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My Dragon Datsun 521


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Edited April 25, 2020, move page two table of contents from bottom of page one to top of page two.


spraying wash primer.

more fender metal work

Apron (valence) plate.

more body tools

spraying epoxy primer

roof seam sealer replacement

windshield removal, cutting bad weatherstrip.

roof primer and paint removal

5 speed transmission tunnel cover modification

cleaning and stripping floor

Dashboard removal

roof primed

new seam sealer on roof

cowl rust holes

prime and paint small parts.

close paint match to original air cleaner color


Back to original post:

Today I got some primer on this fender.


and the back edge.


Edited by DanielC
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I did trial fit this fender on Ratsun, and I still need to do a little metal work in it, but overall it fit pretty good. 

On another note, today i picked up a 240 MM clutch disk flywheel, pressure plate, TO bearing, and clutch fork from DTP.


I also put a cowl grill for Dragon into a derusting electrolysis process.

See this thread.


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I did trial fit this fender on Ratsun, and I still need to do a little metal work in it, but overall it fit pretty good. 

On another note, today i picked up a 240 MM clutch disk flywheel, pressure plate, TO bearing, and clutch fork from DTP.


I also put a cowl grill for Dragon into a derusting electrolysis process.

See this thread.



The TO bearing came on a collar, correct, I sure hope so, you need the collar that came with that setup.

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  • 3 weeks later...

A few weeks ago, I took the rusty cowl grill from Ratsun, and Dragon, and used electrolysis to remove the rust from them.  On Tuesday Feb 12, 2013 I sandblasted the cowl frames, and then sprayed a wash primer on them.  Today, while spraying DPLF epoxy primer on the new floor pan for Ratsun, I also sprayed DPLF on the cowl grills.


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  • 6 months later...

Like Ratsun, Dragon gets used around the farm, and house too.  On Wednesday, Sept 4, 2013, I used Dragon to get up close and personal with some bushes around the house, to trim them.


After trimming, I simply picked up the branches that did not fall in the truck, and drove Dragon out to the burn pile in the pasture.


Dragon's windshield has a leak, the roof had some rust spots, and sometimes when I pulled tape off the paint on the roof, it would remove the paint, down to the primer.  I suspected the seam sealer, in the drip rail,  was leaking also. 


So I removed the seam sealer, like this.

First, I made a vertical cut with a box knife,


then a horizontal cut with a 1/4 chisel X-Acto knife,


Another view of horizontal cut.


The sealer comes out in pieces like this.



There is still some residue of the sealer in the bottom of the drip rail.

You can get these abrasive nylon brushes at Ace hardware.



You chuck these brushes in a drill, like this,


and they work really good at removing the last traces of old seam sealer from the drip rail.  In this picture, about 3/4 of the rail has been cleaned, and the bottom 1/4 has not.


This is the drip rail cleaned.



I also pulled the windshield out of Dragon.  To remove a windshield, you slide a knife flat against the glass, under the weather strip, and cut the top of the weather strip off.


make several passes until the knife goes all the way through,


and pull off the top part of the weathestrip.



The three windshield removal pictures are from Ratsun.  The last picture, I did not completely remove the top of the weatherstrip, on Ratsun.  I just slipped the windshield out of the weatherstrip.  On Dragon, the weatherstrip had a lot more sealer on it, and I had to remove all the top of the weatherstrip, all the way around.  There was a lot of sealer left in the windshield opening, and there is no easy way, other than scraping it out, and then cleaning the rest with paint thinner, and lots of paper towels.  Wear nitrile gloves, windshield sealer goo is messy.


Then I finished sanding the roof, front view.


Side view.


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Dragon already has a long shaft five speed in it.  This is what I did to the plate covering the hole in the floor where the shifter is.



here is what the floor of Dragon looks like.  Some rust, but intact.  Right side.


Left side.



Last night, I did some wire brushing, sanding, treating with Ospho, more cleaning, to get rid of some rust.


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I spent more time removing rust from the cab floor on Dragon today, and then I went to Wayno's house, and got a windshield gasket.

Monday Sept 16, 2013 Edit, now with pictures!

