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Howdy's '74 2 seater 260Z FJ20 DET

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G'Day Fellow Z lovers,

 

I've been around for a while, living in Melbourne, driving and racing Datsuns since the early 80's. My first car was a '73 Datsun 180BSSS which I bought in 1981, rebuilt the motor and continously played around with the handling for the next few years. The great thing about Datsun is the ability to take parts off other models and make them go better. Budget was non existent due to being a Uni student, so handling was achieved through inginuity and availability. Heavy front springs & big brakes = shove 120Y springs inside 180B springs on 240K struts. Heavy rear springs = 240K rear cut down. The angle grinder is  your friend. Adjustable suspension = use a drill to slot the rear trailing arm holes and weld an extension into the front lower control arms. Stronger gearbox & diff = 240K. More torquey motor = 240K rods, high compression 1600 motor = 240z flat top pistons. Cheater 1600 motor = 180B insides. Big block = 200B motor. This is what hooked me and many Mates onto Datsuns, with a little juggling around and not many $ you could build something much quicker than the popular V8 posers back in the day.

 

Just by chance around 1986 I got hold of a turbo kit - IHI turbo blowing through a Webber down draft carby. The car was a beast and coupled with the rock hard dodjy suspension it made for blured vision when belting along at 7000 rpm in 5th. My favourite activity was finding ramps to jump over Dukes of hazard style. Never the less, Datsun plus Turbo set the scene for the rest of my life.

 

I was hooked on the 240Z after jumping in the back (yep under the hatch behind the seats) of a mate of my Brother's 240Z as he pinned it across the city. I loved the bonnet rising under acceleration and the howl of the L series 6 cyl. In 1988 I brought my first Z, a green 1975 2 seater. It was a really nice car but I found a huge weld line behind the dash where it was obvioulsy made from 2 different cars. Shortly after that I sold it and brought a 1975 red 2 seater. This I had for 15 years. It under went 2 full bare metal resprays, originally in acrylic then 6 years later (1996) a full restoration, refinishing it in Glasurite 2K. I'd never use acrylic again as 2K is so much superior. I did all the work myself after reading up about refinishing cars.

 

This car also went through every possible evolution of engines, L26, l28, twin 2" SUs, tripple Webbers, big cams, high comp etc, however eventually I bagged a 280C which had wrapped it's self around a tree but luckily had been fitted with an early Ritter draw through turbo kit which was a common mod in those days so they could tow boats etc. It was tube log manifold drawing through a single Stromberg carby that used to freeze up on cold nights making for an interesting cruize control. We got it home, arched her up (was still driveable even shaped like a banana) and took it for a spin around the block. Trouble was it had no seats so we used milk crates. After backflipping into the rear seat, then scrambling back to the steering wheel before hitting a huge gum tree, I knew it was a good thing. This motor went through many scenarios including twin SU's, twin 2" SUs, then fuel injection using a manifold I built after studying about resonance and pressure waves in exhausts. It ran a T3 with 0.86 exhaust housing and Garret waste gate. I also read up on heat exchanges and built a 2 pass water to air intercooler using an air conditioning evaporator core, Renult radiator (split into 3 passes) and a boat bilge pump. It was incredibly efficient and produced bags of torque, breaking many gearboxes, moustache bars and half shafts. I ended up stuffing the insides from a SR20T box into the Z gearbox housings with a small amount of machining and of course Datsun's flexibility. The half shafts were replaced with CVs from a Laurel and some adapters I got machined up at work. Obviously I never did burnouts on purpose because something would probably break. I ran this car as a daily driver and in club sprint events at all the tracks around Victoria and did OK. It ran 12.5 sec down the quarter before breaking a half shaft.

 

This brings me to my current car. It is a blue '74 2 seater 260Z. I brought it in 1998 because a friend's brother had it sitting in his Mum's back yard and needed to get rid of it. I figured it would be a good Dodjy Brother's racing vehicle for the track. That was after me and 3 mates had gone through a 180BSSS and several 240K's (including a coupe) thrashing them around the tracks and autocross courses with the zero care factor worth at least 3 seconds a lap at any track. The Z was a big step up and quite fast with just some A008Rs, cut down springs, 20wt fork oil in the struts, 76 degree rally cam with chips in the lobes and all, a couple of 2" SUs and the rear muffler gone. Eventually after sellng my red Z due to having to get a family truckster (aka Toyota Soarer) to transport Grommies in the back, I decided I needed more power. The FJ20 DET motor was my first choice because it was a cheap source of power. Many years with the L series taught me that although it is a great motor, obtaining heaps of grunt leads to many challenges, especially keeping things together above about 7500 RPM. The FJ had 200Hp standard and 300 was really really easy.

