Radiator paint

This evening I painted the radiator and heater core using paint specially formulated to transfer heat.

Here are the two pieces with their shiny new coats of paint.

I also removed the stainless steel trim and emblems from the fenders so that I can begin cleaning the grit and grim off the inside surfaces of the fenders. The strips of stainless steel are attached with nuts on the inside that attach to studs on the trim pieces. I used a 3/8″ socket.

With the bolts removed (one on each side was rusted and just broke off), I popped the trim off.

Next I took off the Datsun 2000 emblems. They have pins on the back that are held in place on the inside of the fender with these square clips.

Front Fenders

I spent today pulling the front fenders off the car. This is another big step towards removing the body so I can clean-up and repair any rust on the frame and the body. It was a lot of work, but can be handled easily in an afternoon provided you have a systematic plan of attack.

I had to start by finishing up a job I began the other day: removing the parking lights. During the week I removed the headlights entirely, but only removed the covers of the parking lights. Since those lights are mounted on the fenders, I began by removing what remained. The lamps are mounted to the inside of the fender by three small nuts (each) that bolt onto posts in the light assemblies. I used a 5/16″ socket to remove the nuts.

Also, each parking light is wired into the harness with three wire connections. I labeled and disconnected these and then removed the parking light assemblies.

Also, the doors need to be off the car in order to get the fenders off. There are bolts that hold the fender to the body that are concealed by the front edge of the doors. So next I removed the doors from the car. The doors have two square hinges that are bolted into the body with four bolts per hinge. I used a 7/16″ socket with an extension to get at the bolts at an angle.

The lower hinges I was able to reach with no extension on the socket wrench. There is a bracket attached to the door that guides the door shut. It is attached above the lower hinge with a Philips head screw bolt and nut below. This piece can be seen below left just above the wrench. It should be removed before the last two hinge bolts so that the door can come off freely once the last bolt is out.

With the door removed I could access a bolt that holds the curved edge of fender to the body. Even with the door off I could only get at this bolt using a 7/16″ box wrench.

Also, at the rear edge of the fender there are three more bolts into the body. I again used a 7/16″ box wrench to remove each of these.

At the lower rear edge of the fender there are two bolts that bolt into the frame from below. I removed these using a 1/2″ socket.

With the rear of the fender free, I moved up to the front of the car to work my way back. Starting at the bottom, there are three Philips head bolts that attached the lower inside front edge of the fender into the body. I used a 7/16″ socket to loosen the nuts on these bolts from inside the body. Towards the end I used a #3 Philips head screwdriver to hold the bolts and prevent them from spinning.

After removing the three bolts located behind the bumper, I could see that the fender would not clear the brackets that the bumper is mounted to. The bracket comes through a small hole in the fender and then spreads like a “Y”. The brackets had to come off so the fender would clear the body. So next I unbolted the brackets from the frame using a 9/16″ socket and pulled out the brackets on each side.

Moving up the car, there are two more of the same 7/16″ Philips head bolts located where the grille mounts on the front of the car. I removed the bottom one’s nut with a socket, but the top one did not have enough clearance for a socket or even a box wrench. So I clamped a pair of vice grips on the nut and used a lot of force to turn the bolt counter-clockwise with a #3 Philips head screwdriver. I got it free with a lot of sweating and swearing.

There are six more of these same bolts located under where the hood rests on the fender. I removed these the same way as the others.

The uppermost of these bolts is not accessible in the engine bay but in the interior of the car. I crawled onto the floor of the car and located the nut for this bolt up by the firewall. This one I removed using a 13 mm socket (the 7/16″ wanted to round-off the bolt–go figure). However, on the opposite side when I removed the other fender that same nut was frozen in place and I ended up unscrewing the bolt from above.

Those are all the mechanical fasteners for the fender! I held the fender by the headlight hole and wheel well area and gently worked it off the body. There was an absolute ton of dirt and road grime under there on the fender and the body. Thirty-eight years of dirt is quite a bit. Literally, piles of dirt fell down when I removed each fender.

Below are some pictures of the wheels with the right and left fenders removed, one of the engine bay, and one of the car from the side without the doors and fenders.

Special Delivery

Big day today for deliveries. I got three packages in the post.

The first was from Eastwood Company, my radiator paint so I can put a fresh coat on the newly re-cored radiator and my heater core this weekend.

The second was an old-school roadster manual I bought from a guy on Craigslist for $25. Published by Floyd Clymer, it is titled Datsun Sports Car Handbook and Service Manual for the 1600 and 2000. This copy is in very good condition.

