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Lachlan's 1972 Datsun 1200 Sedan


Lachlan

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I recently purchased a barn stored 1972 Datsun 1200 sedan off a farm here in Australia. Here are some photos before I start making any changes.

 

Keep in mind I'm very new to these cars, so I may get a few things wrong.

 

Exterior

There are minor dents on the left hand side and rear. Rust is minimal from what I can access.

 

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A few dents particularly in the doors. Nothing too significant.

 

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Left hand side tail lights bezel is cracked and missing from a previous impact. Rear bumper looks to be a bit out of shape too.

 

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Interior

The front seats were replaced by the previous owner. I will be sourcing original seats as these ones have you sitting very high and touching the headlining.

 

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11970 miles. Not sure how many times it's been around the clock.

 

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3 speed automatic. I'll get it running and see how it drives around town. I hear 5 speed manual conversions are popular with these models.

 

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Original back seats. The support is non-existent and might need reupholstering.

 

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The old fuel will be drained and the tank cleaned before filling with fresh fuel and stabiliser.

 

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Engine

Complete and original from what I can see. The engine turns over and starts, but won't stay running. It could be as simple as bad fuel and me not realising these cars had a manual choke.

 

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Single carburetor setup.

 

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Underneath

The exhaust system needs some attention.

 

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That doesn't quite look right.

 

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I think my dog likes it.

 

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More to come.

 

Lachlan

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Nissan-matic? Can't make out the emblem. It doesn't say BW-35 in the middle? '72 should have the JATCO auto in it but there may have been some old Borg Warner 35s. Very nice! My first Datsun was a 7 year old '68 510. The kid that bought it off the original owner drove it and partied all one summer and got tired of it. He never transferred it so I was the second owner. He was a pot head and him and his friends must have kicked small dents in all fenders and doors. I got it for the $50 starter he put into it. Dog is your co-pilot?

 

That a cistern to catch rain water?

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Looks like a great start! 

 

Those are all standard datsun issues.. nothing abnormal seen there. great stuff!

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Bout time! This is a very sweet, original car. I think it's only done 119k as the Speedo reads. Looking forward to see what comes out of the fuel tank. Lol.

 

Should I post a picture of it's new shoes? Ok then. 😊

 

 

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4 hours ago, datzenmike said:

Nissan-matic? Can't make out the emblem. It doesn't say BW-35 in the middle? '72 should have the JATCO auto in it but there may have been some old Borg Warner 35s. Very nice!

 

The badge has 'Nissan Full Auto Matic' on it.

 

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Thanks for the info on the auto transmissions! I'll keep a look out for any markings that might help identify it.

 

4 hours ago, datzenmike said:

My first Datsun was a 7 year old '68 510. The kid that bought it off the original owner drove it and partied all one summer and got tired of it. He never transferred it so I was the second owner. He was a pot head and him and his friends must have kicked small dents in all fenders and doors. I got it for the $50 starter he put into it. Dog is your co-pilot?

 

That a cistern to catch rain water?

 

Stellar find! Do you still have it? I've always loved the boxy look of the 510 / 1600s. A couple guys in high school had them, and they were getting old even back then.

 

The dog's name is Fudge and he's a brick with legs attached. Not the sharpest tool in the shed, but he's a loveable dude. I've got another one too called Penny who I'll show in future photos. They both love a good car ride!

 

Yeah, you got it! We're not connected to town water, so we catch the rainwater from the roof in the tank. Do you have a similar setup?

 

2 hours ago, Draker said:

Looks like a great start! 

 

Those are all standard datsun issues.. nothing abnormal seen there. great stuff!

 

Thanks! I read your posts about your '72 sedan with an auto. Looks nice!

 

1 hour ago, slowlearner said:

Bout time! This is a very sweet, original car. I think it's only done 119k as the Speedo reads. Looking forward to see what comes out of the fuel tank. Lol.

 

Should I post a picture of it's new shoes? Ok then. 😊

 

Thanks for all your help with this Pete! You'll make a Datsun nut out of me yet.

 

Lachlan

Edited by Lachlan
Quoted picture removed for brevity.
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My brother lived near Kingston in Ontario (known as the limestone city) and bedrock is only 5 feet down so wells were a problem. I thought he had a concrete basement but it was just on the limestone. He collected rainwater in a downstairs cistern for everything but cooking.

