Sewing Things.

It’s getting late so I won’t write much right now. Longs story short, I’ve been sewing up vinyl interior bits for the Z. Pics below.

Material, Vinyl from Vyfab in Moorabbin (Great place for buying vinyl), Foam from Clark Rubber (Should have bought from Vyfab):


The Beast- a Pfaff 1245:


Doglegs- These were a straight cut-and-glue job. Turned out pretty well. I started off using ordinary contact adhesive (that syrupy goop) on the vinyl and spray-on contact adhesive on the foam. You can’t brush on the goopy stuff with foam because it eats it away. Anyway, I found out after I’d already done pretty much all of this that the trick is to thin down the contact adhesive 50% (maybe a tad more) with el cheapo paint thinners and using a spray gun. I did this on the door skins and it works great. Uses up a fair bit of thinners but you really save on the glue.


Windscreen Surrounds and headlining:


Gear Shifter Boot:


Polyprop interior panels. Notice how everything that needs to be on a flat, clean surface in order to take a photo ends up on top of a car?


Old Sunvisors. They’re a single piece of masonite with foam on each side and a wire frame surrounding it. The foam was pretty degraded.


New Sunvisors. They’re two pieces of 3mm MDF sandwiched around the wire frame.



Cut pieces of vinyl. You can tell I did this after the clock article because I still have writing on my knee.


I cut some extra bits of red to practise a bit with layering and back-seaming. I wanted to get this down before I attempted the doors.



The bits of red vinyl have a purpose…



I didn’t get the shape of the door cards right the first time, so I cut them, up,planed to shape and put some leftover fibreglass on top.


I was particularly fastidious with the marking out this time.



Here’s what I did with the door skins: I copied the pattern that was pressed into the stock door panel and recreated it with a red vinyl inlay. I figured that the stripey bit was made to replicate blind seam pleats, so I replicated the replicate blind seam pleats with… blind seam pleats.





This takes forever! I really enjoyed sewing for about half an hour now I hate it.


You can see how things didn’t quite add up in the end due to the pleated section shrinking more than expected from the blind seams.



In this photo, I’ve sewn down the top and bottom seam


And here they are, finished… Now I just have to put them on the door cards. I haven’t actually done this yet, and will update this post when I’m done.P1015425-1600



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Peogeot 206 GTI seats in a 240z

The original seats for my 240z were well and truly beyond repair so I gave the skeletons away and bought a set of seats from a Peugeot 206 GTI. My entire selection criteria was basically “are they suede” which I later came to regret since they were a real pain to fit in. Nonetheless, I made it work. Here’s how.

A photo of the seats as I bought them. They’re sitting quite high as the height adjustment spaces them up quite a bit.



First I took off the back panel. I needed to cut a chunk out of one side in order to make room for the wheel arch. If I didn’t do this, I would not be able to recline the seat at all. I also removed the side curtain air bag and seat belt mount.



Here’s the base of the seat with the cushion and fabric removed. You can see how the height adjustment is done. It’s a parallel four bar linkage driven by a sector gear on the side with the handle. The sector gear is driven by a groovy little gearbox thing that rotates a little bit each time you push or pull the handle. It’s awesome but I threw it all away to get the seat as low as possible. I basically cut all this off and welded new mounts to put the rails hard up against the seat frame.







This is the air bag. I still have this and am trying to think of something to blow up with it.P1015269-1600

This bit was on the underside of the seat rail. I drilled them off.P1015300-1600






I milled the front hole into a slot. It only needed about 15mm of slotting to fit the Datsun floor mount. I then bent the adjustment bar to move the rails closer together. There was a bunch of other parts in there to slide the seats forward from the rear- so a back seat passenger could get out. This car is a 2 seater, though, so I got rid of it all.


Not pictured below: A day and a half of putting the seat in place, umming, ahh-ing welding in situ and cutting away the bits that interfered. Also, the inertia reels could no longer be located behind the seats- I moved them back to the rear strut tower. Like I said, these were not easy to fit at all. I wouldn’t do it again but I am pretty happy with how they turned out.





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Quartz clock movement into a 240z clock.

The old electro-mechanical clocks in early Datsuns often fail. Funnily enough, it’s typically not actually the mechanical bits that fail but more often than not, the little electric motor that winds the mechanism. I couldn’t fix mine, so I decided to put a quartz movement in the old clock body. It’s a real shame that I’m going to lose that calming ticking sound but at least it’ll work.

