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waynewec

Desert Datto

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Been lurkin' and searchin' and I need some input on a decision. Recently picked up a '77 King Cab 620 with an auto and started to getting it running - Threw a Weber 38/38 on the intake and got it revving and moving and then decided that I wanted a manual. Pulled everything out, and then I cracked open the motor and found out it had more miles on it than I thought - by 100k at least. Now here is where I sit: A clapped out L20B neatly piled in my garage, a 4 speed auto that I don't want to put back in, and a banged up 620 chassis begging to be badass.

 

I could do a full rebuild on the venerable L20; up the compression a bit, bore the cylinders, more aggressive cam, etc. And that would fit with my current standing plan for this truck - Get it running and roaming the desert for a few years before I go down the eventual path of turning it into a serious pre-runner (requires more shop than I have now). But here lies my dilemma, I'm still stuck trying to find a good transmission to mate to it and it's making me question whether it's worth rebuilding this engine or tracking down the engine/tranny I want and doing the swap now - Which is another matter entirely - Either way this is going to be a fun project.

 

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The odometer only goes to 99,999 and then rolls over to 00,000 again.

 

It's a 3 speed automatic unless you pulled a 4 speed auto out of a Maxima.

 

38/38 is too big for 2 liter engines but maybe you're like a car thief and drive fast.

 

The '74 620 and up 4 and 5 speeds fit. So do the ones from the 810/Maxima and the 280z/zx (non turbo)

 

 

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Yeah - the odometer is exactly what I figured out and those trans options are what I've found via searching. Guess I flubbed the 3 vs 4 - didn't bother fact checking myself. The 38/38 was intentional since the plan is for a desert race truck, but that brings me back around. Rebuild my L20B and hope I can find a good trans to drop in, or go forward with an engine swap - and right now I'm really on the fence for either direction

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Hi Wayne, welcome to Ratsun. Hello from Australia to NM. We visited Albuquerque 2 years back while travelling route 66 and loved it. I can imagine how much tooling around the desert there would be. 🙂

 

I'd think seriously about a swap at this stage. It's not like rebuilding the L20 is going to make the truck A. faster, B. more valuable. I'd look for a suitable donor engine/ECU/trans (maybe even diff) you can put in at the same time. A V6 or something even larger would be easy to find and install. Do the install such that suspensions upgrades fit well with it later. It will also allow an A/C install to keep your lady happy. 😉 

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I'd say either option is fine. Could rebuild the L20B for cheap, quick and easy. If you find a KA24E or DE that would be a fairly simple swap too. Just depends on how available parts are in your area.

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Thanks slow - I actually just got back from the local pick-n-pull on an engine hunt. I checked all the Nissan/Infinity cars they had with a VQ35 or bigger and found a couple possible candidates. I think I made up my mind on swap walking around out there and I'm open to any ideas for donor candidates. I want to keep it front engine rear drive, either manual or a damned good flappy gear box. With that decision done - anyone need an L20B in the NM area? It's clogging up my garage

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18 minutes ago, waynewec said:

Thanks slow - I actually just got back from the local pick-n-pull on an engine hunt. I checked all the Nissan/Infinity cars they had with a VQ35 or bigger and found a couple possible candidates. I think I made up my mind on swap walking around out there and I'm open to any ideas for donor candidates. I want to keep it front engine rear drive, either manual or a damned good flappy gear box. With that decision done - anyone need an L20B in the NM area? It's clogging up my garage

 

A VQ35 would be a great desert motor. Piles of torque and it would never be working hard pushing your 620. It would also give you a free power-steering pump for when you convert to bigger suspension down the track. 😉

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1 hour ago, slowlearner said:

 

A VQ35 would be a great desert motor. Piles of torque and it would never be working hard pushing your 620. It would also give you a free power-steering pump for when you convert to bigger suspension down the track. 😉

I think it opens up the possibility of going AWD eventually too... Guess I know what I'm doing this weekend hahaha

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After a ton of further research, I'm going Ford power. Specifically 3.7L Cyclone/Duratec V6. Now to find a good bellhousing and a decent Tremec so I can fill this great emptiness

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15 hours ago, waynewec said:

After a ton of further research, I'm going Ford power. Specifically 3.7L Cyclone/Duratec V6. Now to find a good bellhousing and a decent Tremec so I can fill this great emptiness

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Good idea. Lots of easy parts and tech. Looking forward to more pics!

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With the motivation the purchasing of parts brings, I started digging into the interior this past weekend. First the dash came out and then I started on the seats when I found a snack the previous owner left me.

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With my blood glucose up, and some odd grumbling in my stomach, I dug back into tearing out the disgusting interior to find what horrors might lurk beneath

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Oh wow - Looks pretty good

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Or not that good...

