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!

New Engine Bay Grommets

Today I installed all new round rubber grommets throughout the engine bay.  Four months ago I removed all the dried up old grommets and measured them so I could procure fresh new replacements. There are 14 total grommets in six different sizes in the 320’s engine bay. I was able to buy new ones from McMaster Carr in all the sizes I needed, though I had to buy full bags of each size, since they don’t sell by the piece.

I worked my way around the engine bay from the front driver’s side toward the firewall and around to the front passenger side, installing all the new grommets as I went.
First was a 3/4″ diameter hole at the front-right on the lower inner fender.

Next, slightly back on the upper fender a smaller, 5/8″ hole for wiring to the signal lamps.

Since there were wires coming through, I cut the grommet using a pair of scissors to accommodate them.

Then I just put the grommet into place and used some rubber cement to glue it back together around the wires. I found the key to using rubber cement successfully in this application was to apply a very thin coat to both cut ends of the grommet, wait for the cement to dry, and then press the parts evenly together and hold them together for at least a full minute.

Next, further back a bit lower on the inner wheel well was a 1 1/4″ diameter hole for the hard fuel line from the fuel tank. No cutting necessary; I just popped that one over the end of the fuel line.

And further back and down lower was another, slightly smaller 1 1/8″ hole for the hard brake line for the front wheel.

Next, back on the firewall, was the choke cable, which comes through a 3/4″ hole, and the hole for the hood release rod, which was 1/2″.

I cut the grommet for the choke cable and slid it over the cable and onto the firewall.

Then I did the same for the hood release.

I replaced two grommets at the corner of the firewall and engine bay. The lower was 7/8″ in diameter and the upper 1 1/8″.

And on the other side of the steering column moving toward the center of the vehicle, I installed another 5/8″ grommet around the accelerator cable.

Next, down a bit lower on the firewall and continuing across toward the other fender were the pair of holes for the heater core supply and return hoses, which are 1 1/8″ in diameter. I used my needle-nose pliers to pull out the remnants of the hose from the lower outlet.

Then I used the pliers to pull out the grommet…

…and installed two new ones.

Next, on the inner fender passenger side just between the firewall and the battery shelf I installed a new 1 1/8″ diameter grommet around the brake line, again cutting and rubber cementing it around the line.

Further forward, behind the front end of the batter shelf on the upper fender I pressed in a 5/8″ grommet around the signal lamp wires similar to on the opposite fender.

These new grommets make a big difference in the functionality and the appearance of the engine bay.

When I ordered my new grommets the minimum lot size (bag) ranged from 25 to 100 for the smaller size grommets. I actually sold a handful of kits I made by bagging up the surplus grommets in each size, labeling them, and providing an engine bay map of where they go. I may still have some grommets leftover, so f you have interest in buying such a kit, just shoot me an email.

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.

Fuel Pump Options

Since I got the truck I’ve been trying to figure out a replacement mechanical fuel pump. Previously I mentioned one of the possibilities, which was to get a newer fuel pump for a more common L-series Datsun engine and modify it to fit the E-series engine.
Here is a picture of the original, OEM fuel pump that came on the E-1 engines, complete with tin-man styling and a cool priming lever (picture originally posted on Ratsun by Steve).

And here is a shot of the Nikki fuel pump that was on my truck when I got it. I am fairly certain this is a J-series engine fuel pump such as those found on the engines of the 520 and 521 trucks that followed the 320 in the Datsun line-up beginning in late 1965. Note the angle and length of the fuel pump arm are similar to the original E-series pump above.

I found and bought an L-series fuel pump. This is the pump that was found on 510s, 240zs, and 610 and later Datsun trucks, so they tend to be more readily available than either the E-series or J-series pumps. As shown below, the mounting surface and bolt-hole spacing between the J- and L-series pumps are identical, which is promising.

But clearly the arms are different in size and angle (L-series pump left, J-series right).

And the L-series pump is a Kyosan Denki whereas the J-series is a Nikki.

The fuel pump arms are mounted into the body by a pin. I was unsuccessful trying to press out the pin on either of the pumps, so I will need to take this to a machine shop to see if they have any luck swapping the arm from my E-1 compatible J13 pump onto the brand new L-series fuel pump.

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:

New Filters!

