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[Datsun 1200 encyclopedia]

L-series Engine Swap

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Categories: Engine Modifications | Engine Swaps | Nissan Engines

For the six-cylinder version, See Engine_Swaps#L-series_Six-Cylinder

The Nissan L-series four cylinder engine is a good swap. Inexpensive, readily available both in USA and Australia, and these are a larger engine family than the Nissan A Engine. From L13 to L18, they are nearly identical on the outside. The L20B 2-liter engine is a tall-block variation but can still will fit under the hood and without cutting the sheetmetal. The Z-series Engine is closely related but has a crossflow cylinder head with better all-around torque and fuel economy. Finally, the KA engine replaced the Z with 16-valve head (found in Navara/D22 and USA S14). All these engines use common dimensions and engine mounts.

L-powered B110 (factory install)
1534.jpgAlbum 1534



POST unfamilia: L series should have been standard in the 1200's ... [L16-powered 1200 is] a nice streetable torqey little car.easier to drive than a high rev a series thats for sure.

19668.jpgAlbum 19668


And for L-engine questions unrelated to Datsun 1200s specifically:

The Nissan L-series engine, as used in various Datsun/Nissan models e.g. L16, L18, L20B.
NOTE: Nissan put the L14 in the Japan-only Datsun PB110. The L20B is taller though so not commonly used, but it will fit under the hood. A super-rare racing engine was the L-series twin-cam, fitted to 1200 racing cars.


The L18 was a popular powerplant in many non-USA markets due to its under-2-liters displacement which made it exempt from many fuel and classification tariffs.

The L20B of course has more CCs therefore more low-speed power, perfect for effortless cruising.

Nissan L engine

* 910 Bluebird 1800
* USA 1974 Datsun 620
* USA 1974 Datsun 610
* USA 1974 Datsun 710
L18T Twin-Carb
* 1972 Datsun 510 Bluebird SSS
* 1973 Datsun 610 Bluebird-U SSS
* 610 180B SSS
* UK 910 1.8 GL coupé 110 PS (81 kW)
* SSS Hardtop Coupé 910 for general LHD markets
L20B four-cylinder 97-110 hp
* 1977-1982 200B
* 1980-1984 Bluebird 910
* USA 1975-1979 620 Pickup
* USA 1980 720 Pickup
* USA 1975-1978 610
* USA 1975-1978 710
* USA 1977-1979 S10 "200SX"
* USA 1977-1978 A10 "510"


L-series engine has a 12-degree slant to the right.

Deck Height

L20B is 15 mm taller than the L13/L14/L16/L18.

Block deck height (crank centerline to top of block face)
207.85 mm: L13, L14, L16, L18, L24, L28 
227.45 mm: L20B, Z20, Z22, LD28 diesel


From L13 to L20B, you have many choices. The larger engines make more power. An L20B makes more power than an L18, similarly outfitted (105hp stock vs 110hp stock, or modded vs modded). Rod/stroke ratio don't matter except in theory, because 200 more CCs trumps it. But there seems to be no reason to use an L13 or L14, as the A15 makes about the same power and is lighter and fits easier. So, choose an L18 or L20B, depending on availability. Use an L16 if it is handy or free.

easy-revving Overhead Cam engine
14134.jpgAlbum 14134

L13  1296cc
L14  1428cc
L16  1595cc
L18  1770cc
L20  1998cc (1965 debut)
L20B 1952cc 85mm bore x 86mm stroke (1973)
LD20 1952cc
L23  2262cc (1968)
L24  2393cc
L26  2565cc
L28  2753cc
LD28 2792cc

L13: early Datsun 510 Standard models came with L13. Don't bother to swap this, an A14 is better.

#L14: Nissan put the L14 in the Japan-only PB110.

#L16: More power than an A14/A15 (96 hp vs 80 hp), the L16 is good choice if you obtain one inexpensively.

#L18 is a big power boost over an A15 (105 hp vs 80hp)

#L20B fitted (92 hp to 110 hp, but with loads of low-RPM hp):
1262.jpgAlbum 1262 5388.jpgAlbum 5388 8153.jpgAlbum 8153 291.jpgAlbum 291

LZ Engine: A super-rare racing engine was the LZ20 twin-cam, fitted to 1200 racing cars.

Main: LZ engine

LZ20 DOHC engine
95.jpgAlbum 95


The L14 was factory installed in some B110 models — specifically in the Excellent 1400.

851.jpgAlbum 851 10318.jpgAlbum 10318
However, why bother these days? Nissan didn't have an A14 in 1970, but we do now, and it is much less work to fit, and weighs a lot less.

