1980 Datsun Pick Up

About to go look at a 1980 Datsun pick up truck that is this : https://westernmass.craigslist.org/cto/5539665786.html

Anyone know anything about what I should be looking out for, given that the truck has been sitting for a while?

How much do you know about old cars? How much do you work on them? The carb will be problematic. If you’re looking for a hobby then ok, have it checked out by a mechanic. I wouldn’t want it for daily use.

I paid 800 bucks for a 1981 Nissan pickup in 1991. The carb was an issue back then. It had a lot of rot in the bed area. I could think of better things to spend 4k on.

says they rebuilt the carb…?

4k is ridiculous. Runs great but after all that work needs a tune up is a giant red flag. Run do not walk. Look at an 03 or so ranger if you are desparate for a small truck.

$4K is way, way, way beyond a reasonable price for this. I cannot imagine in what universe the seller got that price. I wouldn’t even bother driving out to look at it. If it were in my neighborhood I MIGHT offer $500 for it on a day when I felt generous, but that’s tops.

Think about it: everything on this truck is 36 years old. The brake lines, the O-rings in the brake cylinders and/or calipers, the rubber seals, the gaskets, the cooling system, the tranny parts… everything. Someone born the day the truck was made is old enough to run for president. It’s almost as old as Marco Rubio.

Check for rust out. My,brother had a 1972 Datsun pickup. The engine was bullet proof, but the frame actually rusted apart. He saved the enqine and found another 1972 Datsun with a blown engine. He swapped in the engine he had saved, but the frame on the replacement truck after several years rusted in the same place and was ready to break apart. At that point he gave up and bought a half ton GMC. The ride of the Datsun is very harsh.

My opinion? Too much money and I don’t care if it’s got 43k miles or not. It’s also stated to have a new head gasket and yet they claim it needs a tune-up? Red flag.

I’ve worked on a number of these as they were hugely popular in my area. Other than the carburetor they also had issues with what is called a BCDD valve which controls deceleration and also had issues sometimes with distributor shaft bushing wear.
Another annoying problem is the transmissions would sometimes lock in 2 gears at once. This meant the truck stops right where it’s at and it ain’t going nowhere until literally dragged up on a wrecker.

This was caused by large mainshaft nuts that were not tightened as much as they should have been at the factory. There is a huge special wrench for grunting those nuts down as tight as humanly possible; and a little extra. The trans requires partial disassembly to do this.

That head gasket and needing tune-up would be the most worrisome. A tune-up should have been part of the head gasket job. If there are issues it could be something major and they’re whitewashing the problem by playing a little dumb.
Maybe it’s not running well because someone botched the timing chain fit when doing the head gasket. It’s easy to mess this job up.

For 1500 bucks; maybe. For four grand; no way. Hope that helps.

“This is a great project truck for the right person”

If you are asking what to look for you are not the right person. Old vehicles like this are for people who are experienced with auto repair and enjoy spending weekends repairing things. If you must pass safety and emissions inspections this may require a lot of work.

In 1992 my step father purchased a 1977 Datsun 620 pick-up because it was rust free. I performed the mechanical repairs and drove it to his house in Wisconsin. That was an unpleasant trip, a tiny 4 cylinder engine and the ride quality of a military jeep. The fuel economy of a full size car and the luggage in the cargo box, hope it doesn’t rain.

That price is kinda Redonculous but…like I always say…“theres a weirdo for every model”.

Just look for Rust…that is the only Game Stopper…everything else is serviceable. These were made of heavy gauge tin foil…so be wary of rust.

The drivetrains are solid as hell…basic basic and easy to manipulate. Rust is your Game Changer here…you dont want ANY…not at that price.

Its honestly not worth 4K but…hey what do I know. Pickups will be the next Hot ticket item…none of them survive in any kind of condition due to the lives they live… So they get rare faster than most


Based on the line of visible rust along the body seam, I think that the claim of “a little rust” should be amended to “a fair amount of visible rust”. With old cars and trucks, for every bit of rust that you can see, there is likely to be ~3 or 4 times as much rust hidden from view.

Even if there was no rust, $4k would be an insane price.
With the probable extensive rust lurking in various areas, I think that a realistic price would be ~$1k–or less.

These vehicles were problematic when they were fairly new. I can’t even imagine problems that you will have today. Besides…$4K is way too high of a price for this vehicle.

I use to own one. Bought it new in 1981.

The drive train was very reliable. But it rusted out very very easy. I had to do major rust repair on the bed after just 3 years. $4k is about $3.5k too high for a vehicle this old.

I had a,mechanic friend who owned a Datsun pickup. He said that after a 150 mile trip, his eyeballs would still be bouncing up and down an hour later. He traded the Datsun for a Mazda truck–said the Mazda rode like a Cadillac compared to the Datsun. He was right. I rode 300 miles in my brother’s Datsun pickup. Even my 1950 Chevrolet one ton rode better. Rust on the Datsun pickup was always a problem. My brother riverted sheet metal over the doors to cover the rust holes. His girl friend said that he had slipcovered the truck.

Think of Rust like an Iceberg… What you see is only 1/4 of the story the remaining 3/4 is yet to be seen.

Vehicles that old, regardless of mileage, usually sell for about $750 or so if they are in decent running condition. Otherwise it’s scrap value or as a parts source.

It will be hard to get parts for this one and any Datsun that age will be very rust prone!

4K is far too high a price for this. You spend that money on a more collectible truck from the earlier years…a head turner.

If you do buy it be sure the engine ever rotates after sitting.
A friend went to look at a cheap truck. It had a blown head gasket and the owner said it was just taken off the road.
The friend brought it over to me and the motor was siezed so tight I never got the crankshaft broken free. It was hauled off for scrap. That must have sat for a year to seize that tight.

Then the carb being rebuilt; it depends on who rebuilt it. A pro or someone who knows little on Carbs. The last guy I saw rebuild a carb…I walked in at the end…he had parts left over and didn’t remember where they went. It ran fine, but I always wonder what the carb was no longer able to achieve without those parts.


I agree. $1k or less.

As I recall that truck has a Z-24 engine with 8 spark plugs that require a dual path cap/rotor, 2 coils and 2 modules and a nightmare of vacuum hoses.

As I recall that truck has a Z-24 engine with 8 spark plugs that require a dual path cap/rotor

The Naps-Z engine with 8 plugs came in 81. My wife had that engine in her Datsun 510. That was one quick little 4 banger.

Find out what the local junkyards are paying for complete vehicles with all glass intact and offer $100 more than that.

If the guy is so delusional he thinks his old truck is really worth four grand he’ll probably be angry and offended by that offer though. . . .