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69 roadster - Audrey, the ratster

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So i bought a roadster last Sunday. Wasn't really planning to buy another car. But y'all know how it is. She's complete minus some of the brightwork, though nothing is perfect. Engine (R16) and trans (4speed) are still in there though, so that's a bonus.

 

This is how i picked her up.

 

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Mmmm, delicious greens.

 

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Some quality speaker holes.

 

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Clean title, no keys, unused in I'm not sure how many years. Guy i got it from said all the brightwork was in the trunk supposedly. He'd never opened the trunk, so i hoped he was correct. But the price was right.

 

Here's how we actually picked her up.

 

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That's right boys, with a dozer. It was awesome.

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Getting her unloaded was even better. Since no car hauler was available to me on short notice, i took my single axle 5x8. It worked fine. :) but no ramps and its a little tall.

 

We removed the rear bumper and hooked a chain to their mounts. They started folding...so we bolted a pathfinder dash support bar to them...don't ask. Weirdly enough, there were bolt holes on it at the perfect spots.

 

Pics should tell the rest of how bad an idea this was.

 

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We pulled the truck and trailer forward. Flat tires on the car made it hard to roll, so we strapped it to the trailer on the background so it would not try to go with the trailer.

 

It worked.

 

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Then again for the front.

 

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Somehow, no one and nothing was damaged in this process. At all.

 

Next up was changing 2 tires. Front pass was shredded. Rear pass couldn't hold air for more than a couple minutes. Some random s13 steelies laying around were good enough for rollers.

 

We went to jack the car up from the pass side, on the frame mind you, but only got a little lift and a lot of crunch.

 

Removing the jack left us this.

 

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That pile is larger than my two fists together...hmmm. Oh well. :)

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Job one was to get the trunk open hoping i would find headlight buckets, taillights, turn signals, center console etc.

 

I found multiple threads on the topic of opening roadster trunks without keys. I couldn't make any of them work. But turns out those 6x9 speaker holes were an excellent idea. They let me remove the hinge bolts no trouble. From there i took the trunk lid off completely.

 

It looked like this.

 

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Pulled it out and organized it slightly.

 

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Over riders for a front bumper i don't have. Only one headlight scoop. Mismatched mirrors, neither of which is great.

 

But also a full set of taillights and blinkers, all the convertible lockdown hardware, and a rough but present center console. YES! I was worried about the console being gone.

 

Mostly i reorganized the stuff and shoved it back in the trunk for now. I completely removed the key lock for the trunk so now i can actuate the trunk with my finger, and reinstalled the trunk lid.

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My basic plan was to ignore the car for a couple years, but my friend kept insisting we need to drive it next week. So i decided to check engine condition to shut him up.

 

Put a wrench on it, turned with ease. No real effort at all.

 

Checked oil, it's present and full if old and ugly. Coolant seemed dry.

 

Decided to try the starter. PO removed ignition switch and cut off wiring. The ignition switch wiring was half assed (even worse, it was like eighth assed) to some other wires who's destination and purpose remain unknown. I yanked the taped connections apart with ease and wired up a temp starter switch.

 

Threw in a good battery.

 

 

Well hot damn. She cranks pretty well. Course some of you may have noticed how that fan wasn't moving....

 

Need to know if she runs. So i wired in a switch to energize the ignition system.

 

Gave it some starter fluid and hit the start. Nothing, no change. Lame. Probably an ignition problem.

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Next day, my buddy dropped by to help out for a bit.

 

After some diagnostics, we concluded i had a bad coil. So i replaced it with one from my parts stash, cleaned the connectors, and got ready for another try.

 

It fired and coughed. Somehow enough starter fluid front the day before was left to cough it over. we had ignition.

 

Bottle fed it some gas to try again.

 

 

Hells yeah! But that fan/water pump. So we filled the system with coolant and my buddy tried turning it with a prybar carefully. It turned some so we tried again.

 

 

Gauges are reading! Car idles on its own! The longer it ran the better it sounded. Going to do a Rotella oil change and then just let her run for a while. See what happens.

 

That's where I'm at. It was awesome.

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Well at least i now have all my top desirable Datsun/Nissan vehicles. Unless a 1200 coupe falls in my lap I have all that I really want to own. Next toy i buy should be a few years out and it will be a 66 Chrysler newport sedan.

 

But you're right. I needed another project like i need a hole in the head.

 

I'm really good at some things. Focusing is clearly not on that list. :)

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I just know I would never do another Roadster, like the Corvette everything is very expensive, I did mine back in the mid 90s and it was starting to get expensive, but then I bought a good quality cloth rag top for $225.ish, a new dash cap for $125.ish, the prices are crazy now.

I did drive mine home but 3rd gear was shot and I had to bleed the brakes to drive it, but I made it the 20 miles home, I paid $1250.00 which was too much in hindsight as I had to rebuild the transmission, they lied about that but already had the money.

The 1600cc(R16) engine is good for around town, but not that great on the hiway when you come to hills, it will not zoom up them pass hiways like the 2000cc(U20) engine will, I also like the 5 speed, if the engine or transmission have a issue, just go with another engine/transmission as the parts for the Roadster engines are stupid crazy.

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All very good points.

 

I'm planning to remove the convertible top completely when i find a hard top. I hate convertibles.

 

Dash and interior will get whatever quality of restoration i can do myself whenever i get to it. I've seen how expensive this stuff is and i refuse to pay it. This will never be a Solvang quality resto. Just a rat ride.

