A great report, thank you!
I have also inherited a Pulsar, a 1983 hatchback, bought new by my mother.
Like yours, it was not driven for a few years (it only did about 30,000km in 15 years after mum died) and I got it with 189,000km on the clock - it now has 222,000km.
I will write a report on the measures I have taken on the thing, and the repairs, and will post it soon.
Original Poster Here.
Hello to the previous commentator. I look forward to reading your review. :-)
An update on my Pulsar. One of the problems with having these kinds of cars, is that you don't make much of a presence on the road. People think that you have no power to do anything, and that they can drive over the top of you.
Winter this year, I was at the lights at an intersection. There were three lanes, and I was in the right hand lane going straight ahead. The light was green, with a green arrow to turn right. This idiot in a new black Ford Focus, who was in the middle lane, thought I'd have no power, and tried to cut out in front of me to turn right. The left side of my nose caught him on the driver's door. He bounced off me, getting nasty scratches from there to the rear fender guard. I pulled over, and found that my left hand corner indicator lamp was smashed; that strip of metal under the headlight was thrust outwards, and the fender guard was curled inwards. I pushed and pulled the metal back into place. There is only a small dent there now, and no damage to the paint. The guy who hit me decided not to pursue the matter, because he was at fault, and I could not claim insurance, because the damage was only worth $400, which was under my basic excess. I am privately pleased, because my bumper bar gave him over $1000 worth of panel damage for his trouble! That's what you get for picking on my Datsun!! >:-)
Getting a new indicator was an epic journey. I got some quotes from panel beaters, and they were going to charge me $50 so I thought, "Bugger that! I'll fix it myself." Because the car is old-ish, and I am living in Sydney where most of the cars are post-2000 models, parts can be hard to get. I picked out an area that claimed to be Datsun-Japanese car wreckers, and drove 30 km out west of Sydney. Had a bit of a shock on the way, because some massive rock hit the bonnet, then the windscreen. Only got a tiny, tiny dent on the bonnet. These morons made it hard for me to get to the freeway exit, so I found myself speeding at 130 km/h to overtake them. I didn't realise I was going this fast until I looked at the speedo, but I have been told that my rear wheel bearings and shock absorbers are due for replacement because its backside started to jump up and down. I swear the car wanted to become airborne if I pushed it a little faster! This offended a BA Ford Falcon driver, who overtook me later to prove a point.
So I found myself just outside of Liverpool, on a stretch of road with three wreckers side by side. I systematically asked them for the part. The blokes laughed at me and said, "You know those N12 Pulsars are getting old now? We are even running short of N13 parts." The last guy asked me to try this Japanese wreckers a few blocks away.
I drove over there, and saw that he had Mazdas from the 70's and Datsuns in his yard. I thought that might be promising. I uncovered him from his ramshackle shed, and he told me that I had a late model N12 Pulsar. He had the grille and headlight assembly for the earlier generation N12, and that I could change it to that. He said that someone else was chasing the same part the other day. He then recommended another wrecker down the road, and I thanked him for his help.
So I pulled into this place that claimed to be a specialist in European and Japanese parts. There were six middle-aged blokes hanging around there. Five of them were bald, and the sixth guy had a long unkempt grey mane of hair down to his waist. He was wrestling this bald Indian guy with a salt and pepper mustache. The bloke with the wizard's hair started to throw empty engine oil bottles at him while a third bald white guy egged them on. Anyway, I asked the man in charge for the part. He had a look at my beast with some kind of amused look on his face, then disappeared into his massive cave of a shed with a torch. Lo and behold, he actually had what I was after!!! :-D A couple of screws, a plug and $20 later, I had fixed the issue myself.
After the crash, I have noticed that the car has a new rattle to it, especially when the engine is cold. I think it is the air filter coming a bit loose, but that's a very minor thing. As time has gone on, I have also observed that the car appears to have "settled" and it rattles and vibrates a lot less. It seems to enjoy being driven a bit rough (like getting up to 60 km/hr in under 5 seconds), because this appears to make it happier to start first thing in the morning the next day.
I have also learned a trick with getting into reverse gear. One day I was trying to reverse park (because that is less stressful than reversing into oncoming traffic when I want to leave). I was sitting there in the middle of the road with some Commodore driver waiting. I tried to get it into reverse six times, and it would not co-operate. I then pumped the clutch and tried again. That was when it worked. I know what to do now. :-)
I have also noticed that the speedometer has gone a bit funny. It often does not work in the 1st and 2nd gears. I am not sure why that is. If I rev it hard in 2nd gear at 40 km/hr, it will work. It does kick into action when you drop it into 3rd though. I don't know whether I should get that checked out. That will cost money. I had a passenger with a GPS mobile phone, and it appears that the speedo is indicating that I'm going 10 km/hr slower than I am in reality. I think that's common in Datsuns though.