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SLOWPOKE - 1971 1400DX Bluebird 4dr (510)


carterb

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It's highly unlikely I will be doing any auto crosses with Slowpoke any time soon so I wanted to get off my race tires and onto something else.  I was going to go back to the stock rims but I went a little overboard and emptied out my garage and moved some cars around, took a look at my rims while I was at it to figure out what I need and what I don't.

 

What is your favorite?

 

SSR Colin Starshark

large.10032020_slowpoke_(3).JPG.56c083f7

 

Nissan 280ZXT snowflake

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Hero Racing Shuttle

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Work Equip Excel Casting 4H

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Eagle Racing

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AME 182

large.10032020_slowpoke_(8).JPG.c5f52305

 

Hayashi Techno Phantom

large.10032020_slowpoke_(9).JPG.10de2676

 

Work Equip 03

large.10032020_slowpoke_(10).JPG.a7ac2e1

 

Hayashi Racing Techno

large.1739752770_10032020slowpoke(11).JP

 

Focus Esprit

large.10032020_slowpoke_(12).JPG.142577e

 

SSR Longchamp XR-4

large.10032020_slowpoke_(13).JPG.813dff6

 

SSR Jilba Racing

large.jilba_racing_wheels_02132013_(9).J

 

 

Edited by carterb
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In the end, I mounted the white 280zxt Snowflakes I had on Ricewagon.  Mainly to make sure the tires were not destroyed (i.e. square) from sitting so long without rolling.

 

large.10052020_slowpoke_(1).JPG.fb369bfe

 

I'm pretty happy with the look for now actually.

 

large.10052020_slowpoke_(2).JPG.f9231304

 

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Now then, back to the tach...

 

I removed the dash face so I could dig this thing out.  Fingers crossed that there were no major differences between the US and JDM dash wiring and gauge mounts etc...

 

large.10112020_slowpoke_(1).JPG.da7f4de6

 

Bluebird gauge cluster in front, 510 gauge cluster in back.

 

large.10112020_slowpoke_(2).JPG.bfc7167c

 

Sure enough, the fuel gauge swapped right over.  The tachometer took a little splicing but I didn't have to modify or destroy the Bluebird dash wiring harness.  I would need to run a dedicated signal wire to the coil though.

 

large.10112020_slowpoke_(3).JPG.0d8cc743

 

That's what I have hooked to the Black/Green wire using a bullet connector.

 

And with the cluster back in place and trigger wire connected through the window with the hood open, I was able to verify functionality.

 

http://datsun510.com/uploads/monthly_2020_10/10112020_slowpoke_(1).MOV.fb16fbad352b0f601c4be59748138395.MOV

 

It took another week to "permanently" run the trigger wire.  I went through the factory firewall grommet (no easy task) and along the factory wiring through the engine bay, under the radiator, etc.  It is as invisible as I could make it.  And now the fun part.  I was wondering how high the revs were on my freeway trip to work and back every day.

 

large.10162020_slowpoke.JPG.7020220a58e4

 

4,500 RPM!!!  That little L14 is working!  Factory low rear end gears and 4spd tranny combine for less than optimum NVH at highway speeds.  Car seems happy enough though.  Hasn't complained one bit.  I'd still like to swap in a 5spd and 3.7 or 3.9 rear end gears - but will likely wait for L18 installation.  For now - if it isn't broke...

 

Tachometer!

 

http://datsun510.com/uploads/monthly_2020_10/10162020_slowpoke.MOV.f6cfff18c58409381cd306431d6b979b.MOV

 

So much more useful than a clock that is fast by a minute or two every day.

 

P.S.  The gas gauge did not fix the issue.  A quick test suggested by Jeff points to the fuel sending unit.  Will have to check my stock before ordering a new one.

Edited by carterb
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What type of paint did you end up going with?  I'll be painting some parts soon and trust you judgement on a good value paint.  I was in the Lynnwood shop the other day and was surprised how expensive the top of the line PPG paint was (women behind the counter told me $800 to $1000 per gallon). Sorry, I can't comment on the color match since I'm color blind to some colors. 

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On 10/19/2020 at 9:48 AM, carterb said:

Now then, back to the tach...

 

I removed the dash face so I could dig this thing out.  Fingers crossed that there were no major differences between the US and JDM dash wiring and gauge mounts etc...

 

large.10112020_slowpoke_(1).JPG.da7f4de6

 

Bluebird gauge cluster in front, 510 gauge cluster in back.

