Valve Cover Paint & Head Prep

I also spent some time this morning painting the valve cover and inspection plates, and also preparing the engine to receive new gaskets so I can reinstall those parts.

Last night I removed, cleaned, and primed the valve cover and inspection plates.

I used some Al’s Datsun Engine Blue spray paint on the parts.

I applied one thin coat and allowed it to dry before re-coating.

The valve cover and inspection plate gaskets were in bad shape but still sticking to the head. Pictured below, the valve cover gasket is orange and the inspection plate gaskets are black.

I used my gasket scraper to pry off the inspection cover gaskets and then scrape smooth the surface of the head where they were.

With a lot of effort the metal was clean and smooth.

The valve cover gasket was a bit more stubborn. I found it helpful to use a broad joint compound knife to pry it from below.

After working all the way around the perimeter with a variety of tools to get underneath the gasket, I was able to remove it in a single piece.

Then I used the blade of my small gasket scraper to clean up the mounting surface of the gasket.

After the scraping was done and the surface was smooth, I used my Shop Vac to thoroughly clear the entire area of scrapings and remaining pieces of gasket around the inspection covers and the valve cover. The last thing I need is a bit of old gasket getting sucked into the engine internals!

Valve Cover Prep & Prime

This afternoon I spent some time cleaning up the E-1 engine’s valve cover, which was grimy and also needs a fresh coat of paint.

As far as I can tell, the early (1960-1963) 320 valve covers were connected to the head by two larger bolts going through the valve cover itself and had a Datsun 1200 badge riveted to the valve cover. The later valve covers (1964-1965) were attached to the head by six Philips-head machine screws with washers (similar to the later J13 engines found in the 520 and 521s) and had a Datsun 1200 metal badge decal stuck directly to the valve cover.
I pulled the breather hose from the valve cover and started unscrewing the mounting screws using a #3 Philips head screwdriver.

With all six screws removed, I removed the nondescript oil filler cap from the valve cover and pulled the valve cover from the head.

Then I put the valve cover into a basin with some hot water and used Simple Green to give it a good scrubbing and de-greasing.

Next I turned my attention to the inspection covers on the manifold side of the engine. I used a 5/8″ socket to remove the single bolt holding each cover plate to the block.

Then I popped off the inspection cover(s).

Here’s a peak behind those inspection covers.

Here are the inspection cover plates. Note they were the same blue as the engine. The rectangular gaskets came off the plates pretty easily.

I plopped the inspection covers into the bath with the valve cover and gave everything a good scrub. I noticed that the paint under the blue on the valve cover was an orange-ish red. I wonder if that is the original undercoat or primer or if someone had once repainted the valve cover that color before going back to the original blue-green.

After a bit of scrubbing the inspection covers were clean and I allowed them to dry. After this picture was taken I did some more cleaning to get rid of all the grease.

I primed the covers with some Rustoleum white Clean Metal Primer.

I was really torn about what to do with the Datsun 1200 valve cover badge so I can paint the valve cover. It was in rough shape, so I decided to remove it hoping I could reapply it if absolutely necessary.

However, in using a drywall knife to pry it off, I realized it was not a stiff metal badge but rather a thin foil decal. So today I resolved to find a reproduction badge to put back on the freshly-painted valve cover.

It gets dark early this time of year, so by the time I finished priming the valve cover the moon was up.

Note: the six screws that mount the valve cover to the head are 1/4″-20 fine threaded machine screws. I located and bought new screws from Fastenal, which are part #72588 (1/4″-20 x 5/8″ Phillips Drive Pan Head Grade 18-8 Stainless Steel Machine Screw). I also bought some new replacement lock washers to go with the machine screws, Fastenal part #71063 (1/4″ 18-8 Stainless Steel Medium Split Lock Washer). When I got them it was around $.30 for each screw and washer, or $1.80 in total.

Right Inner Fender Cleaning

I spent this afternoon cleaning up and addressing surface rust on the right inner fender. This side has considerably more going on than the left side, so it was a more involved process.
Near the front the single hard fuel line emerges into the engine bay. At that point the fuel continues through a combination of soft rubber lines through the fuel filter and on to the mechanical fuel pump. I started by loosening the hose clamp and removing the rubber hose and plastic fuel filter from the end of the hard line.

Then I used a thin flat-head screwdriver to pry out the rubber grommet surrounding the fuel line hole. I will replace that grommet later.

About midway back was an L-shaped bracket attached to the fender by machine screws. This is the mount for the original glass-jar style fuel filter assembly (which is gone), but as far as I can tell this bracket would have originally been located closer to the front of the engine bay where the fuel line enters. I removed the bracket using a flat-head screwdriver.

Here’s a shot of the place where the bracket was located (note it was about as far back as the shock absorber below) and one of the bracket after I removed it.

Lower on the fender, and further back toward the firewall, there was another hole and grommet for the hard brake line that feeds hydraulic fluid to the front driver’s side brakes. I pried off that grommet also and removed it.

