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


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Peel n seal has been the poor man's sound deadener in the car audio world for decades.  http://www.lowes.com/pd_154017-81326-PS625_0__



The downside is that it's asphalt based, can sag or fall off especially in hot weather (leaving sticky tar), and may or may not offgas toxic fumes inside your vehicle, depending on who you ask.  You're better off with a butyl mat which you can buy fairly cheaply on ebay, etc.

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More door insulation options.
Primer on door, painted air cleaner lid, electrolysis picture,
Painting or primer on other Datsun parts
Painted door being worked on.
Ratsun at work.
Window crank knob repair.
More cold weather painting of small parts
Sagging rear bumper fixed. Twist in rear bumper removed.
Black derusted and painted rear license plate installed
Trial fit of one bumperette.
Radiator block because of cold weather.
Speedometer cluster (combo meter) switched, because of squeak.
Tachometer install
Led lamps install into combo meter
Cost of operation spreadsheet.
Old Chevy pickup drum brake part discussion.


More work on the door.  Got primer on it today.


Door outside.



The old paint and primer, with some surface rust, was stripped off the door previously.  I have been waiting for warmer dryer weather than Oregon has been getting lately, but today is was nice.  The bare metal got a quick sanding with this brush, in a drill, The grey one in the picture, Nylox_zps3063b967.jpg

and then it was sprayed with PPG 1791/1792 Wash primer, a rust preventative, and then PPG DP48LF, a white epoxy primer.


I also primed an air cleaner lid, one that had been put into electrolysis, to remove rust. 


The air cleaner was also brushed with the abrasive nylon brush, seen above, and sprayed with PPG 1791/1792, WashPrimer.jpg

And then PPG DP48LFEpoxyPrimer.jpg

and then I sprayed some Dupont Centari on the air cleaner lid.


Here is a picture of a second air cleaner lid in electrolysis.


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  • 2 weeks later...

The painted air cleaner lid got on Ratsun.



I have been doing work on the door, a little more straightening, of metal, put some plastic filler on one spot, surfacing "high build" primer on  the metal below the style line, and yesterday, I put topcoat on the hinge area, so I can put the door back on the engine stand to work on it some more.  Hope to get paint on the door with a week of good weather we are predicted to have.

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I been working on the door, more primer, more sanding, more priming of bare metal that shows up, but the door has been painted with primer-surfacer again, and I think a final sanding, and finally paint.  I primed the door yesterday, and need to let it cure, and primed some other Datsun parts.

The door, currently.



I also put some primer on the roof of Dragon. this truck.



If you went to the Dragon thread, you read about a minor primer mixing screw up.  This is what I did with the primer I messed up on.

Earlier in this thread, Ratsun Datsun, you my remember me getting a second cab, from D510Addict.  This cab, like Ratsun has rusted out floors.  But the roof on this cab also needed primer, and most of the seam sealer on the drip rail was already gone.  So yesterday late afternoon, I put the cab into the garage, and stripped the roof of old paint, removed the remaining bits of seam sealer, and I painted it with the primer that got too much thinner in it.

This cab, like Dragon's cab also got seam sealer on it.

Some more pictures.


Another one


And another


My plans for this cab is to eventually put it on Ratsun, after repairing the rusted out floors.  The cab on Ratsun needs to come off anyway, to finish welding the new floor pieces into it. 

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Ratsun has been running good, but still leaks oil.  I need to get to that,   I have driven Ratsun over 1200 miles since August.  Ratsun is reminding me what is so handy about a Datsun pickup.  Today, for example, I drove it to church, came home loaded it up with tools, and then drove to one of my barns to do some work on the barn.

Current pictures.




Left side


and the back with a bunch of tools loaded.


One of the nice thinks I remember about these small pickups is that I can usually drive it in a pasture, and it does not get stuck easily, however, I have gotten it stuck a few times, but because it is light, no big deal to get it pulled out.

