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DATSANITI - '80 210 Wagon VQ35 Swap


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Datsaniti has a new home in Atlanta after towing it 500 miles with my first project car, a '72 El Camino. I really need to fix its A/C! That was one hot trip!

 

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All tucked away in my new East Point garage. It's way smaller than my old shop, but it'll do for a rental house. Finishing the move this weekend. Still have to tow the hot rod down, which means Datsaniti is going to be a driveway project.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here's my new work space. We now live in a big city, just a few miles from downtown, so space is tight. Due to this new urban environment, my cat is now an "indoor cat" and my Datsun is now an "outdoor car". I miss my old shop really bad right now. But this was the right move for us, I guess. 

 

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Before the move, I had to scrap anything I absolutely did not need for these three cars. That meant I threw away a lot of potential re-coup parts. But it also means I have enough space to start working on cars again. It's been what...3 weeks?? I'm going crazy from withdrawal. 

 

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So now I have to plan worknights around the rain, which is does a lot in Atlanta. I built these two work benches last weekend. One for general purpose, one for metal work with all the outlets on it. 220V source is on the El Camino side of the garage, so I bought a welding extension cord. I could also use some large portable work lights since the rental driveway is pretty dim at night. But overall I think I can get to the Challenge in two months. Honestly there's not much left if going for the bare minimum "runs drives stops". Off the top of my head:

  • Fuel tank and fuel lines
  • Brake lines
  • Wiring
  • Battery mount
  • Finish the bodywork
  • Rattle can or wrap with something
  • Put the interior back in (or some of it)

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I got the garage all set up for building, so I built a radiator bracket. The bumper will also mount to this piece.

 

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From this angle you can see how angled the radiator is, allowing some generic 12" electric fans to fit between it and the pulleys. The sway bar and engine cross-member are the lowest points by about 1 inch.

 

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Bumper brackets!

 

 

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Those threaded clips are original to the bumper. They're really handy for attaching things.

 

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Bonus: Rice Rod in the background!

Edited by Maschinenbau
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Trying to do a little bit at a time. Bumper brackets finished, along with the upper radiator brackets. 

 

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Due to the radiator tilt angle, the original hose is not long enough. Might need some aluminum tube to extend it.

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Then I started my CAD model of the gas tank. Haven't decided on steel or aluminum yet, but it should hold 10.7 gallons and use the G35's pump and sender module.

 

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limited-slip diff acquired! This one is out of a manual trans 350Z, which means a higher gear ratio (3.5 vs my 3.3). Someone on craigslist was parting it out in their driveway and I took it home for $125, which is half what I was expecting to pay.

 

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The clutches are so tight I thought it was spooled at first, but I was able to get some relative motion between axles using a pry bar. 

 

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I finished mounting the brake master cylinder. I cut and ground the head off a 3/8-24 bolt and used a threaded clevis for the pedal push rod. I had to drill the Datsun pedal clevis hole a little larger to accommodate this generic clevis pin.

 

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I extended the lower radiator hose using a short piece of aluminum tube from Amazon and a random piece of hose from the parts bin. I'll have to get a FMV on that later.

 

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Radiator fans are also mounted. Just some cheap generic Amazon 12" fans.

 

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I started playing with wires, and it looks a lot easier now that I laid it all out. I salvaged the entire Infiniti G35 engine and body harnesses. The idea is to plug in everything I kept, like cluster, ECM, ignition switch, e-pedal, etc and hopefully everything else is just unnecessary stuff like HVAC, lighting, or accessories. I even still have an OBDII port, which will be useful once it's running. But I will have to re-locate the battery, because the engine bay is full!

 

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All the relays and fuses should fit in this corner, just like on the G35.

 

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That computer hanging off this fender is the ABS module. I may need help deciding whether to keep ABS or not. It will only cost me about 15 to 20 lbs. I have also read online that the speedometer will not work without it, because the cluster gets speed single from wheel speed sensors through the ABS module.

 

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Easy to get distracted with this beauty in the driveway 

 

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Your whole project is awesome!!!  I have heard the same about the speedo not working without ABS on my 2006 Miata project.  I have also heard I need a non-ABS master cylinder if I'm going to bypass the entire ABS system, but I don't know for sure.

