MARTS-PL310

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About MARTS-PL310

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    Travel, automotive, motorcycles, metal crafts and tinkering with anything mechanical.

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  1. MARTS-PL310

    MARTS-PL310 61 Datsun Bluebird Sedan

    Removal of more rusted metal from the 61 Datsun Bluebird left hand side outer and inner sill, 'B' pillar, 'C' pillar and side of seat pan. A huge hole in the car structure is the end result. This gets very ugly and you may want to look away if at all squeamish. No need to panic! Almost of this is going to be replaced with new steel, but it is a very slow step-by-step process to make these parts from scratch. There is nothing here you can just go to your computer and order or even find in good condition in an auto wrecking yard. It is a heck of a learning process that will be applied to the so far untouched right side of the car. I get started by using electric metal shears, slicing and splaying open the outer sill for internal rust inspection and to understand what details are inside with respect to the side of body lifting point. I had hoped at least the upper sill and inner would be salvageable so I cut a relatively clean line against a tape edge at the body line. The outer sill immediately swung open at the lower pinch weld and then just falls off. Notice the slightly bumped out area below the body lift penetration point. This will be duplicated in the new steel panels later even though I may never use the factory lift jack tool. I do still have the jack but it is worn, unstable and deemed unworthy for safe use. It would either lose grip internally and slide downward suddenly, or the small base plate could kick out at the ground and punch the upper shaft end against the door and make a big dent. Maybe the old lift jack can be repaired and improved or maybe not. Sheet metal form detail of outer sill lift jacking point Eventually, the rusty inner sill is to be separated at the left next to the new 16g steel from the previous 'A' pillar repair and new metal lapped in at the back side of the gusset shown. If you look closely, you see the fuel line and wire to the electric pump. That line is soon removed to avoid a fire hazard. Moving further aft, we see the reinforcing structure around the lift pipe, or what remains of it anyhow. And behind that what I call the joggled gusset. This upper gusset, the near one with the three ribs, is heavy gage steel and salvageable. I thought incorrectly, that to remove the upper part of the sill, that the upper gusset would have to be separated first from the pipe. Actually the top of the pipe is not welded to the upper gusset at the notched contact point. Only the side brackets are welded to the pipe and they are weak enough to just pull apart from the pipe. I could have just lifted the upper sill right off once the regular pinch welds were drilled out. The salvaged lift pipe gusset plate. I ended up with a lot of holes from spot weld drill outs that will be used for plug welding later on. This is the joggled gusset plate that is on the opposite side of the inner sill with respect to the body mount bracket on the other side. This gusset is deemed too badly cratered and rotted and will be reproduced. I cut it out before removing the inner sill by cutting around the perimeter after a futile attempt to search out and drill out all the spot welds. Things aren't looking to good above at the base of the 'B' pillar. Lots of otherwise hidden rust damage. I'm going to cut 'B' pillar base off and repair. The damage and repairs needed to the now cut off 'B' pillar is shown in the light. I subject the 'B' pillar to an electrolysis bath to remove bulk rust and identify the salvageable sections. A lot of it is still good and will be cleaned up and reused. Portions near the pinch weld are bad and the flat horizontal section deep inside is shot. Outward facing sections are perfectly good. Jumping ahead here a little bit since I did not have a good pic of the freshly removed gusset plate. As you can see, it was total destruction to remove it. A real light show with all the flying sparks! Shown above is the newly made replacement. The joggle or step was made under force from a hydraulic press and an opposing stack of offset steel bars. The aft end inside the sill is heavily cratered and holed. Thus I go to the extreme of cutting off the 'C' pillar, aka dog leg, for complete repair as the hidden damage inside is total rust out which will otherwise just continue. Where there would be an end of sill block off plate in the far back is really just rust powder stuck to the asphalt undercoat. At the lower pinch weld, the flange of the outer sill moves upward leaving just the inner sill plate poking down about a half inch. Why? Just looks a bit odd. Probably to match and fit the slight difference in contours at the 'C' pillar. The now cut-off dog leg ('C' pillar base). About 60 percent or more is perforated or too thin to reuse. This part proves difficult to reproduce. It is still not quite right after patching it up section-by-section off the car. I tried, and will tweak it a bit more now that it is welded back on the car. I might do it differently when I go to work on the right side of the car now that I know which areas should be cut out. The now fully exposed inner sill plate. This was a bit of fun. Before drilling the spot welds and removal, I cover all the step contours with blue machinist paint and scribe on the metal the intersection points to permit accurate measurement of the sill. The inner sill steps out about a tenth of an inch where the flange of the floor is butted against it for nested fit. In addition to recording measurements prior to removal of the inner sill, I make a paper overlay as a secondary backup to sometimes flawed note taking. I've also made a full size drawing on mylar as yet a third method to help reproduce the part. Key measurements at the 'B' pillar overlap (O.L) and inner sill. It's starting to look pretty messy and getting worse soon. Inner sill is drilled of the spot weld connections to the floor flanges and removed. The underfloor brackets are cut off at their flanges because these brackets are severely beat up from impact damages. The bracket for the body mount is planned for reuse, if it is good, so the flanges are left intact. Not reusable! As final act, the side of rear seat floor pan is cut out. Is there a name for this thing? This proves to be a relatively easy and fun part to reproduce because of the straight bends and box shape. Just a little challenging to butt weld into the side of the seat pan later on. A rust hole big enough for a mouse to climb through. And they did, sometime stockpiling grass seed and such here and there. And now the huge ugly hole in the car! A preview of making new parts and closing this chasm up. Making left and right hand parts where possible. I'll probably focus on the inner sill next post. More later.
  2. MARTS-PL310

