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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Purchased this bad boy today, stoked.

1985 SD33t with a casual 580,000km. Engine was rebuilt about 70,000km ago. Bit of rust in the roof, but not too bad everywhere else.

She is going to be a slow rebuild project, can't wait to get started. Will do updates as I go and post some more pics when I pick her up tomorrow.


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· Rust is just natural weight reduction.
1986 SD33T SWB
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Glad to see it'll become a project rather than a parts car. Looked pretty decent aside from the roof.
The roof did look pretty bad though in the pics I saw of it for sale. Hopefully someone near you is wrecking and MQ/GQ with a decent roof if you need to cut some patch panels.

Aside from that, nice pick up, don't see too many of them around anynore.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeh the roof certainly isn't great, and the doors too but at least I can swap those for some clean GQ ones. Roof I'm not sure which way I'll go yet, guess I'll make that call when I strip it back.

I couldn't resist getting her, my parents had one when I was about 8 years old and I have lots of great memories running around in the the third row.

Already found a few dodgy things that have been done to her and even though the engine has been reconditioned at one stage, I've decided I'm going to strip that down and give her a new lease on life too.

Now to find the time...
 

· Rust is just natural weight reduction.
1986 SD33T SWB
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11,505 Posts
Yeh the roof certainly isn't great, and the doors too but at least I can swap those for some clean GQ ones. Roof I'm not sure which way I'll go yet, guess I'll make that call when I strip it back.

I couldn't resist getting her, my parents had one when I was about 8 years old and I have lots of great memories running around in the the third row.

Already found a few dodgy things that have been done to her and even though the engine has been reconditioned at one stage, I've decided I'm going to strip that down and give her a new lease on life too.

Now to find the time...
Roof usually rusts from the inside out, but if its had paint issues or a roof rack on it or whatever it may have rusted from the outside in which is the lesser of two evils.

If you do tear into the engine, use only Nissan gaskets where possible. If you have the means, checking for excessive blow by, excessive oil + water leakage/consumption, cylinder compression and pulling the sump off to check condition of bottom end bearings is enough to check if it warrants a rebuild or not. But if its running alright, I'd leave it for now.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well today I got the grinder out to clear some bog and check the roof rust to make sure it's repairable, I have already decided if I cant fix the roof I would likely try to find another body for 6months and if I didn't have any luck I would wreck her, something I really want to avoid.

So far the passenger side looks salvageable, the out shell and middle section have some bad spots, but most I can cut out and weld in new sections. As is typical, it has rusted at the spot welds and joins. Luckily the inner shell has nothing more than a couple spots of surface rust. Fingers crossed the other side is similar, but it does look a tad worse from the outside.

So far I will need to replace both front outer guards, and probably doors too as they are rusted badly at the hinges. I know that GQ front doors fit, does anyone know if the guards and rear doors fit from a GQ?

Chassis looks great, hardly any rust besides some minor surface stuff. She has had a pretty bad oil leak from the oil filter housing which coated pretty much the entire underbody. Degreased all that and still happy with how she looks underneath.

Also found the glow plug timer is no longer there and the relay is cactus (plus a **** load of other dodgy wiring), for a temporary measure I chucked in an isolator between the + and - for the glow plug connection so I can flick it on for 30seconds if I have to move her.
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· Rust is just natural weight reduction.
1986 SD33T SWB
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Well today I got the grinder out to clear some bog and check the roof rust to make sure it's repairable, I have already decided if I cant fix the roof I would likely try to find another body for 6months and if I didn't have any luck I would wreck her, something I really want to avoid.

So far the passenger side looks salvageable, the out shell and middle section have some bad spots, but most I can cut out and weld in new sections. As is typical, it has rusted at the spot welds and joins. Luckily the inner shell has nothing more than a couple spots of surface rust. Fingers crossed the other side is similar, but it does look a tad worse from the outside.

So far I will need to replace both front outer guards, and probably doors too as they are rusted badly at the hinges. I know that GQ front doors fit, does anyone know if the guards and rear doors fit from a GQ?

Chassis looks great, hardly any rust besides some minor surface stuff. She has had a pretty bad oil leak from the oil filter housing which coated pretty much the entire underbody. Degreased all that and still happy with how she looks underneath.

Also found the glow plug timer is no longer there and the relay is cactus (plus a **** load of other dodgy wiring), for a temporary measure I chucked in an isolator between the + and - for the glow plug connection so I can flick it on for 30seconds if I have to move her.
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GQ roof is the same as MQ/MK, so if you wanted to welding in patch panels is going to be too much work, a gutter or full roof replacement would work with easier to find parts.

GQ front doors are bolt on, could even use the 1/4 vent frame if you were so inclined as the mounts are still there in GQ doors.. Rear doors will bolt on, but the panel fitment needs work from memory. I think @Johan Safari did it?
GQ leafy guards are identical to MQ/MK. GQ coil guards will bolt on, but they are not a good match to MQ/MK body. Need to change front grille, wiring to indicator/parker lights and they look mismatched.

Given the bodies are terrible, the MQ/MK chassis is usually pretty good for rust, at least here in Australia. If its done some beach work a blast from a hose/pressure washer and penetrol/cavity wax/whatever sealant that dries hard will help ensure future longevity.
 
