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Lachlan's 1972 Datsun 1200 Sedan


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I think you already know.. it's the carb. 🙂


The hardest part will be just finding a kit to rebuild it. After that, just take your time and be organized. Take pics along the way so you know how it goes back together.

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i just started it then to see how it would run today.


It took a little longer to start (5 seconds), but still started up fine. There was a little bit of white / light grey smoke coming out the tailpipe, but no black smoke. It ran for about 60 seconds and then died. I didn't try to start it again as I didn't want to hammer the battery (again).


I realise now I should have grabbed another video, but I think @Draker and @slowlearner are both on the money regarding the carb. The research begins!

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On 9/7/2020 at 5:47 AM, Lachlan said:

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.


I despise rebuilding carburetors, but you are definitely starting with the easiest one there is. In fact, the first one I ever did was a 1200 and it was a piece of cake. 



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On 9/8/2020 at 3:23 AM, Draker said:

You can always go with a Weber. I am running one in my a14. It’s fantastic!


This is definitely the easiest path, but on A12 engines it's barely worth it. They work great on A14/A15 engines, but it's tough to get them jetted down enough for a smaller engine like the A12. 


In fact, the A12 carb is so simple/reliable, most of the time it's what I use for an "upgrade" on B210s and 210s. All you need to do is swap the A14 jets into the A12 carb and you're good to go. 


Side note, the best bang for the buck is SUs, but those are getting pretty spendy/hard to find. 



Edited by datsunfreak
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On 9/7/2020 at 3:55 AM, Lachlan said:

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.


Running with the choke on requires a lot of gas so if it runs, then it's getting lots of fuel. When the choke is on the engine will run very rich and there is a fast idle cam to speed the warm up, so when it's off it has to run on the warm idle setting. If it quits when warmed up you may have...


1/ The idle mixture is not set properly. Too rich or too lean. Or may be blocked with dirt. Remove the screw, counting the turns, spray carb cleaner or WD-40 in hole to flush. Put screw back in.

2/ The idle speed is set too slow. It may be as simple as turning the screw in.

3/ Small vacuum leak. Too much air getting in making the idle mix too lean to run



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I'm unimpressed by the flow from that fuel pump from the video.  I'd want to check it for flow and pressure against the manual, or at least T in a pressure gauge and see that it maintains a few PSI.

Could be a flat lobe on the cam, could be leaky return springs, or it could be just fine.  Easy thing to do is put an electric fuel pump in the line as a test.  If it runs better or the same, you know something about the state of your fuel system.  Also worth checking the fuel level thru the window in the side of your Hitachi carb.


That said, I'm sure servicing your carburetor would be worthwhile, particularity if the car sat for a while as the accelerator pump cups tend to dry out and get loose.  Be aware the linkage for the accelerator pump has to be set just so to get the timing right, so if you wind up with flat spots in your acceleration that's not a bad place to look.

Edited by pdp8
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  • 2 weeks later...



What ... have ... I ... done? 😶


The carb internals are surprisingly clean. I can see through all the jets except the primary & secondary slow jets (they aren't a straight through design). The throttle pump looked a little corroded, but again nothing that was indicate a clear fault. The needle seems to function fine, but I've got another on order as I notice there was never any fuel in the bowl when I managed to get the car running. Other than that, I'm guessing vacuum leaks might be part of the problem? @pdp8 you're probably on the money regarding fuel pressure. I have no idea why it wouldn't be at full power after installing a new fuel pump that is identical to the factory part. Maybe there's more detritus in the tank?


I've got this kit inbound: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/HITACHI-2-BARREL-DCG306-CARBURETOR-KIT-FITS-1970-1981-NISSAN-HONDA-MAZDA/401792402236?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649


I've been recording short clips as I remove parts, so I'll try and compile this into a long form video for future carb rebuilds. Stay tuned.

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How is your throttle-body?  When these get worn the shaft gets sloppy in the bore and it's hard to get a really good steady idle out of it.