Third was my first parts shipment from Nissan, which included my air filter element, two gaskets for where the carbs attach to the filter assembly, and three oil filters. I’d like to mention EverythingNissan’s parts catalog. They have a complete online parts catalog, prices discounted well under list, and will scour a national dealer database to find hard to find parts. For example, my oil filters were located in the city of Compton, shipped to Everything in Scottsdale, and then shipped on to me with my other parts. Their shipping is very reasonable, comparable to any regular dealer’s shipping, and I get to avoid sales tax on parts, being out of state.

Headlights and Tail Lights

Tonight I removed the headlights and tail lights from the car.

The headlights are mounted in several pieces. I began by removing the chrome headlight scoop by unscrewing the two philips head mounting screws. The screw towards the grille is slightly larger than the outside screw.

Underneath the scoop there is a plastic lens cover that is held in place by a metal ring. The ring is mounted on two small philips-head screws. After loosening the mounting screws, I gave the ring a small counter-clockwise twist and it came free. Underneath is the headlamp itself. It is attached by a spring and one electrical connection.

The headlamp just unplugged from its electrical connection. Under that was another metal ring. This one was held in place by the three smaller mounting screws seen above.

With the metallic housing piece removed I then took out two larger philips head screws to get the headlight bucket free.

I then removed the front signal light covers. They each have two mounting screws through the chrome ring.

Then I moved on to the rear lights. In the rear there are two lights and a third small reflector above. The lights each have chrome rings with mounting screws. I removed these first.

Underneath each light has two more philips head mounting screws. I removed these and popped the light assemblies out of their housings.

The red plastic pieces twisted off the light bulbs and then I was able to pull the bulb assemblies back through the body of the car into the trunk. This is basically the rear-end wiring harness.

Next I was able to pull off the rubber gaskets that go under the light assemblies. Underneath are chrome cylinders on which the light are mounted, giving them that distinctive torpedo-like appearance. The cylinders are mounted to the body with two nuts each, bolted onto a stud fixed to each cylinder. I used a 10 mm wratcheting wrench to remove those nuts.

With the nuts removed I was able to pull off the chrome cylinders exposing the gaskets beneath.

The small reflector was mounted just as the lights were, only without any electrical. There was a single smaller nut inside that I removed using an 8 mm wratcheting wrench. Then I was able to pop off the small reflectors in one piece. I then pulled off all the gaskets from the body.

Return of the Radiator

I picked up my radiator from Radiator King this afternoon. I had it re-cored with a 3-row core, so now the car should run as cool as a cucumber. The workmanship is excellent. It cost $250, $100 of which was labor, the cost of which should vary regionally. The shop also flushed and pressure tested my heater core, and it is in fine condition. I plan to give both a coat of black radiator paint.

Dashboard Pricing

My dashboard has cracks in it and is just in generally rough condition given that it is nearly 40 years old. So I’ve looked into my options for getting a new dash. It is a high-cost item, but will be front-and-center in the new interior, so this is an area worth getting a quality piece.

Dashboards are not available from Nissan and the roadster parts vendors do not offer reproduction dashes for the high windshield cars (though they do for the early low windshield roadsters). So I am faced with finding a dashboard restoration company that rebuilds dashes using new foam and recovers them with new vinyl. I have found three such companies, all of them on the west coast:

  • Just Dashes comes recommended by some roadster owners on the roadster mailing list, but I’ve heard that their prices have increases significantly in recent years. They are located in Van Nuys, CA and have been in business for 24 years.
  • Dashboard Restorations, located in Brush Prairie, WA, was formerly affiliated with an Australian company of the same name. This company has done a lot of work for the Classic Z-Car club guys and they seem to be very happy with the results.
  • Dash Specialists of Medford, OR has over 15 years in the business and has a reputation for doing concourse-level work.

The dash is in three pieces. There is the main dash unit, the glove-box door, and a small panel that mounts under the dash on the driver’s side. I got price quotes from all three of the potential vendors.

Just Dashes charges $600 for the main dash plus $120 for the glovebox door and there may be an additional charge for the small under-dash panel. The radio console ($100) and armrest console and lid ($400) would be additional.

Dashboard Restorations quoted $600 for the three dash pieces. The radio console would be another $150 and the console would be $250.

Dash Specialists would charge $800 for the three-piece dash. I did not ask for a quote on the radio console or armrest console.

