Joyce’s ‘71 521 Farm Truck

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Byron510
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Joyce’s ‘71 521 Farm Truck

Post by Byron510 » 17 May 2018 04:16

Well a new Datsun project found its way to my door step last weekend. My wife really admired a local 521 years ago that she saw come to our local shows and had mentioned a number of times that she’d like one. This particular example came from Vancouver Island. I have no history on it, but it’s enduring quality is that it has been relatively untouched over its 47 years on this earth. Aside from a fabricated rear bumper sporting different tail lights, a DIN radio hole in the dash, an electric fuel pump under the hood which had been disconnected and a rad swap from W.H.Y., the truck seems to be pretty much original with all original interior parts still present aside from the original floor matt. The trim and rubber all in good shape, and all trim is there.
The body has some rust, but nothing that can’t be dealt with. Floors and cab mounts are solid, but the box and tail gate will need quite a bit of work. Original tail lights will need to be sourced.
The front end sheet metal however seems to be great shape, and the grill has survived its years unscathed. Under the hood, all seems quite original, right down to the original windshield washer bag which is still in place.
Glass all seems good. My wife and I both love the old farm truck mirrors. These will be mounted in a more substantial way but will be retained.

The project? There are no plans to lower it or mod it too much. Aside from paint and upholstery work on the seat, I don’t plan to make too many changes.

One upgrade I would like to perform to the front end is ball joints and disc brakes.

I have seen a fella on Ratsun that makes custom upper control arms that utilize a combination of 620,720 & D21 parts to make a conversion to vented discs and ball joints that ends up being about 2.5” wider in track. Is there another solution that you guys are aware of? I remember reading about the 520 with all the Miata front end, but bering in mind this is still a truck, it may be overkill. But maybe not. For the few guys on here who’ve played with a king pin 521/620 drum brake front end, what are your thoughts?

I’ll need to downsize the photos and post them here for you all.

Byron
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two_68_510s
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Re: Joyce’s ‘71 521 Farm Truck

Post by two_68_510s » 17 May 2018 07:15

Cool, sounds like fun! I really miss my 521.
Joel

2 '68 510 2 door sedans
'95 240SX
74 Jensen Healey

“We will either find a way, or make one.” – Hannibal

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MikeY
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Re: Joyce’s ‘71 521 Farm Truck

Post by MikeY » 17 May 2018 07:36

I'm glad the truck found a good home. One less thing to worry about this weekend.

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RMS
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Re: Joyce’s ‘71 521 Farm Truck

Post by RMS » 17 May 2018 08:09

did Jason call you ? Lewis's blue 521 (last time I looked) had a great box, gate, and rear bumper ? .... just saying
two_68_510s wrote:I guess our donkeys are quicker then your sled dogs!

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Re: Joyce’s ‘71 521 Farm Truck

Post by greenthumb » 17 May 2018 10:41

If Jason is parting that out, dibs on the hood if its still straight! :)

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Re: Joyce’s ‘71 521 Farm Truck

Post by greenthumb » 17 May 2018 10:41

Nice find Byron. Ya beat me to it!

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Byron510
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Re: Joyce’s ‘71 521 Farm Truck

Post by Byron510 » 17 May 2018 19:12

Hi Robyn, You'll have to put me in touch with Lewis again - it's been years! Can you text me his contact number? Thanks.

Which Jason are you referring? If its beebani23, I did get an email and will reach out to him.

Has anyone else done a conversion of some other sort for the 521?

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Re: Joyce’s ‘71 521 Farm Truck

Post by Edm620 » 18 Nov 2018 06:54

There's a series of video by "Bluehands" doing a disc brake conversion on a 520 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylr6uuMNUGA) that may provide some useful info.
We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
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icehouse
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Re: Joyce’s ‘71 521 Farm Truck

Post by icehouse » 18 Nov 2018 18:42

I heard back in the day guys would cut the front of a disk brake truck off then carefully trim the suspension mounts away from the old frame and graft it onto there old disk brake trucks. I have the front of a late 620. The next 521 I get I’m going to go this route. Then you get ball joints, nice disk brakes and factory designed suspension.
"People don't like it when shit doesn't match their rule of thumb." Sam

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Re: Joyce’s ‘71 521 Farm Truck

Post by slowerthantime » 18 Nov 2018 19:42

In case you feel like taking a drive to Wa
https://seattle.craigslist.org/oly/pts/ ... 27710.html

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Re: Joyce’s ‘71 521 Farm Truck

Post by Byron510 » 19 Nov 2018 10:17

Edm620 wrote:
18 Nov 2018 06:54
There's a series of video by "Bluehands" doing a disc brake conversion on a 520 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylr6uuMNUGA) that may provide some useful info.
I looked into these kits initially, but loosing the drums brakes was only half of it. Loosing the worn steering and king pins was the other half of the 'want' list...

So to update this thread only a tiny bit..... I did procure a 1980 720 Lil Hustler - which is the bare bones rubber matt regular cab short box truck. It does have the non-vented discs which may well be the same as the 620. The truck is actually an L20B - not a Z22 which I expected when I went to look at the truck. I do have a 5spd for the an L motor which works out, and I got a working EI distributor and reasonably good running L20B in the deal. With an early Hitachi or a Webber 32-36, I think it'll all work out.

The plan however is to use the whole 720 frame under the 521 cab and box.

I really need to get some photos up!

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Re: Joyce’s ‘71 521 Farm Truck

Post by spriso » 19 Nov 2018 10:38

There are some threads on Ratsun.net on putting a 521 on a 720 frame... not quite plug and play (as you would expect).

My 68 521 will get Miata front and rear suspension (but that project is a few more down the road).

-m
Michael Spreadbury
Spriso Motorsports
www.spriso.com

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icehouse
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Re: Joyce’s ‘71 521 Farm Truck

Post by icehouse » 19 Nov 2018 14:16

spriso wrote:
19 Nov 2018 10:38
There are some threads on Ratsun.net on putting a 521 on a 720 frame... not quite plug and play (as you would expect).

My 68 521 will get Miata front and rear suspension (but that project is a few more down the road).

-m
You should put the Miata suspension under one of your wagons so it drives less like a 521 and more like your future 521.
"People don't like it when shit doesn't match their rule of thumb." Sam

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Re: Joyce’s ‘71 521 Farm Truck

Post by Byron510 » 19 Nov 2018 16:53

spriso wrote:
19 Nov 2018 10:38
There are some threads on Ratsun.net on putting a 521 on a 720 frame... not quite plug and play (as you would expect).

My 68 521 will get Miata front and rear suspension (but that project is a few more down the road).

-m
Admittedly, Project MX520 was very interesting to follow and a very cool concept.

Here's the Ratsun thread I followed for quite some time;
https://ratsun.net/topic/7446-project-mx520-top-secret/

Here's an abbreviated thread that's now available;
http://build-threads.com/build-threads/mx520/

For my wife, she doesn't need this much engineering at all. But I did consider a PL510 IRS at a few points already as it would fit under the box and it would ride so much better than the leafs, but the plan isn't even to lower it, so I'm already over engineering the game.

Another thought was to make this electric, and it wouldn't be the first electric 521.... maybe a leaf drivetrain under the box to get rid of the live rear axle at some point down the road - but I'm over engineering again!

Byron
Love people and use things,
because the opposite never works.

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