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My Dragon Datsun 521

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Try to pull straight out or you'll crush the plastic pinion gear. It's mounted on an eccentric. I leave the cable on (though loosened) and pull on it while wiggling very slightly, with vice grips.  

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I have been doing body work, and painting the left door, and fenders I am going put on Dragon soon.  This is the left door inside.  Most of the window frame of the door has been painted, but the exterior door skin still has some dents and minor low spots.



I have been working on the fenders I am going to put on Dragon.  Both right and left fenders have had a lot of metal work done to them, then I cleaned then both down to bare metal, inside and out, sprayed PPG DP40LF epoxy primer on them, then a surfacer, and a guide coat, then sanded the guide coat off.  This reviled some high and low spots I missed. 



I metal worked the fenders some more, and again a coat of epoxy primer.



This is the right fender, again sprayed with a coat of surfacer.


And then the fenders were sprayed with a light guide coat again.




Now, back to door work.  I need to have the doors on the cab, to fit the fenders.  This is the door that I have already painted the inside and window frame of, and I needed to repair some shallow dents and dings in the outside door skin.  

When I was much younger,  I thought it was OK to apply plastic body filler to bare metal.  I also heard this was a bad idea, you should an epoxy primer on bare metal, and let it cure, then apply plastic body filler.   

Since I have had Dragon since the 1970's, and have done previous work on it, I am finding that a lot of areas that I put plastic body filler on have the filler coming off, and rust under the filler, on the what was bare metal.  I am my own dreaded previous owner.



This is a closer look at one of the areas with filler applied, and sanded down.  i have sanded down to bare metal in a few spots, so guess what.  



Another coat of PPG DP40LF epoxy primer.


The epoxy primer has a 24 hour wait time to apply plastic body filler to it.  I wanted to do other work in the garage, and needed to put this door somewhere else.  I also had some other doors that need work in the garage, taking up space, and in the way.  I came up with this idea.




the door for Dragon is farthest back.



While the epoxy primer on the door was curing, I did some more work on the roof of Dragon.  I sanded this area down until I just touched metal again,



and sprayed another coat of PPG DP40 LF on that area.



I had some extra primer left, and sprayed primer on a rear hood brace after I cleaned it.



TRtDoorFiller2ndCoat.JPGhe next day, some more filler on the door.




Edited by DanielC

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It has been almost 10 months since I last added to this thread, I have been doin a little work on Dragon, but not a lot in the winter, since Dragon needed some work with plastic filler, and primer and paint and it was too cold.  In the spring, I need to do a lot of work on my farm.


Anyway, this is a picture from September 2018.  This was sanded down, reprimed, and has been sitting.



Dragon has not had a left door for a while.  I finally got door in the post above sanded, primed, and painted.  The door was painted with Axalta Centari acrylic enamel, with 793 overall hardener. The Datsun paint code is 558. or Axalta code 31025.



This is some lightweight insulation I put in the door.  I cut these four pieces to fit on the inside of the door skin.



This is the spray glue I use to glue the insulation in the door.  You spray the glue on the tow surfaces you want to stick together, wait about 5 or ten minutes, and then press the two surfaces together.



Insulation glued in top rear corner of the door.  I needed to cut more insulation away from the key cylinder hole, and the holes for the outside door release handle.





There is a door brace about 2/3 of the way down on the door.  When I was doing body work on the door, I put some seam sealer between the door skin, and the brace.  Reattaching the brace with seam sealer really helps stiffen up the door skin, making it much easier to sand primer and surfacer prior to painting the door.  The insulation and brace reattachment make the door sound a lot less 'tinny" or rattly when you close the door. 



I had cleaned up and painted the door hinges a while ago. I bolted the hinges on the door just by making a wild guess, and approximately centering the hinges in the middle of their adjustment range in and out, up and down.  I then got more bolts (5/16-24) that bolt the door hinges to the door post on the cab, and put the bolts where I could reach them, while holding the door on the cab.  While holding the door on the cab, I reached in to the cab, and put one bolt in the bottom and the top hinge to hold the door.  This would have been a bit easier, but I did not chase the threads on the door hinges.   With two bolts holding the door. I chased the threads in the other bolt holes, and put those bolts in.


