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My Ratsun Datsun 521, now with L-20-B and a five speed


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This thread is long enough even I do not remember where stuff is.  Because I can edit my own threads at any time, I am going to add a table of contents on my pages.  But not all at once!


On this page:


Engine inspection

Floor inspection, post 16

Roof patch plate

Engine bay tiding up, removal of extra brackets.

Carburettor issues

Test running, auxiliary gas tank.

Engine removal, replacing leaking core plug

Heater removal

Pressure test of cooling system, engine and radiator not in truck.

Start of body work, on lower grill rail

Engine put back in truck.

Matchbox distributor install, no pedestal, or timing plate.  Re-index oil pump spindle.

IR alternator install, and testing.

Wiring diagram


I bought this truck. MicroMachinery delivered it to me on Saturday April 10, 2011.
Here is a picture of it just after delivery, in the drive way.

Here is a close up of the right door, complete with stuff growing on it.


I spent part of the day cleaning it out, getting rid of old garbage like this,



Here are more pictures.
Left Front



Right Front






Here is the engine.





I took the cam cover off, to find out where number one cylinder was timed, and it looked like this. Pretty clean, a nice surprise.


I did not get an alternator with this truck, but they left the bolts.AltBolts.JPG

I bought this truck mainly for the parts, but I think it might have potential as a runner.
I did a compression test on the engine. All four cylinders showed 145 to 155 PSI, with the throttle closed. The throttle was stuck from the truck sitting. It was last registered in 1991.

After playing with the points, and the timing, I could get the engine to fire, and run briefly by pouring a little gas in to the carb.

Edited by DanielC
uploaded pictures to my server, change picture links.
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Now, some bad news. Here are pictures of the floor, almost good enough for Fred Flintstone.

Right side.



Left side.



The roof has this unique feature, and it has leaked a little on the inside.



The left side of the engine bay had this odd bracket, and wood shelf.



And this bracket by the horns.



I removed them tonight.



There are also two red wires spliced into the ignition coil wiring, that go to a toggle switch located above the hood release handle in the cab, a crude anti theft device.

There is also an ammeter added to the wiring, here is a picture of how it was spliced into the wires.



The bolt without any insulation was just hanging loose between the starter, and oil filter. Other electrical issues on the right side of the engine bay is the voltage regulator mounting.



The voltage regulator is mounted to one of the battery tray support rods. If you look close at the picture, you will notice the ground lug with two black wires just hanging out in space.


I removed the radiator, and when I took the upper radiator hose off, I found this.



Yesterday, I did a pressure test of the cooling system, and I found a leak in one of the core (freeze) plugs in the engine block.


I also pulled the carburetor off, there were only three nuts holding it on the manifold, instead of four. I am sure you all have seen an L-16 engine without a carburetor before, but here is a picture anyway.



And here is a picture for Micromachinery, of the bed. with only a radiator in it. He will remember old leaves, pieces of bamboo, some trash, a piece of concrete, and other crap that was in the bed.



It is September 15, 2019 and I am uploading pictures from when I first got Ratsun, because of Photobucket messing with my pictures.  I found two more pictures of Ratsun, after I had washed it, back in April of 2011.

Right side front



Left Side Front



Edited by DanielC
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Today, I played around with the carburetor. I sprayed some penetrating oil on the throttle shafts, and was able to get them free to move. Looking into the secondary bore, part of the gasket that goes in between the throttle plate, and main body of the carburetor was in the bore. I found the screws holding the two parts of the carb together were loose. I found a gasket in my gasket collection, and put it in, and tightened up the screws.

Then I got a small gas tank from a riding lawnmower I scrapped last year, and a piece of 1/4 inch hose, and used it to gravity feed the float bowl. Almost immediately, gas started to leak out from under the sight glass. I took the metal piece that holds the sight glass, off the carb, and the glass, and found a crack in the sealing ring. I then took the sealing ring from another old carb i had, and put the carb back together. I probably should have checked it again for leaks, but since I found the obvious reason for the leak, I just put the carb back on the manifold of the truck.

Picture time!

Getting the carburetor off a L-16 engine can be a pain. Here is a picture of a wrench I modified to get the hidden nuts that hold the carb to the manifold.




here is the wrench being used.




