete mess, so I started with fresh everything. Almost.

When purchased, the clutch master had failed disabling the car and leaving it parked in the garage. I added braided fluid lines to the refresh for the clutch and the brakes.  The brake master cylinder looked like it had been serviced at some point but other than that everything brake fluid touches has been replaced. 

The last items on the list include the drives side motor mount. If the carbs had to come off for a rebuild changing this would be that much easier. But they are responding to being coaxed back into life and the car is running great.  Maybe an excessive carbon build up provides some sort of coating that prolongs a SU life span. Yea, right.

Now, the shifter boot..

TurnerX19 UltraDork
6/3/22 4:28 p.m.

In reply to jr02518 :

Having worked on many an S.U. carb, and a few of their Hitachi relations from Japan, I think the Hitachis are a little bit better in the materials than the English ones, plus you can replace the little bowl to jet hose without replacing the jet itself, which is a super advantage. 

jr02518 HalfDork
6/3/22 8:34 p.m.

I will be the first to admit I have a very limited history of working on these carburetors.  That said I have had them on a number of cars and I could keep them running, clean and the dash pots full of oil.  I also understand that the later flat top, smog carbs, will not work as well as the early round top items.

Back in the late '80's I did own a 510, automatic 2 door, that I converted to a stick with a SSS L18.  The car was sold years ago, but I did learn that a good running Datsun will leave an emotional scar.

The Roadster is healing some old wounds.  Today we took a page from the Lotus book of car craft and added lightness.

Getting the original out of the car is no fun, at all.  But updating the battery leads is being added to the while you are in there, why not.


jr02518 HalfDork
6/4/22 12:52 a.m.

The battery leads are now complete. If they look like they could be welding cable, you are correct.

I should say shrink wrapped welding cable.

jr02518 HalfDork
6/4/22 8:41 p.m.

So, in review, when a car sits idle and is un drivable for an extended period of time electrical issues might happen, right?  In my case the car sat in garage that was dry with very low humidity, for years. How does a voltage regulator spontaneously expire?  Just asking?  Robert is a field tech for a generator company and part of his due diligence in the field,  confirming the health of electrical generation systems is his bread and butter.  My car generating 15 plus volts, not good.

If, it turns out you also need a voltage regulator and you are having a really tough time once again choking at Datsun, that think they are Porsche priced parts, I would like to share a win.

The part number is VR-121.  It's a legitimate part number, the challenge is finding one. I did and I did not buy all of them.

Now, when you buy your period correct steering wheel and the hub, you might what to ask if and how well they work on the car.  Do you have to modify the dash to make them work?  I did not ask and I guaranty the seller did not disclose how they sort of maybe did work in his car.  Oh, but I have the internet and the desire to install my period correct steering wheel, in my almost done project. Parts are on the way, details to follow.

Sucess, or failure! 


jr02518 HalfDork
6/5/22 8:42 a.m.

First a success, Its back on four wheels.

The steering wheel in the car is from my long departed 510, the air cleaner is back on the carbs, the interior is coming together and more parts are on order. All is well in the car world.

jr02518 HalfDork
6/5/22 5:56 p.m.

This picture is a great comparison of how small the Datsun is, compared to how big the quads are.


We are not going to talk about the size of the drivers.

jr02518 HalfDork
6/12/22 12:04 a.m.

But, we do have to deal with their difference in height.  As a review the reason for the car is to introduce two young drivers to driving a car, that has a clutch.  No, really.  Both had competed in the SCCA Junior karting program.  They started in FJB driving the World Formula spec Brings and Stratton powered karts and got to experience the FJA level of power, before the powers to be ended the program. 

Both are now of an age that they can drive cars. To that end, why not introduce them to momentum.  Vintage momentum.  Now one of the logistical issues is their difference in height.  When driving the karts it was the difference in weight. I have been happily married for 35 years.  I have two daughters. How tall they are and what they weigh are never part off a decision.  I know what is not going to be an issue that a cushion will fix. The kart had to weigh 310 lbs, my son did not have to add weight to be legal.

My son, is tall. He is now almost 17 and 6'3".  When driving in the kart we were always chasing a seat position that would work for him. Over an 18 month period he endured 3 seat fittings.  His safety gear was always an issue. Fast forward to today. We are back to seats.  The young lady that will share the car is petite.  Amazingly aggressive and very quick.  They traded class wins.  This is going to be fun.

I spent a number of posts, months detailing the journey and yes some money getting the seats rebuilt.  Now the drivers seat will be resting in a large bag out of the sun.  Reality dictates a change.

I know, but why not help them both fit. And the dad's.  Checking this picture as a reference, one of the drivers has their knees bent.  The other, not so much.  





jr02518 HalfDork
6/13/22 11:21 p.m.

I am not sure if everyone will agree, but the shifting of Datsun transmissions leaves much to be desired.  Ok, there I said it.  Some of us can add stories of VW van adventures, heck any VW bug , shifting will bring all sorts of are they really that awfully bad memories.  Porsche 914's are a know issue. Non synchro first gear Moss boxes will leave a mark when you drive, how could Jaguar put a twin cam beauty in front of one...?

My Datsun 1600 has the 4 speed, my 510's all had a latter version off the same box. Every Z car that had a 4 speed was nothing but a latter version on this same thing.  The shifter is really no fun.  The shape of the molded rubber shift boot is an important part of the shifting experience in the roadster.  They didn't bother putting the boot on the 510.  Maybe because the dam things did not last very long.

They are not an issue going 1-2 or 3-4. Back in the old days we did not call 2-3 the "money shift" in our Datsuns.  Maybe because we did not have that much.  Thank goodness we could have a fresh SSS L-18 delivered to the house for under a grand.  Yes, I might be that old.



jr02518 HalfDork
6/14/22 11:15 p.m.

The ongoing seat fitting is almost done.  The side mounts are in place, using the OE Datsun seat tracks.  The seat is from a Miata track car. We are reusing mounting hardware from the karts the kids are no longer driving.  So in review, the kids are moving from a low back seat with no seat belts to a race seat with a 5 point harness. 

Yes, the seat is taller than the three point vintage"roll bar".  The top is an accent plastic relic and the frame is in need of attention. No, I do not have a hard top yet.  I am trying to keep up with all of this myself!

Yes, you can just make out the rubber shift boot I keep ranting about. Much like BMW gaskets, it's a ware item. 

jr02518 HalfDork
6/21/22 7:44 p.m.

Just a quick heads up when ordering snap ring hooks for you new cam belt safety harness, you will need "one" two inch for the submarine belt and "two" three inch for the lap belts.  The shoulder belts are a separate issue, to be wrapped around the to be added addition on the roll bar.

Oh, your shift boot will be ready in a couple of day, is on line for tomorrow . Ops, he is really busy and the cars ar the shop are that cool, right?

jr02518 HalfDork
6/24/22 11:15 p.m.

The correct snap ring hooks are still on the way.  The shifter boot, is done. Why would something with four triangles take so long?  Because the man is an artist and French seam.  The same seams on the seats, see the attached, have been duplicated in the shifter boot.

That and the material used on the boot is the same leather as on the seats.  Pictures to follow,

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