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La cinq-cent dix


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Hi Michiel, 

There seem to be quite a number of SSS in Portugal but so far that's the only place in Europe where they seem to have been sold in any numbers. There must be one or two still in existence in the Netherlands, no? I'm not sure if there are others in France. 

 

I have a ferry booked to come over to JCS this year. Are you going to that? I'll be taking my Cherry Europe though rather than the 510, even though it should be registered and road legal by then (it will still be looking rather ugly I'd imagine).

I couldn't find any references to Dutch SSS survivors, but who knows! Haven't been to JCS in years, but I'll try, even if I don't have a JC at the moment... 

 

Some Dutch 510s I saw yesterday*

 

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It'll be a while yet! I have some fairly major sill reconstruction to do first. I did make some minor progress though.. I now have working indicators and headlight low beam... but no high beam yet... and the low beams come on with the sidelights so something is still amiss there. 

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Time for an update. I spent some hours this afternoon and evening on this and made a bit of progress.

 

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First task was to pull the engine out. This, as I mentioned before made sense as I could check the clutch but also I can drop the sump and clean it out as well. One of the disadvantages of these old datsun engines being so oil tight is the sumps tend to rust pretty badly. These one is a bit crusty but not too bad. 510 sumps aren't the same as the ones on any other L series powered Datsun so it's a good idea to preserve it!

 

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Naturally, having pulled the engine to look at the clutch, it wasn't stuck at all. Amazing after sitting so many years...

 

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However, the flywheel isn't too nice. A big deep score round the centre and some fine hairline cracks suggest it's seen some abuse. I'll have a look and see if I have another but if not I'll get it skimmed.

 

I finally had the front wheels off for the first time and as expected the brakes are a bit rusty. I only have one new brake disc knocking about for a 510 so the challenge is on to find another or a pair. Again, they're different to later Datsun with the single exception of early 710's... which of course won't make them any easier to find.

 

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 Next, I tackled some bodywork. This might seem a little premature but I'll explain the thinking behind this in a minute.

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Obviously, I still have a lot of mechanical shit to fix on this but one cause for some concern has been the front valance. It's in a pretty hopeless state having been badly butchered to fit the Fiat bumper and battered to death. I don't really have a good replacement as the one on my other 510 isn't all that clever either. I can buy a repro one but it'd cost me £200+ and more importantly, as it'd have to come from the States, might take a long time to arrive. I figured it best to find out if I could repair this one as if not I would need to get one ordered pronto so as not to be waiting.

 

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First of all I had to strip off the front wings, which are fairly miserable looking, but I was pleased to discover that behind them, aside from the mounting lip at the top, the inner wings are really pretty good. Check it out...

 

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The valance is welded on so I drilled out the spot welds. Behind it there's some minor rust in the front cross-member and front panel in the centre but nothing too dramatic. The valance was looking pretty sorry for itself, although not all that rotten...

 

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I figured it was worth a go at bashing it back into shape. First of all it needed all the bits that had been hammered flat or cut and bent back, reshaped back how they should be. Here you can see where it's been butchered to fit the Fiat bumper. Nice work...

 

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After about 30 minuted of bashing with a hammer and dolly, one side was beginning to look something like the right shape.

 

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Same again for the other side. 

 

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Still looks like shit but it's getting there. Next I took the paint and filler out of it and welded up the cuts that had been made. Another 40 mins of stop: hammertime and it was looking more of less like it should, although a bit rippled...

 

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It must be somewhere near right as all the holes where I drilled it off line up fine. It needs another hour or so of gentle battering to get it right and will still need a bit of finishing but it's definitely good enough and best of all it saves me a couple of hundred quid. Result.

 

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Next I'm going to strip the rest of the stuff from the engine bay but not until I've got the electrics all working. I'm suspicious that there may be some fried wiring in the loom as one of the headlight fuse terminals had melted in the fusebox and there's clearly been some repairs to melted insulation on wires to the headlight relay. Also, I want to make sure that when everything goes back in it's all going to work first time.

 

Once the engine bay is stripped I'll pull the dash out then do all the welding on the front end and replace both the sills. In between, or when I inevitably get pissed off with welding, I'll carry on refurbishing the oily bits and rebuild the brakes etc. 

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Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

 

Fabulous. A few days old and a LEGENDARY thread.

 

I have been wondering (prepare for my girliness to make a rare outing) is that likely to be it's original colour? (important stuff :oops: not!). I can't decide because all the inside bits are the same colour as the outside, which they wouldn't have done with the same yard broom as the outside would they? Now I can see black on that valance panel too...

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It's been repainted at least twice in it's original mustard colour. The black is nearly all applied with a brush over the top of the last repaint. I'll actually be changing the colour a little. Although it looks similar, I prefer the colour of my other 510 which is more of a sort of butterscotch or caramel colour...

 

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That caramel colour looks good enough to eat!