Everybody who works on these old cars meeds some of this:



And the tools to cut it,



And a punch to make holes,



So you can do this,



and end up with these.



Edited by DanielC
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I think I may have a special place for the badminton rackets Friday morning. That just happens to be garbage pick up day for me.

I have seen several project threads here about repair of floorboards in many other vehicles. I was not totally surprised. I do have other cabs with better floor boards, but they have major front end damage. I could use the good parts from two trucks to make one good one.

Even with the holey floorboards, I am still happy with the truck. Tomorrow, I may see if the truck will run on the carb, instead of just dumping gas through it. I am in the process of evaluating the engine in the truck. The engine might be the surprise bonus of this truck.

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This morning, I took the lawnmower gas tank I have, and hooked it up to the fuel pump on the engine like this.



And then I thought, if I hold the tank above the engine, maybe gas will just run through the fuel pump, and into the carb, like this.


Sure enough, gas started to flow through the fuel pump, and fill the float bowl on the carburetor.


Well, with a full float bowl, and a battery hooked up, lets try to start it. Put the key in, and with one hand holding the choke on, and the other turning the key, it started! But it would die as soon at I let the key go out of the start position. I did this several times. I then hot wired it, by running a wire from the ignition side of the ballast resistor, to the battery positive terminal, and it started, and ran. I then quickly checked the oil pressure. It has decent oil pressure!


It starts, and runs! I reset the points, by eye. I set the timing by getting it close, and then advancing the distributer slightly, again by eye. The carb was just cleaned up a little, and the throttle shafts unstuck. No adjustment on the carb, just put it on.


Now, I need to pull the engine, and replace the core (freeze) plugs, and see if it will hold water. Next, get the clutch working, and at least the emergency brake, so I do not have to depend on blocks, or chaining it to a tractor to stop it from moving.


It is well on its way to becoming an Automobile again. a vehicle or mechanism capable of moving itself.

Edited by DanielC
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INDY510 wrote:

"FUEL FILTER????? ........ :huh: "


The plastic tank I used is clean inside. I used a new piece of hose to connect it to the fuel pump. Pretty much any dirt in the carb will be from another source.

I have not even looked inside the gas tank on this truck yet. I will probably drop it out of the truck, to clean it out.

When I hook up the gas tank for the first time, on most of the vehicles I work on, I use a marine fuel filter that has a filter element about the size of a Ford FL1-A oil filter, sitting on top of a sediment bowl.

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Post 16

I found the pictures I took today, When I download the pictures from my camera, before I down load them to the computer, I rename them. That way, the pictures do not just have a meaningless number.

I removed the seats today, and wire brushed the floor. I also removed the seat belts, and an old fire extinguisher mount.

Before cleaning, right under seat side.



Before cleaning, left under seat side.



After cleaning right side.



After cleaning, left under seat side.



Here is what the front of the right side floor looks like.



Here is what the front of the left side floor looks like.



I also pulled the engine today. I wanted to pull the engine, to clean it, and the engine bay.



Just another picture of the engine.



And here is a typical engine bay.



And in an area where I would expect a lot of rust, on the battery tray, it is not bad.






Edited by DanielC
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I started today, doing some clean up, and organizing. If I cannot put bolts back in the part, I put them in a bag, and label the bag. The bag then goes into a parts box.



After doing that, I lifted the engine and then slid my parts washer under the engine, and cleaned the engine a little more.



Here is another reason I pulled the engine. I had to replace this plug in the block. you may recall, at the beginning of this thread I made mention of the block having a bad core (freeze) plug. Here is the new plug in the block, I actually put it in last night.



Here is the plugs I used.



Because I had one bad plug, I needed to check them all. Even the one in the back, under the flywheel. Before removing the flywheel, I put the engine at TDC, number 1. (and 4).



And after putting the engine there, I put a mark on the flywheel.



Then I removed the flywheel. This how I held the flywheel from turning when I loosened the bolts.

I used a 1 inch by 1 inch piece of angle iron, drilled with two holes to line up with two bolt holes for the pressure plate.  Do not bolt the angle iron directly across the center of the flywheel, you need to get to the flywheel bolts to remove them.



