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.

Differential, Clean-Up

This afternoon I pulled the differential out of the garage and started on it. It clearly was in need of a good cleaning. My plan for the rear end is to leave the differential gears alone and just address the rear brakes, grease seals, and wheel bearings. This afternoon I spent around an hour cleaning off much of the years of dirt, grease, and grime.

Here is the differential as it was when I pulled it off the frame:

I removed the hard brake lines that connect to the right and left rear brake cylinders from the junction with the soft rubber line above the center of the differential. I used a 7/16″ open wrench to loosen the hydraulic fittings after spraying on some Liquid Wrench. The lines came off without much trouble.

I removed the line on the left side in the same manner.

Here are the brake lines removed.

Then I spent a full hour cleaning the differential and axle case. I used some Simple Green, a wire brush, and a lot of scouring pads. Much of the dirt came off and revealed that the black paint on the differential is actually in pretty good shape. There are some surface rust areas, but nothing to be overly concerned about.

Steering Parts Cleaning

I cleaned-up the steering tie-rods and some other miscellaneous pieces that will need to be painted with the frame.

First I removed the rubber boots off the ends and cleaned off most of the grease. I’ll take care not to move the bearings on the ends around prior to adding more grease to prevent wear.

Then I scrubbed the pieces down with degreaser and scouring pads.

I also cleaned up the center-link and wiped down the steering box and idler box using degreaser. I cleaned some of the larger parts that didn’t fit in my parts washer, including the stock front sway bar, the gravel shield that mounts to the frame, and all of the brackets that the exhaust and front and rear bumpers mount to on the frame. These are all pieces that will be painted along with the frame.

Leaf Spring Clean-Up

This morning I cleaned-up my rear leaf springs in order to assess their condition. I’m in the process of deciding whether to replace them or have them re-arched (or de-arched, as the case may be). The springs hold their arch well, so their is no need to add a leaf or anything like that.

Also, both springs are arched equally, so neither side is high or low, which would require correcting. Below, left is a shot of both springs lined-up; they are basically identical which makes it difficult to see the one in the rear. On the right I measured the distance from the floor up to the bottom of the spring where the mounting bolt is. The distance was 3 5/16″. I’m posting to the forums at 311s.org to see what height others are running. The competition springs lower the rear of the car a bit, so I may actually want to have these de-arched an inch or so. We’ll see.

After measuring I took the springs outside to wash them. Like everything else off the underside of the car, they were pretty filthy. I wet them down and wiped on some Simple Green.

I used a wire brush to loosen up some of the dirt and then scrubbed the springs with scouring pads and more Simple Green. I’ve found it important to continually wash away the dirt as it comes off the parts.

The bottoms of the springs (which are actually mounted upward on the car) were equally dirty.

But they actually came clean enough to read the part numbers on the springs. I cleaned up the edges the same way.

I was pleased at how nicely the leaf springs cleaned-up.

Second Frame Cleaning

I spent today giving the entire frame a thorough second cleaning and de-greasing. I had washed the top of the frame once before, but it was so greasy that another washing was in order. I also cleaned the bottom side of the frame. I used undiluted Simple Green with rags, scouring pads, and a wire brush where necessary. After applying the detergent I scrubbed down the frame, one section at a time, and then sprayed with the hose at high pressure in order to clean away the debris.

I hauled the frame out of the garage and set it up on a pair of sawhorses.

As I was cleaning around the transmission mount, I noticed that there was a lot of grease in the area behind it. From underneath it was clear that there were six bolts attaching the transmission mount to the frame.

I removed the bolts using a 1/2″ socket.

The transmission mount was actually two pieces. The lower piece mounted to the frame, and the upper piece is made of rubber and is the piece the transmission actually attached to. I removed the two bolts that held the two parts together using a 1/2″ socket.

With the two pieces apart, I scrubbed the transmission mount with some more Simple Green. Both pieces came fairly clean.

Back in crotch of the frame’s “X” where the transmission mount had been there was a lot of grease and dirt built-up. Also, the four outside corners of the “X” where pretty bad as well.

After scrubbing and using more de-greaser those areas came fairly clean.

On the areas of the frame where the horsehair frame pads had been located there was some adhesive residue. I used a paint scraper to remove it.

