After all the work of getting the rear wheel arch into shape, it was nice to move onto something a little more straight forward (well… relatively). I figured the lower rear corner should be fairly simple as I had a donor panel for a late 710 saloon (part # 78112-N7430) which I could chop up to supply the necessary repair sections. The saloon is actually a tiny bit different to the hardtop in this area but thankfully not enough to render the panel unusable. As it turned out the lower corner was relatively simple but the second job of the day, repairing the sill end closing panel, certainly wasn’t!
The fourth day of welding and things start to get a bit more tricky here. Up until now I’ve had a decent number of replacement panels to use but I’ve got less to help me tackle the rear arch repairs other that one very useful part… a new outer section of the inner arch assembly (part # 76712-K0130). Having this piece at least helps me to reconstruct the outer arch to the right radius as well as providing the lower rear closing section at the rear of the arch. That part would be pretty hard to fabricate, much like the sill end closing panel (which I’ll tackle on Day 5). Amazingly this inner arch section is the same on both the hardtop and the four door saloon. It would have been nice to have new rear quarters for the hardtop but they seem to be totally unobtainable, however I did have some saloon rear quarters out of which I cut the lower rear corner and some of the arch lip.
Day three and it’s time to tackle the right hand sill which has clearly had some pretty poor repairs in the past. As I had a complete genuine replacement sill for this side (part # 76412-K1330) I elected to do this job the hard way and fit the entire panel in one piece. The original sill panel extends up inside the rear quarter and around the lower ‘A’ post, where it’s integrated with the other panels making up those structures. Where the upper seams are welded, there are a total of three layers. At the rear inside the rear quarter the sill, inner sill and rear inner side panel (where the window lifter is mounted) are all joined as one with the sill panel being the outer one of the three layers. At the front end, the inner A post and inner sill panels sandwich the outer sill between them at the seam making the sill quite hard to remove. Removing and replacing the full sill requires a fair bit of care and patience as you have to pick apart a fair amount of the cars structure around these areas but it is possible with time and some care.
Having completed the replacement of the front panel on day one, day two of my Datsun 160J weldathon saw the replacement of the right hand front inner wing strengthener and fabrication of a new wing top mount. I already had a genuine replacement panel for replacing the strengthener (part # 64156-K0100) but all other repairs to the inner wing would have to be fabricated. I did consider fitting an entire replacement inner wing but it seemed to me to be a waste of a new panel when the existing rust was minimal and could be repaired. Best to save the other new front end body panels I have just in case I’m unfortunate enough to ever have an accident in it!
Most of the Datsuns I have ever owned have had the same basic style of VIN plate screwed to the bulkhead. These generally have black print and measure about 100mm x 70mm. I had noticed before that a few cars inexplicably come with a smaller plate measuring 80mm x 60mm and I was also aware that some cars even had plates that weren’t printed in black and it’s these coloured plates that have sparked my curiosity. I’d never considered that the different coloured plates, although they aren’t common, might have some significance, but it seems that they may have.
First job on the agenda was to replace the accident damaged front cross-member with a complete new front panel assembly (part # 62500-K0150). Replacing this part is usually pretty straight forward on most Datsuns unless they are heavily rusted. Normally you can just drill out all of the spot-welds which attach the panel to the inner wings and chassis legs, prep the surfaces and re-attach the new panel with spot or plug welds. As my 710 is reasonably solid around the engine compartment, the job should have been quite simple, however as I later found out, the accident damage had done more than just buckle the front cross-member.
So, now I’ve decided to get the 160J SSS on the road, it’s time to check out the body and in particular the damage caused by the age old enemy, rust. A cursory look around the car and it’s clear that it needs new front wings, some work on the rear arches and maybe some attention to the sills. I expected to find some more rot hiding in wait once I started digging around and my suspicions were confirmed when upon removal of the front wings i was confronted with a fair bit of rot in the wing mounts and inner wing strengthener section. However, what was lurking out of sight behind the front valance, I hadn’t bargain for…
Okay, so I haven’t posted anything for a month but rest assured, it’s not like I haven’t been doing anything! On the contrary, some projects have moved on a fair bit… one of them being my Datsun 160J SSS. Having secured some nice wheels for it, I couldn’t resist any longer and had to get them onto it. First there was the matter of the stock sky high ride height to deal with. Fortunately I still had an old set of lowering springs which I’d previously used in my 510, a 610 and another 710 so that easily solved the problem. The rear end was dismantled and the new heavy duty lowering springs fitted along with some shocks that were 50mm shorter than stock. The springs dropped the back right down to pretty much exactly where I wanted it but the front as it stands isn’t quite low enough. However, a set of JIC camber plates and some carefully modifying of the upper spring seats should help it down another 20mm and cure the slight positive camber it’s gained now. Currently the rims are wrapped in 175-60×14’s but it would appear I’ve room for more on the rear so I think I’ll be swapping them for some 185-55×14’s on the back. As the rears are 7j and the fronts are 6.5j I’ll stick with the 175’s up front.