With the flywheel off, I did some more cleaning.


Then I set up the engine to pressure test the cooling system. I wanted to do the entire cooling system, so I needed to remove the heater from the truck.

The nuts on the studs for the heater were rusty. Like this.



The first step is to spray some penetrating on the studs, and nuts. You really do not need a picture of that, do you? Then you wait. Let the oil penetrate. It is much easier to wait, than to repair broken bolts. After waiting a while, try to loosen the bolt, or nut. If the nut goes a few turns, and then starts to get harder to turn, STOP! Spray some penetrating oil behind the nut, and then tighten it up again, but not tight.

This is a wire wheel you can get at Home Depot, or they are also available at Ace Hardware.  For me, there are two Ace Hardware stores closer than Home Depot.



Put it in a drill.



and use it to clean the rust and crud off the bolts you are trying to remove.



After removing the heater, I pushed the engine on the stand under a rafter, and used pieces of twine to hang the radiator in front of the engine, and the heater behind the engine.



Here is a picture of the pressure test pump hooked up to the radiator that came with the truck.  I heard an air leak, so I sprayed a solution of Dawn dish washing detergent and water on the area I thought there was a leak.



If you look close, you can see a problem with the radiator, in the last picture. Here is a better picture, of a bad radiator.  The leak where all the soapy foam is.



Conveniently, I just happened to have spare radiator.



I took off the radiator that came with the truck, and hung the spare radiator, and tested again.

I found the lower radiator hose was leaking. I had a spare on of those, and changed it. Then I found a leak in the short heater hose, and changed it with another spare hose I had.

Finally, I got the cooling system to hold pressure.


This was after sitting for several minutes. Success!


Before hanging the heater, I tested the motor on it.



It is running in the picture. Really it is.

This is the picture of the battery hooked up to the heater motor.



Today, I also went and got some parts for the engine. I got a hose for the PCV system, the hose was gone on this engine. Here is the new hose I got. I got it from Tonkin Nissan, in Wilsonville.  This was in 2011, the hose may be NLA (No Longer Available)



While there, I also got an oil filter.  This is an old number


This is the new number for the oil filter


and then I drove up the road to Schuck's I mean O'Reilly auto parts, and got some Spark plugs,




So, that is enough for today. Maybe more tomorrow.

Edited by DanielC
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Today, I did some more work on the engine. I have a Mitsubishi 50 amp internal regulated alternator I put on the engine, but I need a longer belt to drive it. I also put a matchbox distributer on it. the distributer came from a 1980 200SX, with a NAPS-Z20-E engine, and I did not get the pedestal or the plate that holds it in place. I did some wiring on the truck, to accommodate the distributer.


I also did some work on the front end. I removed the front bumper, the lower valence panel, and the trim around the headlights, and grill.

Left front of truck:



Right front of truck:



Edited by DanielC
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Friday afternoon, I decided I need to do something about the exhaust manifold. Only one bolt was there, holding the exhaust pipe on the truck. Of course, when pulling the engine, that bolt broke. So I went back to my in house parts supply, and pulled an old manifold off an engine that definitely needs rebuilding.

Friday late afternoon, and I need a gasket for the manifolds if I want to keep going on this project truck.
About 4:00 PM I call Clackamas Auto Parts, in Oregon City. Talk to Art, at Clackamas, and ask about the gasket for my engine. He says, I have to see what is available. I say I will call back in about a half hour. When I call, he gives me several options, and one is having a head gasket kit, Saturday morning.
I spent the rest of Friday evening taking the front end trim, and the bumper off.
I call Saturday morning, and at 8:34 AM, the gasket set is in my possession. I also get some wire, and I need to get a different belt for the alternator, the pulley in it is bigger, and it will not fit as close to the engine. I get two possibilities, and bring it all home.
So Saturday, I put the engine back together, and put it in the truck.
A simple statement, but it involved a lot of cleaning of parts, and time consuming boring stuff.
Cars do not go together in a half hour like they show on Saturday morning TV "Hot Rod" shows. The camera ia still in the garage, pictures later.

