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.

Battery Tray Clean-Up

Having removed the old battery and finding minimal damage underneath, today I cleaned up the sheet metal to neutralize any further corrosive material.

I used a toothbrush, a spray bottle, and some baking soda, which I’ve used in the past to clean up corroded battery terminals.

I scooped the baking soda into the spray bottle and then filled it with hot tap water. I shook the sprayer to mix it.

Then I sprayed down the battery tray area thoroughly.

The baking soda definitely reacted with some residual battery acid and bubbled pretty vigorously.

I went to work with my wife’s toothbrush scrubbing away at the reactive areas.

It was a mess so I put some shop towels down to protect the distributor and just repeated spraying to neutralize and wash away the mess and scrubbing to try to clean the metal.

Eventually I switched over to water in my sprayer to flush the area clean.

I made sure to clean off the inner fender area in addition to the battery tray area. The tray itself definitely has enough structural integrity to hold a battery and with the corrosion hopefully neutralized, the area should be stable from this point forward.

Although the inner fender was rusted through, the metal surrounding the hole is actually in pretty good condition. I may want to do some work to repair or at least tidy up this area of the engine bay, which wasn’t on my original list of jobs for the truck.

Here’s a shot of the red battery cable going down to the starter.

The black cable was grounded to the engine block. Since the black cable was connected to the positive terminal on the battery, it appears that this truck maintained the original positive-ground configuration that these early trucks had from the factory. More modern vehicles are all negative ground. My understanding from a limited amount of research is that you can easily convert a 320 to negative ground by reversing the cables and everything except maybe the radio (which was a rare optional item that my truck lacks) will function properly.