Last Saturday, and Sunday, more removing rust off the floor of Dragon, and I also took the dash board, wiper linkage, and upper air control box out of the cab.

Dash board removed



More rust removed, mostly on forward section of floor, drivers side.








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  • 1 month later...

October 19, I got some primer on the roof of Dragon.   First, I did a final sanding, and cleaning of the metal, then I sprayed some wasn primer, and then, I had lunch.   But first, I cleaned the spray gun, and the air cap on the gun was getting a little build up of old paint on it, so before lunch, I filled a small cup with lacquer thinner, and dropped the air cap in it to soak, and loosen up paint on the air cap.  I did not want the thinner to evaporate, so I put the small cup, with the air cap, in the paint gun cup, and put the lid on it.

After lunch go out to the garage, mix up some epoxy primer for the roof of Dragon, got a filter funnel, and poured the primer into the paint gun.  Then I realize the small cup, with the air cap for the gun in also in there.   So I just wasted the primer I mixed up.  I took the small cup out of the paint gun, cleaned the air cap, that was nice and easy, because it had been soaking in the thinner, and poured the primer and thinner mix into another can, and mixed up more primer.  Then I sprayed the roof with the second batch of epoxy primer.


That was yesterday.  Today, I got seam sealer on the drip rail on the roof of Dragon.

Finally the pictures.


Another picture



This is the seam sealer I used.



Dragon still has this minor rust problem I need to deal with.



After getting the primer on the roof of Dragon yesterday, I looked at the primer, and thinner mix I had from my screwup.  It looked pretty good, so I decided to use it.  Back to this thread.



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  • 5 weeks later...

The rust hole in the cowl of Dragon has turned in to a nightmare, but I am making some progress with it.  In the meantime, some of these parts,


are for Dragon.

One air cleaner lid, and the rear licence plate holder.  They got some paint a few days ago.

The air cleaner lid,


and the plate holder.




I mixed up slightly too much of the blue for the air cleaner lid, so I pulled the air clear bracket off Dragon's engine, and sandblasted it, and also painted it.


The blue is Dupont Centari, 68-69 VW Chrome blue, but my paint supplier shaded the paint slightly. 

The black is also Dupont Centari, Dupont code 99.

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Page three TOC

Posting photos problems and one solution.

More floor rust removal.

brushing epoxy primer into floor seams and joints

Still more floor rust removal.

spraying primer on front half of floor

making heavy gauge battery cables

Exhaust system replacement, and tools used

exhaust manifold SS nuts and gasket part numbers

headlight bucket pulling fixture

Nissan Pathfinder alternator install

engine removal, and installation



Thanks, but do not hold your breath.  This is a project actually started in 2007, and it stalled, and in 2011, Ratsun was bought, originally as a parts truck for Dragon. 

But Ratsun is currently my daily driver, and is pretty good at not needing a lot of attention, but Ratsun still needs some attention, I want to get doors with good window run channel, and have to get to fixing an oil leak, and still sort out a minor timing chain rattle.  Ratsun also needs the front part of the cab floors replaced.  I am working on that, but to completely weld, and seam seal the new floor sections in, the cab will have to come off Ratsun.

So the current plan it to give Ratsun the attention is needs to keep it running, and do some improvements, and when Dragon is running, and licensed, and insured, switch to Dragon as my daily driver. 

Then remove the cab from Ratsun, and replace the floor.


You may have seen my Dragon 2 thread.  It also needs new floors, and some body work, but other than floors, not as much body work as Dragon.


Ratsun thread:



Dragon 2 thread



I also have two other 521 trucks, and an extra cab.

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  • 2 months later...

This is a picture test.



Nevermind, did not work.


What alternatives to Photobucket are you using?


I will answer my own question.

In the Summer of 2017, Photobucket disabled third party viewing of photos.  I then started to load pictures into a local ISP company's server, with a company that had been giving me great service since a dial up model with a 14.4 KBS was fast.

In October, something happened with that company.  I lost access to my photos, and E-mail for about three weeks.


I decided to buy a domain name, stormyhill.com and web hosting service through GoDaddy.com.  i am currently using a FTP (file Transfer Protocall) program, Filezilla to upload pictures, and other info into my server space on the hosting site.


