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Transplanting 510 IRS?


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Is it possible to transplant the independent rear suspension from a 510 to another vehicle, such as a first generation 200SX (S10)?

The rear track width is nearly identical...only 2/10ths of an inch difference. Curb weights are very similar. The current leaf spring suspension on my 200sx is just okay, and something is rattling every time I hit a good-sized bump. I miss the glued-to-the-road feeling of a 510 in corners and on rough roads. I’ve also been told the ‘77 through ‘79 200sx already has the 510 front suspension, and wonder if anyone has ever gone all the by adding the IRS?

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Have you tried lowering the car's center of gravity? Also stiffer rear and front springs? New shocks? How about a larger sway bar. These are all bolt in improvements you can do. Now compare to what you remember of the PL510.  

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Good idea, I will go for the low hanging fruit first. The car actually rides great and handles pretty good, but when the road gets rough it the rear dances a bit, and on big bumps there’s a rattle, like you’re carrying something loose in the trunk. Since it only has 64,000 original miles and I know the shocks are original, I’ll replace them first! Thanks for the advice, datzenmike!


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Leaf springs..... so lowering blocks, try 2". Front end is a bit more work but you can cut the lower spring perches off the strut tube and lower the car on 2" split collar supports. If original struts with the oil bath dampers you can replace the thin hydraulic oil in the dampers with 20w motorcycle fork oil to firm them up. Likewise, the front coil can be trimmed to increase the stiffness (spring rate) Adjustable lowering and ride height, firmer spring and firmer damper (shock) costs less that $50 to do yourself. No welding needed just a few tools and an angle grinder. This is all in my 710 build thread.


Dropping 2" really lowers it's center of gravity removing much of that 'tippy' feeling on turns. Stiffer springs front and back add to this even more and prevent bottoming out. Firmer shocks remove the bouncing feeling.

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The S10 uses an H-165 on leaf springs same as the 710.


I have 2, 710 builds one a sedan and one my current wagon. The sedan covers the strut mods better although I did the same to both but used ATF on the sedan as I was curious about a 9-12w weight oil and it was intended for my wife's use. The wagon covers this and the leaf spring lowering with blocks.

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I have one of these with all the suspension mods. with a couple mods you dont need to get rid of the leaf setup. my car has similar corner speeds to modern hot hatches. rear traction is not a problem at all!!!!!!


I am using stock leaves with the overload removed, crazy carpet between the springs, changed all the bushings to aluminum. 

I have "slapper bars" on the car which control axle wrap and stiffen the rate a fair bit as they clamp the springs.

For Shocks im using PRO shocks PG series (now discontinued) in 4/4 valving. they are the 11 inch long body ones, same as what you'd use on a 2nd gen camaro.

I had the stock rear diff for a while, then I went with a ford 8.8 (for drag racing)


The design of the springs are very similar to 1200/b210/b310 springs. I'd like to get a set of nismo rear springs for a 1200 and see if they bolt in.


if you dont need more power, run the stock axle. if you need an LSD there is a toyota center section that the axles will fit in, they just need the mounting holes re-drilled for the pumpkin.

LSD's for H165's are like hens' teeth.

These cars desperately need better brakes. if running a stock axle, making brackets for S13 Rear brakes is highly reccomended.


With my current setup i get a little bit of understeer with the 1 1/8" swaybar on it. it needs a baby bar on the rear or maybe a lil smaller front bar. i can only get the rear to come loose if theres some shit on the road, clutch kick it or spray the fuck out of it with the street tires on it (NOS).


As for the front, S10's are a little bit different than a 510, they are more like an A10 or a 710.  

you can use 510 aftermarket control arms and such, but they will be wound out a little farther than usual. these bolt on. (i am using the futofab ones.)

For a sway bar, you need to trim the lil front lip off the crossmember a half inch off and drill new sway bar mount holes to mount an aftermarket 510 bar on it. (i have the futofab one)

For Strut Swaps, everything is the same. the stock spindles are large like a 280z,zx but with the worlds shittiest brakes and theres nothing that you can really swap onto the stock struts. I tried.

