What a busy time of the year, or is it just me, maybe, but the last few months was crazy, fixing the fueling issues, trying to get the car ready for its first official public debut at the 2013 Wings and Wheels Air show and fixing my biggest fail on the car to date, not that it was any easier last year, last year I was trying to get the car ready for roadworthy. Let me share with you the last few months, as you would remember the car returned from Port Elizabeth with a fueling problem that was diagnosed with the help of decent management.
While I knew exactly what the cause for the fuel starvation was, I had to figure out how far the small pieces of rubber traveled, I basically took the whole fuel system a part washing and flushing everything out, luckily for me I did not find any pieces of rubber on the outlet side of the first filter. I even went so far as to cut the whole filter open to make sure this thing did its job.
After a quick visit to the local metal shop I walked out with two disc and a piece of round bar as pipe is only sold in this country in 6m lengths, which meant I was going to make a pipe out of a solid bar of aluminium, coming to think of it, quite retarded, but this is Africa and we should make do with what is available. The plan with these were to turn two flanges that will seal on top of each other with a nitrile O-ring between them, seeing that nitrile O-rings is not unobtanium, this should be a good solution. Once all the work was done on the lathe, I drilled the holes to be tapped with M6 thread and this is where I made my first mistake as I would discover later on, which also led to a total redesign of the fuel tank. Everything was welded by my trusted aluminium welder called Gerrie, this man is probably going on holiday with all the money I have so kindly donated to his power bill over the last 2 years. Once everything was assembled I could at last enjoy the car, well until I filled the tank for the first time to capacity and noticed that the fuel is still leaking past the bolts this time, you remember what I said earlier, well this is it, I opted to drill the holes thru the bottom flange for tapping, because the flange was just welded on the outside fuel was able to seep thru the holes as they were on the outside of the O-ring, well just another fail moment that I learned from. All in all this only meant I have some more thinking to do, not fill the tank and finally enjoy the car, I would just like to say, thanks Ian from RAW for all the patience and the mapping of the car, what a joy it is to switch on the ignition, check that the neutral light is on, turn the key and it fires to life, idle control making sure idling is spot on without human intervention. Now to get rid of the crappy induction sound when the VVL is activated, it sounds bad, maybe it sounds better on the outside, but in the car I’ll rather listen to the navigator telling me how he is going to get rid of the oil leaks on his Ford.
Seeing that second hand 15″ Dunlop Rally rubber is available and also more or less the only second hand parts filtering down from the National competitors, it is the obvious choice to use these if you want to keep running cost to the minimum. I opted to use genuine Volkswagen Microbus rims as there offset is good and they somehow looks the part as an old school rally rim. Yes and yes I hear all the critics going but they are 5 hole xyz PCD and it will cost a lot of money getting them converted to 4 / 100pcd, you could rather buy a set of rims of rims at the local “mag” dealer and it would be cheaper. First off all, in total I need about 16 of these rims so the proper Speedline/Compomotive rims are a big no no, secondly I’ll rather use steel rims than buy these fong kong wannebe reps for xyz just to say I have rims. These rims are very well made and there construction is strong enough that I believe they will survive rally at my level. First they were send to Worcester to be sandblasted and then off to the “Aluminium Welder”, again I could have spent halve the amount of money I so kindly donated to his holiday budget at a other place, but what is the use spending the time, money and effort searching for a strong rim and then throwing all away trying to save a few bucks, only the best welding on the old holes would be good enough. Seeing that we have bought all the necessary equipment to drill the holes, I decided that will be the way to go, even if I needed to make some decent extensions to allow the rim to fit the rotary table. Afterwards they were send to the “Wheel guy” for some TLC and a coat of white paint.
You may be wondering what I’m about to do to the seats as they are already mounted etc., well the mounting part is the issue, get ready for this as all my friends are still laughing there arses off about this, but heck, how else will you learn. What did the oke with the clever words say; “It’s not about how hard you fall, but how fast you can stand up.”, well that is exactly what I did. Let me tell you what I like to call the biggest fail on this whole project so far. A while ago I was sitting in the car and my brother is like, “have you sat in the seat with a helmet on, seeing that there is not a lot of space between your head and the roof/roll cage”. This prompted me the other day to get the helmet out of the cupboard, and get in the seat, well I was actually very upset once I learned this is a death trap and I started to make plans to get the seats mounted lower.