So, A14 wins over L14. 80hp vs 85hp, but lighter

For an L swap, best to go with more CCs. The L18 is the same physical dimensions as the L14 but with far more torque & more horsepower. Even the L16 at 96hp is more powerful.

L16/L18 wins over L14


L14 upgraded with twin Mikuni PHH carbs
1534.jpgAlbum 1534


More power than an A14/A15 (96 hp vs 80 hp), the L16 is good choice if you obtain one inexpensively. 20% is a lot more power. They also make a lot more torque than A15s. You can get them cheaper than A15s because they're the least popular L series engine, while A15 is the most sought-after A series. You also eaisly get stronger & cheaper 5-spd gearboxes for the L. They're an excellent choice.

L16 SSS (with factory Hitachi Twin Carb setup)
616.jpgAlbum 616

L16 fits right in
8902.jpgAlbum 8902


L18 uses the same shorter deck block height of L16, so is slightly less tall than the L20B.

92.jpgAlbum 92 291.jpgAlbum 291 1143.jpgAlbum 1143

 1973-1977 Datsun 610 "180B"
 1973-1974 Datsun 610 North America
 1974 Datsun 620 North America
 1974 Datsun 710 North America
 1980-1981 Datsun 720 Japan
 1980s Datsun 910 Europe 
 * L18S single carburetor
 * L18T twin carburetor

8752.jpgAlbum 8752 8746.jpgAlbum 8746 16082.jpgAlbum 16082


There are three 2-liter L-series engines, all very different from each other:

  • L20 - Straight six 1966 Cedric engine, 1st L-series engine
  • L20A - Straight six based on the L16 (2nd gen design)
  • #L20B - Inline four cylinder

See ZHome - L-series


displacement: 1952 cc
bore: 85mm
stroke: 86mm

USA 1974-1975 : 110hp, 112 lb.ft.
USA 1977 (U67):  97hp, 102 lb.ft.
AUS 200B      :  97hp 
AUS 910 Bluey :  94hp, 110 (DIN)
   69.9kw@5600rpm, 152nm@3600rpm (DIN)                  

The L20B 2-liter engine is a tall-block variation but still fits under the bonnet — and without cutting the sheetmetal. Although some find it easier to move the engine in and out after cutting the radiator core support, it is not necessary.

2-liter engine in 1200
19668.jpgAlbum 19668 5388.jpgAlbum 5388 8153.jpgAlbum 8153 5853.jpgAlbum 5853 17001.jpgAlbum 17001

L20B Sources

Australia L20B
1978-1981 Datsun 810 "200B"
1981-1986 Datsun/Nissan 910 "Bluebird"
New Zealand L20B
1979-1980 810 "200B"
USA L20B model year
1975-1979 Datsun 620 Pickup
1980      Datsun 720 Pickup
1975-1976 Datsun 610
1975-1977 Datsun 710
1978-1979 Datsun A10 "510"
1977-1979 Datsun S10 "200SX"
 * 1977 U67 square port ex. head
 * 1978-1979 W58 round port ex. head
U60, U67, U95
U60, U67, B98, 04W, 05W

Engine Major Parts


L-series engine can use the stock B110 L-series crossmember or a A-series crossmember modified.

Or, use the unmodified A-series crossmember with custom engine-side brackets.

Engine Sump

Z-series and L-series (including early LD diesel) share the oil pan design.
11121-A3500 GASKET-OIL PAN L-series, Z-series

Factory PB110 L-series engine sump is a mid-sump design:
11110-H2500 PAN ASS'Y-oil (4 liter)
23006.jpgAlbum 23006

PL620 L16 sump has slightly larger mid-sump than L521. Sump is farther forward, perhaps 1".

L20B-powered 910 Bluebird sump and oil pick up to allow motor to sit as low as possible.

Stanza (A10) and 200B sumps are also front sumps but are slightly larger than the bluebird ones so the engine cant be sat as low.

Sump for un-modified B110 crossmember
19866.jpgAlbum 19866 21817.jpgAlbum 21817 19865.jpgAlbum 19865

Datsun 1600 and Datsun 180B (610) sump is slightly more rearward. Sumps and pickups can be interchanged, but the blocks may need to be drilled for the dipstick.