This is the door on the cab, last thing I did before I had to go to work that day.



The next day, I did a minor adjustment on the door fit to the cab.  The only major problem was the door was too low in the back.  This is an easy fix.  I loosened two of the three bolts holding the lower hinge to the door post, and three of the four bolts holding the upper hinge.

then I loosened the last bolt on the upper hinge a little, but left it still slightly snug, and just barely loosened the last bolt on the lower hinge.  Then I could lift the rear of the door, the upper hinge bolt would slide a little bit, and the lower hinge bolt would be a pivot.  I held the door closed, no door catch in the door yet, and it looked good, and I tightened the hinge bolts again.   So now I have a door on the cab, but no guts in the door, yet.  Not even window run channel. (felt)


This is the window run channel I use on a 521. 



The wing window had the forward window run channel in it.  It is just a straight run.    I used this adhesive to hold the Mygrant run channel above in the groove.


the other end of the box, with part number.


Mygrant run channel in wing window.



You need to cut the rear window run channel to length, and make two 45 degree cuts in the run channel at the back top of the door.  I start to measure the run channel from the wing window, and go back across the top of the door, then down the rear guide channel.  you need to put the wing window in the door.  The wing window goes in the door like this.  As you lower the wing window into the door,  you can slide the lower end into position, and then the top of the wing window will slide forward.



In this picture, I am holding the top of the wing window forward, and I made a small mark where the top and rear run channel will be. Notice I left it a little long.



I have put the Mygrant run channel in the door in this picture, but I have pulled it out again.  At the top, and back of the door, I cut two 45 degree notches in the sides of the run channel, so the channel fits the top corner of the door.  The channel is not glued in yet



After cutting and fitting the run channel in the door, I put the sliding window in temporarily, and made sure it slid up and down in the rear channel without a lot of drag.  Without the wing window in the door, the sliding glass goes in to the door pretty easily.




You need a piece of string for the next step.  In my case, I used a piece of hay baling twine.



This is how I hook the string on the window.


The window is lowered to the bottom of the door



With the sliding window in the bottom of the door, and slid back into the rear run channel, you can put the wing window, with the front run channel into the door.  As you slide the wing window in place, make sure you put the front run channel over the top front corner of the sliding glass.


The sliding glass in down all the way in the bottom of the door.  notice the string in the picture, pulling up on the string raises the sliding window.  The window should slide up without a lot of drag, it is does not, make sure the sliding window in in the run channel both front and back.   Use a flash light to look into the door id necessary.



Here the sliding window is slid part way up, and is moving easily. with some drag.  I raised the window all the way up to check the run channel fit in the door.



A picture of the front of the sliding window.


The sliding window hanging on the string.



I have not yet used any glue on the run channel, all this is just checking the fit and moving of the window.  I have had some sliding windows move with too much drag in some other doors I have put together, and I am trying to figure out why.  I think I have figured it out, and will explain in my next post, where I contiue to put this door together.   The wing window, and the sliding window will need to come out of the door to glue the weather strip to the door.

Edited by DanielC
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After you have confirmed the sliding window moves easily, with some drag, you then lower the sliding window to the bottom of the door, and then tilt the wing window top toward the rear, and remove the wing window from the door.  Then you can remove the sliding window out of the door, and remove the Mygrant run channel to glue it in.

I applied a bead of the 3M weatherstrip adhesive to the bottom of the run channel, not on the edges.  I then spread the bead across the width of the bottom of the run channel with the side of the nozzle on the adhesive tube.  If you get the adhesive on your fingers, it will be difficult to get off, but it will wear off in a few days.  You can wear gloves, but the glove tends to get stuck in the adhesive.  Do not try to do the whole weatherstrip at once, but do smaller sections.



This is a small piece of wood building shim, cut off at about the same width as the sliding window glass.  I use it to push the Mygrant run channel completely to the bottom of the groove in the door, and on the wing window.  



