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My Dragon Datsun 521


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More work on Dragon, one of my Datsun 521 trucks.
This truck had some areas of the windshield opening rusted through, in the right lower corner.  I was having problems welding that area.  My wirefeed welder when turned down, to a setting for the thin and rusted sheet metal would stick the wire in the weld tip, and quit feeding, or just blow a hole in the almost gone metal.   I figured out that making the lead from the welder as straight as possible helped with the wire sticking in the tip problem.  I also adjusted the tension on the wire spool inside the machine to a low as I could get, and then tried a different wire.   Yes, that was happening even with a new tip.  Anyway, I got the holes in the windshield opening welded, and then primed.  This truck also had the right inner fender replaced years ago.  
The left side of the windshield, and cowl, primed.
I cleaned old paint, and primer off the radiator core support, and primed that. 
Right side of core support.
The right side of Dragon was scraped by a large rental truck, that was parked by Dragon, also several years ago.  That caved in the right front fender, and door.  This is the door that is going to be put on Dragon.  The green 521 right behind the primed door is Dragon 2, yet another 521 I have.  It needs a new front half of the floor. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

You may have noticed that the radiator core support on Dragon is missing something, this piece.  I spent some time working the lower grill opening rail, and then a few days ago, I primed it with epoxy primer, and last night, I sprayed some surfacer on it.


Today, I sprayed some black paint on the inside of the rail,



And I sprayed the front of the radiator core support black.



and finally, while cleaning the spray gun, sprayed a mist, or guide coat on the front surface of the grill rail.


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  • 3 weeks later...

You may have noticed a bucket sitting under in one of the above pictures.  Here is that story. 

When I painted the radiator core support, I unbolted the radiator, and put a sheet of cardboard in front of the radiator to mask it from paint.  Later, I started the truck, with the radiator unbolted, and the fan damaged the radiator that was in the truck.


Tonight, I put one of these radiators I had checked out, and repaired, at Superior Radiator, in Oregon City back into Dragon.  Put more coolant in to Dragon, and I will check it in the morning, to see how it is doing.


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So Dragon currently has no right door, dashboard,  windshield, fenders, front lights, and some other stuff, but it runs and stops.  I decided to put Dragon to work anyway.



Today, I took all the Datsun parts, an engine and transmission, and other stuff out of the bed, and hooked Dragon to this trailer, and put fence boards on the trailer.



I loaded some fence tools in the bed, and drove Dragon in a pasture to a fence needing repair.



This is one broken board I replaced, there was another broken boards just a few fence posts away. 



Two new boards on this fence.  After replacing those boards, I drove over to the barn that is in the back ground, and worked on the fence on the paddocks, or runs behind the open stall doors.



More fence work tomorrow, but this is a picture with Dragon put away for the night.  The engine is off, but the key is on, and the transmission is in reverse.  Even with the dashboard removed from a 521, the reverse lights still work.


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October 16, 2015, the next day, I did more fence work with Dragon.  Three new fence boards, two other boards were replaced.  Some 12 foot board were cut down to 10 foot boards.

One more broken board
And that board was replaced.  Although Helga is a Great Dane, she is not quite as big as the picture suggests.

Edited by DanielC
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  • 1 year later...

I did some work on Dragon yesterday.   I reattached the part Datsun calls the "Lower Grill Opening Rail".  This picture is the radiator core support without it.



This is the lower grill opening rail.  A long time ago, when Dragon was my daily driver, I had replaced a damaged one with this one, back when you could go to a Nissan dealer, and order sheet metal parts for a 521.  I did not know how to weld back then, so I used pop rivets to reattach the part to the core support.



I had to do some minor readjustment of the fit of the core support, I used this hammer, and the block of wood.  The clamp was used to hold the parts together, after using the small tapered punch to align the holes.



Some of the holes needed a slight cleaning out, after aligning them, I used a 1/8 drill for that.



To initially hold the rail in place, I used two #10-32 screws, into two of the holes used for the headlight bucket, one on each side of the truck.  Then a hole was lined up, and drilled, if needed and the pop rivet did not fit, and then pop riveted.  I already have one pop rivet in, in this picture.



The rest of the pop rivets in on this side top.



More pop rivets, other side.



And the bottom of the left side, pop riveted.  No picture of the right side, do you really need it?


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After putting the grill rail on Dragon, it cranked, but did not start.   I used Ratsun, and a rope to move it.  Later, it did not crank, put a battery charger on it.

Today, tried to start it.  No crank.  But I am temporally storing the bad engine I pulled out of Ratsun in the bed of Dragon.  I took the starter on that engine, and put it on Dragon's engine.  It cranks, good, but still no start.  

