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All posts for the month April, 2008

Phil Morton’s Datsun 1200 (Sunny) coupe is pretty unique in British rallying. Not many people would have chosen such a rare car with which to attack the forest stages for fear of unobtainable parts, but having previously campaigned a Datsun Sunny (B310) there was a good deal of logic in the choice for Phil. Running the B310 had left him with a nice hoard of performance goodies for the Datsun A series engine. Also, the suspension set-up of the B310 which was pretty much tried and tested could be re-worked into the B110 fairly easily. The big advantage of the B110 of course was it’s minimal kerb weight which ensures a very healthy power to weight ratio even with a relatively small displacement engine. The other, not so obvious bonus of running such an unusual car is the extra publicity it generates. People always love a giant killer and running a small stylish little coupe like this is sure to grab peoples attention, which in turn means the potential for more sponsorship…

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Techno Toy Tuning(T3) has been machining up specialised parts for Toyota enthusiasts for some time but their line-up also offers a bunch of very nice parts for Datsun enthusiasts. T3’s offerings consist primarily of suspension components, all of which are custom fabricated for performance applications. Parts are available for 240Z, 510/610 as well as S13 and S14 models. The selection for 510 and 610 models includes coil-over conversions for both front and rear suspension, camber plates and roll center adjusters. Their fully adjustable tension/compression rods look particularly nicely made and look to be even more beefy than the stock items. Prices are very reasonable too, especially with the dollar still being relatively weak against the pound. T3 camber plates, come in at only $180 a pair and having bought a set previously, I can vouch for their excellent quality. Adjustable T/C rods are just $200 and their own strut brace is a bargain at $119. But that’s not all that T3 have to offer. Anyone in the market for a nice set of old school wheels might also want to take a look at what they have to offer…

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Anyone converting a car from a carburettor to fuel injection (EFI) might well find the need for a surge tank to prevent fuel starvation when running at a low fuel level or under hard cornering. Stock fuel tanks in older cars don’t have any kind of in built design to prevent this situation other than simple baffles, but how does it occur and what’s so different with fuel injection? The fuel pump in a car equipped with a carburettor pumps the fuel at quite low pressure and at a relatively slow speed from the tank to the carb. Should the fuel ever slosh away from the pickup pipe inside the tank uncovering it and allowing air to be drawn in by the pump, the engine will happily continue running regardless as a carburettor has it’s own in built reservoir of fuel in the float chamber. By contrast, an EFI pump runs at very high pressure and the fuel is circulated to the fuel rail and back very rapidly, so should the pickup become uncovered momentarily the pump could literally draw in so much air that it would purge all of the fuel from the entire system in a moment. Suddenly the injectors would be getting no fuel and the engine could even cut out. This is particularly risky with a turbo engine. A sudden lean mixture condition at speed could result in serious engine damage. So having established that a fuel surge tank is a good idea, how does the system work and how do we go about making and installing one? Read on….

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Last month I looked at the range of plastic kits available depicting Nissan Silvia and Gazelle series, this time it’s the turn of the Sunny range. Kits of the Nissan/Datsun Sunny series only really cover the first four incarnations, the B10, B110, B210 and B310, although the latter is quite poorly represented. The kits available are all models of the coupe variants, as seem to be the way with the majority of Japanese model kits. Also, most have some kind of motorisation, either by battery and electric motor of by simple clockwork mechanisms. I have had only around half a dozen different Sunny models so unfortunately I can’t comment of the accuracy or quality on a lot of them, but I have compiled a run down listing most of the kits released. Most are now obsolete and some will be very rare and expensive but all of them I have seen for sale in the last few years.

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It’s taken me a while but I have now finally managed to repair the RSS feed. Apologies for any inconvenience to readers but IT isn’t exactly one of my strong points. I’d rather be changing a head gasket or welding a floorpan than messing with scripts and code any day! Hopefully now that it’s fixed and the security is enhanced it won’t occur again.