 

Edited by INDY510
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On 8/27/2018 at 8:14 AM, Maschinenbau said:

limited-slip diff acquired! This one is out of a manual trans 350Z, which means a higher gear ratio (3.5 vs my 3.3). Someone on craigslist was parting it out in their driveway and I took it home for $125, which is half what I was expecting to pay.

The clutches are so tight I thought it was spooled at first, but I was able to get some relative motion between axles using a pry bar. 

 

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All the relays and fuses should fit in this corner, just like on the G35.

 

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Just FYI, the diff you have is a viscous, sadly not clutch type. You got a great f'ing deal on it too.

That relay / fuse box is the IPDM, (Intelligent Power Distribution Module) so protect it with your life. You'll want to make sure it's safe from moisture/water, they're very easy to kill and everything in the car relies on it. They're also very expensive ($600+).

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1 hour ago, Maschinenbau said:

So maybe try to mount all that inside above the passenger footwell? That might make room for the battery where I was planning to put IPDM.

 

That would be ideal. They don't seem to mind vibrations much, but just a little bit of moisture can ruin them.

 

They're a real pain in the ass to diagnose when they die. You get 0 signal to the ECU, sometimes it just kills the ECU fuse but most times it destroys the circuitry.

Edited by metalmonkey47
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This is my home depot intake. It's thin-walled 3" PVC from the trash can of a home depot. I used the throttle body elbow and MAF sensor elbow from the G35. The hose going to the air filter is actually a plumbing coupler. They are $4 and convenient versus $10+ on the internet. The air filter has a 3" opening and is an actual real OEM application for a '89 Honda Prelude Si, meaning I can buy a new replacement at any parts store. This one happens to be Denso 143-2041 and thought it would be black, but they shipped a red one I guess. It was $15. This entire intake was less than $20 because I was able to adapt so many OEM parts. 

 

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This is the part I needed to replace. It was too short, leaving the air filter in a weird place. It also has a very deep silencer cavity that takes up extra room.

 

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To keep the PCV system, I had to add a hose port to my new tube. Instead of buying a fitting, I just cut this one out of the stock intake and JB welded it to my pipe. It's a PVC PCV system.

 

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Painted in flat black, it almost looks like an OEM or decent aftermarket part.

 

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So uh...does anyone know off the top of their head which outlets on the brake master cylinder match up with which ports on the ABS pump? I have labels for "MC1" and "MC2" but my master cylinder has no labels and I can't find a diagram that shows this distinction. Basically does MC1 line go to the MC port closest or furthest from firewall?

Generic picture of my ABS unit:

Image result for g35 mc1 mc2

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Got the brake lines figured out thanks to another forum member. MC1 on the ABS pump refers to the "primary line" on the master cylinder, which is the one closest to the firewall. For short lines with many bends like this, I find it helps to make it out of copper wire first. I also got the FL line run to its hose. Everything else requires more weld nuts for line clamps. If you don't have this Eastwood line bending tool or one similar to it, you should.

 

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Put a bunch of holes in the bottom of my car.

 

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I had to make some brake hose brackets that weld to the Datsun. The folded edge next to the hole aligns with a flat on the brake hose to keep it from rotating. Bends were make by clamping it up in the vise and beating the edge over with a hammer.

 

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I also got 3 out of 4 brake lines run. I'll take a picture of the line clamps under the car once the RR and fuel line is run. 

 

Jumping around a bit I also got the shifter linkage shortened and the shifter installed. Another cardboard template so I know how much hole to cut out.

 

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Had to cut almost a foot out of the linkage shaft. Also had to bend a few things around to clear the trans and tunnel.

 

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The entire shifter assembly from the G35 mounts up with just a few large sheetmetal screws.

 

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I also tried to mount the center console to get some cup holders, but it doesn't quite fit between the seats. I might build my own console out of sheetmetal later on, but for now this is functional and plugs in to the G35 harness, so tiptronic is a go!

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Got all my brake and fuel lines finished! The ABS module is just supported by the lines for now. The rear 3/16" copper-nickel brake lines go down the driver side parallel, while the single 5/16 polymer-coated steel fuel line goes down the passenger side. Brake lines are free in the budget, but fuel line is not. I found this stuff along with the cushion clamps on Amazon pretty darn cheap. The copper stuff is really easy to bend. The fuel line not so much. I left extra fuel line in the general region of the hypothetical gas tank I keep talking about. I also go the open diff removed and the LSD is waiting on my feeble engineer arms to wrangle it into place.

