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1976 Wagoon (710)


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With the struts shortened, I was finally able to install the Klotz bracket and get the rotors and calipers ready to go.  This bracket and hardware are perfect!


I chose to modify and leave the backing plates there, even though they are smaller than the rotor.  They do not wrap around the rotor either, but I'm hoping that they will keep the rock bashing to a minimum.  Time will tell.  As an aside I was able to remove all 8 mounting screws for the backing plates without breaking any of them!  


This was the first modification attempt.



After they are installed, they needed to be modified again.  I had cut the little "curls" off.



Everything installed.





Until nest time (which will be soon!)

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I spent a ton of time reading and thinking about what I wanted to do for front springs.  I knew that I wanted close to 200lbs/in.  Coilovers would be close to 300$ by the time they were in my hands.  I could cut the factory front springs, but I was worried about the spring being too short when I was done.  


So, with a little (which involved quite a bit of time) reading and research, I came up with a spring from a 1979-1981 Honda Accord.  It is already 4" shorter in free height (this is not how much it would lower the car as the higher spring rate won't compress as much) than the 710 spring and has a rate of approximately 145lbs/in, and has 2 tangential ends like the 710.  The 710 factory spring rate is close to 100lbs/in.  So, I would have to cut nearly half of the factory spring to get close to 200lbs/in.  The Honda spring only needed 1 coil cut to achieve a little over 190lbs/in.  The Honda spring has a slightly smaller outside diameter, but it fits nicely in the factory spring cup.


The best part of this.......those springs cost me 70$ including shipping!  In fact the shipping was more than the springs!  (I have no idea why the Canadian border causes shipping rates to increase so sharply.)


It should be noted that Datzenmike has documented front strut and spring information extensively and this was most useful in my research.  


Here are the springs compared, no cutting done to either set.



And here is a strut that is assembled.  (I have not compressed the spring and set the split collar yet.  That will be done after the engine is in the car.)



So, the list of parts on this strut is as follows:  (A BIG thanks to Mike Klotz for the adpater and to Eagle Adam who documented this brake upgrade and then kindly answered questions about the brake upgrade when I had them!)


Klotz brake adapters

1995 Infiniti G20 Calipers 

1994 Nissan Altima rotors (the outside of the 710 hubs needed to be machined to fit inside the rotor)

1979 Honda Accord Springs (cut one coil)

280zx strut insert

Shortened stock 710 strut 

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Further to the brake upgrade......my 14" wheels will not clear those calipers and I will have to go with a 15" wheel.  I had planned on doing so anyhow.


I also have spent some time getting the engine bay painted and ready.  I will then be able to move forward to getting the front suspension ready.





And then......





I know there are people who like colour matched engine bays, I just prefer black.  I used 2 coats of ZeroRust black paint (sprayed from a can) and then put 100% acrylic clear (sprayed from a can) over top for the shiny finish.  I found in the past that ZeroRust can be difficult to clean when left on its own, and being in the engine bay, I wanted to be able to clean it up a lot easier.  I think it turned out alright for a rattle can job.  I am not after perfection, I wish to drive the car in many conditions without worrying about wrecking "perfection".  Besides......I am not sure that I am capable of perfection when it comes to the final product.  So....it will be good enough to last another XX years and be fun!


Thanks for looking in!

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I spent some time today sorting and putting together the front suspension and had a few things to paint, so while I was waiting for the paint to dry I started messing around with the bumper brackets.  I had already taken the rear ones off a while ago and had blasted and painted them.  Man....do they ever stick out far in their stock configuration!  So I went about seeing if I could make them shorter so they'd be closer to the car.


Here's what they look like before any modifications.



I set out to figure out how to take it apart.  The strut end has a nut holding it in place.  It is important to remove this before loosening the screw on the other end of the unit.  I believe (though I could be wrong) that the pressure that that screw holds the shock in place to remove that nut.  I'm guessing that this is the case because when I took the front ones apart, I undid that screw first (not knowing that it would make a difference) and then couldn't remove the nut without spinning the shock shaft (which created a whole other set of problems).



