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The Bluebird from Japan

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While the heater repair was going on, I decided what many old car drivers do. Time to bypass the heater core and drive it!  Some short trips around the neighborhood to build confidence in the car, and it was time for the first actual destination drive in the US.  Driving it to work may not sound super exciting, but it allowed me to set the alignment angles so it would drive straight. Got some positive comments at the stop light on the way in. 

Made it!



Stayed late after work to set the alignment. Strange to climb up on the RH side during the process since I have been on the other side my entire career.


Took advantage of a new section of parking lot at work before all the cars were moved in.






Thought this was an interesting shot. Note what I call "the helper dent" in the fender. That happens when your buddy is "helping" and leans on the car while you do the work. I went back to the pictures Carter took of the car before I picked it up. Nope not there then... It did pop out with a surprising boing! sound when pushed from the inside. Mostly gone now



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I knew the exhaust was a bit loud so I had a look while it was up in the air. Well, I fixed the front part anyway. It is 50 or so years old so maybe the original part of the exhaust might need some help here...




In the shop after a long day




My ears were ringing when I got home that day. It did seem to get louder the more I drove it LOL.


No longer part of my system... I threw it on the ground!



And a picture of the nice resonator I salvaged at work. Too quiet now





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I hope Paul doesn't mind.

I got to visit him a few weeks ago and he took me for a ride in his awesome bluebird.  Made me miss driving Granny.  3 on the tree is so great for cruising!






Check out the video!





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Aaaand... back to the heater core repair. Man am I over due for updates.


Yeah you could say the heater core had a leak. Fails the dunk tank test at 5psi




I am super lucky to have such good friends in this community. Jeff came through with a very slightly used to be NOS heater core from his 68 2 door




On to the heater control valve

So I cut the 240Z heater core apart to come up with this as a mounting bracket




And then cut the end off of the part that was too short to go through the firewall and connect with the heater hose




New hose found using Google images for the shape




And a pic of the valve with extension, hose and core assembled together




I found the control cable (wire) for the valve was stuck in the plastic sleeve making operation impossible. Here is what I came up with:


Bicycle brake cable housing (cut to fit)

Hardware store "music wire" for the control cable

I think the sizing is just about right









all put together and ready for action




New heater hose still available from Nissan to top it off




I was glad to be done with that one for sure






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So since we are all social distancing these days I decided to spend some time on the build thread. Lots to tell so here we go with the first update:


Since the heater was sorted out, it was time to clean up the mess inside the car. While rinsing off the original carpet, I realized it had to go. Fading red carpet with giant holes was pretty sorry to look at, so I spent some time inside cleaning the floor. Found a bunch more Japanese coins to give to my buddies and some old toothpicks. 


Cleaned up pretty good!




New carpet kit from Stock Interiors




The front seats are not original and have been transplanted from some other Nissan with a brown cloth interior. Pretty ugly and uncomfortable. I picked up these Subaru WRX seats for a good price. Will have to figure out how I want to mount them. That project will have to wait.




The car came with these front mud flaps that sort of went with the rally ride height look it had. I wanted to keep them as they were almost touching the ground with the suspension upgrades I installed. Problem was, they were too stiff to deflect when I hit bumps and made an awful sound. I thought my tires were rubbing. Had to go!





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So glad to see this getting some love! 


That carpet kit's not too shabby huh?!

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This next project came about by accident. My interior lamp was missing the lens when I got the car. I later found it under the gas tank in the trunk of all places. Maybe it was placed on the storage shelf and bounced off on the road somewhere in Japan. Unfortunately it had some broken mounting tabs so I started casually seeking a replacement, following leads about what might be compatible. It is different than the US 510 in location and design. After some searching, I had low expectations that I would find a suitable replacement.




I then saw a post on Instagram from Nissanparts in Olympia about an interior lamp for the 520 pickup i believe. Looks a lot like my Bluebird light. Hmmm. I decided to gamble on it as it was cheap enough in my mind to take the chance.


When I removed the "original" light I found it had been replaced already with something else anyway. The imprint on the interior material did not line up and they only used one mounting screw. No way for me to tell if the new one was the "same". That wiring job was pretty shaky. Sheesh




That's right, your eyes are not deceiving you. The power wire is twisted together and was tucked back into the B pillar without any tape to prevent a short circuit! I wonder if it had anything to do with this almost disaster I found in the fuse box?




