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720inOlyWa

My 720 Resto

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I ordered one of those brand new washer fluid reservoirs from Singapore. Let’s call it an experiment. (Hey, I ordered a knockoff Les Paul guitar from communist China once, and it showed up...) For some reason, there is like a bullshit clear coat that was sprayed on the truck at some point and the overspray into the engine well effects the longevity of the nylon reservoirs. Have any of you seen this too? You can see that they are decomposing a little on the top corner, where the overspray hit them. I have no idea what this overspray was, but I have seen the very same decomposition pattern on three other 720s. So I thought I would try a Singapore Special. The mystery continues.

 

While waiting, I am attending to several little rust areas with my Metal Prep and Por 15 regimine. I also burned some energy rubbing out the left side of the engine bay, a part of the firewall, and the brake boost canister. Slowly, slowly.

 

The real fun project begins when the dead stock air cleaner I bought off of ebay shows up. I am going to strip it, prep it, fit it to my Weber carb, then paint it aqua. (Isn’t aqua pretty much the Datsun air cleaner color? Anyone know?) As winter approaches, I really like the idea of some ducting guiding warming air from the exhaust manifold area into the air intake. (wringing my hands here)

 

Oh yeah, I also bought a set of grandpa’s dead stock 720 center caps, so I can replace the broken one and have a few spares hanging around for when I crunch the next one. Thanks, Wayno!

 

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Just scored a tach, still looking for a round (1985 style) clock.  Does anyone know where I can get the little resistor thingie for the tach?

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I remember D Mike saying RadioShack. Mine didn't have a tach but when I got one I didn't even know about the resistor so I just plugged it in and it worked. lol

 

And I think the aqua colored air cleaners were only on L-series engines. Probably some Z-series like a z22 but the z24s were always black.

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Ahhh, thanks, Charlie. I will saunter on down to Radioshack and get me a package!

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“Nip it in the bud!“

It is going to be a busy week for my 720 project. I picked up the components to make up a nifty little resistor for the tach that is coming on Friday. I also checked out various postings on removing the dash / adding a tach and clock. Lots of good info out there and Ratsun guidance is always invaluable. I will get to do this all again of course, when I score the matching clock. Clock, as in watch face clock, not a digital display. That is so deliciously last millennium- I love it! And that dash cluster will look so cute with a full house...

 

Removing the dash cluster to install a tach may give me a little insight as to why the heater blower is not very effective. On setting 4, it acts like it is blowing like mad, yet almost nothing comes out of the vents. I remember how my 620 pumped it out, and it sounds like a similar unit. The defrost works a little, but only a little. Earlier, I noticed that the hose clamps on the firewall, going into the heater core area, are replacements. It makes me suspect that the same heavy handed lout who did the rest of the previous ‘maintainence’ under the hood may have also replaced the heater core at some point and, perhaps, didn’t hook all of the ducting back up correctly. Then again, maybe the squirrel cage is just filled with bullshit, and I got lucky again. I haven’t looked into it yet.

 

The stock air cleaner that I scrounged should arrive today or tomorrow. I will re-fabricate that, ala previous Ratsun examples, to fit my Weber. Then I will paint it stock satin black. That project will begin this week too. I really like the idea of using a stock air cleaner. I wish that I had thought of it myself. 

 

The Singapore Special washer fluid reservoir and pump should arrive later this week, but that is simply a snap in item, and not really a ‘project’. Same with the center cap that will show up sometime soon. But as I rubbed out the firewall and engine well, I discovered just a little rust beginning in the drivers side pillar area, and another spot under the master cylinder as well. Time to nip it- nip it in the bud! Those areas will get the wire brush and Por 15 treatment tomorrow, if the nice weather holds. Now that qualifies as a project!

 

On Thursday, we (the truck and I) drive 2 hours north to Port Townsend, to Edensaw, to pick up 5 sheets of 1/2 inch HydroTek marine plywood for the little Port Comfort 18 skiff we are building beside the house. Nothing beats having a job that only my truck can do- duty and purpose! The truck project, you see, was ‘green lit’ to pull this little boat that I am making to boat ramps all over the place- eventually. The boat will be built under a boat shed that we put up next to our house. Eventually (by 2015) we will remove the boat building jig and store the boat and the truck under this one roof, keeping both nice and dry during the winter months. But in the mean time, she must endure one more winter in the driveway.

