I bought this one:
1983 Nissan sentra - $725 (Springfield)
Date: 2008-06-15, 12:03PM PDT
1983 Nissan sentra diesel runs gets great mileage 50+ manual shifts
good all gauges and heater controls work inside not pretty but works
body is strait and from what I can tell rust free window is cracked but
didn’t obstruct my view commute for pennies asking $725.00
This item has been posted by-owner.
On Saturday, 05Jul, I drove six hours down to the Springfield, Ore. area to see this rig. While the Camry in Sandy, Ore. sounded nice, it was just a bit too much money for a rig that could not be driven and that had had a timing belt fail and bend valves.
This Sentra has not been driven regularly in a while. It fired up fine (nearly 70°F ambient though), has some cold misfire (like an SD22). I pulled the oil fill cap right after starting: it has significant cold blowby, that I hope will not overwhelm seals etc.
PO said it has an oil leak, possibly pan gasket (more on this later). PO said he'd replaced both half-shafts (diesel are different than gasser), and both front struts. Verified that they looked a lot newer than anything else on the vehicle
(click on any image for larger)
I was bummed by the rust though:
The rig presents as fairly ratty, though straight. PO replaced the original seats with later grey ones; rear seats are coming apart a bit and stained, driver's seat is not too bad other than the rip shown below. Some stenciling on the dash from the PO PO.
PO added a manual switch for the . . . wait for it . . . electric fan (fooled you, eh?). Coolant temp sensor appears new but is bypassed. Manual switch is not fused
Some rubber bits missing (part of window channel on driver's side; window channel coming down on passenger side; RR quarter window has evidence of previous caulking).
On test drive, clutch quite sudden on engagement. Terrible howling noise from drivetrain, unaffected by accel/coast/decel, slight differentiation on left/right turn. Shifts well.
Based on the 1/2 mi. drive, I offered and PO accepted $500. Strapped it to the dolly and drove another six hours north, in bed by 2am. $160 of fuel for the green Aero, 20 MPG down with empty dolly, 15.5 MPG on the way back towing Sentra. Total miles = 625.
Sunday (after sleeping in a long time), and after the usual $20 at the car wash, I found the first major: the rear motor mount is sheared so badly that I can't figure out what is holding the engine in at the firewall side! The upper mount plate, that attaches to the engine, is actually slid underneath the mount in the pics below!
This dropped the whole drivetrain down about 2.5" and that pulled the shifter tube stabilizer forward, destroying its two mounts under the shifter. Shifter mounts $49 from the dealer
, rear engine mount $55 for the motor mount
. My dealer's price is within a buck or two of the online price, so I ordered from the local dealer.
Triage on the oil leak revealed three semi-major leaks, none of which are the oil pan:
- Oil line from block to vacuum pump ($30);
- Oil pressure switch ($12);
- Oil cooler cover o-ring ($7)
All three of those parts added up to about $49 from the dealer; they will arrive tomorrow.
Notice anything amiss with this left wiper pivot?
Another part ordered, ($16
Radiator is not mounted such that the two "pegs" on the bottom of the radiator fit into the rubber grommets. Instead, the radiator is merely hanging from the upper to mounts, and is sitting at an angle, with the lower end nearly touching the alternator! I haven't had a chance to disturb this yet.
Drained the transaxle oil: fur on the magnetic drain plug about normal, no ferrous chunks. Oil condition quite decent, much better than any 720's I've drained. However, when transferring the gear oil from drain pan to container (in the sunshine), much "gold" in the oil.
Ordered four quarts of AMSOil synthetic (of course) GL-4 gear oil. The GL-4 is the preferred oil as it is easier on the yellow metals used in these old manual transmissions. AMSOil MTG
is around $8.50/quart. Installed new gear oil tonight.
The broken rear motor mount also allowed the left inner CV boot metal clamp to contact the lower control arm, wiping the clamp out of existence, letting the boot come off and dust/dirt into the new reman CV.
I pulled the halfshaft off, cleaned up the CV and boot, regreased, installed new clamp.
The best news so far is that the worst of the drivetrain howl is probably this LF inner wheel bearing:
While the right side might also need replacing, this left one was really bad. Surprisingly, only a slight difference in sound when leaning the car left vs. right. Noise differential more pronounced in the shop with the front end up and idling in 4th gear.
I had to really wail on the hub to get it out of the inner bearing inner race, which mushroomed the hub a bit. Some Dremel work cleaned up the hub's ID enough to allow the splined shaft to slip in again.
I took about three hours to remove the hub and wheel brgs from the left, clean up the parts and clean the one CV joint. Another three hours to refit all those parts. I work slow.
Tonight, I dropped out the engine oil (failed threads on drain plug: typical) and had to really work to remove the engine oil filter, as someone used a tool putting it on. Had to give up on strap wrench and go to the puncture-n-pry method. Messy, but effective, and fortunately there is a lot of room on the firewall side of the engine.
Cut off the cracked positive battery cable terminal and replaced.
Found the crankcase depression regulator leaking on the valve cover (oil leak No. 4). I'll try to address that tomorrow. I hope the blowby does not mean I have to live with it.
Made new keys (partial code in glovebox verified by reading the bitting of the key furnished by PO). All the locks work well. Trunk lid is sprung on the forward right edge.
Plans are to install a spare Aero radio (must have NPR on my commute!). Need to buy a new antenna. Missing washer bottle bracket. Trunk release cable is broken. Might try to get a JY windshield, as this one is fairly badly cracked. Got rid of three yellow jacket nests so far. Vacuumed everything out, ran the trunk carpet through the washer. Dome light socket missing.
There's more things on the list, but that list is at work, and it's bedtime . . .
First full tank = 50.7 MPG
Aug08 840 miles, 17.2 gallons = 48+ MPG on petrodiesel.
08Sep08 286 mi. 6.1 gals = 47 MPG on B100 homebrew, all highway miles.