    MARTS-PL310 61 Datsun Bluebird Sedan

    Repairs to the 61 Datsun Bluebird left hand side 'A' pillar (or post) The starting situation. More than a little rusty. Several portions are completely gone. I started by making reference measurements Cutting the remainder of the forward sill stub off Reinforcement was added before cutting the inner sill plate out. Making a paper template for an inner sill patch Cut it out Sizing up some 16g steel sheet Finally the patch, gusset plate and body mount bracket (on inboard side) is welded. Had to do it twice as it was placed crooked the first time. Still learning how to weld with the MIG. I should have turned up the heat for these welds against the 16g, still a bit cold with too much build up. The rest of the inner sill going aft will get cut and replaced later. Inboard side Did some sketching and cut out some flat bits to make the rest of the pillar They may not match perfect, since some of these cover undefined areas, but they are better than empty air space! Beginning of the outer sill forward stub Forward sill stub inside Initial fit checks, and adjust and fit and repeat Added the floating nutplates A view of an original style retainer for the square nut. Bent over 180 to get a wrench on the nut after torching a hole in the inner panel. Notice only one tab is welded to the metal. From the right hand side pillar that is toast. The area is phosphoric acid etched and prepped for weld and protective paint where it can't be reached later Another viewpoint Beginning to weld it. Finally I'm getting the plug welds hot enough to penetrate well and lay flat. The reproduced upper bits. Didn't like the pie cuts but it worked Same as above, flipped over This metal work was getting tedious. For a diversion, I located a Nissan rubber grommet to replace the rotted rubber on left. This is the typical state of the rubber parts all over after nearly 60 years. Okay, back to the business of welding the parts onto the Bluebird... Prepping more of the soon to be hidden innards Get it welded! It's taking shape Getting there Now to just grind and sand the welds flush It looks not too bad. Solid metal again! The rest of the outer sill will be reconnected at the stub joint much later. Next posting will be removal of multiple parts, including; outer sill, 'B' pillar bottom, 'C' pillar (or dog leg) and remainder of inner sill.
  3. MARTS-PL310

