Front Wheel Hub & Rotor Installation

Today I installed the rotors onto the front wheel hubs and attached the completed hub and rotor assemblies onto the front suspension.

I bought a pair of new Disk Brakes Australia (DBA) rotors from Dean at for $230. As far as I can tell (and I looked around) DBA is the only company that makes aftermarket rotors for the roadster (#DBA 610) and new rotors are NLA from Nissan. DBA also offers slotted rotors but I went with the plain ones. The new rotors come wrapped in plastic and with a thin coating of oil on the surface, presumably to prevent any surface rusting prior to installation.

The rotors bolt into the backs (insides) of the hubs in four places. I cut-out just a square of material from the top of the packaging that would enable me to access the bolt holes without fully exposing the rotor to the dust, grease, and other debris in my work area.

I used a bit of brake cleaner to wipe off the surface I’d exposed.

I made a similar cutout on the bottom of the rotor to acces the opposite sides of the bolt holes.

I added the hub on top of the rotor. I slide the rotor towards the edge of my workbench so that the bolt holes underneath would be accessible from below. Using an extension and a 5/8″ socket, I fed the first bolt up through the hole in the rotor and into the threaded hole in the hub.

I rotated the rotor and hub 180 degrees and started the bolt on the opposite side of the rotor in the same manner, but threaded it by hand at first.

After getting all four of the hub-rotor bolts started I tigthened them down sequentially around the hub. This ensured that the rotor and hub met parallel and prevented the bolts from binding up. After several passes around the rotor the hub and rotor pulled together.

I flipped the rotor over (now that the risk of the two pieces coming apart was gone) and did some further tightening with the wrench, again moving in sequence around the rotor.

I got the bolts fairly tight by hand.

Then I used my impace wrench to do the final tightening of the four bolts on each rotor and hub.

With the rotors attached to the hubs, I went ahead and packed the outer wheel bearings with grease.

When the grease came out of the bottom of the bearing I knew it was fully packed.

I placed the outer bearing into its race in the hub and placed the spindle washer on top of it.

Next I removed the protetive wrapping from the rotor, wiped it clean using brake parts cleaner, and prepared to place it onto the spindle.

With it on the spindle I rotated the spindle washer until its tab locked into the groove on the bottom of the spindle. Then I began to twise the castled spindle nut onto the spindle.

I tightend the spindle nut usine a 1 1/8″ socket. Then I torqued it down to 35 pound-feet.

Then I backed the nut off 1/8 of one turn.

I added a 1/8″ 2″ cotter pin through the castled spindle nut and bent it around to prevent the spindle nut from ever backing off.

A while ago I bought a pair of new spindle end caps one ebay for around $12. My old ones were pretty scarred-up. I believe these are still available from Nissan.

I added the new cap onto the end of the hub. It took a good smack from the mallet to drive it on flush.

My final step was to clean off the outer surface of the rotor using some brake cleaner and clean paper towels.

Once I put the brakes on this thing will be ready for wheels!

Brake Calipers–Final Paint

Today I applied the final coat of paint to the front brake calipers. They should be ready to bolt onto the car once I install the crossover tubes and new cylinders.

I bought a gallon of a product called RustAway from Halon Marketing in Pennsylvania for $27.95. It is a chemical rust remover that is pretty safe to the environment. I figured I would try this out on the cast iron calipers as an alternative to sending them out for sandblasting. There was some surface rust on the calipers when I pulled them off the car.

I poured enough RustAway into a plastic bucket to cover one caliper and all of the cylinder mounting bolts and pad retainers. Then I allowed the caliper to soak for two full hours.

After switching out the first caliper for the second I allowed another two hours for soaking. When the calipers came out they had a black residue where the rust had been. I gave them a final wiping and washing by spraying on some Simple Green and then spraying the parts with the hose. I find it easiest to wire parts up to a nearby tree in order to get them clean, allow for good air circulation for drying, avoid touching them with greasy fingers once they are clean, and applying spraypaint all in one location.

I used a special high-temperature paint from Eastwood Company that is designed for brake calipers and drums. It cost $9.99 for one 12 ounce can, which was plenty of paint for this job.

I painted the calipers and pad retainer brackets using two thin coats, allowing for 20 minutes of drying time in between coats.

Here are the finished calipers–they came out very nice.

Clearing out the Engine Bay

Today I spent some time removing the remaining components from the engine bay. This included the hydraulic components (master cylinders and hard lines) and some other miscellaneous bits and pieces. Here is a picture of the engine bay before I began:

The first thing I did was to remove the hood pins. These are not original, so I am going to try to repair the car to the point at which one cannot tell they were ever there. The pins were threaded and bolted in on the top and the bottom.

