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My ratty 521


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Picked up a '71 521 from my dad for $400. I guess I technically got it for free. I did some work for him in his shop but he never wrote me a check and he wanted to get rid of the Datsun. He's probably smiling now, seeing how I've had so much grief with this project. :P


Here are some pictures of it sitting in the parking lot.










Rust hole in drivers floor and on the bottom front corner of the doors. The old headless L16 is rusted solid. Last time it was registered was '96


So I started to strip it down. My budget is basically my "Z stash" plus the money I earned while working at the local tracks; about $2500. Since I'm posting this nearing the end of the project, I can say I already know I will be over by at least $100. The plan was to take this truck and sell my '98 Honda Civic. Things are slow dying on the Civic and I know eventually something will go that I won't be able to fix myself... I say this because my mom and friends just automatically say "Why are you getting THAT? Why not sell the Honda and get a new car?" My answer is because with this plan it's basically a trade one car for the other. If I get a new car then cool, I have something new and reliable for a few years, but I'm broke.





I can't fit my legs under the steering wheel with the old bench seat so I took that out. Dad supplied me with parts that he has had for years that never sold. I claimed the old MG seats. Sure they're torn, I'll get some seat covers from the auto store. The contour of the floor in the truck is kind of funky so I jumped in the dumpster and snagged some steel bracket looking metal. About 1.5" wide, I bolted it to the inside of the seat (tranny tunnel side) and the door side rail will bolt to the stock location. It was better this way because I have the longer 5 speed so the shift lever would be close enough for anal ramification if someone sat in the middle.



After stripping everything. I applied some rust treatment. Cut out the rust hole and welded in a steel plate that I hobbled with a hammer so it resembles the stock look... close enough. I removed any padding/dash cover crap from the metal dash. Since the door panels are just rectangles I cut some sheet metal out and drilled holes for the window/door crank. One of Dad's customers gave us 2 gallons of NICE aircraft grade paint so Dad let me use one. I painted everything black... lol Engine bay, interior, dash, door panels. "Boy this stuff sure does spray nicely!" Dad just replies "Yah, I'm sure, for $200 a gallon". :D



In the meantime I had bought an L20 with a 5 speed off of Craigslist for $200. Sent it to the machine shop to bore it out 1mm because those were the cheapest pistons I could find on ebay. Crank polished out std/std. This is where the fun starts because I didn't realize there were two different length trannies. I should've known, that's how it is with the Z. It was 11PM and we had the motor in for the most part but the ears on the tranny were hitting the big long bolts for the torsion bars? Cut off wheel that shit, we aren't pulling this bitch back out. Sent my drive shaft to the machine shop to get it shortened by 5" (GOD I HOPE THAT'S THE RIGHT AMOUNT) which was only $85.



I bought a "Hot Spark" unit off ebay for my dizzy. Hot Spark looks exactly like Pertronix and is cheaper. I figured I'd give it a shot. I had the wrong dizzy, dual points has a smaller shaft I guess. The magnet sleeve was loose on the shaft. I posted on here for a the proper dizzy but after reading I decided against purchasing another one. Seems like there isn't a definite model that will work and I don't have the money to toss around on it. Instead I JB welded the sleeve on. The sleeve was only loose by a little and you could feel it catch cam, so it didn't spin around completely. It looks pretty solid so if anyone else does this, just remember that the rotor is in line with the cam lobe. Basically, when the points open you get a spark, because the points open in line with the rotor, this is where the magnet needs to be. If you get a scribe, you can feel the 4 magnets within the sleeve. Make sure the magnet lines up with the rotor/cam. It's hard to describe but you will see if you try.


Here are some pics of the dizzy. Measurements of the shaft so you know if yours is bigger it is probably the one that will work properly. I measured from the flats.





Here I scribed a marks on the shaft so you can see how much play I had. If you imagine a set point on the sleeve, this point is able to twist between the two marks.



