Over the years, most of the parts I've sourced for the Hako have come from Rubber-Soul.net in Japan. And recently I paid them a bit of a visit when I was in Osaka (more on this story a little later...)
Nobody on their staff speaks English and they don't ship overseas, so I've always ordered my parts through a local. So it was quite a treat to finally go to the treasure-trove of Hakosuka goodness
Needless to say, it's impossible to leave empty-handed
The easiest things to fit when I got back, were the new front indicators. My old ones were in decent shape, the rubber seal had fallen apart, but the handmade one I kludged up in 2007 seemed to be holding. Anyway, it's nice to have new things.
The new ones do seem a lot "brighter" than the old ones (which are resprayed silver inside).
I can't help but feel though...that I've made a "clean spot" in the front end now, and the indicators stand out a mile
Another interesting discovery was that the headlights aren't stock. I think the oem items are Koito sealed beams, but at some point (probably in the 70s) my car got a fancy upgrade to Cibie Iodes, which mean that the bulbs are H4 and replaceable.
Another item picked up at the Autobacs in Japan, were a pair of PIAA Night Techs, so the old H4 bulbs which gave the headlights a blue tinge can now be retired.
I...think...the new one (on the right) is a little brighter?
Another little engine bay detail that has bugged me for years, is the poor state of the brake booster and master cylinder. The MC has been rebuilt, but the reservoir lids were a slightly loose fit, hence the tape to keep them on. The booster also copped a really awesome brush painted finish at some point in the past, which I've been too lazy to rectify...but now is a good time, because I also picked up some parts to rebush the pedal assembly.
The clutch and brake pedals work just fine, but they do have a little side to side play, which makes it feel slightly rickety. Both clutch and brake pedals are attached the same way...the pushrod has a pin which is held in by a C-clip, and at the top the pedal swings on a shaft that is welded onto the bulkhead, and there's a split pin to remove before the pedal can slide off.
New vs old bushes. I'd expected the old bushes to be either ground to dust, or cracked, but they seem fine, if somewhat thinner than the new ones.
The new bushes press on quite firmly and I've put plenty of lithium grease inside.
The brake pedal was a bit more complicated, as there wasn't room to swing the MC pushrod around. Loosening the booster allowed it to slide fwds a bit, which made all the difference though.
Ah yes....that booster does need a lick of paint
Luckily, I'd remembered to pick up a firewall gasket while I was in Japan.
And with the booster repainted and a pair of new reservoir caps, it is better than it was
Another little detail I wanted to take care of, was the finish on the front sway bar, which had a little surface rust and overspray on it. I'd replaced the droplink bushes years ago, but the D-bush is still original. And for some unknown reason, years ago I decided to paint the D-bush brackets silver.
So the swaybar goes away to get sandblasted and powdercoated, and there's a new set of bushes ready to go.
With the radius rods and tie-rods replaced recently, the front end is looking pretty sweet. I think there's just the steering box and idler to rebuild, and then it'll be all-new.
The great thing about visiting a proper resto shop with plenty of stock, is that you pick up little things like this. The proper fasteners for the cowl panel.
So rather than random self tappers, I re-tapped the holes and fitted up the proper bolts.
The big ticket items I was hoping to score in Japan, were a set of exterior door handles, but they seem to be at the point where all the NOS ones are gone, and the repro ones are only just starting to be available. Rubber-Soul didn't have any, and the other thing I wanted, which were the C-pillar vents, were available, but were at unobtanium prices, so I think I'll wait until those are available as a repro.
The other thing that I needed to sort out...was a pinhole leak in the radiator. It was coming from where the fan switch boss was brazed onto the top tank, so out came the radiator and I dropped it off at Alexandria Radiator Services to get sorted, and to get it cleaned out and serviced too.
At first I thought that a service was a bit of overkill, but then the guys reminded me that they built that rad for me 6yrs ago. In my mind, it's still new! But it came back all nice and fresh, and now with an extra thick layer of solder around the fan switch boss.
I'd picked up a repro sticker in Japan, so that went on...
And it goes back in easy as pie. This is a stark contrast to the half-day I am setting aside to swap the radiator in my other car (an FD RX-7)...this rad goes back in in 10mins.
The last job...is to fit the new gearbox mount. I'd renewed the engine mounts quite some months ago, but as far as I knew, the gearbox mount is still original.
...the old mount unbolts easily enough.
And then I support the gearbox with a jack, then unbolt and lower the crossmember.
New vs old...the old one looks to be in good shape. A few of the Hako owners in the US had reported that their mounts had split, but this looks aged and hard, but not in such bad shape.
And in it goes!
Quite a flurry of activity this week...stay tuned for the blog post on the visit to Rubber-Soul