Hardway

Hardway's Red Rocket 1972 240z Build Thread

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    Looks like the car is sitting just right! Nice job on the diff and suspension.

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    As I have been driving the car more in effort to tune the carbs, the exhaust smell was becoming too much so I decided to start with the hatch seal.  The seal on the car was well past its prime.  Before starting to remove the old seal I removed the rear interior panels and quickly discovered the highly probable cause for the occasional raw gas smell I would get, a broken plastic vent hose coupler.  A quick search on Amazon got me a new brass piece to my door in a couple days and was quickly installed. 

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    With the old seal removed along with all the residue I could scrape off I took some measurements and ordered 25ft of seal number 1120A832 from McMaster Carr.  Knowing I or someone else would paint the car in the future I wanted something that could easily be removed but still seal up in the mean time.  While I waited for the seal to arrive I successfully re-glued the outer seal at the top of the hatch opening.  I also wire brushed and sprayed some rust encapsulator on spot that were under the seal.  Once the seal arrived I spent about an hour installing it as it requires strength and finesse.  The seal seems to work very well as it has some real cushion but still allows the hatch to close with ease and is not pushing it up.

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    With the new hatch seal in place I decided to tackle the other common cause for exhaust fumes entering the cabin, the tail light gaskets.  I had done this before on my series-1 car so I knew what I was in for.  I went with a set of Precision gaskets for $50 shipped from a DPAN member.  If this was going to be a fully restore car at some point in the new future I would have gone with OEM Nissan seals but they are currently $120.  The project was straight forward and as expected the Precision seals are not perfect as some of the grooves do not line up.  I would say they are about a 90% fit.

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    While I had the trim panels off I decided to scuff and paint them with some Rustoleum Flat Black.  They appear to have had multiple layers of paint and after a lot of find sanding I was satisfied.  Next I took some fine steel wool to the stainless trim and that really brightened them up. Finally they were prepped and masked for paint. I spent about 45 minutes laying down 5 thin layers of paint.  The end result was not perfect but a 10x improvement over the splotch job that was on it.  As I reassembled everything the bottom of the trim panels would not stay in their clips.  This is due to the new seals so I improvised with some heater hose to push against them until the seals develop some memory.  I plan to leave them in place for a few weeks and them remove them.  I also ditched the Nismo license plate frame as it is not a vintage piece.  The Texas Tech bumper stick has to stay for now as I am sure its removal will create another project.  All in all I am happy with the result.

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    When I removed the rear interior panels for the hatch seal replacement I also had to remove the dome light and trim piece.  The dome light has never worked in the car so I wanted to figure out why.  A few depressions on the lens told me the switch was not popping back up as it should.  After carefully removing the trim piece and lens this was easily confirmed.  SMK is still in business and they make of all things, keyboard letter switches.  Makes sense but in all my research I could not find this switch or anything close to it by SMK.  I would love to know who makes the switch for the NOS units Nissan is selling for $100.  There was no way I was giving a c-note for a new dome light so I found these switches on Amazon, 5 of them for $8.68.  As always, they arrived in a few days and after some side by side comparisons I decided to move forward.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07LCH1N3B/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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    First I riveted the contacts back to the housing as I had to drill out the spot/swag welds from the old switch.  This would give me something to solder to.  Looking back on it I wish I had just used some small machine screws and and nuts as I could wrapped the wire around the screw and filled it with solder.  Oh well, next time!

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    Then it was just a matter of soldering the wires from the switch to the riveted posts. I had thought about using some double sided tape on the bottom of the switch but I could tell it was not going anywhere, especially once the lens was on.  I replaced the old bulb with an LED, again from Amazon and with a quick test I confirmed I had the polarity correct on the bulb and the switch worked.  I cleaned up the lens and polished the trim.  Upon testing with the lens on I determined I needed to bend the rivets out of the way a little.  With the action feeling good I installed with and basked in the glory of my handy work.  The light works when either door is opened and works via the switch.  Job done! 

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    For those of you that follow the Datsun Cars and Trucks For Sale FB page probably saw the car for sale. It was purchased by its new owner yesterday evening and who took it home to Houston. I enjoyed owning the car, refreshing its various components, and learning more along the way. The car is still a blank canvas for the new owner that can be driven as is or taken in any number of directions. My wife and I have some big financial goals we want to achieve in 2020 and the sale of the Z will ensure that happens. I will still check in from time to time to see what everyone is working on. I thank everyone for their encouragement and support. 

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