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In need of an A10 510 carburetor replacement advice

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Hey all, I need some advice. I have a 1981 Datsun HL510. It started acting up a few weeks ago, so I parked it for a while and finally got it to a mechanic last week. The mechanic told me that it needs a new carburetor and gave me an estimate of $780 ($660 for the carb., $120 labor) to replace it. Long story short, I'm a college student and I don't have that kind of money right now. Anyways, I spoke to the mechanic and he agreed to let me try to find a carburetor that was less expensive. I've done a lot of searching and I believe I have a few options. However, I know very little about engines/car parts, so I'm not sure if what I've found will actually work for my car or not. Below I have posted the links to two of my best options at the moment. I would greatly appreciate if someone would take a look at these two carbs. and tell me if they would work for my car/if they require additional parts. Also, the prices of these carburetors vary greatly from the price of the carberator my mechanic was going to purchase from his supplier, is the price direcly correlated with the quality, or will these carburetors do the trick?


1. This is my most promising prospect. I called NationalCarburetor on Friday to check if it was in stock, but they could not tell me because their import guys had already left for the weekend. If this carb is in stock (unlikely, I know), would it require any additional parts?




2. This is also a promising prospect, however, I am a little bit skeptical be

cause it is not car specific and I've never used EBay for car parts. Also, it does not look like a complete to me. Is this a complete carburetor?



Thanks in advance,  Isaac

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$660 for a carb is absolute robbery!!! You're paying to put his kid through collage!! or his house or ex wife....


Your mechanics is a crook and has you by the balls if you don't know anything about your car. 'Acting up' could be almost anything. Maybe it needs a new $5 fuel filter? This is like being told you have cancer. Get a second opinion if you can find an honest mechanic that even knows what a carb is.  Otherwise you are paying him to learn.


Better yet go to E-bay and buy a NISSAN factory service manual (FSM) for your year of A10 (HL510) that you have. A couple of hours a few tools and a $40 re-build kit and your carb will be like new.... assuming it really IS the carburetor.

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Thanks for information, guys! I didn't think it was possible, but you guys have showed me that I know even less about cars than I think I know. Ha!

But I must apologize, because I oversold the condition of the car before I took it to the mechanic. Saying it was "acting up" was not accurate. It would neither idle, nor start by the time I took it to the mechanic. Also, I actually did change the fuel filter and checked the hoses for tears. My original hope was that it was the fuel pump, but that was quickly put to rest after I compared the symptoms of a malfunctioning fuel pump with the symptoms my car was displaying. Also, when I spoke to the mechanic, Billie, he seemed confident that it was the carburetor, and said that if he were in my shoes, he would buy the carburetor himself and have the mechanic install it.

As far as I know, my car still will not start nor idle, do you still think getting a second opinion is worth having it towed away?


I have an owners manual for a 1980 510, and I also have a 1981 Datsun 510 Service Manual (large book). The only problem is everytime I try to use the books to diagnose or identify a part in my car, I get lost. I'm embarassed to say that I don't even understand the jargon used in the books. :blush: Is there a specific way you would suggest I learn more about the subject?


Draker, I believe I found a Weber carburetor that would fit my car. Are Weber carburetors just replacements of the stock carb, or they require special modifications or adjustments?


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  Not idling was probably a blocked idle jet, or the idle cut solenoid wasn't working.  Sitting made it not start.  The mechanic sounds like a "replace parts until the actual cause is found" type of mechanic, and he's starting with the expensive stuff.


Probably debris in the carb bowl.  Needs a good cleaning.

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Draker, I spoke to my mechanic today and he said he did not want to put a Weber carb on it.


Datsunaholic, I asked him if he was sure it was the carburetor and he told me yes without a doubt. He also explained that he disconnected something from the carburetor and sat on the accelerator and hardly any gas was coming out (at least that's how I interpreted what he told me). However, he insured me that if replacing the carb doesn't work, he'll work on it until it is fix and charge me only the labor cost of replacing the carb.


Banzai510, that was the first thing I asked him when he gave me the written estimate, and he told me it was from on of their suppliers and the reason the price was so high is because they're rare and not made anymore.


But I got in touch with NationalCarburetor today and they have the 510 carb in stock. It is 1/3 of the quoted price so I am going to get it and see if it doesn't fix my problem.


I greatly appreciate all of the insight and help you folks have provided.

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Well, I have no idea of what he's talking about.  You can't see the gas coming from the carb much at all, and there won't be anything unless the engine is running.  Now, if he pumped the accelerator (which pumps the accelerator pump) and NOTHING came out, that indicates the accelerator pump (which is part of the carb and is replaceable) has gone bad or is plugged, or there's no gas in the carb for it to pump.  No gas in the carb would NOT be a carb problem (unless the float was stuck, also fixable).  You have to have fuel in the carb for fuel to come out, and I think it's dry.