    MARTS-PL310 61 Datsun Bluebird Sedan

    And why am I in the house messing with old photos on Saturday morning and not outside or working on the Bluebird in the garage? Because the weather has taken a turn for the worse and it's just too darn cold. My poor 86 Chevy Caprice is outside. Brrr.
  4. MARTS-PL310

    MARTS-PL310 61 Datsun Bluebird Sedan

    More history. I could move this to the project build but I'm not building or changing anything. I'm content with leaving the instrument panel about the same as it was and is. It all works except the inop radio which was probably damaged by the maximal cruising revs and resonance from the engine. Some historical photos follow the current as is photo. The 61 Datsun Bluebird dashboard or instrument panel. How do you like those stainless steel rods supporting the steering wheel rim? Classic! But probably deadly in a crash. 1970's photos: Just another snowy day. Inspecting the Golden Gate bridge. This radio couldn't hack the vibes. It failed a couple of months after I replaced the previous failed unit. It's still installed only to fill the hole.
  5. MARTS-PL310

    MARTS-PL310 61 Datsun Bluebird Sedan

    A historical engine comparison. The 61 Datsun Bluebird engine then, 1975, and now, 2019. The 48 HP engine back in 1975 The same engine bay 44 years later with the 60 HP engine in 2019. Same radiator, valve cover, distributor, battery hold down frame, etc. The 60 HP engine was salvaged from a wrecking yard PL311 Bluebird in 1976. Still missing the second fan blade! but does not affect cooling at all. Generator is from a 59 Chevy truck.
  6. MARTS-PL310

    MARTS-PL310 61 Datsun Bluebird Sedan

    What 40 plus years did to a tire on my 61 Datsun Bluebird! A slight bit of tread separation from the tire inner carcass and belts. Tossed it away of course.
  7. MARTS-PL310

    MARTS-PL310 61 Datsun Bluebird Sedan

    Repairs to the left front fender. Starting with this gaping hole in the lower panel. New outer skin. My first real use of MIG except very minor tack repairs to other stuff or the years. It didn't weld too well next to very thin metal. I had to weld at the coldest setting and do backside as well. Inner Welded up the antenna hole. No use for that anymore. Kept burning holes in the metal again until using some flattened copper pipe to back up the weld. Inner aft structure. Here it is compared to the other good fender. A somewhat complicated shape. The lower 5 inches or so have to be cut off. Repair iteration one. No good, try again... Second try, again no good Third try. It might do but will wait for weld to the fender after it can be fit checked in combination against a repaired 'A' post, sill, and with the door installed. Notice I've removed the remainder of the upper structure to get all the rust removed and work the numerous dents in the fender skin flush. What's not shown here is the random bouncing back and forth between various other small repair work when one area gets a bit challenging. On to the front of the fender... This got a lot worse as you can see once I wire wheeled it. A little patch panel beating work with a wooden form block and lots of hammering. Checking the fit and marking the cut line. Okay for first iteration. Welded in Then proceeded to fabricate a complete new forward inner fender structure These new floating nut plates aren't going anywhere. No tearing out of the single attach tab on the original design. Not that great of a view. It shows where the back of the inner fender structure attaches to the body shell. Then I stripped the paint, asphalt undercoating, body filler, residual rust, etc down to shiny steel inside and out. Plugged a few pin holes with weld. It will still need some panel beating and straightening later on. And of course reattachment of the aft inner structure. Finished with this fender for now. Next posting will be the left hand side 'A' pillar repair.
  8. MARTS-PL310

    MARTS-PL310 61 Datsun Bluebird Sedan

    The left side Bluebird rust damage survey. Right side is about the same except much less damage to the front fender and more damage to the 'A' pillar or post. Starting with the left front fender and working back to the rear dog leg and side of rear seat floor. And a then preview of the right side.
  9. MARTS-PL310