 

I brought an engine and box from a Guy who had it in a Torana, lowered it in then made the mounts up. I use an early Wolf V3 computer (was new back then), volvo 500cc injectors and half a Mac truck intercooler. I made the equal length exhaust manifold up myself from 42mm 316 shed stainless and rebuilt the engine with the aim to get a feel for it prior to building it into a proper race engine. The turbo is ex group A Siera T3 with a 0.63 AR very modified exhaust housing, it was rated about 450 HP. The turbine wheel looks like a T4 but is extremely light and the compressor is a 0.6 AR. On the dyno it ran 200KW with plenty of wheel spin and that was only 15 Lbs. Since then I have used a piggy backed Motec to data log at Philip Island to fine tune it. That was 2003. On it's first outing it won first outright at Calder in a Super sprint with a time of 63 seconds on the long track. That was with badly worn syncros, terrible oversteer and a detatched window winder which was bouncing around the interior. It did OK at winton with long track times in the 1:35's and Philip Island at 1:50. During this time I worked on the handling, adding a huge rear wing and front air dam, VT Commodore front brakes, Ford rear discs with VL turbo calipers, home made peddal box and strut tops. The body did look like a bomb but it was very quick.

 

There was then a 6 year break simply due to kids and work. In 2011 I got some new tyres and ran several more Sprint events until Xmas 2012. Things had changed a lot in that time. Cars now are a lot newer and a lot are 4wd with I hate to think how much power. I was still competitive because the car only weighs 1000Kg but the grip out of corners is just no where near competitive with 800Hp GTR's. I also started having trouble with breaking gearboxes again. I decided I would do a quick Jam Job over Xmas. You probably can imagine what happened then.

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Welcome aboard.

 

One of the best first posts of recent, love a bit of "creative" engineering.

A really great read.

 

Cheers

 

PB

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You speak of things very familiar to me. Things that the young whippersnappers of today, have very little comprehension of!

We must have crossed paths at a race track in Vic, at some stage, in the early 1980's!

 

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I've been around Z's so long I'm sure I've seen that red 260z picture before. Welcome.

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Yes , one of the best introductions I've seen on this forum. I must of seen this car somewhere over the years. Which club are you a member of?

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Thanks for the warm welcome Guys.

 

I was in the Monash Sporting Car Club for about 25 years before we were disafilliated with the Uni and it folded due to lack of members because of the lack of Beer because of the lack of Uni funds. Since then I have been running the odd BP Midlands "No Bull" Sprint series so haven't joined another club yet.

 

The red car was my old daily driver I mentioned before. You might have seen it on http://www.angelfire.com/extreme3/260z/ which was part of the add a friend did when I sold it. It sadly went to Sydney in 2002 because I wasn't allowed to bolt a baby seats in the back.

 

I don't have any pictures of my current car before the "jam job" began. I'll try to find one and post it. It was blue with an white Alpha FG bonnet and front air dam, number 33 taped to the door, plenty of odd colour bits of race tape sealing up rust holes, did I mention the HUGE rear wing, which was actually made from a helicopter blade. I reckon it works great but maybe it only seems like it because it does weigh 8.5 Kg. I have a perminant dent in the back of my head from the hatch falling down unexpectingly after special tool No DAT57632 (cut off broom stick) slipping out. Funny thing is after building a front splitter to try to increase front grip to match the rear, which coincidently also weighed 8.5 Kg but did work extremely well, I thought I'd run "naked" at the next meeting at Winton thinking the 17kg weight savings would counteract the lack of aero which everyone will tell you don't need at Winton. Bahhh forgot the new strategy and ran straight off the sweeper on the first lap, and I mean straight off, no turn in at all,straight as an arrow. Smashed the air dam and returned at Penrite.

 

Anyways, about this jam job I'd knock over during my 2 weeks off over the xmas of 2012. The car's appearance was really a long way below the shmancy well presented modern cars turning up to the tracks now days so the plan was to do a quick paint job to make it look presentable. I reckon most here will be familiar with this next bit.

