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Autocross/Street Handling '72 510 Wagon

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Not a huge update. Rained Monday so I spent most of that inside collecting parts and making plans. 


Then this morning we had to have a beehive removed from the wall in my room, that was fun.


Finally this afternoon I got to work on the wagon. Decided to prioritize the fixes over the suspension work just in case something goes south and I need to head back to SLO sooner than I want. So I started with the headlight.


Those of you who've had these rings break on you before (consider yourself lucky if you haven't) know they're really fragile and replacing them is a pain in the ass, since most of them are broken unless they're on a car. 


Welding them is also a pain since they're so thin, and a spot weld would eventually fail on such thin metal (much like the factory welds). So I opted for something a little more... racecar. 




On tonight's episode of "Steampunk my Datsun":










Like a glove. Used 1/8" rivets to hold everything together. Holds really nicely, tried to pull it apart and get some play out of it, safe to say it's stronger than the original spot welds. Not the prettiest thing ever, but functional, and essentially no one will ever see it again but me. 


Then I had to be anal and clean the crap out of everything behind and in the grill area. 




And she's back together! No play or wiggle in the highbeam that was the issue. 



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More "maintenance" updates. 


Worked on the door squeegees. Got new ones from Datsport in Australia a while back and finally got around to putting them on the car. 


If you're interested in the process, I ended up going the "do everything twice because the first time it was totally wrong" route. 


I'm guessing your squeegees look something like this 




There's a very thin steel piece which is stapled to the trim piece, sandwiching the squeegee. They probably all look this crappy. 




Nothing a wire wheel and a drill didn't fix. I ended up just tearing out the old staples, and since my stapler couldn't punch through two pieces of steel I decided to drill some small holes through the backside of the trim, the sandwiching plate, AND the rubber gasket (this just saves time trying to poke the staple through the new rubber). 




And then just used assorted pliers to manually crimp down the hearty staples. Done. 






Pro tip: Make sure the squeegee faces AWAY from the stainless trim (you know towards the window), it'll save you loads of time and headache -- ask me how I know. 


The inner squeegee is just wedged into a rail. Just pry/scrape out the old squeegee and press in the new one. I have a test going for myself, where two of the doors have a small amount of weatherstripping glue applied to the bottom of the channel, and two do not. This way I'll know whether it's really necessary for future reference. 


Apologies for the crappy SnapChat photo. 




Also put some very thin foam padding on the back sides of the ABS door panels. The combination of this and the squeegees has killed about 75% of the rattles inside the car. AND the doors close with a single, resounding, satisfying thump --  no more windows clattering around when you close the doors. 

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So if you saw the car at Canby, you probably noticed the insane ticking noise the valve train was making. 


Yes, I know it was there. No, it was not a valve. No, it was not easy to fix. 



On the way up to Canby I picked up new cam from Rebello Racing. Turns out there had been an oiling problem -- mainly my dumb ass driving the shit out of the car with shit oil in the car. Combine this with a very high lift cam (probably way too high lift) and you ended up with some rocker arms that looked like this....











So I needed to do new rockers, and a new cam. And a new oiling strategy. Moved to a diesel oil and a bottle of zinc additive. 


mmmmmmm.... new old stock: 




Bing, bang, boom. Cams in. 






I kept fucking up the valve adjustment... always one pesky rocker was off, so I brought in some help. 




Then I polished up my radiator, because I thought brass looked better than black. 




Then it sprang a leak, so I had to pull it out and put another black one back in....


BUT now the car runs, no more tick, lumpier cam, lower power band, more torque (I just autocrossed the car -- and holy shit it breaks rear traction fast).


Girlfriend's been autocrossing too. She just ordered up a new sway bar and a shift knob for her Fiat. Next is lowering springs and exhaust. It's going to be the coolest non-Abarth out there. 









Next time.... 


Coming soon, to a wagon near me.... 




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The lift on the new cam is around 480, I'm fairly certain the first cam was somewhere in the lower 500s (I remember Troy saying it something like 520, but never actually got the exact specs. Typically I'm not topping more than about 5.5k in second gear at autocrosses -- average rpm in a run is usually about 4k for a little over a minute at a time. This last one was really weird, had a super long straight so I was winding the motor out to somewhere north of 6k -- a little hard to tell because I was getting into third gear and  high double digit speeds, combining the lack of time to look at  the tach, and the fact that my tach is a little on the inaccurate side and I'm really just guessing where the rpms are. 



Spray bar is still on the list of options, just need to find the time (and welder) to get it done. I'm barely finding time as it is to get brake lines moved around so I can get the sway bar on.  






where do you autocross?


