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[Datsun 1200 encyclopedia]


(Redirected from Gearbox Strength)

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Categories: Transmission Modifications | Transmission

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 a 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.

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 may have less friction (meaning better fuel economy and a little more horsepower makes it to the pavement).

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 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
    • small, light, with visible ribs along case similar to B110 4-speed
    • 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
    • smooth-case medium-size transmission suitable for A14 and A15, but works with A12 too
    • These come in 60L (dogleg, 1979) and 60A (non-dogleg, 1980-1982) varieties
    • Fitted to B310
    • Vanettes have the "R" version (remote shifter for column shift) so it is not a feasible choice. See 5-speed
  • 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.

This means any 5-speed from a:
* 1974-1978 B210
* 1978-1982 B310 (210/Sunny)

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).

* 56-Series Transmission
* 60-Series Transmission
* 63-Series Transmission

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

Shift Patterns

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.

* FS5C56A
* FS5W63A
* FS5W60L
* FS5W60A
Standard 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
1st 2.676
2nd 1.691
3rd 1.398
4th 1.181
5th 1.000
Rev 2.877

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
1st 3.757
2nd 2.374
3rd 1.659
4th 1.254
5th 1.000
Rev 4.040

B210 JDM Coupes came with:
1st 3.757
2nd 2.374
3rd 1.659
4th 1.291
5th 1.000
Rev 4.040

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:
1st 3.513
2nd 2.170
3rd 1.378
4th 1.000
5th 0.875 or 0.825
Rev 3.764

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.

1278.jpg 63A Doglog 5-speed

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:

* 56L 4 speeds     105 lb.ft (Datsun 1200)
* 56A boxes        120 lb.ft (Datsun B210 & B310)
* 60 series boxes  135 lb.ft
* 63 series boxes  175 lb.ft
* 71B series boxes 240 lb.ft
* 71C series boxes 300 lb.ft
* 90 series boxes ~290 lb.ft Borg Warner T5 in 1982-1983 280ZX Turbo 

Thanks to feral. reference: Gearbox Strength

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

Gearbox weights

See main article: Gearbox Weights

Gearbox Length

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

1258.jpg Toyota 5-speed Swap Kit

5-speed Identification

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


Swap Instructions

* 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.

* F4W56 Floor-shift 4-speed 56-series
** B10 uses a bell-crank clutch release lever, unlike all other models
* 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)
* 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
* 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 Ratios

5-Speed Ratios
 FS5W60L FS5W60A close.3rdFS5W60A
NoteStock B110 GX-5 & early B210 GX-5wide ratio 32010‑H7251Pclose ratio 32010‑H7220Nspecs from Pitroad1979 NA FSM1980 (for A14) 1981-1982 (for A15) NA FSMs1980 (for A15) 1981-1982 (for A14) NA FSMs1978 NA FSM
Reference: 1984 Nissan Competition Catalog

3 & 4-speed ratio Comparison reference
Gear1971 R3W56F4W56F4W56L Opt.1 gearsetF4W56L Opt.2 gearsetF4W60L
Note1971 FSM1971, 1980-1980 FSMmiddle-close ratioultra-close ratio1976, 1978-1982 NA FSMs
Note that the 1974-up F4W56A four-speed is stronger than the B110's F4W56L. The gears are wider, and lubrication system is improved. Countershaft, front main bearing and main shaft bearings are stronger. Reference: 1984 Nissan Competition Catalog

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