 

After looking more closely at the body and the rust, I just couldn't bring myself to do a dodjy job and cover it all up. I'd been through restoring the red car so I knew exactly what's involved ie a good proportion of my living years gone again, having to practice the "Garage shuffle" for same period, Z bits shoved into every knook and cranny never to be found again until after the replacement parts have been obtained and having to put up with the subtle suggestions from the Missus that I'm spending too much time in the shed. Besides, the shell ended up looking in surprisingly good shape and I figured I may as well do it properly so I wouldn't regret it later on. [Garage shuffle: The walk you have to do when there is stuff everywhere. It involves careful placement of every foot step to avoid stepping on, tripping over, or banging your head on stuff and usually incorporates the odd one foot 90 degree pivot, the odd accidental slow motion fall down and plenty of swearing].

 

The rust was in the normal places - doglegs, floor, bottom of the guards, top of the door skins, battery tray, bonnet hinge area, the fuel filler where it doesn't drain water and just below the fuel filler. The worst was the rear hatch panel and tail light panel which were all but gone under the red and silver race tape. The rest was very good, just covered with 368 coats of acrylic colour,spray putty and plenty of bog over more paint. This car was living proof that bog DOES stick over paint, and real well too. Luckily the main panels requiring replacing due to being "unrepairable" I could get new. That was the 2 door skins and rear hatch panel. The doors didn't look that bad before I stripped them but they had been Professionally fixed by whacking the rust holes with a big hammer then filling straight over the top. Who ever did this was a very artistic BUTCHER being able to sculpt Z doors from 10Kg of bog. I had visions of the Artist, cement trowel in one hand and a big hammer in the other, one swift whack in and another swiping over with the bog all completed within 2 miliseconds. I was more amazed than dissapointed, then happy when I realised how much weight I'd loose from the car by removing all 368 coats of paint and 20 Kg of bog. That's gotto be worth a second a lap. So the sum was now:

Loss of the CGAFF (no care factor) = + 3 seconds

Loss of 30 Kg excess bog and paint = - 1 second. So I was now only 2 seconds a lap behind and I'd make that up easily if I decied on the right colour.

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Great read. This is the sort of thread we have been waiting for.

lol walking around the garage floor . We all can relate to that. One step 90deg pivot. Haha. Love it.

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Loss of the CGAFF (no care factor) = + 3 seconds

Loss of 30 Kg excess bog and paint = - 1 second. So I was now only 2 seconds a lap behind and I'd make that up easily if I decided on the right colour.

 

Workshop shuffle - Love it

And what colour is fastest  :)

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"And what colour is fastest"?

I'll get to that.

 

So after thinking I'd be keeping this thing till I kick the bucket, I finished the job of pulling it apart.

 

Ahhh I'm an old hand at this:

Label, catalogue and document everything with bits of masking tape, texta and a note pad so I know exactly where it went and what way around it was when the time comes to putting it back together.

Ok that takes a while....label only the things you might not remember so you won't put a short bolt where a long one goes or visaversa. What is the point of labelling a door handle for crying out loud?

Ok I've pulled these things apart my whole life, I reckon I'll remember where it goes.

Labelling is boring, besides it just ends up falling off anyway.

Right, I'll just label the containers and put all the bolts & screws from that area into it them.

 

It's amazing how quick you can pull a Z apart, especially a race car with minimal embellishments, before I knew it I stood in front of a bare shell on wheels, it was only a 3 or 4 beer job, that's as long as it took me to rebuild the quarter windows a few months down the track and only one 10th of the time it took to find a place to store everything. But I soldiered on, garage roof, backyard shed, down the side of the garage, Kid's cubby house.

 

The first real challenge was the Drivers door. I had sampled the body all over with a flap wheel and established the body was pretty straight but the Driver's door seemed to be made polyester. Fair dinkum it was an inch thick in some places. I stripped it back using paint stripper (which I vowed never to use again after the red car, TWICE, then fell into a deep state of depression when I figured even if I cut out the rust, fashioned the top and bottom quarter of the door out of a flat sheet of metal, welded them back in with out totally distorting the door frame, shrinking, beating, swearing frustration, good old Datsun rust prevention would ensure that the join betwen the skin and frame would continue to happily decay away and produce those amazing bubbles under the paint that show just how flexible the finish can be before it cracks. Usually with the help of something sharp and too much curiosity.