This is the little pressure screw that is at the opposite end of the housing.



When I put it back together I needed to make a slot for a screwdriver so I could tighten the nut.  You can kind of see it here.




When it was apart, I pushed the rod in all the way and to my surprise (I'm not sure why this surprised me) there was suddenly hydraulic fluid all over the place, including me!  (I was much smarter the second time and aimed the fluid into a can)  That shit stinks!  But, this is the result of the pressure being released.  It will probably be about 3" closer to the rear of the car.



Here are the fronts before blasting.



And after.



Now, because I loosened that little screw before I took the nut off the end, I wasn't able to take the front brackets apart.  But I still needed to get the hydraulic fluid out of there.  I drilled a hole.  As you might imagine, the oil that was under pressure let go in a blast all over the place again!  Made quite a mess! (I was smarter the second time and went outside to drill the hole.)  The metal is actually surprisingly thick on the pressure side of the bumper bracket.  I will get pictures later to show how short they will be compared to stock.


So......some lessons were learned, some oil spilled and some stink infused into the floor, my clothes and my hands!


Thanks for looking in! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the compliment! I try not to stay grumpy too long if it reaches that point.


Now........(ignore the grunge on the floor)


Yup.....that is a crossmember in the car, not on the workbench!




The steering box and a tie rod!!!! Woohoo!


And finally......(for now)


A strut that is attached to the car!  Both sides are in and everything is buttoned up ready for wheels so it will roll.


I bought all of front end parts right after I bought the car about 5 years ago and finally get to use them.  The front end is all new, ball joints, tie rods, t/c bushings, center link, idler arm and the control arm bushings.  Speaking of control arm bushings, those things were a pain in the ass to remove!  Installing the new ones was much easier than taking them out.  I used the -25C (-13F) temperature that day to my advantage.  I left the bushings sit outside for a long time and when I was ready to install, brought them in and they went in smoothly just using my vice (I don't have a press). There's gotta be something good about that temperature.


I hope to get the rear suspension in this week.


Getting closer all the time..........thanks for looking in!

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So, I decided a little distraction doing some metal work was in order.  I wanted to do away with the "park bench" bumpers as they are ugly and HEAVY.  Add the dirt and muck that is trapped in the inside of them and they are ridiculously overweight.


So I set out to make a cardboard version of what I wanted.



Laid it out to make a template......


As you will notice, it is not straight, so I made sure that when it went on the metal, I measured and used a straight edge to mark the outline.


This is the metal after its cut with a plasma cutter.



Here it is again after some shaping has begun.  This piece is the for the driver side of the car.



The card board piece that I made was for the passenger side.  I used the same template for both passenger and driver side.  The metal is just bent the opposite way to make either side.

So....here is the comparison between the two.....



Now some different angles of it on the car.   (I only built the ends for now and will make a piece for the center section after I get a piece of c-channel or rectangular tubing as a structural piece.)






All of the above pictures have the bumper end resting on the bumper bracket, which is not fastened all the way, just finger tightened so I'd have an idea what it could look like.  There is still some shaping, planishing and grinding to be done to make everything flat smooth.


Here are some pictures of the two bumper ends showing what it might look like (with a gap that needs finishing).




So.....after all of this, I'm still not sure that I like it on the car, though it is still better than the factory one I figure (lighter and rust free)!  They certainly aren't perfect by a long shot.  I will have to get a structural piece and then I will be able to sort it out as to what changes might need to be made to make it "right".


Well, now it's onto the rear axle, there will be no more avoiding it........


Thanks for looking in!

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  • 3 weeks later...

The rear suspension is finally bolted back under the car.  There was a lot of research and planning that went into this part of the project, not to mention more than a few dollars as well.


I decided to replace the rear spring pack with Flex-form rear springs.  When I removed the factory springs, and disassembled them, there was plenty of rust.  My guess would have been that I would have had a broken leaf or two in no time.


