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[Datsun 1200 encyclopedia]

Strut swaps

(Redirected from Strut Swaps)

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Categories: Suspension Modifications | Brake Modifications

Just about anything can and has been used! Brake and strut assemblies from Fiat to Ford have been fitted to 1200s.

Swap them!
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Contents

Overview

Reasons to swap struts:

  • To swap from front drum brake to front disc brakes (a must-do)
  • To fit bigger brakes
  • To lower car (and still permit sufficient suspension travel)
  • To allow greater choice of high-performance strut shock inserts

Brake Comparo: 9.5" disks of the B310 vs. 8.5" disks of the 1200
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Counterpoint: There are some good reasons not to change your struts.

  • The stock struts are very light, which is good for acceleration and susension control (unsprung weight)
  • They also have a good damping qualities for the smoothest ride
  • You can lower/shorten the stock struts
  • You can fit different spring rates to the stock struts
  • Less work to keep them. Less expensive to keep them
  • You can fit very large brakes to stock 1200 struts. See Brake Upgrades
  • Most swaps increase the offset. Stock struts won't do this

This article focuses on swapping struts. For simpler brake upgrades, see Brake Swaps. For general information on better brakes, see Brake Swaps.

Nissan Strut Swaps

Mods Needed

With any swap, use the 1200 strut tops (not the tops from the donor car) with the 1200 upper spring seat.

Only B110, 120Y and B310 are bolt-in strut swaps for the 1200.

All other require some modification. The usual strut-swap mods are needed:


These are NOT required:

  • aftermarket coilovers
  • camber plates

Coilover conversion

With stock Datsun 1200 struts or upgraded struts, you have the option to use the stock coilover configuration (which can be lowered), or convert them to aftermarket small-diameter coilover springs. Advantages include:

  • 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

Stock springs can be lowered and different size and rates of spring are available, so there is no advantage there to the small-diameter springs.

Main: Coilovers

Turnkey Strut Packages

Datsport

Datsport

200B budget strut/brake package $1695 AUD/pair
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Struts are 200B or stanza shortened & remachined to take heavy duty 25% uprated 300ZX KYB inserts. Fitted with adjustable platforms and DATSPORT custom hi-tensile 250lb pro sport springs. Progressive urethane bump stops fit neatly into the top spring hat. A budget strut to suit 1200,120Y, Sunny, Stanza, 180B, 200B & 510/1600. Designed to take 13" rims for that sleeper look.

R31 struts with Z 4-pot calipers $2990 AUD/pair for 15" wheels

Maddat

Maddat parts for 1200

Shortened 200B struts fitted with KYB inserts, 250lb lowered king springs & bump stops. WITHOUT BRAKES $1400 AUD/pair

BRAKES for above: 280mm vented disc rotors, RX7 S6 Calipers (new seal kits fitted), adaptor brackets, bolts, washers. wheel bearing kits, new rubber lines. Kit is designed to fit 200B or late Stanza struts. $1265 AUD/pair

Popular conversions using Datsun donor parts

  • B310 strut swap brake upgrade. A great bolt on. Larger brakes.
  • 280ZX strut swap brake upgrade. Great for lowered cars, or racing with its big vented brakes. Requires cutting the spring cup and fitting the 1200 spring cup
  • A10 (1978-1982 510/Stanza) Strut swap brake upgrade. Very large brakes possible.

A no-machining/no-cutting/no-welding solution is the 280ZX brakes on stock 1200 strut. See 280ZX Brake Upgrade.

1200 Disc-brake Strut Swap

B110 "Standard" models used front drum brakes (most Aussie sedans are STD models). You can simply bolt the disc-brake struts together with brake assembly directly onto a STD car. You will also need the master cylinder and brake lines. All coupes came with disc brakes.

120Y Strut Swap

1. Japan-built 120Y (A12-powered B210)
For the Australia market 120Y, the bare strut is the same for the 1200 coupe & the 120Y [Australia built sedans excepted] and so are the disc brakes. Springs too if i'm not mistaken, so these parts will provide you with a stock upgrade, but use the 1200's upper spring seat [the bit that bolts to the body] to avoid raising the front. The hub may have a slightly different offset.

1974-1975
* small spindle/large bearing/212 mm rotor
1976-1978
* large spindle/small bearing/220 mm rotor 

2. Australian-assembled 120Y uses PBR caliper and adapter plate
Late model 120Y with PBR brakes pull up hard!! For a CA18DET conversion 120Y or 1200 coupe struts & discs are legally sufficient and have great stopping capablities, just not repeatedly in a short period of time the 120Y Brakes have suprised us a couple of times as to how well they stop. See POST Time to get this datto stopping and turning!
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The basic swap process is exactly the same as 1200 Disc Brake Swap.