Glue the run channel all the way across the top, starting from the rear corner, making sure the notches you cut for the top rear corner are at the top rear corner, and not below, or forward of the rear corner.  Again, start at the rear corner, and work forward, and then from the rear corner work down gluing the run channel in small sections.



After the run channel is glued in, put the sliding window with a string in the bottom of the door, and then put the wing window in, making sure the sliding window is in the rear channel, and you put the wind window channel over the front top corner of the sliding glass.

This looks just like another picture, but now the window run channel is glued into the door.



Slide the top of the wing window forward,


then put the wing window screws in.  The top screw is a machine screw, the bottom three screws are tapping screws.  The screws that came out of this door were rusty, I replaced the rusty screws with stainless screws.  The top screw is a #8-32 thread, about 3/8 or maybe 1/2 of an inch long.  The bottom three screws are #8 tapping screws.



After the four top screws that hold the wing window are in, you may be tempted to put the two screws in to the door that hold the bottom of the front run channel.  Stop.  Do not put these two screws in yet.  The sliding window regulator arm goes in between the inside door skin, and the run channel.


Both windows are in the door, the weather strip is glued in, and the sliding window can be moved easily with the string.  Move the sliding window close to the top of the door, and use the string to tie it up.


Put the window regulator in the door, through the rear hole in the door.



Move the window regulator forward, lift the wing window channel away from the inside of the door, and slip the regulator arm under the wing window channel.



Hold the sliding window, and untie it, and lower it so you can see the slot the end of the regulator arm slides in.



Put the roller on the end of the regulator arm in the slot,



Put the crank post on the front end of the window regulator through its hole.  Do not worry about aligning the screws holes for the regulator, yet.



Tie the window regulator arm to hold the window in the door, the exact position is not critical.



The screw holes will probably not line up.



Put the crank handle on the window regulator, and turn the crank until a screw hole lines up, put that screw in loosely.  Turn the crank a little more and put the rest of the screws in the regulator. 



Then untie the string holding the sliding window, and roll the window up.  Do not roll the window down, you can easily roll the window down too far, and the sliding window will come off the roller on the end of the regulator arm.


Now you can put the front run channel screws in the door, top,


and bottom.



This is the window stop.  Put it in the door.  Check the operation of the sliding window.



With the window regulator in the door, you can put in the door catch and lock mechanism.

However, the door mechanism, unless you have already cleaned and put fresh grease on it need that first.  The grease that was put on it when the truck was made 50 years ago had had 50 years to decompose, and collect dirt, and harden.  I used mineral spirits to clean the lock mechanism, and the interior door release.




This is the grease I used on the door mechanism.



I moved the parts of the lock mechanism around as I pushed the grease under the parts as much as I could.



Like the window regulator, you slide the door release and lock mechanism into the door through the larger hole in the rear of the door. 



The door catch mechanism going in the door.



The door catch mechanism in the door, and placed in the hole it fits in.



This is a picture of the door catch, without screws,



you can put the screws in, and tighten them.



Just a quick not on adjusting the door.  The door latch in the door should NOT move the back of the door up or down as the door is closed.  The height of the back of the door is controlled by the adjustment of the door hinges.  The door catch is only to hold the door closed against cab.  The door catch on the cab rear door post can be ajusted up and down, in and out.   Adjust up and down to not move or hold the height of the rear of the door.  Adjust in and out to hold the rear of the door against the door weatherstrip, and to match the depth of the door to the cab.

Edited by DanielC
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With the door catch mechanism screwed in the back of the door, you can put the front release handle in the door.


The strut that goes to the lower right corner of this picture hangs below the forward release handle.  put the two screws in that hold the forward mechanism to the door, and put the handle on.


Put the outside release handle in the door,


Center the outside release handle in the opening, and put the nuts on the posts that hold the handle to the door.



This is the lock cylinder installed in the door.  The lock cylinder is held by the rusty clip that holds the cylinder to the door, it just slides under some tabs on the lock cylinder.   There is also a hairpin clip that holds a short lever that goes to a rod on the door catch mechanism.  Carefully put this hairpin clip in place, it is really easy to drop into the door and lose it.



