The only Datsun 1200 that came with a 5-speed was the Japan-market 1972 GX-5 model. However any A-series 5-speed will bolt to the A12 engine and work in a 1200 as-is or with some degree of modification.
The Datsun 1200 GX-5 model came with a non-overdrive five speed. B210 and B310s came with various 5-speeds that can be fitted to B110:
- F5C56A (B110) non-overdrive a la B110 GX-5
- F5C56A (B210)
- FS5W63A overdrive, JDM HB211, JDM KHB310 Sunny Coupe, USA B210s
- FS5W60L (B310 - HB310) overdrive (1979)
- FS5W60A (GB310 - PB310) overdrive (1980-1982)
- RS5W60A (Vanette) is an external shifter model, but can be used for parts for the FS5W60A
Why Should I get a 5-speed?
Adding an overdrive 5-speed is one of the best improvements that can be made to the Datsun 1200. More relaxed, quieter, more fuel-efficient highway cruising will result. This was Mareo's idea, and I think he might be right.
Then there is the performance 5-speed, which does NOT lower RPMs on the highway, does not improve fuel economy. This is the GX5 transmission, it provides an extra gear in-between 1st and Top. These gears allow you to shift more often, keeping the engine in the fattest part of the rev range for quicker acceleration. The only A-series gearbox that is non-overdrive like this is the 56A 5-speed.
Why should I not get a 5-speed?
On the other hand, if you don't do much highway driving consider that the A12 4-speed is lighter and cost less. It's also better suited to the stock A12 torque curve than any of the overdrive gearboxes. It has a relatively steep 1st gear for effortless take-offs even with 4 passengers, yet still allow a 90 mph top speed, while 80 mph cruising @ 5000 RPM is perfectly do-able if a bit noisy. Remember, the Yellow Line doesn't even start until 6000 RPM on a Datsun 1200.
Also, a 5-speed won't improve your top speed. Datsun 1200 top speed is about 95 mph and is HP limited (not gearing limited). Highest speed in the 1200 GX5 is achieved in 4th gear as it needs to run at 6000 RPM to make enough power.
What types of 5-speeds are available?
- 56-Series Transmission (non-overdrive)
- small, light, with visible ribs along case similar to B110 4-speed
- Performance use. Does not lower RPMs or reduce noise at highway speeds
- Suitable for A12 engine. Not strong enough for A14
- The 5-speed versions were 1:1 direct fifth-gear (non-overdrive), called in Japan "direct mission"
- Fitted to B110 GX-5 and early (A12T) B210 GX-5
- 60-Series Transmission
- 63-Series Transmission
- Large, heavy transmission commonly used with L-series engines, a version was also fitted to A14 engines in B210s
- Overkill for the A-series engines, strong enough for supercharged A15
- The 5-speed version is a "dogleg" shifter
- Fitted to JDM B210 with A14 engine 1976-1977
- Fitted to all North American B210 hatchbacks from 1976-1/2 through 1978 model years (starting in 1977 for Canada)
How easy it is to swap in?
Any A-series rear-wheel-drive 5-speed will bolt up to any A-engine. Slight modifications may be needed to fit into Datsun 1200.
And, A14/A15 5-speeds will handle the extra torque of these motors (The A12 4-speed is a little weak to use with an A15).
Where can I get one?
In USA, the B310 5-speed is common and inexpensive. Just look for a 1979-1982 Datsun 210 (Nissan body type B310 aka Sunny). You can often buy a whole car for about $500 or less. In the wreckers, transmissions go for about $200 u-pull. The B210 5-speeds are less common, but go for the same price if you find one (prices last checked in 2010).
In Australia, ask around. They can be hard to find and expensive.
Be sure to get:
- The gearbox crossmember from the donor car (it may be useful)
- The rubber transmission mount insulator. There are various types, so get the one that matches the transmission
- Clutch release lever and release bearing sleeve (throwout bearing sleeve)
- Engine plate, if the 5-speed used one. The release bearing sleeve and plate are a matched set
- You may use your existing flywheel and clutch cover (pressure plate)
Additionally, the 63-series gearbox will require:
- Clutch disc for 63-series transmission. All other 5-speeds use the same clutch as stock Datsun 1200
- 1200 Automatic Propeller Shaft fits the 63-series gearbox. All other 5-speeds use the same driveshaft as the stock 1200 4-speed
Most of the 5-speeds use a "dogleg" shift-pattern (aka 'reverse shift').
