Jump to content

Mighty Mouse Engine Rebuild & Upgrades


Recommended Posts

I was able to steal an hour here and there over the Thanksgiving weekend and sneak out to the shop and keep the gearhead projects rolling. I got the rear brake line on the '64 VW Bug that runs through the cabin from the master cylinder to the rear seat replaced. Also got a troublesome carb switched out.


Crawled in the front floor of the Sport Truck on Sunday afternoon and took measurements and made some cardboard patterns for a mechanical brake light switch like the one on our 1978 'Lil Hustler'. The original hydraulic brake light switch is long gone with the upgrade to dual-circuit disc front brakes. Dug up a piece of 1/16" thick mild steel and hacked out the brackets. Trial fit, final clean-up, prime, & paint and here is what I came up with:




Here's the parts fitted up:






Broke out the ohm-meter and set the switch. One step closer to being back on the street.



  • Like 4
Link to comment
  • Replies 357
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Top build! I've been following along for a while but was good to go back and refresh. Just in time to see the engine go back in :) Brakes look good and I like that you used the old style brake lines with the double thread retainer instead of the sprung clip. Thanks for a bit of inspiration and the helpful info.....Think I need an atom ant sticker now and I'm set ;)

Link to comment

Top build! I've been following along for a while but was good to go back and refresh. Just in time to see the engine go back in :) Brakes look good and I like that you used the old style brake lines with the double thread retainer instead of the sprung clip. Thanks for a bit of inspiration and the helpful info.....Think I need an atom ant sticker now and I'm set ;)


The clutch line that hosestop in CA built for me is an exact clone with the large nut retention on the frame tab. The brake hoses use the spring steel clip retention on the side of the frame. The disc upgrade uses the mid 80's flex hoses which have clip retention. The upgrades that I did require some SAE and some metric fittings. Regarding the 620 master cylinders, if you do that upgrade, and keep the original drum brakes, you'll have the same hybrid fitting situation. Nearly all the 320 threads are SAE. The only metric that I've run into to date are on some of the 'non-Datsun' vendor supplied items like light units and maybe the gages.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
  • 3 weeks later...

I've been out a bit; had a few Christmas related issues to tend to. Had to re-ssrect an old fiddle and set up a couple of student violins and had in-laws in for the holidays, so had to steal a few minutes here & there to keep the Ratso stuff going.


Hydraulics were slotted next on the to-do list so I made a restraining block for the clutch cylinder:




Dug up a block of aluminum to knock it out, but a piece of angle would work just fine. I just couldn't find a suitable piece of angle. Jus like electricity; take the path of least resistance.


Boiled the new master cylinder reserviors and installed them:




I studied the setup of new hydraulic systems for a little and came up with this reverse purge system that purges from the slave back to the master, just to try something completely different that sounded good on paper (internet description):




Here it is hooked up to clutch slave in the engineroom:




So, after back charging to drive the brake flood from slave-to-master, I got new brake fluid in the reservoir from the slave:




And a trip to the cab now shows good pedal with no engine, trany, or clutch in the pickup:




Now it's on to charging up the brake system.

  • Like 3
Link to comment

Lots of new plumbing and updated systems to check out here. Much better to do before the engine is back in. Lots easier to fix screw-ups and make adjustments, not having to work around an installed engine/powertrain.

  • Like 2
Link to comment

Me and the Mouse took a big step over the past four days. Got all the hydraulics pressured up and started stripping much of the stuff off the rebuilt E1 to get it to shoehorn back into the engineroom. The little four-banger looks dinky stripped down. I got approximately five hours run time on the stand. We're pretty well acquainted now. Time to hoist her up.




Slid the trany into place and loose hooked-up the rear mounts. Easy does it. Hand me that shoehorn, darlin'.




Looks right-at-home and like a million dollars; almost. Right side:




Left Side:







Finally got to check out a couple of questionable clearance areas, in real time. Just about 1/2" - 5/8" clearance between air cleaner housing and master reservoir. I believe I can live with that.




Only about 1/4" between alternator and battery tray:




I'll be looking a bit deeper into this issue. A new belt, maybe a little smaller, incorporating an idler, or moding the battery tray are on the table for now. I'd like to have about 3/4" clearance here.


I'm taking a few days off the serious car stuff. Gonna start the new year with three or four student violins that need setup.


Have a great last day of 2015 and a Happy New Year, all.



  • Like 4
Link to comment

You should be able to get the belts in 1/2" size increment.  Get one a 1/2" smaller and another that's 1" smaller and see which you like best.


The smaller belt size will be my initial plan of attack. If that doesn't get me the clearance that I'd like, I'll do a little surgery on the battery shelf corner. My fall-back action will be adding an idler. I had recorded dimensions between the engine and tray and took photos from several angles before I pulled the original factory install out. I knew that it would be close in this area. I'll work this one in with the half dozen other little issues that will need to be addressed before first drive day.


I've got some work to do in the steering column - instrument cluster area, throttle cable work-up and bracketry, and refurbishment and update in the engineroom wiring system. Months ago I picked up about half dozen rolls of grey electrical tape and several sizes of grey heat-shrink tubing to do it up sorta like original.


