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Datsun 210 Trans Problem


Jedi Warrior

I started my new rebuilt engine today. I sure hope the second time I have it all correct. This is costing me a fortune in parts. The good news after two hours of running the engine, seems very happy. Not even a single spot of oil on the driveway, sure hope it stays that way. The bad news part is my newly installed datsun 210 trans has a problem. It shifts fine on the way up but when shifting down 2nd gear is difficult to get back into. If I slow to 20 mph I can shift into 2nd. The clutch works perfect. I did a search here and found that maybe my oil is the problem. I switched from 90 synthetic oil to 80w regular gear oil, still same problem. On my bench is the rivergate trans rebuild kit I ordered it at the same time as the kit hoping that if I have it I will not need it. Any ideas before I again remove the engine, at this rate I may pass Jack for most times out of the car.
I have the transmission manual in front of me and trying to determine if I should do it myself, I enjoy the challenge. My only concern is I am running out of engine pull patience.
So two questions.
!. Any ideas on possible problem with 2nd gear down shift, is this a common problem Is this the sync gear causing the problem
2 How many of you have rebuilt this trans using the manual on rivergates site. Are there any other manuals out there?
Cheers Phil


Darth Vader
Don't know any thing about Datsun boxes, but problem is common to any straight drive. First suspect would be the 2nd gear syncro ring. Will it go into 2nd above 20 mph if you double clutch it (heel and toe)? If it will, syncro ring probably the culprit. Or maybe worn thrust washer(s). Or maybe worn shift fork. What are the RPM'S at 25 in 2nd?

Don't know the internals or construction of this box re: thrust washers, so just guessing.

Do you have this problem in any other gear? 2-3, 3-4?



Jedi Warrior
To rebuild the 210 trans follow the detailed instructions & photos in the Haynes Datsun 210 manual. I was looking through one at our local used bookstore the other day and was tempted to buy it for myself. Also I thought the 210 tranny used engine oil, 30 or 40 wt, although I could be wrong.


Jedi Knight
Country flag
Re: Datsun 210 Trans Problem: info on rebuilding

Check the CHRISS web-site, specifically


for rebuilding info. I sent him an anticipatory note of thanks, as I'll be ordering the Rivergate kit and their trans rebuild package, and am glad to have this resource.



For the time period the 210 transmission was built in I would also think the oil would probably be something in the 30 to 40 weight range. Synthetic also causes problem in some manual transmissions.
On my front wheel drive cars (Dodge) from the 80's 10W30 weight is used. Remember the final drive is also in the FWD.


Jedi Warrior
Thanks for the replies.

The oil weight I am certain is 90w, which has been discussed many times.
Not sure of the rpm’s in 2nd gear, will check Sunday afternoon. The trans works great in all gears shifting up, and also works great shifting down in all gears except 2nd. My guess is the syncro for 2nd is the problem. The trans manual link is the same as what rivergate lists. Looks like time to take engine out again, I need a zipper on this thing.



I would not run anything thinner than 90 wt unless you like to hear gear whine with the top up. The thicker the quieter. I would suspect a bent fork or maybe a synchronizer. 2nd is the one most people like to jam into when slowing and turning in. Mine has worked fine but let me know how it goes, you never know. Does it not want to go in at all or does it go in and pop back out?


Jedi Knight
Country flag
Has this tranny been recently rebuilt? As in the last couple of years? There is known issue with the 2nd gear synchro rings. Paul A. of MorrrisService found this out the hard way. They were (are still?) coming from the factory out of spec. If it's been recently done it may have one of these "bad" synchro rings. Paul bought about 100 and checked them all. About 1/2 were no good. Brand new, but no good.


Jedi Warrior
Country flag
According to my Datsun 210 manual, 90 weight is the recommended oil for the transmission. It's also what I have been running in mine sine I bought it 3 years ago and I've had no issues.


Jedi Warrior

Great day for driving I put a 100 miles of mostly short trips on my new motor combo. The motor worked great but the transmission works great if you skip 2nd gear. After 100 miles I had hoped maybe it would start working better,the trans was sitting in the junkyard for years. The 2nd gear still works fine on the up shift so from 1 to 2 there is no problem. It is the downshift from 3 to 2 that grinds until below about 20 mph and 2000rpm. So I swept the garage out tonight and decided Monday will be engine out day. I should setup a timer and see how long it takes.
I have looked through the trans manual a couple of times still not sure if I should do the rebuild myself.
I do not know the history of this trans as I purchased it off a guy in Arizona who purchased it from a guy selling it on eBay in Florida. Hard to believe but this trans went from Florida to Arizona and then to Toronto. I have a full rebuild kit on my bench I bought it from Rivergate and I sure hope it has everything I need. The Rivergate conversion kit was expensive but it works perfect. Very impressive kit and worth the money.
Cheers Phil
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