Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • fly by

      Still the original, still the best Nissan Datsun resource   11/02/2017

      We set out to establish Datnet in the late '90s to provide the best Nissan-Datsun online resource, we don't plan to ever stray from that. Huge updates site-wide to make your experience the best it can be. Stay around, read, post and enjoy - when your done you can go back to Facebook and 'like' us there too: datnet.org on Facebook

Anth's 1969 Datsun 1600 Fj20et

Recommended Posts



Those of you who follow the progress on my Datsun would have most likely noticed the absence of a rear bumper in the photos I’ve posted over the past couple of years. This has been a long-running saga for me, which I’ve finally sat down and taken the time to explain. Ready for a long story? Read on…


Around 3 years ago I was involved in a minor rear-end collision which saw my pristine bumper bent like a pretzel. This bumper didn’t come with the car when I bought it, it was one that I sourced myself and had re-chromed out of my own pocket. After my insurance gave me the all-clear, I dropped the damaged car off at their approved repair shop to be fixed, and took on the task of finding another rear bumper. I found a straight rear bumper through Datsport and had them ship it over, then it was re-chromed at the shop that the panel beater always uses for their chrome work. Once the car was repaired and back on the road for a few months, I noticed some rust starting to form in the crevices of the bumper ends, where the side pieces are welded to the center section. Over time, the rusty residue grew into proper rust bubbles.



At this point I contacted the panel shop, who contacted my insurance and we all agreed to strip it and re-chrome it a second time to hopefully cure this issue. This time, however, I insisted we use my choice of re-chromer, the shop who did my first bumper which I was very happy with (before it got bent!). Unfortunately, this decision would be my downfall.

Over the next year or so, I had to partake in a game of “call the re-chromer every week to ask for updates and get the run-around”. I heard every excuse under the sun, from “it’ll be ready next week” (I heard that about 10 times) to “I got sick of looking at it so I put it aside for a while”. Not only that, but when there was progress it was always in the form of him telling me that the repair work was resulting in the finish being pitted and ugly. The final straw was a phone call where the lovely gentlemen who owns the establishment informed me that the bumper was packed up and ready to give back to me, but someone had accidentally run over it with the forklift. Yes, you read that right. I kept my composure and asked him how the repaired section looked before it was run over, to which he replied “pretty shit”. I think he was sick of it, and so was I. This series of images perfectly sum up my range of emotions at that time…


I called my insurance and explained the whole story to them. They sent an assessor to the chrome shop to inspect the now destroyed bumper, and agreed for me to source and re-chrome yet another one. In an uncanny turn of events, I ended up finding a perfect candidate from the person I bought my first bumper off! I took a 1hr drive to his house, snapped it up and a week later dropped it off to another re-chromer that was recommended to me through a friend. From the moment I stepped into this new shop, I knew I’d made the right decision. The owner was calm, honest, and wanted to take the time to do a proper job, insisting on pulling the bumper apart and then re-assembling it after it’s new coat of chrome. He even replaced a broken mounting stud that I was more than happy to live with, but he wouldn’t stand for it. Another sign that I was in the right place was seeing a lot of other car parts waiting to be re-dipped, as opposed to the last place I used who had large industrial contracts, therefore pushing my bumper to the bottom of thier priority list.


During this time, I didn’t necessarily mind the look of the car without the bumper, in fact I grew to like it. But, they’re there for a reason, and I’d hate to think how much panel damage would have been sustained if I was hit without one.


So anyway, in February this year, I finally picked up my new(est) bumper.


It’s an amazing feeling when you peel back the plastic to reveal perfect, un-touched, brand new chrome.


Instead of rushing things and bolting it straight on to the car, I went out and bought all new stainless nuts and bolts. Definitely a worthwhile investment, and cheap too, this whole bunch was well under $10.

Another great thing about the new re-chromer that I used is that he gave me a great tip to try to combat the rust issue that plagued my last bumper. Apparently it’s not a rare occurrence, and one way to try to prevent it is to paint some clear coat into the bumper seams. The theory is that the clear coat will form a seal and stop water from sitting in the seams and rusting. I had nothing to lose, so I gave it a shot.


To do this, I taped up each side of the seam to keep any rouge paint off the actual face of the bumper, and used a very thin brush to put as much clear as I could inside the seam. I think I ended up doing about 4 coats. At first I used whatever I happened to have in the garage, which was some high-temp clear coat in a rattle can that I sprayed into the lid and dipped the brush into. This wasn’t ideal, as the consistency of the paint wasn’t too good, it didn’t dry properly, and it had a yellow tinge to it. I eventually got my hands on some proper 2-pack clear which I had to reduce with thinners and mix in some hardener, this worked much better.



I also had the numberplate light surround re-chromed. These lights are unique to JDM/AUDM, USDM 510′s have two lights mounted to the rear body of the car, on either side of the plate. I’m not sure which version the European delivered cars run.



Finally, car and bumper meet.




