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


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Aerostar bumper crunch.
Sun visor cleaning, and install. Dome light cover polish, Mirror install
1970 Datsun AM radio install, under ashtray dash accessory wires
Battery hold down repair, fabricate rusted out sections.
Purchase some carb parts. Carb tune up, with vacuum gauge, and tach/dwell meter.
Heater defrost door cable replaced with bicycle cable
Ratsun moving my boat.
Left Inner fender outside cleaning, and wirebrushing rust.
Hole filling with welded in plugs.
Cold weather painting tips, Paint on inner fender
Fender and headlight trial assembly with screws
Start right inner fender work.


Friday December 7, I ran into a little bit of a problem.
So I went to Pick-n-Pull check inventory site, and found a few more Aerostars at Foster road P-n-P, and grabbed a bumper cover. Found one, washed it and took the broken cover off, pulled out the slightly bent sheet metal by hand, and put an unbroken cover on my Aerostar. Did that Saturday afternoon. Saturday evening, I cleaned the sun visors for Ratsun, I could not find where I put the screws for them.

I do not know why, but Pick-n-Pull has a core charge on plastic bumper covers, so I went to Sherwood P-n-P after church Sunday morning, and turned in the broken bumper cover.

Found this on a 720 with a Naps-z engine.
I grabbed a rear view mirror out of a Mazda B-2000 pickup, looked at the 521 still in the yard, pried the four rubber plugs out of the floor, and also got a heater switch out of another Aerostar at Sherwood. The Ford section at Sherwood had standing water, and I found my rubber boots had a leak, so I am glad I was able to get a bumper cover at Foster road.
I laid all the small parts on the counter, and P-n-P charged me for the heater switch, and the mirror.

Today, I looked for the visor screws, and found them. They were with the dome light, with some other parts for the horn push bar, on the floor of Dragon.
I put the visors in the cab of Ratsun.
and left side,
The dome light lens looked like this.
And I sanded it with 220, 400, 600 grit sandpaper, and then used some polishing compound on as wool pad on a rotary buffer on it. I actually just set the buffer upside down on the bench, and locked it trigger on, and held the cover on the pad. After that, it looked like this.
Then I put it in the truck.
I still need to deal with these broken screws to hold the mirror mount.

One more thing.

I tested the radio sitting on a desk in my warm house, and it works. It came out of another Datsun pickup I have. I need to find the speaker box for it, an project for tomorrow.

These are the accessory wires in a Datsun 521. You have a ground, an always hot, a hot with the key in run and accessory position, and a hot with lights on.

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I have three battery hold downs, this part.


As you can see, one side is rusted away.  This is the side close to the positive battery terminal.

Another hold down was rusted in a similar way.



I cut the damaged ends out with a spot weld saw.


And made new ends.


and finished bending.


I then clamped the end in place,


and checked it for square by doing diagonal measurements,


I then drilled some holes in the new piece, and filled the holes with MIG weld bead.


On the third hold down, it was new, but not used.  The eyes were on the sides of the hold down, I cut them off, and moved the eyes to the ends.

This is the side of the hold down where the eye was,


and the hold down after moving the eye.



I do not have a sheet metal shear, or a bending brake.  To cut the pieces of steel to repair the hold downs, I used a 3 x 1/32 inch cutoff disk in a die grinder.  I used a scrap piece of steel as a guide for the cutoff wheel to get a straight line.



To bend the piece of in a straight line, I clamped the sut piece in between two pieces of heavy steel,


and laid another piece on top to avoid hammer marks, and worked the bend into the steel.

As you can see. I just used a claw hammer.



So anyway, I now have three battery hold downs.


That just need to have the rust removed, and painted.



I also made a hold down for a 1974 Ford pick up I have, in a similar manner, except I just started out with a flat piece of 18 gauge steel.


Here is a way of making lay out lines on steel.

First, you need to clean the steel.  Use paint thinner, on a rag, or paper towel.  Get the steel wet, with thinner.  Before the thinner dries, wipe it off the steel with a clean rag.   Repeat until the second dry rag or paper towel comes off clean.


This is an abrasive brush I found at Ace hardware.  It works really good at cleaning paint, rust, and dirt off steel.  It can reach in hard to get to spots that are difficult to sand.  



After cleaning the steel with paint thinner, I used the abrasive brush on the steel.

Then I marked on the steel with a felt pen, a Sharpie,


And used a box knife to make a scribe line.



This is the Ford battery hold down I made.



To make the loops for the eyes, I just took a strip of 18 gauge steel about 3/4 wide, and bent it by hand around a bolt clamped vertically in a vice.   I then took the steel, with a "U" bend in it, clamped it horizontally in the vice, with the bolt just below flush of the top of the vice, and hammered it down, to make two horizontal legs.


No pictures of making the loops, or eyes, yet.  Maybe later today.


The main point of this post, I do not have a lot of fancy metal working tools.  Just basic hand tools, and a MIG welder.  You too can do this.   Once you learn how to make small parts, you can use those learned skills on bigger things, like rusted out floorboards, or exterior body panels.