Here’s a look at some of the surface rust on the inner fender, at its worst down low near the suspension.

I sprayed the entire lower fender with Simple Green and used a Scotch Brite pad to clean away the grease and grime.

After a lot of scrubbing the fender looked much better.

I used a 150-grit sanding sponge to sand down the fender, focusing particularly on the areas with surface rust.

When I finished, the fender was much duller in sheen but the rust looked much less threatening.

I used some Metal Prep and a fresh Scotch Brite pad to scrub the exposed bare steel and any remaining surface rust.

The bare metal looked a healthy silver, rather than rusty-brown, when I finished.

Left Inner Fender Cleaning

While the exterior of my truck has clearly been repainted at some point and looks very nice, the engine bay is a bit of a mess. As I do the mechanical overhaul, I also would like to make sheet metal repairs and remove the rust from the engine bay. To that end, I spent this morning cleaning up, sanding down, and removing surface rust from the inside of the left front fender. There is no serious rust, other than the just behind the battery tray where it clearly rusted through at one point. That area appears to be very stable now.

Before I started cleaning, I did my best to pull the wires from the engine bay wiring harness up and away from the fenders to keep them from getting wet.

Then I used a spray bottle to spray some Simple Green onto the fender, and a green Scotch Brite pad to scrub the fender.

After some time and elbow grease, the fender started to look a lot better.

After the metal was clean, it became clear that there was some surface rust pitting the fender, particularly in the area of the battery tray. I used a 150-grit sanding pad to remove the paint and surface rust in those areas.

Then I applied some Metal Prep to another Scotch Brite pad and scrubbed it into the bare metal where I had sanded away the red paint. The Metal Prep chemically neutralizes any remaining rust and also leaves a thin, rust-inhibiting coating on the metal which helps to prevent future rust. I wiped away the excess solution using shop towels so it wouldn’t run down the panel or dry too thick.

Here are a couple of pictures of the left fender after I finished cleaning it up and treating the rust. The bare metal that has been treated takes on a whitish-grey tone because the protective film is almost chalky.

Horn Removal

This afternoon I removed and cleaned up the horns from the engine bay.  The 320 has two horns, one is a high tone and the other is a low tone.  Only one of the two is typically connected at a time, so you have a choice.
Here are the horns.  They are located on the passenger side of the engine bay, mounted on the frame just below and forward of the battery.  I believe these are the stock horns, but originally they would have had domes over the tops of them; these horns are naked.

I used a 1/2″ socket in my wrench to remove the single bolt that goes through flanges in both horns and attaches them to a bracket on the frame.

Here’s the bolt.

I labeled the green wire from the wiring harness, which will stay in the engine bay, and disconnected it from another short wire attached to the horn.

This is the bracket where the horns were mounted, just beside the passenger-side engine mount.

The horns were covered in dirt, grime, and some rust.

I used a wire wheel in my drill to start cleaning them up.

The difference was night-and-day.

I cleaned up both horns using the same approach.

Then I scrubbed each of them with some metal-prep, which should help to prevent any new rust from forming for a while.

Inside of each horn is an “L” for low tone and “H” for the high tone horn. I plan to try to bench test these at some point, and paint them before reinstalling.

Engine Bay Tidying

I spent some more time this afternoon cleaning up the engine bay and the steering column and engine block, which still had a lot of greasy dirt on them.
Here is the engine bay before I started.

I wrapped the oil filter mount in aluminum foil to keep it from getting soiled.

I started with the steering column and shift linkage as well as the steering box, spraying them with Simple Green, which is a great de-greaser and cleaner.

I used a small wire brush to scrub the nooks and crannies of the linkages.

That worked pretty well at removing most of the gunk from the steering column and box.

So I went to work on the engine block on the passenger side, which is now accessible with the removal of the generator.

After some time the area was much cleaner.

Engine Scrubbing–Electrical/Ignition Side

This afternoon I spent more time scrubbing the engine on the passenger side where the generator, distributor, spark plugs, and oil filter are located. I did this in phases in between removing the heater hoses and the generator. The engine block on that side was covered in a thick coating of engine and road grime. I also went back over to the other side of the engine bay to work on cleaning up the steering column and shift linkage.
I decided to reinstall the oil filter with a protective layer of aluminum foil to keep the dirt and debris from infiltrating the oil filter tower and possibly getting into the engine internals.

Then I reinstalled oil filter housing the mounting bolt and threaded it into the base on the engine.

I wet the engine block down and sprayed it with some Simple Green. Then I scrubbed with a heavy duty Scotch Brite pad.

After a few rounds of scrubbing the engine began to look a bit better.

I was very careful with the water around the distributor, but after some scrubbing was able to reveal the engine number on that side of the block.

On the front half of the engine, passenger side, I liberally sprayed with Simple Green and used a heavy wire brush to clean the block and the area around the engine mounts.

