MARTS-PL310

MARTS-PL310 61 Datsun Bluebird Sedan

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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.

 

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Hung some new wall art in my storage shed today.

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It's the remains of a '61 Bluebird left floorpan.

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There is a practical reason for temporary wall hanging it. I was just going set it on edge in storage so I could salvage a few items off it later but it began folding over from its own weight. Plus, it was generating all kinds of crud such as; dirt clods, large rust flakes, under sealant, and greasy blobs anytime it got touched. Just had to get it out of my garage and isolate it.

My "wall art" came from here.

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I'm hoping to make a few more posts soon to cover the last couple of months other work activities that led up to this "epic" event. Making the trans/driveshaft tunnel solid, investigating door hinges, finessing various fitments and preparing the fender and other bare steel sheet metal for epoxy primer. 

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Catching up with progress today.

Beware of this, my favorite tool over the last 26 years, the good old knotted wire wheel and angle grinder. Very handy but dangerous. Took a nip out of my flesh the other day. Ripped right through the glove. I should reinstall the guard of course.

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So I went to work by finessing the fit of the forward end on the outer sill by forming a lip on the end, making pie cuts and welding up the gaps. The objective to set it up for a flush contact with the A-pillar stub. Btw, the outer sill assembly will not be welded to the body until the floor is fabricated and installed so I can get a coat of epoxy primer over the resulting welds on the inside of the sill box. I've got it fastened with screws temporarily.

 

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Next, I had to make adjustments at the base of the B-pillar by joggling the upper surface of the sill inboard. Did this with some cuts, pushed metal in and welded shut.

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The top flange of the sill was originally joggled as shown in these left and right B-pillar base pics.

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Next I adjusted the C-pillar or dogleg. The bottom of which was tucked in way too far inboard. This resulted in an unacceptable mismatch with the outer sill profile. So I cut a slot in the bottom plate and welded in a 1/4 inch strip.

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Then had some fun time buffing out and polishing the now 42 year old repaint job on the doors. Don't ask why, I just did it on impulse. The doors do need repainting but it does not show that in the pics.

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I wanted to rebuild the hinges to make sure thing are fitting correctly. I grabbed the hinges off the right front door to experiment with. It did not go well with my attempted pin removal methods. First I tried pressing the pins out with a hydraulic press but it just began mushrooming the pin. Same for the big hammer and drift pin technique. And yes, I was pushing on the correct (not splined) end and supported the hinge properly on the other side. It looks like the pins will have to be drilled out. I'm not going to do that with a hand drill and not without sourcing new pins and bushings first. It appears I'll have to send them in for rebuild at a shop somewhere.

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1953979684_61BluebirdDoorHinges-13.jpg.4d66453d7bce1c2835b2caea31d50339.jpgBefore I pushed against this end of pin

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Then worked on the left front fender some more. Welded the two halves of the aft inner vertical structure together with a lap joint for a rigidity. Cleaned, acid etched and painted rust scarred and pitted areas on the inside with POR-15 gray. Polished the outer surface with 3M scuff pads on the angle grinder to help see the waves and indentations better and work it smooth with hammer, dolly, rubber hammer, etc. I'll weld the inner structure to the fender once everything is coated with epoxy primer.

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And finally I set about repairing a bunch of damage on the trans/driveshaft tunnel.

This 310 Bluebird has had the wrong transmission swapped into it back in the early 80s. The original trans wore out the 2-3 shift fork and this spare unit was installed but would not fit. So the side of the tunnel got torched out and it was made to fit. There is a huge difference in size between the two trans. The all synchro trans is a side loader, which is not only much wider but also longer. The original 310 trans is a top loader. Anyways I had to fix the gapping hole and make it adaptable to either trans since I still have the original and it is repairable. Then I went on to replace the aft section the covers the driveshaft. Then patched the rusty area midway between the other patches. All is just tack welded for the moment. Pics below tell the rest of the story.

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Below pic is looking up at side loader.

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The original 310 top loader trans.

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Above pic. It was no fun trying to do those three plug welds upside down. Notice the parallel hat section reinforcement structure or beams running fore and aft, I don't think these were installed on later 312 Bluebirds?

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Looks like I hit my maximum upload limit here for this post, and it is a late work night. Plan to catch up on the remainder tomorrow.

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A tale of two Bluebird transmissions. Had to take the trans out to continue and detail the tunnel weld work.

I suppose I couldn't wait months to post something else.

The all synchro side loader coming out. It was wedged against the firewall and momentarily stuck until I tilted the engine some more.
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The all synchro 312, 311 Bluebird side loader trans. It's a beast. Longer, wider and heavier than original 310 top loader trans.
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Side-by-side trans compare. 310 Bluebird top loader on left and 312 & 311 Bluebird side loader on right.
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The 310 trans uses a carbon hockey puck release bearing whereas the 312, 311 trans uses a  rolling element bearing type. 
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Sure wish I could find a verified source for otherwise unobtainable replacement parts for these two trans. Top loader needs a new 2-3 shift fork (completely worn out), input shaft for 2-3 (sheared off) and external lever arm for 2-3 (lost). Otherwise, as a last resort, I could get them made with expensive machine shop fabrication.

I believe the side loader is is going to need a 2-3 shift fork soon as well since it does not always stay fully engaged in 3rd (high) gear on rare occasions.

I actually prefer to use the top loader with its non synchro first gear as it is the much slicker shifting and shorter lever throw trans. Without repair parts though, it's not going back in anytime soon.

As the situation stands, I'll reinstall the side loader after completing the tunnel underside details including epoxy primer.

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