 

That’s why I want to jump on these minor rust issues now, even as I go fetch me a stack of marine plywood.

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My air cleaner arrived today, from Louisiana.

It was once oversprayed with purple rattle can, which has faded into just tinges of its former ‘Deep Purple’ glory. (Do you think?) I love it. I am not touching it, except to adapt it to the Weber underneath.

 

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Mounting an 85 ST steering wheel was just about all that I got done today. It feels a lot better in my hands. A lot. I stopped by the Lakewood Pick A Part on the way home and left with a handful of much needed ‘smalls’. You know, fresh air cleaner clips, valve cover attachment grommets, a stock tach resistor. They had some fresh meat there, including a 1980 720 with quite a bit left on the bone and a couple of 620s that looked promising. But if you wander over to the 87 Nissan truck on row 34- beware- a serious wad of hornets occupy the battery tray!

 

Tonight, I will begin to cut the bottom out of my air cleaner.

 

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DUDE! I've been wanting that steering wheel for hella long! I'm waiting for my pic a part to have one or find one for cheap online but people want gold for it. lol

 

Nice find........ :sneaky: lucky ass. hahaha

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Replaced the one and only missing center cap this morning, but who needs to see a picture of that?  Thanks, wayno!

 

I can see why folks jettison the stock wheels so readily. These center caps are really a POS solution and anyone would get tired of chasing down replacements. I bought a new air filter, to make sure I am leaving its home intact while I cut out the bottom of the air cleaner. Also nailed down some fresh JB Weld and x2 1/8 drill bits, for the pop rivets. Off we go! (You know I will post photos of that...)

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The first real rains of fall have washed through the area, and my summertime routine of going out to fiddle with the truck will now shift into a less frequent mode. Dial down. A couple of things to report, though.  I cut the bottom out of my air cleaner and headed down to Ziegler’s Welding to purchase a hunk of .090 aluminum plate for the new mounting plate. Nothing crazy different about how I am going about the task of doing this, as compared to a couple of other examples that I have read on this forum.

 

It took about four of the heavy gauge Dremel style cutoff wheels from the cheapo Harbor Frieght bit set to cut the bottom out of the air cleaner.

 

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Making sure that I didn’t cut into the rubber gasket that holds the filter in place, I left a slight lip, which I de-burred and rounded. I can’ spring for a welding rig right now, so I will pop rivet my bottom plate to a bedding of JB Weld and call it good.  The rivet points will located on several ‘feet’ that will extend just outside of the ring that I am stripping here.

 

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Notice the shiny new wire bales for my air cleaner? I found them in a wrecking yard, of course. The ones that came with my funky ebay air cleaner were pretty well rusted out. (Geeze, the guy had the time to rattle can some tacky purple paint onto this thing, but was fine with rusted out bales? There is an entire thread there, but I digress.) My point of bringing this up is to note that I literally stumbled on a set of good wire bales on a discarded air cleaner in the Pick A Part. The gender unspecific wrecking yard person just hurmphed and charged me 50 cents for them. A dip in the parts cleaner can and they cleaned as good as new. I admire them on there- they lend a little optimism to the picture. Ad that is one reason why I like to go to wrecking yards.

 

I offer this as a backdrop to two other experiences. 1.) Okay, I admit it: I totally fished in. I bought one of those ebay washer fluid reservoirs from wherever the fuck. I have seen more than one of these laying around in the yards since I ordered one off of ebay. Why I took a chance, I cannot now explain. What I can say is that what arrived was wholly unsuitable for service. After fucking with it for an hour, I jerked it out and went back to the original, which has a crack in the top.

 

ebay is buyer beware and I damn sure should have known better. But the thought of having a brad new bottle was too alluring. ALL my fault that I got duped on that one. Don’t you go and make the same mistake.