That has been working good.  Using the FTP program, I can upload a single picture, a folder with lots of pictures, pretty much anything else on my home computer I want to share.

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Like I mentioned in Ratsun thread, I have been working on Dragon, another project. 

Ratsun thread starts here. http://community.ratsun.net/topic/30606-my-ratsun-datsun-521/


I have been cleaning rust off the floor of Dragon.  This is where I am currently.


This side I have removed most of the rust from the floor.  This was done by using a phosphoric acid solution, a small wire brush to scrub the rust, paper towels to clean the mess, and rotary wire wheels in a drill.  Here is a tip I found on the internet a few days ago.   If you reverse the drill occasionally, the rotary wire brush will dig in to rust a little better.


I have just started to work on the drivers side, but it looks like this.


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Spent more time getting rid of rust.  I found rust under the seam sealer, in corners where cab sheet metal comes together, and ground, picked, and wirebrushed out what rust I could.  I am not going to get it all, without taking panels apart, and that would do way more damage than the rust that is left. 

So after getting a lot of the rust removed, that I could reach, I mixed up a small batch of PPG DP40LF primer.  Really small.

Two teaspoons of DP40LF epoxy primer, one teaspoon of DP402LF catalyst, and a little less than a teaspoon of DT860 low temp reducer.

I mixed it in a CLEAN yogurt cup, using a popsickle stick, and painted the primer into the seams, and cracks, with a 1 inch paint brush.

drivers side.


passenger side,


Passenger side, under glovebox,


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It's interesting how frugal we can be with expensive materials when we have to drop the coin ourselves.  I go through about $10k worth of materials per month at work, and I am far more conscious of waste than some of the company's previous painters, but I don't like to run out while I'm spraying, either.   ;)

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Working in a shop, where time is money would change a lot of my techniques.   But being semi retired, means I can have the luxury of being frugal.


Another factor in deciding to use a brush, is it is on the inside.  Looks are not as critical.  With a brush, no masking needed, or overspray problems.  Much easier to clean a small brush, than a gun.   I would probably use 4 to 8 ounces of thinner cleaning a gun.


When I do spray primer, I try to have something else ready for paint, besides the main thing I am working on.  That way, I do not have to throw away good primer, I can use it all up. 

Another thing I do, is take a little reducer for the primer I am using, rinse out the mixing cup with that, pour that mix through a strainer, into the gun cup, swirl that around, to get as much on the primer off the sides of the gun's cup as possible, and spray that on the secondary project.   I would not do that in a shop.  Time is money.


Last summer, I was getting ready to spray some primer, made a mistake, and poured the primer into the primer gun, and I forgot already had some thinner to clean the gun.  I had a half of a gun of primer, with catalyst, reducer in the normal ratio, plus about the same amount of thinner mixed in.  I cleaned the gun, mixed another batch properly, sprayed the project I wanted to, and then quickly stripped the roof of another cab I may use later, and sprayed the over reduced primer on that.   That turned out OK.

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I have been fighting rust on the floor of Dragon.  The rear part of the floor, under the seat is pretty good, but there is some rust, mainly where seams come together.  The front part of the floor is intact, but does have a lot of rust pitting in some areas, driver side a little better than the passenger side.  There are some pin holes in the passenger side.

This is what I have been doing to remove a lot of the rust.


Let me back up two weeks.   I have a carport, that I can part vehicles under.  Sometimes the roof leaks a little water, but generally, things stay dry under the carport. the floor in the carport is gravel, and dirt. My garage, stays dry, has a wood floor.  It is an old garage.  This time of year, I try to do most of my work in the garage.  I had to do some work on Ratsun, in the garage, so Dragon went out into the carport.  Dragon had some bare metal on the floor, and other areas of the cab.  Long enough story cut off, some snow got blows in to Dragon's cab, on the bare metal floor.

I noticed something interesting.  Where the metal was bare, and clean, there was very little new rust form the melted snow.  Where there was pits in the metal, with phosphoric acid treated rust, there was a lot of new rust.