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I finally got around to that custom gas tank, one of the biggest remaining hurdles. It's made from a 4'x4' piece of 20 gauge steel I brought with me during the move. 24 lbs bought at 0.75/lb. 

 

I unfolded my CAD model and traced out the pattern.

 

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Bend the edges using various pieces of lumber and angle iron

 

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Rolled some beads into it while it was still flat enough. Love my little vise-mounted bead roller! 

 

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You can see the CAD model on the left, sitting on Rice Rod's engine

 

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Before I got too far, I cut out and bead rolled some baffles.

 

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They only need a few short welds each. They also help with bending the tank walls by hand.

 

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I got the final shape by cinching down the whole tank using some ratchet straps and tack welding every few inches. Luckily it's a trapezoidal shape, so it was never meant to have square edges, and you won't really see this thing anyway. Just a Challenge car with a custom gas tank right? After the final shape was tacked together, I tried to TIG weld the lap joints but that went like shit, blowing through everything and kept dipping the 'trode like an idiot, so I resorted to a sort of "pulse MIG" technique. Like welding sheetmetal on a body, but instead of waiting for the bead to cool, you trigger again while it's still red hot for good fusion. Leak check revealed I only had one leak on tank body. 

 

Here's my shitty TIG skills. I don't know what's wrong with me, or if I'm just not used to thin-walled steel, or it's the sheetmetal coating. Many of you have seen my past work in other threads and this is definitely not up to par. But it holds water and I have 32 days to go so fuck it.

 

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Here is after I switched to "pulse MIG". MUCH better looking, and a quicker job too. 

 

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Luckily I gave up on TIG quickly so most of the tank looks decent.

 

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With the main body of the tank leak-free, I did a fit check. Back when I was fitting the IRS, I cut out the spare tire well, which is under this nifty folding panel that makes up the cargo floor. So I had acres of space for this tank.

 

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Crappy night pics from below. You can't really see the tank from outside.

 

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The next morning I went at the cargo area with some Simple Green, a toilet scrubber, and a garden hose. WOW, not so bad after all!

 

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Back to the tank, cut an access hole for the pump/sender module.

 

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I built this flange out of 1/8", but didn't have enough scrap to make the entire thing in one piece.

 

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Ground flush, trace hole pattern, drill some holes, and pound some bolts through.

 

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After TIG'ing the heads of the bolts to the flange, I wrapped a sleeve around it. This flange will sit recessed into the tank so the pump pickup can reach the tank floor.

 

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Did a separate leak-check on this piece, because once it's inside the tank, there's not fixing it later.

 

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And now it all comes together. That's the Infiniti G35 pump/sender module harvested from the donor, which makes it basically free in the budget. All this work to use free parts. The pump

pigtail (which I also kept) is the only real wiring I need to do, because I cut the rearward half of the body harness out due to laziness. Everything else should be plug-and-play (fingers crossed).

 

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By the way, this is my entire work space for this car. 

 

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Today I had a lot of help from family and friends. Much has happened since last time, including the gas tank is done and painted, the fuel filler neck is like 70% figured out, the shifter linkage was found to be not-worky and was re-fixed again, coolant expansion tank mounted and coolant filled up, brakes bled, and wiring was all plugged in. We couldn't figure out which wire powered the fuel pump, so we just grabbed a constant-hot wire from the cut end of the harness and wire-nutted it on, and turned the fuel pump on by ground against the door sill. The struggle came when we could power the starter, but nothing else. Then I found more random plugs and places for those plugs, so I plugged those plugs into their places. Keyed on one last time and the cluster illuminated. Oh that's new. Hell yes. Let's do this.

 

DATSANITI FIRST FIRE

 

Today's goal was to fire the engine and sure damn enough we did it! DATSANITI LIVES!!

 

Before the ECM could think too hard, I got it rev up a bit, then limp mode kicked in hard and wouldn't go past 2,400 RPM. Then ADVANCED LIMP MODE activated and it wouldn't do better than idle. Probably has something to do with the interior being a giant pile of wires, with like 3 places where it was cut, and at least 1 section where the new resident rat has gnawed a plug halfway off. Or I junked up the MAF when building my Home Depot intake. Or because the O2 sensors are like 2 inches from the header outlet. Or all of the above. Don't know, didn't plug in a code reader like I should have, but that cluster was lit the hell up. I'm just so excited and can't wait to sort out this hot loud mess.

Edited by Maschinenbau
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