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Ratsun got a 302 Ford engine dropped in it!


This was an engine block I have had sitting around for 35? years.  If I have not used it by now, I probably am not going to.  it was loaded into Ratsun, with some other scrap metal, and that was sold yesterday.  Got $54.00 for the engine block, and ferrous metal, and $15 for aluminium.


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The scrap metal was moved yesterday.

The drivers side window crank was missing a knob.  That was fixed.  Details here.


If you do not want to jump there, there are repair kits for missing window crank knobs.  Here is the new knob on the Datsun crank.



Last night, I did a trial assembly on the painted door, of the window mechanism, and door lock mechanism. but the door is not ready to go on Ratsun yet, and I still have to get a window crank for it anyway.

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Over the last few days, I did a trial assembly with the door.  I need to take it apart again, and clean and grease the lock mechanism, and the window regulator, and vent window.

But I also wanted to clean, and paint some hinges for the door.  It is kind of silly to mix just enough paint and primer to just paint some hinges, so I sandblasted  some other parts also.  Two air cleaner lids, two L-16 lower alternator brackets, and a 521 rear licence plate holder.  So far, just epoxy primer.   Sorry, these are big pictures.


When you paint, it is important to keep parts warm, to cure the paint.  This is especially important with two part paints, and primers.

This is how I warmed the parts up to paint.


At the top of the second picture, you can see four DJ spot lamps, on a tree.  Each lamp is 200 Watts, and at the distance between the parts, and the lamps, focuses about a 18 inch oval spot.  A thermometer set on the board, but not directly in the center of the beam, read about 75 degrees, when it was actually around 48 to 50 degrees outside.

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In the last few days, I got paint on the small parts that were sprayed with primer on November 16, 2013.  Here are the door hinges, out in sun this morning, on a black piece of ABS, that will eventually be a door panel.



I put a final coat of paint on the hinges last night..  It is difficult to paint all of the hinge in one painting.  You have to paint both sides of the hinge, and you also have to open and close the hinge when painting, to get all the areas of the hinge.


You need to keep paint warm to fully cure it.  Last night, I painted the hinges, using the lamps in a previous picture for heat, and after painting, they were hung about three feet away from a small forced air space heater.  This morning the thermometer was about 53 degrees, by the parts.  It got below freezing last night.

I turned off the heater, and set up a pallet, leaning against a tree, with a black piece of ABS plastic, that will eventually be a door panel.  In about 5 minutes, the thermometer went to about 78 degrees.  The parts are still cooking.

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The last few days I did some work on the rear bumper.  It was sagging a little.  This is what I started with.



Once I had the bumper off, I noticed it had a twist in it.   No pictures of that, but this is how I removed the twist.  I clamped the bumper to a vertical post in my carport, like this.


More pictures of the bumper clamped.


Next one.


Last one.


This is a picture of how I pulled the twist out of the bumper, sort of.  In the picture I was holding the camera with one hand.  When I actually pulled the twist out, I used both hands to torque the piece of pipe, one hand is on, while keeping my foot on the bumper, to hold it in place.



Remember the licence plate holder I painted last week?  here it is.



The bumper was held on with two or three different sized bolts.  I braved black Friday traffic, and went out and got some new bolts.  I got four 7/16-20 x 1, and 7/16-20 x 1 1/4 bolts, grade 8, with nuts and washers.


Today, I when and got the pair of bumperettes I have, and did a trial fit, of one.


One of the bumperettes had the stock bolts in it.  7/16-20 x 1 1/2.


So, anyway, after trying the bumperette on the truck, I went ahead, and put the old bumper back on.


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  • 2 weeks later...

It has been really cold here, for about a week.  It has almost got to below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, on some mornings, but it is warming up again.*   

Anyway, I did this to help Ratsun warm up.