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1200 with an automatic... 0-60 in 19 seconds.  I live somewhere with some short freeway ramps, with a large vehicle bearing down on you that can be some of the longest 19 seconds of your life.  I swapped my A1s for an A14 and while the gains were quite substantial, fussing with the crossmember, motor mounts, etc. were a lot of work.  I sort of wish I had put the time and effort into installing a turbo on the A12 instead.  The A-14 crossmembers and other bits were never available in the USA, so I had to do fabrication to make it work.  You might have an easier time of it since the B110 was a longer running product where you are and also the clearances aren't as tight on a RHD car.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's what I got up to over the weekend.

 

Battery

 

I removed the battery for charging. It's in good shape and will start the car. This is preventative maintenance for peace of mind.

 

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Fuel

 

I drained the old fuel from the tank. It had been in there for over a decade. I had no idea what to expect having never done this on any vehicle before.

 

Armed with my special service tool, I got to work.

 

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Sparkling clean!

 

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I can't recommend this Amazon fluid pump highly enough. I've used it for five fluid jobs across other vehicles already. Hat tip to ChrisFix (YouTube) for this idea.

 

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In position ready to start pumping. Once you get a flow of liquid going, it siphons out itself. I know there are simpler ways of achieving this, but the real gem of this is it works in reverse and pumps fluid upwards too.

 

If I were to do this again, I'd use a technique I picked up off Ratchets And Wrenches (YouTube) and lightly clamp the drain hose to the drip tray with a loosely closed vise grips / vice grips / locking pliers so the hose doesn't pop out and spray fuel over everything.

 

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Now we're underway. This is after about 3 minutes of draining. At first I was really surprised by the red colour. slowlearner thought it was transmission fluid when I sent him a photo. I can't blame him. It had an acrid, pervasive smell, very similar to what I remember varnish to smell like.

 

While we were driving in the car later that night, my wife casually asked if it was the valve saver fluid (lead replacement additive) that contributed to the excessively red colour. I was speechless for a few seconds while I thought about it and realised she was probably spot on. The age of the fuel would have a lot to do with it too.

 

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A full bottle for your viewing pleasure. It's in an old mineral turps bottle, so there's a few paint marks on the outside.

 

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I was unsure how fuel would react to the thin plastic in milk bottles, so I emptied waste oil out of some thicker oil bottles and put the fuel in there.

 

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When I removed the intake hose, there was this rubbish on there. I think it's the rubber perishing on the hose that connects the filler to the tank.

 

What do you think?

 

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Number Plates / Tags

 

I removed the old plates as they are no longer current.

 

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Wheels

 

Thanks to slowlearner, this little gem will be wearing new shoes shortly. Here's a sample of what's to come.

 

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A productive weekend.

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 The fuel looks bad, but not awful. Maybe there's a chance the tank is still ok? Maybe you'll be play with a drain and flush.

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In the bottle, the fuel looks similar to what came out of mine. You want 2 new fuel filters on the car now. One under the tank. One before the pump in the engine bay. Change them once you've been driving it... Or if they block up first. 😁

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The colour may be partly additive and partly lead residue, when did you folks quit running leaded petrol?

In any case, you can safely let it settle and add a litre or so per fill-up to dispose of it with  no ill effects.  Hoses are likely slowly disintegrating so you'll be changing filters often for a a while.

I've had enough fuel pumps had diaphragm failures after sitting for long periods that I usually change them out since failure means petrol thinning the engine oil.

 

Weight is your best asset with this car, if you ditch that battery and either run a small LFP battery like so: https://www.aerovoltz.net/aerovoltz-ai-series-480-cca-experimental-intelligent-lithium-battery/

Or at least a wetted mat battery something like: http://www.directcycleparts.com/electrical-ignition-batteries-odyssey-odyssey-high-performance-deep-cycle-battery-pc680-p-270.html?_vsrefdom=adwords&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI4bfj3cuV6gIVMD6tBh1zpQd0EAQYBiABEgJxLvD_BwE

In one car just chopping off the cable ends and shortening the cables offset completely the weight of the slightly earlier generation A.V. battery so it was as if I'd removed the battery weight completely!