The adhesive came off in clumps and the paint scraper was pretty effective removing it.

There were some remaining bits I had not removed from the frame. The first was a bracket that the exhaust had mounted to, located midway up the frame on the driver’s side. I removed it using a 9/16″ socket.

From right to left on the rear of the frame there were four brackets to remove. The first was on the right edge of the frame. The second was in the center of the frame. The rear bumper was mounted on these brackets, and I removed each using a 14 mm socket.

On the left end of the frame there were two more brackets. The first was oriented towards the inside of the frame; it held the exhaust. The second was another bumper-mounting bracket. I used the 14 mm socket to remove the bolts for each of these.

After a final rinsing I was satisfied that the top of the frame was clean. Here are a couple of pictures of the front of the frame.

And below, left is a shot of the inner corner of the “X” crosspiece of the frame, nice and clean. To the right is a shot of the top of the crosspiece, clean enough to almost see my reflection.

I used my hoist to turn the frame over so I could then clean the bottom. I hoisted the front (heavy) end up, rotated and lowered it onto its edge, and then put it down on the ground upside down. Next I was able to lift one end at a time back up onto the sawhorses, the same way I had originally done (only upside down).

The front and middle of the frame were pretty greasy.

The rear of the frame was dirty. I began by spraying the whole thing down with the hose. From the bottom I could access some of the areas that were difficult to reach from the top.

The front suspension housings required a lot of attention. I removed the upper spring gaskets. There was a lot of road grime and small pebbles up inside the frame, which had no-doubt been kicked up from the road by the wheels.

So I scrubbed inside with a scouring pad and more Simple Green. Then I used the wire brush to remove more grime.

After spraying at high pressure with the hose, the area ultimately came fairly clean. I moved on to the rear portion of the frame. Much of it was caked with dirt and grime.

With more elbow grease these areas came clean.

On the underside of the brackets where the steering and idler boxes mount where a couple of bolts that I removed using a 13 mm socket.

That completed my cleaning of the frame. Although there is some orange surface rust, the grease and dirt is largely gone.

The middle and rear look good as well.

Remember this???

After the frame dried, I flipped it back over and lowered it onto a mover’s dolly I’ve been using to cart it around, and pushed it back into the garage.

I think the frame is finally ready for sandblasting and then painting.

Suspension Parts Washing

Today I spent some time cleaning up the suspension parts I’ve removed from the frame. They were, without exception, thoroughly covered in dirt and grease. These parts work pretty hard, so I wasn’t surprised by that.

I decided to invest in a 20-gallon capacity parts washer (on sale for $70 from Harborfreight). In the long run this will save my back and make washing parts much easier. Today it was rainy so having the new washer up and running was convenient because I could work in the garage whereas previously I did most of my clean-up out back where the hoses are.

I filled the parts washer with about ten gallons of water and a gallon of Simple Green. The re-circulating pump provides a steady stream of cleaner to continuously wash away dirt. I used scouring pads and a wire brush and a lot of elbow grease.

Below left is a picture of the rear suspension pieces dirty, just as they were when I removed them from the car. On the right is a shot of the same pieces after I washed them thoroughly using the parts washer. Pretty big difference.

Basically I just allowed the parts to soak for several minutes in the bottom of the washer, so the de-greasing detergent could go to work. Then I pulled each piece up, one at a time, and scrubbed them using scouring pads and my small wire brush.

The difference in the torque strut was significant. Underneath all of that grime the original finish was still in fairly good condition. Next I washed the front suspension components the same way.

After removing a lot of dirt from the rear pieces and a lot of grease from the front suspension components, I took the opportunity to inspect the cleaned pieces for wear. Everything seemed to be in good condition. I was worried about the shallow threads on the front upper control arm spindle bolts, but after posting my question to the forums at 311s.org for opinions, I was assured that that is how those threads look even on new spindle bolts and is not evidence of wear. The inner threads on the arms (front and rear) are in very good condition, so luckily these pieces don’t need any work or replacement.

The lower ball joints I’m not so sure about. We’ll see when I clean them up and have a closer look at them.

Carburetor Parts Cleaning

This morning I cleaned-up the bits and pieces of the carburetors in preparation for reassembly. I used some Simple Green and scouring pads. After allowing the parts to air-dry I then sprayed on some metal polish and buffed the parts.

