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SLOWPOKE - 1971 1400DX Bluebird 4dr (510)


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The floors are amazing!  The jute pad still looks factory fresh.






Is the front as nice as the rear?




except for some compression from the driver's heel, yep!




Blinker stalk with flash-to-pass!




Passenger's side




The plastic is going to go asap!




Hardly even a seat-belt ding on the sill cover




This side had some water.  Nothing terrible though.




Requisite "flare"




Glovebox - note light switch - typical on these cars.






Has anyone lifted this mat in the last 49 years?




More protected goodness








Better shot of the headliner




Edited by carterb
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To the engine room then...






Nothing looks show car but everything appears complete and OEM








210 head




L14 block




Rated at 85 PS (84 hp)?  Not too shabby!






More stocky stuff






Everything in here just looks amazing!




except the deformed inner fender behind the left headlight




Anyone want to translate?




Service intervals?  Note the paint code showing through - 937.  I can't find any information on this in the US.  : (




Looking good then...  Let's hope it's no chore to get you up and running.




even super clean under the hood











Edited by carterb
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On 8/22/2020 at 10:15 PM, slowlearner said:

Very noice! Does it run?


Why thank you very much for asking!


Indeed once I gave it a battery full of juice and cranked it over a few times, it fired up and ran like a sewing machine!  Smooth and quiet.  Nice!


But - as mentioned in Japan, something was wrong with the clutch and I couldn't select a gear.  I was pretty sure the clutch was just frozen to the flywheel (I've experienced that before) but just to be certain, I wanted to make sure the hydraulics and such were working correctly.  Tough to do with a one man army, but armed with an iphone - nothing is impossible right?


I set the phone on the ground looking up at the slave cylinder then sat down, gave it a few pumps, and grabbed the camera to see what I could see.




It works!


Awesome!  That just means we need to break the clutch free.


This part is not for the faint of heart.  You have to put the car in gear, clutch pedal down, foot on brake, and rotate the key to engage the starter.   This really loads up the starter but it's only for a moment before you turn it off and try again.


On previous cars, one or two engagements was all it took.  On this one, I tried 3 or 4 times and it was still stuck.  Then I alternated between 1st and reverse 3 or 4 more times and finally *POP*! the flywheel and clutch were decoupled and I was sitting in place, in gear, clutch depressed, motor running.  I could then select neutral and de-clutch, then depress the clutch again and select a gear.   Progress!


Only thing left to do now was go for a little drive.  (remember leaking brakes meant that it would be a slow short one)




Success!  Not only did it make it up the hill but I was able to start, stop, shift, steer.  What else do you need?!


A couple days later - everything still works.  : )






Getting serious now...

Edited by carterb
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About this time Adam had the title application complete and ready to send in so I could get a license plate.

I heard about some nice little JDM to US license plate adapters on ebay.




Kind of spendy for what it is I suppose but it beat drilling extra holes in the car and/or license plate.


A few days later a package showed up with the adapters along with a T-shirt and some cool stickers!




Now I know why it was $19.  : )  Thanks LHI!


I will very likely buy more in the future for my other Bluebirds.

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After determining that the brake cylinder on the front struts was different than the brake cylinder on the rear, I made the easy decision to just swap to front disks right away and not fool with fixing the leaking front drum brakes.


I got the car up on jack stands and took a bunch of pictures of the wheel wells and suspension.  Everything is in such awesome shape!  Do I have the undercoating to thank for that?  Certainly didn't hurt.  I'm sure the car was just garaged and rarely driven.  That's the only way these things survive like this in Japan.


















I swapped over to some wheels and tires that actually held air in preparation for actually driving this thing soon.


For some reason, after jacking it up, it did NOT want to come back down!  Look how far up in the air the nose is now!  Jumping up and down on the front did not return it to earth.  Weirdy!




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I'm getting a little ahead of myself.  Before making the decision to swap to front disks, I grabbed the old drum brake struts that came off of Granny in the hopes of a quick route to driveability.


Cooper looked on with interest.  "How's the weather up there?"




Look at the fender height!




Let's get to work then...




Swappy swappy parts




Strut goes there




Slowpoke strut at left, Granny strut at right




Even higher?!  What the heck?!?!?!?!




I must be building a Stomper here!


(You guys remember those? - I was in heaven when you could get one in your Happy Meal)



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While it's up in the air and easy to work on, I figured I should get a fender on there to make the car at least a little more presentable.




That'll do for now.




