Datsun Truck

Datsun Truck

The popular and economical Datsun/Nissancompact pickup truck was produced in Japan from 1955 and has been sold inlarge numbers across all continents.

Modern versions of this vehicle arestill in production around the world, currently with the Frontier and Navaranames.

In Japan, it was exclusive to Nissan Bluebird Shop locations.

Predecessors The Datsun truck line began with theModel 13 Truck of April 1934, and was later used as the basis of the DatsunDC-3 roadster.

A series of small trucks based on their passenger carcounterparts, the 14, 15, and 17 continued to be built until early 1944.

This was followed by the near identical post-war Datsun 1121 and 2124.

In 1949the 3135 took over, followed by next year's Datsun 4146.

In 1951 the 5147appeared, which was succeeded two years later by the 6147.

Aside from a biggerand more modern engine, the Datsun 6147 was nearly identical to the prewar type15 truck.

This was built until the 1955 introduction of the all new 120-seriestruck.

Datsun 120The Datsun 120 was a load carrying bodystyle version of the Datsun 1000sedan, and was introduced in January 1955 as the first Datsun truck withup-to-date styling.

Delivery van, panel van, and double cab versions wereavailable.

Until 1959 it used the 25 hp, 860 cc Nissan D10 engine with afour-speed floor shift manual transmission.

During its six years inproduction six main models were built: 120, 122 and 123.

For reasons unknown,Nissan skipped the 121 designation.

After the introduction of the re-engined220-series truck, a modernized low-cost option, the Datsun 124, was introducedin October 1957.

It continued to use the same bodywork and engine as the 123,although with less chrome trim.

This was then followed by the re-engined Datsun125 in 1959 and finally by the Datsun 126 in 1960.

While the 124 was stillpowered by the D10, the 125 and 126 received an improved version of thisengine called the B-1, rated at 27 PS.

= Datsun 220=In November 1957 the type 220 was introduced.

Largely unchanged inappearance from the 120-series, which continued to be built as a cheaperversion, it was produced from 1957 to 1961.

During this time four models wereproduced: 220, 221, 222, and 223.

The chassis was based on the 210 seriessedans.

Two engines were available: the 37 hp Nissan C engine, and the 48 hpNissan E engine.

The E engine was originally only used in models sold onthe export market.

The 223 was powered by a new engine, the Nissan E-1, ratedat 60 hp.

The 220 was the first Datsun truck to be equipped with a 12 voltelectrical system.

Double cab and delivery van versions were available.

Side badges were "Datsun 1000" or "Datsun 1200".

The 223 also had a round"60 HP" badge.

There was also a round badge on the dashboard that said "Datsun1000" or "Datsun 1200", depending on the engine.

The 223 had a revised chassisand suspension system.

The front I-beam suspension used on the 220, 221 and 222was replaced with an independent front suspension with torsion bars.

A long bedversion was introduced with the 222.

As a low cost option, a lightly changedmodel of the D10 sidevalve-engined predecessor was introduced in October1957, followed by the Datsun 125 in 1959 and finally the Datsun 126 in 1960.

The125 and 126 were powered by the B-1, an improved version of the D10 with 27 hp.

In 1958 the Datsun 220 was exhibited at the Los Angeles Auto Show, with Americanexports beginning soon after.

It was the 220 series that established Datsun inthe American market.

Datsun 320In August 1961 the new 320 series was released.

It was produced until 1965 inthree series.

The 320 series was largely inherited from the earlier 120/220,although with clear improvements to body and frame.

It used the Nissan E-1engine.

This engine produced 60 PS.

All Datsun trucks kept the A-arm torsionbar front suspension with leaf-sprung rear ends and had a 1/2 ton loadcapacity.

Rear end gearing was a low 4.

875:1 along with a four-speedtransmission; as a result, the 320 was not freeway friendly above 60 mph.

Fender emblems showed "Datsun 1200" and "60 HP" with a "Datsun" emblem on thefront nose of the hood.

Available bodystyles include a singlecab "truck", a longer wheelbase single cab truck, a double cab "pickup" withflush sides, and a three-door "light-van".

Though described as a vanin the Japanese market, the V320 is essentially a two-door station wagon.

The 320 came in two cab and bed versions: Regular, and as the NL320"Sports Pick-Up" variation which is a rarer version with the cab and bed of aone-piece design.

Its back half is greatly different than that of thestandard, separate bed 320 pick-up.