I do have one tiny oil leak at the rear of the alloy rocker cover. I've tried  a cork and a polymer material gasket with very small usage of sealers and still get a tiny seep of oil at the back center of the head. I'll probably get one of the silicone rocker gaskets from Victoria British up in Kansas and that should do it. Should have picked one up when I snagged the alloy MG cover. Twenty bucks seemed kinda pricey for a gasket for a four banger, but that may just be the fix.


One thing that I could add on re-installing the engine back into the pickup is, I had to take the front engine mount brackets that bolt onto the frame brackets off in order to let the engine down enough to line up with the transmission input shaft. Had to loose-fit the brackets onto the frame brackets and set the motore down onto them. The brackets hit the steering box and idler and wouldn't let the front of the engine come down enough.


More updates as she goes along.

  • Like 3
Link to comment


The belt I had on in the photo above was the used one that was on with the generator before tear-down which was still in pretty good condition and number on it was still readable (4L370 meaning automotive belt that is 1/2" wide X 37" outside circumference). The used belt actually measures 37" outside circumference.


I went to parts store and picked up a 36" an a 37" new 4L series belt. The 36" wouldn't even begin to go on and the 37" picked up at least another 1/4" clearance between alternator and battery tray. This was just from the difference in width due to the wear on the width of the used belt. I did a bit of study online and it looks like I may be able to go to an industrial belt of same width listing (1/2") and pick up another 1/4" or so in length over the automotive belt. Automotive belts that are 1/2" wide are designated 4L and industrial belts are A-series and the industrial belts are supposed to be about 1/64" wider than the automotive belts.


A little study on the internet showed that there was not a 36 1/2" circumference auto or industrial belt listed, but looks like there might be a 36 1/2" mower belt available for a TORO mower. In the next couple days I plan to visit Lowes, Attwoods, and Tractor Supply and see just what they might have in the mower department.


Love the internet. Biggest library in the world; right at your fingertips.



  • Like 2
Link to comment
  • 3 weeks later...

Working on hooking up the little stuff and reworking the underhood wiring on the Mouse. I now have the starter with the integral solenoid but decided to keep the fender mounted solenoid for original appearance only. Took a 3"-4" piece of 3/8" copper gas supply tubing and flattened it in a vise and formed it to bridge between & connect the two solenoid main terminals.




Photo of the connector sitting on the terminals. This will allow the current to pass from the positive battery terminal to the solenoid on the starter:




Short length of heatshrink tubing slid on the connector and cookeddown.




The heatshrink serves no functional purpose; just looks right to me.


So now the solenoid mounts in the original position and gives the appearance that it is operational as original but the positive line will cross the bridged solenoid and power the solenoid on the starter.




The original power wire that triggers the solenoid from the ignition switch will be re-routed to the starter mounted solenoid and a dummy wire will be taped into the loom and connect to the energizing terminal on the original fender solenoid. Might seem like a lot of unnecessary effort, but it's what the mouse & I feel good with.


  • Like 4
Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

Got a little stuff for an update. I've been tied up with setting up a few student violins since the first of the year and been sneakin a few hours for the Mouse here and there. Got a good run at the instrument cluster a week or so ago. The panel needed repaint as it didn't quite meet up to to our standards. Ran it through the blast cabinet:




A coat of etching primer and paint I had mixed to match the nice column shift panel slid the gages back in and it came out like this:




And back in place in the dash:




Now it's on to the turn signal switch and the bell below it so steering wheel can go back on. I'm not gonna mess with the wheel for now. Thats a later project.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Finally got something to work. I'd rather take a whuppin', but I guess I'm gonna have to go to another browser. MS & Firefox are just not working for me anymore. I know; Chrome. I'm a cranky old bastard and just detest new things, usually.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Wanting a break from the interior, I drug out the horns Saturday and got them on the bench with a charged up battery. Wired em up and adjusted the tone and looked for the little oval brass tags to rivet back on. I looked for several hours and couldn't turn up the tags. I know they are in a small area of the shop but just can't put my hands on them. This is the only item that I've just absolutely not been able to turn up by going through a few boxes. If they don't turn up soon, I'll run a classified for some clunker horns for the tags. Anyway, here is how they came out:




And here they are mounted; from the front:




And from above:




Persistance pays off, sometimes. Got a good nites sleep and Sunday I went back through all the stuff stored on the end of the workbench today and still couldn't come up with the horn tags. Took everything out of the bed of the little pickup and started going through all the boxes in there again. Talkin about two hours minimum for this little exercise. Went through the very last baggie-inside-a-baggie of bolts and springs for the hood latch system and low-&-behold. there were the tags. Took the horns back off, cleaned up the tags and riveted em to the covers. We're back in business.




I got about half a dozen items from the engine room off to the the high-temp coating shop last week and should get them back in a week or so. Next up is getting the turn signal unit and the column bell below it cleaned up and painted and back on so the steering wheel can go back on. Not gonna tackle the wheel at this time. Gonna be a later project.



  • Like 3
Link to comment

Christmas in February. UPS brought the Jet-Hot package today:




Alternator bracket, fuel pump heat shield, fuel filter bracket, hood prop, air cleaner brace and wingnut. Fifty bucks + $25 packing & shipping + grand total $75.


Excrusiatingly slow, but still progress.



  • Like 1
Link to comment

Join the conversation

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

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

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

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

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

  • Create New...

Important Information

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