Jump to content

84 720 -aka- my very first resto -aka- rust nightmare


Recommended Posts

so, this is my girl. Her name is Ramona.




got her for 400, decided that I needed to fix her up, found she was SORELY in need of fixing. Ive posted some pics of her on another site, but the membership here seems a bit more active, so if you guys wont mind to much I'd like to post my build here.



This is a pic of how she looks right now. Interior torn apart, nose and quarter panels removed, lots of rust uncovered.







Im going to be jumping into this thing with gusto, doing my very first body work ever, very first welding ever, and very first painting ever. I figure, hey, she's damn near a wreck right now, I cant really make her much worse! Dont worry, I have tons of reading material, am studying various DIY sources, and plan on taking my time; 4-6 months worth of time on her alone.



One final note: I absolutely LOVE that Kittyhawk paint scheme on the 510(corrected) on the top right of the page. Would I be horribly offending/wronging anyone if I decided to try to copy that for Ramona?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
  • Replies 49
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Thanks for the correction. While Ive always admired the 240 and 260, and Im a fan of the Fairlady, this is my very first Datsun, so Im just not very experienced with recognizing the models yet.


Today was a rust day. Ive just about finished uncovering all of the rust on the old girl. I pulled off the bedliner and while it looks bad in the pics, I was hugely relived to discover that it's all surface rust, and the thick metal of the bed floor is fine otherwise. The end result of the rust search has me in a place where I will need new floor pans, and I'll probably end up going through 10 grinding wheels and as many cans of rustoleum, but in the end she is still solid enough to be worthy of a restoration. phew! Lesson learned: figure out what it will take to finish a project BEFORE starting the next one, lol.



First things first, though, had to clean up the garage a bit. Still need to get rid of all of those boxes and some of the other superfluous junk to make room for my future workbench, but at least I have more room to work with now.









Bed Liner removed, as well as the bed panel walls, and laid out on the newly uncovered garage floor.




Pics of the Bed with its all-encompasing surface rust. Also the wheel wells which have been dented. No way to get those dents out aside from hammering em out, so at some point in time before I get down to painting her, I'll take the rear tires off and get to it.







As you can see from the underside pics, though, the rust hasnt eaten through the bed. There will be pitting for sure, but the plan was always to put the bed liner back on, so some simple sealant, filler, and rustoleum and she'll be set.




More great news: the worst of the rust on the nose can be repaired without having to cut, fab, and weld. More stripping and treating, but this I can do in my sleep! This is after an exploratory foray with the angle grinder and a grind wheel, just to see how bad the rust would turn out to be. Looks much better in person than in the pic - totally salvageable.




Anyway, tomorrow will be dedicated to rust removal. Im going to hit the bed hard, and probably get some more work done on the nose. Pics will follow.

Link to comment

I wonder what they were loading in that bed that beat the shit out of them fender wells.

If you cannot see threw it, then it is not that rusty, and is salvageable, there may be some pitting on the front, but treat it with rust inhibitor, prime and paint it, and call it good, as everything I seen in the front was hidden behind lights/grills/bumpers.

I myself don't recognize half the 70s model cars, about a year ago I thought a 1980 datsun 510 wagon was a toyota from a distance.

Link to comment

yeah, pitted metal there is aplenty, but it's still soldi most everywhere except the floorpans. On the pic of the nose, you can see a hole towards the bottom right, next to the bracing for the bumper, but its not enough to make me scrap the piece. The rusted part can still be smooted out and filled with some bondo hair or other appropriate filler agent, then of course primed and coated. I had been worried for a few days that when I was done pulling off body panels and poking my screwdrivers around that Id have nothing more than a drive train, an old dirty bench seat, and 2000 lbs of rust piled on the garage floor, lol.

Link to comment

Some additional pics of Ramona from recent work days:


Driver's side floorpan. Will need new metal, obviously. I think that was spackle up front, lol.



Passenger side floorpan. Also gonna need new metal.




When removing the dash, found this. Freaking nightmare.



Blech. Yeah, gonna need a new dash.








Could use some tips on removing the steering wheel... never done that before.




Bench seat is out now, but previous owner jerkoffs literally welded the damn thing in. I mean, really?!




Battery tray. I think they used metal from the a roadside ditch car for this, given the condition.


Link to comment

All I do is grab both sides of the steering wheel and pull/wiggle back and forth from side to side till it comes off, never failed yet.

They sell replacement caps for the dash on ebay,


but all I ever do is find a good one in the wrecking yards, but we have a lot of 720s in the wrecking yards around here.

The bench seat probably came out of something else, otherwise the seat mount holes would have matched the existing holes, and that looked like what a farmer would do to mount the seat, and if it had been the fender that was loose, he would have welded that on also, seen it a bunch of times.

