Coilover springs can be fitted to the Datsun 1200, replacing the front coils springs. In the rear they can supplement the leaf springs. One advantage of coilovers is that many spring rates are available for customizing.
With stock Datsun 1200 struts or upgraded struts, you have the option to convert them to coilover spring configuration. Advantages include:
- Adjustable spring height, for lowering or for adjusting different length springs
- Many spring rates are available for customizing
- If using small-diameter springs, you gain
- more room to move the strut inward for extra negative Camber
- more room for tires, or wider tires
You can either buy thread collars for the lower spring seat, OR use a simple seat stop (non-threaded). The latter is adjustable if you use a commercial-grade shaft clamp (see Fastening Spring Seats).
Choose your spring rates for coilovers like you would for any spring. Coilover springs are available in many different rates from soft to rock firm.
See main article: Spring Rates
Ground Control has fully adjustable Coilovers kits for the Datsun 1200 and other models, for $199 USD a pair.
NOTE that the kit does not include the struts themselves, just the spring seats & coils.
Discussion: stiffer suspension
Paradise Racing has front coilovers for Datsun 1200: Part Number DATF $175. Their softest spring rate (250 pounds) is suitable for racing.
Instead of buying a kit, you can modify Datsun struts to accept standard 2-1/4 inch coils. You can buy the springs and spring seats separately.
My threaded sleeves are 125mm long. They are placed 172mm up from the hub casting.
45mm stock struts Sleeve length: 125 mm Strut length: 393 mm from top of hub casting Sleeve starts: 172 mm up from hub casting
An advantage of coilovers on the front is that they are small-diameter. This mean you can move the strut top further to gain addition negative camber.
- Stock springs: 110mm (4.33 in)
- Coilovers: 2 in
The Datsun 1200 strut housing is 45 mm diameter (many other Datsun are 50.8 mm).
Stock strut inserts have a 17mm stroke.
The better coilovers actually have the thread for the top cap on the inside of the threaded sleeves. This way you just have to cut the strut to the length you want and then weld the threaded sleeves on and the cap screws into the top of the sleeve. They also have a turned step on the inside of them where the threaded sleeve rests on the top of the strut body. This way no load is supported simply by a weld.
Remember that the stock spring rate is 91 pounds/inch, so 250 pound springs will result in a very stiff ride, suitable for track racing with a lowered car. Not recommended for bumpy surfaces such as public streets or off-pavement racing. For street use, consider 175 pounds the upper limit.
Coilovers can be easily fitted to the rear of sedans (and less easily to coupes). Some modifications to the shock tower are needed.
One idea is to remove all the leaf springs except the main leaf. The main leaf is left to control placement of the axle housing. The coilovers handle most of the weight of the rear suspension.
Paradise Racing has rear coilovers for Datsun 1200: Part Number DATNAR $349 for non-adjustable, and DATR $499 for 12-position (soft to firm) units. Their softest spring rate (250 pounds) is suitable for racing.
KONI sells 42mm Inside Diameter and 50mm I.D. threaded sleeves for coilover use. They use 2-1/4 inch (57mm) I.D. springs. KONI 80-series are 42mm O.D. shocks, while 30-, 82- and 87-series is 50mm O.D.
SPAX on dattodude sedan:
You can buy the spring seats separately from the springs. Since most "kits" are only available in high spring-rate (stiff) springs, not suitable for streets 1200s, this give you the flexibility to mix and match.
A coilover 'kit' typically comes with a threaded tube and nut-type seat that can be screwed higher or lower. They typically come in 2-1/4 inch size for 2-1/4" springs.
You can buy these separately and use with your own spring choice.
BMW Spring Seats
Instead of buying new, 2" diameter expensive springs, re-use your existing ones by using BMW removable spring seats.
BMW sports option rear coilovers have a glued on lower spring seat that can be tapped off, the ID is the same size as the datsun OD so can be slid over the Datsun 1200 strut and welded on. They come in late 70s-80s 320i, probably in a lot of other BMW models too.
The BWM spring has a flat bottom, for use use the the BMW seat. However, the top of the spring is the same as the Datsun spring so it fits the 1200 top seat perfect. These BMW springs are around 200 lb/in, suitable for racing 1200s.
Do they work with the stock 1200 springs?
reference: removable spring seat
Fastening the Spring Seat
Traditionally, spring seats are welded to the strut body. Or, some Datsun fans use a Shaft Collar instead of welding the bottom perch. Both methods allow adjustment on-car after installation.
See main article: Fastening Spring Seats