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[Datsun 1200 encyclopedia]


From Datsun 1200 Club

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Category: Front Axle And Front Suspension

Datsun 1200 uses front MacPherson strut Front Suspension with the small 45 mm diameter strut tube. A MacPherson strut is a combination shock absorber integrated with spring unit -- it's a structural piece, holding the car up and locating the suspension. This is as opposed to shock absorbers, which if removed won't affect ride height or cause the axles to fall off. Not to say you should remove the rear shocks, but they only control damping.

Also see:



The original 1200 strut is a rebuildable oil filled tube with shock valving and seals. Later, Nissan come out with Strut "inserts", a sealed shock absorber-like cartridge that goes into the strut tube, and the original oil and valves are discarded. The originals work very well, but when it's time to rebuild them, it is slightly faster to fit the inserts.

15173.jpgAlbum 15173 14291.jpgAlbum 14291

The Nissan part number is stamped on the strut tube:
14297.jpgAlbum 14297

On a Datsun, the spindle and strut housing are one piece with the spindle welded to the bottom of the strut housing (strut tube).
15857.jpgAlbum 15857

Spindle -- "a rod on which something turns"

On a car, the Wheel Hub turns on the spindle. The hub contains the wheel bearings
24948.jpgAlbum 24948

Steering Arm turns the wheels. Also known as a "Knuckle arm".

Strut/Spindle assembly with Steering Arm bolted to the bottom
8060.jpgAlbum 8060 10123.jpgAlbum 10123

Steering Arms attached to the Ball Joints which are bolted to the Lower Control Arm
8532.jpgAlbum 8532


24728.jpgAlbum 24728

Strut Tops, Upper Spring Seat
26637.jpgAlbum 26637

With Bound Bumpers in place (slid onto the shaft)
5054.jpgAlbum 5054


1200 drum - square shaped flange
1200 disc - trapezoidal shaped flange
B310/A10 - half round w/ears

24689.jpgAlbum 24689 24688.jpgAlbum 24688

Disc brake struts have ears to bolt the caliper to
DSC01483-2_zps006caf28.jpgPost click for topic

Gas Charged?

I recommend getting standard shocks/struts, *not* gas-charged. Both lowpressure gas and high pressure gas ones are too stiff. The 1200 is so light it will make it ride even rougher, and rear gas struts cause it to bounce on bumpy pavement. On the other hand, if you have race car however, you may like gas-charged shocks.

I've always wanted to try adjustable Konis, they were made for the 1200 front and rear but difficult to find.

So the trick is finding standard shocks & struts. Most companies (Monroe, etc) only sell generic ones that fit the 1200 and the 25% heavier B210.

If you are thinking of selling, then any shock and strut is better than worn out ones ... I've been there, done that with both wornout ones and gas charged.

For the front, if you can find the rebuild kit, that's what I recommend.

mareo: I think Strut inserts are a bad idea. I have put strut inserts into two 1200s and neither rode as well afterwards. Nothing can beat the ride of the original struts. Plus the original dampening can be modified so easily by changing the hydraulic fluid and with inserts, you would have to change the inserts to do that. The strut inserts wear out too fast also. My original 1200, Mareo Speedwagon I, had 17 years and over 300,000 miles on the original struts. They were never rebuilt either and rode excellent. At close to 200,000 miles, I learned the easy way to change the fluid in the struts. Unless your struts are totally worn out, rebuild them if they can be rebuilt and you will be much happier, I was anyway. reference: "Strut inserts"

The two kinds of inserts are:

  • Oil strut insert cartridges
  • Gas-charged oil strut insert cartridges

The gas-charged type are pressurized with nitrogen gas:

  • On bad road surfaces, like washboard dirt roads, extreme vibrations can cause the oil to mix with the air and so lose the shock characteristics. The gas pressure prevent this from happening. This was not an issue on most highways or town roads
  • The pressure raises the car up, as much as 10-15 mm
  • It makes the shocks stiffer. Being as the 1200 is already stiff, this is not a good thing. Stock 1200 oil shocks & struts don't allow the wheels to skitter & bounce. But once you put gas shocks on they will

Gas-charged shocks & struts became the norm becuase most cars (think old GM & Ford cars) were too softly sprung and as the suspension wore they got even worse. Consumers liked the stiffer gas shocks on these vehicles. New vehicles are designed for gas-charged shocks so they work well. They don't work so well on a Datsun 1200, however adjustable shocks/struts should work well.

The original oil shocks are very good, specifically tuned to the car they came from. Aftermarket insert cartridges are generic for many cars. So for street use with stock or close to stock suspension, oil shocks are the way to go.

For heavily modded suspension, for example, heavy wheel & tires, a different shock may be better.

Rebuilding Strut

For the front, if you can find the rebuild kit, just replace the seals etc. and put in new fluid. The alternative is a "strut insert" cartridge. Yes, the stock struts are fully rebuildable. It is relatively inexpensive. Your local Nissan dealer may still be able to get the rebuild kit. There are two kinds, one for Tokico struts and the other for Atsugi struts.

174_56b324ce419b7.jpgPost 476107

The original Datsun shocks can be rebuilt (as long as someone didn't previously throw the guts away and fit insert cartidges). To renew the front shocks, remove the big nut, drain the oil out then put new oil in. Most repair manuals show how is to do it. Use strut oil (10 weight non-detergent oil) for stock characteristics. 15 weight oil for stiffer damping. Use the exact amount called for by the repair manual (for B110 struts it is 280cc for AMPCO struts; 265cc for Tokico struts)

As long as the o-ring seals aren't dried-out or cracked, no rebuild kit is needed. They can be reused many times.