 

large.10112020_slowpoke_(2).JPG.bfc7167c

 

Sure enough, the fuel gauge swapped right over.  The tachometer took a little splicing but I didn't have to modify or destroy the Bluebird dash wiring harness.  I would need to run a dedicated signal wire to the coil though.

 

large.10112020_slowpoke_(3).JPG.0d8cc743

 

That's what I have hooked to the Black/Green wire using a bullet connector.

 

And with the cluster back in place and trigger wire connected through the window with the hood open, I was able to verify functionality.

 

http://datsun510.com/uploads/monthly_2020_10/10112020_slowpoke_(1).MOV.fb16fbad352b0f601c4be59748138395.MOV

 

It took another week to "permanently" run the trigger wire.  I went through the factory firewall grommet (no easy task) and along the factory wiring through the engine bay, under the radiator, etc.  It is as invisible as I could make it.  And now the fun part.  I was wondering how high the revs were on my freeway trip to work and back every day.

 

large.10162020_slowpoke.JPG.7020220a58e4

 

4,500 RPM!!!  That little L13 is working!  Factory low rear end gears and 4spd tranny combine for less than optimum NVH at highway speeds.  Car seems happy enough though.  Hasn't complained one bit.  I'd still like to swap in a 5spd and 3.7 or 3.9 rear end gears - but will likely wait for L18 installation.  For now - if it isn't broke...

 

Tachometer!

 

http://datsun510.com/uploads/monthly_2020_10/10162020_slowpoke.MOV.f6cfff18c58409381cd306431d6b979b.MOV

 

So much more useful than a clock that is fast by a minute or two every day.

 

P.S.  The gas gauge did not fix the issue.  A quick test suggested by Jeff points to the fuel sending unit.  Will have to check my stock before ordering a new one.

 

There's something about small (up to 1300cc) motors. You'll probably find it revs a lot more easily than the larger motors because of lighter crank/rods/pistons. So if it's not overheating or knocking, don't be afraid to rev it up.

 

I will say though, you'll enjoy an L18. I'm very impressed how torquey mine is and it easily pushes the car along at 60mph with a 3.7 diff. 

 

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Star shark, racing shuttle and techno phantom should stay.  SSRs could leave my garage and not be missed.

 

Regardless, car is coming along nicely.

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18 hours ago, slowlearner said:

 

There's something about small (up to 1300cc) motors. You'll probably find it revs a lot more easily than the larger motors because of lighter crank/rods/pistons. So if it's not overheating or knocking, don't be afraid to rev it up.

 

I will say though, you'll enjoy an L18. I'm very impressed how torquey mine is and it easily pushes the car along at 60mph with a 3.7 diff. 

 

 

Oops.  Typo.  L14.  1400cc.  Paul has (had) the L13.    His did not like the trip to Canby.  Mine is holding up so far.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

A little point of interest.  Before my battery died, my car had developed an annoyance when running.  It would hesitate off of stop signs and stop lights.  I'd push down the gas and release the clutch and the car would fall on its face, before catching itself and taking off like normal.  I was chalking it up to cold temperatures and old carburetor and just got in the habit of giving it a little rev before starting to release the clutch.

 

Once the new battery was in, that whole issue disappeared!  My assumption is that I was running low on voltage so there was no spark under load off idle.  New battery made everything happy again.  : )

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Next step was fixing the fuel gauge.  Well, the sending unit to be exact.  I found a brand new one on https://zcardepot.com/#

 

large.11212020_slowpoke.JPG.680513e193fe

 

I can't believe how many parts are now available for our cars from www.futofab.com , www.datsun-garage.com , and www.zcardepot.com 

 

To be sure I was doing this right, I hooked up the new sending unit to the yellow wire in the car and checked full and empty.  It looked like I was getting the full gauge sweep as expected.  So I ran the tank down as low as I dared, jacked up the rear of the car, crossed my fingers, and removed the old sending unit.  I could literally see the meniscus of the fuel at the edge of the access hole!  That was close!

 

New sending unit in, rear of car lowered back down, and no sign of leakage.

 

large.11232020_slowpoke.JPG.a36dd4e1e063

 

Now I can remove that silly make-shift sticker from the face of the gauge.  Empty is now empty again!  Yay!

 

Filling the tank for the first time with the new sending unit was a little exciting.  I just went slow with the trunk open so I could check for leaks but everything was fine and that was 2 or 3 tanks ago so we are golden!

 

 

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Looks like my silly battery charger was not telling the whole truth.

