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'79 Strip down


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Thought i would keen you guys updated on my progress given how valuable Ratsun has been to me so far and will continue to be in the future.

Originally thought it was a 79 but after checking the manufacturer's stamp found out its a 78 and imported from the states in the late 80's i think. 

We are located in New Zealand and there aren't many of these trucks at all, especially ones with the well side, so im going to aim for a factory (ish) finish on her. 



































Not to sure what the previous owner did to cause the damage in the last photo. 

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I would call it a '79 model. The radio antenna is on the left. The chrome trim on the drip rails and the opera window trim are indicative of this. The '79 also had DATSUNbyNISSAN  fender emblems, I don't think the '78s had that only DATSUN 


The '79 model year starts in July of '78 with car number 375,001.


It's beautiful.

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Yeah factory seats as far as I know. As for the graphics package I'd love to find somewhere that could replicate it. If I can I will likely go with the original color. If not then probably sky blue, or red, or green etc pretty hard to pick a colour haha. If I give you guys a photo of the manufacturer's stamp will you be able to tell me the year for certain ?

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Cheers datzenmike, hope the quality is alright. Yeah I'm stoked with the overall condition of the truck, very minor rust to tackle apart from where the cab wall joins the floor and the chassis cross member. I did want to ask you guys for your thoughts on an engine re-build. The engine has ~97k miles on her which is barely run in I've heard however the coolant channels are pretty rusted. Will repeated flushing solve the corrosion issue ? I've run three flushes already with no change in fluid colour.









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11/'78 is a '79 model year. Also that IE (matchbox) ignition was only used on the '79 cars and trucks.


Never run without an antifreeze water mix. It prevents corrosion. Once you get it clean do so. Just keep flushing with a garden hose. At the back of the block above the starter is a threaded plug, there may be one on the opposite side also for draining the water jacket around the cylinders. Remove and put the garden hose in the top of the rad. You may want to remove the two heater hoses from the head and the lower rad inlet and force water back and forth through the heater core. Have the heater control set to hot for this.

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I see some rust sludge in the thermostat housing.. I had that too. Probably going to need to have the block boiled to get all that out.. I struggled with it.. flushed it countless times and it still was rusty.

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Cheers guys, yeah engine is coming out for the chassis blast anyways and considering the condition of the engine I think it would be wise to tackle the rust issue properly. I'm not too keen to flush it a million times and still be unsure if all of the deposits have been removed. Will check the valve seals and cylinders etc while I'm at it.

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I've been delayed on the re-build thanks to a whitetail bite on my back, figured Ratsun wouldn't be to keen on photos of the crater it left so i left them out.

Im at the stage of lifting the engine and tranny out then a final strip down for blasting.

If anyone has had a chassis blasted before how far do i need to take the strip down ? Front brake calipers are off and I will mask up the drum brakes. Pretty much all of the bushings are poked.



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As far as blasting the frame and how far you brake it down will depend on how you plan on finishing it, also with stuff Still in the way you ll have areas you cant sand blast....

If You plan on powder coating you probably want to remove everything, not sure what temp they bake powder coat at....

But then again even painting it you may want to get everything off too... more access ....

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When I plan on going through everything on the chassis, including the engine and all it's bits, I send the whole thing to the blasters complete. Take the carb off the manifold and make a simple plate to fasten down and cover the intake ports, remove the distributor and make another plate for that, plug off any other threaded holes and send it off.


I've done multiple vehicles this way and it makes the job go a lot faster. If everything will be rebuilt or every wear part replaced, your exposure is limited.


On the other hand, a lot of the engine parts on a Datsun don't look right after they have been blasted, so in your case, I'd remove the motor and trans and send the complete chassis off as a roller.


Sure, there will be spots that won't get blasted, but you can easily spot blast or simply wire wheel those areas once the teardown is done.

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Hahaha was a spider, we only have whitetail deer on Stuart Island. Might just go for the full strip down. Was hoping to leave the drums on as I haven't been able to get them off even using the two bolts in the drum itself.


Sometimes a little heat in the center can help expand the rusted metal and will pop and release. 

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Wire wheel the center hub on your axle, then pry on the drum left/right/left/right and repeat until they start to walk off.  You can straighten out the bent backing plate easily after they are removed.  A big dead-blow hammer and Charlie's advice also helps.  New drums are $25 here.  If it comes down to that.  

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The blasting shop I use blasts with different typed of media for different types of blasting and with two 80 thousand dollar compressors, they blast out of a 3" hose. The regular sand blasting removes any grease or caked on junk so I don't have to deal with disposing of that crap here.


Here are a couple pics of chassis parts I've had done over the years.







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