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.

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.

British Engine Gaskets

In addition to the J13 Engine Gasket Set I ordered, I also ordered some gaskets from Moss Motors for the British B-series engine, found on the MGA and MGBs. Early Datsuns were produced with a licensed version of the B-series engine and the E-1 has that lineage, so many of the British engine parts cross over to the E-series engines.

I ordered two lines of valve cover gaskets from Moss, the first made of cork and the second a more durable silicone. The J13 valve cover gasket shown below at the top of both pictures is the one with the holes for the valve cover mounting screws, which is how the J13 and later (1964-65) 320s fixed their valve covers to the head. The earlier 320 valve covers did not have these six screws and were mounted by two large bolts through the top of the valve cover. The cork version is Moss Motors part #296-310 and was about $2. The red silicone version was part #296-311 and was $17.

The side cover/inspection cover gaskets that came with the J13 gasket set were made of cork. The same silicone valve cover gasket shown above from Moss also comes in a kit with a pair of red silicone inspection cover gaskets for less than $20 for all three pieces, part #296-425. Here are some shots of the J13 inspection cover gaskets compared to the B-series silicone versions.

Furthermore, Moss sells a very nice, U.S.-made exhaust manifold gasket that is a perfect match for the E-1 engine. Part #297-535 was $9. Compare to the J13 version below.

J13 Engine Gasket Set

I ordered a full J13 engine gasket set from RockAuto and it arrived this week.  The 1.3 liter J13 engine came in the later 520 and 521 trucks and 411 cars from 1965-1969, but I expect that many/most of the gaskets will fit the E-1 engine. The set is Victor Reinz part #HS3597.
Here is a shot of the gasket set and its contents:

Below I will inventory the gaskets included for posterity.
Valve stem seals:

Valve cover and inspection cover gaskets:

Combination intake/exhaust manifold gasket (note that it is a perfect fit for the E-1 manifolds):

Carburetor insulator block

Note that the J13 insulator (right) has a single large oval-shaped opening to match the J13 intake whereas the E-1 intake manifold and insulator (left) has two separate circular openings:

There were the two intake/exhaust manifold gaskets. The slightly larger one is the hot spot gasket that mounts on top of the exhaust manifold and mates to the underside of the intake manifold (same gasket shown in both pics below).

Water pump gasket:

Fuel pump gaskets (two, one goes on either side of the fuel pump spacer, not included in this kit). These gaskets are also available separately, Beck/Arnley part #039-2008. Likewise, the fuel pump spacer is Beck/Arnley part #039-2002.

Thermostat tower gasket (also Beck/Arnley part #039-0004):

And, importantly here is the J13 head gasket:

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.

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.

Engine Bay Clean-Up

The final thing I did today was to clean up some of the areas in the engine bay that have been exposed as a result of removing pieces to clean-up, paint, repair, and/or replace.

The timing chain cover, now accessible with the radiator and fan removed, was covered in 50 years of dirt, grease, and road grime.

I wet the area down with a spray bottle, and then sprayed it with some Simple Green, which I have found to be a really good de-greaser. Then I scrubbed it with a stiff brush.

I also used a blue, coarse scouring pad and a lot of elbow grease to scrub away a lot of the dirt. There was some corrosion underneath, but not too much. It came pretty clean.

Next I spent some time scrubbing the steering box, which was also caked with greasy grime.

I also spent a lot of time scrubbing and cleaning up the top section of the exhaust manifold.

Here is a look at the engine bay after tidying up a bit. Still a long way to go.

Blue Engine Bits

This afternoon I cleaned up and painted some of the engine bits and pieces such as the generator mounting bracket, water pump pulley, and thermostat housing outlet. I wanted to return all of these part to their original factory Datsun engine blue color. I bought the paint in an aerosol spray can from Al at Datsun Parts LLC, via ebay.

I started with the generator mounting bracket. I used a wire brush mounted in my drill to remove the old paint and rust from the surface of the steel bracket.

Then I did the same to the cast iron thermostat housing and the water pump pulley.

I used a screen scouring pad to rub all three pieces down with some Metal Prep, which removes residual rust, etches the metal for paint, and dries to leave a rust-inhibiting coating on the part.

Here are all the prepped parts. The pulley has a dull shine, but where some stubborn surface rust remained around the edges you can see the converted rust has turned black.

I primed all three parts using Rustoleum white Clean Metal Primer.

I primed one side and after about a half hour flipped them over to prime the other side.

Then I used Al’s Datsun Engine Blue.

Fan belt removal

Next I pulled the fan belt.  The fan belt runs from the crank pulley up around the water pump pulley, and around the generator pulley.  It’s a simple set-up from before the age of power steering and air conditioning.

In order to release the belt and allow enough slack to remove it, I loosened the generator, which is mounted along a curved arm that is mounted to a plate on the engine.  The generator-mounting arm has a slot in it that a bolt connects through to allow the location of the generator pulley to tighten the belt.  So essentially the generator, based on its location, also acts as a tensioner pulley.

I used a 9/16″ socket to loosen the head of the bolt. The bolt is oriented facing with threads pointed down the highway (with the head of the bolt on the back side of the arm), and threads into the base plate of the generator.

With the bolt loosened but not removed, I slid the generator up and toward the engine, providing some slack in the belt.

And then I was able to slip the belt off of all the pulleys and remove it.

There does appear to be an aftermarket replacement belt available for this application; more on that later.