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So I bought a '67 520 a few weeks ago and absolutely love it despite it's pitiful 67 hp and 78 mph top speed. That said, I'm having some trouble figuring out which direction I'd like to take things...


On one hand, I have an almost completely original truck, down to the original manuals, service receipts from 1967, etc. There's only 2 spots that are rusted through on the body (behind the front wheel on both sides), and a small hole in the hood. Otherwise I have almost everything I need (including a ton of elbow grease) to bring this thing damn close to OE. And since the 520's are pretty rare, it almost seems like I should try to keep this thing as original as possible (which, based on what I can tell, becomes an absolute nightmare of an obsession).


But of course, there's the other hand to consider...


I wanted an old Datsun truck so I could take advantage of a friend's connection on a SR20DET and his offer to help wedge it in (he's put together a few small block Z cars). What could be more fun, I thought, than a work truck that hauls ass? Is it overkill? Hell yes. But if I'm going do an engine swap, I'm going to do it right...


The plan was (is) to keep it relatively mellow - primer black, not slammed (this is a camping/mountain biking/home depot truck, after all) and as far as the DET goes, fundamentally stock (I doubt I'll need much more). Oh, and a Ford rear end. Can you say sleeper? Obviously this approach will take a bit of elbow grease also, but the end goal is to have a cool old Datsun truck with a modern, reliable, efficient and, oh yeah, fast engine.


So even though I'll end up doing whatever feels right when its time, I thought I'd open my struggle up for the forum to chime in on... I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Also, I'll upload some pictures tomorrow... server doesn't like me tonight...

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Seems like you already had/have plans that contradict a 'resto' project. Not to mention restoration is much harder than custom given rarity issues. If you actually use it like you plan to (work/camping), 'resto' might be the bad way to go. Youll either end up deciding not to use it for that, or risk harming your investment.


I felt for mine, custom is gonna be way more fun than resto.

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Here's a thought: A completely restored 67 520 pickup will NEVER be worth much. A completely customized 67 520 pickup will also NEVER be worth much. Basically it comes down to function. It's one heck of a lot easier to update and modify than it is to find the original equipment. If you're more about the process than using the result, then complete restoration is for you. Mad props to those guys who paint bolt heads and turn each one exactly, but it's sure not the way I'd go. I like to use what I modify and bring back to life.


First thing I'd ditch is the drum brakes. Next thing I'd ditch is the stock 210 head. F that low flow bastard, throw it in the scrap pile, put on a decent A87 head or something, get some hp out of the L. Unless that had the J13 motor? Can't remember? If it did, I'd find an L and stick it in there. Much easier to build. Parts, bearings, etc. can still be found quite easily.

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Sleeper. I vote for the SR as well, but i'm baised (installing one in my 521 as we speak.) There are a couple guys on here that have good build threads for 521 SR installs. Check them out.



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I vote for sleeper too. It doesn't sound like you are talking radical body mods like chopping or channeling. So as long as you don't go crazy, and you stuff the original stuff in a shed, it could prolly be put back to stock.


I imagine a well done 520 sr would be worth more than a stock one. It would be to me. I know there are guys who sold hemi cudas for pennies that are now worth a fortune, but I don't know if that will happen to our dattos.


Somewhere on Ratsun is a thread with about the most beautiful 520 restore I've ever seen. I remember even they had a hard time selling it. When dattos start getting above 5k, there are alot of other options out there. At 10k there a ton more options, and the few that try to sell for 20k+ seem to take a very very long time to sell.


You bought it to love it and trick it out, and that is what you should do. It is one of the freedoms of having a Datsun. Originality is frigging cool, but it is a Datsun, have a blast with it!

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I would vote for original... Not enough around. Everyone has tried at some point to hack these up but an original, that is rare. If you want to customize one you can find an engineless shell in decent shape for 4-500... my 2 cents

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I'm going to have to agree with sdsurf.

Why take a complete original 520 still intacked and convert it to new updated componets when there is probalay a 520 out there thats been stripped of it original parts that would be a better canidate for a sleeper project.

The 520's are hard to find and are RARE to find like what you got.