Lower part of radiator.RadblockBottom_zps18dcb5d0.jpg



I do not know if the cold caused this problem, or not, but a few days  ago, the speedometer started to squeak sometimes when I drove faster than about 40 MPH.  Sometime last year, I found a 521 at a Pick-n-Pull, that had a speedometer gauge cluster in it, and I grabbed the cluster.  I put it in Ratsun, and none of the lights worked, so I pulled it out again, and used fine sandpaper to clean all the lamp holder contacts, and got the lights working.  I put the cluster back in Ratsun, and it works, now.  I am just using used lamps, but chose brighter ones than I had before.  I have better illumination of the gauges, not good, but better.   This speedometer also reads faster, but the odometer records the same mileage as before.

There is a measured 5 mile stretch on a freeway close to here, I need to take Ratsun for a drive there, and check the odometer.








*I know, not really that cold for you Canadian folks.

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Last week, i bought this tachometer, and today, I finally got around to mounting it in Ratsun.  It is just your basic bracket hose clamped on the steering column mount.


The tachometer has four wires.  Power, a red wire, Ground, a black wire, Light a white wire, and a Engine RPM sense wire, that was green.


A 521 truck has four wires under the ash try for accessories.  A black wire, goes to ground.  A blue with white stripe wire, hot when the key is in accessory position.  This wire is for the radio.  There is a red wire, with a blue stripe, this wire has power when the parking lights are on, and a solid blue wire.  This blue wire is always hot, and is used for the factory clock option many 521 owners are looking for.

I made three "Y" plugs for the my radio, and the tachometer hook up.  I have a stock 521 radio, but I added a little FM mono adaptor to it, that plays through the AM radio.


This is the radio hookup.



This is the ground wire for the tachometer.  Although I currently only have one wire here, I made a "Y" anyway, for future needs.



This is the power for the internal light in the tachometer.   I also only have one wire here, but made a "Y" here too.



The Tach lights up.


Yes, the engine is running in this picture, but I did check the light in the tach before I hooked up the wires to the ignition system.  But there are still two more wires for the tach.


This is how I got power to the tachometer.  I went to the key side of the ballast resistor.  It is the red wire in this picture.  The power comes to the ballast resistor on the black with a white stripe wire.



And finally, the last wire on the tachometer, the green wire.  This wire goes to coil minus.  I have a matchbox distributor on my engine, the tach seems to work fine with it.









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This is not my original idea.  It comes from this thread.



So, anyway, I ordered four of these lamps from superbrightleds.com


They were 6.95 each, and shipping was 2.99.  I also ordered four lampholders, but they were too small to work in a 521 combo meter.


Before my meter looked like this at night.



After swapping the four illumination lamps, it looks like this.



I did not remove the bulb filters, but I recently changed the meter because the speedometer was squeaking.  I did clean the contact patches for the lamp holder, before I put the combo meter in the truck. 

I was able to just reach up behind the dash, and change the lampholders.  I did not need to remove the dash.  but you probably will have to, to clean the contact for the lampholders in the circuit board.

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That looks a hell of a lot better. I just ordered about 25 bucks worth of lights from them. I have three gauge clusters for the 521 to work with. I got amber, blue and white bulbs oh and green for the blinkers, I can't wait to install them.


Also your rpm gauge is just like mine, I have yet to install it, but now that I've read this I will tomorrow. Great work man

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I have just been driving Ratsun, it has been cold (for Oregon) and I have been too lazy to do much work on Ratsun.

But I have been doing this.  I have been keeping track of the expenses I put into Ratsun, since August.  This does not include expenses before August, or insurance, or state registration. 



If you just want fuel mileage, it has been averaging between 20.5 to 24.5 MPG.   You may recall, that I mentioned earlier in this thread I had some questions about the accuracy of the speedometer, and I knew the speedometer and the odometer are both driven by the cable to the transmission.  The speedometer "Ratsun" was reading about 10 to 15 % fast, and I thought the mileage was also fast.  When I put the P-n-P speedometer in, it read much closer to the speed displayed on a hand held GPS unit I have.  But the same trip, over the same roads, to the same location registered the same mileage between the beginning and end, on both speedometers (odometers) 

I have not been able to drive, read the odometer, write it down, drive a measured distance, and check the odometer for accurately, yet.

