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Warty

What do the 難 stickers on the back of the interior panels represent?

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I took off all my interior panels today, and I think all but 1 had a sticker with 難 ("difficult"). Was that the first character in the place name of some Nissan assembly plant? Maybe first character in the name of a sub-contractor that did the plastic? Did it mean this piece was subject to high failure rates? Anybody know? Kats? 

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3 hours ago, Warty said:

The kensa sticker referenced there would be 検, short for 検査.

 

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A better translation of the 'Nan' Kensa sticker in this particular situation would be 'Defect'.

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Ok, I think I might have it now. The 1973 FMVSS 302 standards set standards related to flammability of interior materials (after a crash). (This is also the 5 mph bumper regulation, and other stuff). You can read this section of the standard online. It seems like the goal is to have interior materials, specifically including trim panels, burn at a certain rate or slower. 

I think the 難 in this case is short for something like 難燃材料 (fire-retardant material or maybe flame resistant material?)

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/難燃材料

I'm still just guessing at this point, but I think it makes sense. Maybe in the 1970, maybe 1971 years, they didn't use the same plastic, and after they started preparing for the 1973 year FMVSS, they changed the manufacturing materials, and started putting the stickers on so it was clear which was which. They probably were able to stop doing that once all the old stock was gone. With standards, in general, you know about them years before you have to implement them, so I don't know if they did that in 1972, or maybe earlier. It would be interesting to see when it started in Zs. 

One thing it means for me and my 12/70 240Z is that probably, none of my interior panels are original. Which I was starting to suspect for a different reason, but... 

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8 hours ago, Warty said:

Ok, I think I might have it now. The 1973 FMVSS 302 standards set standards related to flammability of interior materials (after a crash). (This is also the 5 mph bumper regulation, and other stuff). You can read this section of the standard online. It seems like the goal is to have interior materials, specifically including trim panels, burn at a certain rate or slower. 

I think the 難 in this case is short for something like 難燃材料 (fire-retardant material or maybe flame resistant material?)

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/難燃材料

I'm still just guessing at this point, but I think it makes sense. Maybe in the 1970, maybe 1971 years, they didn't use the same plastic, and after they started preparing for the 1973 year FMVSS, they changed the manufacturing materials, and started putting the stickers on so it was clear which was which. They probably were able to stop doing that once all the old stock was gone. With standards, in general, you know about them years before you have to implement them, so I don't know if they did that in 1972, or maybe earlier. It would be interesting to see when it started in Zs. 

One thing it means for me and my 12/70 240Z is that probably, none of my interior panels are original. Which I was starting to suspect for a different reason, but... 

It's an interesting theory, but I'm not convinced. For one thing, the 'Nan' stickers appear on the reverse of many interior panels that date well before 1973 (I personally have them on two 1970 build cars) so why would they be putting them on panels that early before your 1973 FMVSS? I can also vouch for having a mixture of 'Nan' stickered plastic panels and non-stickered panels on my cars, which doesn't seem to make sense in the context of fire retardency. Those panels are made from a Styrene based material which burns good and smokes bad. It's horrible stuff. There's nothing much flame-resistant about it and there's nothing much safe about it in modern terms.

I think the problem for us in trying to decipher the meaning of the 'Nan' sticker is that it was never meant for our understanding. They were internal, manufacturer-applied QC labels which we - as civilians - were not supposed to see let alone understand. The kanji character used is somewhat cryptic on its own and is open to wide interpretation, as we can see. It's certainly a negative, but meaning what? If the sticker signified a distinction in fire resistance of retardence, I'd expect to see something specifically referring to the subject of fire, and 'Funen sei' ('non-inflammable') would be more along the lines of common usage, perhaps abbreviated to 'Funen'.

We had another thread on this topic in the past with much more input from individual members, but I can't find it. There was more discussion of the panels themselves, in terms of finish/re-finishing, colouring etc all coming at the subject with the idea that the 'Nan' sticker indicated a negative in quality control. There's certainly a lot of evidence that points towards quality control problems and that re-finishing/re-colouring was common. I still feel we are looking at a 'Defect' quality control sticker. 


 

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Oh, the panels definitely were changed "around" 1973 (not sure how far in advance) to be compliant. Doesn't mean that they, or anything else people were doing at the time were not still going to burn, it just means they complied with the regulation. Maybe added bromide to the mix, I dunno. If you search for FMVSS in this forum and others, you'll find some references. Zhome calls it out too. 

As far the term, I'm pretty confident that 難燃料、難燃性, etc., etc are all standard terms. And in our particular context, I'm not sure they are likely to be anything else. Other than maybe the first character of a factory name, but I didn't turn up anything likely there. 

As to why some panels have them, others don't, well, I would guess there was quite a bit of variety at the factories, but also, those panels would get swapped around at dealers quite a bit I imagine. Who knows what happened to our cars 40+ years ago? And, of course, it is possible Datsun was getting out ahead of the Jan 1, 1973 implementation date. I *think*, but am not sure, the regulations are born in a 1966 act of congress. So by 1970, they may have known pretty well what was coming. 

I think someone who knows a lot more than me about Datsun manufacturing history can probably give us a definitive answer. 

 

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8 hours ago, Warty said:

Oh, the panels definitely were changed "around" 1973 (not sure how far in advance) to be compliant. Doesn't mean that they, or anything else people were doing at the time were not still going to burn, it just means they complied with the regulation. Maybe added bromide to the mix, I dunno. If you search for FMVSS in this forum and others, you'll find some references. Zhome calls it out too. 