So that is the range of pricing out there. I am planning to try to save some money by having a local upholstery shop re-cover my consoles (radio and armrest) in new vinyl, because the foam on both is in pretty good shape and those pieces don’t require a full restoration like the dash.

Parts Update

I’ve heard back from my Nissan parts supplier and some of the parts I ordered for my carbs are no longer being produced and therefore no longer available.

I’ve updated the table below that documented my original order (entry dated #19 June 2005#) by adding a column that indicates each part’s availability. Those parts marked “NLA” are no longer available.

Most of the parts are available, which is good news. The rear nozzles are NLA, which surprises me a bit. I’d order two of the front nozzles but fear that the front nozzle may not work on the rear carb. The 2 liter carbs are symmetrical; both float chambers are oriented inward. I’m not entirely certain, but I think I’ll need two opposite nozzles to make it work. Also, the float valves are NLA, as are the screws and washers. I should be able to find similar screws and washers to work without much trouble. For the nozzles and float valves I have a couple of options: (1) just don’t replace those parts, (2) try to get some “new old stock” parts from the roadster parts vendors, (3) see if the folks that re-build carbs for a living have any solutions or suggestions, or (4) see if any other roadster owners may have these parts.

Bumper Removal

I removed the front and rear bumpers so that I can clean them up, address any dents, and send them off to be re-chromed.

The front bumper is mounted on a pair of steel brackets that project from under the body. Four 9/16″ bolts connect the bumper to these brackets; two on each side.

I used some Liquid Wrench on the bolts but one of the bolts got bound up toward the end and I rounded the bolt’s head. Eventually I was able to twist it off using a pair of vice grips. With those bolts removed the bumper came free.

The rear bumper has a license plate light mounted in the center. The light has a chrome cover plate on top that I removed by taking out the two philips head mounting screws (below left). From underneath the light was mounted with two 5/16″ nuts. Also there were two electrical connections, one one a ground. I disconnected both wires (visible below right).

Then I was able to pop the license plate light up and off the rear bumper. The bumper itself was mounted with similar 9/16″ bolts to those on the front bumper. In the rear there were three bolts, left, center, and right.

With the bumpers removed I could see that there was a considerable amount of surface rust on the inside, particularly of the front bumper.

I removed the overriders, which were attached each with two 1/2″ bolts.

Heater Box Paint job

After another thorough cleaning, I primed and painted the two pieces of the metal heater box.

It looks pretty good and the color matches pretty well to the original grey, if just a hair lighter. I need to get some gasket material and some felt strips so that I can re-assemble the heater when I get the heater core back from the radiator shop.

Carburetor Parts Order

This morning I placed an order to Nissan for a lot of parts I plan to replace on my carbs. The full list of parts is in the table below (Note that these part numbers are specific to the 2 liter carb and also may vary for earlier or later cars).

Part Name Part Number Price (each) Available?
Gasket Kit (2) 16455-H2310 $3.30 YES
N-17 Jet Needle (2) 16354-25611 $8.81 YES
Inlet Screen/Filter (2) 16098-73401 $.65 YES
Fuel Pipe (2) 16356-25610 $13.68 YES
Banjo Bolt (2) 16108-18010 $1.69 YES
Float (2) 16061-E4310 $11.90 YES
Nozzle, Front 16355-25610 $19.11 YES
Nozzle, Rear 16355-25611 $17.99 NLA
Float Valve (2) 16101-25610 $10.06 NLA
Float Spring/Lifter (2) 16325-10400 $1.38 YES
Suction Spring (2) 16346-25610 $2.54 NLA
Screws, for Domes and Float-chambers (16) 16129-73013 $.24 NLA
Washers, for Domes and Float-chambers (16) 23502-30000 $.33 NLA

So far, getting parts from Nissan for a 1968 vehicle has been hit-or-miss, so, while all of these parts appear to be available in the parts listing, we’ll see what is really available and what gets bounced back as “NLA.”

The most expensive parts are the jet-nozzles and the floats. It is a good idea to go with new jet nozzles when doing a rebuild, but the floats need not always be replaced. Also, the most expensive item, which is the fuel pipe, is not something I’d want to substitute with cheaper thick fuel hose. The Nissan hose has thin walls and is quite flexible (though strong), and to use a cheaper and thicker/less flexible hose could compromise the jet-nozzles’ ability to freely slide up and down on the needles. This binding of the jet nozzle may prevent the carbs from working as they should and could undermine the whole re-build.