The fender is a little munched in the front - it matches the rest of the car perfectly!  : )






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Between the elevated ride height and front drum brake issues, this set up just wasn't going to work...  The weekend had just started and I figured the obvious way forward was going to be swapping the suspension and brakes from Granny to Slowpoke.  She wasn't using them.  : )


Granny hadn't see the light of day for a while.




Still makes me a little sad...






For those who are still learning - Slowpoke (on right) is a '71, Granny (on left) is a '72.  Note the difference in the tail lights.




They have different grills too.  The '71 has the grill with the center bump out.  This is often referred to as the "SSS Grill".  My understanding is that name came about during a time period where when you ordered a "510 grill" from a US Nissan dealer - the grill you got was the '71 bluebird grill with a SSS badge attached.

The '72 has the steel mesh grill with the plastic top and headlight surrounds.  That grill is often called the "plastic grill" or often the "coupe grill" which is funny because it never came on a coupe from nissan (they didn't make coupe's in '72) but again, my understanding, when coupes were ultra rare in the US, one of the more well known coupes had a '72 bluebird grill and everyone just assumed that was another detail unique to the coupes.  Now of course most people call them "supersonic grills" thanks to Love20Bee making reproduction versions available to the masses.  Apparently that provided the seed money to start their custom wheel business.  Smart!  Their custom wheels are gorgeous!!!!






Granny still has quite a bit of "junk in the trunk"




Most of that needed to come out to gain access to the rear coil overs. 


No such trouble with Slowpoke.  Trunk is clean and ready to go.




Everything in this car is in such incredible condition!






Commence swapping!





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Granny never got the chance to wear these out - they are still like new.  Maybe 2-3k miles?




Of course, Slowpoke's suspension was still pretty crisp as well (less than 67,000 km)




Funny how lowering a car is an upgrade...  Should it be a downgrade?




OEM shocks




Granny back on the ground




And Slowpoke with the "new" rear suspension






Much betterer...



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The sun came up the next morning and so did the front of these two Bluebirds.




ready for launch!






Drum vs Disk...  They aren't pretty (well, pretty rusty) but they should get the job done...






Pulled off the Suspension Techniques bar too - not sure if I'll mount it just yet...








Oh yeah - Experimental Engineering T/C Kit.  DEFINITELY have to swap that over!




Now we're talking!






Okay Granny - back to storage with you.  So sorry....




One good thing though, while I had the car out in the open - I had a friend come and look it over to get a bid on repairing the crash damage and possibly even painting the car.  Hopefully we will be able to make something happen there...





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Into the garage then for a brake bleeding session followed by an alignment check.


In case you are unaware - changing the ride height of your car changes the wheel alignment.


Lowering a 510 changes the toe quite a bit - about 3/4" over the length of these alignment plates.




After some work with the tie-rods - we are now about 1/16" toe-in.




Let's see, what else...  Oh yeah, the license plates came in the mail so time to mount the adapters and get this thing road legal!




What the heck was going on behind the license plate in Japan?  Did they try to remove the old plate with a claw foot hammer?  Weird...


First drive day is almost here!!!!


Edited by carterb
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The next day, Friday the 5th of June, 2020, I drove Slowpoke to work for the first time!  Some seven months after purchasing from Japan.




After work, I decided I'd take a couple of pictures next to one of our buildings, seemed to offer a cool industrial backdrop...




While the car was sitting there idling, it died.  Seriously?  I could not get it to re-start.  Not even a sputter.


Although the fuel gauge said it had about 1/3 of a tank, there was an orange mark on it placed there by the PO.  I knew I was close to it but not that close.  My perspective from the drivers seat must be different than the other guys.  Anyway - it was out of gas.


See it there framed by the steering wheel?




Finding no suitable cans at work to walk to the gas station with, I called Jeff.  He had all our gas cans left over from the race at Pacific Raceways since it ended early with a crash.  In went 4-5 gallons of fresh gas and after some cranking to fill the carb's float bowl, it started right back up. 


Next stop then?  The gas station.




I've never put so much gas in a 510 before!  Bone dry it was!!!


Crisis averted (or so I thought)


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Saturday I gave Slowpoke a thorough was job.






Those black steelies make it look like a cop car or something...




Looks good though on the new suspension.  It really transformed the car.





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Looks great.  Super glad to hear you are looking in repairing Granny too.


Is it possible this car came with the Nissan rally/offroad front shocks?

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On 8/29/2020 at 4:30 PM, carterb said:


Crisis averted (or so I thought)



Sunday morning I woke up and hurried back and forth to the mail box to fetch the newspaper.  It was raining.  I noticed some color on my driveway but that's nothing too unusual.