I loosened the lower bolt using a 3/4″ wrench and socket, and out it came. XXX is a nice dent and hole where the pins were located that will need to be repaired.

On the driver’s side of the firewall were the brake and clutch master cylinders. On the passenger’s side was the brake junction box that contains the switch for the “S-Brake” light in the car.

I started with the clutch master cylinder. I loosened and removed the clutch line fitting on the side of the cylinder using a 7/16″ wrench.

There was a clamp securing all of the hard lines onto the middle of the firewall that I removed in order to free up the lines.

Then I was able to remove the clutch line, which terminated at a bracket on the body on the lower passenger side, where the soft line attached to it previously.

I loosened the bracketed that held the clutch master reservoir in place using a 10 mm wratcheting wrench and then popped the plastic reservoir right off. My clutch master must have been replaced recently by the previous owner because it is in very good shape.

The master was bolted to the firewall from the inside; I loosened and removed the two nuts on the outside using a 1/2″ wrench (top) and a 1/2″ socket on an extension (bottom).

Then I was able to pull the clutch master cylinder through the firewall and out of the engine bay. Because I intend to re-use this master cylinder, I took wiped it down and cleaned it up and took it inside.

I cleaned up the parts using alcohol and wiped them dry with clean paper towels. If I keep the cylinder clean and dry it should not deteriorate while in temporary storage.

Then I turned my attention to the brake master cylinder. It has two reservoirs, and two similar hard lines mounted to the bottom of each. I loosened and removed these lines using a 7/16″ wrench.

Likewise I loosened the bolt on the reservoir clamps, then removed the reservoirs, and removed the nut from the top bolt that mounted the cylinder to the firewall using a 1/2″ wrench.

I had to use a fully rotating wratcheting wrench (1/2″) to be able to access the lower mounting nut. It was a very tight fit making it impossible to get a conventional wrench or a socket with an extension in there. So I held that nut with the flexible wrench and turned the 1/2″ bolt from the other side of the firewall to get it loose.

With that bolt loose the brake master was free from the firewall.

Then I pulled the brake master cylinder out. I plan to replace this piece because it is clearly old and may not be in the best condition, considering the brakes were non-functioning when I got the car.

Both hard brake lines from the master cylinder led into the bottom of a junction box on the passenger side of the firewall. This box also contains the switch for the “S-brake” light in the car. That light is supposed to come on when/if you lose pressure in the braking system. Out of the junction box emerge two more hard lines that feed the right and left left front brakes. The line out of the top of the box supplies the driver’s side and the line out of the side of the box supplies the passenger side. I loosened the box’s mounting bolt using a 1/2″ socket and removed the box.

I left all of the brake lines attached.

I removed the remaining fuel supply line, which had previously run from the fuel pump to the carburetors.

There was an oil line that connected to the oil pressure gauge inside the car. I pulled this outward into the engine bay and had to twist it around to navigate all of its bends through the hole in the firewall.

After popping the rubber firewall grommet off I pulled the end of the line through the firewall.

Then there were two metal brackets that the throttle arm and cable had connected to. I removed these using a Phillips head screwdriver.

From under the upper edge of the hood I unscrewed the four mounting screws and removed the VIN tag.

I also pulled off the sticker that indicates the paint color.

Inside underneath the firewall were the air/heat vents on either side. I removed the flaps that open and close these vents. Each flap pivoted on a post. In order to get the posts free I bent the metal tab holding them in place on the firewall side mounting hole.

Then I was able to slide that end of the post down and away and pull the other end of the post out of its hole.

Here is one flap after I removed it from the vent.

Next I removed the hood hinges, each of which was mounted in place by a bolt through the bottom. I used a 7/16″ socket and wrench.

Then I removed the hood prop from the driver’s side front edge of the engine bay. I straightened and removed the cotter pin holding it in place.

That completed the clearing of the engine bay.

Here are the two halves; the once and future homes of the master cylinders and junction box.

Emergency Brake Parts, Removal from Body

Before I took the body off the frame I disconnected the emergency brake cable from the differential. Today I disconnected the remaining emergency brake components from the body. The emergency/parking brake begins with the handle in the car, which mounts to the transmission tunnel. Pulling the brake rotates a pivot inside the tunnel that pulls a cable mounted on the underside of the body that pulls another pivot, which tugs on the emergency brake bracket mounted on the differential.

Here is the emergency brake handle. I removed the two mounting bolts using a 1/2″ socket.

With the handle loose I was able to pull it away from the transmission tunnel, which popped the rod it rotates on out of the opposite side of the inner tranny tunnel.

