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My daughter and I have a Project

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Hey everyone,


I am new to the forum. I inherited my Grandfathers 1974 Datsun 620 pickup and I have given it to my daughter with intent of her and I working on it over then next couple years so she will have a classic beauty that she built for her first car. She is 14 so we have a couple years to get it in shape. I know how to fix things on cars when they go bad but I have never attempted to "improve" an engine to make it better and I would love input from you pros on what I should consider. I have been reading a number of things and have thought about replacing the exhaust, and the carburetor with intake, but I am looking for other ideas. I was considering a Weber 40 DCOE. For the Carb, but things I have read say that you should make the engine better to suit it. Any input on what I should do. I would ad some pics of the rig but I can't figure out how to ad them to this post.

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Do a compression test first. Make sure anything you do to this motor ends up not being wasted.



As it is a 74...it is an L18 motor. Probably an A87 head. Open or closed head is a mystery.


If you have good compression, I'd start small with power upgrades.


Matchbox dizzy and a Weber 32/36 carb will do wonders.

5 speeds are always on the shopping list.


Other than that...just make it safe, sturdy, and reliable.


Brakes be in working order. Add a booster from a later 620 if yours does not have one. Or maybe you want discs at all 4 corners.


Good suspension. KYB GasAJust shocks are awesome and cheap.


Fix all the steering bits. Bad tie rods and king pins will be inevitable.





Most importantly, have fun. Make it comfortable...or you, or her, won't even want to drive the thing.

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One thing I would focus on is the stopping power of the drum brakes on all four wheels. Power, carburetors, 5speeds are all good but these trucks have manually adjustable brakes that need to be maintenanced on a regular basis. Usually every oil change. When out of adjustment the truck will learch to the side with the most brake contact. We just get used to this unsafe thrill. For my kiddo I’d be looking at a front disc brake upgrade. Custom brackets, spindle/hub/caliper/rotor assy, steering linkage, proportioning valve and a couple new brake lines. Probably also some larger wheels with wide tires( once again braking + traction). This is well covered here.


Also seats with a high head rest, just in case of a hard rear end collision, because with the stock bench seat your head would bounce off or break the rear window.




Oh and just to be clear I’ve done none of that on my truck because I guess I dont care about my own safety.




Edit: Lap belt suck too. If it doesn’t have shoulder belts, install them

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I put disc brakes on the front of my 521 back around 2005 as I was tired of counter clockwise spins on the freeway during an emergency stop, after it happens a few times one starts looking for something to fix the issue.

Keep in mind I would be considered an aggressive driver by most, but over the years I have mellowed, I cannot recall having an emergency stop on the freeway since installing the disc brakes, but if you ever seen some of the loads of wood I have carried in that truck over the years you would understand the need for disc brakes, the best disc brakes out there that will bolt on, I have 1990 Nissan hardbody V6 dual piston calipers with vented rotors, the same front brakes that are on the 1994 Pathfinder.

Mike makes a kit to install 1985 Nissan 720 vented rotor disc brakes on your 521, they work great.

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