ONLY the 60A 5-speed is a non-dogleg. It was used starting with 2nd-year B310, from late 1979.
Dogleg * FS5C56A * FS5W63A * FS5W60L
Non-dogleg: * FS5W60AStandard pattern (aka 'straight shift')
Are there any close-ratio or non-overdrive 5-speeds?
The 1984 Nissan Competition Parts catalog says:
The 5-speed transmission (F5W56A) was originally installed on certain non-USA models of the 1200 [JDM Datsun Sunny 1200 GX5]. With the stock gearing this transmission works very well for street, slaloms, high-speed time trials or rallies. With the optional gearing (32010-H7220N), it is the best production-based transmission available for racing versions of the 1200, B210 or 210 Datsuns. The synchro mechanism is the servo-type (steel).
The Part Number above [3210-H7220N] is a Nissan Competition number. They often put N or R after the regular number. Without or without the 'N' suffix, that number describes the 56A five speed 'Option 1' close ratio competition transmission for these models.
The F5C56A [JDM Option 1] is as rare as hen's teeth. These were racing parts, and thus are difficult to find and expensive. Some Japanese dealers fitted them to retail GX models for special customers. The Japan domestic model Datsun 1200 GX-5 came with the wide ratio F5W56A as standard. This was also available from Datsun Competition.
The Option 1 box came with the ratios of
The Option 2 box was for Japan Domestic Racing.
The factory 1974 Datsun B110 Competition Tune Up Manual lists only the Option 1 & 2 four speeds which were superseded by the Option 1 five speed. The ratios are as listed above except for 4th gear which is shown in this book as 1.182.
The factory 1974 Datsun Sunny 1200 [K]B110 Sports Option parts Catalogue lists only the Option 1 five speed with the ratios matching those listed above exactly. There was no Option 2 five speed listed in the Japanese Datsun Sunny 1200 [B110] Factory competition literature.
I speculate that the US arm of DatsunSport quite possibly listed the stock F5W56A [wide ratio transmission] as their Option 1 gearbox & the real Option 1, the close ratio F5C56A competition transmission, as their Option 2 offering, thereby confusing the situation completely. [Author KB10]
B110 GX5 JDM came with
B210 JDM Coupes came with:
The factory "Datsun 1200 Sports Option Parts" Catalogue for the "Model: B210, KB210 Series" lists an Option 1 five speed 56A transmission. It is identical in every way to the one listed in the 1200/ B110 factory competition literature. There is no Option 2 transmissions listed here either. The stock B210 Sunny GX5 used the F5W56A transmission.
The overdrive 5 speeds have:
5th 0.875 or 0.825
Also see: Dan Hall 5-Speed
How Strong are they?
Gearboxes are rated for torque (twisting force). Peak Horsepower is not a factor. It doesn't matter how much horsepower you have; whether you need a stronger transmission depends on how much torque the engine puts out. For example, the lo-po 65hp A14 makes more torque than the 69hp A12.
Datsun boxes are numbered by the distance between the centres of the countershaft and the main shaft. 56 series 56 mm, 60 series 60 mm, 63 series 63mm.
Approximate guides are 50 % up on the stock engine torque:
One thing to watch out for in the 60-series is reverse gear. The internal linkage is weak and can bend, making it not shift into reverse properly. Wubbits and I have both run into this problem. See Will a B-210 5-speed fit in a 1200
See main article: Gearbox Weights
All 56-series and 60-series RWD transmissions are the same length. 4-speeds and 5-speeds are the same length. So they all use the same driveshaft. When fitting a 60A or 60L gearbox, there is no need to swap driveshafts.
FS5W63A and B110/B210 Automatic are slightly different length than 4-speeds. The driveshaft is 15mm longer than a 4-speed driveshaft. So obtain a 1200 automatic driveshaft.
NOTE: FS5W63A from non-B210 may be different length. Per (ROConnor): "I hav here a 63A#1 dogleg 5-speed, and a 56A 4-speed that both measure 660mm from the mounting face to the end of the output shaft (so may be diferent 63A's?)"
For more details, see Gearbox Length
What about my Speedometer?