As far the term, I'm pretty confident that 難燃料、難燃性, etc., etc are all standard terms. And in our particular context, I'm not sure they are likely to be anything else. Other than maybe the first character of a factory name, but I didn't turn up anything likely there. 

As to why some panels have them, others don't, well, I would guess there was quite a bit of variety at the factories, but also, those panels would get swapped around at dealers quite a bit I imagine. Who knows what happened to our cars 40+ years ago? And, of course, it is possible Datsun was getting out ahead of the Jan 1, 1973 implementation date. I *think*, but am not sure, the regulations are born in a 1966 act of congress. So by 1970, they may have known pretty well what was coming. 

I think someone who knows a lot more than me about Datsun manufacturing history can probably give us a definitive answer. 

 

Forgive me for being blunt, but you seem to be trying to make the evidence fit the crime here. A lot of what you are saying seems to depend on both non flame-resistant/flammable and flame-resistant/non-flammable being in circulation/use at the same time (if not, then why the stickers to denote a difference?). Having two types in production does not make any sense from a manufacturing or legislation-compliance point of view.

There were many examples of changes to detail, content and construction on these cars over the years. You seem to be quoting (USA specific) MVSS compliance as a single point of reference, but the S30-series was designed, manufactured and sold for many other markets too. One of them was Japan itself of course, which was fast tracking new safety and anti-pollution legislation for the auto industry during the period we are talking about. Nissan had to keep a weather eye on being compliant in its export markets of course, but the new Japanese regulations were some of the strictest in the world at that time and many updates were made to Japanese market cars during the production run. Proof of compliance was the burden of the manufacturer, and numbered classification of compliance was noted on each vehicle (quite literally, on the engine bay tag) and on paper by chassis number. On the north American market cars the main declaration of compliance is noted on the door jamb tag. There was no need to label every updated item on every car.

So we know that the 'Nan' sticker is for internal - sub-contractor/manufacturer - use, affixed to interior plastic panels to denote some sort of distinction. Exactly what that distinction consisted of is still somewhat up for debate, but when we originally discussed this on the forum the concensus was that the stickers were a quality controller-applied inspection sticker denoting parts that needed a little extra fettling/trimming/touch-up and/or re-colouring. There is evidence of re-finishing and re-colouring on many of these panels. They are large panels of fairly complex shapes, but quite thin. There is a moulded-in texture on the outer face. The material is a styrene based plastic and rejects at certain points of production (tooling warm-up, replenishment of raw material, colour change, snag-ups, etc etc) would have been common (I used to work in the injection mould tooling industry, so I know a little about this). I think there would have been the need for good quality control on these parts. I think the 'Nan' stickers were part of that.

About the language side of this: I think if you show the 'Nan' sticker to any native Japanese speaker you'll get pretty much the same reaction. They will read it as 'Nan', and *translate* that into English as meaning 'Difficult' or [a] 'Difficulty'. Which in itself shows that proper *translation* of Japanese to English requires a little more depth of focus. Here's an entry from my 1968-dated Kenkyusha Japanese-English dictionary, which I think is a good indicator of common-usage in the period concerned:

jVo1XL.jpg

You can pair the 'Nan' Kanji with many other syllables to modify and alter their meaning, but the sticker itself leaves us hanging by using the 'Nan' Kanji on its own and therefore being rather cryptic. I think all evidence clearly points to it meaning - literally - 'Defect' or 'Defective' to the people using it. I'm guessing that the factory workers didn't bother removing the stickers after any rectification was carried out, and that any ultimately rejected panels simply got thrown into a recycling cage or dumpster at the moulding shop. I simply don't buy the flame resistant theory as these panels - even with 'Nan' sticker applied - are certainly nowhere approaching fire safe. They melt-burn and the thick black smoke they give off in doing so will kill you in short order.

I'm interested to hear what others think.

         

Edited by HS30-H

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Of course you could be right, there isn't a lot of information to go on. I think we need someone with actual knowledge of the situation. 

Linguistically, I don't know that there's anything conclusive. I did run it by a professional Japanese translators at work (I'm not a native speaker, and no longer translate professionally), and she basically said it was impossible to say. "古いマークで最近は使用されていないか、日本以外で付けられたか、公式なマークではないことが考えられますでしょうか。"  So no luck there, so far.  

Whether the panels are "fire safe" or not doesn't matter: we know they were changed for 1973, to be compliant. Here are a couple more sources on that:

"The "off-white" actually came in 73 - if you place the two side by side, you can see the difference. The reason the 73's are off-white is because Flame Retardant interior materials had to be used for cars sold in the US that model year. That new material was every so slightly - off white. Kind of in between white and light cream. The "white in the Z" wasn't a problem - they sold very well in 73. However at the begining of the model run we started getting PL510's - Orange with Green interiors... very ugly... That is when we found out that several colors were held up, due to the new Flame Retardant Materials regulations. Nissan actually suppled new Black interiors for several of the ugly PL510's that would not sell otherwise."

http://www.blackdragonauto.com/zZxCatalog.htm

1973 Carburetors, manifolds and cylinder head changed for emissions requirements. Distributor changed to transistorized breakerless ignition system. Intermittent windshield wipers added as standard equipment. Tinted glass, 3 point adjustable seat belts, collapsible steering column and fire retardant interior introduced. Reclining seats added.

 

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