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Old 03-24-2021, 06:41 AM   #1
i usually don't talk much
amdilligaf1's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: south of raleigh,nc
Posts: 190
Vehicle: 1997 D21 RC 2WD KA24 5MT HF35 KH3 K
Thanks: 216
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Sheep Abner, my 97 D21

it is beyond time to start my build thread...

when i became a member here, i thought i would get a few tips on maintenance, but i would NEVER need a BUILD THREAD !!

i was wrong.

i've made many trips to the LKQ pick & pulls and my RockAuto orders are increasing.

i love getting D21 and WD21 notifications.

i have 4 LKQs within 1-1/2 hours of me. i started out with just little things like knobs, switches, handles, vents, headrests, visors.

i've done a headliner and full dash replacement, new nicer interior trim and carpets, mirrors, and more.

yes, i have a shitload of spare parts now.
(david29 inspires me, among others.)

my story so far...

this truck was owned since new by my brother's "across the street" neighbor, purchased in Louisville.

he was often working out of town, so the lonely little D21 just sat there in the sun. he drove a new maxima and was very peculiar about it and his yard.

the truck got no love, just regular maintenance and weekend trips to the trash drop off site. it did have NGK plugs and wires and a new clutch.

for 15 years, i have looked at the truck while sitting on my brother's front porch, wishing i had another one.

i bought a Base burgundy 87 RC 2wd 5speed new from harmon datsun in raleigh, nc. $10,900 out the door, $252/mo for 4 yrs through FordMotorCredit.

A/C, am/fm cassette radio, sliding rear window, chrome rear bumper were it's only options.

i drove it 35k the first year!. (i was young and...you know...)
i would have beer in a cooler in the bed (nissan bedliner), tap the brakes, the cooler slides forward, open the back window, driver has a beer accelerate, cooler goes to the tailgate !

never had a single problem with the truck.
but i didn't appreciate what i had, and sold it with no regrets.

the older i got, the more i wanted another one.

i was at my brother's house Jan/Feb when his neighbor waved us over.
he was moving to Denver in June 2020 because of a work transfer and everything but his car was for sale!!

i immediately called dibs on the truck and and a 5x10 landscape trailer he used for "off the books cash" after his divorce.

one catch, he needed the truck until the move just for errands.
he also needed a contractor to get his house in shape to sell.

we came to a fair agreement on his total price, then i gave him my hourly price for the housework.

i would charge him for my time, credited towards the purchase of the truck/trailer.

i worked lots of saturdays on the house, and i had to pass the nissan in the driveway as i worked...damn, that was tough.

it made me want it that much more, and now i feel like i really earned it.

June came, i gave him the bill and a little cash. i transferred the title and got it tagged that day.

it took me about 2 weeks before i wanted to "update it a little."

it was a sagging headliner, a broken middle bezel vent, and split headrests to begin with, AND a crack in the dash the size of a fingernail clipping !

i am now 10 months in and have started stockpiling parts for a timing chain swap, which then becomes a new water pump, new oil pump, etc.
i might as well do the head gasket while it's all apart, right?

to be continued.....
https://i.imgur.com/C1kQhyT.jpg?3 They told me "smell the roses" but i burnt the whole bouquet!
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Old 03-24-2021, 11:47 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: Sno homey
Posts: 34
Vehicle: 91 D21 94 Pathfinder
Thanks: 18
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The broken middle bezel vent sounds familiar, mine was a ballistic dog during hard stop.
Congrats on the truck, they are worth it.
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amdilligaf1 (03-25-2021)
Old 03-25-2021, 02:56 AM   #3
i usually don't talk much
amdilligaf1's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: south of raleigh,nc
Posts: 190
Vehicle: 1997 D21 RC 2WD KA24 5MT HF35 KH3 K
Thanks: 216
Thanked 72 Times in 56 Posts

for the outside, i started by swapping tail light and front turn signal lenses with "they're better than i had" lkq pulls.

then swapped the OEM chrome side mirrors for chrome pathfinder electric mirrors and added convex stickys to each. i do this on every vehicle i own, it saved my ass once.

next 2 pics show old and new mirrors and my bad RH turn signal.

i didn't wire the mirrors up because once they are set, no need to move them again. i am abner's only driver.but i do have a mirror switch in my dash now for a future connection.

the roof is 30% rusty and needs a repaint this spring.

the original hood was peeling and i didn't like it.

looked around and found a KH3 (super black paint code) "mailbox" hood at LKQ.

brought it home but before the swap, i found a 97 KH3 hood and cowl/cowl vents in great shape, brought them home, too.

i still have both KH3 hoods, plus a Maroon mailbox hood & tailgate i got before both KH3s

new and old cowl

old vents on top, new to me on bottom.
new vents keep out leaves and trash, old ones didn't.


changed out the hood, cowl, and cowl vents at the same time, replaced damaged/missing cowl fasteners with ones from ace hardware in the HILLMAN bolt and nut bins. perfect replacement.

and after riding around for about a month, i took off the previous owner's front tag and window stickers. it helped to make it mine in a small way.

my assistants for all this! Yittles and Morty, my best friends ever.

my supervisor overseeing the project, Princess Sweet Pea
https://i.imgur.com/C1kQhyT.jpg?3 They told me "smell the roses" but i burnt the whole bouquet!

Last edited by amdilligaf1; 03-25-2021 at 03:42 AM.
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Old 03-25-2021, 04:23 AM   #4
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Where I can see the air I breathe...
Posts: 270
Vehicle: Original owner of my 3-pdl 1997 Nissan Hardbody King Cab XE 2WD 5-spd.
Thanks: 38
Thanked 90 Times in 72 Posts

I wasn't aware that the '97 D21's had the angled stick shift. My '97 has a boring straight up & down(vertical) shifter.

I LOVED my angled shifter from my '89 KC D21 with the NAP-Z engine in it. 8 spork plugs for a 4 banger that rocked! Put over 340k mi. on it before getting my '97 D21. Both D21's I bought were brand new.

Love the build! Doing great work!
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Old 03-25-2021, 12:05 PM   #5
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Latta, Sc
Age: 30
Posts: 484
Vehicle: 91 D21 ka24 5speed
Thanks: 59
Thanked 70 Times in 59 Posts

Looks like a clean ride. Looking forward to seeing the updates
89' D21 KingCab z24I 5speed -sold
90' D21 KingCab ka24 5speed - sold
02' Xterra 2wd 5speed - A Nissan to fill the void
91' D21 Single Cab ka24 5speed

"Be Polite, Be Professional, But have a plan to kill everyone you meet" - General James Mattis USMC
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