1986 Nissan Hardbody Pickup XE 2.4L Z24i


Best small truck on the road - well-built, fast and solid


The truck is a 1986.5 Hardbody with the Z24i fuel-injected engine and 5 speed manual trans.

I bought the truck from a party who had recently installed a new head, not sure what the damage was to the previous head. The engine was not all together or running when purchased. My Dad, a mechanic for 60 years, rebuilt the engine completely from the bottom up, new pistons, rings, valves, timing chain, etc.

General Comments:

This truck runs tight and fast.

Good power from the Z24i fuel-injected engine.

The 5 speed manual transmission is also tight and shifts easily.

The medium blue interior is immaculate, as is the light blue cloth bench seat. The seat is firm but comfortable.

Basic model XE, light metallic blue, flat black bumpers, ext. handles, trim. Factory chrome wheels.

I like it better every time I drive it, probably the best vehicle I have ever owned, plan on keeping it for a long time.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th March, 2009

1986 Nissan Hardbody Pickup 2.4L Z24i


One of the best vehicles I have owned.


Speedometer cable broke @ 146320.

Headlight switch went out @ 146460.

Head gasket went @ 146500.

Clutch master cylinder went @ 152500.

Doner engine (see below) timing chain tensioners were broken and wore holes in timing cover, and the engine overheats in sub-zero weather.

Dash has two cracks at fault points due to heat and cold.


I replaced all non-engine parts as they went bad (minus the dash, that will be later).

I put a doner engine in while the other is being re-built (currently waiting to be re-assembled in my garage).

I plan to replace more parts (distributor, fuel injectors, transmission, clutch kit, exhaust, etc.).

I also plan to put a blue fade to white paint job on this truck, and rust preventative (after frame off sand blast).

General Comments:

For a four cylinder in a long bed pickup it moves pretty fast.

It will be faster after the above listed changes, and the over bore, larger pistons, and tightened compression chamber.

The handling is as to be expected with a pickup.

New suspension parts and modifications will make it better.


Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th January, 2008

21st Jan 2009, 20:02

What can I swap the motor for in an 86 d21 4 Cyl 4wd, to put in a turbo motor? Any suggestions on what will work?

6th Nov 2009, 11:55

I love my 86 Nissan Hardbody! The odometer went out after about 120,000 miles and I've had a remanufactured ECU put in it after about 15 years that was rebuilt a few years later and works fine.

The rest of it is just what you would expect after so many miles and years - seals need to be replaced, the clutch was replaced after 130,000 miles, plastic trim crumbles after 20+ years in the Florida sun... but he's still a frisky truck, fun to drive, and great to haul whatever you need to haul. My next truck will be a Nissan, too. I hope they still build them as strong as this one!

26th Oct 2010, 21:54

I also have a 1986 Nissan Hardbody, and it has a lot of power for an 4-cylinder 2wd pickup.

One of the few problems I had with this truck was the throttle body went out on the truck, and I had to fight to try to find a re-manufactured one that someone had just laying around. The only other problems I had were I had to replace the ECU under the seat, and the odometer stopped working at 144,000 miles, so how many miles the engine really has... I don't know, but still runs like a champ after a tune up.

I would recommend this truck to anyone who wants a reliable and good running truck, that will outlast the test of time!

27th Dec 2010, 03:04

My father bought a 1986 Nissan Hardbody Truck wd D21 4cyl. brand new. It's still an everyday use truck. The clutch is about to be replaced a second time as it just turned past 420,000 miles. Water pump just replaced a 2nd time also.