You may know I'm a sucker for an old Japanese pickup, when my friend had a Mazda B series to dispose of
I couldn't resist it. This B2500 pick up was parked in the corner of a retired builder's yard, it wouldn't start and hadn't moved for 6 months. Naturally I agreed to buy the Mazda from Karl, and I set about trying to get it going.
The Mazda's battery was well down on power, so I jumped it from our Hilux, the engine turned over but wouldn't fire up. There was a spray can on the dashboard which the builders had used when starting the truck, but there was no life even when squirting this into the air cleaner.
When under the bonnet I noted a new radiator, the oil was dirty but full up, and there were several cable ties holding things together, but the little truck had been looked after.
As this was a diesel engine my first thought was faulty heater plugs, which on a diesel unit need to be in good order to fire up the diesel fuel.
I left the truck alone after a while, pushed it out of its corner, hitched up the Hilux and towed it to our yard.
That evening I looked on Youtube and found how to test heater plugs,
testing the plugs next morning confirmed they were not working.
A call to the local motor factors secured a set of NGK
heater plugs. I went to pick these up, they weren't expensive,
I removed the old set and fitted the new ones with some copper grease
on the threads, then fitted the power rail which joins them all up.
I turned the key and watched the dash light glow, when this went out I turned
the starter and the engine fired first turn. Success!
These are the old removed heater plugs, when they look like
this it means they aren't getting hot.
Good heat will burn the carbon off and keep the tip clean.
The Mazda / Ford diesel engine is an unusual 12 valve unit, non turbo
in this B2500. It is a smooth and torquey engine, durable too.
With the Mazda safely at my yard, with the battery charged and the engine now starting easily, my thoughts turned to the cab interior.
This was particularly messy, the proper term would be shit high with crap. The seats were very worn, but the main feature was all the screws and fittings stuffed in every orifice.
I turfed it all out, seats, carpets, door linings and trim were shagged, everything went in the bin, I saved boxes of woodscrews but I'll never use them all. The cab structure was sound however and with everything removed it cleaned up well.
By a very happy coincidence, a Mazda pick up was being scrapped for its chassis and turbo engine by an
Ebay advertiser not 5 miles from my house. I was round there like a shot and bought as much as I could.
The back box had already been sold, but I bought most of the rest.
With the Hilux loaded up I headed back to the yard.
There's gold in them thar golden Mazdas!
With the new interior installed and a new few light bulbs fitted, I took the truck for a MOT. I didn't expect it to pass
but Steve would tell me what was wrong. The main problem was rust, corrosion on the chassis and
under the rear body, and surprisingly no headlights. These were working when I left the yard officer!
So back to the yard and whip the body off.
I've done this job before, it's just undoing 8 bolts and lifting the body off with the engine crane,
then driving the truck out from underneath.
The fuel filler and rear lights must be disconnected of course, but the main problem is the 8 securing bolts being rusted in.
If you can squirt them all with WD a few days ahead, that's a good thing. Luckily all the bolts came loose with
help from my strong bar and scaffold tube, this can shear off the mountings or the bolt heads, but it was ok here.
With the body off, I could see what Steve saw on his ramp, quite bad corrosion.
So I cleaned it up, and a few other places too, I made card patterns and cut repair plates from 18 gauge
steel. I turned up the welder power and tacked the pieces on. It's nice to do a good power welding job,
rather than the low power delicate Integrale work, where you are afraid of blowing through the thin steel.
When the chassis was all welded up, I squirted old engine oil down the inside, Dinitrolled and painted the outside,
and turned my thoughts to the body.
The happy little truck pulled its own body
into an upright position, with some help from the boys at the yard, and I set about repairing the MOT reported
2 corroded outriggers.
I had a length of channel, as usual saved from a skip,
which I bolted through the body floor, it was too rusty to weld to underneath. I used 4 lengths of stud iron,
welded the bolt heads on and cut off the ends.
There was some metalwork to do on the lower outer body panels, I did that when the body was refitted.
After some flap disc rust removal and Dinitrol treatment,
I primed the previously repainted side of the body,
and some selected other areas.
I had obtained the correct metallic blue basecoat
and clear lacquer, with lovely weather
I gave the truck a good afternoon seeing to.
I have known this truck for many years, it lived a few doors down from our yard. I've seen it
struggling with heavy loads all over our town and beyond. It's been owned by the same
building company all its life. The Mazda has now clocked up over 200,000 miles, but still starts
and drives in a happy willing way.
I wanted to preserve the hand written signwriting, which was only left on one side, and still just about visible
on the tailgate. It shows the Mazda has been a hard working business truck which deserves a restful retirement.