'68 2000 - orphaned

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Etype63
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'68 2000 - orphaned

Post by Etype63 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:14 pm

Hello all, I am a noob to this forum and am trying to get a whirlwind education on a 1968 2000.

She is recently orphaned and needs to end up in the right hands. Long story short; my best friend's father passed away and when I learned there was a Datsun roadster in his garage, I asked her to let me help find a good home for the car as I am disproportionately passionate about classic foreign sportscars.

I still have more digging to do (it was under several blankets and boxes in the garage) but here is what I discovered so far...

General: VIN: SRL311-03845 Engine: U20-04785 (I gathered this off of the ID plate and have not yet been able to confirm from frame rail and engine block). It has a clean title, we are still trying to locate service records. It is all in one piece, has hard top, softtop, and tonneau cover (all in remarkable condition). It has lived much of its life in the very dry climate of Northern Nevada (Reno).
The ODO reads 69601. It was last registered in 2002. None of the surviving family is certain what condition it was in (drivability-wise) when it was parked.
Body: has some rot behind each of the wheel wells and a crack in the metal near the filler pipe in the trunk. A magnet revealed that there is definitely some filler on the rocker panels. Sadly, the little beast was subjected to Earl Scheib-style paint and body work at some point. Looks like it was originally a metallic light blue but received a thick coat of red. All of the trim looks to be present and intact. Interior gauges, radio, steering wheel look original. I am guessing that this car did not spend a lot of time uncovered out in the sun as the general condition of the dash/upholstery seem fair to good. The frame appears to be void of big dings except the front-passenger side (under the battery) looks like it has rust and/or battery acid damage.
Engine: Carbs, air cleaner, etc look to be the original style (e.g. no modifications). I pulled the plugs and added a bit of Mystery oil so that I can attempt to hand turn the engine next week. The plugs looked neither fouled or baked. Fuel tank smelled shellacked.
Drivetrain: Dunno anything about it other than the differential seems to have been weeping. The wheels were replaced with the "iron cross" pattern wheels off of a 280z (?) (complete with "Z" caps). Can someone tell me where the ID is on its 5-spd transmission?

As I mentioned, I am going back to hand turn the engine and perform more snooping around on it. What else should I look for? Any suggestions, precautions, advice, input is definitely welcome. I have been unable to locate much info on values on '68s (lots of '67 and '69 activity though!). My goal is to be able to intelligently present this orphaned little beastie to a buyer that will appreciate it. Thank you in advance!
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AidanDawn2000
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Re: '68 2000 - orphaned

Post by AidanDawn2000 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:12 am

Welcome!

I own a red '68 2000 but this example looks in far better shape: nice car!
My first recommendation would be to buy the car yourself and have loads of fun :D ....but I guess that may not be in the cards.

The vin is stamped on the frame near front carb-ish (may require some steal wool to find) and engine # is stamped on a flat spot on the passenger side of cylinder 2. I don't think the tranys for roadsters are numbered.

I would bet that the hydraulics and fuel system will need serious attention after sitting so long but the engine looks very complete and might start right up. (be aware that this car still has all its smog equipment and the car will run better and probably be worth more with it removed)

Cracking in the trunk floor due to fuel tank weight is very common, and like the equally common brake MC firewall cracking, there are support braces available.

I think overall the value of '68s is about the same as '69s and '70s altho much less than the "holy grail" '67.5s.
check out the '68 owners manual here http://www.311s.org/PDFs/OM1968DatsunSportsSML.pdf
Oil a little low? Time to get a longer dipstick:)
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1968 2000 SRL311-05110 (first car! Rust Bucket. Sold :( )
1969 2000 SRL311-10440 (matching numbers, Solex!)

Etype63
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Re: '68 2000 - orphaned

Post by Etype63 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:30 pm

Thanks for the link to the Owner's Manual and don't tempt me with adopting this roadster. It is extremely hard to resist but I have other 4-wheeled (and 2-wheeled) "children" that need more attention from me as it is. Sometimes it is very hard to be the "grown-up" about such things. :wink:

As far as firing the engine right up...it is damned tempting. None of the owner's children recall him saying anything about the engine failing in any way when he parked it 14-ish years ago. They do recall he had it tinkered on regularly by a local mechanic and was big on regular maintenance (probably engrained from being an Air Force pilot). So I think I'll take the cautious tack of gently turning the engine by hand and feel/listen for anything troubling before I escalate to reviving the carbs.