That rust use to be metal at one time so all you got to do is replace it with new metal.

my vote is to keep it stock, being here on Ratsun there is going to be someone thats going to be able to help you out on finding parts for the 520, when you get done fixing it, you could always sell it and find another 520 to make a sleeper.

I hope your server is in a better mood today so we can see themz pic's and Welcome aboard to Ratsun.

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HRH pretty much said what I was thinking. Do the brakes, keep it clean, stock looking... maybe some 7' wide steel wheels painted with stock hub caps. If I had a quick engine, I would want to get the power on the ground. :)




...but I'll add that the sr is a waste of money.

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Thanks for all the feedback guys! I'm still not 100% sure what I'm going to do (leaning towards the sleeper), but I'm going to keep working on the body and interior (and driving it...) while I'm figuring it out... I also have another car that needs to go before I can go full-speed-ahead on the Rat, so time isn't exactly of the essence here...


And provided I take the sleeper route, I'm with the comments regarding upgrading the suspension and getting some wider wheels (I really dig the chevy truck ralleye wheels... anybody welded mounts for the Rat hubs yet?). I don't know that I'd be keeping everything to take it back to original though - I already have a full Tii suspension (ordering the camber plates soon!!!) and interior taking up my shed and I'm not sure I want a J13 with tranny and rear-end cluttering up my space for another 10 years... Plus, if I want to do the DET, I'm gonna have to cut the tranny hump and once I do that, there's fundamentally no going back...


Anyway, without further ado, here's the truck.

520 - drivers front.jpg

520 - drivers side.jpg

520 - passenger front.jpg

z seats.jpg

Some 300z seats I'm going to put in...

green tailgate.jpg

My new crappy green tailgate... better than nothing I told myself...


It's certainly going to require some sandblasting and a bit of body work, but everything seems to be intact where it matters... a bit of new metal on the front quarters and she's pretty much straight...

Edited by dibo
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did the 520's have backup lights, I've never have seen that before but I haven't seen alot of them around either.

I know of one locally so I guess I'll have to swing by and see if theirs got them.

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First, I want to take note that I am, in fact, listening to the advice to keep it stock'ish and am still very much considering that, but the reality is that even if I don't do a DET, I'll probably want more power out of this truck one way or another and the J13 simply doesn't give many options... and as much as I like collecting vehicles, my next will probably be something much lower and less practical ;-) A Fairlady or E30 convertible perhaps?? Long story short (not my strong point), if I'm going to stick a new engine in a Datsun truck, it's probably going to be this one...


Anyway, I know there's a few relatively well-documented DET swaps into the 521, but I have yet to find one for the 520 and my understanding is that the 520's engine bay is a bit smaller... can anyone confirm or deny this?


I'm also of the impression that most of the complications with the 521 weren't frame/engine bay clearance-related so much as they were dealing with the steering rack/column/etc (some manifold/exhaust issues to work around too), so even if there's less space to work with, it may not create any HUGE headaches since I'd have to get around the steering hardware issues anyway... that's all speculation though...

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WEll, atleast get rid of that flogging rear bumper first thing.


HA! Yeah, that thing's gotta go... I'd love to get my hands on some bumperettes, but those don't seem particularly easy or cheap to come by (ie: I'll spend as much on them as I spent on the truck...). Any suggestion as to less-hideous bumpers I might be able to get to fit? I'm not concerned that they're correct, or even Datsun bumpers for that matter... just something to get me by until I find the originals.

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This is what happened to me... I bought my truck and had/have huge plans for it. Bagged, body dropped, paint, interior, fully restored engine, absolutely perfect show truck... Bad idea. I've owned the truck for 7 or 8 months now and i regret everyday stripping it down to start the project. I should have taken it one step at a time because now i really want to drive it.


My .02: stick an L16 in it with a 5 speed, cheap, a little more power and good gears for highway. Webber carb for a little more power and clean it up as you go along. I really dont know you but i've seen a lot of clean vehicles get scrapped because the owner got sick of working on it or it became a huge money pit. I almost called it quits on mine because i kept hitting dead ends on parts.


Just have fun with it. Its only a datsun. :)

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