 

If i have to do engine work, I've been thinking i would get the h20 block and throw my r16 head on it. Not sure though.

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First thing I would do is lift the car into the air high enough to move around underneath it and see where that rust came from when you tried to jack it up, if the frame crumbed then you got problems, they have stout frames, but if it is gone it is gone.

 

I have never talked about my Roadster as I built it and drove it back in the mid/late 1990s and early 2000s, it was my daily driver for several years, this is what it looked like when I bought it.

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This is what it looked like just after painting it before I got the chrome back, it had a hard top with a rack to haul my hangglider.

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And this is what it looked like with all the chrome and my carbon fiber ridged wing on it, people on the hiway would roll up beside me and point and laugh, it happened so often it got annoying.

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The hard top was alright for my hanggliding era, but it is a lot nicer to be able to drop the top when it is nice out.

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Very cool. I've not seen your roadster before.

 

I will most assuredly start with the frame before i invest any real effort or drive any farther than around my block.

 

The frame very well may roached, but I'll deal with that somehow.

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Continued a little bit of tinkering with the motor. I added a bit of seafoam to the oil to flush any crud loose and ran the motor for around 15 minutes, just bottle feeding it.

 

I was blipping the throttle quite a bit. For the first few minutes it would stumble and basically die when i tapped the throttle. Then suddenly it idled up to about 3k when i blipped it. Scared me at first, but while i couldn't get the rpms down it sounded better than it had at any time previous.

 

 

The tach stabilized nicely too.

 

Played with the throttle some more and got it down to about 1800 rpm, still sounding half way ok.

 

 

After that, it would sometimes drop down and stumble around like video 3 then jump back up later to the higher rpm. Something in the carbs is sticky. I also found a pretty good vacuum leak on the front two cylinders. Got a good spike in rpm hosing that area with brake clean, repeatedly.

 

I will be changing the oil tomorrow to Delo 15w-40 and a wix filter. Then on to cleaning, filling, bleeding and testing brakes and clutch systems.

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While i had the brake clean out, i hosed off the nameplate on the valve cover. I think it looks cool.

 

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Tried bleeding the clutch today. Worked out surprisingly well. Took a while but it bled out clear and clean. Bleeder even popped loose with little effort. I had to remove it and hose it clean with brake clean.

 

Clutch works pretty good now. Shifts into gear without any grinding or noise.

 

Then tried the brakes. Got the fronts bled out. Went as well as the clutch. Took the same cleaning of the bleeders, but both fronts bled well. I have a slightly useful break pedal now.

 

Didn't get to the rears today. I know I'm going out of order, but I'm just seeing if it will work for kicks and giggles.

 

I tried to drive the roadster across my backyard but that failed. The engine isn't actually running will enough to move the car. The clutch definitely engages though.

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My clock is functional. Haven't checked it for accuracy, but it clicks and moves the hands. Sweet. It seems like most people's are non functional

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Have you checked the frame?

 

I'd like to see a ratsun style roadster. The only ones I've seen are too shiny.

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I haven't checked the frame really. I've bashed a couple parts with a hammer and they seem sound but before any money gets spent i will give it a real going over. Reinforcement or reconstruction of parts will likely prove necessary.

 

For now I'm just messing around. I haven't spent a single extra dime over purchase. Just some labor.

 

Really i don't plan to get a whole lot farther for a while. Finish bleeding the brake system, do a bit of work to improve how the motor runs. I would like it to be self mobile if at all feasible, even if I'm not working on it.

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They are cool little cars. Parts are crazy though. They seem to be worse than the 510s...

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While i had the brake clean out, i hosed off the nameplate on the valve cover. I think it looks cool.

 

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Early valve cover! Congratulations.  That "tab" is for the vacuum advance and really belongs under the left rear [drivers side US] head bolt .  Cool blue pant job on the valve cover which is a correct early "square rear corner" configuration, not a late model shared beveled corner, shared with the RL411 version of the motor [like mine].  You should change the front valve cover nut to an "acorn" like the current rear one.

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Cool info. Thanks Mike. I really like this valve cover and that's about the extent of my knowledge. I'll take your word on the details :). I think this is a way better looking valve cover than the u20.

 

And you're right about the acorn nut.

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You'll enjoy this or cry, maybe a couple of beers first

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wT6Dygyn34

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Made these yesterday

 

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They seemed to have resolved the vacuum leak on the intake.

 

So then i did this.

 

 

The rear tires rubbed on the frame and leaf springs pretty bad. Terrible offset for this car, the rims are spare s13 stuff i had laying around. So we fixed that....

 

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Not a terrible idea for any reason at all. But I'm ok with it since its really only to allow me to move the car in and out of the backyard when i work on it. Way to sketchy to drive any farther than around my culdesac.

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Every time I go to move this vehicle one of the tires has exploded. It's now riding on 4 very questionable spare 240sx tires, because all 4 of the tires that came on Audrey have died.

 

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Pics all fixed on this very dead thread. This car is very very very very back burner.

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All Datsuns remain virtually untouched in the last few months. This happened though.

 

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I bought a bumper for an MG Midget locally for $20 to see if it would fit.

 

Holy crap it fits perfectly. And it doesn't have the ugly license plate dent like the stock roadster bumper does.

 

 

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I need to fab brackets to mount it but it's perfect size. I'm actually surprised i couldn't find anyone who had done this before when i searched. These bumpers look fantastic and are a perfect size/fit. Brand new they cost less than half the price of new roadster bumpers.

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