 

I went to leave for work Monday morning and my battery was dead.  Looking back, I think the couple previous starts were kind of weak but with a new battery, I overlooked it.

 

I put the battery on the charger and after an hour it too read "bad".  No way.  It's only a couple months old.  Car started right up so obviously it was taking some charge.

 

At idle though, I was only getting about 12.3 volts

 

large.1221756126_01042021slowpoke(1).JPG

 

While revving It would rise to 14.4

 

large.1313466050_01042021slowpoke(2).JPG

 

However, with headlights on it would drag back down to mid ~12.5.

 

Assuming the battery is good, and the alternator is good (it is raising the voltage) it must be the voltage regulator?

 

I pulled a known good regulator off of Cooper.

 

Similar story - mid 12's at idle.

 

large.840759211_01042021slowpoke(5).JPG.

 

Higher when revving

 

large.94502383_01042021slowpoke(6).JPG.8

 

(had to take it outside, exhaust with the garage door open was flowing back into the house)

 

Looks good when revving

 

large.1426977322_01042021slowpoke(8).JPG

 

But not good when headlights are on

 

large.278808604_01042021slowpoke(10).JPG

 

Process of elimination says it is my alternator...

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I guess I was thinking they either work or they don't but I remember now that you can have a weak alternator. 

 

Anyway, I have a brand new re-build in a box that I've been shuffling around the garage.  Perfect!

 

Time to put this puppy to work!

 

large.363234737_01052021slowpoke(1).JPG.

 

large.1112574030_01052021slowpoke(2).JPG

 

Connections on the back are *nearly* identical to the one in the car and mostly clocked correctly as well.  Good start.

 

large.2052308332_01052021slowpoke(3).JPG

 

So I proceed to pull off the belly pan and complete the alternator swap.

 

large.173249037_01052021slowpoke(10).JPG

 

Then I go to start the car and the charge light does not turn off.  uh-oh...  So I turn off the ignition.  And the car stays running!  I had to unplug the coil lead to the distributor to kill it.

 

Quick call to Jeff suggests the new alternator may be internally regulated.  Ah!  I bet he's right.  I may have bought this one for the 620...

 

So I figure I'll take the old alternator to O'Reillys and get it tested along with two others I have in my garage - to confirm mine is actually bad and also to hopefully confirm one of the others is good.

 

But when I open up the bin containing the other two old alternators, look what I find!

 

large.1763142007_01052021slowpoke(4).JPG

 

I don't know Japanese but the connector looks right for a internally regulated alternator swap plug.  ($50?!)

 

large.2119285185_01052021slowpoke(5).JPG

 

large.1308124865_01052021slowpoke(6).JPG

 

Unplug voltage regulator, plug in this thing instead, cross fingers, 3...2...1... ignition!

 

charge light turns off - good start.

 

~14v at idle.  Improvement!

 

large.932609451_01052021slowpoke(7).JPG.

 

~14v when revving.  Sweet!

 

large.1020942978_01052021slowpoke(8).JPG

 

~14v with headlights on and fan running, even at idle.  Excellent!

 

large.2014872303_01052021slowpoke(9).JPG

 

Back in business!

 

 

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Next item on the list...

 

Sometimes when pulling away from a stop, it seems like my brakes stick for a second.  Plus I thought I head them dragging the other day.  So I thought I would investigate.

 

large.80561817_01062021slowpoke(7).JPG.a

 

Left rear looks AOK (though surprised to find no brake dust)

 

large.1139826691_01062021slowpoke(1).JPG

 

large.1624275070_01062021slowpoke(2).JPG

 

large.645491229_01062021slowpoke(3).JPG.

 

right rear looks really nice as well.

 

large.395559293_01062021slowpoke(4).JPG.

 

large.1168458265_01062021slowpoke(5).JPG

 

large.1653655963_01062021slowpoke(6).JPG

 

couldn't find any evidence of dragging.  Except maybe on the perimeter of the inside face of the brake drum.  See how there is kind of a shiny silver circle (where the brake dust is sitting)?  Of course it is quiet now after putting it back together.  But the sticky sensation is still there.  Could be fronts I suppose but I don't feel it in the pedal.  I feel it as I release the clutch.  It is like there is a slip then sudden catch.  The catch feels like rear brakes releasing but it could also be something in the clutch.  Have any of you broken a (or all) clutch disk spring?  What does it feel like?

 

I'm wondering if I broke the springs when I was trying to unfreeze the clutch when I first got the car and now, with no springs, there is no damping/give when the clutch transitions from slip to catch.  Thoughts?