Both of these examples are more than adequate to crank an A-series motor and will save you 12+Kg over stock in a really bad location to be carrying weight in the car.  That might seem like a small amount of weight, but you'll feel nearly every Kg.

 

That paint is in remarkably decent shape, Makes me wonder what one of those shops that do "paintless dent repair" would be able to do for you.  Actually, given the thin metal involved, just pressing firmly on the back side is likely to remove of lessen several of those dents!

While you have the door cards off, make sure to vacuum out the bottom of the door.  The rubber pad they put on as noise dampening has a habit of disintegrating and falling down where it can block the door drains.  Also make sure to clean the area down low at the back of the front fenders, as that has a habit of catching dirt and promoting rust which you likely have to a greater or lesser degree.

 

 

Edited by pdp8
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  • 4 weeks later...
On 6/22/2020 at 11:05 AM, Draker said:

 The fuel looks bad, but not awful. Maybe there's a chance the tank is still ok? Maybe you'll be play with a drain and flush.

That sounds easier than what I've been planning to do. I was just out looking at the tank trying to work out what's involved in removing it from the car so it can be cleaned thoroughly.

 

On 6/22/2020 at 5:36 PM, slowlearner said:

In the bottle, the fuel looks similar to what came out of mine. You want 2 new fuel filters on the car now. One under the tank. One before the pump in the engine bay. Change them once you've been driving it... Or if they block up first. 😁

I'll see where to install a post-tank filter when I get better access to it. I've bought a new pre-pump filter to replace the old one.

 

On 6/23/2020 at 12:10 AM, pdp8 said:

The colour may be partly additive and partly lead residue, when did you folks quit running leaded petrol?

In any case, you can safely let it settle and add a litre or so per fill-up to dispose of it with  no ill effects.  Hoses are likely slowly disintegrating so you'll be changing filters often for a a while.

I've had enough fuel pumps had diaphragm failures after sitting for long periods that I usually change them out since failure means petrol thinning the engine oil.

 

Weight is your best asset with this car, if you ditch that battery and either run a small LFP battery like so: https://www.aerovoltz.net/aerovoltz-ai-series-480-cca-experimental-intelligent-lithium-battery/

Or at least a wetted mat battery something like: http://www.directcycleparts.com/electrical-ignition-batteries-odyssey-odyssey-high-performance-deep-cycle-battery-pc680-p-270.html?_vsrefdom=adwords&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI4bfj3cuV6gIVMD6tBh1zpQd0EAQYBiABEgJxLvD_BwE

In one car just chopping off the cable ends and shortening the cables offset completely the weight of the slightly earlier generation A.V. battery so it was as if I'd removed the battery weight completely!

Both of these examples are more than adequate to crank an A-series motor and will save you 12+Kg over stock in a really bad location to be carrying weight in the car.  That might seem like a small amount of weight, but you'll feel nearly every Kg.

 

That paint is in remarkably decent shape, Makes me wonder what one of those shops that do "paintless dent repair" would be able to do for you.  Actually, given the thin metal involved, just pressing firmly on the back side is likely to remove of lessen several of those dents!

While you have the door cards off, make sure to vacuum out the bottom of the door.  The rubber pad they put on as noise dampening has a habit of disintegrating and falling down where it can block the door drains.  Also make sure to clean the area down low at the back of the front fenders, as that has a habit of catching dirt and promoting rust which you likely have to a greater or lesser degree.

 

 

Leaded petrol was phased out in January 2002. I had to look that up. I thought it was in the early 90s, but turns out it was later on. I'll probably add the fuel to the lawn mower and get through it eventually. Did you rebuild or replace the fuel pump when the diaphragm failed? It's currently got a 'Nikki' brand installed and I'm unsure if this can be rebuilt.

 

Great info on weight saving and batteries - thanks. I'll keep this in mind as I drive this car. I wouldn't be surprised if the battery doesn't last too long, given it's been sitting for some time.

 

I'll give the 'gentle pressing out from the inside' technique a go when I get to beautifying the car. And thanks for the heads up about vacuuming the door bottoms and fender cavities. I noticed there's some dust and junk that's collected in the rear fender cavities. The whole car needs a solid vacuum.