I pulled the coil wire, it had good spark.  I then removed the top of the air cleaner, checked the accelerator pump, no squirt.  Then I took the bottom of the air cleaner off the carb, and there was no gas in the carb.  My first thought, fuel pump not working, then I rethought, how much gas in the tank?  (I still do not have a dashboard in the truck).  Then I got a siphon hose, stuck it in the gas tank, and the tank was empty.

I put about 5 gallons of gas in the truck, took the can cover off, to work the fuel pump, pumped gas into the carb, and the truck fired right up.


The cause of all my problems, no gas in the tank.  Moral of the story, check the simple things first.

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  • 6 months later...

For a while, while I was working on the floor of Dragon, I miss placed the transmission shift cover.  Working on the engine of another 521 I have, I dug a box of engine parts out of storage, and found Dragon's shift plate.  Here it is installed on Dragon.   Oh, by the way, Dragon has a long tail five speed transmission in it.



It finally got warm enough to paint, and at the same time i had the free time.  The last time I worked on the roof of Dragon was in 2016.   The roof got cleaned yesterday, resprayed with PPG DP40LF, then sprayed with a surfacer, PPG Shopline JP202 surfacer.



I also cleaned the lower grill rail, and resprayed it with PPG DP40LF, and then PPG Shopline JP202 surfacer.

This may not be the correct picture, the image you see was downloaded to some space I have on Spiritone.Com, a local Portland OR company.


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  • 1 month later...

A little work on Dragon, and an exercise in posting pictures after Photobucket decided they do not want any more business.

I cleaned rust, old paint and primer off the outside of the inner fender, and front of the door post on the left side of Dragon.



Then I sprayed PPG DP40LF epoxy primer on the areas I has cleaned.


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Yesterday, I got a little paint on the areas of the inner fender previously primed.



If you are new to this thread, or some of my other threads, I am slowly working on replacing the old photobucket links with photo links that work from some storage space my internet service provider supplies.

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Looking good Daniel C.  Helga a beautiful Great Dane!!


This is Gracie at about 4.5 months old.






Taking a nap on her bed.  First time I have caught her in bed during the day.  She will usually come and get in bed with me about 5 am, unless she follows me to bed.

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  • 4 months later...

My pictures are back on this thread!


The photobucket débâcle hit me, as well as many other people on this website.  So, I uploaded some of my pictures to a server/ISP I have been using for about 20 years.  In October, that site went down, and is still not functioning like it did before October.


I then went to GoDaddy.com, registered a domain name, it is " stormyhill.com " and also I paid for space on a remote hosting server.   Stormyhill.com is the front page, with four pictures.  Dragon, Ratsun, my boat and a very missed dog I had until June of 2016.  Dragon, and Ratsun are both clickable links.   Dragon goes to My Dragon Datsun thread, and Ratsun goes to My Ratsun Datsun thread.


I have uploaded over 150 pictures used in the My Dragon Datsun thread to my server space, and then when through all the picture links in those six pages on community.ratsun.net.

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My last real informative post on any of my Datsuns was in July, 2017, and now it is November 26, 2017.  I have not really made posts on my own stuff, because of the disappointment of Photobucket policies, and then after I started to store pictures on a a local ISP here in Portland, OR, that had some major issues in October, I was discouraged.
I bought a domain name, and a website hosting service earlier this month, and I am now storing pictures there.   I post pictures, I have to organize the pictures I want into a folder on my computer at home, and then use a FTP (File Transfer Protocol) to upload the pictures from my home computer to the hosting computer.
With the pictures uploaded to the hosting computer, I can then post the pictures here on Ratsun.
After doing that, I have to go back and edit the links in Ratsun.net posts, and the pictures are back.
Using my website hosting, and the FTP program, I can upload a whole folder of pictures, or individual pictures.

If you look close, you can see two patches I welded in below the corner of the windshield opening.  There were also rust holes in tin the corner, outside the cab , under the windshield weather strip.  These areas were challenging to weld up, a lot of the time, even with my wirefeed welder set to weld 22 gauge steel, it would just blow a bigger hole as soon as the wire made contact with base metal.  I did a lot of welding, a lot more grinding, finding pinholes, more welding, more grinding, and so on.  Even when I put the first patch inside the cab, three sides of it welded good, but the fourth side blew holes in base metal, and a second patch was added.  Finally after a lot of frustrating sometimes work, I got to the point where I could prime and paint.
Driver side of cab.
Farther out view of right side of cab.

When I was priming and painting the weld patch area in side the cab, I also painted around the windshield opening.  there is a dent in the center back of the roof, or I would have painted the whole roof.

