Pay no attention to the posting date listed. That date is only used so that the Bugeye posts can be kept in sequence for the reader. The following work was accomplished in the period between July and September 2021. I took the engine and gearbox first, and then later the entire car to my Dad’s home for this work. He has a lift and an air conditioned garage and I am no dummy!
This effort was all motivated by the fact that after about nineteen years the slave cylinder, provided by Bill Perry at Rivergate Restorations for the Datsun 5 speed gearbox, decided to leak and I lost the clutch. Pretty amazing that it lasted that long. Because we used hex head bolts rather than socket cap bolts for the initial installation, I had to remove the engine and gearbox to get to the slave cylinder! Since the engine was out of the car it seemed like the perfect time to do a general cleaning of the engine and refresh other components that also needed attention after almost twenty years.
While the categories are not discreet, rather than discussing the work accomplished chronologically, I will do my best to group the work by function or system within the car.
My Dad first undertook a clean up and degreasing of the engine. Not hard but certainly messy.
A new battery from Batteries Plus was installed.
The alternator had some oxidation issues and this was removed as much as possible and a lubricant protectant called TW 25B (used to protect firearm bare metal) was applied.
Rather than having two bolts for the left and right ears of the alternator, a single long bolt and a stainless bushing have been added to enhance the stability of the mounting.
The alternator mounting bracket was removed and painted.
As was the alternator adjustable swing bracket. Painted with POR-15.
The gear reduction, high torque, starter was cleaned, but after painting a new original-type bendix starter was installed.
Since I am in Florida, I thought it was time switch from a 180 degree thermostat to a 160 degree.
Also installed a new thermostat housing sourced from Bugeyeguy using Permatex Water Pump & Thermostat Housing Gasket Maker and a new gasket.
We replaced the spark plugs with the same brand and type that were in the engine when it was delivered from Rivergate. These were Autolite #4164 gapped to .25″. We may switch these out later after we do some more research on the subject. A little anti-seize was applied to the plug threads.
The Bugeye uses a Crane XR700 “FIREBALL” electronic ignition system that employs an optical sensing technology. The unit is still sold in 2021 but the technology is now owned by a new company and is now called FAST XR700. It has been in the car for close to twenty years and still functions properly. This photo shows the internal components of the system in place:
The distributor and wiring were removed and cleaned. The distributor is secured with a mounting plate. Loosening the large screw on the right side of the clamp allows one to rotate the distributor to retard or advance the timing. If the screw is loosened sufficiently the distributor can be pulled out of its housing and removed. If this is done, care must be taken to mark the distributor and the mounting plate so that the distributor can be returned to the same position without effecting the ignition timing.
Alternatively, the distributor can be left in the mounting plate to avoid any chance of effecting the ignition timing and the distributor and the mounting plate can be removed as one, together, by loosening two 1/4″ hex head bolts that secure the mounting plate to the engine block. The LH (rear) bolt is a bit hard to access. A crow’s foot wrench or a custom made tool helps to do the job.
The distributor can only be installed into the engine block one way. The drive dog at the bottom of the distributor shaft must align with the fitting in the engine oil pump drive. It doesn’t show well in this photo, but the slots in the fitting are off center. If the crank is turned it is possible to get the timing out 180 degrees so care must be taken to make sure these stay aligned.
Upon reinstalling the distributor in the motor I also installed a new rotor, top loading distributor cap and new ignition wires from the cap to the spark plugs. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of this.
It is, of course, important when replacing the ignition wires that the wire on the number one firing position on the distributor cap gets connected to the number one cylinder spark plug. The firing order of the engine is 1-3-4-2 in a counterclockwise rotation
The gearbox casing was degreased and painted.