Bed and luggage space were in additionto the expansion, with the support of the market characteristics and therobust chassis engine was easy to handle, it was a best seller in thetruck market segment.

The chassis was also a sales hit 310 inthe reinforcement of the type Datsun Bluebird 310, a variation of the sameseries, in which the X-members plus a reinforcement of the Fairlady roadsterof the S310-type CSP311.

It was also used for the new Silvia coupé.

In 1964 the 320 underwent minor changes.

After having adding the failed LightStout, Toyota took over Hino's Briska and then continued with the Hilux.

Mazdaalso competed in this segment, with the Mazda B-Series.

In 1960, Nissan assumedoperations of the Minsei Diesel Industries, Ltd.

, renaming the companyas Nissan Diesel Motor Co.

, Ltd.

Datsun 520The Datsun 520 was built from 1965 until 1969.

It used the new 1.

3 litre, 67 hpNissan J13.

In 1965 and 1966 the 520 had two single headlights.

For 1967, the 520was slightly redesigned and had twin headlights.

This design was carried onuntil the end of 520 production.

Single cab, LWB Single cab, Double cab anddelivery van versions were available.

"G" was used to identify the longwheelbase versions.

The fender emblems said "Datsun 1300".

A grille emblem wasadded in 1966 and simply said "D".

In late 1967 a slightly altered modelappeared, now with a slightly changed chrome grille with a distinct frame.

The 521 was the facelifted version of 520, with a so-called "flat-deck" style.

This meant a flattened bonnet and front fenders as well as a new grille design.

It used the Nissan J engines and later had a 95 PS Nissan L16 engine, alwayswith a straight rear axle.

The 520 strongly resembles a Datsun 410/411 fromthe front, since it shares most sheet metal with that car.

The fender emblemssaid "Datsun 1300", "Datsun 1500" or "Datsun 1600".

Van/delivery van anddouble cab versions were available.

It was manufactured from 1969–1972,preceded by the 520 and followed by the 620.

The 521 was the first compacthalf-ton pickup sold in the American market, in 1968.

In 1968, larger load carrying duties were now shared with the Datsun Cabstar,a cabover truck.

Datsun 620In February 1972, the Datsun 620 truck was released and was in production until1979.

It was a regular cab truck and two wheelbases were offered, for a total ofsix different models.

There was also a delivery van version, offered only inJapan.

Naturally there were bare chassis models, and many importers installedlocally made flat decks.

There was also the U620, which is a crew cab "Utility"version.

It uses a shorter, fully integrated bed to allow comfortablyseating four people.

The U620 was essentially a 620 pickup from the doorsforward, with the bed and rear end being the only difference.

Nissan continuedthe strong rhythms and styling of its previous vehicles, with a shoulder "wingline" or "Bullet Side" accent running alongside the vehicle.

In most of theworld the 620 was equipped with the J15, producing 77 hp and with a top speed of135 km/h.

A 2.

2 liter diesel engine with 66 hp was later made available in manymarkets.

The 620 was also the first Datsun pickuptruck to be available with a longer "King Cab" passenger compartment.

Thisutilized the bed from the normal 620 truck, but has a cabin stretched by 24cm, all placed on the longer wheelbase.

The 620 was redesigned slightly for1978, with changes to grille and front bumper.

A four-door crew cab variant wasalso offered in some markets.

= North America=In North America, the 620 continued to use the Nissan L engine.

The 1972 and1973 models were powered by the L16 engine, the 1974 model used the L18engine, and the 1975 through 1979 models used the L20B engine.

SAE Net rating was97 hp.

This was a "50-state car", with an EGR system for pollution controlwhich sufficed to meet California's stringent emissions standards without acatalytic converter.

The 620 was available with two wheelbases and alsoas the extended King Cab model from 1977.

In Canada the 620 was marketed asthe "Sportruck", while American buyers knew it as "The Little Hustler".

InNorth America it was generally treated as a regular car, with 40% of buyersstating that they never used the truck for "work".

The standard transmissionswere the F4W63 four-speed and F4W71 four-speed.

In 1977, the optionalFS5W71B five-speed manual transmission became available.

The 3N71 three-speedautomatic became available as an option in mid-1972.

This was the first seriesto offer an automatic transmission as an option.

Final drive gearing was 4.


Side badges read "DATSUN 1600" or simply "DATSUN".

The grille badge was twocolored stripes behind the word "DATSUN".

The 620 was known for itsdurability and weather resistance despite its small size, along withengines known for their reliability.