For more information on the brakes used by late Aussie-spec 120Y, see Brakes#120Y

B210, B310

B210 or B310 with 13" wheels - add bigger brakes (245 mm, up from the 1200's 212 mm), this is the easiest upgrade, but are still light in performance compared to modern cars. Good for street use, and can be modified for racing use. They are almost as big as S13 brakes, but are solid (non-vented) for light weight.

NOTE: Datsun 1200 (B110) uses 45mm diameter strut tubes, while HB210/HB310 uses 2.0" (as with almost all other Datsuns). This means the strut itself is not interchangeble with B110, but as a whole assembly it can be done.

Rotor Sizes
Dia. (mm)Part NumberSource
212.540206-H1006B110, B210 with A12 1974, 1975
220 (AN18)40206-H7500B210 A12 1976-1978,B310 with 12" wheels
23240206-A1155B210 A13, PB110?, PB210 early?
245 (AN20)40206-U6700B210 A14, B310 A14/A15, PB210 late?

You can swap USA HB210 struts onto a 1200, to get larger brakes. Use the 1200 spring.

B210 (1974-1978)

  • B210 with A12 & A13 engine have larger strut/brake assemblies that will fit under 12" wheels
  • If you are moving to 13" wheels, do the B310 swap instead for even better brakes for no extra work
  • Australian built 120Y's from July 1976 used a completely diferent disc brake setup. 1976-1978 120Y struts use an Aussie-sourced PBR caliper, same as Mitusbishi Sigma
    reference: Marty's 120Y brake swap
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B310 Swap A14/A15 B310s have a larger brake than B110, these B310s use a 245 mm disc, the same size as the largest B210 brakes.
B310 on left, B110 on right
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Stanza

Australia-assembled Stanza (1980-1981) is a version of B310 suspension but with beefy Girlock calipers (on the later Stanza) ... so the parts fit with only small modifications.

280ZX Struts

Keep the lightweight 1200 struts! No machining required.


1979-1982 280ZX (S130) front strut/brake conversion:

  • 10" vented rotors
  • solid, single-piston caliper
  • shorter strut height
  • will clear certain 13" wheels
  • decrease in track allows wider wheels/tires
  • Better than Z-car (S30) parts, because it has the correct camber angle. And can fit under some 13" wheels, while 240Z/260Z/280Z requires 14" wheels

This is nearly a bolt-in, using A10 (stanza, H510) or B310 (sunny) lower control arms, steering arms, balljoints and outer tie rod ends.

S13

Nissan S13 model series (Silvia, 240SX, 180SX, 200SX)


th_11688_4e4cd701bd0a9.jpg

Nice smaller vented rotors and beefy single-pot calipers, fits over 14" wheels (13"?). Adds ~30mm to the track.

Less Popular Swaps

Z-car

car: Fairlady 240Z/260Z/280Z (Datsun model series S30 chassis code)

This is not a good swap, because it adds positive camber (and you want negative camber for performance):

Kingpin Inclination
* 240Z: 5 nominal
* B110: 8 nominal

Instead, do the 280ZX swap.

240Z is also not a good swap because they use an extra-wide bolt pattern where the strut connects to the knuckle arm.

Data Points

retrorally used a cut-n-weld method to lessen the positive camber
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610

Datsun model series 610 is marketed as 610, 180B, or Bluebird U.

This is not a conversion for someone without a mig welder and a workshop. The springs are larger diameter in the 180B. They will NOT fit in the 1200 strut tower. You will have to remove the spring perches, and weld on stanza or 1200 ones. Stanza ones are better because the Stanza strut tube diameter is the same as 180B. You will also need to swap the top of the struts too, including the mount, 1200 springs and thrust bearing.

discussion: POST Installing 180b struts

NOTE: PB210 and USA B210s use 610 parts. 1967-1973 510 also may be the same.

810

Datsun model series 810 (1977-1980) was marketed as Bluebird, or as 200B in right-hand-drive export markets.

200B Calipers
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Because the 810 struts are Datsun 2" struts, use 2" strut-accepting package.

2" strut support from large-B310/late-B210/late-B120:
* Knuckle Arm
* Balljoint 
* LCA 

You can use the stock 810 brakes, or fit/modify other brakes to it.

For example, shortened 810 Struts with 280z strut cartridge inserts, 300zx rotors with Toyota 4piston calipers


front crossmember is a stock 80 210 [North America B310] piece.

810 Struts I belive are the same lenght as 210 but they have large spring perches and a different Caliper bolt pattern. They are also the same geometry and bolt to the same lower ball joint. Mine have been shortened to exept the 280z front shocks and the small 210 perches Have been welded on. Once you have done this they will bolt in using the 210 springs and upper bearings. At least a 79-82 210 I'm not sure about earlier models. The brake Calipers will the bolt on(89 toyota 4X4 Pickup). The rotors are 300zx turned down appx. 1/8" Mounted on 280zx Front hubs with a rotor spacer. The only problem with this setup is you must run a 1/4" wheel spacer so the 300zx wheels don't hit the struts. I'm currently looking for a sulution to this But until then the spacers work fine. It's really not as hard as it sounds. I enjoy answering your questions and am looking forward to more!!

