This page is for time/money saving tips for your Datty. Some tips from all the work I do on Dattos , and some tips sent in via the Datsun Owners Club.
If you’ve ever had to remove the head on any L series engine as fitted to most Datsuns from the L13/L14 engines upwards, you’ll know the fiasco you go through to keep the tension on the lower part of the timing (cam) chain. Just in case you didn’t know, if the chain is allowed to go even slightly slack while its disconnected, the spring-loaded tensioner located on the front of the cylinder block will come all the way out of it’s housing, and will not go back in again. The first you will know about this is that you won’t have enough chain to be able to lift the top cam sprocket up on to its dowels upon re-assembly. This is because the tensioner is stuck fully out, and has gone sideways. The only way to remedy this is to remove the crank pulley, oil pump, distributor and drive spindle, bottom hose, and timing cover. Loosening of the sump is also necessary. You will have to buy new gaskets before you put the tensioner right, and reassemble. However, this will never happen if you are fore warned and fore armed.
What you need to do is: Crack the cam sprocket bolt loose, then
the engine up to TDC (Consult service manual) Then hammer in a wooden
between the chain guides in the block. (This is easiest done with the
of a 1/2 inch extension bar) THEN remove the sprocket and continue
the head. The head will lift off over the chain and tool. Datsun
a special tool for the job, and even Snap-on tools do one, but as you
see from the diagram it’s very easy to make your own.
Points to note are to make the wedge from a hard piece of wood as it needs to be hammered in quite hard and you don’t want it splitting. You need to have a piece of wire attached too, so you can fish it out when you’re done. For goodness sake remember to put the sprocket back on before you take the wedge out. (I know someone who actually did this; Hi Jim! )
If you have trouble removing the tool put a spanner on the crank and rock it back and forth slightly. -WL, Dimensions Illustration by Mike Varey
The bottom two heater fan
don't work on my SUNNY/VIOLET
Remove the resistor block from the heater casing and you will see the end of the coil is detached from its lug. Fit an M4 nut & bolt through the two pieces, and carefully re-install the block taking care not so bend the coils.
I've had a new clutch
it seems quite heavy.
Someone's probably fitted a non-Japanese item. These are not made to the same tolerances and never feel like the original ones. The whole point of owning a Japanese car is the engineering quality and reliability. Putting any old stuff on kind of defeats the object!
The battery light is
always on on
my 180B/Violet/Bluebird, but it's charging perfectly.
This is a battery electrolyte level lamp. The original Japanese battery would have had a dipstick which cancels the light if the battery is topped up. If you don't have an original battery, you can connect the sensor wire to the +ve Battery terminal. This will fool the lamp into staying off.
C230 Interior Lamp
“My interior lamp on my 200L/240L is pants, I can’t see a damn thing with it."
Yes they only have a 4 or 5 watt capless bulb in them, and you can’t fit anything bigger. HOWEVER If you unscrew the unit and sling it in the bin, you can fit a Bluebird 910 lamp instead. This will fit exactly in place, even the wires will just plug in. These take the 10 Watt bulb like all the other Datsuns, and the diffuser lets more light through too.
"My interior door handle straps on my 300C have fallen off
and the threads have stripped so I can’t screw them back on."
This is a common one. The straps are only held by four self tappers that just go into the metal of the door. Don’t even think about trying rawl plugs! There is a way of doing a successful and permanent repair which is stronger that the original design. You’ll need an angle grinder (or die grinder or similar) and some spire clips (available from good motor accessory shops or off a spares car)
Remove the door trim panel. (The rectangular border round the chrome door handle has to be pried off, but don’t do this to the one on the lock button.) Unplug the cables to the window switch. Measure the distance between the spire clip centre and its closed edge and carefully cut a slot (about half inch long) at this distance from the damaged hole in the door. A half-worn disc (smaller diameter) will produce neater results. You may not have to cut all the way through, as you can chisel through the metal where is has been ground away. Then insert a flat screwdriver and bend the slot slightly, so that it opens up enough to insert a spire clip. This must be placed so that the larger half of it is behind the door shell. You should do this to all four holes on that door, and Voila! Super strong strap attachment! You should be able to use the original screws when reassembling if you have the correct size spire clips.
The standard sound system is pretty dreadful in the 300C, especially the estate. However if you have an estate you can upgrade the front speakers slightly by fitting 300C saloon speakers. These are about 6” instead of 4”, and produce better bass. The housing is different, so if you wanted to upgrade further, you’ll need saloon speaker housings anyway, as the estate ones are tiny. There is a fault that seems to affect every 300C stereo I've ever seen that the FM reception is terrible. I can only assume they worked ok when they were new, anyone confirm? THe displays sometimes pack in on these units too, all in all, a really bad stereo, but hey, at least there's a proper analogue volume control unlike this modern stuff.
