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The slippery slope, or, "while I'm in there".

 

I think that accurately describes how i approach most projects. I begin with one intention, over think it, and something entirely different,  overly complicated and overly priced is spit out the other end. Oh well, schedule and budget be damned, here we go.

 

Not a lot of clean, rust-free (a lie if anyone ever claims this) S30's up in the PNW. Rust doesn't scare me. Complete rot does. 

I needed a solid base to start off on. I like finding complete, or near complete cars to base off of. Half torn apart cars with mismatched everything, half-bodged up jobs, and monkey wiring drive me nuts. I hate un-funking some others misguided efforts. I laugh while i type this, as you'll see from the body work I started to uncover when i brought this 1977 home. 

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I went to check out this 2 owner local datsun. It's a complete car, down to working radio and an uncracked dash. I wouldn't say i was after a 100% original car, because i had plans to butcher it up to make it my own. I just liked seeing all the parts there for me to work with.

The previous owner had it repainted this awful color. It didn't turn me away completely, i knew it would need to be painted to my liking, but it's the horrors underneath that began to rear up. Time to get cutting and welding.

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No metal to be found, and yes, that's just silicone and body filler holding the dogleg together. 

 

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Making metal where none exists. 

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The worst of the structural.

 

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And just minor surface rust, no major rot on the floors or in the frame (so far!)

 

Ok so at this point in the story, time for some claims about where this is going. I document it now because i know i will deviate (already have) from the "plan".

 

Initially i wanted to fix the rust, drive it and enjoy while I upgrade. Eventually swap something healthier in. 

Part of me really wants to tear it all down and blast it, but then we're looking at a whole different level of project than I initially wanted. That would take it down for long enough that i might lose the passion, and ultimately abandoned in a corner of a shop. I've seen so many craigslist projects that end up with that sad fate. 

Well, the rust repair is underway, and I'm already considering how much effort i want to put in to tackle the rust I can find, only to throw a half assed paint job over the top of it. I have to convince myself to work in phases. And since it's winter, it's unlikely i'll be driving it a whole lot anyways. A project keeps me busy, and out of trouble. 

More updates to follow. 

 

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I believe that's why we now have what is referred to as the magnet test. Oh well. Too late now. Best of luck! To be honest though, it looks like it's more solid than my '76 is, at least based on the floors. Might want to take up the tar before saying for certain though.

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I was in the same shoes as you man.... I ended spending almost a year of it on blocks...might as well..might as well..etc etc etc...nearly 6K in body work ( a lot done by myself) and now paint.... Its a slippery slope for sure. I am glad I did it but didn't realize how much it would actually cost to do it right...

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I saw that same car pop up on craigslist. It seems like a great base, at least your floors aren't rotted through. On a car that straight I wouldn't go digging too far. I made the same mistake on mine and now I'm in too deep and know it'll never be perfect so I'm accepting that fact that it's not going to be a restoration and just focusing on major problem areas and making it presentable and fun to drive. 

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1 hour ago, Greeko said:

I was in the same shoes as you man.... I ended spending almost a year of it on blocks...might as well..might as well..etc etc etc...nearly 6K in body work ( a lot done by myself) and now paint.... Its a slippery slope for sure. I am glad I did it but didn't realize how much it would actually cost to do it right...

 

53 minutes ago, Zetsaz said:

I saw that same car pop up on craigslist. It seems like a great base, at least your floors aren't rotted through. On a car that straight I wouldn't go digging too far. I made the same mistake on mine and now I'm in too deep and know it'll never be perfect so I'm accepting that fact that it's not going to be a restoration and just focusing on major problem areas and making it presentable and fun to drive. 

You two hit the nail on the head. Yes, this is the danger... the more i tear into it, the slippery it gets. But for me, rust is a time bomb. The longer you wait, the worse it gets. Trying to tie it off before it gets worse. On this "phase", my plan is to just deal with as much rust as i can, throw some sort of consistent paint over it and address all the other, more fun aspects. Once it's running and sorted out, then I'll likely move onto the "restoration phase", and blast it, rotisserie it, and get all OCD-like.

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A bit more work was done. Tore out the nasty carpet, lightly sanded some surface rust and coated the floors.

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Dealt with some rust.

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Had to make a new reinforcement for the lock mechanism

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Before burning in

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Had to slice open the lower quarter to see what the damage looked like

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You can see it's into the rocker as well. Surgery continues.

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My Rusty graveyard pile keeps adding up

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In a break from the all the rust repair fun I've been dealing with, I decided to get some parts in.

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Also picked up the heart, RB25DET NEO

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I've been trying to follow the 20-80 rule lately with my car, especially when it comes to metal work.

You see lots of full restorations that dig into every spot to make sure every inch of rust is taken car of, even smaller areas. That's either REALLY high dollar restoration or a decade's worth of work for busy people. 

For 20% the effort or cost you get 80% results. Restoration/power costs both tend to be an exponential curve and the point of diminishing returns is different for everyone. I'm aiming for 40-50% the effort of those insane restorations and hoping for a solid B+ level car the next several years. It won't be particularly fast, it won't be a show car, some rust will still be present and hidden, but the frame will be a bit stiffer, it'll have more power than stock, the paint will be presentable with some minor imperfections, and most importantly, it won't be in the garage until I'm in deeper than I can get out of and never enjoy it. 

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42 minutes ago, Zetsaz said:

I've been trying to follow the 20-80 rule lately with my car, especially when it comes to metal work.

You see lots of full restorations that dig into every spot to make sure every inch of rust is taken car of, even smaller areas. That's either REALLY high dollar restoration or a decade's worth of work for busy people. 

For 20% the effort or cost you get 80% results. Restoration/power costs both tend to be an exponential curve and the point of diminishing returns is different for everyone. I'm aiming for 40-50% the effort of those insane restorations and hoping for a solid B+ level car the next several years. It won't be particularly fast, it won't be a show car, some rust will still be present and hidden, but the frame will be a bit stiffer, it'll have more power than stock, the paint will be presentable with some minor imperfections, and most importantly, it won't be in the garage until I'm in deeper than I can get out of and never enjoy it. 

THIS! I agonize over these small details/imperfections in my build. If I keep chasing them trying to get it perfect, I am never going to get there. I don't have enough time/money/skill. However, I can building something really fun and cool. I have had cars that were total piles, but a blast to drive. Keeping this perspective is really important. 

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1 hour ago, Greeko said:

Very nice metal work man...


I ended up just replacing my hatch, sil with new/used components in better shape. Saved me a lot of time and agony..just my 2 cents.. Im here now...

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Very nice color. 115 Blue? Or the popular Daytona blue?

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