I am curious if the hardtop is correct for this car. I have seen a number of them on the Internet and it seems they fall into two styles: one with the round side "quarter" window and another with the angular side "quarter" window.

With all that being said, does anyone in this group have any estimations on what this little beastie, in its current state might be valued at? Sadly, I have already had to listen to the KBB-informed peanut gallery trolls (sigh).

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Roman
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Re: '68 2000 - orphaned

Post by Roman » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:54 pm

Hard to determine it's value right now. too many variables. it might need a bit before it becomes a running car. Minimally, you'd have to go through the hydraulics. Overall it looks pretty good. For a runner, 5k on up??

The hardtop is a pretty standard, period correct, but aftermarket top. Original tops were rounded and a thing of beauty.
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Gregs672000
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Re: '68 2000 - orphaned

Post by Gregs672000 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:44 pm

Nice find. DO NOT RUN THE GAS IN THE GAS TANK unless you really really want more problems! Drain it and look inside for rust and crud. There is a drain plug but if it won't cooperate you may have to pump it out. I would consider removing a fuel line (maybe the closest one to the tank) and blowing the lines out with compressed air (not sure where you should disconnect the fuel line on the other end... feed to carbs? feed to fuel pump? before the filter? Others may suggest here...) but don't run it into the carb float bowls. You may want to remove the rubber fuel line that goes from the float bowls to the carbs to drain them too. Once good fuel is available, change the oil, pour some on the cam, spin it over by the starter with the plugs out to build oil pressure and get things lubed again, then install new plugs and see if you can get her to fire... a running car is worth much more! While you are pouring oil on the cam, look at the front of the engine where the chain comes up and you will see what we call "the evil L" that sits in front of the cam gear and has a bolt hole in the end. Note that a loose timing chain can slap against the bottom of this "L" and put notches in it. If it fractures it will launch out the engine and ruin your day. The chain is tensioned by the tensioner which is actuated by oil pressure, so when the pressure is down on start up the chain can slap. It will probably have some notches in it already, but if it is seriously weak or cracked your starting efforts could lead to the chain slapping hard against it and then...? Not likely to be THIS time it decides to break, but it is best to be sure, and I want you to look it over and be aware. Do not over tighten the big nuts that hold the cam cover on... they are a hand tighten with a 24mm socket as I recall (?) but don't get crazy... snug up and then just a bit tighter, but all you want to do is to seat down the rubber cam cover seal, not tighten it so much that you break the cam cover... snug, nothing more.

These cars tend to rust in certain areas, as you have noted. They like to hold moisture and debris behind the front wheel, as well as the rear wheel areas front and back. Determine how bad the rust is there. I would pull up the carpet and check the floors for rust. Determine how bad the rust is and how much body work she has had. As noted, the braking and clutch system have likely deteriorated, so look it over, consider changing out the fluids and bleeding the system, watching for wheel cylinder leaks etc. Stock master cylinders are stupid expensive, but there are alternatives if you are willing to modify things slightly and are not totally obsessed with being stock. Wheel cylinders are not cheap either and most of the upgrades or options will cost about the same, but you can cross that bridge if you need to, or just make the new owner aware.

After you know more about the condition of these critical systems and the body rust issues we will be able to give you a better idea of what it may be worth. So far it looks like a nice survivor. It still has the smog stuff on it, so it could be improved by removing all that and recurving the distributor to properly time the engine, but the new owner can do that. Clean off the engine and make her pretty, and gather as much info on maintenance and replacement parts as possible.

