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Michaelwk

So we're doing a 73 restoration project

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Alright, so here we go!  This is a 1973, HLS30-165462.  Purchased by my father brand new in 73 in Rhode Island and traveled with him to Colorado, New Mexico, and finally to Minnesota.  He kept decent records of maintenance and mileage, so we know the odometer reading of 65,416 is correct. 

Original color is 901 Silver.  There's still some of it under the hood and in the engine bay, but the outside was peeling in the late 80s so he had it removed and primed, but never decided on a new color, so in primer it remained.

Back in my high school days we dropped the gas tank, cleaned it, replaced various hoses and managed to get it running.  I had a lot of fun cruising around for a couple summers but moved away for college and then work and never kept up on maintenance after 2006.  I’ve been itching to move it down to my house in Wisconsin and return it to its former glory and a few weeks ago it finally happened.

The plan right now is just to get it running so I can drive it to winter storage.  The long term goal is to strip it down next spring, fix the rust, and get it painted.  The typical places all look to be affected.

After that, go through and refresh as many original components as I can.  I’m not a purist who plans to reuse every nut, bolt, and hose clamp, but I do want to keep the major components in place (flat tops ftw).

I will admit that this is a new hobby for me and a bit beyond the work I have done on cars in the past.  I don’t plan to learn to weld or paint, but can hopefully do most everything else myself.  So I’d like to document this work as a benefit for others as well as myself.  I’ve read a lot of past build threads on this forums and you all have a wealth of knowledge that I can hopefully draw upon to not screw this up too badly.

 

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At the moment, I’ve been following the steps in this thread, aside from pulling off the carbs.  I drained a full tank of 12 year old gas, which looked ok since we’d cleaned out the tank previously, so leaving it alone for now.  We also replaced most of the soft lines back there in 06.  I changed the oil and pulled off the rocker cover to pour some around the cam and rockers.  The engine was stuck when I tried the manually crank it, so I put some marvel mystery oil into the plug holes and let it sit a couple days.  Still no luck after doing a couple more rounds of that.  I rocked it with the car in gear and that finally broke it free.  Got a new battery and cranked it over with the plugs out.  Cylinder 6 must have been the one giving me trouble because it coughed up a lot of crap.  Will have to see what that looks like next spring.

I then tried to start it, but wouldn’t fire.  I suspected fuel and sure enough the mechanical fuel pump wasn’t pushing anything.  The electrical pump by the tank wasn’t working back in 06 and we left it because the mechanical did fine.  I purchased a new electrical pump and probably just remove or bypass through the mechanical. 

I also poured some fuel into both carbs though the hoses going to them… not sure how much should go in, but it was a decent amount.  No luck starting then either.

So that’s where I am at the moment.  We’ll see what the new pump can do and hopefully it’ll be a simple job to diagnose the carbs.🤞

 

Michael

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Congrats on keeping the flattops.  I’m having my ‘73 restored to include putting the flat tops back on, since they have several advantages over the round tops and I never saw ANY of the claimed benefits from the round tops that were put on my Z.   (https://www.classiczcars.com/forums/topic/60309-were-bringin-back-the-flat-tops/ )

Good Luck!

 

 

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On 10/1/2018 at 4:07 PM, jayhawk said:

Congrats on keeping the flattops.  I’m having my ‘73 restored to include putting the flat tops back on, since they have several advantages over the round tops and I never saw ANY of the claimed benefits from the round tops that were put on my Z.   (https://www.classiczcars.com/forums/topic/60309-were-bringin-back-the-flat-tops/ )

Good Luck!

 

 

Thanks, Jayhawk!  I read through your '73 thread a few weeks ago, it helped inspire me to document mine here as well!  One of things I'd like to do at some point is see if I can improve upon Datsun's fixes for the fuel problems on the '73 and get even better performance from the flat tops.  I found this video which has a few good ideas. 

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On 10/2/2018 at 7:22 PM, dmorales-bello said:

You gotta love the story and the provenance of your car! Great luck and many posts.

Thanks Dr. Dave!

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Ok, sorry for the long time between posts.  I’ve had a busy couple weeks and was out of town last weekend for my anniversary. 

Did a bit more research and found some folks saying that the electric fuel pump by the tank doesn’t actually turn on until the engine’s running.  So for now, I decided to leave that alone and focus on the mechanical.  At some point I’ll wire in an electric pump only, but don’t really feel like investing in wiring equipment just yet. 

I did disassemble the mechanical fuel pump and don’t see any issues… diaphragm looks fine to me.  But I did already purchase a new one from zcardepot.  Unfortunately, it didn’t come with the spacer… a bit frustrating.  I’d expect a site which specialized in Z car parts to send a unit with the necessary parts, or at least tell me I need to purchase that separately.  So no real progress on getting the car started yet.

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I did work on removing the asbestos-filled fuel line insulation.  I just wanted to get rid of that stuff and not worry about it.  I originally tried to remove it all without cutting to minimize the dust created.  It was pretty easy except for the final line that ran right above the manifolds next to the rocker cover.  I thought I could actually remove the brackets holding the line and just take the whole assembly off the car, then just slide the insulation off.  That didn’t work so well as I couldn’t quite access one of the bolts.  Ended up cutting that last section off.  