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Oh dear... I've got rust worms

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Guess I'll have to break out the angle grinder and find out just how bad it is, but we'll save that morbidity until after I go pick up my V6 goodness

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It looks good in the bed of my running truck

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It looks good next to the project truck

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It even looks pretty good inside

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But we'll find out more this week once I start tearing into it a bit. It is from a transverse application, but it shouldn't be any kind of problem. I might have to get a different timing cover and intake manifold - but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

 

Next on my shopping list: transmission. I went through a pretty serious amount of waffling on this. I wanted to go the Tremec route with a quicktime housing but the price put me off a bit. Then I was looking at the direct bolt in MT82 six speed but the class action lawsuit put me off a lot a bit. For now I'm thinking the junkyard special, bolt in, 6R80 trans with an aftermarket controller might just be the ticket. A daily driver automatic when I want it, and a semi auto paddle shifter when it's fun time.

 

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Looking forward to see this come together:)

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Okay, bit of a busy week. Dropped the engine in for a test fit and it looks really promising.

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Oil pan hits the steering link, but it has a big ole crack in it anyway. Truck oil pan and pickup outa fix that right up
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But let's get to the scary stuff. Time for the angry wire brush
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Oh boy
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AND a cracked hinge. Hooray! I'll get a better picture when I get around to fixing it
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Nonetheless, let's soldier on. After only a small fire or two (some dumbass apparently replaced the grommets in the fire wall with steel wool, hah - fire wall) I've got a  new piece of modern art. Templates were sprayed onto paper, transferred to my donor steel, and death wheeled into submission
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Weld it in, grind it flat, prime it up. Camera flash makes it look worse than it is, which is pretty freaking bad... But I'll own it because it was a BITCH to get in there with both the torch and the grinder
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I still haven't gotten the balls to start tackling the body mounts, but I've got some easy stuff under my belt and the courage to keep moving forward

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I had a nice 620 KC with minimal rust, but did have some around those forward cab mounts.  I welded in some large, dished washers from a 510 rear subframe mount to get the recess needed for the bolt head to remain below floor level. Worked great. I'm sure there are other ways too.

 

 

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The mounting cup is mostly intact on the passenger side, just the floorpan sheet metal is totally wasted. I'll cut out a patch and beat it into the cup, bolt through it, mark it out, cut it, then weld it in, should mostly replicate the stock configuration. The driver side is trickier - the mounting cup itself is pretty wasted. I'll get some measurements on where it sits and start cutting, then once I know just how bad it is I'll see what solution I can find - and I'll definitely keep that washer idea around. Looks slick

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On 9/29/2020 at 11:46 AM, datzenmike said:

The odometer only goes to 99,999 and then rolls over to 00,000 again.

 

It's a 3 speed automatic unless you pulled a 4 speed auto out of a Maxima.

 

38/38 is too big for 2 liter engines but maybe you're like a car thief and drive fast.

 

The '74 620 and up 4 and 5 speeds fit. So do the ones from the 810/Maxima and the 280z/zx (non turbo)

 

 

what year of 810/maxima/280z/zx

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On 9/29/2020 at 6:02 PM, waynewec said:

Thanks slow - I actually just got back from the local pick-n-pull on an engine hunt. I checked all the Nissan/Infinity cars they had with a VQ35 or bigger and found a couple possible candidates. I think I made up my mind on swap walking around out there and I'm open to any ideas for donor candidates. I want to keep it front engine rear drive, either manual or a damned good flappy gear box. With that decision done - anyone need an L20B in the NM area? It's clogging up my garage

i might be interested in L20b

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7 minutes ago, gene knight said:

what year of 810/maxima/280z/zx

 

ALL YEARS 810, Maxima and ZX, the 280z are *

'78-'80 810

'81-'84 Maxima

'77-'78* 280z

'79-'83 280zx (non turbo)

 

All are mid ratio with a 3.321 first gear except the '80-'83 280zx (non turbo) which is a close ratio with a 3.062 first

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1 minute ago, datzenmike said:

 

ALL YEARS 810, Maxima and ZX, the 280z are *

'78-'80 810

'81-'84 Maxima

'77-'78* 280z

'79-'83 280zx (non turbo)

 

All are mid ratio with a 3.321 first gear except the '80-'83 280zx (non turbo) which is a close ratio with a 3.062 first

thanks for the info

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Things get swapped so you can narrow down what it is, sometimes it's easier to tell what it isn't by....

 

Placing in first gear and marking the input and output spline. I like to use an old clutch disc to make it easier to turn. Turn the input 20 times while counting the output turns.

 

 

5.5 is a wide ratio with 3.592 first. Easier take offs if small displacement engine, low diff gears, heavy vehicle. Truck

6.0 is a mid ratio with 3.321. Good all round transmission

6.5 is a close ratio* with 3.062 Good for large displacement engines or light vehicle. Six cylinder car

 

* the close ratio 5 speeds all have a very high 25% overdrive 5th gear that isn't much use in town.

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On 12/13/2020 at 3:35 PM, gene knight said:

i might be interested in L20b

Sadly I already got rid of it. Still have the Weber 38/38 and manifold with the correct adapter welded on.

 

In brighter news, getting parts ordered, probably picking up a trans next week, and nearly three weeks off work means there might be some real progress getting made here soon

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