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Rocket Dog

My 521: Project B

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Greetings. The back story for this is in the 521 forum, " 71 Datsun 521 Two-fer Rehabilitation.

 

The projects have gone slower than I liked. During the past year I've found a great mechanic, body and paint guy, and I've narrowed the search for an upholstry guy and am still looking for an auto-electrical guy. I'm building two trucks, both 1971 Datsun PL-521. Project B is the second truck I bought, originally for the parts but then decided to rebuild it. Here are some before pics.

 

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DSC00249.jpg

 

The engine was rebuilt by the previous owner, I had it gone through by a local mechanic (who happens to drive a 620). I need the brakes gone through and the steering gear/ king pins replaced. I decided to move forward on the body and paint for now while the other truck (Project A) has the engine refreshed and the front steering rebuilt.

 

So far the mechanical work has totaled about $1000 including parts. Body and paint will be $3000. Upholstery will run between $400 and $800 depending on materials and the concept. I only have one estimate on electrical and that was $2000 to completely rebuild the wiring harness and fuse box. The body and paint should be done in a month. The truck will be painted Rallye Red, used on the 2005 Honda Element. In addition I'll have the bumpers, side mirrors, and grill parts chromed, no estimate on that yet. I know it doesn't look like much right now, more to follow.

 

Pics taken today. The body and paint guy is using mostly the original parts but he did swap doors with the flat bed truck (seen in the 521 thread). The front seat is from a 90's model Toyota truck.

 

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Sounds fun.

 

Question though...

Why drop so much quid on things you could do yourself?

 

The steering could easily be tackled.

Do your own wiring with a Painless kit.

Do most if the prep on the body yourself.

 

Maybe its just me, but new car money to have someone else build a 40 year old Datsun is backwards.

Part of the joy of these trucks is that anyone can do anything to them.

Basic tool set and an internet connection is all you need as well as an occasional half-rack.

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But seriously...

cheers to you on keeping not just one, but two 521's alive and well.

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Why don't I do it myself? Man, I'm with you there. I live in a condo, no garage. I have access to the base auto hobby shop but its not open much after hours and on the weekends I'm usually out of town. I may end up doing the wiring myself if I can find good aftermarket stuff like a fuse box. I started out to build one truck, but in my quest for parts the project just grew. I'll never get the money back that I'm investing really. But I also think compared to a Chevelle or an old Corvette, the money I'm dropping on this is small change. Your point is well taken.

 

If I lived near a Datsun enclave like the Pacific Northwest I'd be set.

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There are a lot of different aftermarket wiring kits out there.

Most are copies of someone else's kit. With most if those being garbage. .

 

The better kits obviously will cost you more, but for a reason.

 

I've done lots of reading/searching for the best all-around kit.

IMHO, Ron Francis' kits are by far one of the near options.

Good support. Quality product. User-friendly.

If you can find source, load, and ground with a DVOM-your golden.

 

Also, peep Haywire for relay blocks.

 

With the right kit and proper parts you can easily wire your whole car, cleanly, for less than $600.

Hide the fuse panel behind the glove box for an even cleaner end result.

 

GL.

Can't wait to see your truck rollin!

 

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How bad is the wiring on "Project B".

 

My suggestion, try to leave as much stock wiring in place as you can, with these exceptions. This is based on my experiance with 521 trucks.

 

1. Make sure all your grounds are good. Ground the engine to the frame. Ground the cab to the engine. Make sure the bed is grounded to the frame.

 

2. Get the engine systems working good. Good battery and cables for cranking, good wiring for the ignition, get the charging system working.

 

3. Once all that is good, then pay attention to the fusebox. The fusebox on these trucks was adequate for a stock truck, when it was new. If you have to I might consider replacing the fusebox with this.

http://www.painlessp...archField=70107

 

If you keep the wiring as stock as close as possible, when you ask for help, we will have a good idea of how to help you. If you radically modify the wiring, you will probably be on your own when you do have problems.

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What I am seeing electrically is:

 

All lights work except the front two turn signal lights under each headlight. They remain illuminated continuously. Additionally when I switch off the ignition the engine stops, I remove the key and the red ignition lamp on the dash remains lit.

 

If i follow your advice it will probably resolve the issues. As for the Painless fuse box, it looks like two fuse boxes instead of the OEM single fuse box?

 

Then again, after paint once the truck comes back together I might have several electrical problems :huh:

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Here is a picture from the service manual, with just the electrical for the lights.

LightWires.jpg

For the front turn signal/ park lights, it is a dual filament bulb. Is the turn signal or the park lamp on? Be sure not to confuse a turn signal glowing dimly to a park lamp.

Does the red IGN light come on anytime the battery is connected, or just after the engine has been running?

Does removing the key from the ignition switch make the IGN light go on and off?