    MARTS-PL310 61 Datsun Bluebird Sedan

    More Bluebird history. I love driving up into the mountains. Then, now and always. One of my favorite Bluebird mountain pass crossings back in June 1976, westbound on beautiful highway 20 through the Washington North Cascades. For the 48 hp Bluebird on the steeper grades, this was nearly always a maximum power event, pedal to the floor and changing down to second gear very early.
  10. MARTS-PL310

    MARTS-PL310 61 Datsun Bluebird Sedan

    @yoeddynz. It is likely that there are no running examples of the 310 left in the U.S., including mine, at least while it is down for major rust repair. I've noticed numerous examples of the later model Bluebird 312 with the wider grill and larger taillights. Some 312s are preserved in very good condition. The 310s though are indeed very rare Datsuns. Only one has been witnessed in traffic in my entire life. It could have something to do with a significant axle weakness and low numbers of the 310 type (sedans and wagons) sold. I managed to break two axles in one year before upgrading to the stronger Bluebird 311 and 312 design. This necessitated swapping the entire rear drive assembly due to nearly all the part designs changing. Maybe only the wheels studs carried over? ; ) Nissan quickly engineered many of the rear drive assembly parts to be more robust, and to accommodate the 60 hp engine, including; axles, bearings, ring and pinion carrier, differential, axle housing, brake backing plates and drums. Yes, there are clubs with a few of the early 60's pickups, some later 312 Bluebirds, and all the other popular models that followed, but no members owning running Bluebird 310s that I know of.
  11. 61 Datsun Bluebird PL310 De-Rustification Project. Build: https://oldschool.co.nz/index.php?/topic/60264-marts-pl310-61-datsun-bluebird-sedan/ A brief history of the Bluebird. It has a tortured past, mostly before I owned it. Yet it still runs but with a rather rusty floor and sills. Based on the evidence provided by the body damages, towing bills, and other repair bills that were obtained when my sister bought the car in Seattle, in late summer 1974, here is what I surmise happened along the way to present time. Early time period. Prior owners are suspect 60's era hippies that drove the car off road through the rain forest along the Washington state coast as evidenced by various underbody impacts against the floor braces and sills. You know, low speed dents from small stumps, rocks, etc. From the late 60’s to early 70’s? The car was T-boned on the right front door and fender as evidenced by new replacement panels and still damaged “A” pillar. 1973. Records supplied with the car showed a complete overhaul of the transmission due to popping out of high gear complaints. A worn 2- 3 shift fork and other items were to blame. Later that same year, the car was rolled onto its top and yet was still driven after rescue from the tow yard and only replacement of the windshield. 1974. My sister wanted a cheap car to get from Seattle to Los Angeles and bought the Bluebird in spite of its now beat up state and damage history. Before embarking on the trip to LA, I volunteered to help smooth over at least a dozen or more small dents with hammer, dolly and filler. I couldn’t do much for the roof then but it was not too bad overall. The front inner and lower fender structure and skin had already begun to make a significant rust hole that was then covered over with fiberglass. I also replaced a slipping clutch disk. Off she and Bluebird went to LA. 1975. I bought the Bluebird and drove it from LA to Seattle. No problems. 1975 to 1979. I used the Bluebird for mainly cross Washington state trips over the mountain passes. I bought a parts car, an ivory white 62 PL311, 60 hp model, from the wrecking yard to supply spares as even then it was getting difficult to source parts. Almost all of the spares car is long gone now. In early 1979, I drove the Bluebird to LA and back with no problems. 1979, summer. I bought a 71 Datsun 510 2-door replacement car. I kept the Bluebird as a second car. 1979 to 1985. Storage and neglect. I was working out of state for 18 months. The Bluebird began to deteriorate in outdoor storage and only rare driving. 1986. Took the Bluebird out of storage and began some work to “tune up” the roof. The previous repairs from 10 years ago had begun to blister and peel under the cover of a plastic weave tarp due to rain and sun. So I took the front and back glass out and cleaned the roof panel completely back to bare metal and worked it a lot smoother. At this time the rubber glass seals were ruined from rot and could not be reinstalled. This led to little movement of the car thereafter. 