 

I want a clock for my dash cluster. I bought a beautiful little tach (for $40, on ebay) and I want to add the clock as well. In fact, I am waiting on the general servicing of the dash cluster until I scrounge one up somewhere. I am in no hurry. I had someone offer me one for a $100 a while back and he had no idea if it worked and didn’t have any pictures of it. A hund in cash, sent to an address, and my clock shows up. As if. He might as well have been asking in behalf of a Kenyan prince. Today, somebody listed a clock on ebay- just the one I want- for 100 bucks. Seriously? I offered 50 but had hardly finished typing before it was rejected. I realize that ebay is what it is, but fuck that. Again, horrible pictures and no idea if it worked or not.

 

One of the fun aspects of my 720 resto is the economy of it. It is reasonable to find and buy parts. And there is this terrific online resource and information clearing house here for all kinds of information to help me make my truck run better, work better. I can be relatively poor and still I can afford to resto a fantastically serviceable and utilitarian vehicle. If it weren’t for the fucking gougers, and the ebay junk dealers.

 

I have found a bunch of great deals on ebay for my 720- perfectly reasonable pricing and product representation and terrific service. But you gotta watch your ass too. Oh man, watch out!

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Wheelskins

I enjoy the self-imposed routine of doing something for the truck every week, at the very least. I like to keep it on a path upwards, so to speak. My schedule gets really weird sometimes, so big projects can get bogged down intermittently. But, if I think small, I can sandwich little projects in between- even during the whacky days. So I do.

 

Last week was pretty crazy, so all I got done were little clean up chores, including changing the fuel filter (just cuz) and sewing on a Wheelskin leather steering wheel cover. I really balked at the price, and I still wonder if I should have kept looking for a {much} better deal.

 

I had put one of those slip-on cheapies on my stock wheel earlier, to fatten it up a bit. I then went the extra mile by sewing up the inner welt. It helped but it was still a crap wheel cover. This one is real leather and its saving grace is that it does feel real nice in your hands.

 

 

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That steering wheel looks really good!

 

Is that the stock center console glove box?

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No, I pulled that out of a Pathfinder. I think it was a 90 (or so). The lid is up in the picture, but you get the idea. It was uncomfortable for me to drive without something for my right forearm. I have something about it in this thread somewhere.

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My relatively new Diehard battery has been getting pulled down lately and I thought perhaps the voltage regulator or alternator might be the culprit. There I go again, making a mountain out of a mole hill: it was simply a broken (and otherwise chincy) negative battery terminal. The OReilly gal tested my charging system then sold me a more robust connector, one with some metal mass. Voila- problem solved. Since I don’t have to buy an alternator today, that means I can pull the gauge cluster and add my tach this weekend, while replacing dead dash bulbs and getting the heater / blower straightened out and cleaned up. I may track down the leads for the voltage meter and oil pressure gauges and get them ready to go in as well. Anyone know if the voltage meter is just plug and play?

 

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So it is a nice day today and I had nothing better to do than visit my local PickAPart. I knew there just couldn’t be anything great waiting for me there because I have been through often lately... Then, boom- there is a nice little 720 King Cab ST, new in the yard. So I grabbed the dash cluster and resistor, like pronto. And just like that, totally unexpectedly, I found the very thing I had been searching way too hard to find- right here in my back yard!  My coveted dash clock! I have one now!

 

There will be no stopping me now, I am going to be harvesting organs from the donor cluster tonight, with an aye towards doing a general and sweeping dash renovation over the weekend. I may have to pet and lick the clock first though. 

 

 

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Can't you just take your instrument cluster out of the dash and put the new one (to you) in it's place, it seems like the plugs should just plug in and you should be good.

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Probably just what I will do, just plug the entire package in... wait a minute- this odo has 100,000 more miles on it! I will probably keep the original odo / speedo.

 

The donor is dirty inside, so it will come apart for cleaning first. Bulb checking, all of that. Man, I was so glad to see that cluster, I had it out of the wreck in no time flat! I am actually looking forward to chasing away a bunch of little dashboard area gremlins that came with this truck, then installing this complete cluster.