I then put the window crank on the door.



Take out the sliding window stop again.  you need to lower the sliding window just below the edge of the door, to get the fuzzy strips that are right on the window glass.


These are the slots in the top outside of the door that hold the four clips on each side that hold the fuzzy weatherstrip in the door.


These are the slots in the top inside of the door that hold the four clips on each side that hold the fuzzy weatherstrip in the door.  note the sliding window is just below the edge of the door.  The sliding window is very close to coming off the roller on the end of the window regulator arm. 


This is the clip that holds the glass weatherstrip to the door.  the tab held in the needle nose pliers  is bent away from the body of the clip.  That needs to be bent closer to the clip body.



You just bend the tab by holding the tab with the pliers, and pushing the two outside legs of the clip closer to the center tab.  this is the same clip as above, after bending it.



The center tab on the clip slides into the slot in the top of the window opening.



Finally, the glass weatherstrip can be slid into the two small legs of the weatherstrip clip.  Start at one end, holding the fuzzy weatherstrip at a slight angle, and push the weatherstrip into all four clips.  Repeat the same process for the second glass weatherstrip.



I have not gotten the inside door upholstery cards redone yet, so at this point, I am done with the door.


Edited by DanielC
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The following is a copy of a post I made in another truck thread, this thread:


This is about modifying the plate in the center of the cab that covers the hole for the transmission, and moving the hole in the plate to match a long shaft five speed transmission.


I ordered this gear shift lever boot from Amazon on December 6.



It arrived December 16.



This is a picture of a fairly new Nissan OEM boot, that is NLA from the Nissan dealer.



I have two 521 trucks with long shaft five speed transmissions in them.  I put a five speed transmission in my Green truck, named "Dragon"  in the late 1970's.  Earlier this year, I put a 1980 720 L-20-B engine and five speed transmission in my daily driver Datsun 521, named "Ratsun".

I pulled the transmission cover plate out of Dragon when I put the five speed in Ratsun, and left Dragon without a cover plate for a while.


This December 2019 I started work on a cover plate for Dragon, since I robbed the plate from Dragon.   I cut a round piece of 18 gauge sheet metal to fit the hole for the original shift lever location of a 521, Welded that in a shift cover plate, then I cut a smaller hole in that plate for the new location of the shift lever.   I just used a 3 inch hole saw to cut the new hole.

Notice the new smaller hole lines up with two screw holes to hold the plate to the transmission tunnel.



The new Thailand lever boot fits the original hole OK, but first I had to cut the parting line flash where two halves of the shift boot mold came together.



This is not the actual knife I used, it is just for illustration.



Time to make the actual new hole in the cover plate for the new lever boot.  I used a second OEM cover plate to draw a circle on the plate I wanted to put a new hole in.



This is the round hole drawn above.  Notice the outline of the hole runs into two of the screw holes that hold the plate in the cab.



I then freehanded drew lines about a 1/4 inch inside the two screw holes, and then added about 1/4 of an inch outside 90 degrees away from the screw holes.  The intention is to make the boot mounting hole slightly egg shaped to clear the plate mounting screw holes.



I used a 1/32 small cutoff disk in a die grinder to rough cut the new hole, undersized.



Then I used this drum sanding wheel to sand (grind) the hole to dimension, and to smooth the cutoff wheel gouges, and deburr the hole.



Then I used this flange,



and a punch, that looks very much like an old kingpin, and a hammer to flatten the metal around the new boot hole.



This is the hole, flattened.



This is the Thailand shift boot from Amazon on the modified cover plate.



The bottom of the cover plate, with boot.BootOnPlate2.JPG


and this is the cover plate, and boot screwed in the cab of Dragon.



First Gear



Second gear



Fifth gear






No it is not painted yet.  It was 40 degrees F in the garage, too cold to paint.  About 4.4 degrees C.