As a result, the 620 was competing with thelarger American pickup trucks, which in turn gave Datsun a strong reputation inthe United States.

A number of innovations were introduced with the620: first long-bed, emission control technology called NAPS in 1975, firstextended-cab, front disc brakes, and electronic ignition.

Gallery Datsun/Nissan 720The Datsun 720 came in regular cab and "King Cab" models, with regular and longbed options.

The King Cab proved very popular.

There was also a four-doorvariant offered in some overseas markets.

A covered utility body stylelike that of the early Toyota 4Runner was also available as an aftermarketconversion by a company called Matrix3.

This was available as a "dealer option"in the United States from 1984–1986 and was called the Bushmaster.

In mid-1986 afactory-built version was introduced and was named Pathfinder.

Other US modelvariations besides KC were the GL, DX, ST and Cab-and-Chassis models.

The 720 was manufactured in the newly built Smyrna, Tennessee plant from the1983.

5 model year until 1986.

Early models had single wall beds withoutside rolled lips and rope ties, two faux hood vents, and tail lights on thelower rear valance.

For a limited period, 1984 models builtin the USA had the single wall beds with rope ties, yet used tail lights on therear bed corners with amber turn signals over the red stop/tail lights while thebackup lights remained under the tailgate.

The front end underwenttransformation as well, with a larger grille, bumper, and corner lights.

Therewas also a revised dashboard with round instead of square gauges.

At the sametime, the regular cab was lengthened slightly and the air extractor ventsbehind the cab doors changed from the high "flag" look to long, narrow onesthat matched the height of the window opening.

The cabs of the King Cabversions were unchanged.

Finally, the late model trucks producedfrom 1985 – 1987 utilized double wall, smooth sided beds, with revised taillights on the corners which resembled those on Chevrolet/GMC S-series trucks.

Some overseas models continued with the early style beds.

Model years 1987 andlater were called D21.

In most parts of the world, one couldpurchase a four-door crew cab version of the 720.

The Datsun 720 was available inboth 2WD and 4WD configurations, the latter having a divorced transfer case.

The long wheelbase 2WD trucks had a two-piece driveshaft with a centersupport bearing.

In 1980 models were powered by Datsun's2.

0L carbureted L20B I4 engine, but soon after switched to the Nissan NAPS-Zengine line for 1981.

"NAPS" was the terminology Nissan used to describetheir pollution control technology as a result of emission regulation lawshaving been enacted in Japan starting in 1975.

In the Middle East it was poweredby Datsun's 1.

8 L carbureted L18 engine.

The 1981–1982 models used the Z22carbureted 2.

2 L engine and an optional SD22 diesel of the same displacement.

Inmid-1983 Nissan introduced the Z24 2.

4 liter twin spark four-cylinder motor,producing 103 hp, 2.

3 L SD23 OHV diesel four, and the SD25 diesel; this happenedat the same time that the 720 series was marketed as a Nissan.

The diesel engines were sourced from the Nissan Diesel division, which NissanMotors acquired in 1960.

In the American market the diesel engine was onlyavailable in the 2WD 720.

The Z24 was upgraded to Z24i single-pointfuel-injection for the 1986 models.

Buyers in the rest of the world alsoreceived versions with the smaller 1.

5 L J15, 1.

6 L J16 or 1.

8 L L18 carburetedengines.

The 720 Series was never available with any of the Z22E or Z20Emulti-port fuel injected engines.

These engines are, however, easy to adapt andintegrate into the chassis and can be found with the genuine appearance ofbeing original equipment.

The United Kingdom only received thelonger wheelbase, as a standard bed 1-tonner with the L18 engine or as thefour-wheel drive 2.

2 litre King Cab with 96 hp.

Nissan D21 The D21 generation was the successor tothe Datsun 720, sold as the Nissan Datsun Truck in Japan.

The name Navarawas used in some markets such as Australia.

In North America, the company used the name "Datsun" from model years 1980 to1983 then renamed itself "Nissan Datsun" in 1984 and then "Nissan" beginning withthe 1985 model year line of trucks and cars alike.

Nonetheless, the Nissanpickups continued to be marketed in the Japanese home market as the "NissanDatsun".

The D21 series were unofficially called Nissan Hardbody inthe United States.

The truck's name, "Hardbody", refers to its double-wallbed and overall styling.

The Hardbody was produced for the U.


Market fromNovember 1985 until 1997, and were direct competition to the Toyota compactpickup.

The move from the 720 to the D21 Nissan series body style changed inJanuary 1986 for 1986.

