Sunday, November 26, 2017

UK Visit, Part 1.

This post covers my trip back to the UK.  We flew in over Thursday night, and got to York at around 2pm on Friday.  After a nice quiet early night, and about 11 hours of sleep, we drove up to Edinburgh the next day in the mighty Vauxhall Mokka.

I didn't take too many pictures up there, as it was a bit of a frantic visit for selling my old MX5, clearing out a storage unit and catching up with friends.  We stayed out near Currie on the West of Edinburgh, near the countryside.

After Edinburgh, we drove back to York via Berwick and Bamburgh castle.

Once back in York, we did a loaf of day trips to places in Yorkshire.  First up was Fountains Abbey.

The road in is surrounded by a deer park, with plenty of them lounging around in the sun.

Fountains Abbey has a huge grounds, with loads of wildlife.

Around the grounds there are loads of smaller buildings, all immaculately maintained.

Walking up higher into the gardens gives some great views of the ruined abbey.

Walking towards the ruin gives you an idea of how big the ruin is.

Under the abbey is a well preserved undercroft.

Some of the other buildings have similarly stunning stonework.

Finally, a quick wander out to St. Mary's Church.

That's it for part one, next up is more of Yorkshire.

Bison in Minnesota

What better way to get over the excesses of Thanksgiving than a hike through a state park on a nice crisp November day?

We headed to Minneopa, a place I'd been a couple of years ago, where I took this image of the upper falls:

The weather was a little colder this time, and the trees a little barer.  We got closer to the lower falls:

One thing I completely missed in 2015 is the Bison Drive.  This is a 2.5 mile road through a stretch of prairie where there's a small herd of bison roaming wild.

There's a cool radio station you can tune into as you drive down the road, and listen to facts about the herd and conservation efforts.  The bison have right of way, regardless of how big your truck is.

We ended up pretty close.  

At the end of the road, there's an old mill called Seppmann Mill, built in 1862 by a German immigrant.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Rear Bumper Shave

There hasn't been much Datsun activity recently, due to travelling back to the UK.  I dropped my car off with Nathan at Metal in Motion to have the rust at the rear end fixed, and the rear bumper shaved.

Picked it up today and grabbed some quick pictures.  Here's a before:

And some after:

This is the rust patch that was also repaired - this went through all three metal skins:

Renewed the rear light seals and the boot shut seal - and there was also three seals missing which are now fitted.

Absolutely over the moon with how it came out, exactly as I had imagined!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Inevitable

Well it finally happened.  The Datsun broke down just across the border in Wisconsin.

I pulled over at a scenic overlook, and the car wouldn't fire back up.  AAA were called, and arrived in 40 minutes.  The car was trailered back to my apartment where I figured I'd give myself until Sunday to see if I could fix it myself.  This happened on a Tuesday.

Let the investigations begin!

Quickly discovered my new shiny fuel pump was working OK, gas was getting to the fuel rail.  Air filter was old, but removing it made no difference.  Hooked a timing light up to #1 spark plug and bingo - no spark.

The previous owner had pointed out the electronic ignition kit he'd retro fitted, to make getting parts for it slightly easier.  It replaces the 1970s transistor ignition circuit, which is hard to get hold of and unreliable.

I figured I'd replace the cheapest bit first, which was the HEI unit that he'd fitted.  It looked like a cheap one, but they were heavily used by GM through the 90s so even the most expensive AC Delco ones are still $30.

You can see the heatsink that was fitted at the same time - 4 pieces of thin aluminium.  The thermal paste on the HEI was also bone dry and probably not doing anything.

So new parts ordered:

Temporarily fitted the new HEI on the old heatsink, and huzzah!  Car fired right up.

So new thermal paste applied:

I figured whilst I was there, I'd upgrade the ignition coil as I didn't know anything about how old it was.  It was still using the original ballast resistor by the looks of it.  So replaced with a MSD Blaster 2, which was another $45:

I can't really tell if that made a difference, but I think a little of the stumble at high revolutions has gone.

I'm also fully aware this is a 40 year old car, and I should be grateful that I've only had one breakdown across the whole summer (which was ironically because of something that had been upgraded).  To make diagnosing anything in the future a little easier, I also added an in-line 100PSI fuel pressure gauge.

Drove the car to work and back today, and everything seems right back to normal.  Celebrated with a car wash.