That cable connected to the rotating rod connected back to another rotating point. I removed the cable from the second pivot by pulling out the cotter pin through the pin that held the cable to the second rod.

With the cotter pin removed I popped out the pin and that allowed the cable to drop free.

With the cable connected to the handle detached, I was able to pull the handle workings through the hole in the transmission tunnel and off the body.

Further back, the secondary rotating mechanism was bolted to the underside of the body by four bolts. I removed the bolts using a 1/2″ socket.

With those four bolts out I dropped the rod to the floor, leaving the cable on its rear attached.

Further back still was another arm that the cable moved up and down, pivoting against the body. To remove this arm from the body I pulled out the cotter pin and removed the pin that the arm rotated on.

That arm had attached to it another cable that led back to the pivot on the differential. I dropped the entire mechanism down, which completed the removal of the remaining emergency brake parts from the body.

Emergency Brake Assembly, Part I

Today I polished-up and re-installed the parts of the emergency brake assembly that bolt onto the differential. I figured it would be easier to get these parts attached prior to reinstalling the differential onto the frame.

I cleaned the parts using scouring pads and Simple Green. I then sanded all of the metal using 220 grit sandpaper, then 320, 400, and 600 grit to get it really clean and smooth. Then I rubbed on some Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish, rubbed it around, and then wiped it off using a clean cotton cloth.

There was a pivoting pieces that turns when the emergency brake handle is pulled and actuates the arms that connect to each wheel cylinder. That pivot was composed of two pieces that simply thread together. I re-used the existing felt washer. The pivot is lubricated with grease; I replaced the old grease zerk with a new one using a 5/16″ wrench to tighten it down.

The hole in the pivot accepts a post on the metal bracket which bolts to the driver’s side of the differential.

I re-used the old bolts and nuts, which had washers bent to fit the contour of the differential bracket which the metal piece mated to. I put the bolts on two slots on the differential and then through the holes in the metal bracket. I tightened down the nuts using a 1/2″ socket.

Here is a shot from below. Next I slid the pivot onto the end of the metal mounting bracket.

I slid the old washer over the end of the post and inserted a 3/32″ x 3/4″ long cotter pin through the hole in the end of the post.

As you can see, the pivot rotated back and forth.

Steering, E-brake, and Frame Parts Painting

This evening I painted the components of the steering linkage and some other miscellaneous parts that where not powdercoated, but will be bolted onto the frame. This included the steering linkage (center and each side), the steering and idler boxes, the arms of the rear emergency brake linkage, the rear bumpstops, and the frame’s torque strut. Mostly these were parts that, for one reason or another, could not be powdercoated.

The first thing I had to do was repair one of the center steering rod’s ends. I had trouble removing one end from the idler box and ended up damaging the threads when I removed it. I was able to repair the threads, though, using a 7/16″-20 die.

First I lubricated the end of the threaded shaft with some leftover gear oil. Then I started the die onto the end of the shaft. It turned with a moderate amount of force at first. I followed the old rule of thumb: half a turn forward, then a half a turn back.

After getting it started the turns became more difficult. Eventually the shaft began to spin inside its pivot. I used a pair of vice grips to hold the shaft steady while I continued to work the die on the threads.

In no time the threads were repaired enough to thread on the original castle nut. I removed all of the grease zerks from the tie rod ends using a 5/16″ wrench.

Next I masked-off the surfaces of the parts that should not be painted, and gave all of the parts a quick final washing to remove any grease and dirt. I wet them down with the hose, sprayed them with Simple Green in a spray bottle, then rinsed them clean. Wearing gloves I moved them off to dry.

When the parts were dry, again wearing gloves I moved them over to the painting area.

I painted everything using Eastwood Company’s gloss Chassis Black paint. I sprayed on the first coat and then waited 20 minutes in accordance with the directions on the can. Then I did a second coat.

After allowing an hour for the first side to dry, I flipped everything over and repeated the process to paint the other side of each part.

With these parts restored I should have nearly everything ready to reassemble the structure of the frame next weekend.

Emergency Brake Arm Disassembly

I disassembled the emergency brake assembly in preparation for cleaning, painting, and re-installation on the differential. The e-brake assembly consisted of two arms that pivot on a rotating center bracket. The center bracket is activated by a cable when the emergency brake lever is pulled, which then pulls on the arms which activate the brakes on either rear wheel hub. The whole assembly is located on the back of the differential.

Here are two shots; the first is of the arm assembly and the second is a close-up of the center pivot bracket.

Both arms were connected at each end by pins that have cotter pins through them. First I removed the shorter arm by removing the pin that held it in place. Then I removed the cotter pin that held the other arm and pulled out its pin, freeing that side.

With the arm assembly apart I then removed the grease zerk from the bottom of the pivot using a 5/16″ wrench.