Overall I’d characterize the results as “good.” The parts came clean and were sufficiently de-greased. The polish worked okay and some of the parts became nice and shiny. The only problem was in parts that had rust or other blemishes on the metal. This process did not address those types of flaws. Originally I had planned to send many of the pieces off to be sand-blasted and re-coated in zinc. This would have resulted in a much better finish. However, I am too afraid to send all those bits away because they may come back in one big pile and I’d never get the carbs back together again.

Here is a picture of the parts I cleaned and one of the piston springs soaking in Simple Green.

Here are before and after shots of the arm that actuates the choke. You can see the blemishes in the metal remain.

Here are the throttle-adjustment bolts, which came out much better.

Finally, here are the bolts that connect the float bowls to the carb bodies before (left) and after (right).

First Frame Cleaning

This afternoon, after removing the rear suspension, I decided to take a first pass at cleaning up the frame. The frame was covered in dirt, road grime, and a lot of grease and oily residue in the middle. Before I paint the frame I will need to clean it up at least a couple of more times. I used a rag, hot water, and Simple Green, which in my experience is a good cleaner and degreaser (and it is biodegradable). I also employed a wire brush to get some of the caked-on grease loose.

I wanted to clean up the frame while it still had one pair of wheels on it so it could be easily rolled outside. I’m not sure how heavy the frame will be once it is fully stripped, but as of now I can wheel it around by picking up the rear end myself, wheelbarrow-style.

First I removed the motor mounts, which were mounted by two 1/2″ bolts.

After scrubbing for a while and spraying at high-pressure with the hose the frame came fairly clean. Not totally clean, but much cleaner than it started. As I said, it will take two to three washings to really get it clean. I tried to clean up the front suspension and steering components, which were covered in grease, while I was at it.

The “X” shaped crossbrace in the middle of the frame was very greasy, and still has some grease and grime caked into the nooks and crannies. But I did make a lot of progress.

Carb Disassembly

Today I pulled apart my carburetors. I plan to clean them up and replace a lot of the parts, essentially do a full re-build. I need to pull them both totally apart in order to send the bodies off to Keith Williams, who has agreed to rebuild the throttle shaft bushings which tend to wear out over time preventing the butterflies from closing completely.

If I weren’t sending off the carb bodies I would only disassemble one at a time so I’d have a working model in front of me making it easier to put them back together. I think I have enough guidance from my manual and the ZTherapy videos to get them back together, though. I will also probably send out some of the parts to be replated in yellow zinc to make the carbs look brand new.

Here is my box of supplies. It includes my hand tools, a couple of cans of Berryman’s B-12 carb cleaner (very good stuff, less than $6 a can at Walmart), lots of paper towels, and a pair of safety glasses and rubber gloves to keep the carb cleaner out of my eyes and off my skin. I set up a work table on two sawhorses using a sheet of plywood that I placed inside a garbage bag so the wood wouldn’t end up soaked in carb cleaner. Also here’ s a shot of one of the carburetors before I started.

First I removed the throttle return spring, which I will replace with new ones from Keith Williams.

I began disassembling the carbs by unscrewing the dome plunger from the top of the dome, making sure I got the plunger gasket that fits around it.

Next I unbolted the four bolts that hold the dome to the body using a #2 Phillips head screwdriver. I pulled off the dome and set it, along with the large suction spring, aside.

Then I slid out the piston and began unbolting the cover from the float chamber.

I pulled off the float assembly and removed the float chamber lid gasket, which I will replace with a new one from Nissan along with all of the other gaskets. Then I set aside the float chamber and went to work on the carb body.

The way the choke works on the carburetor is this: pulling the choke knob inside the car pulls the choke cable that pulls back on an arm that causes the nozzle on the bottom of the carburetor to move up and down. As the nozzle moves up and down on the tapered needle, more or less fuel is allowed into the fuel/air mixture. I next removed the bolt that connected the spring-loaded actuating arm to the nozzle.

The nozzle is connected to the float chamber, which holds the fuel, by a fuel pipe that I had to remove in order to release the nozzle.

The nozzle rides only as high as the idle adjustment mechanism allows it. This is a spring-loaded bolt that goes up and down when you turn it. The bolt is mounted to a sleeve that threads into the carb body; it is through this sleeve that the nozzle rides up and down. I removed the idle adjust bolt by hand and the sleeve using a 19 mm wrench.