But a bad accelerator pump wouldn't make it not idle, or not start.  It would make it bog on acceleration.  That's it.


Still think it's a fuel delivery problem.  Somethings plugged up.  Could be in the carb, though- and once again, that's fixable by cleaning the carb (it has to come off to do that correctly).

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Also- I need to point out that the carb may very well be the issue and replacing it will solve the issue, but I was going off cost.  Replacing it is the easiest way to solve it, just not the most economical.  Your mechanic just doesn't want to take the time to find the actual cause nor does he want to rebuild it himself (which would be costly for you anyway due to the time involved).

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If you can live with spending $800 on a carb then fine, get it. Eight hundred dollars is about 1/4 of the worth of your car maybe more. Most Datsun owners are more about doing the work on their cars themselves because, first of all, they CAN be worked on. They are simple to diagnose and mechanical in nature, not like the EFI cars of today. Second, why pay someone to swap parts at $50-$80 an hour? How many hours will you need to work to pay a mechanic for one of his???? Using only a hand wrench and a screwdriver. He probably knows as much as you about carburetors so you are paying him to learn. Third, there is the satisfaction of learning and doing the work yourself and driving the results. Hey! "I did it myself"

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Issac - In your situation, I think you are doing the right thing buying the rebuilt carb from National and paying a mechanic to install it. That is assuming you want your 510 usable again relatively soon.


One caution about the carb - on the National page you link to it mentions "Core Charge $50". This means you must send your old complete carb back to them, or they will keep your extra $50 (usually you pay the extra $50 at time of purchase and they refund it when they receive your old carb).


I agree completely with datzenmike and everyone who say it is desirable you learn to do at least some work on your car if you want to drive a Datsun. However, carbs can be tricky and something like an alternator, starter, water pump, or thermostat is a better place to start. I recommend the book "How to Keep Your Datsun Alive" as the one book to start learning Datsun mechanics. It is out of print and a used copy will cost from $40 on up, but a beginning mechanic will learn more from it than Chiltons, Haynes, How to Hotrod Your Datsun, and all the other books guys tend to buy first. Keep an eye on eBay if you decide you want a copy.


I have to defend your mechanic somewhat. Someone brings him a 35 year old car with a bad carburetor and wants it fixed. Unless he works on old pickups and farm trucks, he probably seldom sees carbs anymore. Most mechanics don't rebuild carbs, just like they don't rebuild alternators or starters. They buy a rebuild cause that is faster. So your mechanic contacts his normal parts supplier who laughs at him when he says he is looking for a carb for a 35 year old import car. They call around until they find a rebuilt carb, from a source they trust. And yes, they probably think it is a rip-off price and so does your mechanic. But is it their responsibility to go online or make phone calls in order to get the customer a better price? Sure it would be nice if they would, but contrary to what most of the car owning public wants to think, a mechanic or parts house isn't a social service agency. They are in business to make money or they won't be there long. I think your mechanic is very accommodating to give you the option of finding your own carb because he is then dealing with a part from an unknown-to-him source. Chances are it will be a good rebuild but he doesn't know that. And if there is a problem with a rebuild part, most customers blame the mechanic, not the rebuilder, since they can see him.


Please post how this all works out for you. I hope you do start learning to work on your car, but don't let it distract you from your college studies (like it did me). Get your degree and a good job and spend the money on Datsuns.








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You can try to clean it out if you want. I would go with a carb from national carb. I got mine in a month. Now what you have to look for is if your car is a California model or a fed. If it's a fed like mine it should have a screw adjustment on the bcdd. If it's a California car it should have a vacuum line on the bcdd. It's 335. Or that's what I paid a few months ago. Also. A10s aren't that hard to work on. Learn and do it your self. Should only take an afternoon. Now if you have to pass smog I know here in California we have a bar program that if you get approved you can switch the carb out. I would check in to that first. A10's unite!

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  • 1 month later...

Hey all, I just want to update you all on the condition of my Datty.

As you may know from the post above, I ordered a carburetor from National Carburetors and was going to have my mechanic install it. Well, all went as planned. I received the carburetor three weeks after I ordered it (ordered Oct. 28th; received Nov. 18th). My mechanic installed it and I picked my car up from the shop on November 27th, and it has run like a dream ever since, which makes me a very happy Datsun owner. Also, because it is idling at 1000 RPM rather than 1800 RPM, the car is much more fuel efficient, which makes me a very, very happy Datsun owner.

I want to thank everyone who offered me advice and consultation, and wish you all happy holidays.

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