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Just purchased 1981 Datsun 720 pickup, Anyone want to help me with the project I am beginning?


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#1 AZSoldier31b

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 12:43 AM

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OK, so I just bought this little truck that has been used by a friend of mine for a long time as a rock crawler, hence the 33 inch mickeys and the 4 inch lift. Personally I think its a great start to making my own little monster. I have always wanted a smaller pickup truck, one that isnt all plastic and smooth (city trucks, bleh), but one that looks mean, without the "thirsty" aspect of bigger trucks. This is perfect, thank you Datsun! You have provided me with a very basic outlet for my creativity. This truck is basically a metal box with an engine in it. IT HAS BEEN PRACTICALLY STRIPPED! The interior (will post pics soon) has been turned into one seat, and metal. No panels anywhere, no carpet, etc. It was meant as a toy, not a daily driver, but im changing that. Now I am SOOOO shocked at what an incredible condition the engine is in. It is sooooo smooth, not a hiccup in sight even though its not much to look at (will also post pics of the engine soon). The body needs work, lots of dents, HORRIBLE paint, and the list goes on. Cosmetically it needs LOTS of TLC but I am patient and am going to turn it into my dream truck. What I would like to hear from the experts here, is what should I do mechanically to make the engine run even smoother. I am NOT a mechanic, and have only a basic knowledge of the internal combustion engine, but this is my experiment truck and I want to mess around with it until I can take it apart and put it back together blindfolded. Let me tell you all here on the RATSUN community what my plans are and feel free to give me feedback, my feelings wont be hurt if you don't like my ideas. Be forewarned, I am a 20 year old male! I know most Datsun owners/lovers are a bit more...mature, but I have a healthy respect for older vehicles, especially ones actually made of metal instead of cheap plastic, pffft, stupid city trucks. So if my ideas seem juvenile to you, try not to be too critical, I am a young guy and I like things that way.

I want to make the engine run like NEW again. It runs strong as an ox, dont get me wrong, its almost flawless, but I want to do every kind of maintenance I can so that I will NEVER have to bother with it in the future. Maybe add a turbo? PLEASE ADD IDEAS! I would love to include the creativity of you Datsun Veterans out there!

#2 78kingcab

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 02:12 AM

11. any ideas.......................slam it to the gizound....
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78 datsun kc,...SOLD...... http://community.rat...e-scrap-78-620/
my 71 2dr ka24de 510.... SOLD.. http://community.rat...-71-datsun-510/
my 71 2dr ka24e 510 max..SOLD..... http://community.rat...t-a-71-510-max/

#3 AZSoldier31b

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 07:13 AM

I looked at the blue Datsun Pickup you have as a link in your signature, VERY nice I must say, but mine is gonna be a bit different, style wise, I LOVE that it's lifted and on bigger tires, I want it to be, "Cowboy goes Metallica" kinda lookin, lol. But do you mind if I copy your HID idea and the LED light bar at the bottom?

Also, there is no grill on this poor thing, anyone know what size of grill will fit a 720 and where I could get a mean lookin one?

#4 AZSoldier31b

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 07:24 AM

Ok everyone, uploading the pics now into the first post, these are ground zero, I have not done ANYTHING to it yet, as I modify it and improve it I will take pictures for you guys so you can see the progress of my little project truck, and then when its finally finished I will put a Before and After thing, like one of those diet commercials lol, Thanks guys!

#5 datzenmike

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 07:48 AM

You have plenty of room in the cab for the subs. Under the bed by the axles you won't hear them in the cab and will annoy everyone else. I hate speakers in the doors... put them in the side panels behind the seats, cover with grill cloth.
Why take the gauges out? Unless putting in a set from the later 720??

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#6 troyt

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 07:58 AM

Cool truck, nothing like a lightweight lifted rig for cruising the Whitetanks or the Tonto. If this is gonna be your daily driver in AZ, your biggest issue is gonna be AC. Its gonna be a HUGE effort to track down all the components neccesary to have a complete system, then a big expense at a shop willing to take it in to get it working properly. You gotta decide before you start down that road if it is really necessary, because its gonna cost you more than what you have in that truck already (I lived in AZ for a long time and am speaking from experience). If you're willing to live without AC, the rest of the project is easy, everything available at junkyards, NAPA, and on the internet. When I was your age I rebuilt many daily drivers. You're gonna need a plan 'B' (bike, bus, or buddy) for getting to work, school, the parts shop, your girlfriends, etc because once you start on the projcet, you'll have days when you won't have wheels ;-)
Good luck.

