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Luke SuperDork
10/21/10 6:59 a.m.

Nice find! You can't go far wrong for 150 bucks.

And it could potentially look like this, (Stanza/510 not a 210, but similar):

Mikey52_1 HalfDork
10/21/10 7:42 a.m.


NOW I'm jealous! Good luck with it; have fun!

kb58 Reader
10/21/10 9:20 a.m.

I owned about half a dozen Datsun 1200s, the 210's grandfather. Learned all about car engines on those - a great engine to learn on because they were so simple. Ended up dropping in an A15 into the 1200, higher compression, cam, exhaust, and did autocross and trackdays. A great little car and good times. Your car will be fine once the engine's checked out - they just run and run.

Ooo, almost forgot. One time my brother and I went to check out a 1200 they were asking $800 for, but it smoked like crazy so we said no thanks. A couple weeks later they called and asked "well, what would you give us?" $175 later I had me a car...

Driving it home was one of the highlights of my life. We knew it smoked, so we waited until after dark. I noticed that everytime I stepped on the gas, my brother, who was following behind, would turn out his headlights. Couldn't figure out what he was doing, so at the next light I asked him when he pulled up along side. He didn't have to answer, because the most incredibly dense cumulus cloud caught up to us. I mean, you could use a spoon to scoop it out. It was like someone throwing a big bedsheet over the car - incredible. I think in that 3 mile drive home it consumed about 3 qts of oil, and the car didn't drip any. Probably killed every misquito in the county that night... pretty hysterical.

MadScientistMatt Dork
10/21/10 10:45 a.m.

I learned how to drive stick on a worn out '81 Datsun 210 wagon in 1996. The engine wouldn't die, but the suspension was thoroughly shot and the shifter felt as if the gates were made of mashed banana. With a very underpowered motor and steep gears, it required some very precise clutch control to get it moving.

mrwillie Reader
10/21/10 1:52 p.m.

Good find!!! Enjoy it.....

And b/c no one else mentioned it:


Jensenman SuperDork
10/21/10 6:18 p.m.
oldopelguy wrote: I have a NOS single sidedraft manifold for an A-series somewhere, if someone is needing one....

Every time I turn around you post something that sends me off on yet another 'cool project' tangent.

ArthurDent Reader
10/22/10 1:10 p.m.

Good news, bad news.

The seller told me it had a new clutch - I discovered it needed a new clutch - big difference! I got the starter going and engine running but it was not drivable. Getting towed home.

1981 Datsun 210 getting towed

Took a few shots waiting for the tow truck

Dusty interior

1981 Datsun 210 dash

Mighty A-series four cylinder engine in 1981 Datsun 210. The engine is derived from the old BMC A-series (think MG Midget, Morris Minor, Mini, etc). Needs a good clean but oil is clean. Seems to run well but looks to be the 75.4cid version which would make it the smallest 1.2L engine I guess.

1981 Datsun 210 Engine

1981 Datsun 210 front

1981 Datsun 210 rear

1981 Datsun 210 side

pete240z SuperDork
10/22/10 2:38 p.m.

I thought the newest versions had the A14 or A15 - But that vinyl floor points to the base model.

Did they put A12's that late into the 210 game?

ArthurDent Reader
10/22/10 5:23 p.m.

I guess so. Canada often gets the poverty models longer. Its definitely a base car. Floor mats, no arm rests, etc. Probably the cheapest of the line with being a 2dr sedan.

cleaned the inside

Interior cleaned - 1981 Datsun 210

Cleaned out the trunk - pretty much rust free with just a hint of surface rust in the spare wheel well.

Cleaned trunk - 1981 Datsun 210

The rear seat was loose so I thought what the heck I'll clean it up a bit. Years of dirt.

Rear seat area before - 1981 Datsun 210

Rear seat area cleaned - 1981 Datsun 210

pete240z SuperDork
10/22/10 6:15 p.m.

a hint of surface rust in the spare wheel well? For a Datsun that is MINT condition. No salt or snow in Cananda?

Jensenman SuperDork
10/22/10 7:52 p.m.

The A12 was used alongside the A14 and A15. The 14 and 15 was most common in the F10 etc and is an easy swap. The Datsun A series was patterned after but not a copy of the BMC A series.The biggest construction difference between the Datsun and BMC A's is the Datsun had 5 main bearings, making it damn near unbreakable. Oh, and it had an aluminum head. Much lighter.

ArthurDent Reader
10/22/10 8:55 p.m.

No salt on the roads here. Plenty of snow though but too cold for salt so we use gravel. Hell on windshields but the bodies survive.

Thanks for the info on the A-series.

I just started looking for clutches. Prices are dirt cheap.

This one is $25 includes pressure plate and disc. How is that possible? Not sure if I need/want a performance one with this stock engine though.


RockAuto seems to have a clutch kit for $70 or so.

Any clutch shopping hints?

I assume to replace the clutch I need to pull the engine so perhaps that is first to assess the situation.