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Talked to a guy at the pick n pull yesterday who was driving a 521. I told him I am going to be doing a disc brake conversion on mine. This guy tried to tell me that he put 11 inch drum brakes front and back. He said he parted out his 1965 chevy pickup and used all the backing plates and internal parts off the 65 and put them on his 521. He said he bought a new master cylinder for a 65 chevy and bolted it to the 521. 

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On this page

Possible alternator issue
Right forward bed hole patch.
Tail gate holes filled with plugs
New clutch and brake pedal pads. Still available at Nissan dealers New air filter too.
Exhaust system fabrication, using Dragon to model
New seat belts, from seatbeltplanet.com
Carrier (driveshaft) bearing issues, and missing part.
Another run to Foster road Pick-n-Pull, Harvested more Datsun parts.
Stock sized spare tire, gas cap door installed
Painted left door install. Started work on left door removed from Ratsun.
Another run to Foster road Pick-n-Pull, Harvested right door.
Work on right door, filling mirror bracket holes.
Removal of paint from both old Ratsun left door, and Pick-n-Pull right door.


Thanks, Ratsun does not look pretty, but it is running.  Last week, I drove Ratsun to Coastal Farm, and got another ton of wood pellets in it.  This is the third time I got wood pellets with Ratsun.

However, my alternator is starting to give me problems.  Sometimes when I start Ratsun, the charge light stays on, but most of the time, if I turn on the headlights, and rev the engine a little, the lights suddenly go brighter, and the charge (IGN) light goes off.

I went to Sherwood Pick-n-Pull today, and got an alternator out of a Nissan Pathfinder, that I thought would fit.  One of the through bolts on the alternator hits the upper bracket when the alternator is put on a L-16 engine.  I think I can make the alternator fit, by modifying the top bracket.


The easiest way to get an alternator out of a 521 I found is to remove the oil filter, then you can move the alternator back by the starter, and pull it out.


Update, the next day.

I put the old alternator back in Ratsun.  Still got to rev the engine, to get the charge light to go off.  

I have a L-18 engine, with a cast lower alternator bracket, and I could mount the Pathfinder alternator on that engine just fine.  Looking at the lower alternator brackets for the L-16, and the L-18, the cast L-18 bracket holds the alternator about 3/4 of an inch lower, and is why the Pathfinder alternator will fit on a L-18.  The mounting holes in the alternator are larger, and probably require a bushing to fit better on the L-18 M8 bolts.  I think the pathfinder alternator has M10 lower mounting bolts.


I did a little research in the electrical thread, and the sticky about alternators on L-engines.  One thread mentioned that 88 to 91 pickup alternators are a smaller diameter, and possibly will fit on a L-16, with the welded lower alternator bracket, that holds the alternator higher.

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  • 1 month later...

It has been a while.  I have just been driving Ratsun, checking oil, coolant, and yesterday, I adjusted the brakes.  I have driven Ratsun about 2550 miles since I put it on the road, in August.  This is the second time I adjusted the brakes, 521 brakes are not self adjusting, and you have to do the adjustment a lot.  On Ratsun, if the brake pedal goes below the gas pedal, the brakes need adjusting.


Ratsun had a hole in the right front corner of the bed, I cut a section of metal out that was badly rusted.through.  It left this hole.



This is the patch I made for the hole.



After fitting the patch, I put weld through primer in the hole, and on the back side of the patch piece.  In this picture, you can also see some old magnets I use to hold the patch in place.



Here is the patch again, ready to weld.



And I did some welding.



And then I had some other stuff to do, but this evening, I did more welding,


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