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I have GQ rear doors, but the arch over the rear wheel is way different leaving a gap in the bottom back corner... Well, I cut that missing corner piece off the old MQ door and tac it to the same place on the GQ door. You have to look close to spot it, only since it was kind of a rushed job. If you take your time, you can hide it. Just make sure you rust protect the new welded in piece before you paint. Take your time bud welding the new piece.... Any heat will distort the outer door skin.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have GQ rear doors, but the arch over the rear wheel is way different leaving a gap in the bottom back corner... Well, I cut that missing corner piece off the old MQ door and tac it to the same place on the GQ door. You have to look close to spot it, only since it was kind of a rushed job. If you take your time, you can hide it. Just make sure you rust protect the new welded in piece before you paint. Take your time bud welding the new piece.... Any heat will distort the outer door skin.
Thanks, that will help a lot. Been digging into her lately to find all the rust and the rear doors are caput too just like the fronts, so GQ doors will be the go
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Getting some shape into the new gutters.. slow progress but I'm confident all the rust from the roof is gone, was luckily able to save the rear gutter. Big test will be when I put the skin back on, hopefully this week


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· Rust is just natural weight reduction.
1986 SD33T SWB
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Nice work mate, making some good progress on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Picked up this bad boy for parts. 109k km on the clock. Looks like the crank went on it as per the hole in the sump.. sat in the farmers property since that day some 25 years ago. Body is shagged, chassis has bulk rust.

But I grabbed her for the second engine that came with it, another SD33t in fairly good condition by all accounts and what I could check. Pulled the hubs off and the axles are still greased like new, so I need to compare diff ratios to see if a swap would work.

The wagon is coming along, I'll upload some pics one day haha
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· Rust is just natural weight reduction.
1986 SD33T SWB
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It'll have a build plate in the engine bay. Being a turbo it'll most likely have HG43.
If not: HG=C200/H233, HH=C200/H260, and 41,43,46,48= 4.11, 4.375, 4.625, 4.88 ratio respectively.

Nice pickup with only 109k, the driveline should still be good.
I could have given those doors and that bonnet a good home too if you weren't on the other side of the country...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks mate. She is actually N/A and the old farmer was going to put the turbo engine in years ago, he couldn't remember exactly but reckons the turbo engine only had around 200k km on it too.

Just checked and she has HH48 on her so that gives me something to work with. At least the front axles will work. Not sure if it would be worth chucking the bigger diff in. I'll see how everything would line up, drive shafts and all that jazz and do some rev calculations to see how she would go with 4.88s, probably not great on the highway, although bigger tyres might make it work....
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So it turns out the gearbox is a 5spd, he was sure it was 4spd and I didn't check until just now. If the mounts for the chassis to diffs etc are the same, in theory, I should be able to use the 5spd, shafts transfer and diffs from the ute given they have so little kms compared to my wagon with 600k odd.

Any reason anyone can think of why it wouldn't work?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
just worked out the RPM on a handy website and this is how it would look first one is 265/75/16 with 4.375 diffs (current) VS 285/75/16 with 4.88

Where does everyone else RPM sit at 100km with the SD33t?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well I measured up the diff today and strangly it's the same size that's in mine, length, width, height. They both have 9 bolts too. Both don't seem massive compared to the front so I'm wondering if the rear has been swapped or possibly the compliance plate. Guess I'll have to pull the centre to see
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Pulled the front axles and diff, 37:8 stamped ok it so it seems they a 4.6s. Diff oil came out like it was new

Nissan did a lot of mix and matching.

I'll keep the convo going with myself :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:
 

· Rust is just natural weight reduction.
1986 SD33T SWB
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I suppose the diffs have been changed since build plate is HH48, but it has 4.6's, and a 9 bolt rear end would be H233.

Since it has H233 rear diff SD and 5 spd, all drive line components will bolt straight into your wagon. H260 stuff would have too as long as you had the correct driveshaft.
As far as mounts go, utes and wagons are the same, wheelbase and chassis rail width is identical.

I have 4.375 diffs and 285/75R16 tyres, so roughly [email protected]/h. It's pretty happy there and at 110km/h, I have a bit more fuel and boost in it not that it really uses that often while cruising on freeways.
 

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MK Wagon, and an SD33T in pieces...
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I suppose the diffs have been changed since build plate is HH48, but it has 4.6's, and a 9 bolt rear end would be H233.

Since it has H233 rear diff SD and 5 spd, all drive line components will bolt straight into your wagon. H260 stuff would have too as long as you had the correct driveshaft.
As far as mounts go, utes and wagons are the same, wheelbase and chassis rail width is identical.

I have 4.375 diffs and 285/75R16 tyres, so roughly [email protected]/h. It's pretty happy there and at 110km/h, I have a bit more fuel and boost in it not that it really uses that often while cruising on freeways.
My diff gear/tire size is the same size as yours then, it does seem pretty happy at that RPM, and I was reading something the other day on a TD thread about not wanting engines with a mechanical injector pump sitting below about 2000rpm on the highway because of how much power the IP sucks out of the motor vs how efficiently it's working, or something like that.
On the other hand, the soon-to-be farm ute that we've got has 4.6 gears, h260 rear (seems original, not a centre swap like mine), and running 33's for an hours drive down to Brisbane to pick up this engine crane and another hour back it seemed pretty good too. There's no intercooler or EGT gauge on it yet though so who knows what was going on inside temp-wise.

@tisch one of the long-gone members of the forum, Landy, who did a lot of good work with the SD33T, favoured 4.6 gears with 35's as just about the perfect gearing from what I've read. So depending on what tire size you're planning to run, 33's with 4.3's or 35's with 4.6's would be just about right.
Obviously depends what the car will be used for though, if it's just around town it'll feel peppier on the 4.6's.
Food for thought.
 
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