With the Central Coast Porsche Club in Santa Maria.

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No welder needed for the spraybar install, just basic hand tools. But for a .500 lift cam and less than 6K rpm, that wasn't the issue to cause such severe lashpad destruction, something else happened there. Did you replace the pads with new when you upgraded the cam the first time or just put the 40 yr old ones back in? Oil starvation is also a big issue in hard-pushed old motors. Even with a trap-doored, race prepped oil pan, I've watched the oil pressure gauge drop 20# around a long sweeper as all the oil gets thrown to one side of the pan and the pickup tube starts starving the oil pump. And we really need to clean out the oil galleys feeding the cylinder head when our motors are apart too. Are you using an upgraded oil pump or running an oil pressure gauge?

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I'm running a ZX oil pump and a cheap-ish autometer oil pressure gauge. It runs about 60psi at 3.5k rpm and around 20-25psi at idle. I haven't really noticed during hard cornering what it does. 



Troy Ermish built the motor, I believe he used new rockers, they looked new when we inspected a second time before the initial motor install. The common theme I got from nearly everyone when I first discovered the problem was it probably had to do with my use of shit oil. I was using a synthetic motor oil and no zinc additive. Everyone seems to think that the lack of zinc additive was what killed the hard surfacing. 

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Well you had a good builder, and good parts, but I've never seen that much damage in so few miles due to lack of additives. Ah well, sometimes shit just happens. Hopefully you got it all sorted out for the rebuild, the wagon deserves to run hard  :thumbup:

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Run Chevron Dello 400 or Shell Rotella T both are 15W40 light diesel oils that kept the higher ZDDP levels in their formula. I've run them in all my Datsuns for the last 6-7 years.


The KA engines in the D-21 trucks also use a high volume output oil pump. I run these on my L18 and L20B engines and have for 15 or so tears on all my L series engines. Max pressures are the same as stock as they are set by the pressure relief spring, but the low speed and isle are about 10 PSI higher than stock pumps. My hot idle was 17 and with the KA pump jumped to 28.

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  • 2 months later...

Run Chevron Dello 400 or Shell Rotella T both are 15W40 light diesel oils that kept the higher ZDDP levels in their formula. I've run them in all my Datsuns for the last 6-7 years.


The KA engines in the D-21 trucks also use a high volume output oil pump. I run these on my L18 and L20B engines and have for 15 or so tears on all my L series engines. Max pressures are the same as stock as they are set by the pressure relief spring, but the low speed and isle are about 10 PSI higher than stock pumps. My hot idle was 17 and with the KA pump jumped to 28.



Oil pressure has been looking pretty good recently, and I think that the diesel oil definitely has some different properties in terms of the noise coming from the rockers. I think it's going to be okay for now, I will be doing an oil change soon just to make sure everything still looks good. 

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Got some big things done recently. First I put some longer studs on the rear of the car, ended up using ARP Miata studs -- 3in long and 1x1.5 thread, which makes finding lug nuts I like easier. 



It was a pain in the ass though. 




Had to pull the axles and drill a hole in the backing plate of the drum brakes to get the stud in place. Then pulled it through with a lug nut (it took my dad and I both using Thule bars as levers in opposite directions to pull the damn things through). 




Once that was done it was a simple reassembly, right?



Wrong, that new wheel cylinder was faulty, and it took us about an hour and a half to figure that out (the lower side wouldn't retract, so the brakes were always forced out just enough to stop the drum from being able to slide over the brakes). 






All of this meant this could happen: 














More little things coming soon....

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've really enjoyed seeing this car evolve, and I must say that the new wheel look REALLY good.  I love the direction you have gone with the car.


Thank you! I love hearing stuff like this from fellow racers, makes me feel like I'm successfully walking the line between a really cool street car and a potent autocross machine. 




Speaking of autocross.... 






Got her real dirty in the rain on Saturday. 


And 100k miles!



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  • 1 year later...
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Cool to see that they are still autocrossing at Santa Maria airport! I used to run there with the Cal Poly Sports Car Club back in the '90s. No one ran wagons back then, well, except for the few times this beast showed up.



No competition for your Wagon, that's for sure!  Usually there was only 1 or 2 510s there, but one time we managed to get a whole gang to show up. I think it was during the annual Norcal SoCal UFO meetup weekend.  



The fastest 510 out there at the time, and most often TTOD was Gian Bowles who went to Nationals for a couple years:



Your Wagon looks great on those new wheels, BTW.  Best of luck as you continue to evolve your car!

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