Here’s a photo of the mechanism. The electric winder in the background (off-white) has failed. It’s basically 3 coils of extremely thin copper wire with a tiny commutator. One of the wires to the coils had broken and I can’t re solder it because it’s so small (almost too small to see with the naked eye).



So I bought the clock pictured below. It’s an Equus 52mm 12v quartz clock. It’s adjusted with a knob in the centre just like a Datsun clock.



Here’s a couple of crappy camera photos of the clock after I pulled it apart. The clock hands are a light press fit onto the clock spindles (dunno what you call them). The whole thing is mounted on a circuit board that is held to the back of the clock casing with those little brass stud thingies that computer mother boards are typically mounted on. It’s a pretty similar arrangement to the Datsun clock, really.


Here’s the handles. The Datsun ones are black and white. The Equus ones have the red tips. The Datsun hands are meant for a much larger spindle so I decided that the easiest way to mount them was to file down the Equus hands until they were just a tiny little round bit with a hole in the middle and just glue the Datsun hands on top.IMAG0118-1600



Then, I drilled a couple of new holes in the Datsun clock body to suit the mounting points of the Equus PCB and turned down a pair of littlebrassstudthingieslikefrommotherboards so that the clock face was at the right height. You need to be careful with the height because if it’s too high, the adjustment knob will interfere with the clock hands as they try to rotate. If it’s too low, the adjustment knob won’t reach the hands when depressed. Incidentally, the adjustment knob fits perfectly.


Then I put it back together. Everything fit well and you’d never know I changed it. This turned out to be a super-easy modification.


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240z Wipers that work *AND* Park

There’s lots of information about getting a newer wiper motor to work on a 240z but next to nothing regarding how to make them park as they should, so here’s my take.

I had a bunch of wiper motors from r30 skylines kicking around, so I used one of them. Physically, they’re quite similar, though there are some minor differences:

-Mounting bolts are on a smaller PCD (Filed out the holes of the stock mount)
-Mounting bosses are about 15mm shorter (Turned up some spacers)
-Circuit breaker interferes with the sheet metal slightly (bent it out of the way)

Other than this, it’s a simple fit. Electronically, though, there’s a little bit more work involved. Below is a page of the r30 electrical section showing the wiring of the wipers:


The 240z manual’s wiper section was unintelligible to me, but here’s the combination switch wiring:


…Which as far as I can tell is actually incorrect. I checked out how my combo switch behaves with a multimeter and the LY is earthed in the “1” position, not the “2” position. And on my car, LW was low speed and L was high speed. According to the manual, it’s the other way around. Before you start messing around, you should check these things because there seems to be a lot of variation between model years and locations.

So anyway, I messed around for a while trying to get this to add up and couldn’t. In order for the park circuit to work with the r30 system, the park wire (BR) needs to be connected to the low speed wire (L according to the manual but on my car, LW) in the off position. The 240z’s stock wiring, however, earths the park wire in the LOW position. This is starting to get confusing, so lookit the picture below:


I couldn’t find a way to make the switch connect the “Low” and “Park” wires in the “off” position, but I could make it earth the park wire- which I can use to fire a relay. I did this by moving the LY wire to a different solder point on the combo switch as per the photo below:


With that done, I connected the system as per the wiring diagram below. It works perfectly. AND PARKS.


You can see the relay at the bottom left. Now in the “OFF” Position, the LY wire is earthed. This fires a relay which connects the “Low” wire to the BR wire on the wiper relay.

Anyway, that worked for me, hope it’s helpful to other people out there.

Got a correction or request for clarification? Leave a comment.

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240z Aluminium Glovebox

For people not familiar with 240z gloveboxes, the stock units are made from cardboard.




No thanks. I reverse engineered mine and had it laser cut from 1mm aluminium. I was intending for the bend lines to be laser engraved, too but apparently they don’t do that for such thin gauge aluminium. So I marked them up and folded them up using my 80 dollar brake press, Results below.








I’m having some thoughts of making a few of these and selling them. I can get them laser cut _and_ CNC bent at a very reasonable price, assuming I can get a decent amount of volume.

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Random stuff.

Some random photos of what I’ve been doing.

Made this dragon dude out of skyline transmission bits, a v4 air compressor and some Studebaker floor panels and brake lines.

P1014891-1600 P1014882-1600 P1014888-1600P1014897-1600

Turfed the old 2hp, 2 speed motor from my Deckel and put in a shiny new(er) 5hp with a VFD. It was an easy replacement, all I had to do was drill new holes in the motor mount plate and re-scotch key the pulley.