After catching church online, I went back outside for something else and noticed rainbow footprints on my porch from when I got the paper earlier.  Well that's a little odd...  Then I looked at the driveway again and saw a rainbow road that Mario Kart fans would be jealous of.




Further investigation led me to Slowpoke.  I opened the door and found that the front footwell had probably a quarter gallon of gas sitting in it.




The rear was worse so I started pulling things out of the car to locate the problem.




I assumed it was probably the fitting(s) at the bottom of the fuel tank as something similar to this had happened to the cactus green FJ 2dr I bought a couple years ago.  (to the previous owner)


In the process of pinpointing the problem, I brushed the rubber cap on one of the two fuel tank fittings and it fell off and started puking out fuel.  I quickly put my finger over it but I was now in a bit of a pickle.  I had nothing to pug it with so I started yelling for help.  Corey heard me and was able to hand me the tools and items I needed to get a handle on the situation.  I put a hose over the fitting to try and drain the remainder of fuel into a can.




I recovered less than 2 gallons.  That means at least 8 or 9 gallons of gas passed through my car and onto my driveway overnight.


I abstain from using harsh language but I'll admit a few choice words passed through my mind when holding the culprit that caused this disaster.




Let the clean up begin




Next I stripped everything out of the car.  This is all I got in return for my trouble.




Maybe that missing lens led to the crash that put this bluebird on the market.  ?


The fuel soak turned the stock Nissan sound deadening into goo.  Sticky, nasty, squishy, awful, goo.  I tried to scrape up as much as I could without making an even bigger mess than I started with.




I could hardly believe what I was in the middle of at this point.  Just a few photos earlier I was in awe of the condition of this car after 49 years of existence, and now a part of that has been completely erased by a tank of gas and a failed rubber plug.


PSA, if your tank still has one of those plugs, drain the tank and remove it NOW! 


I kind of wonder - if your car is in continuous use, maybe it's not bad.  It might be the drying out from sitting with an empty tank that kills them.


The car was not the only victim here.  Look what it did to my driveway?!  As I was working on the car it felt like I was walking on a gravel parking lot.  All that fuel dissolved the oils in the asphalt and really left a mark.






Repeat to myself - Datsuns are fun, Datsuns are fun, Datsuns are fun...




Edited by carterb
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Wow - bummer, sorry to hear that, and you were making such great progress. When I do my fuel pump install and gas tank draining, I will check for any rubber cap like that - thanks for the heads up. I liked your post as a thanks for posting, not what happened. ☹️

Edited by rosso
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On 8/31/2020 at 9:53 PM, Draker said:

I can smell that from here. Sorry to see it!




If there is one thing I excel at, it is rolling with the punches.


Time to put this thing back together then...  First I found the upper seat belt anchor nut and poked a hole in the headliner so I could mount seat belts with shoulder harnesses.




I grabbed the belts out of Cooper since I'm not currently driving that car.  I grabbed the carpet too.  It's a cheap felt carpet but it makes a nice substitute for the now missing jute pads.






Seat belt receivers




Rubber mats back in.  They cleaned up very nice.




The blue ones did not.  Which is fine with me, I would have removed them anyway.


The cap is now replaced by a short section of hose leading under the car with a plug secured in place.




With the seat back in, you'd hardly know something had happened - except for the staining on the rockers - to be addressed later.




To complete the re-dress, I installed the 4 best hubcaps I could find.




Now it's looking like something!





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Back to work then...




Things were going okay for a few days but then the carb started cutting out on us mid-drive.  I suspected that when the tank ran dry, something made it upstream past the filter.  I crossed my fingers and tried blowing out the jets with WD40 but blowing back into the float bowl would only be a temporary fix at best.




Step 1, replace fuel filter.




Step 2, find that soft line leading to fuel filter is no longer soft and fuel filter drains contents all over inside of engine bay.  *sigh*  Why can't the gas just stay where it belongs in this car?! 

Step 3, replaced hose. 

Step 4, consider disassembling carb to remove debris causing sputtering (seems like it is in the secondary circuit)

Step 5, discover individual gaskets are not available, order carb rebuild kit.


In the mean time, Father's day comes around and Corey gives me the most awesome gift ever!


A custom "Slowpoke" air freshener. 




Thanks Corey!!!


Surprisingly, even before the air freshener was unsheathed, the car didn't even smell like gas.  Or maybe my nose is fried?  How many years have I been driving carbureted Datsuns?  There must be SOME cumulative olfactory damage...



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