Project Datto

Click here for all the posts about my 73 Datsun 240Z adventures
https://monkeymagic86.wordpress.com/tag/project-datto/

26 Aug 2015: Y E S ! finally ! my own Datsun 240Z => project Datto

Yesterday a longtime dream came true. I often wrote on this blog “one day I will…”. I do fantasize about a S30 for at least 10 years now. And yesterday was the day, I got myself a Datsun 240Z. It was imported from the US to Europe in 2011. It is a 1973 model, and I love it!

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23 Sep 2015: update and maintenance

So, it’s done.
On the second try I managed to pass technical inspections and got the car registered. Thanks again Eric for borrowing me the stock-ish wheels.
Till now I did a tune up (spark plugs and wires; distributor cap, finger, points and condensator; ignition coil and ballast; fuel pump). Soon I will get the carb setted again. And then it’s a go for modding and restoring piece after peice. Think i will start by optimizing and restoring the interior and modding the suspension.
Updates soon here 😉

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28 Sep 2015: Cars&coffee

2 pics from cars and coffee this weekend. I love driving this car. And I try to do it as much as possible to find as much weak points as possible. So I know what to change, modify, make better this winter.

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1 Nov 2015: last drive before the Winterworks

 

3 Nov 2015: project update

Done! After several hours i finally removed all that shit from the interior. Floors, tunnel and boot. Check back for updates 😉
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10 Nov 2015: another boring update

So here are a couple more pics of my interior restoration. Removed all the sound deadening mats, mechanically treated the rust, chemically treated the surface against all rust with ‘Kovermi’, primered and painted with ‘Brantho Korrux’.

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11 Nov 2015: axle disassembly

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So, while I’m waiting a few days for the interior paint to dry completely before applying the second layer I used some spare time to disassemble the car a bit more. So I hung up the engine in the bay and removed the complete front axle including the engine subframe,…
Plans for these parts: clean up, rust treatment, repaint them. Buying coilovers, welding up the struts, new bushings, lower inner camber bushes. Then remount everything to the car.
Oh and btw I have the same plan for the rear axle 😉

 

13 Nov 2015: logical order

So after removing the front axle, what could possibly be the next step? Of course, removing the rear axle, at least parts of it. So here is the rear suspension out.

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Had quite an OMG moment when I undid the rear drive shaft from the stub axle on the passenger side. The big nut wich holds the stub axle (a wheel,…) in place just fell on the floor once I unbolted the drive shaft. And it had the threaded portion of the stub axle in it. So it was broken for quite some time. Lucky me the drive shaft didn’t came lose or the car did not loose a wheel.

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Oh, and some of the previous owners had to be McGyver. This is a quite special interpretation of a drop link. An all-thread with a welded nut on one side, 4 different bushes and for the best part no space between. So the droplink and therefore the rear swaybar couldn’t work at all 😉

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25 Nov 2015: the interior freshing-up continues

So after the interior paint was finally completely dry, took over a week. I was finally ready to buid up the interior layer by layer.
First thing was sound deadening. It came on a roll of rougly 7ft by 19″ wide. So I started cutting it to bits and shapes wich would fit the floorboards, trunk, tunnel easily…
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Next layer was some more sound insulation and some new vinyl from MSA. The insulation consists of an nonwoven sort of wool/jute. The exact english term is escaping me here. But yeah, it’s made for vintage cars, so it should be perfect for the Datto. It’s kept in place by spray glue

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Oh and I rebuilt the drivers side door with a brand spanking new NOS door card 😉 It even came with new clips. Nothing complicated here, just some unmounting an remounting of different bits. But the difference is huge!

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18 Dec 2015: fresh parts

So I got the first batch of parts for the Datsun back from mediablasting and powdercoating. Awesome how fresh 40+ years old parts can look!
Gives you quite some motivation to continue to work on the car
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8 Jan 2016: front axle

Put my front axle/steering/crossmember back together. Love the shiny new parts!

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9 Jan 2016: wheel bearings, brakes, coilovers

So as the parts were all out and apart I changed all 8 wheel bearings, PU bushes and camber, complete new rear brakes, fabbed some coilovers, …

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16 Jan 2016: rear suspension ready to go back in

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25 Jan 2016: front wheel wells

So I found a little rust bubble in the passenger side wheel well where the engine crossmember attaches. So I decided to scrub both wheel wells back to bare metal and cure them. 2 small rust spots on the drivers side and another one on the passenger side were welded. (Thanks Pentti)
Then I applied some rust converter on the complete area, primered and painted it with Brantho Korrux, applied some transparent undercoating and sprayed some waxoil in the front frame.
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04 Feb 2016: sometimes it’s in the details