After a good rinse the engine looks much better over there, even revealing the original blue-green color of the engine block.

I went to work on the steering column; the bottom where the steering box is located was covered in a thick coat of greasy grime.

And the upper section where the shift linkage connects to was also pretty filthy, but it cleaned up nicely.

Here is the cleaned-up steering box.

Engine Scrubbing–Fuel/Air Side

After pulling the intake/exhaust manifold from the engine I spent some time cleaning the engine block on that newly accessible side.
It was definitely pretty cruddy with 50+ years of engine and road grime.

I used some Simple Green, which I’ve always found to be a very effective de-greaser, to loosen up the grime.

I used a heavy-duty scrub brush. The original color of the engine block started to come through.

I also used a rough Brillo-style nylon scrubber, working it in around the shift linkage and steering column, and even around the engine mounts.

I even cleaned off the inspection covers pretty well. Here’s the payoff.  Not perfect, but much-improved.

Manifold Clean-Up

This afternoon I spent some time cleaning up the intake and exhaust manifolds to prepare them for paint.
I started with the washers and engine-lifting bracket, which I sprayed with Simple Green and scrubbed with a Scotch-Brite pad.

After a fair amount of scrubbing they came pretty clean and revealed the original paint underneath the grease and dirt.

I used some Metal Prep to treat the raw metal, applying it also with a Scotch-Brite pad. The Metal Prep removes light rust chemically but also leaves a protective coating on raw steel to fend off new rust.

Next I turned my attention to the manifolds. I removed the hot spot gasket from the exhaust manifold. It’s thin and impregnated with metal.

I used a drywall knife to pry off the carburetor insulator from the intake manifold without too much trouble.

Here is a look at the thickness of the insulator.

I sprayed and scrubbed the exhaust manifold.

And I sprayed on scrubbed the intake manifold.

Then I turned my attention back to the manifold mounting washers and engine-lifting bracket, which had dried nicely in the sun. I sprayed on a coat of Rustoleum Clean Metal Primer.

After they dried, I slipped them over to prime the other side.

The exhaust manifold is cast iron, and it had more surface rust than the steel parts. I used a wire brush in my drill to remove some of the pitting.

Before…and after.

Here is the wire brushed outside of the exhaust manifold.

And the before and after of the inside of the exhaust manifold.

I applied some Metal Prep to the exhaust manifold.

And I also applied some Metal Prep to the intake manifold.

Intake/Exhaust Manifold Removal

I spent most of today removing the intake and exhaust manifolds from the engine.

Here is a shot of the intake manifold as it sits on top of the exhaust manifold. The light blue shop towels are still in place from when I removed the carburetor and stuffed them into the intake.

As shown below, the manifolds attach to the head by a combination of six bolts and washers. In the first picture, on the end toward the firewall is the bracket one can use to lift the engine out of the engine bay.

I used some PB Blaster and a 1/2″ socket to loosen the bolts.

I removed all of the bolts. The second left-most mounting point was actually a stud.

I removed the 1/2″ nut and the washer from that stud.

Then I did the same from the right-most stud, which also mounts the engine lift bracket.

Here are a couple of shots of the engine lift bracket.

I used a ratcheting wrench to loosen the inside bolts because there was no clearance to get a socket into the space.

And did the same on the other side.

The top of the manifold came loose from the engine, but the bottom was still mounted to the exhaust below. The truck came without a full exhaust system. After a brief downpipe with a resonator the exhaust terminates under the truck and never makes it to the back bumper. At first I tried to loosen the bracket that clamped the exhaust manifold to that short pipe, to no avail. So, with nothing worth saving south of the manifold, I took more drastic measures.

The exhaust pipe didn’t put up much of a fight.

So with the manifold liberated from the exhaust pipe below, I was able to extract the intake/exhaust manifold successfully.

Then I pulled that short length of exhaust pipe from the exhaust manifold.

Here are some pics of the combined manifold, still assembled.

These two pictures show the four nuts that connect the intake manifold (upper) to the exhaust manifold (lower).

This is a look down into the two intake ports below the carburetor. There is an insulator and gasket that sits on those four bolts between the manifold and carb.

Here are a couple of shots of the engine on the driver’s side. Now with the manifolds and carburetor/air cleaner stripped away it looks pretty bare.

Next I separated the intake manifold from the exhaust manifold. I used a 7/16″ box-end wrench to loosen the nuts from the four studs at the corners of the intake.

After breaking them loose I was able to turn all four off with my fingers.

With those four nuts and washers removed, I was able to pull the intake manifold up and off the exhaust manifold.

The underside of the intake manifold that mates to the exhaust manifold has a cool, accordion shape. In the picture below is is caked in black carbon from combustion. Also between the two manifolds is a hot spot gasket that thermally separates the hot exhaust manifold from the cooler intake manifold above.

Here is the free intake manifold. It appears to have originally been painted Datsun blue like the engine.