Edited by DanielC
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Worked on electrical tonight. I got power to the ignition system, but the oil, and the ign light do not come on in the dashboard.

I am trying to figure out exactly is going on with the alternator wiring. the truck had no alternator when I got it. The truck also had an aftermarket oil, pressure gauge in it, and I can not find the wire for the oil pressure light switch.


wiring diagram.


Edited by DanielC
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It runs, and it charges its own battery! Here is a picture of the engine as it sits April 18, 2011.



I did some work on the engine. I pulled it, cleaned a lot of gunk off it, put on a EI "Matchbox" distributer, and put in an internal regulated alternator that I have had laying around for several years.

The alternator charges about 14.5 volts, and put out over 30 amps, in the short time I ran the engine. I am running the engine briefly, because I have no radiator hooked up to it, yet. I plan on doing some front end body work on the truck, and the radiator would be in the way.

After a short run, I pulled the spark plugs, and did another compression test, this time with open throttle. #1, 177 PSI. #2, 168 PSI. #3, 162 PSI. #4, 169 PSI.

This is how I hooked up the coil to the stock wiring of the truck.



The red and black paired wires go to the coil plus, and minus. Red plus, in case you were wondering.

This is what I did at the distributor.



I took the tape off the original distributor wires, and found I could easily remove the wires I was not longer using. I used ring terminals at the coil connection, and put them under the spade connector on the positive side, and just put the black wire under the nut on the negative side of the coil. I then had only to put the temperature sender wire back into the harness, it goes beyond the distributor the the temp sender. I need to scrounge a junk yard, and find a factory distributor connector. For the details on electrical look around Ratsun. The information is there. Here is a clue. On the EI distributor, the terminals are labeled B, the first letter of the word "Battery" and C, the first letter in the word "coil". If you look below the distributor, you will see a black wire, under one of the small bolts that go through the head bottom surface into the front cover. This wire goes back to the spade connector by the vacuum advance, to ground the distributor.


This is how I timed the distributer. I set the engine about 12.5 degrees before TDC.



Made sure I really was on number one cylinder, not number 4.



I then put the distributor on the engine, and centered both timing adjustments. In my case, the rotor was pointing the wrong direction, and between two towers on the distributor cap. I dropped the oil pump, and turned the distributor drive spindle around until the rotor was pointing at the cap tower closest to the front of the engine. This is where my distributor drive spindle ended up to time my distributor correctly.



And this is where the distributor rotor pointed.



That is my number one tower.



Then go counterclockwise around the cap, plugging in spark plug wires. 1, 3, 4, 2. Finally, I loosened the small bolt holding the distributer, and lined up the teeth on the rotor inside the distributer, to the stator (pick up) teeth, like this.



That is where my engine is currently timed. How many degrees before TDC, I do not know, but it runs, and I confirmed the EI distributer works. I do not want to run the engine long enough to check the timing, no radiator, yet.


Here is the alternator.



IR alternator hook up:

Ground the case of the alternator. I went back to the stock (I think) factory wiring for the charging side of the alternator. A short white wire going to the positive terminal on the starter, and the positive starter cable carries the current to the battery. Even though the old voltage regulator is removed, you must reattach the lug with the two black wires back to the body of the cab, where the old voltage regulator was mounted.

The IR alternator has two other terminals on it. "S" and "L".   "L" is for the idiot Light. The light grounds through this terminal, and needs a switched ignition source supplied to it. The "S" terminal is where the alternator measures the voltage, and regulates to that. The "S" terminal needs to be hooked up to a switched battery voltage. Do not wire it directly to "always on" power.


I have some electrical problems with my truck. The key starts, and runs the truck, but no lights come on in the combo meter. There is the wiring needed to start and run the truck, that is working.


This is how I hooked up the two small terminals to test the alternator.



Again, I used a piece of red and black paired wire. The black wire in the pair goes to the "L" terminal, (it supplies a ground) and red wire goes to the "S" terminal. You can see then paired wires in between the battery and number three spark plug. The red wire, and test lead goes to the positive battery terminal. The test light ground clip also goes the the positive battery terminal. The probe of the test light is hooked up to the black wire, going to the "L" terminal on the alternator.

Edited by DanielC
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