5 so the new D21 1986.

5 and later Hardbody can easily bedistinguished from the earlier 720 body style by its two large headlights ratherthan four smaller lights and a less boxy, more aggressive appearance.

TheNissan Pathfinder was derived from the Hardbody Truck and started in the samemodel year with chassis code WD21.

In the US, the Hardbody cab styles were'Standard' and 'King'.

Bed lengths were 'standard' 6-foot and 'long' seven foot.

International markets also received the 'Crew Cab' version with a short four anda half foot bed.

4-cylinder and V6 engines wereavailable.

A 2.

4 litre four-cylinder Z24i engine was used up until 1989 andproduced 106 hp.

In 1989, this was replaced by the KA24E of similardisplacement, this being a respectable-performance SOHC enginewhich was installed for the 1990 through 1997 model years with a newthree-valve-per-cylinder head producing 134 hp.

The six-cylinder 3.

0 litre VG30ior VG30E engine increased power and torque only modestly and was unavailablein the US starting with the 1996 model year because Nissan was unable to meetthe requirements of the new OBD-II emissions law in time.

Five-speed, including overdrive, manual transmissions were the most common, butan automatic transmission was an available option.

Both rear-wheel-driveand four-wheel-drive versions were made in quantity.

A limited slip differentialwas standard on the top 'SE' trim 4WD variants.

Major options included air conditioning, larger wheels/tires, sliding rearwindow, stereo, and rear bumper.

There were several trims available includingbase, XE, and top of the line SE.

The XE could be ordered with a 'value package'starting in 1994 which included air conditioning, power mirrors, alloywheels, and chrome on body trim such as the mirrors and bumpers.

The SE wasbetter equipped and could be ordered with the "sport power package" withsunroof, power windows, locks, and mirrors, air conditioning and special"Robot" alloy wheels.

In 1992, Nissan had a strange model yearcrossover which 1993 models had the dashboard of the 1986.

5–1992 model yearswith a slightly refreshed body appearance as well as some smallinterior changes and a revised instrument panel.

In a first for theauto industry, this model used the new R134A air conditioning refrigerant.

In 1993, the last major refresh would last through 1997.

Changes were a newergonomic dashboard and much improved interior for 1994.

1995 was the first model year to comply with the new US, Department ofTransportation "high mount brake light" regulation requiring all trucks to havea brake light in the center of the rear at the top of the cab.

In late 1995, a driver's side airbag was added as well as compliance with the newUS OBD-II emissions law.

Rear wheel ABS came with both 2WD and 4WD modelsbeginning in 1990.

Versions sold in other countries camewith a host of more economical engines, ranging from 1.

6-litre gasoline fours upto a 2.

7-litre diesel four-cylinder, including SD25 and TD25 diesel engines.

These low-cost, dependable Hardbody small pickup trucks sold very wellworldwide, and are still often seen both on-road and off-road.

They are renownedfor their reliability and endurance, with the exception of body panel andframe rust over time.

Other things to look for are a noisy timing chain on the1990–1997 KA24E 4cyl engine in particular which had a problem with thestock timing chain guides and slippers deteriorating, breaking off and allowingthe timing chain to damage the timing cover, seizing the chain to the engineand/or timing cover, as well as damaging pistons and bending valves requiringserious engine work in extreme cases.

This was remedied by buying aftermarketengine timing parts,, and repairing immediately when noises became apparent.

Otherwise, the KA24E was an excellent engine.

The V6 engine had a timing beltthat requires replacing every 60K miles.

Exhaust manifold studs were well knownto fail prematurely due to heat embrittlement from poor materialsquality, on all years from 1986.

5- 1995.

In the US, beginning in 1997, the new"D22" was official named, "Frontier" and used a new DOHC 2.

4 4cyl borrowed fromthe Nissan Altima.

A newly modified "VG33" V6 was available in 1998 andending production in the US in 2004.

The new VG33E V6 had new, larger, 10 mmexhaust manifold studs in an attempt to decrease the risk of premature exhaustmanifold stud failure, but still had limited success.

In general however, the VG30E and VG33E V6's were both amazingly reliableengines.

The D21 design was still available newin some Latin American countries, made in Mexico until the 2008 model year.

Inits current home country a range of four basic variations of the D21 are soldtogether as the Nissan Camiones.

Nissan Mexicana ended production of theCamiones on March 15, 2008 after 15 years of production in the Cuernavacaplant.

The Nissan D21 is still being sold inVenezuela as of 2014.


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