Anyhow, the weight savings on this upgrade was massive!  The new springs weigh less than 10lbs a side!  I'm not sure what the factory ones weigh, but it is not less than 10lbs!  The springs allow a 2" drop and are approximately 200#/in for spring rate.  Stiffer, lower and lighter......a great combination.  Mark at Flex-form was great to deal with!  He was helpful and always willing to help when it came to questions about measuring.  I'd also like to thank Carter for taking the time to answer questions and helping with drawings for the measurements, it cleared a lot of things up as I was trying to figure it all out.


Now, with lowering the car 2" by using the spring, that meant that the stock shock would not be a good fit as well.  I know that when you lower using blocks, the shock length can remain the same, not so with the dearched spring.  A while back (5 years?) I ordered new rear shocks and I remember the parts guy saying that the part number was the same for the early 80s Monte Carlo.  So with that in mind, I started looking for shorter rear shocks for lowered G-Body Chevys.  After reading through G-Body forums I found that Bilstein made a shorter rear shock for lowered Monte Carlos.  I spent many hours looking for, reading about and looking at pictures of the shock to make sure that they would fit.  It turns out they do.  I had to make a couple of small changes to the Bilsteins and they fit perfectly!  I removed the stud mount and then had to press out the rubber insulator.  I pressed in the rubber insulators from the 710 shocks and they were ready to go.




Here is a shot of the brake drum and part of the rear leaf.




I bought new brake lines that were already flared and the drivers side was about 4" too long.  I couldn't buy a shorter one.  That's why there is a drop down on the right side of the pumpkin.  It took 2 tries to get that right, I buggered the first attempt really badly and had to buy a second line.  I still have to connect the rear hose.


I had the brake drums from when I built my 510 and never got around to using them on that car.  They are brand new and have never been used.  They are hub centric and take a little (very careful) grinding with a Dremel to get them to sit flush against the hub.  I didn't change the diameter of the hole, I just changed the taper on the back side of the drum so that it fit over the small radius (a weld?) that goes from the flat surface of the hub to the raised center of the hub.  (I hope that's all worded in a way that is understood.)  Anyhow, it fits perfectly now.  


Getting closer to a roller!  Maybe an hour away......maybe a week..........who knows?  There always seems to be other things to do first.


Thanks for looking in!

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So, the list of parts on this strut is as follows:  (A BIG thanks to Mike Klotz for the adpater and to Eagle Adam who documented this brake upgrade and then kindly answered questions about the brake upgrade when I had them!)


Klotz brake adapters

1995 Infiniti G20 Calipers 

1994 Nissan Altima rotors (the outside of the 710 hubs needed to be machined to fit inside the rotor)

1979 Honda Accord Springs (cut one coil)

280zx strut insert

Shortened stock 710 strut 


Very sweet! Thanks for the mention!! You're more than welcome!! 


FYI....or anyone else with a 710, I have 13 sets of these brackets in house right now.  Contact me via pm.....I don't want to hi-jack this thread. :)

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I am off to get some skinnier tires tomorrow for the front of the car. The spring perches are just too wide for the 205 tires to fit in there, I figured this would be the case. I will be trying 185/55 15s with a +12 offset wheel. I've measured more than once and I think it should fit. The tires are used and cheap so if they don't fit......I'll try again.


Hopefully a roller tomorrow night!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well, hell!  It finally is a roller!  It is down off the jackstands for the first time in three years!  I will be taking some pictures of the car today in the sunshine.  It is filthy after being in the shop for so long.


Something weird happened the other day, my 17 year old son joined me in the shop to remove sound deadener.  I didn't ask, he just picked up a hammer and a cold chisel and he beagan to chip away.  I always hoped that he would join the build.  He has had his license for a while now, and this seems to be the motivation to help work on the car.....so he can drive it!  It works for me.  Lots to teach the grasshopper (lots to learn from him too).