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With only a couple hours available this morning, I set about creating a plan from here on out.

 

The Cardboard Method

 

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I shamelessly stole picked this up from fellow Ratsun member @slowlearner. I keep it in the car to remind me what needs to be done and where I get up to each time.

 

Care Package

 

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I love when parts arrive. Here's the first of many parts to go in. Clockwise from top:

- Brake shoes (rear)

- Air filter

- Anti-seize (general use)

- Air filter

- Spark plugs

- Fuel filter

- Oil filter

 

Charging Up

 

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Any excuse to use the battery charger. It's been about a month since the last charge. Until this is being regularly used, I'll keep giving it a top up. Unfortunately I can't keep it connected all the time on trickle charge as the carport is all exposed to the elements.

 

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On 6/22/2020 at 5:38 PM, slowlearner said:

Hey! Hang on! What's with buying an old car with a decent battery! That's not how it's spose to work! 😦

 

Guilty.

 

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I love this thing. I've used it about six or seven times in the half year I've owned it.

 

Fuel Tank

 

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Plenty left to do. I need a few hours uninterrupted to disconnect, remove, clean and refit the tank. I'd like to know the fuel supply is clean and uncontaminated so I can eliminate it as a source of problems both now and in the future. Reliability is high on my list of priorities with cars.

 

Fuel Pump?

 

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I didn't think there was a fuel pump in the fuel tank, but I guess there is. Can anyone confirm? Are these a common fail item?

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1200's do not have fuel pump in the gas as a stock location, this is wiring for gas level sending unit... leads to gas gauge in the dash instrument cluster.

 

Stock fuel pump location is on the dizzy side of the engine block, is mechanical and is run by a eccentric lob on the camshaft.  UNLESS.. it has been replaced by an inline electric fuel pump,

 

and then there will be block off plate where the original pump mounted.

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On 7/17/2020 at 9:52 PM, Lachlan said:

That sounds easier than what I've been planning to do. I was just out looking at the tank trying to work out what's involved in removing it from the car so it can be cleaned thoroughly.

 

I'll see where to install a post-tank filter when I get better access to it. I've bought a new pre-pump filter to replace the old one.

 

Leaded petrol was phased out in January 2002. I had to look that up. I thought it was in the early 90s, but turns out it was later on. I'll probably add the fuel to the lawn mower and get through it eventually. Did you rebuild or replace the fuel pump when the diaphragm failed? It's currently got a 'Nikki' brand installed and I'm unsure if this can be rebuilt.

 

Great info on weight saving and batteries - thanks. I'll keep this in mind as I drive this car. I wouldn't be surprised if the battery doesn't last too long, given it's been sitting for some time.

 

I'll give the 'gentle pressing out from the inside' technique a go when I get to beautifying the car. And thanks for the heads up about vacuuming the door bottoms and fender cavities. I noticed there's some dust and junk that's collected in the rear fender cavities. The whole car needs a solid vacuum.

Be aware that it's common for the rubber parts at the top of the tank to to fail from age or handling when you remove/replace the tank.  So if they don't leak now you are risking their integrity by touching them.

 

In my case since I own a number of vehicles it's not uncommon for them to sit a week between drives.  Rather than having to crank the motor long enough to get the fuel pump to fill the carburetor I'm prone to go with the inline electric pump and delete the mechanical one.

 

Speaking of weight savings, my radiator when I bought the car was  10.6lbs and didn't cool things well.  I flushed it out and even rodded out the center section near the radiator cab, only to decide I wasn't going to feel good about it's state.  The new Worley that replaced it was just 6.7lbs.  Saving 4 lbs up front for not much over $100 is pretty nice, as is reducing the amount of copper in the cooling system for a car with an aluminum cylinder head.  I wish I could find an aluminum heater core as well.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 7/18/2020 at 1:39 PM, Morrisun said:

1200's do not have fuel pump in the gas as a stock location, this is wiring for gas level sending unit... leads to gas gauge in the dash instrument cluster.

 

Stock fuel pump location is on the dizzy side of the engine block, is mechanical and is run by a eccentric lob on the camshaft.  UNLESS.. it has been replaced by an inline electric fuel pump,

 

and then there will be block off plate where the original pump mounted.