First off all I had to remove everything in the car that could be damaged by the sparks that was about to fly from the grinder. Once everything was marked off the sparks flew, once the dust settled and everything cleaned, I measured the sizes of the holes and had some buckets cut & bend to make the hole job easier. A few months ago I imported a set of glecko and finally this was the opportunity to really use them and see if they are worth all the fuzz being made about them in the rest of the world, and yes they are worth every cent spend on them. Some strips of sheet metal was cut and drilled to form the basis to fasten the buckets to the gearbox tunnel. First they were tack welded in place, then fully welded on the bench, removed all the excess material, prepped, painted and finally installed, the one even needed a relieve for the exhaust as I wanted the most amount of space to get the seats lowered.
Finally I made some quick high adjustable feet in order to measure each brackets height exactly as the cars floor is not the same height. After taking refitting each seat probably 15 times all the brackets was done, with only one of the 4 brackets per seat being mounted permanently, you will also notice 5 holes 12mm apart, they were just added for possibilities, currently I have the navigator seat installed at the lowest possible setting and the driver seat at the second hole from the bottom as the extra 12mm does help with visibility all this sitting very low in a car is very new to me. All in all the seats ended being 80-100mm lower than previously, this means about 30-40mm clearance with a helmet and roll bar padding sitting very upright, a lot of work further, but I’m happy. FAIL eliminated.
Obviously by lowering the driver’s seat by almost 100mm will have a few knock on effects in regards to the steering wheel location and then the steering column switches and then the digital dash and then the cover for the dash. How does the saying go: Life is a journey, well lowering seats is also a journey. I’m not going into huge detail on his, but I basically turned up some aluminium spacers, milled them to the correct angle in order for the steering wheel to sit low enough but also at the correct angle.
Once this was done, it was time to move the bracket holding the screen and switches in place lower, this was done by adding an intermediary mounting plate between the dash and bracket, cut away some metal, made new screen mounts and went to work making a template for the cover over the screen, it was then traced down on a piece of paper and proceeded in making a CAD drawing of it. The cover was plasma cut out of 1.5mm aluminium and sprayed matt black to blend in with the rest of the dash.
Just after I picked the car up after mapping my father and brother took a few pictures of the car from behind as this was the first time that one of us was looking the car from behind while on the road and the white flares stuck out like a sore point. Since the last update Car, Boat & Truck Mechanical & Bodyworks came on board as a bodywork sponsor, they will keep their eye on all bodywork to keep Datto looking neat.
The flares was removed cleaned and dropped at the owner Chris Gillomee, Chris quickly knew exactly what I had in mind and jumped at the opportunity to mix up a special batch of Matt Black, a few days later the paint was cured and on first site I was very happy, the relationship between matt and a slight sheen was perfect, thanks Chris and the whole team from Car, Boat & Truck Mechanical & Bodyworks out in Triangle Farm that made this possible. Please give Chris Gillomee a call if you need any bodywork or mechanical work done on 021 945 4105. While you’re at the shop ask Chris to show you his pet project Tiger 1.
I must admit, I’m very happy I took the plunged and changed the colour on these, the matt looks at home.
Wings and Wheels 2013
Well well, what can I say, while all the above was going on I was invited to display the car at this year’s Wings and Wheels air show, for me this was quite an invitation as someone out there is recognizing the time and effort that is going into this little car, needless to say I even went so far to re install the old seat mountings just to attend a pre shoe photo shoot, about 4 hours of work just to get the car roadworthy, cleaned and able to drive there. The car even performed better than the Golf’s, as you can see in the photos, the one group tried jump starting the one no less than 3 times, the other group tried keeping the oil between the sump and Spiderman’s feet. All in all a very fun day.
Seeing that this would have been the cars first public appearance in front of thousands of people I worked my arse off to get everything as I wanted it, this meant after work each day at least 4 hours, every Saturday and Sunday, it felt like work, the fun was removed, just job after job and no joy.
……………………………………and then the xxxx hit the fan, the event was cancelled, at first I wanted to shoot some wise ass politicians plane out of the sky, as the word on the street was that the show was cancelled due to political reasons, well to this day it is still not officially known why the event was cancelled. My heart goes out to all that helped organize the event to the point (a week or two before the event) where it was cancelled, what a slap in the face. Thanks for the invite Patrick Vermaak, next time.
More Pictures – November 2013 – Wings and Wheels 2013
Return to Datsun 1200