Good Luck;

SunnyGX


910

Model series 910 a.k.a. Datsun 810, Datsun Maxima, Nissan Bluebird

910 struts fit the usual A10/B310 lower parts -- except you need a 5x3 mm ring (30mm diameter) to properly seat them. And use the Sunny strut tops.

Roll Center Adjusters with R30-R31 locating ring
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The usual strut-swap mods are needed:

Bluebird struts with custom brakes
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Bluebird struts
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Bluebird strut with King Springs
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Mitsubishi Lancer

Subaru

Subaru rotors & calipers
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Skyline R30, R31

Most likely, you would have to change the whole strut assembly, which will require control arms, balljoints and such from late 1200, B310 or A10 (Stanza).

  • Has the wrong spindle again, resulting in increased camber (positive camber, not good)
  • The Skyline R31 strut does not exactly fit on a B310/A10 arm, so a small ring spacer needs to be machined up.
  • Fit over 14" rims. Some 13s may fit also
  • Fits perfectly with 6.5 rims with a 38 mm offset

R31 fitted to Datsun 1200
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R30
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TRD

TRD struts are often used on 1200s. See how-to pictorial on strut shortening: TRD Race Height Suspension Conversion Guide.

AE86 struts can be used with a strut-to-knuckle arm adapter (which also doubles as an RCA):
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Suspension Principles

Important considerations:

  • Bump Steer
    It literally causes the car to turn one directly or another when you go over bumps. Not so good, but in small amounts can be acceptable. Some factory car setups have a little bumpsteer, so it's OK but not ideal.
    To prevent bumpsteer, the bottom lower control arm needs to be the same length as the steering arm. This is because of the relationship of the arcs described by the lower control arm vs the steering arm. If the arm pivots are not concentric, you generate bump steer when there is vertical suspension movement.
    Moving the holes in the crossmember outwards may mean you end up with a steering arm longer than the suspension arm, resulting in bumpsteer that you cant fix with spacers.
    • Instead, to gain more negative Camber, consider moving the top of the strut inwards to give yourself more camber. It doesnt give you as much increased track, but wont mess your bumpsteer around as much.
    • For increased track width, consider using modified (longer) steering arms with your longer lower control arm.
  • Road Racing: with the high spring rates and limited suspension travel involved, having a little bumpsteer is not as critical as on say a gravel or offroad racing car.
  • Scrub Radius
    You can make small changes to scrub radius with positive results to steering behaviour, but like a lot of things a little can be good and a little bit more disastrous!
    For 0 scrub radius, the tyre contact patch centre should be at the same point on the road surface as the extended strut axis from upper pivot through ball joint to the road surface

Reference: POST Dropped my 1200 onto its new S13 front suspension

Unsprung Weight

Car performance is all a matter of balance. The harder it goes, the harder you need to be able to stop. This increased stopping power comes at a price, and that seems to be increased mass of the unsprung weight.

Road cars usually travel slower than race cars and ride quality is more important, so a lighter brake/suspension could be justified. It's all a matter of balance.

Others don't mind a rougher ride as long as it corners better with less dive under braking and less body roll. But this is potentially disastrous for a race car running at 10/10ths grip.

The good news is that you have large brakes AND lightweight suspension -- by upgrading to large brakes on the stock 1200 struts or 120Y stuts. See Brake Swaps for details.

I remember talk about S13 calipers and rotors on a 120Y strut, which is some pretty serious braking power - well above that offered by a set of girlocks on the Stanza strut - meaning maybe it's possible to get a whole lot of braking power out of a 120Y strut....which would mean top brakes and lower unsprung weight!

Short-ratio Steering Arms

The problem with most strut swaps (except 1200 or 120Y struts) is that they will make your steering slower. Some guys don't mind this, but if you to retain the faster steering read on.

180B steering arms may be shorter than A10. B210 large-size are shorter than A10.

POST Grunterhunter: stanza steering arms are longer (146mm) than the 120y ones (138mm) ...This will give a slower steering response ...Total strut length for both the stanza and 120y, from the surface of the strut hat(?) that bolts into the tower, to the bottom of the strut where the steering arm bolts on, is 660 mm. The stanza struts are longer in total, because the bearing goes up through the tower (like the 1200), whereas the 120y sit flush.

Also see discussion: POST Shorter steering arms (stanza alternative)

For modified 1200/120Y quick steering arms modified to take a larger strut, see Knuckle Arm.

Photos

 

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