Thanks Morrisun. This was really helpful. I found the fuel pump and have posted pictures below.

 

Nikki Fuel Pump - five screws in the top

 

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On 7/19/2020 at 11:55 PM, pdp8 said:

Be aware that it's common for the rubber parts at the top of the tank to to fail from age or handling when you remove/replace the tank.  So if they don't leak now you are risking their integrity by touching them.

 

In my case since I own a number of vehicles it's not uncommon for them to sit a week between drives.  Rather than having to crank the motor long enough to get the fuel pump to fill the carburetor I'm prone to go with the inline electric pump and delete the mechanical one.

 

Speaking of weight savings, my radiator when I bought the car was  10.6lbs and didn't cool things well.  I flushed it out and even rodded out the center section near the radiator cab, only to decide I wasn't going to feel good about it's state.  The new Worley that replaced it was just 6.7lbs.  Saving 4 lbs up front for not much over $100 is pretty nice, as is reducing the amount of copper in the cooling system for a car with an aluminum cylinder head.  I wish I could find an aluminum heater core as well.

Thanks for this pdp8. I heeded your advice and left the tank in place and simply flushed it out a couple times. Seemed to do the trick.

 

The car won't stay running without some intervention. I am unsure whether:

- The hard fuel lines from the tank to the engine bay are free flowing or blocked,

- The fuel lines are perished and letting air into the system and prohibiting a vacuum,

- The fuel pump is not working properly.

 

That said, I can get it running and idling nicely with some very dodgy fuel-can-and-siphon techniques. But this just proves the engine runs (which is GREAT!) but doesn't help diagnose any of the above issues. There was fuel dripping out some of the lines, so that might indicate new fuel lines are needed.

 

IMG-20200805-WA0004%20-%20Copy.jpeg?dl=1

 

Here's a really short clip of it running.

 

 

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On 8/5/2020 at 3:14 AM, Lachlan said:

The car won't stay running without some intervention. I am unsure whether:

- The hard fuel lines from the tank to the engine bay are free flowing or blocked

 

Need to hit the rear hard line with compressed air to find out. Or just have someone blow into one end while you listen at the other end. This does happen, but usually on cars that sat for awhile with the lines disconnected. 

 

Quote

- The fuel lines are perished and letting air into the system and prohibiting a vacuum

 

Possible, but not very likely. A big enough hole to allow air to pass will allow fuel to pass also.  

 

Quote

- The fuel pump is not working properly.

 

Highly likely, since there is a rubber diaphragm inside that perishes when you leave the car sitting for a long period of time. Easy enough to diagnose, though. Remove the line from the pump to the carb, put it into a clear container, and crank the car over for a few seconds to see if anything comes out. 

 

I have owned a load of Datsuns that have sat for many years. They usually need all the rubber lines replaced, the fuel pump rebuilt/replaced, and the carb cleaned out. 

Edited by datsunfreak
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21 hours ago, datsunfreak said:

I have owned a load of Datsuns that have sat for many years. They usually need all the rubber lines replaced, the fuel pump rebuilt/replaced, and the carb cleaned out. 

Indeed, replace the soft lines under the hood, if they haven't failed yet, they will soon.  I've also seen a number of bad pumps myself.

Throw a cheap electric fuel pump in the line in place of the mechanical one, if it runs well then you have your answer!

I won't say I haven't had to dump the crud out of a carburetor from time to time, but on the Datsuns I've wasted more time doing that when I should have been looking elsewhere.  It isn't a bad idea to back-flush your main fuel line with some compressed-air, just don't go crazy with the line pressure, I just tried to unblock some fuel lines on a Ferret scout car and damaged the tank through overpressure. 😞

Edited by pdp8
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2 hours ago, pdp8 said:

It isn't a bad idea to back-flush your main fuel line with some compressed-air,

 

To clarify, I was saying apply pressure back to front, not front to back. You DO NOT want to blow any debris INTO the fuel tank. 

 

Quote

I just tried to unblock some fuel lines on a Ferret scout car and damaged the tank through overpressure. 😞

 

Datto tanks are surprisingly robust.  😁

 

Also something I did not see mentioned earlier, there should be a drain plug in the bottom of the tank, accessible via a hole in the floor, sealed with a round rubber plug just above the rear axle. No need to siphon the fuel out of these tanks. 