If you've got an old 6 cylinder Laurel, 240/260/280C with points ignition can perform a simple upgrade to give you electronic Ignition with all the benefits that brings in terms of smoothness, marginally better economy and absence of the need for any maintenance. So If you have a 130, 230, 330, 430, C110, C130, C230, early C31, 240Z or 260Z just fit a distributor from a 240K GT (C210), late Laurel C31, 280ZX or Laurel C32. It's best to change the coil too. Wiring is simple as there are only two terminals on the module which is built into the side of the distributor, which are labelled! What could be simpler!
Having problems bleeding your brakes, or clutch, after a dismantling session? Make sure you first undo the bleed nipples on the master cylinder, and bleed from here first. You should change your brake fluid at least every couple of years as it is vegetable based, and absorbs water. Water in the system not only rusts the pipes and cylinders, it can be dangerous in extreme braking conditions. Ideally you need three people to bleed all your brakes quickly and thoroughly. One person to operate the brake pedal, one to keep the reservoir topped up, and one to open and close the nipples on the brakes.
The most effective way of purging air from the system is to work on a sequence of: Open bleed nipple (with a clear tube attached), press pedal down slowly, close nipple, release pedal slowly. Repeat until clean fluid with no air bubbles flows through tube.
If your brakes still feel a bit naff even after bleeding, suspect a sticking calliper or brake pad (very common, check that both pads in the calliper have worn equally), or bad adjustment of rear brakes.
The number of cars I've had in over the years with the same old problems where it is obvious that whoever has been working on the car hasn't a clue what they're doing!
The main example that springs to mind is the HANDBRAKE. It amazes me the number of people that think that handbrake cables stretch. They notice the handbrake lever gradually coming up further, and adjust the handbrake cable under the car to compensate. DO NOT DO THIS. THE CABLE HASN’T STRETCHED. I've even seen people pack the adjuster out with washers to tighten the cable!
What really happens is that the rear brake shoes wear down, and this makes them further away from the drum so more pull is needed when you need to put the handbrake on. Most cars have an automatic adjuster in each rear brake which theoretically clicks the shoe out a bit further as it wears. However, these rarely work properly, and although you might be able to improve them by taking them apart, cleaning them and lubricating them, by far the best way to get razor sharp brakes is to turn the adjusters manually. This is what you do: For cars with manual adjuster (610, 120Y etc) turn the square ended bolt on the back of the brake drum with the special tool until a light dragging is felt.
Cars with auto adjusters: Jack up the rear of the car and support it safely; remove the rear wheels; make sure that the handbrake lever is down; then un-adjust the cable all the way. Then remove the rear brake drums. Light tapping with a hammer might help. If the drum hasn't been off for a bazillion years, you can try screwing in a couple of M8 bolts, (the ones that normally have 12mm heads). Use bolts with flat ends, not tapered ones. Lube the bolts as you put them in, and tighten them evenly until they pull the drum off. DO NOT BREATHE THE DUST IN. It's like very bad for you. Although it's possible someone's fitted asbestos-free shoes, there's no way of telling, and besides, chances are that whatever they're made of won't do you the world of good!
Assuming the mechanism in the brake is OK, and the shoes and cylinder are OK, adjust the adjuster by levering the serrated section round a few clicks with a screwdriver. Re-fit the drum and turn it to check the amount of effort required. Repeat the adjustment procedure until a light dragging is felt. If the drum is difficult to pull off each time, there might either be rust around the inner hole (between the wheel stud holes) or on high mileage cars a lip could be worn in the drum in which case, replace the drum or investigate getting it skimmed. Now see how far the lever comes up when you pull it. Adjust the cable up enough to get 4 or 5 clicks, and you're done!
Hope you like Jammin’ too
Does this sound familiar? You're driving down the motorway, and you take you foot off the accelerator, and guess what! The car carries on going. Like the throttle's jammed, either for a few seconds, or like forever, or until you slow the car down on the brake. You've had the carb looked at, you've checked out the throttle cable and the return springs. You've even made sure your mats aren't lying on the pedal. You may notice it does it more in cold weather.
You could either pretend to your mates that you have cruise control, or read this.....
It's probably the warm-air duct between the plate on the exhaust manifold, and the air filter box. It may look ok from the outside, but it's probably collapsed on the inside. This not only increases fuel consumption, and causes bad running, loss of power and carburettor icing, but causes vacuum build-up to hold the secondary throttle open. When you replace this tube, DO NOT use cheap accessory-shop bacofoil type pipe, it's crap! Genuine Nissan stuff's really expensive but you MUST use it. Make sure you're using a proper Japanese metal air filter too. Cheaply made plastic / rubber copy parts not only look nasty but won't last long and can damage your engine.