 

I'd done a door skin before after a mate purchased a Datsun Stanza coupe for me which had the perfect imprint of a lamp post in the Passenger door. After finding out that the ship containing the coupes came to Australia by accident and was supposed to go to South Africa I worked out that getting a new door was proving to be near impossible. I even tried to convince a few Panel Beaters that this would be a great project for their Apprentice Beaters but they enlightened me that that was old school and "we just remove and replace these days Mate". How could the Captain of the ship get so mixed up? There are no dock strikes in South Africa. Anyway I had to remove the skin from the frame and beat them back into shape separately.

 

So I made up special tool DAT57788 which is a bent piece of 10mm X 6mm X 350mm steel which happens to be identical to the height adjuster actuator on a Victor lawn mower. I cut a slot in the end and shaped the tip sharp enough to slide between the skin and frame then worked my way around the door carefully with that and a sharpened screw driver bending the flange away from the frame trying not to stretch it too much. OK I still had faint hopes that I could save the skin but it was just false economy. It would take at least 2 or 3 days to fix this and still probably be rubbish in the end. Luckily Rare spares have skins so I brought one and it wasn't bad value for the money. The front top corner is a little out leaving a bigger gap than standard and it weighs 1Kg more than the standard skin (with rust holes and traces of bog and paint). Damm the sum took a turn for the worse.

[Loss of the CGAFF (no care factor) = + 3 seconds

Loss of 30 Kg excess bog and paint = - 1 second

Extra 2Kg in the door skins = +0.1 seconds so that's +2.1seconds a lap but I'll surely make that up easily if I decied on the right colour].

 

So I sand blasted the frame , stripped the skin of it's black soot and epoxied them both separately. I let the epoxy set for a day then layed a bead of Sikoflex along the edge and carefully peened the flange over the frame. There'd be no amazing bubbles on this door to poke at with a sharp stick in my life time. The new skin, being slightly thicker did prove to be harder than what a genuine skin would be to peen over but patients won out in the end. I finished it off with a couple of smelly welds at the front and back top corners.

 

After putting out the fires I cleaned off the burnt bit around the welds and epoxied them. One down, one to go. The Passenger door wasn't much better, I could have fixed it but those seams would keep on rusting so I repeated the lot on that door.

 

Next came the guards.

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Howdy Howdy.

 

Great story, keep it coming.

 

David

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Loving hearing your story and your sense of humour.  Thanks for the entertainment !!

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Great minds eh, I built up a 260Z with a FJ20ET almost 20 years ago, at the time it was a damn quick car compared with what else was around. Feel safe in saying now that mine would have owned yours because it was sold about five years ago  ;D

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The guards were pretty straight forward. Some rust at the bottom where the dirt gets stuck, a sharp pointy dent in the right side, just near the 260Z badge, from a tow bar or pick axe and plenty of small dents and ripples from years of being used as a beer can coaster, step ladder, chair or leaning post whilst pondering those eternal questions - how do I get more grunt from this thing, what the %#$& is wrong with you or where the hell did that go? One had holes from a ZG flare, each hole artistically knocked in and filled with bog of course. It also had the original egg shaped hole for the mirror, dealt with in the same fashion. The Guy was a Genius!

Once I stripped off the relatively light 278 coats of colour, primers, spray putties and bog I cut out the rust, welded in some small patches, sat down in the sun and massaged and shrunk all the dents and ripples out. I find that very therapeutic and relaxing until you get one of those stubborn little mounds in a hard to get to place and start chasing it around the panel trying to shrink it flat. They are usually located in the quarter panel or bonnet just behind the frame.

As I was now a Champion at door skins, I thought I’d split the inner and outer guard to get to the rust and fix it for good. That proved to be harder than I thought when it came time to joining them back up after sand blasting and epoxy, but persistence won over in the end - just. I wouldn’t recommend doing this but how else do you get behind the inner guard up the top rear and into the seams which proved to be full of surface rust? Maybe soak it in rust converter and try to seal it up with epoxy?

The sum was now looking up a little.

[Loss of the CGAFF (no care factor) = + 3 seconds

Loss of 20 Kg excess bog and paint = - 1 second

Extra 2Kg in the door skins = +0.1 seconds

Loss of 5Kg bog in front guards = -0.3 seconds

Loss of the golf ball aero effect on the front guards  = + 0.1 seconds.