Rear Wheel Bearing Removal

Today I finally finished removing the rear wheel bearings from both axles, a process that has been going on over a week. Before I began, I found a very useful write-up by Tom Walter (who happens to live in the same town as me, small world!) in the roadster mailing list archives.
Below is a picture of the axle assembly from my manual and one of the axle assembly before I began.

As shown below, the wheel bearings were held in place by a collar that has a ridge around its center. The bearings and collars are pressed into place. What I took from Tom’s post was that it may be preferable to cut off the collars rather than press them off, so that the wear on the axle is kept to a minimum and the new bearings and collars, once pressed on, will be less likely to come off. That is, pressing off the collars may wear-down the axle unduly and reduce the life of the axle, which is typically good for a finite number of pressings. Rather than using a Dremmel (mine is very wimpy and didn’t cut effectively at all), I used progressively larger drill bits to work away at the collar.

The 1/8″ bit I was using worked its way through the ridge in the collar.

Then I switched to a 3/16″ and then a 1/4″ bit, enlarging the hole in the collar each time.

The drill left a groove through the collar at least as deep as the ridge. I then inserted the tip of my cold chisel into this groove and started pounding with my 3-pound sledge hammer.

After around ten to fifteen solid blows with the cold chisel, the groove in the collar was getting deeper and the inner diameter of the collar began to expand. Eventually the collar came loose around the axle and slid off.

Here is a shot of the collar after it slid off the axle.

Next, in order to remove the wheel bearings, I held the backer plate in my hands, axle-end down, and slammed the axle downward into a block of wood on the floor. The idea was to use the force of the backer plate, which has maybe a half and inch of play up and down on the bearing, to knock the bearing off the axle.

On the left axle this worked nearly immediately. On the right side it did not. After my hands got sore from the impacts, I decided to soak the bearing in Liquid Wrench, which I did each night of the last week. Then I switched over to PB Blaster which, after several days of soaking, worked the stubborn right axle bearing free.

After the bearing slid off, there was a small spacer and then the backer plate, then the grease catcher that rests against the axle hub.

Next I went to work on the backer plates themselves. On the outside of the plates reside the brake cylinder and the adjustor, opposite. On the inside of the plates the cylinder and adjustor are fastened to the plates.

First I removed the cylinder, which was covered by a rubber dust cover.

The cylinder itself was held up against the inside of the backer plate by a series of clips. On the left side there were four of these clips, on the left axle side (shown) there were only three. I pushed the clips off using a flathead screwdriver, and the occasional tap of a mallet.

Off it came, and underneath were two more interlocking clips, that appeared to be copper.

I removed these to opposing clips in the same manner.

This allowed the cylinder assembly to fall back off the backer plate.

With the cylinder removed, I began to work on the brake adjustor, onto which the opposite ends of the shoes attach.

On the opposite side the adjustor was held in place by two nuts, which I removed using a 7/16″ socket.

The adjustor didn’t come off immediately, so I tapped the ends of the bolts lightly with a hammer, and it came free.

The adjustors appear to be frozen, but I will make an attempt to get them working again. If not, I will find replacement parts.

Next I took the backer plates outside and cleaned them up.

The backer plates are the last of a lot of parts I will send off to be sandblasted and powdercoated. When I get those parts back I should be ready to re-assemble the chassis.

Misc Parts Cleaning

This afternoon I cleaned up some miscellaneous parts that were laying around the garage. Some of these will be rebuilt, some painted, and some eventually sent off for powdercoating or plating. I used Simple Green and scouring pads.
Here are some body-frame clips and the bracket from the differential onto which the emergency brake mounts.

Here is the driveshaft and the two steering columns.

And here are the front hubs, wheel spindles, and calipers.

Rear Wheel Hub Removal, Part II

Two weeks ago I was removing the rear axles from the differential and had trouble getting the left axle free–it was stuck in place. I learned a trick from Dave Kaplan on the forums at that solved that problem. Here is the stubborn axle in place. I tapped it with a rubber mallet to no avail. A slide-hammer should work, but I didn’t have one on hand.

So what I did was this: replace the brake drum on the hub, only put it on in reverse (inside-out if that helps). Then put the lug nuts on and tighten them down only a couple of turns.

What I don’t have a picture of, because I had to use both hands and therefore put the camera down, is what I did next: grab the drum at three and six o’clock and push it in and then pull it back out so it taps against the lugs. Repeat a few times and it is a homemade slide-hammer. After just a few pulls the stubborn axle came right out.

Here are shots of the inner axle backer plate with the wheel bearing and collar and the differential’s axle housing, which still holds the inner oil seal inside.