I’m always a bit concerned of the interiors of my cars. I just want to feel nice and happy while driving. But there was the radio issue.
The car had a non working modern headunit wich was just thrown into the bin.
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But that left me with a big hole in the dash. Could see wires hanging,… no good!
So I was lucky to source an old 240Z radio. Didn’t care if it was working or not, as I just wanted something to fill that hole. So bought it from ebay for a whopping 105€. It was only a few days after I discovered I hadn’t read the details enough, so I found myself with a 260Z radio, wich as you know doesn’t fit the 240Z. So put that one on the shelf and was back with the hole in the dash again. So I decided to fab a block off plate out of some black plastic sheet. Done and installed I thought it was looking a bit dull. But I still had some diomond pattern vinyl from refreshening the interior. And quickly after the block off was complete. I like the result. The pic doesn’t do it justice! And it’s plenty enough until I find a factory radio one day.
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10 Feb 2016: back on the ground

So after over 4 months on jackstands I managed to have most of the parts bolted back onto the car. I mounted my freshly painted rims and put it on the ground. Feels so good to see it sitting on all four tires. Need to dial in the coilovers now and do a complete geometry. For reference, the coilovers (BC Racing) are lowered all the way down at the moment. The rear is exactly where I want it to be. The front will be raised 5-10mm and I’ll have to dial out quite some camber!
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And there is a change under the hood. I added at least 30hp 😉
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16 Feb 2016: inspirations

So I was asked why the 240Z is such an iconic car to me and what I want to do with it and what my inspirations are… And this led me to search my own memories.

I remember seeing a yellow 240Z in my really early teenage years. Don’t remember where or when exactly it was. But I still remember my father referring to it as a Datsun. A what? As a kid you know most car brands, but I just didn’t know what a Datsun was. My dad surely explained it for me, but I can’t remember. All I know is that I really liked it. But hey every kid loves cars with this kind of body lines. Pic for starter:

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So I quickly forgot about it. My teenage years were all about 4x4s and Jeeps. At the age of 24 (so in 2002) I was all over the new Nissan 350Z. Quite literally pre-ordered one (new from factory and blue) as soon as it was at the dealerships here in Luxembourg. And back came my interest in the Datsuns, because it was where the 350Z came from, its roots,…

One of the first precise Datsuns I remember reading about on the net was Yukis V8 swapped blue 240Z. It might be better known as the Dookies 450Z:

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As the time flew by, my “hero” 240Z changed. There was the widebody period, the G-nose period, the fender flares period, big 17” wheels,… I mean, I would still love to own a g-nose with zg flares, but only if it left japan like that.

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But as I grew older my interests were changing. And I got into vintage cars, learned some mechanics and how to work on my own cars, the rarity of parts for old cars (especially from japan)…
So what are my ‘’visions today’’? I’m not necessarily a purist, but I would never cut up a body in good nick, so the fender flares idea is nice, but just not for me. My 240Z should be somewhat period correct and original but you can’t deny the lack of handling on old cars, the body roll,…

At the moment I really like Datsuns wich are looking like they could have been modified back in the 70’s (14” wheels, suspension,…) paired with better handling, a bit of comfort, refined details…
So these are some of the cars that inspire me the most at the moment.

  • The Bingo Sports 432:

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  • Kyusha’s hawaian 240Z kyusha

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22 Inzane 240Z

  • and quite some more

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I could post like 50 more cars, but hey, you got the idea what I mean.
Here is the latest teaser pic of my own car. I’m in the process of adding a BRE style lip
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24 Feb 2016: Project datto: I ❤ this car

So, it’s back on its wheels, on the ground, washed,…
I managed to do 99.5% of the work I wanted to do over the winter and I’m really satisfied with the result of everything. Now all I need is better weather. Let the winter end!
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Oh and the work I did the last week to my floorboards. Quite the same procedure as the front wheel wells I did a few weeks ago. Spent 8 hours to get the underside of the floorboards, rails,… back to bare metal. Treated the metal and put on primer and special paint (Brantho Korrux). Hopefully they will last for another 20years now.
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20 Mar 2016: Project datto: out of hibernation – first roll out

What a joy to ride. All these new suspension parts, bushings, brakes, sound deadening,… completêly transformed the car!
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Just because ❤

And just because I never post vids:

 

1 Apr 2017: Finally an update, my Datto out of hibernation

So winter is finally over here in western Europe. Time to get the old cars out and back on the street. Anf finally some new Datsun pics to post

And while I was replacing the valve cover gasket, I gave it a coat of paint

 

22 nov 2017: Project datto: slow progress

Winter is around the corner so I thought it would be nice to do some small things to the Datsun. Yeah right, this started with a “lets clean the engine bay” :-O

So just a little update. The engine bay is almost ready for metal treatment and rust prevention and will then get some new paint. I chemically stripped quite some areas, mechanically stripped the more critical areas around the welds…

Good things first, I haven’t found anything bad, rust or super dodgy repairs…

The red/brown thin you can see on the pics is the original Nissan primer wich is dark red

Just a few more hours of scratching before I’m gonne treat the little rust spots with Kovermi rust converter, apply multiole coats of Brantho Korrux (rust prevebtion, primer and paing all in one).