280zx struts bolt in. 

s12 200sx struts are allmost bolt in, you need RCA's to go from the small 510/280zx knuckle reciever to the 200sx/300zx size. the bolt holes are the same but the centering rings are different. they will actually bolt on but you are relying on the shear strength of the 2 bolts. (this latter setup is what i am using with tokico illuminas and GC coilover kit)

Ball joints are same as any later datsun ball joint.

the 510 steering box braces wont work as its a 4 bolt top box instead of the 3 bolt ones.

tie rods are the same as 510.


my biggest gripe with this car when it was stock was the shit ass brakes and it was wayy wayy wayy too soft in the front.


With just the s12 coilover swap it was like night and day. when the LCA's and swaybar went on the car became nearly a razorblade. My rear shocks were pretty dead so putting good racing rear shocks on it killed any weirdness out of the back.




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What a comprehensive description of all the possibilities! The S10 is tucked away for winter now, so the work will commence in the spring. I agree that the brakes are not stellar, and I just went through them and it did help some, but the original design deficit continues. Scooter, reading your comments is like drinking from a fire hose - I mean that as a huge compliment. Great information and insights! This is a knowledgeable and helpful community! Thanks to all for your help. 

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i had to figure alot of stuff out as there is not much out there for these.  most guys that get these cars pull the dogleg and l20b for their 510 and squash the rest due to their stock uglyness.. with a little bumper tuck and some cutting on the rear fenders you have yourself a mini kenmeri skyline.


if your car is pristine, dont cut it up as they are HARD to get nice parts for. mine was allready crusty around the fenders so I did it a favor cutting them out and putting flares on it.


there is not much stock on my car anymore, ive had it pretty much completely apart so if you need some info on anything just send me a message.



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Lots to think about, indeed - thanks again datzenmike and scooter. A little background: I bought the 200sx on a whim, and I like it A LOT better than I thought I would. It’s in incredible condition - the body is clean, with very minor corrosion in the lower corner of the front fenders and some weird rust on the flange of the trunk opening under the rubber gasket (not visible when the trunk is closed) and a small hole in the spare tire well and some random surface spots. Underbody, floorboards, rockers, trunk, under hood areas and frame rails are solid as new, all covered in this original waxy rustproofing - that’s how I know the rear shocks are original caused they’re rust proofed too. Interior is like new except for one crack in the dash. Body has about 70-percent original paint.The L20B is sweet running. I adjusted the valves and set the timing and drove it 1,300 miles in a few months. No oil usage whatsoever! The engine seems well matched to the automatic transmission, and the combo is much nicer than the L16 PL510s I’ve owned with the Jatco three speed. It actually scoots pretty good and keeps up with modern traffic at city speeds. The extra torque really helps the transmission. For some reason the choke relay is missing and there’s no choke function or fast idle on the Hitachi DCH340 on cold startup. Not really a problem for a summer-only car, and once warmed up it runs great. Quick off the line, then “modest” but steady acceleration until it comes alive more around 60 mph. As it sits now is a great summer cruiser that would be helped by tightening up the suspension a bit. Scooter, I’m trying to figure out how to post photos. Thanks again ,guys!

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Looks like a polar bear in a snow storm.



You'll need to start a photo hosting account with imgur, image shack, flikr, dropbox.... it's free. DO NOT USE  Photobucket. Save your pictures there and when you want to post one, go and copy the picture information bring it here and past in your post. (this is a very abbreviated account of what to do) 

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Photos were taken in early April...temperatures in the 60s and the ice going out in the lakes. Minneapolis has a half dozen lakes all linked by parkways and bike trails. Highway 2 is a nice road...in the summer! Right now we’re looking at record cold tomorrow...an early winter.

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Wow, Beautiful 200SX you got there Leaf. In that good of shape, it's got to be a rare find up there in MN. Dropping it a bit lower and a set of KYBs you'll be able to toss it around pretty good. Bravo!

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That is a fine example you have there. Very nice find!


a lil shock/ strut work with some decent vintage jap wheels and youll have a wicked  little cruiser! Id love to have another one of these just stock to putt around in.

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