Link to comment

Well, my day was shortened by a few things. Had to do laundry, which lasted till about noon (my washing machine is long since dead, so I head on base and use the laundromats there - free, but takes time). So, I didnt get started grinding till about noon. I got in a few good hours of work, with only a break to head to Lowes and buy a few more stripping wheels for the angle grinder, but then a thunderstorm broke off the festivities at about 5pm. So, all in all, I got about 3-3.5 hours of actual work in, and MAN did I not get as far as I had really expected to. Getting into those grooves in the bed is slow, careful work. I alternated between my power drill and my angle grinder so as not to overload either tool.


Anyway, got a patch representing about 15-20% of the total bed surface area completely cleaned up.

Part way through



Full patch cleaned and cleared




Also did some little stuff last night. Removed the interior door panels,





finished removing the sound dampening material on the floorboards





Also took the grinder to a few other rust patches to see what kind of work I have ahead of me. Most notable was the rear tire well, where I discovered some dead metal



My current plan is, assuming the restoration goes as well as I hope it will, to ditch the bed liner. It is perfectly functional, but pretty ugly aesthetically. As I want to have a decent paintwork on the truck, Im not expecting to use it as a work truck, so Im not worried about putting the liner back in. Instead, Im going to finish de-rusting the bed, then lay down a layer of spray-on liner on the bed floor and on the wheel wells. The side and back panels will be painted in kind with the rest of the paint scheme. This means I AM going to have to pound out those dents, though. Given that, and the location of the dead metal on the wheel well, it is likely that those small holes will develop into larger ones, and I'll probably have to weld in a patch when all is said and done. Not too big of a deal.

Link to comment

bone-stock Z24, carbureted. I plan on putting on a weber 32/36 carb, and Ive toyed with the idea of installing a super as well. that will depend upon how soon I complete the work I already have slated, and also on how much Ive spent at that time. I'd be content with just the carb upgrade in the end, though.

Link to comment

had surgery on jaw, lots of stitches, high on percocet. wont be working on the truck for a few days.


Trying to decide between a 32/36mm progressive or a 38mm synchronized. for my purposes I think the 38mm would be a better carb, given that even if I dont put on the super I'll likely replace some internals. I know that weber sells ready made kits for the Z24 to fit on the 32/36, but I gotta go see if there are any for the 38, or if maybe it might even use the same kit.



edit: they do.

Link to comment

I likey. Better than dropping 60+ on some dash cap that will only make the rest of it look worse by comparison, or paying the absolutely ridiculous prices websites charge for a new dash. I'll probably still do my junkard diving that I have planned this weekend; I need other stuff too, so no harm keeping an eye out. If they want too much, though, I'll be following suit with your work. Of course, I'll still need to do some repair work on the glove box. The door wont latch shut, and the opening/closing rails are ass.


What type of filler did you use? Any other prep work you did to improve the finish that you didint mention in your thread?



Link to comment

Well, Ive been trying to find somebody who offers a molded carpet that will fit, and after talking with a rep on the phone I think I may have gotten what Im looking for.




I still need to go grab new seats, which will decide upon the color of carpeting I choose, but this weekend I'll likely be ordering a molded carpet. I'll let you guys know if it fits well or not. I was sure to verify that they had a good return policy first. As an aside, for those interested in doing business with these guys, the customer service guy I spoke to (Robert) was incredibly helpful and friendly, and seemed willing to try to help me solve the issue by searching around for a proper fit if this one didnt work out. I'll be sure to report in again later.


For now, Im gonna work on removing the foam from my old dash, as Symrna demonstrated. Given that Im on prescription narcotics, I think thats about the only safe project I can work on. I'll leave the power tools alone today, lol.


note: also ordered a new battery tray today, and getting ready to put in orders for a new coolant overflow and a new windshield washer kit (complete with mounting, wires, everything). found great prices on both, about 95 for the two (where as Ive seen people asking for 125 for the overflow reservoir alone).

Link to comment

Well, I got all of the foam padding off the dashboard, and sanded away some of the remaining fuzz. I'll apply the filler next and then paint it, but it isnt a priority in the project. It all depends upon how I feel tomorrow. This weekend is reserved for more rust work in the bed of the truck.











Im not sure how it will end up turning out in the long run, but Im sure the money saved will improve the looks in my eyes. Anyway, Ive got a few tips for others who decide they may want to follow in Symrna's footsteps.


First off, be careful when taking off the foam material around the vents. I broke both of the side vents to varying degrees in so doing.



If your dash has had enough UV exposure to be in need of this sort of tear down, then the plastic around the vents will be brittle as well. You should definitely remove the vents first, via the interior mounting hardware.