 

Unless the Aussie cars did something different to the USDM/JDM cars with their fuel system. 

Edited by datsunfreak
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  • 5 weeks later...
On 8/7/2020 at 4:14 AM, datsunfreak said:

 

Need to hit the rear hard line with compressed air to find out. Or just have someone blow into one end while you listen at the other end. This does happen, but usually on cars that sat for awhile with the lines disconnected. 

 

 

Possible, but not very likely. A big enough hole to allow air to pass will allow fuel to pass also.  

 

 

Highly likely, since there is a rubber diaphragm inside that perishes when you leave the car sitting for a long period of time. Easy enough to diagnose, though. Remove the line from the pump to the carb, put it into a clear container, and crank the car over for a few seconds to see if anything comes out. 

 

I have owned a load of Datsuns that have sat for many years. They usually need all the rubber lines replaced, the fuel pump rebuilt/replaced, and the carb cleaned out. 

 

I've made an educated guess that the hard lines are clear. As far as I can tell, the lines were always connected, even while the car sat for over 10 years. I also don't have access to a compressor. That's a future purchase!

 

Upon closer inspection, I did discover that many of the soft lines had perished, so they've been replaced.

 

I wasn't 100% certain the old pump wasn't working, but I replaced it as a preventative measure as I definitely do not want to be stranded. Like you mention, I've read everywhere that the diaphragms in these deteriorate if the car isn't used.

 

On 8/7/2020 at 4:16 AM, datsunfreak said:

In case it wasn't obvious, if you get fuel out of the pump, it likely needs the carb cleaned/rebuilt. 

 

Sadly, I think you've nailed it. I've never rebuilt a carb, so this is scary new territory. In fact, there are very few car things I have actually done, so this car is a steep (but fun) learning curve.

 

On 8/8/2020 at 1:32 AM, pdp8 said:

Indeed, replace the soft lines under the hood, if they haven't failed yet, they will soon.  I've also seen a number of bad pumps myself.

Throw a cheap electric fuel pump in the line in place of the mechanical one, if it runs well then you have your answer!

I won't say I haven't had to dump the crud out of a carburetor from time to time, but on the Datsuns I've wasted more time doing that when I should have been looking elsewhere.  It isn't a bad idea to back-flush your main fuel line with some compressed-air, just don't go crazy with the line pressure, I just tried to unblock some fuel lines on a Ferret scout car and damaged the tank through overpressure. 😞

 

Thanks for the tip! I'll give this a go if I can get access to a compressor, but for now I'll just have to hope it's ok. I do have a fluid pump (shown in a post above) that I can pump air through, so I might give this a go. Any tips? I read below that datsunfreak mentions going from the tank forward. How would you do that? Do you put the hose into the fuel filler and seal the opening with tape so the pressure can build?

 

On 8/8/2020 at 3:54 AM, datsunfreak said:

 

To clarify, I was saying apply pressure back to front, not front to back. You DO NOT want to blow any debris INTO the fuel tank. 

 

 

Datto tanks are surprisingly robust.  😁

 

Also something I did not see mentioned earlier, there should be a drain plug in the bottom of the tank, accessible via a hole in the floor, sealed with a round rubber plug just above the rear axle. No need to siphon the fuel out of these tanks. 

 

Unless the Aussie cars did something different to the USDM/JDM cars with their fuel system. 

 

Thanks also for this tip. Yes, I found the drain plug under the tank which was very helpful with the flush.

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Thanks again to your help, and that of @slowlearner, Doris (as the car is now known as) moved under her own power for the first time in many years.

 

I finally pulled my thumb out and tested whether there was adequate fuel pressure at the carb. I don't know why I didn't do this earlier. Here are the results.

 

 

 

The car will start without any help, will run for a while especially with the manual choke pulled out, but once it returns to a normal idle it cuts out. I can't figure it out ... yet.

 

This went on all afternoon without resolution. I did manage to get the car to move up our driveway, but she soon conked out and I had to roll it back down. No pedal brake, just the handbrake. Sketchy as.

 

The adventure continues.

Edited by Lachlan
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