Then I installed this air control box. I know it is rusty, but it works, and I have other air boxes I can clean, prime and paint later.

Because I plan on having to dissassemble this cab later, I used this grease on the threads on the screws and bolts before I put them in.

Then I got the wiper pivots, linkage and other parts out, and wire brushed the wiper pivots, and put some ATF down onto the wiper pivots.

This is a picture of the wiper pivots, and parts.

I cleaned rubber pivot parts, by scrubbing them with a stiff brush, and Dawn dishwashing detergent.

I put the oblong oval rubber washer on the wiper pivot, then the pivot into it's hole through the cab, then I put in the small screws, after putting grease on the threads through the pivot, and rubber washer, into the cab, loosely.  The flat spot on the wiper pivot goes up.

Then the rubber bushing on the outside of the cab over the wiper pivot,
The aluminium bushing is next, 
And then the nut.  I had to carefully clean the threads on the wiper pivot, and the nut.  Be careful putting the nut on the pivot, the 50 year old fine aluminium threads are very easy to cross thread.  This nut I also put grease on.
I then used a 15/16 to snug up the nut on the outside of the pivot.  Then I tightened the two screws inside the cab on each pivot, and tightened up the outside nut again, gently.


I put the five speed shift knob in the shifter.

On yeah, I also put a windshield in the cab, but I did not take any pictures it that, as it was my first time installing a windshield.

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The last post was most of the work I did Saturday, November 25, 2017.  I also got the dashboard, and dash top that was in Dragon out of storage, and a second dash top I had some work done on.

This is a picture of the two dash tops.


A closer view of the dash top that was in Dragon, left and right side.



The following four pictures are how I did a repair to hold old defrost vents to the dash top.  Use very short screws, or that will poke out the top of the dash top.





Three pictures of the dashboard.


I did open up the center opening of the dashboard to fit an aftermarket cassette player.  Sometime in the past, that player got stolen.   I am sorry, but I was kind of happy to see blood on the floor of the truck when I got back to it, with the stereo gone.

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Here is a picture of the windshield I put in Dragon, last week.
On Monday, last week, I put some defrost ducts I had on the dashboard that I was putting in Dragon, and then put the dashboard into the truck.

On Wednesday, I did some work on the right door that is going to be put Dragon. the door I am going to use was in pretty good shape, but had a lot of mirror mounting holes.  In the process of welding up the holes, there was some heat distortion.  No pictures yet of door repairs.
Tonight, I worked on hooking up the dash board wiring harness to the engine room electrical harness.  When doing electrical work, always disconnect the negative battery cable.  I may save you fron having to repair something else later.
The wire harness goes through these two holes.  This view is from the engine room.  Information on the fusebox is back a page or two. 
The same two holes, from inside the cab.  The wires hanging down are the end of the dash board wiring harness.
These are the connectors on the engine room harness that mate to the dash wiring harness connectors.  Notice they are slightly different length.  This enables you to feed all the connectors through the hole closest to the outside of the truck, one at a time.
Here all the wires are through the hole, but the grommet is still on the engine side of the firewall.   i have found it easier to pull the grommet into the cab, and then work one lip of the grommet back into the engine compartment. 
The dashboard harness has one connector, with a single wire that go back through the second hole into the engine room.  This is for the wiper motor
 This is the wiper motor wire grommet in place
Then I put the wiper motor in.  First, just start the three bolts, and when all three bolts are started, snug the bolts, while moving the wiper motor around to center the three bolts.  Then tighten the three bolts.
I have been running Dragon without a dashboard, I used a spare idiot light to power the alternator from the switched side of the fusebox,  Dragon currently has an internally regulated alternator from a Nissan pathfinder.
To get that alternator to work with the 521 dashboard, I needed to put two jumper wires on the engine side of the voltage regulator plug.
On the engine side of the plug, connect the white wire with a red stripe to the white wire with a black stripe, and the solid white wire to the solid yellow wire.
I cleaned the wire on the back side of the VR connector wirth a small brush, and some water and dishwashing,   detergent and then wiped the wire clean.



This is the charging voltage.


This is after the engine had ran for a while, it is running a little warm, but it is close to winter, and a slightly warm engine may not be a bad thing.  The added gauges lower left are not hooked up yet.  I am trying to decide to use the ammeter, and go "old school", or put in a volt meter.  Both these gauges were put in Dragon in the 1970's 


All the front lights are off the truck, but the lights on the rear of the truck all work.  turn signals, and brake lights work too.   The heater motor runs, the wiper pivots move, the dash lights work, and even the dome light works.

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