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Back to the future -- Datsun 620


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I am going to start a write-up on my recently acquired Datsun 620. It turns out to be my second 620. My first (hope to get pictures scanned in soonish) 620 was built by my Father and myself ~1992 and it was promptly stolen. Fast-forward 20 years and I still had a desire for one. So I began by trolling around ebay/craigslist for one. I settled on the following truck. It is mainly rust free (needs a new rocker panel/fender/hood and some very minor bed/passenger floorboard repair. For the most part it runs pretty good an is just tired and needs some refreshing. I have some interesting plans for the truck and can't wait to get started!


On to the important thing....the pics:





And...the best part:



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The other night I did some floorboard work. Some wire wheeling, some cleaning, some rust converter....good times. I had to let that sit over night. That means that last night I was able to go ahead and finish off the floors.




Overall the floors were in really good shape - mainly just surface rust. There were two spots where I had some VERY small holes that poked through. The metal around these holes was good and strong. When I get the truck up in the air I will tackle the two small holes from underneath and then seal them off.

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Welcome , i hope you make it to a few meets with it this summer..


I hope to...but I didn't really see any on the Ratsun calendar for the PNW this summer....so let me know!


I just need to get the truck in good running order. I probably won't be doing any 'mods' (at least the planned ones) until after I get it running. Looking at the running gear last night made my heart sink a little. I knew it needed some work but I am basically going to have to rebuild everything on the under carriage.


That said, I was hoping to make a list on things I need to do when I lower the truck:


- Front (http://www.bleachgarage.com/620tech_spn.html)

- Adjust torsion bars then

- Re-index torsion bars

- install smaller shocks for improved performance/ride


- Rear

- Add 3" lowering blocks (and new hardware)

- Take apart leaf springs and reassemble with only the top and bottom spring <-- is this necessary?

- Trim bump stops?


On my first truck I didn't lower it. So any advice would be helpful!

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looks nice under the hood. And that is one enormous mirror, you could get dressed in that thing.


You would think! Those mirrors are huge. It turns out the drivers side mirror is normal, the passengers side mirror is missing, well, the mirror. So to rectify that, the previous owner replaced it:




Back to the repairs! I cleaned up the battery area - which was surprisingly in good shape.




I also started reassembling the interior. It will get refreshed at a later date, but for the mean time I can get it clean. I also took apart the cowl cover and started cleaning out all the crud that had accumulated in the cowl. I also figured out why my wipers weren't working to well - the linkage wasn't actually attached!

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Busy day! Picked up some replacement interior parts from d-510 and did an oil change and tune-up on the old beast. So far this has been a fun experience! I am learning how to work on a carb car and have fun with things like dwell etc. I also re-dyed the dash (it is still cracked and ugly...but less so than before), center console and headliner. Also ordered the parts for breaks and suspension refresh. No pictures....so kind of a boring post. I am looking for a set of black seat belts (http://community.rat...tbelt-assembly/) so if anyone knows of a set...please let me know!


Ok...partial truth. I did snap a picture of something I picked up (x4):




I just need to figure out a little more on getting them to fit. The back shouldn't be a problem, but I guess I need a spacer on the front (or maybe machine down the kingpin hub (http://community.rat...ook-here-first/)...not sure what to do, or the best way to do it.


If I can get my truck back into shape by the time the Mt. Ranier run happens I would love to go.

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Dig the truck & the work you are putting in. Not to fond of the titans tho. Too big IMHO. We should be having a few Ratsun meets in July. Just check in the events section soon. Look forward to seeing more of this truck.

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Hey...funny. I think we were up to the same thing this weekend. I was next in line for the bench seat you got from d-510 and pulled up as you were loading it up. Anyway, did some floorboard work as well.




Good luck with the project


Thanks! Your floorboards look great! My first 620 was an auto like yours (just not a king cab).

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Some more slow, plodding progress while the remainder of the brake/suspension parts trickle in. Finished up work on the cowl area.




And because I am slightly OCD/anal retentive the following:








and then is used to put back the cowl in place:




I also spent quite a bit of time putting the interior back together after they dye job, and just picking up the garage in general. I have gotten it pretty dirty/cluttered in the past couple of weeks. I also took it out for a little drive around scenic Kent this evening. So much fun! I just need to get the brake work finished so I can make to the Carl's Jr. meet up down in Tacoma.

