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Saying Hello to Ratsun

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Hello all,


I wanted to introduce myself. I’m a recent member to this awesome forum, although I’ve been ghosting information frobm it for months concerning my most recent acquisition, a ‘78 620 extended cab. I’ve been wanting a Datsun for the past 10 years, and by chance and luck I was able to find this one. Perhaps it found me.


My first truck was a red ‘94 Nissan Hardbody. I still own it now, after 15 years. It was a stock 4x4 at the time. Now, it sits on 35” tires with a Dana44 front end, built axles, an exo cage, and a KA24E engine from a 240SX that I hand built myself. You could say that I like doing my own work.


I had a Subaru Outback for awhile, it was fun but unfulfilling. I sold it for a black ‘97 Hardbody King cab, my first extended cab truck. I loved it. After some basic repairs, it ran like a new rig off the lot. 


Here is the funny twist in my truck story.  I got a call from the young man that sold me this truck. He was stuck up in the snow on Larch Mountain. It was around 10pm on a Saturday. I loaded up my gear and went to pull him out. And as I was shoveling snow from about his rig, a new Ford came sliding down the mountain and obliterated my parked Nissan.


I was dismayed, but the insurance payoff was huge. I bought a $800 truck and was reimbursed $4K. With some financial leeway, I decided that it was time to find my Datsun.


I did a quick craigslist search, and found a freshly painted ‘78 king cab in Springfield, Or. I decided to jump on it. My lady and I drove down there on a Sunday with snow in the weather forecast.


I could tell that maintenance was needed on the truck, but it ran and drove. Snow was falling heavily. It’s hard to inspect an engine bay in a snow flurry.


It was cold, it was snowing, and I didn’t want to leave with nothing after a 3 hour drive. I paid in cash and drove her home.


The next day, I heard that Springfield got over 6” of snow and the roads were blocked. Timing is everything.


Now I am the proud owner of one of my dream trucks, which my sarcastic friends have aptly nicknamed Pikachu.


I have come to realize that it takes a community of knowledge and resources to keep this truck on the road. I’ve been refreshing and restoring this truck for a few months, and finding parts and knowledge is a task. Most of it I have gotten from this form. So I thank you all, and I hope to be a resource to everyone as well.

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Welcome aboard! What was wrong with your cam?

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The cam was my fault. I was reassembling the head this weekend, after a full gasket and engine bay refresh. The head looked beautiful, and I was reassembling it after some cleaning. I neglected to notice that one of the cam towers wasn’t seated on its metal sleeve as I was torquing down the retaining bolts. Everything looked good, and I was being gentle, until I heard a small POP. I figured the towers popped into place, I’ve experienced that before on other engines.


Nope. The cam literally broke in half. The #3 cam tower was wonkeyed on top of the bolt sleeve that fits into the head.


I never thought that a camshaft would break like that. If not for that oversight I would have had the engine together about right now. LoL


So now, searching for a cam so I can get this damn truck driving again. I can’t wait to drive it without all the awful exhaust and coolant leaks from which it was suffering. 


Its my DD, not looking for anything other than getting it running smoothly. Been looking for a used cam all day for L16/18/20B motors, it’s all I need, and I figured Ratsun is the place to ask.

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Ah... I thought perhaps the lobes were worn and would suggest a diesel oil with the proper ZDDP level, unlike today's oils which have about half what it did when the L20B was new.


I will advise to avoid removing any cam tower at any cost. The bolts will strip easily in the soft aluminum and as for alignment.... better just left alone.

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Nice to have new members, welcome. Please attach photos, we like viewing your projects and dd's!

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Welcome aboard.
Would love to see pics of the 4x4.... or any of your trucks really lol 

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I will, and thanks guys. I sourced a cylinder head last weekend from a local Datsun guru named Rick living nearby in Washougal. We met for a simple transaction and ended up talking about our rigs for a good half an hour. He has a slick 510 he is working on and has been in the Datsun world for years, his place is like a salvage yard for parts. And he has front grille emblems, score!


Needless to say he saved me. I got a complete head for a hundy, and was able to reassemble mine with his drivetrain parts (his valves didn’t look so great, and my head looked beautiful in comparison, only 150k original miles).  I just got the head back on the block this afternoon, and Pikachu should be running by Sunday. 


I want to start throwing up some pics but haven’t gotten familiar with the forum yet. All my pics are on my phone, and it looks like I have to upload them to a site first?

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For now I’ll just tease y’all by changing up my profile pics until the weekend, when I can sit down and sort out my project pics.


And I totally agree Mike, about the cam tower bolts. They are sketchy. I meticulously cleaned all the bolts and holes before reassembly. The head bolts still looked great, I reconditioned them and reused them, no issues. My Lady got me a Chilton’s, FSM, and owners manual for the ‘78 King Cab for my birthday this year. She knows me so well.

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I hope these photos show up. Thanks all for the warm greetings. I got my 620 completely refreshed, all new gaskets on the engine, and she purrs. 


Ive had her since January. Since then, I’ve done the following:


2” drop spindles, discs, calipers, hubs, from a Hardbody. 


The engine work, of course, with emissions delete and routed the PCV to the exhaust 


I’m loving how smooth she runs now. I have lots of plans from here on, and will be sure to share when I tackle them.


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