Next I began removing the throttle adjustment arm from the body. First I released the spring that returns it to position and then I used a 12 mm socket to remove the mounting bolt.

Then I pulled the assembly off the body. It is composed of many pieces.

I then removed the float chamber from the carb body. I removed the nut from the end of the mounting bolt that feeds through the carb body using a 10 mm socket. Then I pulled the float chamber off the body with the mounting bolt, which threads into the float bowl, intact.

At the bottom of the float chamber is the fuel pipe connection. I removed this using a 12 mm wrench.

Opposite the fuel pipe fitting is a drain bolt. I also used a 12 mm socket to remove it.

Then I removed the bolt that mounts the float chamber to the carb body. I used a 14 mm wrench and a lot of force to get it off.

Next I focused on the float chamber lid assembly, that holds the actual float. The float moves up and down with the fuel level and operations a float nozzle above it that allows more fuel to enter the chamber when necessary and shuts off the fuel supply when the chamber is full. The fuel inlet had two halves which I separated by removing two Phillips head bolts.

With the inlet separated into two pieces, I then removed the banjo bolt (using a 17 mm socket) and the small screen filter inside it.

I then removed the float by sliding out the mounting pin. I removed the float nozzle using a 10 mm socket.

Then on the float side of the body I removed the throttle plate and the nut on the end of the throttle shaft using a 12 mm socket.

From the piston I removed the needle by loosening the set screw on the side and then I made sure to pull out the plastic washer that sits at the bottom of the piston shaft.

Essentially that completed the disassembly of the carburetors into seven pieces (six for the carb not shown). I spent some time cleaning up the aluminum pieces inside and out using the carb cleaner. I used two full cans, but the pieces got fairly clean.


This afternoon I removed the intake and exhaust manifolds from the engine. Although it took some time, it was much easier given that the body is off the frame. Even so, some of the bolts were difficult to reach.

Mounted on the intake manifold are the carb spacer blocks and then the carburetors and the air filter assembly.

There were two hoses that feed engine coolant through the intake from right to left.

I removed both hoses by first loosening the hose clamps with a Philips head screwdriver. Also, on top the manifold is the bracket that the choke cable actuates to operate the carbs.

I freed the choke cable from this bracket by loosening the Philips head bolt that tightens the upper cable bracket and then loosening the lower bolt that holds the end of the cable. I used a 3/8″ socket on the lower bolt.

I then began removing the nuts that hold the intake manifold on the head-studs. I started with the middle and worked outwards using a 13 mm socket.

After I removed those four nuts the manifold didn’t want to come off, so I started removing the bolts for the exhaust manifold, not sure if there were some fasteners that held both manifolds in place.

I removed the top outside nuts using a 13 mm socket and the top inside nuts using a 13 mm ratcheting wrench because the choke bracket prevented me from getting a socket in there.

There were two lower nuts on the outside of the two inner exhaust runners. I was able to remove these using a 13 mm socket with a long extension.

Tucked-in just behind the outer exhaust runners were two more studs (one each side). The manifold prevented me from getting a socket in there to loosen those nuts, or even a ratcheting wrench over the end of the stud. I had to use a box-end 12 mm wrench to loosen the nuts, and it was slow-going.

But that completed the removal of the hardware connecting the intake and exhaust manifolds to the head. The exhaust manifold had three (at first I assumed there were just two, but there were three) bolts attaching it to the exhaust pipe. I removed each of these using a 14 mm wrench and a 14 mm socket with an appropriate extension.

Then I was able to work the intake manifold off the studs.

And next I pulled the exhaust manifold off.

I took both manifolds out to my stripping station. I then realized that the exhaust manifold is covered with some sort of high-heat coating that is bonded to the metal (it is made of steel while the intake manifold is aluminum). I will probably either leave it as-is or coat it with another high-heat coating because there are some voids in the finish. I did apply a coat of stripper to the intake, which appeared to have the same paint as the heat shield.

The intake manifold cleaned up nicely but will need another round of stripper to be fully clean. Note the shiny copper plugs on top of each side.

Once I’ve stripped the remaining paint the manifold will match the rebuilt carbs (once I rebuild them).