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A few weeks ago, DrewsDime has two L-16 carbs for sale.  I bought them.  There also was parts of a carb rebuild kit, and an extra fuel filter, thanks again, Drewsdime!



When I first got Ratsun, I bought it as a parts truck.  As it turned out, the engine was in pretty good shape, but the carb throttle shaft was stuck, not moving. I removed the carburetor, and put penetrating oil on the throttle shafts, and got the throttle shafts moving again, so I put some gas in the carb, and got the truck running.   But it would not idle very good, to keep the engine running, I had to run about 2000 RPM.  I still drove it a little around the farm.


I also had two old L-16, 521 carbs, that were missing parts. 


So recently, I brought the old carbs, mine and the ones I bought from Drewsdime in to the house.  Because none of the carbs has ran in a very long time, I did not have to deal with the gasoline smell.   Long story short, I used parts off the carbs I got from Drewsdime, and put one of my carbs together.   My 521 carb was pretty clean inside, had no obvious problems. so i just put it back together with all the pieces.   I then used a small lawn mower gas tank, and about two feet of fuel line to fill the float bowl, by gravity, on the bench.  the float level was off, so I set the carb in a pan to catch the gas, removed the glass and adjusted the float level, it took two or three tries to get it correct.   With the float bowl full, I worked the throttle a few times, to see if the acceleration pump worked, it did.  I then took the carb off Ratsun, and put this carb on the truck.  Pumped it twice, and Ratsun started almost immediately.  It already sounded better than before, but was not good.


So I hooked up a vacuum gauge, to the intake manifold, and a Tach/Dwell meter to coil minus, and ground.  Idle was fast, and only about 15 inches.  I turned the throttle stop out, to slow down the idle, but is still was a little rough, and still had only about 15 inches of vacuum.  turning the idle mixture screw had absolutely no effect on the RPM, or the vacuum.   So I reached under the throttle linkage, and pulled the secondary open a little, and let go of it.  The idle speed dropped way low.  I adjusted the speed back up, and then tried the idle mixture screw again.  The engine responded to changes in the idle mixture like it should.


So, this is where it was after tweaking the speed and mixture abit.


Vacuum only.




and I actually ran it long enough to get it warm.



The cable that goes from the dashboard lever to the door on the bottom of the heater was bad, so a few days ago, I went to a bicycle shop, and bought about two feet of shift cable, and repaired the heater control cable.


Tonight, I decided to test compression on this engine.

I did each cylinder twice.  The results, #1, 172, 165. #2, 165, 168. #3, 161, 172. #4, 172, 172.

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Ratsun got put to work a little today.



There is finally a pretty good chance the temperature is going to drop below freezing, in the next few days, and I doubt if I am going waterskiing any more this year.  It is time to winterize the boat. 

I used Ratsun to drag the boat out of the carport, so I could finish changing the oil, and transmission fluid. in the boat.

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January 1, 2013 Ratsun odometer shows 52,761 miles.


In the last few days, Ratsun has been doing some work.   I drove it down to a barn, with fence tools again, and then took a pressure washer down to the barn to clean out a wash rack for horses.


I forget if I have mentioned it, but I did get signed up for an auto restore class at Clackamas Community College, and my plan is to use the class for access to the paint booth at CCC, to finally get some paint on fenders. 


I also made a deal on a new Japanese timing chain set for the engine in Ratsun, it still has a rattle in the front of the engine, when I start it cold.

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Well, by now, I would have hoped I could talk about my auto class at Clackamas Community College starting, but it was cancelled. 


Tuesday, Jan 8, it was pretty warm, so I decided to paint a few parts at home, to see how they would come out.  I moved Ratsun out of the garage, and set up a board, with some newspaper on it to paint some small parts.  I also set up a three 200 Watt spot lamps to keep parts warm.  I primered the dashboard vents, and ash tray surround out of a 521 dashboard, and some hood catch parts.



It looks like it is feasible to paint some parts at home, in basically an unheated garage, in the winter.

I decided to clean up the inner fenders on Ratsun.  They are undercoated, but have rust showing through, and so I decided to try to clean them up.



Door post



First step, remove the undercoat.  I used a 1/2 inch chisel, and was able to scrape most of the under coat off.


Then I used this wire wheel I bought at Home Depot,


and put it this drill,


And the wire wheel cleaned off a lot of the old paint, and primer.   Most of this was cleaned off with the wire wheel.



I got most of the inner fender cleaned off.


I still need to do a little more, but it got cold last night.  Snow on the ground this morning.

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In the last few days, I did some more cleaning of old paint, surface rust, and and undercoat off the inner fender.  Then I decided to plug some extra holes.  I plugged six holes in the inner fender, and two holes that went into the cab.

The method I used to plug the holes was to make some small slugs out of 18 Gauge steel.



I then reamed out the holes to fit the plug with a tapered reamer, until the plug was a close fit in the hole.


After the plug fitted the hole good, I cleaned the backside of the hole, and used a piece of flattened copper pipe to back up the metal.  I just stuck a magnet on the backside of the copper, and because copper is not magnetic, the magnet just attracts the steel on the other side of the copper, and just stays there.