Last I checked these folks had them at really great prices: https://www.oem-surplus.com/nwp/1200.htm


Setting the timing of the accelerator pump is a little fussy to get just right on these carbs, pay special attention to the linkage and the pre-travel above the plunger.  You'll know it when you get it right since it won't bog on rapid acceleration.


Oh, and of course remember to make note of which jet goes where, yada-yada.


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Watch out for aftermarket fuel pumps.  I had a 1200 Coupe where I replaced the fuel pump with a generic unit.  The generic pump was putting out about three times the pressure of the stock unit, and would flood the carb once the motor was turned off, making it very hard to start when warm. 


Turned out a the fuel line from the tank to the engine was clogged, so I put the original pump back on after that was remedied.  I drove the car daily to work for about three years and never had a problem.



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  • 1 month later...
On 10/10/2020 at 1:06 AM, graveltrapp said:

Is there Gas in the Tank?



Yes, but as you'll read below that wasn't the only thing that was in the tank ...


The carb has been cleaned, dried, reassembled with fresh gaskets and throttle / accelerator pump and is sitting back where it's meant to be.








When I turned the key, she fired right up ... for 30 seconds, then choked and died. I wasn't impressed to say the least.


However, I can actually see the fuel / float level now and I witnessed that the fuel bowl was draining from its initial starting point halfway up the window. There's simply not enough fuel getting to the engine. Time to shift focus - again.


At least I'm learning new skills. Lots of them.


On 9/15/2020 at 3:48 PM, pdp8 said:

I'm unimpressed by the flow from that fuel pump from the video.


@pdp8, you were right to be skeptical of the fuel flow. You got me thinking that I was too quick in abandoning my original plan of starting with the tank and working my way towards the engine bay. Jumping around has cost me time and motivation.


Time to do the hard thing I'd been putting off and deal with this jerk.




It was really hard to get a photo of the insides, but it was not good.




After biting the bullet and pulling the tank, I discovered it was full of cruddy sediment left from fuel breaking down. You can hear it in the video below. There is no liquid fuel in the tank, only solids.



Here's what it looks like.



My working hypothesis is that this crud was blocking the tank outlet and cutting off the fuel flow. That would explain why new spark plugs, fuel hoses, fuel pump and rebuilt carb didn't fix it. There is also some minor rusting in the tank too, but it's very hard to discern what is old fuel crud and what is rust. There are parts that are in remarkably good condition (which is a great sign).


My chosen method for cleaning the gunk and rust out is as follows:


1. Agitate the crud with a chain and soapy water

2. Thoroughly rinse with hot water

3. Soak insides in a water / molasses mix (10:1) for three weeks

4. Thoroughly rinse with hot soapy water

5. Final rinse with uncomfortably hot water to assist with quick drying

6. Forced hot air blow dry on a hot day in the direct sun to ward off flash rust forming

7. Coat the insides with kerosene and reinstall promptly before filling with fuel


I took most of my cues from a Revzilla article (https://www.revzilla.com/common-tread/how-to-clean-rust-out-of-a-motorcycle-gas-tank) and this YouTube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dzlE9-9DVE).


If I suspect I won't get to reinstalling / refilling in a short time, I'll put some ATF in for a longer term treatment and flush with petrol before filling. I did notice paint peeling off the outside, so I'll have to give it a hit of paint before reinstalling. Against popular opinion, I won't be coating the inside with a liner at this stage. There is too many mixed opinions and I can always do it later, whereas removing one after the fact is more of a pain. I'm better off just keeping it topped up with fuel and driving the dang thing!


I finished the first few steps this afternoon and am letting it soak for a week before checking on it.




Stay tuned.

Edited by Lachlan
Shortened a quote.
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I would give the pickup tube a good look, it could be getting closed up like an artery ..... or possibly have some pinholes in the tube... 


If it's in rough shape I'd recommend replacing it with a replaceable marine pickup tube....




You have to weld on an Npt bung onto the tank and then just cut the pickup tube to fit.... they have a couple different diameters so just make sure you buy the right size.....

