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Posted (edited)

Hi again!

So I posted on the meet n greet page about how I was going to get a 1979 dl wagon. I still haven't gotten it yet because it has taken a while to get the vin information from the seller, who has been in the hospital (he's okay though). In recent updates, my housemate has been super concerned that this car will cost me thousands and thousands of dollars in repairs and I just wanted to run it by y'all to see if anyone had an idea on how much fixing one of these cars up could cost. 

Some background info: 

1) I will be doing all of it myself, no expensive mechanic shop for me

2) the cost of the car right off the bat is 500, pretty cheap I'd say

3) I'm not trying to ~restore~ it. I'm trying to get it drivable. 

And for parts, I know this page sells a lot of stuff so I'm sure that if I needed something my best option would be to look on here first? I will include a pic underneath the hood, so y'all can see what is up with it. Sorry it's not the best picture but it's the only one that I have of this part of the car. 

She is also concerned that I will not be able to get it running well enough to put out on the street in time before my other housemate who lives in the garage gets back at the end of September. It is possible that the engine does start up, the seller is going to see if he can get check on how the engine is doing (or so he said). Does anyone have a good idea about the time frame for fixing one? I'm assuming I will need to do the basic tune up work plus anything else that turns up to not work. 

Any tips would be greatly appreciated, this car is the one for me and I don't want to let it go because my housemates don't believe in me :(

IMG_3648.JPG

Edited by gassy.t

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first impressions, it looks pretty solid, not much cracking on the top of the shock tower rubbers.

no rust at all where the spare tire goes, whats up with that?!?!

looks like the vehicle may have fuel delivery issues, the pump isn't where it's suppose to be, could be dangling underneath?

and it has the not so awesome Hitachi Carb that all these originally came with, i remember the pain to work on that original carb even after rebuilding it.

 

that's all the input i have about it based on this one picture, maybe someone else can see something i don't.

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fairly simple engines minus the PITA carburetor.  if it doesn't start you can almost bet it's the carb or ancient gas. 

fresh oil, verify gas is getting to the carb, clean and adjust the carb if it's worth messing with, and see what you got.

they're fairly simple other than the carb.

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If the body is solid it’s worth getting going. 
 

I agree although I don’t know your skill level , with doing it yourself. For now. And hopefully you’re the only cat this car needs to purr. 
 

Lots of drama about the Hitachi but many are fine to go forward with. There’s several issues that can occur , or not. Best to remove , soak , and using forced air clean it out with no metal , maybe you know this stuff ?? And then a fresh carb kit. They’re around $20ish on eBay. Don’t be afraid to get most any brand. You’re not going to find a factory kit , some may hoard them but virtually don’t see them. They’re pretty much about all the same kit. 

Watch your float level through the sight glass on the drivers side of the carb. You’ll likely need to adjust or at least clean the heck out of the float bowl chamber. 
 

Get a factory service manual. There’s several on eBay now that apply. You can use any of those thick manuals from October 1977 through 79 for sure. They’re all the same animal. Very little to note at all. 

Your 79 is the first year of all States getting electronic ignition. No points ! Enjoy that. 
 

If trouble starting breath and relax. Take note of the alternator and the signal it sends to the voltage regulator and to the fuel pump. That catches lots of folks off guard.

Its all got to be harmonious or it will start and die out in a few seconds. See that happening , read this all again. They recommend replacing the VR and Alt at the same time. But several folks say that doesn’t have to happen. Check each component or have them checked. 
 

No matter how solid or where you live there’s a couple spots to note for debris accumulating and causing rust-into pinhole rot , etc if in worse climate.

One spot is way down under the cowl which sits in front of the front windshield. Take that off and clean up the corners. Use good light from inside and look for pinholes or any holes. 
 

Wheel aprons are notorious in salty road places. Lower firewall too. Pull the lower bolts off the fender tails and rinse out and crap with a hose. Open the front doors and you’ll see. Typical build us spot often causes that lower tail of the fender to rot. And then the body where it mates up at the sill. 
 