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It was December 17, 2019 when I made the modifications on the shift cover plate, and then put it in Dragon, unpainted.  Yesterday, Jan 3 was a weird warm day in western Oregon, and I sprayed some primer on parts, including the shift cover plate, using the small heater in the picture to get the garage warm enough to paint.  Today was about 10 degrees F or more colder, and I had to do something else to paint.   For you metric folks, yesterday was about 13 or 14 degrees, today around 6 degrees.



I had some smaller "DJ" type lights cans that hold a PAR 46 200 watt spot light.  Three of the light fixtures are in this picture.



After putting the lights up, and turning them on, I pointed them at a few parts on a table on the garage.   Notice the primed shift cover plate in the foreground of the picture.  The thermometer was reading about 75 degrees F, or about 24 degrees C



To dim the PAR 46 lamps, I use some dimmers mounted in a junction box going to the outlet they are plugged into.



I also need to get the fenders for Dragon painted.  I should be able to do some of that much sooner in the year than I could before.

Edited by DanielC
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That’s the reason I use those old 600W work lights. They make the general vicinity warm, which helps when it’s 20-30 degrees in my garage.

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The old incandescent work lamps do put out a lot of heat, with the light, but they have a very wide flood pattern.  The PAR 46 lights have a more focused pattern.


I am thinking that used PAR lamps might be available in the used market, the PAR lamps were used in a lot of theatres for live shows, but now modern lighting technology with LED theatrical lights use a lot less electricity, are not as hot for performers, and have less fire hazard.

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In this picture there are two 521 heater cover plates, and the shifter cover plate that is going back on Dragon.  The shift plate was sprayed with an epoxy primer, then a surfacer, and I sanded the surfacer.  The heater covers were sprayed with PPG DPLF epoxy primer, a while ago.  The instructions for DPLF  say it can be top coated within a week of spraying, without sanding, it has been much longer than that.   I sanded the two heater cover plates.



I mixed another small batch of DPLF, and sprayed that on the heater cover plates, both sides, and sprayed the top side only of the transmission shifter plate, to cover a few bare metal spots from sanding.  That was last evening.



This evening, I sprayed Alasta Centari 99A pitch black on the parts.  They are in the garage, under the PAR 46 lights for heat.



This post is pretty much a copy of the post in another thread, about another one of my 521 trucks.  One heater cover is going on Ratsun, the transmission shifter cover plate is going on Dragon, and I have other 521 trucks too.

Ratsun's thread starts here.



Six days later, I put some foam tape on the newly painted shifter cover plate.



The seat in dragon is still up on these boards, so I can work under it.



This allows me to get to back screws for the transmission shifter cover plate



I slid the cover plate, with boot over the shift lever.



This is part of an old test light, I use the probe on it to align holes.



Even with the seat raised, a short screwdriver is still handy to put screws in.



The boards under the seat were removed, and the seat was lowered on to the seat rail, and then the nuts that hold the seat were installed.



The shift knob was put on.



The second painted heater cover plate, it need to go here,


Edited by DanielC
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Since I put spot lights up in the garage, I am doing more painting of smaller parts.


I have the internal parts for the heater, and after the paint cures more, I am going to put the heater together, and then put it in Dragon.


These are the cover plates for the heater.  I need to glue the "cold hot" label on the plates.



This is the left fender I am planning on using on Dragon.    It has been sprayed with PPG DP 40 LF epoxy primer, but it has been sitting around for a while.  PPG recommends covering DPLF with a top coat within a week of spraying, and it has been much longer than that.  The recommended process for epoxy primer that has sat too long is to sand it, and respray DPLF again. LfDragonFender1.JPG


Part way through sanding the fender, I was using 150 grit paper on a sponge pad.



By setting the block of wood under the front of the fender,



and letting the back of the fender hang over the edge, the fender is pretty solid on the table.



I screwed a short piece of 2x6 on the top of a saw horse,



and the fender will sit securely on the was horse, so you can sand the top of the fender.



After sanding the fender, it was sprayed again with DPLF, and then a surfacer.



Just the top of the fender.


