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Thread: 1978 323 wagon

  1. #1
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    1978 323 wagon

    This is my 323 wagon. Got it for my first car from the shed at my work. It was put in there 10 years ago because something was broken, either gearbox or engine. (Boss can't remember)

    This is where it sat for 10 years...

    It sees the light!

    Sitting inside meant it was reasonably safe from rust, only a little bit in the door due to some dodgy previous repairs.

    Got it towed up to my mates place, where the fun began...
    It had a kill switch installed, but couldnt get it to go, so we bypassed that. Got the engine to turn over, but had no spark. Replaced the coil pack and spark plugs and she started ! It was running very rough though.

    We pulled down the carby and cleaned it out, surprised it ran cause most of the jets were blocked! Installed the clean carby and it was running smooth, but it was very had to get it to turn over. Pulled out the started motor and the head was ruined...

    Put a brand new gear on the starter motor as there was heaps of slip. She was starting really easily after that, but running pretty high revs. Came back yesterday to do some carby tuning and the starter stopped working and so we pulled it out and it is stuffed again, same as before...
    so.. either flywheel is stuffed, the solenoid is not throwing out enough, or the engine isnt turning over properly and it is no good?

    It came with 3 spare engines, and I'm beggining to think this current one might be screwed. Its got a UC in it now and two spare UC's and a TC. Apparently the TC is a better engine, so I was thinking of a swap to that if it isnt too difficult. Probably do a manual conversion at the same time as the engine..


    Picked up this rare console from the wreckers locally (note the underdash A/C and left side mounted headlight stalk)

    Hopefully it will look a bit like this someday (lowered, maybe loose the plastic trim)

    Plan for it at this stage is to get it running and through rego with the stock engine, and possibly go for a 12A down the track. Thinking of chrome dress rings, some whitewalls, and a sunvisor too

  2. #2
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    Nice wagon. I see the Aussie thirst for sunvisors is unquenchable

    It's a pity those door panels succumbed to the dreaded speaker hole cutout, but oh well.

    Love the color, is it original?

  3. #3
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    The sunvisors just add to the style.. plus its pretty bloody hot here alot of the time

    Yeah, shame to ruin the door panels for some crappy speakers and a tape player... I'll be replacing the speakers with some newer ones over the same cutouts short term

    It was originally YR Thunder Yellow, but some panels have been touched up so I'm not sure which bits are new and which bits arent. The bonnet and roof are pretty faded

  4. #4
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    By far the best thing about wagons is the amount of room in the boot...
    Picked up my 3 spare engines the other day and a sunvisor and lobbed them in!


    Using them for the little bits mine is missing/has broken.
    Sits a bit lower in the back now too..


    Picked up some spares from a guy in the city and some more parts from the local wreckers. Got a rust free door, which means it should be pretty much rust free now! Found some chrome dress rings for $10 and another starter motor to fix mine. Hopefully once it is in it should be able to run.

    Found an old NRMA grill badge and put it on..
    And getting it towed home this week hopefully so I'll be able to finish it off asap

  5. #5
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    Got a bit carried away the other day... Looking for rust near the windscreen, and the next minute it looks like this (it was all kinda connected):

    Tiny bit of rust on the bottom of the A-pillar (like 5mm), but the guards and front panels and shell are otherwise rust free. One headlight surround and the chin will need a bit of a straighten at some stage.. Gave some of the faded side of the car a polish too, and it came up shiny like the other side

    Next job is to degas the aircon and pull it out with the engine. I'll be cleaning up and respraying some of the engine bay while its out. I've located a rebuilt engine and gearbox, which will be installed this month hopefully after uni is all done.

  6. #6
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    Aircon is out now no gas in the system made it easy


    Managed to find a NOS Smiths gauge mount gauge.. thinking of a manifold vaccum gauge for the third hole


    Pulled off the black plastic trim, did a quick polish and put a bit of weight in to see how it looks low.. reckon it looks alright


    Engine out next, tacho dash soon hopefully and maybe some wheels?

  7. #7
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    DONT throw the aircon parts away! either aaron hogan or myself will snap them up!

    I think I've seen this on ausrotary.

    TC = revvy engine, early ones had single row timing chains, later ones had double row

    UC = still revvy, bit more torque, usually has emissions junk hanging off it.

    D5 = appeared in the very last flat front 323 wagons. Torque loads on tap but not as revvy as the earlier two engines.

    I'd plonk for a UC motor and a 5spd gearbox if you can find one. Great combination, cheap etc.

    With your starter, make sure you have got the flywheel matched to the starter motor. There are different starters/flywheels depending on which motor you have. I can't remember what matches and what doesnt.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ewokracing
    DONT throw the aircon parts away! either aaron hogan or myself will snap them up!

    I think I've seen this on ausrotary.

    TC = revvy engine, early ones had single row timing chains, later ones had double row

    UC = still revvy, bit more torque, usually has emissions junk hanging off it.

    D5 = appeared in the very last flat front 323 wagons. Torque loads on tap but not as revvy as the earlier two engines.

    I'd plonk for a UC motor and a 5spd gearbox if you can find one. Great combination, cheap etc.

    With your starter, make sure you have got the flywheel matched to the starter motor. There are different starters/flywheels depending on which motor you have. I can't remember what matches and what doesnt.
    Yeah I'm keeping the aircon, just pulled it out for a bit of extra room for the moment.. I'm on ausrotary, but mainly post in the 323 owners thread (not rotary enough for a build thread)

    Found a rebuilt UC and rebuilt auto complete radiator to driveshaft for $500 so that will fix most of the problems I've had so far. Just want to get it driving!

    Do you still have many sets of 4x110 rims?

  9. #9
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    bah! I had a build thread for my 1300, even when it wasn't a rotary. People loved it. Do it.

    I have about 5 or 7 sets. All are 13in apart from 1 set which are 14in.

    I have some replica Hayashis and some replica Enekeis (they are both CSA copies) that I may be persuaded to sell, I probably have some others floating around too.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ewokracing
    bah! I had a build thread for my 1300, even when it wasn't a rotary. People loved it. Do it.

    I have about 5 or 7 sets. All are 13in apart from 1 set which are 14in.

    I have some replica Hayashis and some replica Enekeis (they are both CSA copies) that I may be persuaded to sell, I probably have some others floating around too.
    Cool, let me know what ones you want to sell, widths and offsets..

    Trip to the wreckers yesterday and some new door trims.. Old:

    New:


    Main reason I went was to get some spare front springs to cut down. Got one out with a bit of effort (nearly KO'd myself with the strut top) and of course the second strut had rusted on the top thread and couldnt get it out. Saved my day getting a fully sick twin spoiler setup from a fwd 323 hatch.

    One spoiler I want for a chin spoiler, needs a bit of hacking to size.

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