I am going to go with "plausible" explanation for almost burning down the car at some time in the past.


So it looks like the holes line up perfectly here. Time to add some bullet connectors to the harness and install this thing.




I have no idea if this is the "correct" interior lamp for this car. Since it looks like it is I am going to be happy with it and cross it off the list of things to do.




That was a bright idea!







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Well this is what your view looks like when you drive an old car sometimes. The left rear brake was dragging enough to cause me to stop at wide open throttle. That one got me a ride of shame in the tow truck ha ha. The guys who came and got me asked who the mechanic was... you? We all had a laugh at that. Yes, yes I am LOL.




I found pressure in the LH rear wheel cylinder when I opened the bleeder. Since I already replaced all the rubber hoses, it was time to replace the hard line from the rear T junction to the LH side. Aaaand since I am in there, lets do the exhaust for real this time.




This 4" pipe will just fit in there. With a little help.




Used the pipe to scribe placement of the new hole.




That is about as big as you can go here. Should be plenty of room for the exhaust now.




Went with a smaller diameter resonator this time. Salvaged from a Hyundai Genesis I believe.




Turned out pretty good I think. Sounded way better than before.



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Installed the new Futofab rear bumper while this was all going on. It fit really well and did a lot to help the overall look of the car.






Stopped by Dillon's place to pick up the sway bar I bought from him at the Powerland show. I was hitching a ride and was unable to bring it home myself.




And installed. What a difference! Way more fun to drive.




Had to fix an oil leak at the filler cap anyway so I picked this up.




So I spent some of the summer driving it around close to home. It smoked a bit out the tail pipe, but hey its the original 67 engine right?. Super fun to drive, but wow is it slow. I prefer to keep up with traffic, not be the one that everyone goes around. This influenced my thinking more than I knew. With enough confidence in the car, I decided to team up with Frank and head down to the Blue Lake show in Portland. What could go Wrong?


Waiting to meet up for the morning drive down.




Made it to within 1/2 hour of the show and the engine overheated. After letting it cool, and filling it up with coolant (I had some with me for some reason)

 we made it the rest of the way to the show with normal engine temperatures. The return trip was a struggle for sure. Drive 20 minutes, cool down and repeat. Thermostat was working and I had a new water pump. Bubbles coming out the top of the radiator told me the sad truth. Head gasket. Add to this the engine was burning a quart of oil every 100 miles. When I realized I was on the verge of overheat at 60, I decided the engine was a loss anyway and drove it home HOT. Made it, but the L13 was no more.


I saved the valve cover. Bye L13!






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Getting my coupe on the road as well, keep it up.


How was the futu fab bumper did it fit good.

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16 hours ago, Trophy24 said:



I saved the valve cover. Bye L13!







When you start with an L13, the only way to go is up!  : )

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Save those L13 rods for a stroker. 😉


P.s. I didn't even realise they came out as a 1300. 😳

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While the engine is out...

That's how it starts sometimes. I am attempting to keep this from being a restoration for now. I already have one of those going that I have never driven in all the years of ownership. Having said that off we go in the list of things to do.


Going back in time to my initial attempts to get this car on the road, I was replacing the clutch hydraulics. The tube nut for the slave cylinder hose did not want to budge. Progression from a standard wrench to a line wrench made no difference. I ended up heating it with a torch and using vice grip pliers. Time to replace the rusted up hard line.






Much better



On to other things...

The new engine will have a little more power than the L13. Plans also include a 5 speed. This made the gearing in the rear differential incompatible for sure. I have no desire to wind the new engine up on the freeway the way the old set up did. My solution was to use the Subaru STI R180 with 3.90 gears I had stashed away for my 2 door. I picked it up with the understanding that it needed some refreshing, so off we go down that rabbit hole.


New bearings going in



The only way I found to remove the assembly from the case without grinding something. Remove one of the ring gear bolts. That took some time to figure out.





And back together. Special thanks to Keegan for hooking me up with the diff and stub axles!




Edited by Trophy24
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