There's this stuff that's been around for a while now which is specially designed to clog up your engine's coolant passages, block the heater, and fill your radiator with gunge. Sounds great huh? The product is sold under several names, but its usually something like “Rad Fix”. So, unless you just need to get your car from your house to the breakers yard DO NOT EVER put this stuff into your car. You can't fix mechanical defects with magic potions, whatever the manufacturers may like you to believe. If you're car's losing water there is a reason for it. If no obvious leaks can be found - like a hose or a leaking rad, then 9 times out of 10, it's the head gasket. So just get it fixed!
“My 280C/300C central locking doesn't unlock all the doors when I use the key from the outside. If however I use the switch on the armrest they open fine. What could be wrong?”
.. NOTHING! This is correct. Only the drivers door should unlock with the key, if you need to let passengers in, just press the button on the armrest.
Drain Plug Trick
All Datsuns are fitted with a plastic drain-plug on the bottom of the radiator. Occasionally this can snap off flush with the rad, making it leak through the threads, and making it impossible to get out...or not!
Heat up a suitably sized flat-bladed screwdriver to cherry red with a blowtorch, and quickly lie under the car and plunge it into the remaining plastic of the plug. Make sure it goes in about 1/4 inch, then pull the screwdriver out, and allow the plastic and the screwdriver to cool. You're left with a handy screwdriver fitting, so you can easily re-insert the driver and unscrew the plug! New plugs are readily available.
Having trouble finding a new outer sill for your 240C/260C 230? A 260C/280C 330 Sill is virtually identical, and requires only slight modification to one end.
B310 / A10 heater
Ok. I’m assuming you all know about the problem with only the top heater fan speed working and how easy it is to fix, so we’ll go on to another problem: “My doesn’t blow out very hot air”
OK, lets assume you’ve checked the obvious, namely that the engine is getting up to operating temperature, with the gauge sitting nicely in the middle, indicating that the thermostat is in working order. There is a water valve, or cock under the dashboard, on the DRIVERS side, that controls the hot water entering the heater. This is operated by one of the sliding controls via a bowden type cable. However there is a linkage on the valve that seizes up after a period of time, and this causes the cable to jump off, usually with the heat half on, so the slider will still slide freeley, but wont be moving the valve anymore. So get your 3-in-1 oil out, and lube the pivot (you may need to pull off one of the de-mister pipes) and work the valve by hand until it becomes free. Then simply re-connect the cable and check the adjustment is correct, ie it goes all the way to the hot position.
Due to the number of broken plastic grille retaining clips I've come across I can only assume people don't know the correct way to install them. I'm talking about the square headed ones on 910, C31, 300C etc.
To remove: Simply put a screwdriver in the slot and twist 45 degrees.
To install: remove the clip from the metal panel on the car, and install them in the GRILLE by twisting 45 degrees and squeezing the legs in. Then just push the grille back onto the panel, and the clips will just lock in.
“I have just got my 230 / 330 out of the garage for some summer use. I opened the door and now it won't shut. What's up?”
Don't force the door! You need new door catch rubbers. These deteriorate over time, actually it's the grease that tends to dissolve them until they resemble a well chewed Black Jack! Without these rubbers, the door catch pinion can't engage with the striker, and the door won't close. In an emergency, stick a bit of paper or something on the pinion, but new rubbers aren't expensive anyway. Once installed, it's best NOT to grease the catches.
More popular misconceptions
“I need a new clutch release bearing because when I take my foot of the clutch in neutral on my car I get a whirring bearing noise.”
...Noooo! If a clutch release bearing is noisy, you will only hear it when the clutch pedal is pressed down! If the pedal is up, the bearing is not rotating at all, (assuming there is some slack in your clutch cable) so it's actually wear in your gearbox. If the noise is only slight, don't worry too much, but if it's bad, watch out, the gearbox could self destruct at any time! Better to get it sorted first.
Jam up the Pump!
Nothing to do with Technotronic.. Windscreen washer pumps can seize up if the car is not used for a long time. So you need a new one right? Wooaah boy! Try this. Remove the washer bottle from its mounts, and get an ass-istant to sit in the car and hold the washer button on while you violently smack the pump with a screwdriver handle. This works in nearly all cases! Do not hold the button on for more than about 30 seconds as you could burn the motor out. No amount of smacking will help you then!
Trouble finding sills to fit a C210? Try Cortina Mk V sills. These are probably the closest you will get and can be found at accessory shops for about £5 each. - Joe Gladman, Wirral
Will my Datsun run on
YES You can run virtually all Datsuns on unleaded, from about 1973 on They've been using it in Japan for years. Some later turbo Nissans such as Silvia run best on super-unleaded as they need higher octane to prevent pinking.