Edited by DanielC
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That is the original sticker.  I have three of them loose, I tried to glue one on to a cover plate I had already painted.  I used too much glue, and after clamping the sticker down to a cover plate, the glue ran out from under the sticker, and made an ugly mess,

Removing the sticker messed up the fresh paint, and I repainted a spot on one of the heater covers. 

I am going to wait longer for paint to cure more, and use less glue next time.

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Nice work as always Daniel.

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Charlie, thank you for kind words, and helping me out with parts needed, and even for helping other 521 owners with parts too.


Yesterday, just like the left fender, the exterior of a right fender got a quick sand, a thin coat of DP40LF,



Side of right fender



and then two coats of a surfacer.  I am currently using a Shopline JP202 surfacer over the PPG DP40LF



the top of the fender, with surfacer.



It was January 1 the last time I started Dragon.  Engines and cars are happier if you start and move them every few weeks.  I also wanted to move a cab I am putting a new floor in into my garage.  This picture was on February 1.



The cab I want to work on in on the back of this trailer.



Also today, I sprayed some grey Centari paint on the epoxy primer on the inside of the fenders I am going to put on Dragon.

The cab I just moved into the garage is covered with a sheet plastic to keep some overspray off it.




Most auto paints, and primers are a two part mixture, not including any additional thinners or reducers.  The mixing ratios vary a lot.  Some mixes are a 1 to 1 ratio, to commonly I use one paint that is a 8 to 1 ratio of paint to hardener.


In this picture are several measuring cups, from left to right, 60 cc, 40 cc, 30 cc, 20 cc, 11 cc, and 5 and 15 cc.



I had a busy week, and today, February 7,  I sprayed some green paint on the inside of the fender mounting flanges, and in the headlight buckets.




Edited by DanielC
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March 21, 2020 and I did enough work on Dragon to warrant taking pictures.   After painting the inside of the fenders in February,  It turned colder again, too cold to paint.  I moved a spare 521 cab into the garage, and did welding work on a new floor install on that cab.  It turned warmer again, its now early spring.

I painted the outside of the two fenders I am going to put on Dragon.



When putting parts on a pickup cab, you do the parts in a specific order.  On a bare cab, you put the doors on first.  You have to fit the back, bottom, and top of the doors to the cab.  No fenders yet.  Then you fit the hood to the cowl.  HoodGap..JPG

A closer look.


Left side gap, closeLfHoodGap.JPG

Right side gap, close



The fenders in the two side hood gap pictures are just spare fenders, going to another 521 I have.


This is how I put the fenders on the truck.

You carefully put the fender on the truck, sliding the lower front tab behind the sheet metal by the parking lights, and then hold the fender to the inner fender, and put a small screwdriver into the second hole from the rear on the top fender flange.


Then you put the bolt in closest to the cowl.  This bolt has the least room for adjustment.


Then you put in the second fender bolt at the front of the top fender flange, into the radiator core support.



These fenders were test fitted to Dragon, because Dragon has been in a collision.  There is still some work that need to be done to the radiator core support.  The piece of sheet metal that holds the parking lights on Dragon is currently not on Dragon, it is painted, and ready to install, when the core support is straight, or at least close enough.

The front of the radiator core support is basically just a flat surface.  There are flanges that are slightly higher by the radiator flanges, and two higher spots by the lower front fender bolts, but the entire headlight mounting surface is flat across both sides.

I cut three notches in a 2x4 to clear the radiator flanges, and a center notch to clear the strut in the center of the grill opening.


A closer picture.






This picture is same area as above picture, looking down along the headlight mounting surface.




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Excellent How To again Daniel!  Thank you for sharing.

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A picture of gap at the front of the left fender to the radiator core.


The above picture was taken April 13, 2020, and I was still checking fit of fenders, the lower grill rail, and the apron that I am going to put on Dragon.


This is a test fit of the lower grill rail on the core of Dragon.



When I first started driving Dragon, in the 1970's it was fitted with quartz halogen headlights, a 50 amp alternator, and other accessories.  In the 1970's we used an amp meter to check if the battery was charging and discharging, and we liked it.   More modern cars use voltmeters. 