Rear - check brake lines , and body generally all around the tank and suspension especially where it bolts to the unibody.
 

Fuse block has a tendency to get super hot , even catch fire on the bottom two fuses , maybe bottom three. Headlight fuses. You’ll read about it.

Shifters rattle - find the bushings , little white polypropylene or similar. Not too easy to find but they’re out there. Hopefully guys are copying those and other parts now. And there’s a sort of Seat bushing on that shifter , for lack of proper name , and that sits on the tranny and takes an effort to do but also worth it if you’re really wanting to get every little itch scratched. Also a seal there atop the trans which leaks so find that. It’s small. Which brings me to the Factory Parts Manual. A few guys like me will have them. I think you may be able to find online. If so , DO IT !! Exploded views are SO helpful. 
 

You’re going to have a blast and show them up ! And way before September. Enjoy ! 

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It looks solid enough and would say that if you want it, then get it! I think the Hitachi carbs catch more flak than they need to. If the float is adjusted and the gaskets are good it should work.. after the varnish has been cleaned out. I've had very few issues with the one on my 1800 motor and it has throttle shaft leaks and vacuum lines capped off and so on so on but you can tune out small issues like that.

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, moosens said:

Get a factory service manual. There’s several on eBay now that apply. You can use any of those thick manuals from October 1977 through 79 for sure. They’re all the same animal. Very little to note at all. 

 

I've been told that I should avoid factory manuals and stick to at-home service ones like Haynes because the factory ones often use tools that are inaccessible for the at-home mechanic. Does this hold true in your opinion for this car? Or should I get both to be safe; they are pretty cheap on eBay and look cool so I wouldn't be opposed to both. And thank you for all the tips! They will definitely save me. 

Edited by gassy.t

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2 hours ago, Subasaurus said:

 

looks like the vehicle may have fuel delivery issues, the pump isn't where it's suppose to be, could be dangling underneath?

 

I don't have enough experience to even know where the pump should be lol, could you point that out? I will probably go up with knowledgable friends to check it out before I purchase it but it is far away so the more info I can get from home the better. Thank you for your help!

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14 hours ago, gassy.t said:

I've been told that I should avoid factory manuals and stick to at-home service ones like Haynes because the factory ones often use tools that are inaccessible for the at-home mechanic. Does this hold true in your opinion for this car? Or should I get both to be safe; they are pretty cheap on eBay and look cool so I wouldn't be opposed to both. And thank you for all the tips! They will definitely save me. 

i would agree on the newer models, but you literally need a $30 tool set from walmart to take this whole vehicle apart.

get a Factory Service manual.

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, gassy.t said:

I've been told that I should avoid factory manuals and stick to at-home service ones like Haynes because the factory ones often use tools that are inaccessible for the at-home mechanic. Does this hold true in your opinion for this car? Or should I get both to be safe; they are pretty cheap on eBay and look cool so I wouldn't be opposed to both. And thank you for all the tips! They will definitely save me. 

No - that’s not what I’d recommend.  Always use Factory Service manuals.  The others are very low grade.  

If there are lengthy procedures or tooling, you figure it out yourself, or ask here and people will tell you which steps you can skip or how to go about without a “special tool”.

”special tool” itself is a red herring that’s ambiguous and mostly meaningless.

 Many of them are simply ways for a dealership shop to streamline processes or save a few minutes. This matters if you’re doing a job 100 times a year - saving 10 minutes would equate to saving 16 hours or two days of work for a mechanic. 

when you’re DIY you don’t care - you spend the extra few minutes, just like you do using a jack and jack stand because you don’t have a lift. 

some special tools are harder to work around than others:
1. Let yourself be creative by asking how you can accomplish the same thing with readily available tools.

2. and ask here.  

There are instances where it’s tricky or something but they’re not hard or impossible. It’s definitely not a show stopper. 

Edited by idosubaru

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Also, has anyone ever tried to or knows about putting a catalytic converter on these and if it's possible?

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You can put a catalytic converter on your oven vent hood if you want. 

buy generic converter. Cut and weld into place. 

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