“My handbrake light wont go out, do you think the switch is broken?”
I have been asked this surprisingly often. The red “brake” warning light on the dash is also connected to floats in the brake fluid reservoirs. If the brake fluid needs topping up, the light will come on. So top your brakes up! Check the brake system over too of course.
C210 C230 Rack
Something for the more technically adverturous of you: Want more precise steering on your C210 or C230? A Front crossmember and power steering rack etc. from a late 280ZX will fit straight onto the chassis rails. Early 280ZX’s had a steering box for some strange reason, even though its predecessor, the 260Z, had a rack. You’ll need to use the 280ZX lower arms, trackrod ends and knuckle arms.
The original C210 / C230 steering column can’t be used though,
have to invent something there. You’ll need a column that has the first
UJ inside the car, so that it comes through the bulkhead at an angle,
down to the rack. A 280ZX one may be of use here, but I have not gone
far. You should be able to use the 280zx pipes to connect the rack to
original pump. Whether the sump would need modyfying, I don’t know. I
experimending with this C210 to see if a VG30 engine would fit, and
try the original engine back in with the rack in place. A 300C VG30
with the old steering setup by the way, but a 300ZX has the sump
the wrong end. A 300zx turbo engine won’t go in easily as the turbo
hits the idler arm, this is why I was trying the rack. Unfortunately,
VG30 starter hits the rack valve body! I suspected the crossmeber
and rack of fitting, and tried out this theory on a scrap car, so now
know at least that part fits!
Did you know? A10 saloon front and rear seats will go straight in a B310 saloon! Just swap the runners over. A10 (Violet) seats are made of a nicer material (velour type stuff) than the foam-type B310 seats.
A 910 Bluebird electronic dashboard dimmer control will fit straight into an 810. The connector is already there on the right hand side of the dash. I would imagine some other models can also be fitted with this unit.
Like a Tank
Installing a fuel injected engine in an 810 or C230? The fuel tank from a C210 which has a large diameter fuel outlet and antisurge properties will bolt straight in, allowing the connection of a C210 (or 280ZX) high pressure pump under the car.
The fuel filter underneath the floor on 330, 430, C230 and C31often gets forgotten on a service, and can remain unchanged for years on end which can cause fuel supply problems. The first clue will be the car losing power on hills or during overtaking, and will eventually cause the engine to not run at all. The filter is located by the fuel pump under the rear floor. In addition to this, (and not many people know this) there is a filter INSIDE the fuel pump. This does not get blocked too often, but it’s worth unscrewing the end of the pump and taking a peek. C210 (and R30 and 280ZX owners) should all be aware of the metal fuel filter in the engine bay, but how many of you know there is a small filter IN THE INLET PIPE TO THE FUEL PUMP.
This is the first filter any dirt from the tank will stop in. To get to it, clamp the large hose under the car from the tank, and remove it from the pump inlet. There is a white plastic cone-shaped filter which is fiddly to remove but with some small pliers and some care can be pulled out. The gauze is very delicate, so don’t puncture it. These filters are really very small and can get TOTALLY blocked causing really bad fuel starvation. Chances are it will have never have been cleaned in the lifetime of the car, so CHECK IT!
All single Carburettor Datsuns: There is a filter in the banjo joint above the needle valve on the front of the carb. If you are stumped over a fuel supply problem, don’t forget this one.
A good way to confirm a fuel shortage (carb models) is to wait till the engine is messing about then select neutral, turn off the ignition and coast to a stop. Open the bonnet and look at the sight glass on the front of the carb. If it is below the scribed line on the glass, it is not getting enough fuel to the carb.
There are 2 main types of alternator used on Datsuns , the LT series, which has to have a separate regulator box on the inner wing, and the LR series, which has an electronic voltage regulator built in. The changeover came in about 1981, but the exact date depends what model . If replacing your alternator, you could upgrade to an LR series, if you’re not too fussed about originality. The output is not all that different apart from being a little smoother and the voltage more accurate, but if for instance you’re doing a complete engine swap, like for instance when I put a Silvia engine into a 120Y, you may want to use the alternator on the newer engine, especially if it is a higher amperage one. (The Silvia alternator pushes out 70amps as opposed to the 120Y’s 35 or 50 amp). Either way, you will have to lose the old voltage regulator if your car has an LT alternator originally. You can use the original wiring if you bypass the old regulator connector.
Use 4 spade crimp connectors, and two pieces of insulated
Got a tip?
Email in your tips, discoveries, successful modifications or whatever and help others get the most out of their cars. Will
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