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Hello there all you Datsun lovers . I come to your website today because I recently purchased a 1982 Datsun little chief.All I know about it is that it is a 4 cylinder, 4 speed standard, its around 16-17 feet? Has a fridge, stove, sink, furnace, and two beds, Its a sweet little RV, the odometer is about 80,000 km. Here is what I would like some advise on. I would like to road trip down to California this summer, what things could I get a mechanic to do before I go, new belts? clutch? water pump? anything?? It runs pretty good but that's a long trip from Calgary Alberta! If anyones got any tips or advise I would appreciate it.

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Those things are not maintenance items, so do not need periodic replacement.


Have the truck inspected and worn items replaced. A good mechanic will inspect the parts you listed.


A TuneUp is recommended. The most important part is retorqing the head gasket which should be done every two years. The cap/rotor and wires should be inspected and replaced if worn. Also replace the fuel filter unless you know it is less than a year old.


Datsuns parts can go for decades and still be good.

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Hey all,

Here's a belated thank you for everyone who gave me advice on getting this thing into working shape.


It's a motorhome on a 620 chassis, with an L20B engine. I bought it back in November and spent the next month frantically fixing and tuning it so our family could drive it down to Los Angeles from BC. I'm pretty much a novice at car repair, so during that time I made lots of posts and got tons of great help from y'all. People kept asking me to put pictures, but I was just too damn busy to get it done. So now, after a successful road trip, I'll make up for it:



The day we left a big snow storm (well, big by Pac NW standards) started... this is what it looked like just north of Seattle. I think they ended up with 6 inches or so in Vancouver. The worst part for us wasn't the snow, but the strong winds, which didn't stop until we got well into California. And this thing REALLY catches the wind. White knuckle driving the whole way. At 50 mph (didn't want to push it much past that).



Picture of the cab from the back





out on the dry lake bed




guard dogs


Took us 3 days to go from BC to LA, because we were usually going around 50 mph (less uphill). Just before leaving to go back up to BC, I went to change the oil and noticed coolant dripping from the engine. After a quick panic, I saw the water pump was leaking, so I had to go and replace that. And then found that I must've stripped the oil drain plug when changing the oil last. So I had to get help drilling that out and retapping a new plug hole. But once that was done, it made it back up to BC just fine.


Quick summary of work done:

Speedo cable replaced

Brake calipers replaced

Wheel cylinders replaced

Lots of brake lines replaced

Clutch slave cylinder replaced

Ignition timing done

Valves adjusted

Battery replaced

Water pump replaced

Serpentine belts replaced


And planned work:

Carb replacement (and rebuild old one, mostly just for learning experience)

Ignition lock replacement

Rear shock replacement

Rebuild old calipers - possible rear disc brake conversion in the future?

Dually rear wheels

Lots and lots of electrical work in dash

Door locks

Get propane for furnace, etc working


Again, thanks for all the expert advice. It's really amazing how quickly people respond on here, and how much knowledge there is collectively on this forum. You rock!

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I would recommend having ALL the fluids changed. Radiator flushed, transmission and rear differential changed, valve adjustment, full tuneup. Have the break system gone through with a complete flush of all the brake fluid. You may even want to consider a 5 speed transmission swap to ease the mileage a little. Datsun Mike could help guide you to a good candidate. 

I'm sure we would all love to see some pictures of your new RV.

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