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The second quarterly issue of Total Nissan magazine flopped through my letterbox a few days ago and although I still haven’t read it all yet, it’s certainly looking good. This issue, yours truly managed a little input by assisting senior contributor, Rob Marshall with a piece on the Nissan Cherry Europe and Alfa Romeo Arna, which takes a fresh look at the car to question whether it really deserved all that bad press. The two Nissan Cherry’s pictured in the article are our very own Cherry GL and Europe GTi! This issue also takes a look at importing your own car from Japan, as well as a modern Japanese classic, the Nissan Figaro. Total Nissan is currently subscription only so if you fancy a one year subscription it’ll cost you £16 (£28 for overseas) and you can sign up online at www.totalnissan.co.uk

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When I got my Sunny Truck, it’s stock ride height was seriously sky high… much higher that any B110 saloon or coupe I have seen. Having been built in South Africa and intended for use on some of the countries rough terrain and unmade roads, this came as no surprise but for my purposes it was no good. I want it low! So far, the only thing I had done is to get the rear leaf springs de-cambered (flattened). This dropped the rear by around 50mm but didn’t really make it low so I plan to drop it further using some 50mm lowering blocks. Up front the stock suspension is like regular B110’s only sporting drum brakes in place of the more common discs. I needed a brake upgrade but nothing wild so I figured I’d just swap in B310 Sunny front struts which have larger discs than B110 saloons and coupes. To get it as low as I wanted but whilst retaining some ride quality, I decided to build some extra short struts. I chopped about 65mm out of the legs and converted them to adjustable coil-overs. I’m using some 185lb/in springs initially as I just happened to have a set already. These may be suitable but if not, at least they’ll give me some idea what poundage to go for. After having these parts sat around for the last 18 months, I’ve finally got them installed….

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As I previously mentioned, one of the 7×14 River Side Riverge wheels I acquired recently for my Violet SSS is in pretty nasty condition. In fact it kind of looks like it’s spent some time in the sea, it’s so corroded. Close inspection revealed that while there was a lot of surface corrosion, there didn’t appear to be any deep pitting so I set about trying to clean up this nasty wheel. If all else fails I figure I could just get it wet blasted, but doing so would mean I’d have some serious work to do to polish the rim and face of the wheel back to a smooth surface, so the only alternative is to do it chemically.

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There’s no doubt that the ancient customary meeting of gear-heads with rusty old parts to sell know as the Autojumble has died somewhat since the arrival of the Internet and in particular, the creation of eBay. The major events such as Beaulieu International Autojumble are still going strong but the smaller, regional events simply aren’t what they once were. My nearest regular event is at Newark County Showground and these days it’s probably more worthwhile attending merely to see the selection of old cars that turn up, rather than for any serious car part hunting. Last Sunday saw a reasonable turnout despite the rathey chilly weather. Pickings in the Autojumble itself were slim but I did score a new right hand front wing for my Blue N12 Cherry as well as a pair of brand new Wipac halogen headlights for my Sunny truck. There were a few nice cars to see in the car parking area so I snapped a fairly random selection. Of particular note was the ultra rare Fiat 133; a Spanish built Seat which was sold with Fiat badging in the UK. The curious Morris Marina with a DIY hatchback conversion is also an oddity.

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Although I have yet to start doing any work on my KP710 160J SSS, the parts keep on coming. Newest arrival, and something I’ve wanted for some time, is a pair of Japanese market rear quarter emblems. In Europe these cars always wore “Datsun 160J” emblems on the rear quarters but I always think of them by their Japanese market name of “Violet” so scoring a pair of these emblems is a real bonus.

Another welcome delivery today was another pair of River Side Riverge wheels. I already have a set of four of these in 6.5×14 but these two are 7×14 so will fill the arches out a little better on the rear. I am surprised at just how much dish they look to have for 7″ rims. Of course they both need refurbishing. In fact one looks pretty awful but doesn’t appear to have and serious corrosion. As soon as the weather improves a little I shall get on with swapping the suspension over to lower it and begin rebuilding the brakes. I can’t wait to see it low with these rims fitted!

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