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I ordered the brake brackets from Beebani. Pricey stuff but I'm not going to pay 3/4 of the cost just to get brand new spectacular drum brakes. The brakes aren't really that expensive, what kills you is the wheels and consequently 4 new tires. I got a great deal on wheels. 4 Xterra wheels, hub caps, and spare for $40. 4 new tires was $415. :angry: Pretty cheap compared to other tires but that's a huge chunk of my budget and actually the last of it all. I bought 205-55-R16 tires and they fit pretty well. I could only ask for either more back spacing on the wheel or 195 tire. There is slight rubbing when turning sharply and in the rear the inside of the tire, on the right side, just brushes up against the spring. The other side wasn't a problem because it had 3 preload spacers, rather than two. On the front, the calipers rubbed slightly on the inside of the wheels. I took a grinder to the caliper to remove probably 2-3mm at most. The bolt holes to mount the rear bracket to the caliper were rather tight too. One side was very tight, the other side was off by just enough to where I couldn't get the threads started. Took a dremel to it and it worked great. Be sure to clean all the caked dirt around the axles in the rear before mounting the bracket. I know these brackets were flat, but when I slid it over the 3 bolts there was a 3mm gap between the bracket and mounting surface. You're able to wrench it down but do it evenly. Don't wrench one bolt all the way and then go to the next. The force is enough to where I stripped a nut until I did them evenly.






Rats chewed through the wiring harness so I pulled everything, organized, added necessary stuff, removed the things I didn't want. 3 movies later I finished interior and engine harness. Bought a fuse box off Amazon.




Today I did the little nuisances. I feel like I'm not getting as much done anymore. By 10AM I'm sweating like a pig. By 1PM the sun is at an angle to where I lose most of my shade. I get a annoyed when my tools are burning hot. I finished up my brakes, installed seat belts, and one seat. I will do the other after I get the wiring harness taped up and under the dash so I have enough room.



Currently I'm over flowing with parts. If you need anything PM me. Wheels, intake/exhaust mani's, bench seat, complete AC unit, L16 crank, flywheel, two alternators, L16 rusted block, carbs, etc. Z parts will come after I finish the truck...




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For rust treatment I went to O'Reileys and they have spray can "rust converters" and also a type where you paint it on with a brush. There is also a rust "destroyer" but I assumed that would do something weird and like eat the rust away. The rust converter will turn it into black hard stuff. To be honest, I didn't really like the brush on stuff. Not all the rust turned black but it became really hard so I don't know if "converted" all of it. The spray on stuff that I'm use to did it's job. I sprayed the doors and I've done other cars where it worked well.


I think the name of the stuff is "Rust Mort".

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Yah just PM me with a price idea, obviously free does not qualify as an idea. :P I'm willing to get rid of it. Hell take the entire system if you need it. I have the dryer, cooler, compressor, bracket, temp/fan controls, and the fan/condenser thing.


I'll take some pictures of the bracket tonight and see what it takes to get it off the compressor.

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well from how it looked theres prolly gonna be 4 bolts on the bottom of the unit holding it to the bracket.


in any case if you could get some pics that would be amazing!


i currently have the AC bracket on my truck that mounts to the passenger side. this would make a good mount for my engine driven air compressor pump...

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Uh quick question guys; did these trucks have 1 key for locks and ignition? I just sent my ignition cylinder to the locksmith to have a key made and I'm hoping that key fits the doors too....



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It may be cheaper to just buy a lock set. They looked similar to the 620 and 720 locks which I think I saw were under $50 for a set. I have no more money to spend on it though so I might as well just lock the drivers door and hope for the best until I get more money. I figured, the passenger door is hard to open, you have to tug on it. If people really wanted to get in, presumably to steal the truck because I don't keep anything in it, then they will break the windows.


It was so hot today I only went out for an hour. 104º probably a little hotter on the concrete where I'm working. I need to stop doing that because I start school on Monday and from the looks of things I'm not going to finish, like not even close. Hopefully I have some free time with classes. They're only Mon-Thurs but it's Chem 2 and Calc 2 condensed into 5 weeks so who knows how much time within those 3 days I will have.