1987 to 2004. Bluebird is stored in my garage and only rare maintenance work is done to keep the brake slave cylinders from rusting solid. The fuel pump diaphragm goes bad and floods the engine crankcase with gasoline. Had to convert to a cheap electric pump to keep it moveable. The floor and sill rust progressed even when in dry storage. It is insidious rust that begins on the inside of the sills and under the vinyl floor covers. Above the floor the car has remained very rust free. Even in dry storage, rust does not stop in those places that became damp in the beginning from trapped moisture. More on that topic later! 2016 to 2017. Finally finished the redo of the roof and painted it with ivory white by having the spare and installed 62 PL311 car door jamb scanned. Going for the two tone look eventually. 2018 to 2019. Having removed the doors, interior, hood and trunk lids for the long delayed roof painting in 2017, the long hidden floor rust was now visible and really bad. The sills were also deemed so rust perforated and weakened that I would not consider removing the rotted floor until the sills are reproduced and welded in. And the remaining original left side fender was rotted out along with the bottom of the ‘A’ pillar. That all had to be fixed first and is now done but I could still use a right side ‘A’ pillar or else make it from scratch. Then the rear dog leg or ‘C’ pillar and adjacent side of rear seat floor rot out had to be made structurally sound so the new sill could be welded to solid metal. More all new metal fabrication fun. Anyway it goes on and on bit by bit. Maybe I can still salvage the top of the trans tunnel part of the floor but that’s about it, everything else related to the floor has to be cut out and tossed. No parts are available and all has to be fabricated from sheet stock. It is going to take a while. A few hours during the work week and same on the weekends are all that I can do. It may still be a few years before completion. One odd discovery. A previous owner had stuffed copious newspapers between the floor and underneath the vinyl floor covering. The barely legible dates read February 1967. Why would anyone do that on a then six year old car? I guess the newspapers made for a good sponge to hold water and keep the floor nice and moist to really speed up the rust process!
  12. This is my Datsun Bluebird "de-rustification" project. This Bluebird is a U.S. specification 48 HP left hand drive 1961 PL310. It is the same as 1959 and 1960 310s. It is much different with respect to the drivetrain than late '61 through '64 models with the 60 hp engine, all synchro transmission and beefier rear axle components. I've swapped in most of the later model drivetrain though. The overall project been on and off again for years, decades actually. I have 44 years of my ownership history that I can present separately in a discussion thread along with this build activity. Previous historical "major" repairs included bumping out the roof panel in the late 70s due to a prior owner rollover accident. The rust work however is relatively new since early 2018. Photos. My earliest photo of the car is alongside the aqueduct in the California San Joaquin Valley in June 1975 and then Pullman, WA October 1975 . The latter photos are current covering the inner and outer sill panels fabrication, fit and weld work currently in progress. As time permits, I'll go back a year and begin describing the work and discoveries along the way to date and continue from there. https://oldschool.co.nz/index.php?/topic/60267-marts-pl310-61-datsun-bluebird-sedan/
  13. MARTS-PL310

    MRT1TRD's 1963 Datsun Bluebird P312

    @MRT1TRD good suggestion to start a build thread. I have dozens of photos going back over several years to present. I may have a relative that has made trips to NZ. I’ll see if they have any future plans and would perhaps help transport a part. Otherwise I just keep learning to make the parts from flat sheet.
  14. MARTS-PL310

    MRT1TRD's 1963 Datsun Bluebird P312

    I noticed your 1963 Bluebird build with the many photos and also the parts car purchase in late 2014. Do you still have that other Bluebird parts car? If so, I'm looking for a couple of Bluebird body parts, namely the right side A pillar (mine is smashed) and the rear filler panel between the body and bumper (missing). I'm restoring my 1961 PL310 Bluebird that I've owned for many years, Right now I'm working on the floor which is totally rusted out. A couple of photos from many years ago. And then a pic of the current build situation.