ArthurDent Reader
10/26/10 11:12 p.m.

Silly door buzzer had its sensor disconnected - must have loosened at some point. So it dinged all the time. Was driving me crazy. Had to remove the glove box to get at it. I fixed it then thought what the hell am I doing and disconnected the whole thing. No more bell ever!

Door buzzer

I just need to figure out the proper way to get the winder clip back on.

Driver's door panel back on

Did a quick initial clean on the engine way. Quite a difference already.

Engine - initial clean

ArthurDent Reader
10/26/10 11:13 p.m.

So I thought I'd see how the engine ran before putting a clutch into it. Well ... I'm not sure. It smoked like a bastard - its been sitting a while. Ran it for 5 mins (had to hold the clutch in) and it ran sweetly but still smokey. Then suddenly stuttered like running out of gas and stalled. Odd. Check the new fuel filter and there was gas in it. Started it up again and it ran sweetly again. How odd. That and the smoke bothers me though.

ArthurDent Reader
11/15/10 12:04 p.m.

I found an eBay clutch and pressure plate for cheap - not here yet. So I went ahead and removed my gearbox and looking at the clutch it doesn't look too bad from here ... not dusty at all. I wonder if it is a new clutch. What could be wrong? Release bearing? The first time I tried to drive it there was a sound like ball bearings in a cement mixer when the clutch was released. Press the clutch and it went away. Tried to move it just jerked a bit and stalled. Odd. Any ideas?

WilberM3 Reader
11/15/10 12:22 p.m.

do you not have major rust/salt issues where you live? that thing would be largely a pile of dirt around here. you keep finding super clean rare stuff over the years for next to nothing, just amazes me.

ArthurDent Reader
11/15/10 12:33 p.m.

Rust isn't much of an issue here - we have winter but too cold for salt - they use gravel instead. Hell on windshield but good for bodies. The summer is a pretty dry. Some areas around here are climate wise a desert with snow.

There is a Fiat 128 I dearly want for cheap but will probably keep myself to one cheap car at a time.

spitfirebill Dork
11/15/10 3:02 p.m.
belteshazzar wrote: get the one in it rebuilt.


ArthurDent Reader
11/15/10 3:57 p.m.

starter seems ok just the clutch issue

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 HalfDork
11/15/10 6:08 p.m.

Did they put the clutch disc in backward? Actually looks ok when cleaned up. Nice score. If you have the 5 speed, people will pay up to $300 (maybe more) because it is the only bolt-in (with adapter plate- no cutting) conversion for the MG a-series.

triumph5 HalfDork
11/15/10 6:18 p.m.

In reply to ArthurDent: That sounds like input shaft bearing problems in the transmission I hope for your sake I'm wrong, but what you described---and the fact it stalls when you release the clutch--makes me think it's not the clutch.

turbojunker HalfDork
11/15/10 6:21 p.m.
Teh E36 M3 wrote: If you have the 5 speed, people will pay up to $300 (maybe more) because it is the only bolt-in (with adapter plate- no cutting) conversion for the MG a-series.

Really? I've been passing them over looking for L-series dogleg 5 speeds.

Jensenman SuperDork
11/15/10 7:42 p.m.

Stalling when letting out the clutch sounds to me like the tranny's in two gears at once, that's not hard to do. The hard part is getting it out of those two gears. I've straightened out some Mazda, British and domestic gearboxes that have done that, but never a Datsun. It should be similar to work with though.

See the dividing lines on the transmission between the main housing and the tailshaft housing?

That's the intermediate plate where the detent balls and the interlock plunger live. They are arranged like this:

You might try removing the plugs, springs and plungers and look in the hole with a flashlight. You should be able to see the grooves in the shifter shafts. If the shifter is in neutral but one of those grooves is not visible, that one is probably not engaged with the 'finger' on the shifter mechanism.

Since the transmission is already out, it's not hard to remove the tailshaft and see if the stuff is in its proper place. You can probably grab the shift rails by hand and work them until the transmission goes into neutral.

The window winder clip is easy: with the handle off the door, snap the clip into the two grooves. Like this:

Then put the plastic backing washer on the door panel (that's essential to prevent the handle cutting into the vinyl), position the handle on the regulator shaft and push it on till it clicks. To remove it, you need either one of these:

or you can bend a small hook into the end of a piece of stiff wire, stick that in the clip and yank it out. There is a risk of tearing the door panel that way, though.

ArthurDent Reader
11/15/10 9:59 p.m.

I can't get out to the garage tonight but tomorrow I'm going to look at that. That would probably explain the grinding noise in neutral at first. Was probably close to being in two gears then. Thanks for the explanation and photos - very helpful! I'm not into this car for too much money but I'd like to make a good of it with the stock engine but if the transmission is done for perhaps a mild engine swap in order.

ww SuperDork
11/16/10 12:19 a.m.

I've got one word for you. KA24! They're a dime a dozen from the 240SX guys yanking them and swapping in SR20DET's so they can do some mad drifting!

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