The floors are mostly done though I need to remove some of the tar from where the edges of the sound deadener were.  There is a little rust (shocker) where the firewall meets the front floorboard on the drivers side, but it doesn't (at first blush) look cancerous so I should be able to neutralize it and paint it.  We are going to tackle the stuff on the floor in the hatch as well.  Good times!


Hopefully I will have some daylight pictures to show by the end of the day!


Thanks for looking in!

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So I managed to roll it outside today and took the following pics.  






I really wanted to run the 280zx turbo wheels and I ran into a small problem.  The wheels come in contact with the brake caliper upgrade that is on the car.  So....with all the measuring that I did i was still wrong.  Dave at FutoFab to the rescue.  8mm spacers are on the way along with longer studs.  Dave was super helpful and gave me advice about how to measure so that I would order the appropriate parts to help solve my problem.  He also made it very easy to order and pay considering the fact that he is shipping to Canada.  I can't say enough about what an excellent guy he is to deal with!



I got at the sound deadener in the cargo are as well.  This is what it looks like cleaned up.  Next is to remove as much of the glue and tar that the stuff leaves behind.  As a note, the sound deadener weighs quite a bit!  I bet the garbage bag that I have it in weighs more than 20 pounds! 



I also managed to wash the car as well.  It was extremely dirty!  The car is still dirty but it is much closer to clean than it was before.  


Until next time!

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So...the rims on the rear won't fit the brakes on the front?  Are they 14's or 15's?  I prefer the rims you have on the front.  I guess I'll have a hard time getting rid of the 13 sets I have if they're that hard to fit rims over! lol  :(

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So...the rims on the rear won't fit the brakes on the front?  Are they 14's or 15's?  I prefer the rims you have on the front.  I guess I'll have a hard time getting rid of the 13 sets I have if they're that hard to fit rims over! lol  :(

Hi Mike!  I also prefer the wheels on the front.  They are like hen's teeth around here so I was lucky to find some around here.  They are a little rough and need a little work but I hope they look good when I am done.


Yes the wheels on the back fit over the brakes.  They are from a 1984/85 200sx are 15" and have a +30 offset (currently 205/60 tires).  The spacer will help with those wheels as well.  Although they fit over the brakes, they want to interfere with the spring perches, though I haven't tried them with skinnier tires yet.  The 280zx wheels have 185/55 on them right now, but I might be able to put wider tires on now with the spacers. 


I wouldn't say it's "hard' to make the 280zx wheels fit, I made it harder than it needed to be as I could have done a better job of measuring and prefitting.  Now, I will have to take the hub off, press out the studs, press new ones in and reassemble.  If anyone is thinking about your brake upgrade (and they should), I hope my experience helps make their install a few steps shorter.

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Well......upon further investigation of the rust in the seam where the floor meets the firewall I found the cancer I was hoping wouldn't be there.


I only found it because the sound deadener hid it.  The seam there is a moisture trap.  There is rust along the inside of the driver's door side on the floor as well, but it is not soft.  That will be neutralized and then painted.




More welding in my future!


Until next time.

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  • 1 month later...

Well it's time for an update.  It always seems like fall has more things to do than I reckon on.  I have been able to get tout to the shop.  We have had a cold fall this year.  I did some work in the shop to make it more efficient as I keep it warm all winter.  I try to keep it at about 5C (41F) when I'm not in there so the floor stays warm.  I am not a fan of cold feet!  I warm it up with a forced air wood furnace while I am working in there.  


I cleaned up the hatch area.  I got rid of the sound deadener and then i worked at getting the remaining glue and tar off the floor.  Here's how it turned out.



Then is was onto the floor pans.  As mentioned a few posts back, I needed to weld in a couple of patches.  These are not the prettiest things to look at but they are solid and will be covered by a carpet, so solid was more important than pretty.  I really did not enjoy welding on the floor under the dash.  




I cleaned up the rest of the floor pans to get rid of as much glue and tar as I could.  Sorry for the shitty quality of the pictures, I am no master of using an iPhone as a camera.  Here is the floor before floor paint.