 

Can I ask what you use to get back to shiny steel? I tend to use a grinding disc followed by a twisted knot wire wheel to try and get into any pits, but that's difficult on thin steel like bodywork.

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Is that a starting handle hole?

 

No. TBH, I've no idea what it's purpose is as it is level with the cross member but doesn't give access the the bolt behind it and even if there were a hole through the crossmember, it's a good bit lower than the crankshaft centre line.

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That caramel colour looks good enough to eat!

 

Can I ask what you use to get back to shiny steel? I tend to use a grinding disc followed by a twisted knot wire wheel to try and get into any pits, but that's difficult on thin steel like bodywork.

 

I use a combo of 2" Roloc discs, both the aggressive abrasive type and the softer, scotchbrite type. I also use an air drill with small 2" diameter wire wheels which are really good for taking rust out. The latter is probably my most used method but you do go through a fair few of them. I sometimes use those black strip 'n' clean discs but they are a bit expensive so it's not often. They can also put a lot of heat into a panel so not good for easily warped flat panels.

If it's really deep pitting then it gets treated chemically after mechanical removal, with something to dissolve rust, usually either Chemodex rust and scale remover if it's a small panel or a gel type (Hammerite Rust Remover or maybe Deox-C) on larger stuff.

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Just like to say that I am finding this story very motivating to get me off my @rse and do some of my own projects.  Not that I will ever catch up with this, but thanks for sharing, it is forcing me to get my act together.  A bit. 

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More broken car resurrection from yesterday. First off... the fuel tank.

 

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After a few days of swilling thinners around in it I tipped out 10 litres of orangey-brown crud and had a butchers inside. ALL the goopy tar-like shit was gone just leaving sediment and a bit of scale. Pretty effective! I let it dry out then mixed up a load of caustic soda granules in water and chucked that in it. I plugged the outlets and left it in for about 40 minutes, occasionally giving it a swill round. Nasty shit that stuff....it got quite hot! Tipped that out and flushed it with my crappy little pressure washer. Check this out... sparkling!

 

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Of course the next problem was how to dry the water out of it as you cannot empty it out completely. Oil filled rad to the rescue. Stuck it on medium, balanced the tank on the top overnight and it was dry as a bone in the morning. Just need to test the fuel sender unit to make sure it works, rub it down and give it a coat of paint and it's all done.

 

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Next mission was carbs. I'm overhauling everything on the engine and refitting it as I go. The plan being, to eventually refit a complete engine and box that's ready to roll.

 

The carbs were a bit sooty inside but amazingly free from gunky old fuel and sediment. In fact, the only  fault was the jet was stuck on the front carb so the choke wouldn't work. These carbs are a licensed version of an SU (obviously!) but are some much better than an SU that I'm amazed BL lickers up and down the land didn't pillage them from every SSS that made it to a scrapyard. They almost never have any throttle spindle wear and have seals on the spindles as well. The mechanisms are really well engineered and precise. The later type are more advanced in many respects but I do prefer the simplicity of this type. The only bad thing about these are the brass floats, which in their old age can fracture and leak. I will acquire some later plastic floats at some point.

 

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There was nothing that really needed fixing on these so I just stripped them, cleaned them up and reassembled them. I had to make some new float chamber gaskets as the original cork ones fell apart. I made replacements from normal gasket paper. All done and refitted with new fuel lines and clips... just need to repair one of the float chamber overflow pipes and refit those...

 

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MOAR in a min....

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The clutch slave cylinder was utterly borked and I could even get it apart, it was so rusted. So, I had a rummage in the shed and found a selection of grotty ones from an assortment of old Datsuns I've broken up in the past. The most likely looking contender came from a Nissan Vanette so I stripped that apart and chucked the body of it in some acid to de-rust it. I found a proper seal kit for the 510 amongst my hoard of new bits but it was slightly different as the Vanette pistons has two seals but the 510 only one. Not to worry, as the innermost seal is the same and that's the one that matters. As this cylinder was fully working when it came off i figured the other one would be fine. The cylinder got honed and given a dab of paint. Everything cleaned up and ready to re-assemble...

 

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All done ready to fit...

 

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Now the engine is out I could drop the sump and clean it out. There was a bit of thick sludge in the sump but not too bad. A scrub in the wash tank and wash off and it's fine inside...

 

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However it's pretty rusty on the outside. I've chucked it in some acid the de-rust it so hopefully that'll be done by tomorrow so I can paint and refit it...

 

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I couldn't resist checking the state of the bottom end while the sump was off. Check out this big end shell... not so much as a scratch on it! They're like new!

 

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I found this amongst my bits and pieces earlier so I thought I'd fit it while I was at it....

 

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Another thing I figured was worthwhile since it was all apart anyway...I fitted new front and rear oil seals...

 

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The bottom pulley was mega rusty so I stripped it and gave it a coat of satin black. I took the opportunity to make out the timing marks a bit more clearly when refitting it which should make doing the timing with my light a lot easier in future.

 

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