With an amp meter, you have to bring all the current (Amps) the electrical system uses, and the alternator is capable of making.  With a 50 amp alternator, 8 gauge wire is barely acceptable.   These two wires have to go from the alternator to the battery, and into the cab, and if these wires short to ground, you can potentially have the entire output of the alternator AND the battery shorting to ground. 

A voltmeter can be just grounded to the dashboard, and only needs one 18 gauge wire going to ignition switched power, and only needs a few milliamps to work.


I ordered a voltmeter from Amazon, and put it in Dragon. 

Key on, engine off.



Engine idle,



Engine revved a little.



Back to body work.  I did a test fit of a lower apron on Dragon. 





While I have been working on Dragon, I have used it to carry fence tools on the farm.






Edited by DanielC
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Both types of gauges, volt and amp have their advantages and disadvantages.  An amp meter will tell you immediately your battery is not charging.   You have to discharge the battery a little to notice a voltage drop.  A battery getting weak can show a normal voltage, but will not accept a higher amp charge as long as a fresh battery will.


I did have a working amp meter in Dragon, and I chose to swap it out for the volt meter.

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I understand it  if your not reading 13.5 -14 volts when its running your draining your battery as you load it down


I hated routing 2 wires usually a zipcord from house hold cord wire. Looking back at it looked like shit.

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Some or maybe a lot of my earlier wiring on Datsuns could approach that category.

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Time to start work on the lower apron I am going to put on Dragon.   This is a picture of what I started with.



This apron also had some undercoat sprayed on both sides of it.   To remove the undercoat, I used the curved edge of a large knife to scrape it off.  Then the remaining undercoat was washed off with paper towels, and some paint thinner. 



A few years ago, I made a steel plate to bolt the apron on to.  This plate holds the apron, and I can clamp the plate to a bench to hold the apron when I work on the apron.  The apron is very thin sheet metal, and is very flimsy, and flexes easily.  If you flex the apron too much, it cracks on the edge, or in a corner. 



This is what the apron looks like bolted to the steel plate from the front.



There are six bolts holding the apron on the plate.



The ends of the apron have a threaded nut welded to the apron, the threads are a 1/4-28 thread.



I used four 1/4 bolts through holes in the plate, with fender washers to hold the middle four bolt holes in the apron to the plate.



Just another picture of the left end of the apron bolted to the plate.



This is some of the dents, or waviness  in the apron.



This picture really does not show much, but it is here for future reference.



Usually roughing in body work involves a hammer, but the metal on the apron is so thin the large dents can be moved by just pushing on it.  In this picture I am holding high spots with my thumb, and little fingers,



and I push on the low spot with my other hand.   Put these two pictures together in your imagination, I had to hold the camera in one hand, take the first picture, hold the camera in the other hand, and take the second picture.



Another problem area of this apron, the flange that bolts to the lower grill rail is bent.  It should be close to the steel plate.


Here I am using an old broken hammer handle as a punch to straighten the flange some.  I actually have to hit the big end of the old hammer handle to move metal.



This is the right fender I am going to put on Dragon, bolted to the cab of Dragon Two, another one of my 521 trucks.  Dragon Two has a rusted out floor, but the front end sheet metal is in pretty good shape, not perfect, but good enough to check fit of 521 front end sheet metal pieces.  I am looking at the fit of the apron to the fender to be acceptable.



This is the left fender I am going to put on Dragon, bolted to the cab of Dragon Two.  Again, checking fit of the apron to the fender.



This is the apron fitting on the lower grill rail.



The fit of apron was checked after roughing in the body work on the apron.  The apron has been removed from Dragon Two cab, and I am doing more metal finishing work on the apron, and starting to do a final removal of all the old paint, primer, rust, undercoat, and prep for epoxy primer, a surfacer, and then paint.

Edited by DanielC
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Man o man....you re knocking it out of the park with this build thread...I am amazed at the detail you are putting into this little truck...the folks at Nissan I hope are watching this thread as well...

That little truck is gonna be better than when it was new....I would be very proud of this project...


Thanks for sharing the journey with us...



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