First tool for removing rust.  A drill and wire brush.  I have noticed if you slow the drill down, the wire brush digs deeper in to rust pits.  This particular drill only locks on at full speed,  the hose clamp on the trigger allows me to run the drill as slow as I want.  I also read, that if you reverse the drill every so often with a wire brush, it helps to dig the rust out of pits too.  Running the drill in one direction, eventually bends the brush bristles over, and they smoothly slide over the rust pits.  Reversing the drill makes the ends of the bristles dig into the rust pits.  By running the drill slowly, I would often see a cloud of red dust come out of the some of the rust pits.



Second tool for removing rust.  Steel wool, small stainless steel detail brush, and phosphoric acid solution.  After using the rotary wire brush on the floor, scrub with the detail brush, and it will work more rust out of the pits.  It also will make the pits with rust in them, darker that clean metal.  Then you can go back and wire brush again.  And acid treat again, and repeat.  This is a slow and tedious process.  this picture is actually later in the process than the next picture.



I think there was a slight improvement, this was the first time I acid brushed, and wire brushed the floor.



Finally, I got to a point where I cleaned up, and wiped up acid.  While still wet, wipe acid up with paper towel.  Then I spray a solution of Dawn dishwashing detergent, and water on the treated area, scrub that with a nylon brush, and wipe that up with a clean paper towel.  Then dry the metal as quickly as you can.



A final wire brushing,



These are abrasive nylon brushes.  They do a really good job of removing paint, and light rust.  After the final wire brushing, I use tthe grey one to go over the whole area again. 




The Nylon rotary brushes get the floor ready to prime.   Now, I take a shop vacuum, and clean up some dust and other debris.  Then blown out with an air hose, and vacuumed again.  Then wiped with a paper towel, very wet with the reducer you are using in the primer, and before it dries, wipe with a second dry paper towel.  When either paper towel gets dirty, get a new paper towel, keeping the first wiping towel wet.  If you leave wet dirty reducer on the bare metal, it does no good in cleaning the metal,because when the reducer evaporates, it leave the dirt behind.



Finally I primed the floor with PPG DPLF, mixed with activator, and reducer.  Again, I just used a brush.  This is not a visible panel, on the outside of the truck, I just want rust protection.   All this was done a week ago, and las night, I did a second coat of primer on this area of the floor yesterday.



That was just the front half of the floor, driver side.  During the week, I did the same process to the passenger side of the floor, but I also dug out seam sealer, with rust under it, from the back side of the passenger side of the cab.  That area got primer on it yesterday, too. 

I got a second coat of primer on the front part of drivers side of the floor yesterday.



I got the passenger side of the floor primed, first coat yesterday.



I am still digging seam sealer out of the rear of the cab where sheet metal pieces come together.



It looks to me that when Datsun spot welded these cabs together, they did not put primer on the metal before seam sealer.  After 40 years, the seam sealer cracks, or degrades, and that allows water into the seam, and rust starts.  The problem with rust is the red rust takes up more space than the metal does, and that forces the seam apart, or forces more seam sealer out of the joint, and exposes more metal to rust.  Also, once rust starts, it feeds itself, and makes the good metal rust even faster.

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A few day ago, I decided to take a break from floor rust removal, and primering.

These were the battery cables on Dragon.



I made these cables.  They are 1/0 gauge cable.  The small pigtail is 8 gauge.



For the small pigtail, I take the insulating sleeve off the crimp on connector. and crimp the bare connector on the wire.



then I solder the connection.



Here is the connection soldered. 



I would have better pictures, but when soldering, you generally need a hand to hold what you are soldering, a hand to hold the soldering iron, and a hand to hold the solder, and feed it in when the connection is hot.  That left me with -1 hands to hold the camera.


The yellow sleeve in the first soldering picture was slid over the soldered connection, and heat shrunk.


To solder the big copper lugs on the cable, I put the lug open end up in a vise.  I heated the outside with a propane torch, and melted some rosin core solder into the open cup, about a third full.  when the solder was completely melted, I quickly shoved the bare end of the cable into the cup, and heated it a bit more, to make sure the solder flowed around the wires on the cable, and the pigtail, if there was pigtail.  Then that was again covered with heavy duty heat shrink, with glue on the inside.

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