So that's now +1.9 seconds a lap but I'll surely make that up easily if I decide on the right colour].

After that I knocked over the lower front panels, bonnet and hatch, then all the hinges and bits & pieces. The bonnet was easy due to being glass. The original bonnet had a 2.5 Kg scab brewing when I brought the car, smack bang in the centre. It looked OK, only a couple of small brown cracks giving it away, until one day curiosity got the better of me and I picked at it. It’s a bit like when you’re a kid and fall off your skateboard after hitting a small stone with the old white chalk wheels; you end up with one of those huge scabs which you just got to get off in one piece. No one else seems to appreciate them but you could frame them and display them on the wall for all to see. Didn’t look too good after that but it did scare other Drivers off and they got out of our way, so in the end it was a plus for the Dodjy Brothers Race Team. Eventually more scabs fell off to reveal that the extremely talented Artist had definitely been there too. So I eventually ditched the bonnet in favour of the fibreglass one.

 

This is a very early picture showing off the ripper scab plus the sporty hand crafted grille made from cast iron (no kidding 3mm x 20mm steel strap) and my hand made polycarbonate air dam to stop it overheating. (I worked out eventually after years of trying to improve the cooling on my first Z that they over heat at high speed no matter how big or efficient your cooling system is because of the air getting under or through the front causing high pressure under the bonnet & behind the radiator. So of course air won’t flow through the radiator. Even with a turbo L28 the standard radiator with a triple core never over heated, even at 260KPH if I used this simple device and sealed up every gap in the front radiator panel).

The car at that stage was a communal hack with 3 or 4 Drivers, it had the original L26 with 2” SUs, 76 degree ex rally cam – chips in the lobes and all, 8” X 14” Symonds with A008Rs, chopped down springs, extended lower control arms (made from cutting 4 arms off centre then welding together the long halves), engine oil (later changed to 20wt fork oil) in the struts and good ol’ Black Flash brake pads. Everything else was standard. May have had extractors but I can’t remember. Oh yes and the tires were specially marked with the mandatory chalk marks so the driver could be signalled to when parking the car at Scrutineering in order to park on the flat spots. Some swore black & blue that I had a special switch hidden somewhere to allow the car to go faster when I was driving but there wasn’t. It was simply the CGAFF acting out. They cared just a little bit about crashing someone else’s car while I wasn’t at such a disadvantage.

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Love it! Is it just me or do cross flow engines always look better  8)

Yep, imagine if Nissan had made a 6cyl FJ, then again it would be a heavy engine.

I love the FJ because it is just a strong, basic engine with no frills. The head flows heaps and the block is similar in a lot of ways to the L series. It's big though, the head very wide to get those great valve angles.

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Howdy- Howdy,

Definitely a good read.

Chuckled, smiled and burst out in laughter, especially with your artisan concrete flusher experiences.

Reason I relate these well is also those thoughts you often get after cursing when you find such a mess under what you already thought was not going to be too bad.

 

Thanks for your witty humour and patience to write/type such lengthy, amusing recap of your quick jam job.

Oh I thought the RB was a good representation of an FJ? Cross flow and all with cast bottom end?

Any way cheers for the laugh, welcome and I look forward to your follow up post.

Nat0

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Finally after avoiding it until there was nothing else left to do, I had to tackle the shell. I kept looking at the oil impregnated body deadener underneath, thinking I got to get rid of that, it has to be worth a couple of kilograms, plus how nice would it be to just wash under the car and bring it up like brand new again or remove a gearbox without ending up looking like you just discovered crude oil. Always had problems with leaking gearbox and diff oil. The gearbox, of course being the problem with getting so hot that the oil consistency was that of water and it flowed freely out of the shifter hole under acceleration. The diff was a mystery so I had always assumed it was from the pathetic stubby plastic breather, until recently when it came time to reinstall it and I had built a U-bute super efficient breather, then happened to blow through it (as per standard test method for the workings of all inventions) and noticed the air hissing without restriction from the right hand axle seal. It was missing the spring around the inner lip so provided absolutely no sealing what so ever.