Here’s a summary of the events of what I now refer to as “Bumpergate”

Early 2009 – Involved in light rear-end collision

Mid 2009 – Repaired and back on the road

Late 2009 – Notice rust starting to form on bumper

Early 2010 – Rust getting worse, contact insurance, drop bumper off to be re-chromed

Early 2010 – Mid 2011 (yes, a year and a half!) – Endless broken promises by re-chromer

Mid 2011 – Re-chromer informs me the bumper has been run over by a forklift

Late 2011 – Agree with insurance to source another 2nd hand bumper, take to new re-chromer

Early 2012 – Saga over!

3 years of fun! I’m so glad it’s over, no more “where’s your bumper?” questions for me!

*Neptune art (without bumper) sourced from miguelcoimbra.com.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Long time no update!

Well, where do I start? This is going to be easily the biggest update I’ve ever posted about the car, as I’ve just completed 8 months of on/off work under the bonnet in my spare time. During those 8 months I also sadly lost two of my beloved grandparents, went a holiday to Europe, and have attended 4 weddings, so things may have taken a little bit longer than usual.

To get straight to the point, the car never had an intercooler, and it was always my intention to fit one, so that’s what I did. Unfortunately it’s not such a simple task with the Datsun, unlike when I had my S15 and bought a $400 kit that had everything I needed (and I fitted it in a day). To fit the FMIC I would need the following:

- Intercooler + custom piping
- Smaller radiator
- Electric water pump
- Modified crank pulley
- Modified intake manifold

That’s the main items, with countless smaller items that were needed along the way. Some things didn’t go so smoothly, but I’ll explain as we go, so let’s just get into it.


First things first, let’s pull apart a perfectly running and very reliable car. All lights, grilles and bumper were removed.


Since the radiator was coming out, the old hoses were removed and all fluid drained.


Next the (huge) radiator was removed, giving a full view of the engine from the front end. I needed a smaller radiator as my current one took up all the width between the chassis rails, so I had nowhere to run intercooler piping.


I couldn’t resist an FJ20 glamour shot.


With everything out of the way, I could do a very quick mockup of the intercooler. This is just a generic eBay item that I bought years ago off someone who had some 90 degree bends welded onto the outlets to suit a Datsun 1600. You can see I’ve already started to mark some cuts I need to make on the body of the car near the intercooler outlets.


Moving around to the back of the intercooler (with cardboard to protect the fins) you can see why the water pump needs to be removed. In the space between the ‘cooler and engine I still need to fit a radiator and a thermo fan or two. There is just no room to mount all these items and keep the intercooler behind the grille. The only solution is to remove the belt driven pump and go with an electric one mounted off to the side of the engine.


A few quick bolts later…


…and it’s off.


To stop water spewing out everywhere, I needed to block off the gaping hole in the front of my engine. To keep costs down I decided to make my own block-off plate. I first made a paper template, traced it onto some 3mm galvanised plate that I found in the garage, and then cut it out with an angle grinder. After bolting this up to the car I started to have second thoughts about my material choice once I learnt that people were selling block-off plates much thicker than mine.


With that weighing on my conscious I found some 5mm alloy and re-made the block-off plate. Re-making things will be a common theme in this update. I’m not a mechanic, my day job sees me sitting in front of a computer all day, so I’m not afraid to admit I learn as I go and make plenty of mistakes along the way.


Block-off plate v2.0 bolted and sealed onto the motor. In hindsight I should have used button-head bolts to gain even more room.


My next job was to remove the intake manifold. The reason the intake manifold needs to be modified is because from the factory, the manifold is cast with the throttle body flange pointing towards the middle of the car (see above). When adding an intercooler, to make routing the piping possible the manifold needs to be cut just behind the T/B flange and then re-welded at a new angle so it either comes out straight or points towards the outside of the car.


Since I was going to the trouble to remove and modify the manifold, I decided to source a smaller one from an S12 Gazelle, compared to my larger DR30 Skyline one. The reason for this was mainly aesthetics and also ease of fitting/removal, as the DR30 one was very large in the small Datsun engine bay.


After taking plenty of photos for future reference, removing a lot of stubborn hoses and hard-to-reach bolts, and barely having enough room between the engine and strut tower, I finally removed the manifold. One thing that jumped out immediately was that large looped hose you can see under the thermostat towards the lower center of the image.


A bit of research told me that this was originally meant to be a coolant circuit that ran to a part under the throttle body, to stop it icing up and jamming in colder climate (obviously not Australia!). The previous owner had simply looped it with a long piece of hose, so I sourced some rubber bungs to block them off much more neatly.


There were a few times where I realised just how big of a job I was undertaking (for me, anyway) and this was one of them.



The ‘big ticket’ item of this whole job was definitely my Datsport aluminium radiator. I had originally planned to use an N13 Pulsar radiator (and even purchased one) but even though they are a popular solution for FJ datto’s they are also known to be diffucult when it comes to routing intercooler piping around them. After some careful thinking and piggy-bank smashing, I bit the bullet and ordered a Datsport item, “do it once do it propery “, right?. You can see they are worth the money, with special features like the in-built overflow tank, SPAL thermo fan, and an aluminium mounting plate which locates not only the radiator but also the intercooler.