P1014906-1600P1014905-1600P1014908-1600P1014910-1600 P1014909-1600

This is my manifold. There are many others like it but this one is mine. It’s a skyline GTR manifold mounted to a triple webber carb manifold. I started this many years ago, before uni, before TAFE, before I could weld ally and so on. Because of the big changes in what I was capable of, I took a pretty convoluted path, but hey, it’s done now.

P1014875-1600  P1014874-1600 P1014876-1600 P1014877-1600 P1014912-1600  P1014879-1600

Finally got around to painting that grille. Also have a shiny new radiator and some thermo fans off a… um… I don’t remember what, actually.

P1014915-1600P1014917-1600P1014916-1600 P1014914-1600

This is a preview of what my next post will be about.P1015190-1600 P1015193-1600 

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240z Dash Restoration

A continuation of a post so ancient, I might as well just copy it and amend at the bottom…

So I found out how much it would cost to have my dash reskinned.

Basically, what that means is now I have another job to do myself. I never liked outsourcing anyway. Like so many of the other plastic parts in old Datsuns, the dash’s skin is made of plasticised PVC. Over time, especially in sunlight and heat, the plasticising agent evaporates out of the dash, causing it to become brittle, shrink and crack. It’s also the cause of that annoying thin layer of grime on the inside of your windscreen that accumulates over time. Since I’m going to so much effort to get this damn car built properly, I tend to avoid replacing parts that have failed for an obvious reason with parts that I know will fail the same way. There’s an Einstein quote about repeating the same procedure and expecting a different result being retarded (I’m pretty sure he didn’t actually say retarded, but I can’t be bothered looking the quote up). So there’s another reason not to get a vacuum-formed skin put on the dash for me- Over a similar time-frame, it’ll just go brittle and crack again.

So the first thing to do was to remove the old PVC skin. This took most of a day. And most of my fingernails. The lower section peeled away quite nicely, but the top surface was so brittle, that it chipped away like… well, chips. It was also really sharp and stabby, much to the dismay of my hands which had only just recovered from the Angle Grinder Incident. In the end, I found the best way to remove the brittle stuff was a thin-bladed knife (like a fish filleting knife, there’s probably some fancy french word for it) with a slightly bent tip. You can then stab under the skin with the tip bent upwards, which prevents the knife point from diving into the foam substrate.

The dash as it was when I removed it:


One of the cracks surrounded by scorelines I made trying to get the coating off:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Getting there…



How’s it looking? Fuck, still not done.





OK, finally. It’s now stripped and surrounded by more chip than my shoulders at a Liberal Arts area at Monash uni.



Now here’s some photos of where I cut V-notches along the bigger cracks with a stanley knife.



Then I filled them with that expandy-foam that comes in a rattle can that you’re meant to use for filling holes in walls after you get angry watching an episode of 60 minutes on gun control. I’ve used this stuff before, but even so, I still put WAY too much on, meaning I had a looot to cut away after it had set.






I had intention to coat it with vinyl after that, but I played around a bit and decided it would require more stitches than my hands after that episode of 60 minutes. So I bit the bullet and put on a coat of fiberglass. I took some photos of the glassing stuff but I have no idea where it went. A few notes on glass: The two most common resins are polyester and epoxy. Polyester will eat foam, is not as strong but has a nice high working temperature. Epoxy won’t eat away the foam, is normally stronger but will soften at the kind of temperature a dash will get to on a hot day if you park it in the sun. In the end, I sprayed some paint on the foam, sanded and used polyester.



After that, and a lot of sanding, I undercoated, sanded and bogged it until it was nice and smooth again. I used bumper filler as opposed to plain old ordinary bog so it won’t crack as it flexes.


Then I spent weeks trying to find a paint shop that has texture-finish paint. None of them seem to and I went to a whole lot of them. I tried the texture black stuff shown below but it came up as a matt black, no matter how I applied it. I also tried that stuff they put on steps and walkways but that just makes it look like you dropped the dash in gravel before you painted it.


In the end, the best I could find was this under-body deadener. I sprayed the afore-mentioned texture coat on top to seal it.


Those imperfections around the gauges should be covered up when it’s assembled.







I replaced all the dash lights with LED’s, too, while I was at it. Beardmode engage!




Here it is, installed. The extra gauge is O2. More on that later.





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