Anyway, whilst having visions of simply scooping this off in big flakes like icing off a cake I sat down and began stripping the stuff off in the easiest to get to area just behind the front right wheel and it wasn’t anything close to easy. In fact it was really hard to get off. I tried scraping, heating, paint stripper, petrol, thinners, prepsol, kero, sulphuric acid, hydrochloric acid, heat and scraping, heat and kero, heat and petrol, butane torch, flap wheels, then finally after cleaning copious globs of this black substance from Mars out of my teeth, hair and from the 180 degree arc around my garage wall, I realised this was stupid. I mean scrapers are quite sharp and are an accident waiting to happen, plus the scientific properties of this compound only allow it to release from one surface if it can immediately and permanently bind to another. So there is never any “removal” of this stuff, just the moving of it from one surface to another. I looked at the 10 square centimetres I had almost removed and multiplied the effort by the remaining 2000 square centimetres of undulating , inaccessible, up-side down under body surfaces and worked out it would take 2 life times, 65 pairs of overalls, and way too many beers to get this nuclear waste off. Not to mention the demise of the remaining 10% of my sanity and the future use of my favourite domain due to being a condemned wasteland. Who knows what the half life of this stuff would be? So I did the only respectable thing and moved to the back of the car and started to tackle the tail light panel – or lack of.

The Datsun super effective rust prevention system had worked extremely hard over the previous 40 years, from the effective water channelling directly routing the flow of rain water into areas where it could pool and sit peacefully for years on end to the purposeful ‘conditioning’ of the bare metal like the age old practice of weathering the iron structures after building a bridge or ship to prevent further and deeper corrosion. 

The rear hatch panel was irreparable and the tail light panel was gone in both corners,  the rust extended down to the tail light cut outs and in towards the centre leaving about 100mm of good metal. I knew I could get the new hatch panel from Rare Spares so I turfed my lightened version and ordered a new one. I started the rear panel by cutting out the rusted metal, keeping to the fold lines as much as I could with the theory that the welds would be less obvious and less chance of distorting due to the heat. That worked out well. I actually enjoyed doing this part of the car for some weird reason. It wasn’t hard, just took my time and made cardboard pieces first, then used them as a template. I folded the pieces using a vice and two lengths of angle iron in the jaws, trimmed them exactly to a butt fit using a grinder and files, then clamped them in place and tacked them in. Made sure to planish each weld as I went to stop any distortion, then kept going until all were joined up. The result was pretty well invisible so I was very happy and proud of my achievement.

I had to do a bit of work on the hatch panel due to a slight angle difference in the main fold and had to enlarge the hole for the latch. I did that using a piece of metal rod with the same radius as the corners. While I held the panel in the vice I carefully knocked the rod sideways with a hammer so that it pushed the corners of the hole out further, then worked my way down the straight bits between the corners with a flat piece of metal. It took several cycles to get the hole to the right size but It worked out perfectly and I kept the original shape of the hole and contour of the folds around it. The secret here is definitely take your time and do small steps at a time, otherwise I reckon the metal would split at the corners. I’m not sure why the hole is too small in this panel, maybe the 240Z has a smaller hatch lock but my latch was way too big to fit through this hole.

So now, being the expert Master Craftsman, Sheet Metal Worker and Coach Builder I figured I was qualified to attack the fuel filler area of the quarter panel. Again, Datsun’s super effective rust prevention program of 1974 had yet to learn about Newton’s universal law of gravity (Possibly they don’t have many apple trees in Japan) nor had they ever learned about the Roman aqueducts because they had designed a nice bunded area, obviously in case of fuel spillage, right below the filler tube to catch and retain fuel between the filler inner panel and quarter panel, therefore preventing any pending environmental disasters. It was obvious that the previous owners of my car didn’t like taking left hand bends fast enough to reach the necessary 1.06Gs required to evacuate trapped water from this area because it had etched it’s own way out through the inner panel and also out through the quarter panel underneath the filler. I thought this was great foresight because after the warranty period, any fuel spilt whilst filling up the car would quickly leak into the cavity between the quarter panel and interior plastics, mix with the oxygenated air and provide a nice afterburner type boost to acceleration when needed most (whilst bending around looking for the burning cigarette embers after unsuccessfully ashing your smoke out the window at 60 MPH). It was genius, I mean everyone smoked in those days, used high octane fuel in their car and was protected from 1st degree facial burns by their moustache.