#7 AZSoldier31b

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 08:30 AM

WOW mike im impressed the original guages are in such good condition in yours, the ones in mine are JACKED up lol, most have broken pins, broken glass, etc, the only one that looks good is the fuel guage. Would it be possible to put that second set of guages into a truck like mine? I have never done such a thing and im not sure if the wiring would allow it. How would I do somethin like that? And I have a bike as well Troyt for the days when shes being worked on in the garage. Also I have a bunch of mechanics in my family, all of whom would be more than willing to help me install such an AC system, as long as I track down the parts for it. With as much room as there is in that engine compartment, couldnt I pretty much get any old compressor and install it in there, just kinda make room for it? Then of course have one of my mechanically handy family members maybe help me install the lines, and whatever else an ac system needs for a Christmas gift or something? Is that a pipedream or possible? It doesnt HAVE to be the original ac system does it? Why not go new and improved, especially in AZ?

#8 datzenmike

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 08:43 AM

Those are not mine. It's just a picture. I have the later 720 dash and replaced my 620 dash with it. Really like the clock/tach in it.

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This is what can be done
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#9 AZSoldier31b

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 08:47 AM

Just found this, its a FULL standard air conditioning system, BRAND NEW with everything you need to go from HOT to Coooooool minus a belt and a couple of hoses, for less than 700 bucks. Any input on how well somethin like this would work?


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Or even better, found one meant for a DATSUN,

This is a complete air conditioning system for a 1974 - 1978 Datsun (Nissan) 260 Z & 280 Z. This system is designed to fit into the vehicle similiar as the original a/c system. The evaporator unit works off of the existing heater systems blower motor. The system will use the orignal vent outlets. The thermostat (temperature control) can be mounted under the dash or in the dash. The system will include all the major components to add a/c, the only part that will be required is the R-134a refrigerant.

The kit is made up of all brand new parts, the following are included:

  • Sanden style compressor with clutch assembly, and oil
  • Compressor mount kit with idler pulley, nuts, bolts and belt
  • Grommets to route the hoses through the firewall
  • Oring drier with mounting strap
  • Condenser with mount brackets
  • High low pressure switch
  • Evaporator with mounting hardware, expansion valve, and thermostat
  • Hose kit with fittings and orings (pre-crimped)
  • Directions
The hoses are crimped, the only requirement is to have the system installed, evacuated and charged. This is a complete kit that is ready to bolt in. The evaporator box is made in the USA.

#10 AZSoldier31b

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 08:49 AM

Very nice! You have a clean truck there, maybe Ill just cover up the ones that are broken, and clean and restore the ones that are still functional. Also the AC controls are completely gone in my truck, so that post I just made, that little makeshift one would fit PERFECTLY right where the old AC controls went.

#11 Sealik

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 02:01 PM

The location for your subs that you are referring to......isn't your gas tank located there?
I think the 83+ 4x4 grill looks better than the 80-82 4x4 grill......that's 1 option.
Some links were posted for some aftermarket grills on another thread....option 2. Shouldn't be too hard to locate.
Are there oil and volt gauges in that console?.
Gonna remove them?

Here's the 4x4 grill... on 1 of my 84 trucks.

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For comparison....I have all the 2wd and 4x4 grills, 81 and up. But I can't find the pic.

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#12 AZSoldier31b

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 03:23 PM

I am gonna remove the oil and volt guages from there, one of the reasons I kinda wanna make my own dash with custom guages, I dont like them down there, and the guages now are way messed up, so I might as well start from scratch and just rewire the whole dash into brand spankin new guages that I can play with the positioning of. My eventual goal with the whole herculiner thing and metal plates, etc is I want it almost well rounded enough that I could remove the seats and spray it down with a hose. Now obviously it would never be THAT solid on the inside because theres stereo equipment etc, but I just mean I dont want alot of extra crap that can get damaged easily, I am perfectly ok with a stereo, two ac vents (like the unit I posted a pic of last time) that go under the dash, and seats. I dont want alot of extras, I want all my guages right in front of me so I dont have to look around for them lol. I am a man of very simple taste, I dont want a luxary vehicle, people have forgotten how a TRUCK should be, now theyre all plastic and soft :P Wow that grill isnt bad at all, you seem to have two, though one is bigger, but if the one you arent using would fit mine, would you be interested in selling?