Well, speedometers are generally off in the first place. But, yes, your speedo may read incorrectly if you change transmissions. On the 5-speeds, the speedo pinion gear will interchange from the 4-speed, BUT there is usually one less tooth on the 5-speed output shaft. This makes the speedo display faster than the actual vehicle speed.
See main article: Speedometer Gears
What about using a non-Nissan 5-speed?
Toyota 5-speeds have been used successfully by several club members. If you want to spend a little you can also get a conversion kit for a Toyota 5 speed. These boxes are stronger, lighter, more easy to find, yet less expensive than Datsun 5-speeds.
See main article: Toyota 5-speed
Toyota 5-speed Swap Kit
To identify a transmission, look for the series casting mark (56, 56A, 60, 63) on the left side of the gearbox, but there are many other identifying features to tell whether it is a 5-speed or a 4-speed.
See main article: 5-speed Identification
See: * Transmission Interchange * 56-Series Transmission (Datsun 1200 GX5 type) * 60-Series Transmission (Datsun B310 Sunny/210 type) * 63-Series Transmission (Datsun B210-A14 type)
List of A-series Transmissions (rear wheel drive)
Discussion about transmission differences: GEARBOX NUMBERING AND BASIC INFO.
B10 * F4W56 Floor-shift 4-speed 56-series ** B10 uses a bell-crank clutch release lever, unlike all other models
B110 * R3W56 3-speed column shift * F4W56 Floor-shift 4-speed 56-series * FS5W56 Floor-shift 5-speed 56-series - (direct fifth 1:1, non-overdrive)
B210 * F4W56A Floor-shift 4-speed 56-series (fitted to A12 & A13) - Stronger than previous models * F4W60L Floor-shift 4-speed 60-series (fitted to A14) * F4W63L JDM Floor-shift 4-speed 63-series for A14 - Has bottom plate, unlike all others * FS5W63L Floor-shift 5-speed 63-series
B310 * F4W56A 32100-H7421 for A12 and A13 * F4W60L (JDM) 32100-H8901 with A14 * F5W60A (1980-1982) 32100-H9700 (A12) or 32100-H9701 (A14/A15)
NOTE: -L and -A do not indicate the engine type the transmission fits (bellhousing pattern). There is an FS5W63A for L16 engines, and an FS5W63A for A14 engines.
Case assembly part numbers: * 32100-G1030 - F4W56 early B120, R3W56 early B120 * 32100-G1123 - B120 7510- SB * 32100-G1124 - B120 7510- LB * 32100-H5030 - F4W56 B210 A12, R3W56 B210 (up to '75-3) * 32100-H5035 - F4W56 B210 A12 (from '75-3) * 32100-H1000 - F4W56 * 32100-H6231 - F4W56A USA B210 with A13 -0874 * 32100-H6201 - F4W56A ** replaced 32100-H6200 * 32100-H7421 - F4W56A (B210 and B310 A12 and A13 -8010, and all F4W56A 8011-) * 32100-H7310 - F4W60L (B210 A14 V) * 32100-H8901 - F4W60L (B310 A14 -8010 and all F4W60L 8011-8109) * 32100-H9000 - F5W60L (B310 S, K -7909) * 32100-H9700 - F5W60A (B310 A12 7910-) * 32100-H9701 - F5W60A (B310 A14 7910- and all F5W60A 8110-) ** Same as F4W60L * 32100-U6700 - FS4W63L (B210 JDM A14) * 32100-N6700 - FS5W63A (B210 JDM A14)
FSW60A 3rd Gear variation (1.320 versus 1.378) * 32260-H9700 GEAR ASSY-3RD SPEED * 32260-H9701 GEAR ASSY-3RD SPEED
Gear Ratios5-Speed Ratios
| FS5W60A |
|Note||Stock B110 GX-5 & early B210 GX-5||wide ratio 32010‑H7251P||close ratio 32010‑H7220N||specs from Pitroad||1979 NA FSM||1980 (for A14) 1981-1982 (for A15) NA FSMs||1980 (for A15) 1981-1982 (for A14) NA FSMs||1978 NA FSM|
3 & 4-speed ratio Comparison reference
|Gear||1971 R3W56||F4W56||F4W56L Opt.1 gearset||F4W56L Opt.2 gearset||F4W60L|
|Note||1971 FSM||1971, 1980-1980 FSM||middle-close ratio||ultra-close ratio||1976, 1978-1982 NA FSMs|