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Progress as of the end of driving season, 2003

Well, I have named my Datsun roadster Mr. Hyde.  Mr. Hyde because every time I would go out for a spin I found myself driving much differently than when I drive my Grand Marquis, now named Dr. Jeckle.

Mr. Hyde has given me a full summer of enjoyment.  Unfortunately almost all of it within 25 miles of home, but great driving anyway.  We only had three moments when the reliability of Mr. Hyde came into question.  First the small screw holding the condenser to the side of the dizzy came slightly loose, causing a missing problem that only got worse as the screw loosened.  Second, a fuse blew, turning of the ignition in the middle of a turn.  Fortunately I carry spare fuses and found the problem in a few minutes.   The third problem was a loss of the front brakes when a fitting on the left front caliper did not seal correctly.  Since I loosened and reattached that metal hose there have been no more brake problems.  During the brake repair I checked the rear brakes again and found the adjusters were not working correctly.  I removed them and re-installed them after completely disassembling the adjusters and lubing them with white grease.  They work very well now.

The first problem took about a week of checking almost everything on the engine.  I learned a lot about the heart of Mr. Hyde during that week.  From compression tests it appears that some idiot milled the head at an angle from front to rear.  The compression in #1 is 155 lbs., and #4 is 215 lbs., with a fairly even increase for 2 and 3.  Regular gas is definitely NOT an option.  From what I learned about the current engine (from my parts car), I expect to begin working on the original numbers matching motor as soon as the budget allows.  I already have new chains and gears, gaskets, valve guides, and a few other parts on hand.  I have not disassembled the engine at this time to see what I will need in the way of pistons or bearings.  I believe there is a spun bearing to worry about.

The carbs Keith Williams reworked for me are very nice.  I am finally remembering all I ever knew about setting up SU carbs, and find myself learning a little more about them all the time.  I am very happy with my choice to send them to Keith rather than rebuild them myself, which I have done many times in years past.

Over last winter I had the heater re-cored, freed up the heater valve, and built new heater control cables.  There have been no heater problems, and the heater has been nice a time or two on cool outings without the hard top mounted.  Unfortunately for my passengers, there is no heater outlet on the right side of the heater box.  

Last winter I also replaced the head gasket to cure an oil leak, installed Miata seats, replaced the tach, and installed new master cylinders for both the clutch and brakes.  


Here are a few images of the car as it sits today

This winter I plan to replace seals in the pinion gear and the steering gearbox.  Both have shown themselves to leak fluids.  I am also going to attack rust this year.  I have rust issues on the left rear wheel opening, and but bottom rear fender mounts for both front fenders.  Those fenders will be replaced with new fenders that have been flared for racing, but never mounted on a car after the modifications were made.

I will be learning how to weld metal into the body, and make the fender mounts, but I don't think these will be any problem. Thank you Andrew for posting all of the photo's showing how to do this kind of work.  I am concerned about the rear body panel.  It is warped and I don't think it can be straightened.  The parts car has a good panel.  All I need to do is build the confidence to replace this panel while I am doing every thing else.  I am sure I will talk it over with the list before I actually start cutting.