I scuffed the floor to make sure there was some tooth for the paint to grab onto.  I treated any bare metal and rust that didn't need to be cut out with POR-15 metal preparation.  It is supposed to do a good job of sealing the rust for paint.  I used DOM16 for the paint.  It is way cheaper than POR-15!  The jury is out on how good it will be, only time will tell.  I bought a can of grey paint and the salesman told me that it is quite translucent.  (They didn't have any black in stock or I would have used that.)  I figured that it would be hidden anyhow so It didn't matter if it was translucent.  He was dead right!  It is very see-through as you can see by the following picture.  It is shiny, but it does not hide anything.  No big deal for me, though.




Now that the floor and the engine bay are done, it is time to start working on the doors and the body panels.  I'm looking forward to something different with the project and the challenge of making the car look "ok".


Until next time!

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  • 3 weeks later...

The holidays have arrived and that means a little more time in the shop!  


I figured that I'd get the doors cleaned, take the hinges off, and start prepping for the body work that will be needed.  So, I laid down a couple of 2x8s across some saw horses and put the door on them.  I set to wire wheeling the bottom, inside of the door to clean up the grime and.......yup......you guessed it......effing rust!  Luckily (if you want to call it luck) the door skin was unaffected.  So, I had to "unfold" the bottom of the door skin to get at the door frame.  You can see the waves of the skin in the pics below.  I will have to fold it back over and hammer and dolly them flat again.


Here is the piece that I removed.



Here is the bottom of the door with the rust removed.



And with the patch welded in.  I painted it with zero rust after taking this picture and will take more pictures when it is put back together.



This patch is not an easy one to make.  There are a number of curves and "low" and "high" areas that needed to be matched.  Not to mention the fact that when I cut the rust out, there was a considerable amount of tension in the metal that makes up that part of the door.  Without the piece there, it flexes easily and that had to be taken into account when welding the new piece in as well.  


I've seen a few shows on TV lately that show shops finishing cars in 3 days (if that's even possible).......I wish I could do that!  It takes me 5 hours (in this case) to remove, make the patch and weld the patch in.  


Thanks for looking in!

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I removed the roof rack (as seen here).....




....and there are 8 holes in the roof that look like this.




I now have a decision to make.  Either I keep the roof rack and use the holes or weld and repair the holes.  This will require removal of the headliner, which I am not sure I am interested in doing.  But, it might be worth the work so I can design and make my own rain gutter mounted roof rack....decisions....decisions.


Until next time!

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I had a parts car that had one on it. Mine does not. When I scraped it the rack went with it. I couldn't bring myself to drilling holes in a pristine roof. The rack is only good if you use it or need it to look like a sleeper. A 'station wagon' (estate car) isn't one without it.

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I don`t really like the roof rack that is on there anyhow.  If I need one, I will make one.  So, I will take the headliner out and repair the holes that the screws left.  The car is apart already, so the extra time that it will take will be alright.  It will also give me a chance to see what kind of shape the headliner is in and decide if it needs to be replaced.  I`d like to learn to sew....... :thumbup:


So, back to the door repair.  I was refolding the doorskin back around the patch in the door frame.  I turned the door over to do some hammer and dolly work and saw a rust bubble in the paint.  I wire wheeled the paint off and.....voila!



Yup, three lovely holes!  Back into patch mode.  


Sigh....cut out the rust....



....make a template for a patch.....



....and done!



There was a little warpage here, so I will need to figure out how to get a dolly of some sort behind the patch so I can stretch it back into place.  This area has some tight quarters back there, so that might be a bit of a challenge.


Once again, thanks for looking in!

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Good day all!  It`s effing cold here now.  Woke up to -22F air temperature and with the wind it feels close to -40.  I`ve said it before, but thank goodness I am fortunate to have a heated shop!


I headed out to my friends shop yesterday (he has a press) and we pressed out the old lug studs on the hubs so I could install the new ones from FutoFab.  These are the 8mm spacers and 60mm studs.




Pressing the old ones out....



And done!



Moving along......at a speeding snail`s pace!


Until next time!

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