So I unpicked the spot welds, what ones were left, and pulled off the filler panel, gave it a sand blast then set about replacing the whole front lower corner and lower flange. The corner took a few goes to get the right shape. I started by trying to fashion the shape out of a piece of flat sheet but kept splitting the metal due to work hardening so after 2 or 3 attempts I ended up cutting the sheet, bending it to get the basic shape then welded the join. Then simply used all things available with the appropriate shape to beat it into an exact copy of the original corner. Again after standing back and admiring my handiwork I turned to the big hole in the quarter panel while I was on a roll. This was my peace de resistance as I managed to finish it without any distortion of the panel at all.

[To understand my amazement, you need to know that prior to this “Jam Job” I had performed welded repairs on large flat panels only a couple of times and both times I was both amazed and then terrified by the way the panels changed shape as they cooled before my eyes to produce an undulating expanse of twists and turns extending to every corner. This would be followed by a brief moment of silence then the sudden verbal outburst of “what the....” Both times I required rescuing by a Mate of a Mate who was a Panel Beater. So until recently, I thought the correct method for welding large flat butt joints was to do small welds at a time as to avoid heating the panel too much then when done, use a variety of secret shrinking techniques to shrink and stretch the panel back to the original shape. But I was wrong, luckily before I had done any welding on this car I had seen a great show on TV explaining how to properly weld panels and how to planish the weld and why you do that. Pretty obvious I thought, so I started practicing that and haven’t looked back since. In case you were also under the same illusion, planishing the weld is each time you complete a single spot weld across the join / gap then using a dolly and hammer, give it a couple of sharp taps down to flatten the metal in the weld to counteract the pulling in of the surrounding area when it cools].

So after that I worked my way around the shell, removing paint in the usual rust areas, exposing more of the unseen works of the Great Artiste’, cutting the rust out and making up new replacement panels and welding them in. All along, carefully avoiding any concentrated view of the black substance, from depths of the ancient La Brea tar pits, which was stuck to the under body. So when there was nowhere else to go, suddenly it hit me, I’ll look at sandblasting the complete shell. That would solve all my problems. No nuclear wasteland, no sticky black goup of unknown origin stuck to every tool in the shed, no black dots all over the good Berber carpet and Italian tiles leading from the garage to the kitchen and back. The money I save on overalls, Psychiatrists, respiratory specialists and Divorce Lawyers would easily justify the expense of sandblasting so I got to it and found a hot rod place near me who could blast the shell. I noticed they had a rotisserie sitting on top of the blasting booth so I suggested they use that to turn it over and do the underside while they were at it. With a little hesitation and observations of my casual gestures directed at the 10 square cm of partially removed material they agreed, so it was now locked in, a legally binding contract to transfer the black substance of unknown origin but potentially of bio weapon grade, from the bottom of my car to the inside of their blasting booth. A win-win situation for all involved. So I thought!

At this stage the sum hadn’t changed much, but had the potential for a slight improvement.

[Loss of the CGAFF (no care factor) = + 3 seconds

Loss of 20 Kg excess bog and paint = - 1 second

Extra 2Kg in the door skins = +0.1 seconds

Loss of 5Kg bog in front guards = -0.3 seconds

Loss of the golf ball aero effect on the front guards  = + 0.1 seconds.

Loss of another 5Kg of bog in the dog leg section = -0.3sec.

Gain of 1KG new metal replacing air and race tape = +0.1 sec

So that's now +1.7 seconds a lap but I'll surely make that up easily if I decide on the right colour].

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Sorry about the quality of the photos, the lense in my phone had been reacting on the sligh to paint thinners and was turning into a specialised lense for taking UFO and Loch Ness Monster shots.

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Without any doubt, you are a fine story teller.  You seem to be able to effectively capture the subtle nuances of auto repair and convey them with both the naivety of a wide-eyed child and the scarred bitterness of a mother-in-law, whilst moving inevitably closer to the futility of completion.

 

Oh, and your metal work is really good!

 

Pray tell, would you be kind enough to share the origin of your wisdom (the great show on tv that displayed the art of plenishing to you).

 

Regards

 

You new stalker follower, MaygZ

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Thanks MaygZ,

 

I like to see the light side of things rather than the darker side or half empty...you know. Keeps me sane. Sort of.

 

I can't remember the name of the show, was on late and had an old Bloke replacing rust sections in an old American car, like a 55 Chev or similar. He even welded with no mask, which I remember most because he also didn't wear glasses. Obviously he was born with super responsive optical muscles and all round good timing. I think if you google "how to planish welds" you'll find someone showing their technique.