Does your truck have the stock external regulator alternator, or a more modern internal regulator alternator?

 

One thing about the front turn signal/park lights. They ground to the cab sheet metal, the metal piece they are mounted on. The cab is connected to the engine by a wire that is under one of the voltage regulator mounting bolts. There are two ground wires at the voltage regulator, one goes to the alternator frame, the other goes to the headlight, and front side markers. At the alternator, there is a black wire that goes up to the main negative battery cable, under the lifting lug, just to the rear of the fuel pump.. If the negative battery cable is stock, (not likely) the wire to the alternator is crimped in to negative battery cable.

 

The Painless fuse box actually has seven fuses available. A stock Datsun 521 only has six fuses. Some of the fuses do "double duty". I think one of the fuses supplies power to both the hazard switch, and the brake lights. This fuse is always hot. Another fuse supplies power to the system that switches the dual point distributor. If the truck has a five speed, or a Weber carburetor, or a single point distributor, or a Matchbox distributor, this system is not needed.

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Ouch. Brain freeze....

 

When I get the truck out of the paint shop I'll take a deep dive and investigate based on your punch list above.

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Sorry about the brain thing...

 

Taken as a whole, the electrical system seems really complicated. But it you break it down into individual circuits, it gets easy. 521 trucks are even more simple than most cars.

Most cars combine functions of the rear turn signals, and the stop lights. This means the stop lights have to go into the turn signal circuit, for the rear turn signals.

On a 521 for the brake lights there is a fuse, a brake light switch, and a wire going back to the brake lights, and the brake lights are grounded.

 

You know the drill, if you have a problem. Ask a question, post an occasional picture, and I or somebody will help you on this board.

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Here's an update. I decided to go with an old school color called "Butternut Yellow" (think 67 Camaro). Hoping to get the right mix of yellow, black, and chrome without making it look like a bumble bee.

 

Probably go with black interior, black tailgate letters, black rear bumper. Black the grill but keep the surround pieces chrome, chrome name plates, chrome side mirrors.

 

OICS...

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never seen a 521 this color and let me be the first to say.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

i fuckin love it... although i would have used the datsun color they made for 510 s but i love it looks awesome

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Thanks. You can see a slight mis-alignment between the bed and the cab if you look at the line up of the "slot" down the side of the truck. I'm going to shim up the cab a bit with some rubber strip material I got off of McMaster-Carr.

 

For my next trick I'll buy an electrical harness off the net and replace the wiring system.

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get it out in the sun when you get a chance and take a picture then.looks good wish my truck looked like that well when your finished anyway.good job.

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except no matter what his truck will be better cause you wont own it ..... which we all know is the real down fall of your truck ....mr money bags...bring on the yellow bizches

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except no matter what his truck will be better cause you wont own it ..... which we all know is the real down fall of your truck ....mr money bags...bring on the yellow bizches
except no matter what his truck will be better cause you wont own it ..... which we all know is the real down fall of your truck ....mr money bags...bring on the yellow bizches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You bitch..

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Did some one call my name ..... Bizitch checking in...... U know its jealousy mr big I envy your build and the only way to make mine stack up is bad mouth the crap out of u..... Not the truck ... Cuz obviously a truck is defenseless..... And trucks love unconditionally

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Update (kind of). I have the chrome back from the shop. I'll probably pay a local electrical guy off the painless website to do the wiring harness - I know that sounds like I'm wussing out but auto electric is not my thing and I don't want to be climbing the grapevine in this little eggbeater and have some catastrophic electrical fail.

 

Interior: I'm back and forth on doing the seats, door panels, kick panels in black or a saddle brown.

 

Did I see (somewhere on RATSUN) a guy who took the foam off his 521 dash and painted the metal top? I'm thinking about that.

 

 

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Update (kind of). I have the chrome back from the shop. I'll probably pay a local electrical guy off the painless website to do the wiring harness - I know that sounds like I'm wussing out but auto electric is not my thing and I don't want to be climbing the grapevine in this little eggbeater and have some catastrophic electrical fail.

 

Interior: I'm back and forth on doing the seats, door panels, kick panels in black or a saddle brown.

 

Did I see (somewhere on RATSUN) a guy who took the foam off his 521 dash and painted the metal top? I'm thinking about that.

 

That would be from the 520.If you have your dash take it to the shop they can fix it and rewrap it leather or what ever floats your boat.And let's get more pictures of it,chrome all done the grill should be repolished since it's stainless steal.can't wait to see the end product.

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i did a tin top swap and phixius is inthe process of it

 

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more pics of it in my thread......its a bolt in thing i powdercoated mine black wrinkle and wheel color..

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Looks good Jrock.

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Sorry, I'm home today on meds and a little slow (that's my excuse today)... 

 

"tin top swap" means you went with a 520 dash...

 

...or is that your 521 dash with the padding removed?

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