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521/S13 Hybrid Build

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My original plans were to build a Datsun 620, and while my search for one local failed, i stumbled across a deal that i just couldnt refuse.


I spend a lot of time at my wife's nephew's automotive shop. Working on my cars and utilizing the lifts and tools that i dont have at home.


While sitting around talking about my plans for the new build, a friend (local fabricator and neighboring shop) mentioned that he happened to have an old Datsun out in front of his shop. And that if i was willing to haul it off, it was mine! as in FREE!!!!


So we walked a whole 15ft to find a 71 521 sitting under a Car Cover. Never knew this had been sitting there for the past months.




It was an abandoned project. Previous owners plan was to body drop and bag this little rust bucket. Floors and bed were cut and dropped 6" and most of the drivetrain, glass and interior were all removed (and missing).



As i began to search for the parts that were missing, i quickly realized that i would be better off finding a complete truck. And with the help of Ratsun's classifieds, i came across James (the510keeper) who happened to have a package deal - (2)-521's (well, one is a 520)


So we loaded up the trailer:




And headed to Northern California! Way North to pick up these two.




And after a 1050mile / 19hr round-trip, these little beauties are sitting in the driveway!






Now the story goes back 2-weeks to the real start of it all. And thats when i decided on the drivetrain and suspension setup for the Datsun.


Between my connections for parts, and in-depth knowledge about the platform, I decided to "upgrade" the Datsun with just about EVERYTHING from a Nissan 240sx. A 93 to be exact, so that i could take advantage of the DOHC and stay ODB1.


And a quick search on Craiglist landed me EXACTLY what i was looking for (minus the 5spd). A wrecked 93 240sx




And all the way leading up to finding the actual Datsun, i spent the time stripping down this piece of crap, and basically robbing it of just about every component.







My plan is to use just about all of it on the 521.




Front Crossmember

Power Steering

Disc Brakes



Wiring Harnesses



Back Seat

Steering Column

etc . . .


Every part will be either refurbished or replaced with an aftermarket upgrade. About the only thing original on the 521 is the body, glass, door handles and frame (with some modification)




Now that i have (3) Datsun's to chose from, ive been able to rumage through and piece together (2) complete trucks.


The frame, hood and fenders from the original "rust bucket" will be used for my build. These items will be used to complete the green 521 that has a perfect cab & glass. The green 521 was missing a bed, and that was also found here on Ratsun and picked up in Napa Valley on our way back after loading the trucks.


The tan 520 that sits just needing a rebuilt carburetor will most likely go to the fabricator. He has interest in take it in trade for the custom work i need to mount the subframes and build out the coilover towers. He will also keep (take back) the rust buckets cab and bed, as he might have plans for some body choping and body dropping a little further down the road.



Ive already started with the dissasembly of the rust bucket, to get the frame prepped and ready for the new suspension.




First i pulled the bed and cab.




Then i cut and dropped the front suspension components




Then onto cleaning up the front of portion of the frame




And notching and test fitting the 240sx front crossmember




Next i dropped the rear suspension, cut out all of the wiring, fuel and brake lines, and grinded down or cut all of the un-needed tabs and brackets.


The frame was then taken down to Diamond Custom Powdercoating and Sandblasting here in Canoga Park, CA.


And here it now sits.





The frame will be off to the fabricator within the week. Along with the front crossmember, rear subframe and new coilovers.


We will use the extra frame and a pair of strut-tower bars to get all of our dimensions needed. And then the cutting and choping begins!!!


In the meantime (and while i have room in the garage at home), ill then start on prepping the cab and bed for paint.


Already i have started to strip the cab of the lights, trim, handles, glass, etc . . . . and each of these items will be cleaned up, painted or replaced.



Ill be posting up some pics of the items ive already purchased, and those that ive already started to refurbish here in the next day or two.


Enjoy the build!



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There are 3 guys that i definitely need to thank and give credit to. Without these guys, I would not be able to tackle such an agressive build.


Sean at Empire Fabrications - http://www.facebook.com/?ref=hp#!/pages/Empire-Fabrication/136119443102249


Sean will not only be the main guy handling the custom suspension & frame work, but he was also the one who got me started with the old rust bucket. Sean was also cool enough to lend me that big ass trailer!


Dave at Dave's Motor Works - http://www.davesmotorworks.com/


My wife's nephew and close friend of mine. Without the use of his shop, and his help with the trans/engine rebuild, id still be layed out on my garage floor!


Dave at Dave's Garage - http://www.davesgarage-hotrodshop.com/


Dave is the man! He happens to own and operate the Hot-Rod shop just across and next to both Dave and Sean. He was cool enough to offer to drive up north with me, and will be helping me with all of the plumbing thats required. Fuel & brake lines, pedals, fuel cell, etc . . .

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As i mentioned. Everything that i plan to reuse from either the 240sx or the 521 will be degreased and painted before its installed.


And a number of other parts will simply be upgraded with some aftermarket goodies!


Here is some of the parts restoration i have going on:


Old dirty Brake Calipers




Degreased and freshly painted high-temp silver




Spindles and hubs from the 240sx given a fresh Satin Black coat




Rusted out headlight buckets, and pitted & dulled out rings and covers




Some prep and fresh paint




And since i stripped down the KA24DE for new gaskets and timing kit, i degreased and cleaned up all the accesssories




And a few of the items ill be reusing from the Datsun got some fresh paint as well






And now for some of the NEW items ive purchased:


Some EURO styling




Some British Imports Inspiration




Ive seen "JDM" mirrors going for rediculous prices like $178. These were ordered from a British roadster restoration company. $14.95 ea!!!



Brand New motor and trans mounts





And a JDM Metallic Silver steering wheel to close out my update!



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Been a slow week. But i have a few updates.


Frame was dropped off at the Fabricator. That makes room in the garage for me to start on the bed & cab.


Need to start with pulling the doors, glass and dash out of the cab. stripping everything down and getting it all preped for some primer and some body work.


Same will go for the bed, which desperately needs a good sanding and some dings attended to.


Ive decied to do all the body and paint myself, once again. Though i told myself that i would NEVER paint another car in garage, I didnt say anything about a TRUCK!




In the meantime, ive ordered some more goodies for the motor, and got most of the accessories freshened up for the rebuild. Compression was perfect, so its just going to get some fresh gaskets, seals, paint and a little weight reduction. No heater or smog is needed, so ive already stripped the intake manifold down to the bare essentials.


Picture of the upper/lower intake manifolds. All stripped down, degreased and painted. I even swapped the upper intake manifold for one from an S14 (95+) which eliminates the butterfly valves and some unnecessary vaccum lines.




I also capped off the heater coolant lines, and blocked off the EGR.



Next is a pic of Brand New goodies!


Timing kit, full gasket kit, water pump, distributor cap, rotor, plug wires, spark plugs, oil filter, thermostat, belts and even a hardware kit for some fresh bolts/nuts






Oh, and i did finish degreasing the 5-spd and putting a fresh coat onto it as well:



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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, the day job has been keeping me pretty busy lately. So havent had much time to work on the build.


Frame is at the fabricator, and he too is backed up with current projects and builds.


So while i wait for progress on the frame and suspension, i have been putting some time into getting the KA25DE re-assembled.




And i did order a few more goodies, for when i start assembly.


Radiator, Shroud and Fan




Fuel cell & Optima Redtop



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