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BrothersGarage - 1971 521


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I have never seen anything before 1984 with self adjusters myself, but I have mostly dealt with 720 diesel truck frames/chassis which were the most part 1981 trucks and none of them had self adjusting brakes on the rear axle, I think I had one 1982(my first diesel) and I never had it apart, it ran great when I bought it and it ran great when I sold it after putting over 25,000 miles on it in less than 2 years, it had 350,000 miles on it by then.

Maybe the diesels were slow to sell and most of them sold in 1982 were 1981 built models.


I am thinking that this is a 521 frame with lengthened upper control arms, there are a few things I would check, but the easiest would be the angle of the shock tower, what size bolt head the upper control arm bolts have holding them on, 720 upper control arms are offset, I cannot tell for sure which way they are offset on the photos, but I am thinking towards the rear and that is what I had to do to get the castor set properly, from what I can see it doesn't appear to have the steering gear on the outside of the frame in the driver side photo so it is not a 720 frame/chassis, it would seem to me that if it were a late 620 balljoint/disc brake frame/chassis that they would have just left the 620 upper control arms on it, so again I am thinking 521 frame/chassis with lengthened upper control arms that are reversed to get proper castor just like I did.


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3 minutes ago, datzenmike said:

 The 17 digit VIN began on the 81 model. That's a made in Japan Z24, long wheelbase can't read the rest. Before '81 it was a model identification specific to Nissan and all auto makers made up their own code.


That pic is irrelevant other than showing location. That's a front clip I cut off a donor. Wish I had grabbed the whole column too. The yard got shut down by CARB or the EPA not long after...was one of the better yards too

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Definitely not a 720 frame as the previous owner had to make custom mounts for the 720 engine to mount with the suspension.




Should be able to make some more sense of it soon as it appears the 720's engine has given up the ghost and the swap will be happening sooner than expected.

ots of parts on the way - but the next one is a full aftermarket wiring harness: https://kwikwire.com/14-circuit-wire-harness/

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I think it's likely a 521 frame with lengthened upper 720 control arms, if you look at the inside of the control arms real close you will likely find weld marks in the channel on the underside of the arms, they had to be lengthened at least a minimum of 5/8ths of an inch.

Also if you can get a socket on one of the bolt heads holding the upper control arms on it will likely be a 5/8ths socket, I have always told anyone doing it this way they should drill and tap them holes to except the 720 mount bolts, but right now I believe this is the only 521 truck(521 chassis) that has done it the way I did it, although I sold everything needed at the last Canby to do this balljoint modification to a 521 truck.

I do not know what the tie-rods look like on a 620 chassis, but the tie-rod in the second suspension photo sure looks like a 521 tie-rod.

We all ready know it is not a 720 chassis as the 720 chassis does not have the bumpstop mounts for the underside of the upper control arm, but the 620 did have them, but if it was a 620 chassis they likely would have left the 620 upper control arm.

I did mine this way and drove it for years, but I had an issue that I had to work thru, I also added power steering to my 521 a year or so later, this created other issues.

This was a driver until the engine gave up, correct?



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4 hours ago, datzenmike said:

If doing a KA get the Can Am box that Icehouse sells and the engine mounts that ]2eDeYe sels. You don't need an after market wiring kit. I think there are only 4 wires to get the EFI working on a truck electrical system.


Prob is I'm not starting with a clean harness to start with and it has a couple electrical issues, so I rather pull an entire new harness and update the entire vehicle at the same time + toss in some extras like a kill switch / easy room to expand. 

As far as swaps goes I am leaning towards the Beams 3SGE + boost down the line. 


2 hours ago, wayno said:

This was a driver until the engine gave up, correct?