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Thanks for the compliments! In the first post I mentioned that this was my second Datsun (if I didn't...I am now :P). My first 620 was back in high-school and my Father and I fixed one up. So, after a little digging I was able to come up with a few photos circa ~1992.







Also, since it was going to be a little while for the 'actual' paint job we wanted it painted because primer doesn't actual protect the sheet-metal very well. So, there was some plum-crazy metallic laying around....





After a final painting and some custom interior work I was left with what you see below. We also painted the bed with boiler paint. Before there was bed liner paint we thought this would do a good job protecting the bed, and it did! The below picture is the only picture I have been able to find of the mostly finished product....and shortly after it was stolen :(




Man, I love these trucks!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Been awhile since I did an update. The front is in the air and the suspension is starting to come out - the old suspension was just in poor shape:






I will be doing a brake job on the drum brakes (one day I will upgrade to disk), new king pins, bushings all around, idler arm, joints etc etc etc. I am also going to take the fenders off and clean up the fender wells and let my OCD shine:


After and Before!



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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, it has been a bit since my last post. As with most things, you start with one intention and end up doing something different. I was just going to refresh the suspension and drum brakes for now. Getting into it showed alot more problems than I thought. One thing led to another...fenders came off, new fenders were bought. Upper control arms were trashed so Beebani is making me a new set. I figured why try to keep it stock when at this point its an easy upgrade. So I need to get the junk yard now and get a lcd, calipers, spindles, assorted parts off a D21. Should be fun! (I love going to the junk yard).


More deconstruction pics:






These are the before pictures. I have already wire wheeled the appropriate spots and cleaned everything. Followed by rust converter, priming and painting and rubber undercoating (where necessary). I will try to get some pictures of that soon. Ultimately this isn't how I want the truck to look, but I am trying to find and stop any rust I see. My goal is to hopefully get this done for the North Ratsun get-together (http://community.ratsun.net/topic/45703-north-ratsun-get-together-pt-2/) but I am not sure I will have it all done in time.

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Ok...not sure about this, so I thought I would ask everyone. I am receiving the upper control arms from Beebani that convert my kingpin truck to a balljoint. I needed to then get a lower control arm, spindle, hub, brakes from a Nissan D21. I found a 1988 D21 at a local junkyard and pulled parts. Here is where i have some concerns. First:




There is about ~1/2" gap where the lower control arm pivots. This seems excessive! Did I grab a wrong part? Miss a part? Or is this just how it is? Do I use the indexing bolt for the torsion bar from the Datsun, or the Nissan?


Another source of concern is the caster adjustment arm. I was fortunate that there was a Datsun king cab at this junkyard so I was able to grab the caster adjustment arms off that. Mine originally had bushing on both the ends (above in the below picture). However the Datsun at the junkyard (below in the below picture), and the Nissan parts donor had a 'tab' that bolts to the bottom of the lower control arm. What caster adjustment arm should I use - none of them really seem to fit?




Thanks in advance!!

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Thanks to some nice PMs and emails I think I have this sorted out. Other good news....I got the upper control arms in from beebani. I feel compelled to add what a stand-up guy he has been. Super quick on emails and providing a heck of a good product.




Pictures don't do them justice. Now I just need another trip to the junkyard and wait for my lower control arms from beebani now that a few of the issues I was having have been sorted out. Gosh...I can't wait to get this back on the road!

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  • 2 months later...

Ok, it has been awhile since I have updated this, but there has been a lot of waiting and work being done.

  • underneath cleaned, painted and undercoated
  • rear brakes changed
  • 3" lowering blocks in rear
  • Rear shocks
  • All new steering components
  • Beebani upper control arms w/ball joints
  • D21 lower control arms
  • D21 Calipers and spindles
  • New brake hoses
  • 280zx master cylinder
  • Front fenders
  • Hood
  • Valence turn indicator lights
  • bleed the brakes
  • flush the coolant
  • pinto shocks
  • summit racing small bumpstops
  • shorted rear bump stops

There is probably more, but I don't remember. I didn't take that many pictures because of either frustration or busy just trying to get it done. Here are some pics:


Donor truck:



Mid work:



Simulated ride height:



Still left to do is to mount the body panels. I couldn't find any of that rubber that the fenders sit on (the part on the inner fender) so I went to the local bike shop and they gave me a bike tire tube that was bad so I am going to try to use that. My tires seem to be pretty close to the fenders but I don't think I am going to have to roll the fenders but it is going to be close.

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