And no the gas tank is further forward, and its not where the spare goes either, thats back further, its like between the gas tank and the spare, its just this ridiculously empty space. I could smuggle people across borders in that spot! lol

#13 Sealik

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 03:39 PM

I am gonna remove the oil and volt guages from there, one of the reasons I kinda wanna make my own dash with custom guages, I dont like them down there, and the guages now are way messed up, so I might as well start from scratch and just rewire the whole dash into brand spankin new guages that I can play with the positioning of. My eventual goal with the whole herculiner thing and metal plates, etc is I want it almost well rounded enough that I could remove the seats and spray it down with a hose. Now obviously it would never be THAT solid on the inside because theres stereo equipment etc, but I just mean I dont want alot of extra crap that can get damaged easily, I am perfectly ok with a stereo, two ac vents (like the unit I posted a pic of last time) that go under the dash, and seats. I dont want alot of extras, I want all my guages right in front of me so I dont have to look around for them lol. I am a man of very simple taste, I dont want a luxary vehicle, people have forgotten how a TRUCK should be, now theyre all plastic and soft :P Wow that grill isnt bad at all, you seem to have two, though one is bigger, but if the one you arent using would fit mine, would you be interested in selling?

And no the gas tank is further forward, and its not where the spare goes either, thats back further, its like between the gas tank and the spare, its just this ridiculously empty space. I could smuggle people across borders in that spot! lol


Those 2 grills are the same size.....the 1 in the foreground just looks bigger.
Might want to check and see if there is something a 'little' more local....shipping costs and all.
I'm up in the..... Great White North :D

".....it's like between the gas tank and the spare.....".....mount the sub below the box/bed?.
Isn't that a bit of a 'distance' and or, away from the cab?

#14 datzenmike

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 04:11 PM

So if you mount the speakers under the box how you going to hear them in the cab?

#15 Sealik

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 04:13 PM

If you need any extra 'assistance' on the layout of your audio system.....maybe elmerfudpucker could chime in.
He seems to be the man..... :cool: ..... there are other audiophiles in this forum, but that's all I can recall.
Not saying that you need any advice.....but....it's always conducive to have anothers 'input'. :)

Edited by Sealik, 31 October 2010 - 04:32 PM.


#16 AZSoldier31b

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 06:11 PM

Well I would want a couple kickers for the subs, which dont have a lot of actual audio volume, and they only really give you bass that you feel more than hear. In a small truck like that, I think you would feel it even that far back, especially if they were pointed upwards lol. I had a 1999 Chrysler Sebring which is a fricken boat of a car and I had a couple tens in the trunk, and those things rattled my teeth, I would of course do alot of playin around to see how well it worked, and if it didnt work I would abandon my idea, I just thought it would be somethin fun to try. Thats what I like to do, is try out new things, even if they fail, hey I gave it a shot and probably learned something in the process. Oh dang lol youre that far huh? I will definetly look around then. I might even just make my own. Whats a little metal bending and shaping for a nice afternoon eh lol, besides I kinda want it to look rough and tumble and not so "factory". Imagine how the cars in "Death Race" look, minus the rocket launchers and machine guns, and toned down a little bit. I actually want people to have no idea what it is until I tell them. No symbols or lettering, AT ALL.

#17 AZSoldier31b

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 06:16 PM

On another note, if anyone knows someone with a 720 tailgate they aren't using, I would love to buy it off of them, because this one is really messed up and im not sure any amount of BONDO can fix it lol.



#18 Sealik

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 06:24 PM

"........I actually want people to have no idea what it is until I tell them. No symbols or lettering, AT ALL. ......"

How much are you going to modify it?
Unless you throw a tarp over it and or the neighbors are much myopic... :D ...one can, and should always be able to see the Datsun in itself...?
Just a thought.
:)

#19 AZSoldier31b

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 07:27 PM

Well for the body im keeping that the same, I just mean I dont want to have any kinds of lettering or symbols or icons or anything on it. I want people to think its a "space datsun", like it dropped from the sky and no mere man dares claim to have produced it lol. I know that sounds ridiculously dramatic, but oh well lol, I mean of course you can tell by looking at the body that its a datsun, but its gonna be clean all the way around. And I have been looking into some specs for the s10 pickup, and any grille that fits on the s10 should fit on the 720 with almost no shaping, already found the billet grill I want :). Maybe instead of the subs I could do something really woodsy and efficient, like mounting a mini generator down there. Even install a little roller with an extension cord that I can have plugged into the generator. Now keep in mind theres alot of metal in between the open area underneath the truck and the ground, so its not gonna be scraping on the ground or anything lol. Ill take pics to post later



#20 izzo

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 07:33 PM

Im sorry man, but any sort of speaker beyond a PA system on the outside of a vehicle is just plain retarded, do what you want with this truck, ill be interested to see you gut it and do some mods, but the idea of putting speakers on the outside of the truck is just to far out there. Something i expect to see in the ghetto, along with the guys who build trikes, put a buncha speakers and a car battery on, then pedal around down.


Anyways, the generator sounds like a good idea! If you went out on a trail, and wanted to squad a night somewhere it would be nice to have some power! Maybe a super small cheapy welder in there for fixin shit on the go too :D I'm not trying to start a flame war here or step on your toes. Good luck on your truck
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