Last week I ordered some replacement air, fuel, and oil filters from Rockauto. I was pretty pleased to find the filters still available. These are from Fram, which aren’t known as the best filters in the world, but frankly are probably as good or better than the ones that came on the truck in the mid-1960s. Plus I got a rebate!

The air filter is part # CA352.

The fuel filter is part #G3359.

The oil filter cartridge is part #CH820PL.

There is also a WIX oil filter cartridge available that is part #51300.

Water Pump Removal/New Water Pump

The last thing I did today was to remove the water pump.  I plan to replace the water pump with a new one because fortunately, new aftermarket water pumps are available for the E1 engine from Gates, part #42324.

The water pump on my truck, which is cast iron and I believe the original OEM water pump, only has one large outlet for the lower radiator hose. This set-up requires an in-line fitting to connect this plumbing to a long, smaller hose running from the top of the heater core.

However, the Gates pump, which is a later design perhaps for the J13 engine, has an integrated second, smaller outlet, to connect the heater hose.  The Gates pump has the threading for the outlet, but does not come with a hose fitting, so I procured one (Moroso part #65390) and used an 18mm socket to thread it into the pump.  The correct fitting for this pump and the hose is a 1/2″ barbed hose fitting with a 3/8″ Male NPT fitting.

Here’s a shot of the nice new Gates water pump ready to be installed.

I removed the old water pump from the engine. The water pump is attached to the block by three long bolts. I used a 1/2″ socket to remove those bolts.

With the three bolts removed, the water pump pulled off easily.

Inside the block there was some coolant, but it didn’t look like too much rust, mud, or other crud, which is a good sign.

Here is a side-by-side comparison of the two water pumps that highlights the location of the second water outlet on the new one.

Old school chrome oil filler cap

Today the new valve cover oil filler cap I ordered from Nissan arrived in the mailbox.  The one on the truck is very plain and I wanted to get one of the cool chrome ones I’ve seen that have the classic Japanese characters.

So I did some research to find the right part.  The part number for the E-1 engine oil filler originally was 15265-30800 but Nissan lists that part as NLA (no longer available).  So I know a lot of these parts crossover from similar Datsun vehicles of the time.  I had a hunch that the 1500 roadster may share the oil filler cap with the 320 truck.  Luckily, several years ago I ordered a similar old chrome cap for the roadster I’m restoring, which is a 1968 2000, and I happen to know that that cap also fits the 1600 roadsters (same part number).  I couldn’t find a part number for the 1500 filler cap, but I dug up the cap I bought for my 2000 from my roadster parts stash and lo and behold it fit the E-1 valve cover nicely.  Sweet.

So I ordered a new one from Nissan and it arrived today.  The part number is 15255-B3430.  List price is $12.60 but I got it from nissanparts.cc, which is the online parts department for Bruce Titus Nissan in Olympia, WA, for $9.78 plus shipping.  
Should be a nice touch of JDM nostalgia on the valve cover.

Fuel pump?

Part of my plan is to replace the fuel pump.  Unfortunately, the 320’s E-1 engine fuel pump is no longer available from Nissan and as far as I can tell, not really available in the aftermarket anymore either.  I did some research and found that the J-series fuel pumps should fit the E-series motor in the 320s, but haven’t been able to chase down one of those yet either.  I’m pretty sure the fuel pump on my engine now is a J-series engine pump.

I’d really rather stick with a mechanical fuel pump if at all possible.  Rebuilding is an option, but I haven’t had any luck finding a rebuild kit.  They are probably out there.

Mike Klotz, in a couple of posts on the Ratsun forums, discovered that the four cylinder Datsun L-series engine, found in 510s and the later 521 trucks has the exact same footprint as the 320 and 520 fuel pump.  Since those vehicles are much more common than the 320 trucks the aftermarket parts support should be considerably higher.  However, the L-series fuel pump is not a direct swap for the J-series, as the arm on the L-pump is much longer than the J-pump.  Mike’s idea was to transplant the arm from the J-pump over to the new L-pump and install the new one.  It should work and is something I plan to attempt if I can’t find a new J-series pump.

Here’s the fuel pump on my truck.  It is a Nikki brand pump but I don’t believe it is the original OEM pump that came on the truck based on its appearance, but a later-style J-series engine fuel pump.