I used a simply putty/paint scraper mixer to remove most of the padding. Given that the plastic underneath has been protected, and that you will be sanding and filling before finally painting it, dont worry too much about damaging the plastic. It is pretty soft, though, so dont hack at it.



Anyway, as I had already removed the AC radiator, and the truck did not come with the engine hardware for AC in the first place, Ive got a full set of AC/heater hoses and fittings that I no longer need.









If anyone wants these, Id be interested in selling or trading them. Id rather do the whole thing as a set, but I have nothing against parting it out. PM me if you want any parts of the AC/heater system. Ive got the blower motor as well, but I have no clue what-so-ever if it works. I'll try to figure that out soon.

Link to comment

Well, as I was a bit too addled in the brain to trust myself using power tools on the truck today, I decided to knock out another project I'd been mentally courting for a few weeks. I needed a work bench!


Im sure I could have probably gotten some scrap wood for cheaper if I had looked around first, but I got all excited during a trip to lowes and left with 40 bucks of wood and a package of nails. Also found a guy selling an engine hoist and stand, both unused, for 170 cash. Seeing as I had put a deposit on a hoist at a local pawn shop that wanted 150 for the hoist, I went and canceled that and used the money to get a saw and some more wrenches. Im starting to feel like I have a semi-respectable garage again!


The wood:





The saw:



Spent a few hours in the hot texas heat just having a blast and putting it all together. This is the very first thing I've ever made out of wood, and I have to admit that I ended up being idiotically proud of the finished product.



had a plank and a bit of 2x4 left over, so made a lower shelf



Now it looks like it's lived there the whole time!



Way better than a couple weeks ago, when my garage looked like this:



I'm planning on getting another grouping of 2x4s to make a second workbench (I got 2 pieces of plywood and only used one), and Im also toying with the idea of building a frame for the bench seat that came out of Ramona and making a garage couch, rather than just junking the seat. If I do that, I'll post pics of it too. So, didn't get any work done on the girl today, but still felt productive.


And just before I closed up, the guy dropped off the hoist/stand!



So, I'll be able to lift out the engine soon! Im still going to finish doing rust repair on the bed and body first; the engine will sit there all fine, but rust never sleeps!



stay rad

Link to comment

Hell yeah dude! I used regular old bondo for filler. Good luck!


If I had a piece of advice to offer, it would be don't use interior dye. Use regular old spray paint... well good spray paint anyways. Satin finish.

Link to comment

Cool, thanks man. Ive got some bondo in the garage already, so I guess Im set on that end. Looking more closely at how yours looked when you finished putting it back in, I think I'll be more than happy with the final product. The dash has turned into the project I work on when I either dont have the time or motivation to work on the more major parts. Cut off a bit here, sand a bit there, fill a bit tomorrow, that kind of thing. I'll keep the photos coming as the work progresses. I was also thinking that it might be cool to work a few extras into the dash while Im doing this, perhaps fit a molded cell phone / GPS mount, or something along those lines, so when it is painted and finished it looks like they are an actual part of the dash. BTW, seeing how well this is turning out, Im officially calling this "The Smyrna method." Thanks for the tip!

Link to comment

Well, got home from work late today, so only had so much daylight to actually work on Ramona. Grinding out the rust is loud as a pack of hogs having an orgy in a slaughter house, so I try not to do it once twilight hits. I got another small patch done on the bed today, but it included a corner and some areas around the wheel well, which are a bit more delicate and harder to hit, so I feel comfortable with my progress. Im going to be hitting the junk yards tomorrow, and I'll probably put together that second work bench, but even so I expect to be about 80% done de-rusting the bed by the end of the weekend.


So far, this is how Im doing:



found a couple more spot where the rust ate through, but these were small enough that I'll be able to fix em with some bondo hair, once it arrives (had to order it in).



In the end, once I got the new clean patch primed, I can say that about 2/5 of the bed is done.






Once the light went out, I moved onto a few other things that needed doing. I got the hoist put together



The plan right now is that once Ive got the bed cleaned up, Im going to lift out the engine. I'll then finish repairing the rust on the front of the truck, and then in the cab, again using my daylight working hours. Once the sun goes down, I'll get to tearing the engine down. Yes, I've decided to do that. No, Im not happy with my self control. Whatever, though, Ramona deserves it, and when she is done she is going to be absolutely amazing.


I also discovered that I am WAY too ocd when Im on pain killers



Anyway, hopefully my foray into the salvage yards will yield some seats and a few other neato toys. I'll report in tomorrow with what I ended up finding, as well as whatever work I get done.



stay rad!

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.