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521 Donut Getter


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Hey Ratsun, I've had my truck aboutn6 months and wanted to have some progress to document before I posted. I had minitrucks back in the day and wanted to get something the drive on the weekends and take kiddo to Donut Derelicts on Saturday mornings and park with all the cool cars as opposed to across the street. Wasn't really looking for a Datsun per say, but ran across a deal I couldn't pass on, and now I'm a believer.


Stop talking and get on with the pics.





Day 1 one the trailer. It ran and drove Ok but didn't want to test it from the Valley to HB




At the Rust Factory to be gone through




Interior when I got it. Stained ugly bucket seats, wood grain plastic door panels, huge holes in the doors for tiny blown speakers, light up shift knob, and about 75 feet of speaker wire balled up under the dash.




1st trip to the Donut Shop.



Progress to follow.

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Well first of all nice truck,totally doable,second i got some 15x8 old school wheels if you want them let me know,looks like you got a sun roof well thats good and bad i guess,you got a front bumper and is the motor the factory 1600.Other then that welcome aboard and you got tot come out to moreno valley every third saturday of the month for the inland empire datun meet.

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Looks like a really nice start.   A California truck should not have as much rust as a Pacific Northwest truck.  

Start a list now, of parts you need.  Posting here will get you some parts, and occasionally, a 521 will pop up in a close to you junkyard.


If you do not have it already, get a matchbox distributor.  The brakes on a 521 are NOT self adjusting. You need to do that, every 2000 to 3000 miles, and more often after a brake job. 


The fuse box on a 521 was adequate when the truck was new, and in stock condition.  If you add any electrical accessories, avoid running them through the stock fuse box.  You may have electrical problems.  First, do not trust a fuse because it looks good.  you must test for current getting past a fuse, with a test light, and the circuit on.  The tube glass fuses are made by soldering a fuse element to the end caps of the fuse, and quite often, the fuse element looks good, but the unseen soldered connection is bad.   You will probably need to clean the corrosion off the fuse box.  This can be done by soaking it in vinegar, and then rinsing with lots of clean water, and drying it thoroughly.  Second most common cause of electrical problems is bad grounds.  You have four main parts on a pickup.  The engine, the cab, the frame, and the bed.  They all have to ground to each other.  If the ground between the cab, and engine goes bad, the cab will try to ground through the throttle cable, heat it up, destroy the cable, and possibly leave the throttle stuck open.  There should be a dedicated black ground wire from the alternator frame to one of the screws holding the voltage regulator to the inner fender, just behind of the battery.  This wire needs to stay there, even with a swap to an internally regulated alternator.


Get the truck stopping, get the brakes working good.  Then just get it running.  the engine will seem it is running really fast at freeway speeds.  This is normal, the engine can take it.  4000 RPM, at 60 MPH is OK.  The engine does not like running slowly.  You will need to downshift to climb any hills.  I suggest you run in third gear in 25 MPH zones.  Any hill in fourth, at 25 will not happen.

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Immediate plans were to go through the brakes, ditch the Tacoma wheels and go with stocks and caps and re work the interior. Get her a little lower to the pavement.


Intermediate plans are then go though the engine bay as the truck came with an L20 and 5 speed, but was not the cleanest of conversations. Source badges, bodywork or replace the passenger fender, strip down or replace the grill headlight bezels and trim as it was painted black and is flaking and crunched. New front bumper. Replacement passenger side glass (came with the truck). Replace cracked windshield (ended up with 2 windshields). New mirrors.


Long Term plan is sliding ragtop, disk brake conversion, convert to 5 lug , Supremes, 4 link, air bags.


Most likely will never happen plan: Bodywork and Paint.


A friend of mine did a rendering of a 520 that I wanted to build.


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OH dude nice!!!!!!!!!!Go in back of torsion bar under neath truck, loosen the lock nut and get a big wrench and torn the torsion bar out. ti drop the front.

I cranked the torsions down the 2nd week I had it to level it out. It had 2!inch blocks in the rear. Next step is to pull a leaf change to 3" pinion angle blocks and c notch. From what I have read may have relocate the shock x member. Front, extended the shock towers and adjust the torsions down some more, would normally said flip the ball joints, but as I noticed these trucks are kingpin.

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I cranked the torsions down the 2nd week I had it to level it out. It had 2!inch blocks in the rear. Next step is to pull a leaf change to 3" pinion angle blocks and c notch. From what I have read may have relocate the shock x member. Front, extended the shock towers and adjust the torsions down some more, would normally said flip the ball joints, but as I noticed these trucks are kingpin.


Don't remove leafs, use 720 4X4 leafs, that will give you a 1 1/2 inch drop.

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Interior: The PO had wrapped the dash is vinyl and is looked like shit. Then I pulled the vinyl off and found...



I scored some leather from our upholstery shop at my work and a Saturday afternoon later I had a temp solution until I can either find a new dash pad or have this one fiberglassed.





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I ran across something interesting that I want to try to use as flooring instead of traditional carpet. It's essentially carpet tile used in offices. There is more to it but you get the idea.




It's just taped down for now but the trail seems to working. It not only knocks some of the sound down but virtually no heat coming from the floor boards.

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The door panels I used 1/4 sanded plywood and stained it. Picked up some Rockford Fosgate 4" speakers for the doors. With the grills they filled in the holes cut in the doors by the PO. Got the drivers side flooring down as well.


There is a speaker pod up under the passenger side dash. Was that a factory thing??? I think it 5.25.







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That type of carpet is like a safety carpet don't ask me why but you are going to have to much seems, but let's see when your done whith project and we will go from there.

It's a composite flooring meant to be in hard surface high traffic areas. So far it's been make a pattern and cut it out. Once I figure out how I'm going to do the center hump I'll tighten up the seams. But it's different and I like it so far.

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