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#3250233 - 01/16/14 12:27 PM Opinions of Nissan/Datsun 720 pickups?
OceanRuns Offline


Registered: 07/08/10
Posts: 94
Loc: Ca
What is your opinion of Nissan/Datsun 720s (either 2wd or 4x4)? Specifically the carb'd 2.4 versions.

Do they have reliability like Toyotas of that era? Issues? Problems?

Thanks for any thoughts.

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#3250298 - 01/16/14 01:30 PM Re: Opinions of Nissan/Datsun 720 pickups? [Re: OceanRuns]
InhalingBullets Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 311
Loc: TEXAS
I had a 1979 Datsun with the L20b engine and I cannot think of anything good to say about it. The engine was done at 85k!
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#3250305 - 01/16/14 01:41 PM Re: Opinions of Nissan/Datsun 720 pickups? [Re: OceanRuns]
Miller88 Offline


Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 7174
Loc: Onondaga County
My neighbors had one a few years ago. It was in good shape, but they weren't built well enough to last 20 years.


Edited by Miller88 (01/16/14 01:41 PM)
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#3250319 - 01/16/14 01:55 PM Re: Opinions of Nissan/Datsun 720 pickups? [Re: OceanRuns]
jimbrewer Offline


Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 923
Loc: New Mexico, USA
Had a 1984 with this engine. The one with two spark plugs per cylinder, right?

Best car I ever owned or ever will own. Went 236,000 miles before losing an argument with a cow. I replaced the alternator, but that was it. Didn't leak oil and had no issues whatsoever.

Go for it. I should say that the safety of these vehicles was a scandal even when they were new. Be forewarned.


Edited by jimbrewer (01/16/14 01:56 PM)

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#3250322 - 01/16/14 02:01 PM Re: Opinions of Nissan/Datsun 720 pickups? [Re: jimbrewer]
OceanRuns Offline


Registered: 07/08/10
Posts: 94
Loc: Ca
Originally Posted By: jimbrewer
Had a 1984 with this engine. The one with two spark plugs per cylinder, right?



Yes, I believe it's the 2 spark plug version.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nissan_Z_engine#Z24

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#3250421 - 01/16/14 04:04 PM Re: Opinions of Nissan/Datsun 720 pickups? [Re: OceanRuns]
Schmoe Offline


Registered: 05/12/03
Posts: 6452
Loc: Oklahoma
I had a b210 with the 1.3 liter engine....dig this....had pressure leaks in the radiator, took the rubber o-ring off so it didn't pressurize, and thing ran perfect (was living in Guam at the time)...also replaced a head gasket, but one of the head bolts snapped off, just torqued the other ones down a little bit more and that thing ran for years after that with no problems. Great eninge...not powerful, but would get you where you wanted to go.
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#3250503 - 01/16/14 05:18 PM Re: Opinions of Nissan/Datsun 720 pickups? [Re: OceanRuns]
Silverado12 Online   content


Registered: 02/26/13
Posts: 862
Loc: Central Virginia
My brother had one years ago. It was a rustbucket and had a head gasket blow at 80,000 miles. Seats were miserable. Not great gas mileage either. My 6 cyl Plymouth did just as well but way nicer.
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#3250563 - 01/16/14 06:40 PM Re: Opinions of Nissan/Datsun 720 pickups? [Re: OceanRuns]
dareo Offline


Registered: 10/17/07
Posts: 470
Loc: utah
I would look for the 1986.5 (maybe it was 1987) when the KA24E came out. The (non tbi) VG30E was really good too. I used to have a 1990 VG30E hardbody, that was repainted, it ran and looked brand new at 280k miles. It was so clean, i really regret selling it.

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#3250566 - 01/16/14 06:46 PM Re: Opinions of Nissan/Datsun 720 pickups? [Re: dareo]
Towncivilian Offline


Registered: 01/07/11
Posts: 918
Loc: Florida, USA
Originally Posted By: dareo
I would look for the 1986.5 (maybe it was 1987) when the KA24E came out. The (non tbi) VG30E was really good too. I used to have a 1990 VG30E hardbody, that was repainted, it ran and looked brand new at 280k miles. It was so clean, i really regret selling it.

The Nissan Hardbody D21 did indeed start with a 1986.5 model year.
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#3250597 - 01/16/14 07:18 PM Re: Opinions of Nissan/Datsun 720 pickups? [Re: OceanRuns]
Spazdog Offline


Registered: 09/06/10
Posts: 5596
Loc: Arlington
NAPS Z engine. 8 spark plugs and wires.

other than the additional expense of the extra plugs and wires, it is pretty much L20 SOHC reliable.