To "rebuild" the strut, you may buy new parts. The the rebuild kit will have full instructions. You need to carefully measure the correct amount of the appropriate strut fluid. It will seem to soft or too hard if the wrong amount is put in.

24541.jpgAlbum 24541

I wouldn't attempt this without the full instructions. If you have the factory manual, it is fairly easy to do. The Clymer manual doesn't explain how to rebuild the strut.

Here are the specs for Datsun 1200 (B110) struts:

  • AMPCO/ATSUGI struts: 280cc of Nisseki Shock Absorber Oil A-2
  • TOKICO struts: 265cc of Tokico Light Oil No. 1

The brand is stamped on the strut near the top, this one says AMPCO
14297.jpgAlbum 14297

Measure it out carefully ...

  • Equivalent to 10W non-detergent oil
  • Gland nut torque: 57-79.5 lb-ft

To bleed the shock, after the oil is put in and every assembled, pull the rod out fully with the shock vertical and the axle at the bottom. Then turn the shock upside down and push the rod fully in. Repeat this several times until the resistance on the rod feels consistant. Make several quick and short push pulls, the stiffness appears. If you make long continuous pulls or pushes on the shock, there is little resistance.

Gland Packing Nut (has oil seal for the shaft)
54308-H1025.jpg ringnut-1.jpg ringnut-2.jpg ringnut-3.jpg

Correct Oil to Use

  • Atsugi strut: Nisseki Shock Absorber Oil A-2
  • Tokico: Tokico Light Oil No. 1 D-S

A liter will service two struts.

The strut oil is lighter than motor oil.

Can I use motorcycle fork oil in the struts? Perhaps. Racers use various viscosities of oil to fine-tune their motorcycle shocks. And some Datsun fans have used it. B110SSS recommends: "Go down to your local motorbike shop and get some mx fork oil - works very well".

DaveB recommends trying Dexron III ATF (as used in Tercel front struts). Motorcycle fork oil would be good too but is more expensive. Stay away from engine oil, it doesn't have the anti foaming additives of ATF or fork oils.

Strut Insert Cartridges

Nissan 56105-H5025 about $50 each from Nissan, for Datsun B110

For swap information, see: Strut Insert Part Numbers


NOTE: When B110s shipped from the factory, there was no cartridge in the strut. Instead there is a valve, piston and oil. The struts were rebuildable, sometime just changing the oil will restore them to good working condition.

Part Numbers

Here are the Nissan part numbers ... please let us know if they are available or NLA in your country (click Edit at the top of this page).

174_5c78f7183d6b0.pngPost 490704

54325-H1000 STRUT MOUNTING BEARING B110/B210/B120 Approximately 43mm outside diameter
174_5c86f96daaae1.jpgPost 490836

DRUM Struts

24547.jpgAlbum 24547 24542.jpgAlbum 24542

USA B110 Catalog
  (formerly 54302-H1025)
  (formerly 54302-H1026)
JDM B210
* 54302-H5025 STRUT KIT-front suspension (Atsugi) 74-75 STD, DX
* 54302-H7425 STRUT KIT-front suspension (Atsugi) 76-78, Van from 1075
* 54302-H7426 STRUT KIT-front suspension (Tokico) 76-78, Van from 1075
* 54302-H7427 STRUT KIT-front suspension (Atsugi) 76-78 VH=PT
JDM B120 (1975-up catalog) 
* 54302-H7425 STRUT KIT-front suspension RH to 7909 (replaced by 54302-H8528)
* 54302-H7426 STRUT KIT-front suspension RH to 8503 (interchanges with 54302-H7425)
* 54302-H8528 STRUT KIT-front suspension RH 7910-8503 (replaced by 54302-G1625)
* 54302-G1625 STRUT KIT-front suspension RH 8504-8910

DISC Struts

24467.jpgAlbum 24467

USA B110 Catalog
* 54302-H5125 KIT-STRUT FRONT SUSPENSION RH DISC (formerly 54302-H1125)
  NOTE: These are same PN as 1974-1975 B210 with A12 engine GL & GX


  • 56110-H1025 and 56110-H1026 are the original nissan part #'s. They both Supercede to 56105-H5025. The suggested list price is $64.68.
USA B210
JDM B210 
* 54302-H5125 STRUT KIT-front suspension RH (Atsygu) 1973-1975 
  (Same as B110) except L14
* 54302-H7427 KIT-STRUT,FRONT RH 1976-1977 except L16
* 54302-H7525 KIT-STRUT,FRONT SUSPENSION RH (ATSUGI) 1976-1977 L16
  (Same as late USA B210)
JDM B120 (1975-up catalog) 
* 54302-G1526 STRUT KIT-front suspension RH 8910-
JDM B110
* 56210-H1022 Nissan Motorsport Strut Cartridges, Tokico Gas Shocks
  18263.jpgAlbum 18263
* 54050-H1000 Strut rebound bumper (bushing)
  for all 1200s, including newer trucks

Strut Tops

B110 strut tops are different from B210 & B310 tops.

See main article: Strut Tops


441mm - strut tube base (mounting surface) to the top of the strut tube
 45mm - diameter of strut tube  

Strut Photo Index

See Main Article: Strut photo index


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This page has been accessed 74,677 times. This page was last modified 00:45, 12 March 2019. Content is available under Datsun 1200 Club.