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Still looking for a right side '71 bluebird sedan tail light lens.  Mine is cracked.

 

large.135521461_12202020slowpoketailligh

 

Last week there was a complete NOS assembly on Yahoo! Japan.  It sold for $625!  That's over $1,300 for the pair once they are shipped to my door.  Good night!   When did we start driving Porches?

 

Apparently Craig (Tokyo2U) only has rusty ones.  Isn't the trim attached to the lens stainless?  How can it be rusty?

 

Anyway, if you happen across one, let me know, thanks!

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  • 2 weeks later...

270% chance of snow in the forecast last week so I swapped over to snow tires

 

large.490229669_12232021trouble(2).JPG.7

 

large.1119041731_12232021trouble(1).JPG.

 

The snow never did show up but it's nice to drive on round tires again.  The ones on those snowflake rims are a bit D shaped.  : )

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Shoot!  I missed an update.

 

Winter driving in a Datsun is challenging enough - keeping the windshield clear of fog and all.  But I tell you I've never had a car take as long to warm up as this one.  After a 15 minute drive to work, the temp gauge was not even up to the T yet.  I was sure the thermostat must be stuck open or something. 

 

I had been doing a major garage cleaning since before Christmas and in the process I found a fresh 180 deg thermostat so I grabbed that, jacked up the front of the car, drained some coolant, and went to work.

 

large.158450468_01022021slowpoke(7).JPG.

 

The old thermostat was closed and the underside was covered in thick rusty looking fluid.

 

large.499795455_01022021slowpoke(1).JPG.

 

The fluid under the thermostat did not match the color of the fluid in the radiator.  How does that work?

 

large.2102662754_01022021slowpoke(2).JPG

 

I put it in a pot of boiling water to see if it was functional

 

large.1037240238_01022021slowpoke(5).JPG

 

Open wide!

 

large.823874592_01022021slowpoke(6).JPG.

 

So what did I learn?  Well...  Nothing really.  Except with the new 180 degree thermostat the car warms up in about 5 minutes so there must have been SOME issue with the old one.  Maybe it was opening too soon?

 

Also I learned not to boil rusty thermostats in our good cooking pans.  : )

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This is a weird winter up here in the PNW...  It is just so stinkin' wet!

 

I opened up the trunk about the same time I was dealing with the thermostat issue and check this out:

 

large.1768469422_01022021slowpoke(3).JPG

 

large.20461395_01022021slowpoke(4).JPG.d

 

Soaking wet back there!!!

 

I had to pull out the gas tank divider, spare tire cover, and trunk floor liner to save them from soaking up the mess.

 

A Washington summer erases all memories of the winter suckage here - otherwise no one would live here.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, the snow did come!

But I had the week off so didn't need to go anywhere.

 

Just as well, It was too deep around my place anyway.

 

large.912651135_02132021slowpoke(3).JPG.

 

large.75560347_02132021slowpoke(2).JPG.c

 

large.277458593_02132021slowpoke(1).JPG.

 

large.2049150906_02132021slowpoke(4).JPG

 

Spent almost 2 hours digging an Uber driver from the bottom of the hill to the top one day.  I don't think he'd ever driven on snow before.  Had no idea what to do and was unwilling to listen to any advice.  His brother showed up half way through and helped.

 

Sad story actually, when he got to the top of our hill, he told the passenger he didn't think he should go down it.  The passenger said "no problem, there is an exit at the bottom" (there isn't).

 

So the driver went down the hill dropped off his customer, and was promptly stranded.  The customer didn't offer to help.  How selfish can you be to lie like that AND not lend a hand.  Sad.

 

The next day our neighbor tried to leave their driveway and got stuck one car length away.

 

I helped dig them out too.  After 1/2 hour of shoveling, they made it back into their driveway.  : )

 

Snow is beautiful stuff!  Made for an awesome Valentines day.  My wife and I went for a long walk around the neighborhood after church (on-line) which was just perfect.

 

 

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I see you got the "high-roof" variant. 😄

 

But seriously, snow is such a mystery to us down under. I always wanted to go north and experience one "white winter". Dunno if I ever will. I imagine (as you have indicated) it's not all it's cracked up to be. I wouldn't miss the rust. LOL.

 

So you're church is still online? How have you found that? The church I've just moved to has just gone back in person in January. It's taking some people a while to get used to being back together, but it is really nice. I was producing pre-recored online church last year during our lockdown. That wasn't a lot of fun. 

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