The mounting plate dropped into it’s rough position. The smaller rubber o-rings locate a pair of dowels underneath the radiator, while the larger ones locate the threaded inserts found on most generic intercoolers.




I couldn’t even test fit the radiator, as the thermo fan would be sitting against the crank pulley. My engine only has one belt which goes from the crank pulley, to the (now removed) waterpump, and then to the alternator. The crank pulley has 3 grooves, but I was only using the middle one for my single belt (see http://www.build-threads.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/DSC_0517.jpg'>this image again for reference), so the front groove was doing nothing and could be sacrificed. I failed to remove the single nut which holds the crank pulley using my air-compressed impact gun, so I asked around and was told about the ‘starter trick’. This involved attaching a socket and breaker bar onto the nut, with the breaker bar handle sitting a few inches above the chassis rail, and then shitting myself while I cranked the engine over with the fuel relay disconnected. This makes the crank rotate and forces the breaker bar to hit the chassis rail where it cannot go any further, bottoming it out and transferring the force onto the nut which then easily un-does itself.


I was surprised at how well it worked. I placed a stack of cardboard on the chassis rail so the breaker bar wouldn’t damage it when it made contact.


With the pulley removed I was able to cut off the un-needed groove with a hacksaw, as there was a gap between itself and the next groove, so it was easy. After mockup stage I had planned to take the pulley to be professionally re-balanced, but my plans changed. The two remaining grooves are a single piece joined together, and adhered to the center key with a rubber isolator.

I don’t have a picture of how the radiator sat with the grove cut off the pulley, but I can tell you it still interfered.


My next call to action was to shave off some of the material on the plastic shroud around the thermo fan, but even this didn’t give me the clearance I needed. I think this is due to my engine mounts and how they position the motor in the bay, from what I can tell my engine sits a bit further forward than other FJ 1600′s, as some other people run this radiator and don’t have the clearance issues I have. After yet more research I decided my only choice was to mount the alternator 20mm rearwards so the belt would use the groove on the crank pulley which is closest to the engine, and then have the other groove machined off.


After removing the alternator I inspected the standard mount and started researching how to make a new one. In the end I decided to make it out of 3 pieces of flat plate.


First, I made a very crude jig, and I use the term “jig” loosely!


Next, I made a very quick mock-up mount out of thin aluminium, with the forward mounting tab located 20mm further back than the original.


Bolted to the engine…


…and then the alternator bolted up to quickly check I was on the right track. So far so good.


To make extra-sure that I wasn’t wasting my time, I made a second mockup out of MDF to ensure that the design would work with a thicker material, and it did, so next it was onto the final metal version.


Since the bolt holes had to be fairly close to the mounting tabs, I bought a couple of allen-head bolts to save some room.


While all this was happening, I sent my crank pulley away to be machined down to one single groove and then re-balanced. You can see the metal that was removed during the balancing process.

When it came time to make the metal alternator mount, I decided I’d had enough of relying on other people to weld things for me and did something I’ve wanted to do for a long time…


I bought myself a mig welder, gloves, a helmet, picked up some scrap metal and signed myself up for a gas account. What followed was lots of Youtube tutorials and lots of practice. After I started getting confident I decided I was ready to attack the alternator mount.





Thanks to Tony from http://www.themotorreport.com.au/'>The Motor Report for kindly lending me his tap and die set for a very long time. It came in handy on a few occasions.


The final mount. I added in a tube between the tabs for extra strength (not yet welded in the above photo). Naturally all of my practice welds were way better than when I tried to replicate them on the final piece, so annoying!


Another item I had to make for the alternator was the upper adjusting bracket. Again, I started with some 5mm scrap metal, spaced it off the engine until it was in the right position. (v1 waterpump blockoff plate pictured)


After working out the arc of the alternator, I started drilling holes…


…and then started joining them up with a die-grinder I loaned from my mate Gaz (thanks mate!)


Another test fit.


I had to clearance the top of the plate for the water pipe to fit above it.


With both mounts fitted up I was very pleased to see that everything lined up well and the alternator was able to be adjusted easily. The true test would be when the engine fired up for the first time.


Up until this point I was using various pieces of tubing and washers to space the upper bracket, so once the design was finalised I cut down one piece of pipe to the correct length.


I also added a triangular gusset for some extra strength to try to reduce any flexing, since it’s essentially a flat plate.


Welded, painted, and fitted for the final time.


Mounting bracket painted and fitted. You can also see the amount of clearance I gained between the crank pulley and the radiator/thermo fan.

With the alternator relocation out of the way I was now back to where I started; fitting the intercooler, radiator, and modifying the intake manifold! It was a huge setback for me and it took a lot of time to complete, sometimes feeling like I was going nowhere, but once it was out of the way I concentrated on moving forward and the real progress started to happen.

To be continued…

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure what's going on with the images? I did them all the same with %7Boption%7D tags but half of them are coming up as text links.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice job there!

There is a limit on the number of images in one post, you need to split it up into multiple posts

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

Dish service areas