But the remaining question is: glossy black or blue? No idea! Time will tell

 

26 jun 2018: Finally an update on my Datto

Sorry guys, but the blog is really running slow at the moment. But since I became a father, my free time is just way more limited. Owning 4 project cars (3 vintage ones and 1 track oriented one) doesn’t help either. I’m running behind on every single car.

The 240Z’s engine bay is finished and back together. At the moment I’m fighting a bit with my brakes. Might be the reaction disc in the booster. Have to investigate a bit further.

So we left with me DIY zinc plating parts. The finish is nowhere near professionally plated parts. But I love it and the fact it’s done by me is just satisfying.

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So after I chemically and mechanically stripped the engine bay, I treated some areas with rust converter (Kovermi) and later painted it in 2 layers of a 3in1 product for rust protection, primer and base coat (Brantho Korrux 3-1)photogrid_15130756883626286390548691154149.jpg

Once dry, I made my color choice. At first I was unsure if glossy black, silver, blue. But I decided to have it the same colour as the rest of the body, wich is Bahama blue #352 by Mercedes. Added a special clearcoat for engine blocks (KSD).

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Some minor details have been addressed to: painted the airbox in factory orange, new rubber on the wire loom holders, cleaned the wire loom itself and wrapped it in new wire harness tape…

Next step was mounting a 5 speed gear box and starting to reassemble the bay

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Made my own “molded” hoses with the help of a little trick

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Engine back in, new “awesome” plug wires, diy battery hold down bracket…

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I will post a complete before/after picture in the near future. Here are the 4 major stages of the bay

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And just for documentation purposes, the completed interior as it is at the moment. Still need to find a stock radio some day. Doesn’t need to work, just to nicely fill the hole!

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24 JULY 2018: My datto passed tech for another 2 years

So every 2 years I have to go to quite some wrenching to get my Datsun 240Z through tech inspections. This includes stock suspension, OEM Datsun/Nissan wheels with stock tire size and some other minor things… It’s the price to pay here if you don’t like to drive stock 😉

Once passed, it’s back to beautiful for the next 2 years:

 

15 AUG 2018: Pair of dattos

So today we dropped a mates 70 240Z. Added some wheels and a front lip to. Changed the car completely. So we had to snap some pics 😉

 

22 AUG 2018: Project Datto: Roadtrip ahead

In preparation to a road trip to the French alps which includes 23 pass roads and approx. 2400km there was the urge to do some general maintenance and updates. I planned to do a Toyota front brake caliper swap to, but the parts did not arrive on time, so I’ll have to do this upgrade later.

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So after driving 500km on the newly mounted 5-speed gearbox (which I bought untested 3 years ago) I saw a small oil leak, so I replaced the rear transmission seal. While the gearbox was off, I also replaced the pilot bushing in the crankshaft as it had seen better days. Another item added to the driveline, a RT Diffmount.

Another thing I had laying around for moths was a complete engine-back exhaust from Zstory. After quite some fiddling to get everything right and a homemade header heat shield, I mounted everything up. It’s quitter than my previous pacesetter/homemade/… exhaust but the exhaust note is way nicer. In order to limit exhaust leaks to a maximum we decided to weld it up where we could 😉

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As I had to drain the coolant to remove the intake manifold to mount the header it was a good opportunity to flush the complete coolant system and even a better opportunity to change the tired old radiator to an aluminium Mishimoto radiator. As I wanted to stay with the mechanical fan on one side, but improve its effect I decided to fab a homebuilt fan shroud.

While cleaning the shed I even found the splash pan, which is rumored to improve cooling to. So I mounted this back up to.

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Another addition are front and rear tow hooks from Zstory

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I bled the clutch, renewed the rear fuel lines from the tank to the hard lines, mounted new Toyo Proxess CF2 tires in 195/65R14, changed the engine oil, replaced gearbox and diff oil, greased the U-joints, changed the auxiliary belt, got a oem replica 5 speed wooden shift knob…

And now wish me luck, I never drove more than 200km in one go, and now I’m trying to do 12 times as much in only 5 days. Let’s see if it can survive the torture. If it does, be prepared to see some super AWESOME pictures of these 2 Datsuns together in the Alps!

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