Let us know what level of mechanical ability/knowledge you have so we can phrase our suggestions to your level of understanding. BTW, it's ok to know nothing! We can help. And of course, after getting her together, running well etc and driving it, you will want it and will become part of our family :-). It's an addiction!
:smt006
Greg Burrows
'67 2000 #588
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pebbles
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Re: '68 2000 - orphaned

Post by pebbles » Fri Feb 24, 2017 8:08 pm

IMHO Could bring 2500-3500 not running. 7-8K running and driving. A $500 professional detail could bring 2k more. However, this is all dependent on how strong the drive train is, and how minimal the rust is.
David




"When we were standing next to the motor while on the dyno, and the motor hit VVL, eyes went watery.."

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Re: '68 2000 - orphaned

Post by Etype63 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:15 pm

You all are amazing! I am so grateful for all of the feedback. I am taking copious notes so that next week I can go back up to Reno (where the car is garaged) and ... as the oath goes ... "First, do no harm!" as I move through the steps of hand turning and (hopefully) escalate to actually firing it up. I anticipate developing another list of questions for all of you.

Carl, I can't thank you enough for spending the phone time describing the "Death Rattle/Evil 'L' " as well as the 5th gear issues.

Greg, I plan to follow your advice to the letter. I am not sure how to rate my skill level. Such things are very subjective. I have had several cars and motorcycles and wrenched on them all to varying degrees. Most of them being' from the 60's and a couple of early 70's. I am very adept at taking things apart (not always so talented at putting them back together as quickly :lol: ). First carb rebuild was a Rochester QuadraJet, latest one (3) have been the SU's on my 63 E-Type Jag and various ones in between. The Jag I restored from the ground up and it has scored high 99s in several Concours. My best skill is that I can read and know well enough to seek advice when I am in over my head. So far the only two things that have shaken my nerve from an automobile standpoint was 1) the first look at the tangled ball of no less than 5 wiring harnesses I had to install in the Jag (positive ground) and 2) looking under the hood of my 2016 Subaru (everything is hidden under a "don't touch anything under here" cowling). I do have to admit that I am very good at detailing (comes from getting the Jag ready for shows).

I will gladly detail the little roadster however I am very concerned that the more I touch it - the more it will rub off on me. :wink:

I will report back to y'all with the happenings of next week. Thanks again!

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Roman
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Re: '68 2000 - orphaned

Post by Roman » Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:21 pm

Etype63 wrote:
I will gladly detail the little roadster however I am very concerned that the more I touch it - the more it will rub off on me. :wink:
Once it is all functional;


Don't sit in it! Don't start it! Don't drive it around the block to test it.
You do any of those things you'll want to keep it.
Geez, next thing you'll be showing up at roadster meets!
:D
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Gregs672000
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Re: '68 2000 - orphaned

Post by Gregs672000 » Sat Feb 25, 2017 2:11 pm

Based on your post, you should have no trouble doing things on the Datsun. We are happy to help with any quirks.

As Roman said, she will get under your skin... but then again you do have a Jag, and that's hard to compete with!
Greg Burrows
'67 2000 #588
Tacoma, WA

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Re: '68 2000 - orphaned

Post by ToddW » Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:06 am

I noticed you posted the car is in Reno! I live in Reno and would like to help you out if needed. I'll PM you my phone #.
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Re: '68 2000 - orphaned_UPDATE