Anyway I had another general question. Just to double check, the dizzy spins counter clockwise right? Do any of you guys have to actually retard the timing? I was negligent when building the motor and just put the spindle in any which way I pleased. Usually this isn't a problem with the Z motor because the cap has 6 prongs on it so if your rotor is somewhere where it shouldn't be you can just move the wires around. Obviously with the 4 prong cap, you would be making a large 90º swap if you rotated the wires. What I'm getting at is that with "full retard" in the hold down groove, the rotor appears to be inline with the prong. Essentially I won't have any retard. I really don't want to drop the pump and rotate it so I figured I'll just file the groove out. For the time being though, I'm hoping I will be fine for now.


Here are some pictures. The prong lines up pretty much right between the cap clip and that little bump thing to the right of it:



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you must have missed this link. it will show it how to line everything up. Dizzy Oil pump ect.....

Grab some Cheetos and watch it naked on a friday night. Watch out for orange Weiner!





I really don't want to drop the pump and rotate it so I figured I'll just file the groove out. For the time being though, I'm hoping I will be fine for now.


Dude this is EZ what you mean file? just drop the pump!!!!!!!!!

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I understand it is easy but I don't want to drop the pump, break the seal on it. Maybe I'll change my mind but for now I'm going to see how this works out. I have a feeling it will run fine. If it doesn't that's when I will whip out the file. Why? Because the oil pump will be filled with oil and I don't want to deal with that. It's no big deal, I already hobbled together the dizzy.

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I don't understand what you mean "as it advances". Slotting the timing plate shouldn't cause any problems because it's no different than twisting the dizzy to adjust the timing as usual. I will turn the dizzy around though like you said to clear the T stat. On my Z, all that was really close, the T stat, dizzy, throttle shaft.


Take this with a grain of salt

After watching your video I feel confident I will be fine. Assuming the base plate thing was lined up relatively close to where it should be on the block, your rotor seemed to be directly under the prong you assigned to #1. Examine at 4:30, the #1 prong is just to the left of the snap clip, as is mine. The rotor however is directly pointing towards the snap clip. Now this is where I had to call up my father out of curiosity. My question was, the T shaped metal bit on the rotor, where does it spark on this T. I was told it sparks on the leading edge of the T, when that rotor sweeps around and almost touches where the respective prong is.


With that said, in a counter clockwise rotation with my dizzy at full retard, the leading edge is at the prong, if not just a smidgen before. In the video, once again assuming the hold down/base plate was aligned close enough, your rotor rotated more to the right, far advance. That is of course, IF it sparks on the leading edge of the T. Since we know your spindle is in the correct position, I would be curious to know if the spark occurs in the intersection of this metal T on the rotor, because that is where it appears to line up with #1 prong in your video with the timing plate reading no retard or advance.






Before I go any further, let me turn the dizzy around from the T stat and perhaps my situation will be better as far as where the rotor points. I just noticed in your video that you have the dizzy turned 180º which could very well put mine in the correct spot or just throw me off to where I will have to drop the pump regardless. I'm going to check the key because I want to say it was definitely pointing in the 11 o'clock position. Can't remember if it would be a coincident or if I lined it up when installing, because I remember something about that timing dot and the oil pump... lol

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Installing more dashboard bits. Does anyone have a picture of the ignition switch hardware? I have the switch and the chrome screw on front piece, but there is suppose to be something with a keyway that locks the switch in place so it doesn't twist while you turn the key.

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Does this help?



The cup shaped washer next to the switch open to the inside of the dashboard metal.

The notch you see on the bottom of the cup washer fits the tab you can see on the switch, just behind the threads. The tab on the cup washer fits a notch in the dashboard metal.

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dizzy will advance

YOu have a Vacuum adv and a mechanical adv also. just because the vac adv dont work you still have the weights inside the dizzy

You might still have to drop the oil pump. you high end might cut out then youll know. but a timming light will catch this also. if you really have to crank it to one side it still might not make it.


Put motor on TDC pulll dizzy out reset oil pump reinstall less than 15 mins with new gasket

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