My dad had one in between Mazda B2000 and B2200. I would like to think that he liked the Mazdas better but I think they were just cheaper to buy. (Mazda and Isuzu were less expensive than Toyota and Nissan. The 2.5 Jeep Comanche was actually cheaper than a D21 Nissan)

Originally Posted By: Silverado12
My brother had one years ago. It was a rustbucket and had a head gasket blow at 80,000 miles. Seats were miserable. Not great gas mileage either. My 6 cyl Plymouth did just as well but way nicer.


Bench seats were horrible in all the small trucks of that time. Board flat with no thigh or lumbar support. Mazda certainly wasn't any better. Ranger wasn't either
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#3250600 - 01/16/14 07:20 PM Re: Opinions of Nissan/Datsun 720 pickups? [Re: OceanRuns]
cptbarkey Offline


Registered: 02/27/12
Posts: 1250
Loc: texas
uh, they are too small/fragile to be a serious truck these days. look for a used dodge ram from the mid-late 90s for a real bargain.


Edited by cptbarkey (01/16/14 07:20 PM)
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#3250639 - 01/16/14 07:57 PM Re: Opinions of Nissan/Datsun 720 pickups? [Re: cptbarkey]
dareo Offline


Registered: 10/17/07
Posts: 470
Loc: utah
Originally Posted By: cptbarkey
uh, they are too small/fragile to be a serious truck these days. look for a used dodge ram from the mid-late 90s for a real bargain.


Don't tell that to the rest of the world, they seem to use them to haul ridiculous loads that they were never even rated for.

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#3250654 - 01/16/14 08:14 PM Re: Opinions of Nissan/Datsun 720 pickups? [Re: OceanRuns]
01rangerxl Offline


Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 7637
Loc: Birmingham, AL
It's going to be hard to find a clean 720 anymore, but Nissan trucks were very reliable in the '70s and '80s. My parents bought one in the '70s, I forget the exact year, but it was a 620. In '86 they traded it for a Ranger, but they saw it around town until the early 1990s when we moved.
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#3250655 - 01/16/14 08:16 PM Re: Opinions of Nissan/Datsun 720 pickups? [Re: OceanRuns]
jimbrewer Offline


Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 923
Loc: New Mexico, USA
The Nissan had actually a fairly comfortable seat--at least compared to the Toyota and a more car-like ride. I had no problem putting 30k per year on it.

Also, 5 spd transmission compared to the 4 for the Toy. The Toy just had a tighter feeling shifter. The automotive press consistently criticized the "vague" shifter on the Nissan. At least it was easy to shift. The Nissan 2.4L engine had a class-leading 106 hp. The Toy had 103. Mazda, Mitsubishi and the others were way behind--about 80 hp as I recall. Those trucks were rated to 1500 pounds, same as the big trucks, and about 600 pounds more than a 2014 Ford Raptor.

I expect the main problem would be rust, but you live in California. If its in decent condition you will find that its Just a really handy vehicle, that's for sure.

MPG was about 23. That was par for the course for a carbureted engine in those days, and probably a bit better than Toyota.

I'm assuming you aren't paying more than $2000 for this max, but at that price you won't be disappointed, assuming reasonable condition.



Edited by jimbrewer (01/16/14 08:19 PM)

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#3250762 - 01/16/14 10:53 PM Re: Opinions of Nissan/Datsun 720 pickups? [Re: jimbrewer]
Spazdog Offline


Registered: 09/06/10
Posts: 5596
Loc: Arlington
Originally Posted By: jimbrewer


Also, 5 spd transmission compared to the 4 for the Toy. The Toy just had a tighter feeling shifter. The automotive press consistently criticized the "vague" shifter on the Nissan. At least it was easy to shift. The Nissan 2.4L engine had a class-leading 106 hp. The Toy had 103. Mazda, Mitsubishi and the others were way behind--about 80 hp as I recall. Those trucks were rated to 1500 pounds, same as the big trucks, and about 600 pounds more than a 2014 Ford Raptor.


I don't remember the NAPS-Z 720 being a particularly powerful little truck. Our 2.3 longbed Courier (Pinto engine with a Hitachi carb) was quicker than any 4 cyl little truck until to the DOHC 16 valve models. Might have been the rearend ratio. shrug It didn't have a tach but seemed pretty wrapped up at 60 mph.

Seat was terrible in the Courier too LOL
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