Post by Etype63 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:55 pm

Hello All!
I was able to visit the roadster last Friday, but only barely. Family emergencies and invalid security access codes whittled down my time with the car to only 2 hours. I “unburied” the car again and rolled it back a bit so I could walk all the way around it. I was successful in uncovering the number on the frame rail (SRL311-03845), which matches the number on the ID plate. I also found the engine number (U20-12133), but it did not match the number on the ID plate.
On the first visit, I had removed the plugs and poured a dollop (obviously a very precise amount) of Marvel Mystery Oil down into each cylinder then returned the plugs and wires to their original locations. On this latest visit I removed the plugs again to have a closer look at them. Nothing remarkable about any of them. All four gave no indication of being fouled or fried. I took the valve cover off and everything still had a light coat of oil on it. I know I am weird, but the smell that comes up from under the valve cover is intoxicating (too bad the attached photo isn't a "scratch 'n' sniff"). As if glazing a king salmon fillet, I did several, tight drizzles of Mystery Oil (love the smell of that stuff too) up and down the camshaft, bearing caps, every rocker and spring. The timing chain got a healthy dose as well. But hey, if a little is good – too much is just right. (I hope).
While all that Mystery Oil was bubbling down, I removed the air cleaner assembly and fussed over the carbs. On my last visit I had filled the chambers with 3in1 oil. With only a slight push of my finger I was able to get the pistons to slide up and down. Added more oil and exercised the pistons a bit more. They seem to behave properly. I opened up the float bowls and, as you can imagine after sitting for 15 years (in 7-10% humidity), they were totally dry with only a light layer of powdery sediment. I let the gaskets soak in 3 in 1 while I wiped out the sediment with an emery cloth soaked in Mystery Oil. The floats, levers, and valves articulated freely. I added a wee bit (another precise measure) of fuel to each bowl. After I reassembled the carbs and refitted the valve cover, I disconnected the fuel line just before the carbs and capped it off so to avoid any possible crap from coming up from the fuel tank.
At this point, I was hopeful that the lubrication of the top-end had done its thing and I put the car in 5th gear and rolled it forward one little nudge at a time. Very cool to watch things “come to life”. I was even able to watch the chain tensioner systematically press and release on the timing chain. (BTW…Thank you Carl, for alerting me to the “evil ‘L’”!) At this point is seems that at least the tensioner is still intact and pretty much doing the right thing. At least it is not chaffing or grinding.
I am hopeful that this little “exercising” of its innards let the Marvel oil do more marvelous things as it sits and waits for my next visit. Dunno when that will be as the weather has been uncooperative and scheduling access is challenging. My plan is to drain out all the MMO and old oil, check for any alarming sediment/gunk and put a fresh filter on it. With fire extinguishers on standby, I will attempt to crank it over with the starter just see if anything “evil” happens. If that checks out, I will bottle feed the carbs and see if she’ll fire up for a moment or two.
Questions:
1) Is the engine number not being an exact match a big issue as far as value?
2) Does it seem that I am (for the most part) doing the right things in the right order?
3) I understand that this model was equipped with emission control garbage but am I correct in assuming that it ran on leaded fuel? I have some lovely 100LL avgas that I use to feed my Jag. Would it be OK to use this to fire this little roadster up? Rest assured, it will NOT go in the gas tank at this point.
4) While I was rolling the car, the steering column “clicked” into its “locked” position. I tried in vain to unlock it with the ignition key. I jiggled the wheel while trying to turn the key but no luck. Key won’t turn at all. Steering wheel is now locked in place. Arrgh! Any advice on how I am supposed to hold my tongue or align the planets in order to unlock the damned thing?
Again, my thanks to all of you for your time and energy on this!
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pebbles
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Re: '68 2000 - orphaned

Post by pebbles » Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:29 pm

Pull the spark plugs, crank the engine till the oil pressure gauge moves, prior to firing it.
1) More value for a driver is a strong drive train IMHO. Concourse resto? sure.
4) remove key. turn the key 180 and reinsert.
5) Welcome! lol
David




"When we were standing next to the motor while on the dyno, and the motor hit VVL, eyes went watery.."

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AidanDawn2000
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Re: '68 2000 - orphaned

Post by AidanDawn2000 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:27 pm

Nice progress!
Oil a little low? Time to get a longer dipstick:)
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1969 2000 SRL311-10440 (matching numbers, Solex!)

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Re: '68 2000 - orphaned

Post by Linda » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:29 pm

With the key in , move the steering wheel a little bit, it will be stiff, and see if while doing so you are able to turn the key. Then you can start it.
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Re: '68 2000 - orphaned

Post by Gregs672000 » Tue Mar 07, 2017 2:10 pm

+1 on Linda's post... try moving the steering wheel a bit while turning key.
You can run it on the gas you have for the Jag, but she will be fine with premium unleaded.
I don't think a non matching engine makes much difference... better to have a good engine that's non original vs an original but tired engine in my opinion. I'm pretty sure she'll fire with good fuel without too much drama. Good luck!
Greg Burrows
'67 2000 #588
Tacoma, WA