 

When I did my junker head gasket job last spring, I regretted not dropping the head off for a rebuild. I just should have done it, that’s all. I can see gambling on the rings a little, if everything looks okay, but a head rebuild- with cam is only $150. Why not? I didn’t. Instead, I just cleaned it up good and stuck it back on there. She is driving fine now, but I am toying with the idea of pulling the head off of this wreck and seeing if it is worth rebuilding.

 

I don’t want to give anything away, but there are two 720s in my town, both carbon copies of mine, and each has been offered to me at one time or another. And I have heard of a few others, too. One that I have inspected is pretty nice, the other is a beater. Upon hearing of my interest in 4 banger trucks, another guy said his friend has a 82 Toyota 2wd drive I can have, if I just tow it away. Sure, you bet I am going to take a look anyway.

 

It could be the rapture of owning / driving my 720 KC, but I think that 720s are going to be hot(ter) as time perks along. Maybe not classics, but collectible.

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Cleaning out the blower fan.

My blower motor seems like it is really doing the job, but very little actually comes out of the vents. It doesn’t really say anything about cleaning out the blower cage in my service manuals, but I presume that is the SOP for my symptoms, correct? (I have the AC equipped model, so you cannot just drop a chunk of duct and clean it out.). I took a look through the service manual, but they don’t say that one should pull the blower motor to clean out the squirrel cage. I just seems like the logical way in. Please let me know if I am all wrong. 

 

I got a set of jump seats at the yard today. Judging from the way the mounting bolts were frozen hard into the floorboards, I would judge that my truck never had them before. I thought that they were standard equipment, and tat most owners took them out to get a little more room. Were the jump seats an option? They sure work great, considering.

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My jump seats are all rehabbed and installed. I can’t imagine too many Ratsun folks can or would get all excited about finding a set of jump seats, but I love them- and so does Hazel, our puggle doggie! I suspect that a lot if people who had these seats also had no expectation of putting a human being back there- so they pulled them out and tossed them. My truck didn’t have any when I bought it, but the carpet dents suggested that it did have them, once upon a time. They are so damn cute, so nicely engineered, that I just had to add them back to my 720 KC. Heck, you fold them up and they hardly take up any space at all!

 

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I rebuilt the dash cluster, adding the best components from the donor and existing clusters to make up a niceone. Now I finally have my working tach and clock. I really like the look, too. This was a fun project, made easy by having a donor cluster to practice on, rebuild, generally check out. Ahhh, that tach is floating along right where it should be. And hey, look- it’s 4:20 boys and girls! Time to pound one and check out the Postits thread.

 

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Of course, some questions arose. I looked and looked, but could not find a waiting plug for the clock. The clock itself came out of an ‘86, and mine is an ’85, but I could not see a lick of difference in the clusters themselves. The clock plug is green, and has a two pronged connection.

 

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The only thing I see tucked up inside that side of the dash is this plug, but it isn’t close to a match. 

 

 

 

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Any thoughts? Did I just miss it somehow? (Boy, I really looked around pretty hard.)  Now I have to go out to the yard again and see if I can find the other end of the green plug that (I think) I left behind, so I can wire it in someplace. I reckon that the clock, since it needs to run all the time, has a direct tie into the battery circuit somehow. Is this assumption correct?

 

Which brings me to dash lights. The old cluster had a couple that were out.  In most cases, the bulbs looked okay under magnification, but the copper circuit connection had oxidized, and built up enough grunge to compromise the contact. A little 1200 grit wet and dry sandpaper and Deoxit spray cleaned them up nicely. So I get all the lights working fine, but I am disappointed in the actual amount of light on the dash cluster, even when they are turned up.

 

Then I noticed that there are two bulb slots that were not used in either the donor dash, or mine. They are the larger bulb size and the slots themselves are on the outer perimeter of the cluster. Are these optional bulb slots that I can use to amp up my dash lights a little? They trace back to the same circuit as the other large bulbs that illuminate the other gauges. 

 

Would it have killed someone to brush a little radium paint on the needles of the gauges? (yes, quite possibly) I wonder if beefing up the dash illumination a little would make the needles easier to spot. Any experiences there?  Thanks!

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