 

The remaining "wisdom" as you called it (thanks Dude, the heads swelling now) comes out of pure necessity and trial and error, having a long standing background of being around people trying to go fast in places where your best off not going so fast. Especially when it involves trees, ditches, blind crests, dirt roads and bad / stressed Navigators.

 

 

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Is it just me or are there others on this lonely planet who figure that if someone calls themselves a “Professional” or “Tradesman” and demands big $ to carry out the basic tasks upon which their Business is based, that they are at least capable of carrying out the task to a level which is better than someone doing it for the very first time.

WHACK!!! That was me giving myself a slap behind the ear. Should have known better, but I thought I had laid out the conditions of the job clearly. WHACK WHACK!!!! That was me again. Should expect the unexpected. The job was to sandblast the shell with garnet, spray the shell with my epoxy and spray under the body with black 2K. Specific instructions were that I wanted to inspect the shell after blasting and before the epoxy and that they had to remove as much of the media as possible before the epoxy. “Yes I spend nearly a full day on cleaning out the media” was the response. Here I am thinking ‘Jeeze must be a slow worker, I could do it in a couple of hours but maybe he is just meticulous’ who was I to question him?  WHACK!!! Me again, trust no one; Put your faith in no one. I’d stripped the roof and quarters prior to handing it over to ensure there was no chance of warping the panels. Phew, glad I didn’t let em loose on those bad boys.

The inspection went OK, he had missed a few spots of rust, which I’m sure he was quite happy to epoxy straight over, and there was a lot of media everywhere. He assured me that he would finish off the spots I pointed out and all the media would be removed before the epoxy. Really I didn’t expect him to remove ALL the media as I had sand blasted in the past and knew that the media keeps falling out for years after. What I did expect was some common sense though.

When I picked it up, I had a good look and all appeared OK. I noticed a little media stuck to the epoxy inside the cabin and he assured me it would sand straight out. It was still on the rotisserie when I looked at it, left side up. Anyway after bolting the suspension back in and taking it home, I saw what they had done. The PRO Painter had epoxied the left side of the cabin then rolled the body over while the epoxy was wet then did the right side. That would have been fine but the PRO Blaster obviously didn’t clean out the media very well because I now had a race car with skateboard type grip on the left side of the cabin. Great for those rare occasions when you forget you still have your sleeping dog in the back of the car and it needs a good grippy surface to gain purchase. [Actually did happen to me at Winton years ago where, after hearing a dull thud at turn one then another on the other side at turn three, I glanced back and there was poor Jess, my trusty Blue Heeler, slammed up against the right hand strut tower with a bewildered look on her face. She had the last laugh that day and got me back by leaving a slimy old tennis ball in the car which eventually worked its way under the brake pedal going into the esses resulting in a near miss of the concrete Flag Marshal tower].

“It’ll sand straight out” resonated in my head until the weekend when I attempted to do just that. Ever rubbed two bits of sand paper together? Yep it gets blunt real quick, so after going through a dozen 3M sanding discs over 2 days, I rang the PRO Blaster and asked for access to the secret process that the Pro’s use to remove media from epoxy, because obviously this always happens and he must know the secret to removing this, otherwise he would not have let it happen. Well that conversation didn’t go well so I vowed never to go back there again. It took over 30 hours and who knows how much sand paper to get the surface flat, not to mention the extra epoxy I had to buy and the skin off my knuckles – Ahh leading edge Business hey? Anyway, Lesson learnt.

I decided to glue the rear hatch panel on rather than weld it and did the same with the inner fuel filler panel. This worked out well and having it all sealed up should mean it’ll never rust again. Once the whole shell was sanded, I sprayed the Urethane high build and started blocking back.

The sum improved again.

[Loss of the CGAFF (no care factor) = + 3 seconds

Loss of 20 Kg excess bog and paint = - 1 second

Extra 2Kg in the door skins = +0.1 seconds

Loss of 5Kg bog in front guards = -0.3 seconds

Loss of the golf ball aero effect on the front guards  = + 0.1 seconds.

Loss of another 5Kg of bog in the dog leg section = -0.3sec.

Gain of 1KG new metal replacing air and race tape = +0.1 sec

Donation of 5Kg of sticky black Goup of unknown origin (under body deadener)  = -0.3sec.

So that's +1.4 seconds a lap but I'll surely make that up easily if I decide on the right colour].

 

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