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And I committed by first dumb move of the project… sheared off a bolt in the water pump which holds the plug wire bracket… obviously not a critical piece, but it reinforces my desire to get an impact driver.

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Anyway, that’s all I have to update.  Hopefully I can find a fuel pump spacer and get that bolted on next weekend.

Michael

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15 hours ago, Michaelwk said:

 

And I committed by first dumb move of the project… sheared off a bolt in the water pump which holds the plug wire bracket… obviously not a critical piece, but it reinforces my desire to get an impact driver.

 

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Not a dumb move at all...you will probably have a few more that shear off.  It is pretty typical of the older cars.  And, I have had that exact same bolt shear off on me as well.  The threads were totally disintegrated, so I had to drill and re-tap the hole. A good tap set is a very useful item on these.  Keep up the good work.

 

 

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An impact driver would have just turned it off quicker. The steel bolts corrode into the aluminum badly and can be bear impossible to get out, even with heat.

A good Tap & Die set is a must. I chase most fasteners if I can't assemble them by hand.

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Ok so apparently the fuel pump spacer 16420-E3011 is discontinued... found a couple but for over $50.   ☹️    Since the original diaphragm looked good, maybe I didn't actually need one and the problem is elsewhere.  Anybody have other thoughts on what might cause it to not pump?  It was bone dry when I opened it, even after trying to pull directly from a gas can a few weeks ago. 

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Don't know if there were any differences between dealers on the installation of electric fuel pumps on the '73s, but my 73 240 electric pump ran when the ignition was turned on. When the car was cold I would let the pump run for a bit before starting the car, seemed to make it a little easier to start when cold. If you can't find a spacer and one is required for the mech pump, you can get a block off plate for the mech pump and use an electric pump.

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11 hours ago, Michaelwk said:

Anybody have other thoughts on what might cause it to not pump?  It was bone dry when I opened it

Diaphragm pumps like that require two check valves. One on the input, and one on the output. If either of those check valves aren't working properly, the pump won't.

I gotta believe the answer would be in this thread somewhere:
https://www.classiczcars.com/forums/topic/50679-rebuilding-the-nikki-fuel-pump/

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Yes, look at the check valves. They can stick closed or open and can get gunk in them, holding them open.

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22 hours ago, w3wilkes said:

Don't know if there were any differences between dealers on the installation of electric fuel pumps on the '73s, but my 73 240 electric pump ran when the ignition was turned on. When the car was cold I would let the pump run for a bit before starting the car, seemed to make it a little easier to start when cold. If you can't find a spacer and one is required for the mech pump, you can get a block off plate for the mech pump and use an electric pump.

I talked with my Father last night and he had the same recollection, that the pump would run with ignition on originally.  So that's good.  I do need to go troubleshoot it though, maybe the wiring is just bad. 

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12 hours ago, Captain Obvious said:

Diaphragm pumps like that require two check valves. One on the input, and one on the output. If either of those check valves aren't working properly, the pump won't.

I gotta believe the answer would be in this thread somewhere:
https://www.classiczcars.com/forums/topic/50679-rebuilding-the-nikki-fuel-pump/

 

3 hours ago, Patcon said:

Yes, look at the check valves. They can stick closed or open and can get gunk in them, holding them open.

Thanks for the advice guys, the check valves look clear and move easily.

Thanks for linking that thread as well, CO.  I may try to open up the replacement I bought and see if the diaphragms and seal would fit my original.

Second option is to 3D print a new spacer and just use the new assembly.  Will see if it comes to that.

Thanks for the help!

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If the check valves move and seal then the pump should work. They can have a difficult time pumping air to prime themselves though. I like to prime the engine to get it to fire over which helps prime the pump

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The world’s slowest project is moving along.  I’m also getting smarter as I sit in my garage and stare at the car, so that’s good!  I finally just did a hand pump test on the old fuel pump and it could barely get any fuel up from the can.  I tried the new pump and it did it quite easily.  So the original part is just worn out and needs to be rebuilt.  I also smartly cut the old spacer off with a razor blade, rather than try to pry off with a screw driver, which I may or may not have tried first and broke off a piece.  :facepalm:

So we got a working fuel pump.  Awesome.  But not so fast, I accidentally left the key on after the last time working on it (or rather my wife did, but I definitely won’t blame her because then I’d lose my most useful assistant).  I only have a trickle charger so it took a solid 4 days to recharge the battery.

Once we got that sorted, I gave it a crank but still no fire.  Sprayed a bit of starter fluid and that worked, so the problem is now the carbs.  I check the vacuum slides and they both move easily, although there’s no oil in the top… but I don’t think that would affect operation, right?

So next step is see if I can pull the carbs off this weekend and run through the checklist of float, jet, etc.  Maybe just pick up the rebuild kit and do it right the first time… but it is getting quite cold in Wisconsin and I need to get my daily back in the garage!

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