This post is a little over due but I have been so busy (excited) working on the Hako since I got it back from paint and I wanted to wait until the engine install was done before I did an update.
My intention was to create a clean, race car inspired, engine bay. Whilst still keeping it looking relatively period. I have no interest in creating a ‘tucked’ style engine bay, all blended smooth and hiding as much as possible. I would always rather have clean and functional with good access for maintenance. The trouble with a tucked bay is everything ends up being routed somewhere out of sight and hard to access which makes it very difficult to inspect and maintain…this is why you never see this style on proper race cars etc. The downside of having everything on show is that, for the effect to work, everything has to be as new or better.
The first components I refurbished were all of the bits that would be needed before I could install the engine. A lot of the parts were relatively simple and it was just a case of getting them blasted and sending them to our local powder coaters. I just went for simple satin black powder coat so they look pretty much standard when finished.
Engine cross member, spill guards, engine mounts, anti roll bar and under tray blasted and ready for coating.
All the above parts back from powder coating.
The gearbox cross member I kept back as I wanted to draw up some solid mounts to replace the rubber outside mounts. This will obviously sacrifice some comfort but as I have also upgraded to engine mounts I felt it was necessary to help with the stiffening up. For the gearbox mount itself I decided to use the upgraded mount from Kameari engine works in Japan. The mount is very nice quality and looks exactly the same as the standard but uses a harder rubber.
Gearbox cross member stripped and cleaned.
Gearbox cross member powder coated, aluminium solid outer mounts and Kameari engine works Gearbox mount.
The next items to refurbish were the steering box, linkages and associated parts. These I disassembled and stripped using a wire wheel mounted to our bench grinder. This is a pretty effective tool when combined with a decent soak and brush off with degreaser. It is also more gentle than blasting so there is less risk of damage. All of these parts I finished off with several coats of VHT satin black brake caliper paint which is high temperature and chip resistant and gives a nice smooth finish. The steering linkages were treated to new rubber boots and I re shimmed all of the joints to take the slack out.
I wanted to keep as many of the original parts as I could. This meant stripping and cleaning smaller items like the bonnet catch, washer jets and all of the original nuts and bolts. My original plan was to have them all re plated in yellow bright zinc as they were originally but after talking with Mark, who told me to be careful of hydrogen embrittlement with bolts and springs etc, I decided to go a different route. Hydrogen embrittlement occurs during the plating process and requires a de embrittlement cycle to overcome it. Most platers will do it but most won’t guarantee it. If i can get my hands on some genuine original bolts I will swap them out in the future but for now I decided to chemically black the bolts and fittings which actually contrasts nicely with the white engine bay.
Bonnet catch before cleaning.
Some of the parts after cleaning with the wire wheel and de greasing.
I also managed to order some choice goodies from various places. Eiji at Datsun Spirit Inc managed to arrange an original 7/8 brake master cylinder from a Z car which is a popular upgrade in Japan along with an upgraded brake booster which I got from RHD Japan, this should help improve the pedal feel and effectiveness with a bigger brake set up.
The other place I managed to get a load of parts from was YAHOO actions Japan. These included a set of genuine Nissan side lights/indicators, genuine Nissan side repeaters, cowl top rubber covers, shift boot, gear lever gator, clutch fork gator, bonnet catch cable grommet and a throttle cable. Most of these bits are relatively mundane parts but it is parts like these that often serve an important role and also if left looking untidy will spoil the rest.
Car back from paint.
I was pretty excited when the car finally came back from the paint shop, it had been away longer than I had hoped. Although it wasn’t like i had nothing to do while I waited. The colour I settled on for the engine bay was Honda championship white. Not an original colour obviously but it is just such a nice white. white gives that classic race car look and it also gives a wonderful contrast to the tatty black exterior. I love the fact that this car will look no different (externally) to when I started. I even got them to mask off the grill area so you won’t even be able to tell when looking through the front grill.
The first thing I did to the engine bay was to mask up the undersides of the chassis legs and tunnel. Then I gave them a coating of chassis black to tidy it all up. I also installed new grommets wherever needed.
First in was the freshly restored steering box assembly and bonnet catch.
Then master cylinders and the brake and clutch lines. I went for cupro nickel brake pipe and stainless steel fittings to top it off.
Steering box linkages and cross member next.
The last job to do on the engine before I could finally install it was to fit the clutch. The lightweight flywheel on my engine is for a larger 240mm clutch assembly. The clutch I chose is an exedy stage II paddle kit for an R32 Skyline which bolts straight up to this flywheel. I had to use a longer clutch sleeve and fitted a new bearing while I was at it. I’m hoping this will cope well with the extra power but still be reasonably drivable.
So that just left the easy bit……getting Mark and Harry to help me drop the engine in place. Oh and standing back grinning like an idiot when it was in.
Now the engine is in I can start sorting out the plumbing, electrics and all other engine ancillaries etc…