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On 11/17/2020 at 2:15 AM, Crashtd420 said:

I would give the pickup tube a good look, it could be getting closed up like an artery ..... or possibly have some pinholes in the tube...


Thanks @Crashtd420. I checked the outlet tube and it was completely blocked up. After a few sprays of brake cleaner and many minutes agitating with some trimmer / whipper snipper line, it's now clear and free flowing again.


On 11/22/2020 at 3:30 AM, pdp8 said:

I would strongly consider electrolysis for your rust removal, might be a lot quicker than a week.


Thanks @pdp8. I plan to try electrolysis rust removal in the future as I've seen how very effective it is. That said, I am very happy with how the molasses mix worked for this job.


Over the weekend, I strained the molasses through a rag into buckets to mix it after sitting for the week. This gave me the chance to remove the tank debris before the second soak. As it turned out, the molasses had worked its magic and softened / loosened all of the gunk and most of the rust. I could see a lot of bare metal inside! I was confident that had I popped it back in the car and filled it with fuel, it would've been fine for another few decades.


Because I had everything ready to go and had pre-planned to soak for 2-3 weeks, I thought I'd give it another soak. Unfortunately, the seal over the filler inlet hole had a slow leak and attempts to fix it didn't work. I woke up the next day to a pool of molasses mix on the concrete slab, so it was decided for me that a one week soak was enough. I dumped the molasses back into buckets, rinsed the inside with hot water and dish soap, then rinsed with very hot water, and dryed it out thoroughly with a hair dryer. Finally, I plugged the holes again and poured in a litre of kerosene and shook it like crazy. No photos this time, I had to work very quickly and the old garden hose kept blowing holes with the hot water and high pressure.


Next job: Refinishing the tank exterior.

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  • 6 months later...

It's been seven months since my last post.


The little 1200 is still safely in my care. Life and other projects have momentarily taken priority.


I know, we've heard this before. 'I'll get to that one day' becomes the mantra.

Amongst other things, we're finally building a large shed that sits next to our carport. We'll finally have easy access to tools, an enclosed work space and loads of secure storage. It's a functional upgrade to make all of our projects easier. That's the hope, anyway.

'Doris / Harriet' (her working names) is sitting patiently for me to get back to work on her. In the meantime, I wanted to share a recent photo of the newly painted fuel tank. It only took me 6 months to do.


Primer Coat




Top Coat with Clear









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Good to see you're still plugging away at this car.


Fuel tank is the next item of business for the green coupe. Pressure built up in the tank and she sprung a leak. The spare tank has been welded up and now just needs to be cleaned and painted. With any luck these pics will motivate me.

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  • 3 months later...
On 6/19/2021 at 2:35 PM, Lachlan said:

Amongst other things, we're finally building a large shed that sits next to our carport. We'll finally have easy access to tools, an enclosed work space and loads of secure storage. It's a functional upgrade to make all of our projects easier. That's the hope, anyway.


And it's almost done. When Greater Sydney went into its second lockdown in early June, my paid work soon dried up and I had plenty of time on my hands. Now, four months later, we're coming out of that same lockdown and a shed has emerged. Here are some build photos.


The Site




















Thermal Wrap




Wall Cladding




Roof Sheeting




Easy Access




Finished Shed



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  • 2 weeks later...

Last weekend, after catching up with a friend for breakfast and talking all things cars, I was inspired to get back into the Datsun. She was covered in thick dust after months of sitting and needed a good wash.


I love how you appreciate a car so much more after you wash it.






Today's task was to clean out decades of farm dirt and crud from the boot (or trunk for the Americans) and behind the rear seat.



This is after a few attempts with the vacuum cleaner too.







This took the better part of a day to do. Looks so much better. The marks are from the previous / original owner carting equipment and produce around his farm. I think it adds a certain charm.






Next up, refitting the fuel tank. As it had been sitting for many months since the last treatment, the inside started developing light surface rust again. It's currently filled with a mix of water, molasses (10:1) and a splash of white vinegar (40:1) to speed things up.


After that, the braking system needs a full overhaul.

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