I will be able to get a better idea though this winter as I pull the truck over to a garage and start going though it with my brother. It was running + driving just fine - then had a couple starter issues traced back to lose / corroded battery lines. Then more has unfolded - so rather than just trace though what it could be I rather pull the motor / sell the tranny / start on the swap to make it more reliable anyway. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Road trip with my brother this weekend to grab some doors from a 69.







primary rust free they come with a little bit of swag:




(driver door has some small dents but also features a 9mm/38 hole from back in the day)


Guy had a great story about his project truck in the garage. It was his uncles / then his dads and then he sold it a decade ago. He tracked it down online in Portland - talked to the woman who owned it and bought it for more than he sold it for but finally has it back in the family. Nice guy

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Update: The truck is down until I order a new engine for it so in the mean time I am amassing parts for some things I want to try.


The 3m headlight tint came in so I got to work on the centers:



After hitting them with the hair dryer they came out nice.


Here's the rest of the parts that have come in in the mean time:




Funny enough, I found the fuel canister cover on offerup and it belonged to Ratsun's very own Bory - and this is left over from his Datstang that he built. (and he tossed in a goodie, thanks Bory!)


* New LED bulbs for the BMW elipsoids

* Some 510 sidemarkers for the fenders

* Stock Subaru Subwoofer (needed the bracket for my daily, but planned on putting one in anyway so scored that off ebay)


Other things I picked up was 2 different LED interior lights. The factory light housing was missing and the fuse bulbs are going to get replaced over time so I picked both of these of aliexpress to see which one I prefer.





locking gas doors are the way to go, but I can't bring myself to spend $200 on the door + lock + keys so I am going to fab something up using one of these instead:




I snagged a new wiper knob off of a guy parting out a truck back east and Bory tossed in one with the fuel canister (thanks again!!!)



Next steps are waiting for the snow to melt off, put some little parts on the truck, and get the new power plant ordered up. 





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Snows finally melting


and a package came today with new passenger side tails






included an extra backup lens




that is cracked but intact. 





the bracket on my current tail light is better, and I have and intact backup light, but my lens was repaired with some crap that I am going to have to get into so I figured go with a better starting point and clean these up next:





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bit of cleanup on the nobs I got to replace the missing windshield wiper. I got some acrylic to match the color and i will fill it back in:




jumping back and forth between projects I was tired of kneeling in 'the shop'





I noticed a great set of mk2 recaros go up on craigslist today so my brother and I went on a road trip




the foam is in fantastic shape and the seats will do fine for now. i am going to swap the CRX seats out that came in the truck for these. Eventually these are going to get some of the 'fishnet' headrests and reupholster them to match the theme of the truck. 



Edited by BrothersGarage
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2 hours ago, Stoffregen Motorsports said:

I wonder if they would look better with the headrests removed and the holes upholstered over. I like low back seats in vintage trucks. Seeing a headrest through the back window just seems weird to me.


I am much the same way - that I don't like seeing the headrests in the back window. My problem is I am afraid if I get rear ended that my heads going though the back window - which is why I wanted the 'fishnet' "open" headrests. I will take pictures with / without them. 


They should end up looking like these (with different fabric / color pattern) to give some idea:






The older VW / Porsche Recaros are the thinnest dimensional 'race' seat that I can find - without resorting to getting bomber seats or an actual metal race seat that you can buy the seat skins for - that allows you to go with a 'no headrest' look to it at the same time. 



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I see your point.


On a similar note, I am looking for a pair of buckets for my '83 Toyota project, and I think I've decided on using 240Z seats for their vintage look. I originally thought I might cut the seats down to make them shorter, but after thinking about what you said, I might take a visit to my local upholstery guy and see if he can do that mesh thing to the Datsun seats. Would be a bit of work, but I'm sure it could be done.


Anyone got a pair of 240-280Z seats for sale?

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10 hours ago, Bleach said:

I've got a few CRX seats each with different problems. I'm hoping to piece together a good driver's seat and then have a decent pair to go in my 280Z.


Are you going to get rid of your seats and what condition are they in?


I was going to turn them into 'shop chairs' with rollers on the bottom but I would rather have them go in someones ride - as I have plenty of spare parts laying around. 


I can take pictures, but the left hand side of the drivers seat - on the upper portion - has the fabric torn and some foam missing (where you come in most contact with it most from coming in and out of the car). From what I recall the bottom is just fine. The passenger seat is mint. 



Edited by BrothersGarage
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