When you put the steel slug in the hole, the magnet holds it too.


Then I used a wire feed welder to weld the plug in the hole.  There are six holes I filled in this picture.


There were two holes in this panel, that went into the cab.  I filled those too.  One of the holes was about 5/8 in diameter, I just used a pair of tin snips to cut a octagonal slug, and filed the corners round.



The temperature this week is predicted to reach the high 40's degrees (F).   I am going to see if I can get enough heat in to the panel with some heat lamps to be able to paint the inner fender.

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Today I got some primer on the inner fender, and inside of the left fender.  The first coat I am using is PPG  DX1791/1792, a self etching wash primer.  This primer is suggested to use under DPLF, an epoxy primer.

Inner fender.


Inside of left fender.



I also got some of the wash primer on these battery hold downs.



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Today I got some PPG DPLF on the inside of the left fender, and in the outside of the inner fender.


It is hard to see in this picture, but the inside of this fender was primed.  I primed it first today, and set it aside.


It is setting this way, because I have this heater keeping it warm, so the primer will cure.



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Got some paint on the left inner fender of Ratsun.


After getting paint on the inner fender, I drove it out to a pasture where the sun shown in it for about a half hour.



A quick update.   The paint is curing good, I was a little bit concerned, because it has not really been warm, since I started to put primer on the inner fender, a few days ago.  The weather has been mainly foggy, with some sun breaks sometimes during the day, and frost, or freezing every night.  Before I applied any paint, or primer I pot some spot lights on the metal, fairly close to get the metal temperature up to about 50 to 60 degrees.   Then I sprayed. 

I finished spraying paint on the inner fender about 2:30 PM today, and as you can see, almost immediately drove Ratsun out into a pasture into direct sunlight.   It sat for about a half hour, and I moved the truck a little, and got about another half hour of sunlight on the inner fender. 

After the sun went below the trees, I drove Ratsun back into the garage, and put the small heater you saw in the fender blowing warm air on the lower part of the inner fender, and I just moved the heater again, to get the front part of the inner fender warm, to help the paint cure.

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Today, I attached the headlight bucket to Ratsun left fender with some #6-32 screws, and nuts.  Next is a trail fit on Ratsun, and probably do some more sheet metal work on this fender.  After the fender is fitting good, than the bucket will get welded on the fender.


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I started cleaning up the right inner fender on Ratsun today.  the weather is predicted to get warmer, and dryer toward the end of the week, maybe I can get some paint on the right inner fender.




On this side, I only have one hole to weld up, well maybe more.  I am deciding if I want to weld up one of the holes for voltage regulator, or fabricate a new trapped nut, in case the truck ever need to have an external regulator alternator again.


This side of the truck seems to have a little more rust on the inner fender.   I am having fun removing it.



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On this page

Start of right side floor patch panel
Roper-Whitney punch purchase, bed hole repair
Link to 521 floor pan fabrication thread.
Cowl grills got primer
Right inner fender primer and paint. Right bed top primer.
Rear tires and chrome spoke wheels from Dragon 2 put on Ratsun rear.
Dragon 2 right front fender fitted
Chosen fenders put on second cab, for painting, fenders painted.
Headlight bucket pull, on second cab
Datsuns shuffled around in garage, and carport
Front apron repair, and fitting.
Headlight installed, Park lights installed, front side marker lights installed.
Start of bumper install.


Yesterday, I did some work on bending new pieces of steel for the floor.  I got this piece made.



I do not have a sheet metal brake, or a shear.  I can cut a straight line with a 1/32 abrasive disk, in a die grinder.  I can bend smallet pieces of steel by clamping it in a vice, or larger pieces by clamping the steel between two other pieces of steel.

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Today, I got some new toys.  I got some 3M clean and strip disks, from Eastwood.  I used them to remove the paint and rust form the floor in the cab.  I also cut some more rusted metal out of the floor, and trimmed the new piece of metal some more.



I also had a bunch of holes to fill.  I heard from several sources the easiest and best way to fill holes is to take a slug of metal, and weld it in the hole.

This is one of many holes in the bed rail top.



This is the punch I got.


It makes these.


This is a slug put into the hole, and a slug tacked in.


and the slug welded, but not finished.


The piece of metal held on to the bed is how I hooked up the ground for welding.   You have to be careful when welding on cars and trucks, because grounding in the wrong place can damage things.  Trucks are especially critical because of parts that are bolted together, can easily handle the currents involved with the trucks lights and accessories, but welding currents are much higher, and the voltages can damage things.

To be sure, modern cars with lots of electronics are way more sensitive, but it does not hurt to directly ground whatever you are welding on.

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I did more welding up of the holes in the top of the bed rail, and ground and filed the excess metal off.



If you look near the bottom of this picture, you can see some smaller holes just above the style line in the bed sheet metal.



Today, I filled these holes by drilling them out a little bigger, to fit the 7/32 slugs a second punch and die that came with my Roper Whitney punch.  There were thirteen of these little holes.


This is what the front side of the little holes look like now.


And the back side.


I know I need to clean off the back side.  Maybe on Sunday.


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