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 piece. 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 build up the interior layer by layer.
First thing was sound deadening. It came on a roll of roughly 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 a 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 driver’s 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 media blasting and powder coating. 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 under coating 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 diamond pattern vinyl from freshening 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,… completely 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. And 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 gonna treat the little rust spots with Kovermi rust converter, apply multiple coats of Brantho Korrux (rust prevention, primer and paint 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 lying around for months 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 quieter 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 am 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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6 SEP 2018: My road trip to the french alps

So, I’m Back from France, and how could I start posting about this? So here comes my conclusion first: “This might be the best automobile experience in 22 years of motoring”. And this is due to the car I did it, my Datsun 240Z. Period.

Definitely a bucket list item that should be on every petrol heads list:

  • # Roadtrip through the alps in you classic car. (with a bunch of mates)

All in all I completed 2434km (about 1525miles) in 5 days/4nights. 23 passroads, the “route Napoléon”, some canyons, and had the best views.
I tried to be prepared the best I could, and had quite some tools an spares with me. All that was needed was 0.6l of oil to top up and a 22mm wrench. It really was a trouble-free trip for the Datsun. Every day after arriving at the hotel I did some 30mins of general checks. All that was found was a loose nut on the tie rod end. That’s why the 22mm was needed once 😉

When we left Luxembourg we had the following cars in our group of mates:
2x Datsun 240Z (1 yellow 1970, 1 blue 1973)
2x Triumph GT6 (1 yellow, 1 blue)
1x Porsche 911 964
1x Golf II GTI
1x Chevrolet Camaro 2016

But bad luck stroke fast. Even before crossing the french border the blue Triumph GT6 had a seized caliper and they went back home and changed for it’s passenger’s ’85 Porsche 911 3.2.
The yellow 240Z had completely blown it’s brake booster. Unfortunately my spare 73 booster didn’t fit. So they changed the 240Z for a Toyota GT86 to continue the trip.
I would have loved to have 2 Datsuns on this trip, but maybe next year Yves + Tom will have more luck, so that the yellow and blue 240Z can conquer the alps together

The map shows you the interesting bit of our road trip, with the daily stages. Nobody cares about the highway from Luxembourg to the alps, right?
As we where off holiday season, the passroads where actually quite empty. Not many bicycles, almost no caravans, a real pleasure!

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Unfortunately 2 cars broke down during our 4 days in the alps. The yellow GT6 had problems with the mechanical injection of its PI engine. And these things aren’t really user serviceable on the side of the road. The red 911 completely lost 2nd gear while downshifting to pass a tractor. And doing alproads and hairpin bends without 2nd gear is no fun. So the GT6 was sent back home on a tow truck, and the 911 limped itself home in 5th gear on the highway. The GT86 had some minor brake problems, but some tinkering got the car through the trip.

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One day I will report some more about the driving, the alps, the views,… but for now I’ll just let you admire some pictures I took. And I’ll start with 2 of my favorites.

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29 OCT 2018: Winter again

Yes, unfortunately driving season is over 😦 Which means wrenching season is on.
Plans for this winter are mostly around the rear of the car. Fuel tank and filler/breather hoses. 3.9 R180 diff to go with my already installed 5 speed gearbox. Rebuild half-shafts and driveshaft. Fitting a rear wing. The list is not as long as last winter, but I also have a bunch of stuff to do on my other money pit, the BMW E36.

So to end the driving season, the best picture of the Datsun in the french alps. It’s so awesome I even had it canvas printed and hung it on the wall at home! Thanks Yves for the shot!

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7 JAN 2019: Winter update

So as the winter period is the time of the year to do some resto work and updates, here is a little update. This winter it’s mostly around the rear of the car. So I removed the fuel tank, inspected the inside and decided an outside resto is all it needed. I mechanically stripped it, put it in rust converter (KSD Kovermi) and brush painted it in Brantho Korrux 3-1, which is a primer, rust protector and paint. All in one.

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I also decided to clean that mess of vent hoses which can be found on these later and US cars. I pretty much converted it to early EU/Japan layout. Put on all new hoses, restored the tank fixing straps (Stripped, rust converter, paint), new vents. Here is a graph of my new vent line layout:

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While the tank was out I also cleaned the underside. How could you not. So same process as always: stripping old under seal and paint, rust converter, 3in1 paint.

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As I also had ordered new U-joints, boots,… quite a while ago I restored the rear axles to. Removed the axles, disassembled and cleaned, stripped the paint, repainted, greased everything up. Removed the U-joints, fitted new U-joints with the shop press, fitted new boots.

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And I prepared everything for a rear wing install. No, not necessarily for the looks only, but to test and try to get rid of the exhaust fumes in the car. It’s worth a try!
But more on this later.

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