21201.jpgAlbum 21201 21202.jpgAlbum 21202

Vanette winged sump fits unmodified 1200 crossmember.
23004.jpgAlbum 23004 23005.jpgAlbum 23005 6771.jpgAlbum 6771 6773.jpgAlbum 6773 6772.jpgAlbum 6772

Plenty of room for adding custom wings to a standard sump too (although it is unnecesary and will require more oil each change):
16911.jpgAlbum 16911

Custom 6-quart sump for 1200 chassis
16908.jpgAlbum 16908

Oil pan

11110-W3410 LD20# -8802 [front sump]
11110-W1700 LD20 8802- [rounded front sump] <> 11110-W1701 <> 11110-W1750
* uses 11121-05E00 GASKET-OIL PAN
11110-W2100 L16S.V 7910-8112 [mid sump] <> 11110-W2101
11110-W3400 LD20T <> 11110-W3401
11110-W1100 Z16S/Z18S/Z18E/Z18P/Z20S/Z20E [front sump] <> 11110-W1101 <> 11110-W1150
11110-W1102 Z18P <> 11110-W1103
11110-W1500 Z18ET <> 11110-W1501 <> 11110-W1550
11110-W1701, 11110-W1750
LD new style
* 910 LD20 -8802
* C120 LD20 8106-
* R30 LD20
* C31 8011-
11110-W3400 <> 11110-W3401
* 910
* E23
* C120
11110-W1100 <> 11110-W1101 <> 11110-W1150
* 910
* C31
* R30
* S110
11110-W1500 Z18ET <> 11110-W1501 <> 11110-W1550
* 910
* S110
A10 L20B USA
810 L16/L18 JAPAN
910 L16 JAPAN
910 L16/L18T/L18S EUROPE
720 USA L20B
* 4WD 11110-44W00 <> 11110-44W01
* 2WD 11110-B5501, 11110-B5502 <> 11110-B5503
11110-W1700 LD20
* 910,C120 JPN/EUR
* R30,C31 JAPAN


63-series transmissions for L-Engine fit quite snuggly in the standard Datsun 1200 manual tunnel.

NOTE: Transmissions for Z engine and L engine bolt to either engine but the L engine is slanted oppositely , so it affects the angle the shifter comes out. Not recommended.

engine tilt
15831.jpgAlbum 15831

Note the CA Engines have a different bell pattern so their gearboxes do not fit the L Engine.


Using a stumpy transmission will line up with the stock shifter hole. It is about 5 or 6 inches shorter than the more common L-engine transmissions. These are also called shorty, stumpy, or short-tailed. Also a factory driveshaft can be used.

Stumpy is ~26.3 inches -- 
same length as the automatic transmission

4-speed stumpy gearboxes are common:

  • 1968-1973 Datsun 510 F4W63 "bottom pan"
  • 1969-1972 Datsun PL521 "1600"
  • 1972-1973 Datsun P620 "1600"

5-speed stumpy gearboxes comes from:

  • 1981-1985 R30 Skyline with L24 six-cylinder engine
  • 1977-1979 USA S10 "200SX" (L-series engine, FS5W63 "smoothcase" dogleg)
  • 1978-1979 A10 Stanza
  • 1979-1986 910 Bluebird Australia-assembled,
  • S110 EUROPE with L18
  • 720 FS5W71B "ribbed case" used on certain 720 4X4s (long wheelbase?)
    • Z-engined series - swap front case needed
    • may have had an L series in 1980 only
Main: Stumpy


  • Regular
    • ~31.5 inches overall transmission length
    • transmission extension housing about same length as (front) transmission case
    • From the bottom front of the bell housing to the cross member bolts is ~21-1/2"
  • Stumpy
    • ~26.3 inches overall transmission length
    • transmission extension housing about 5" shorter than transmission case
1977-1977 S10 "200SX" 5-speed 
FS5W63A for L20B engine
32010-N5910 TRANSMISSION ASSEMBLY 5-SPEED,USA [No neutral switch?]
32010-N5901 TRANSMISSION ASSEMBLY 5-SPEED,CAN -0777 [has Neutral Switch]
32010-W6600 TRANSMISSION ASSEMBLY 5-SPEED,CAN 0877- [No neutral switch or top switch?]
32101-N6800 CASE-TRANSMISSION <> 32101-N6810
A10 1978 [L20B -0679] FS5W63A
* Coupe Only
* 32101-N6800 CASE TRANSMISSION <> 32101-N6810
* 32130-N9009 EXTENSION ASSY-REAR CAN [no neutral switch or top switch?]

A10 * 32101-N6800 CASE ASSY-TRANSMISSION [32100]
      L16S -7803 32010-N7400 FS5W63A
      * 32130-N6809 EXTENSION ASSY-REAR
      L16E -7803 32010-W5500
      * 32130-N9009 EXTENSION ASSY-REAR


A10 1979 [Z20S] FS5W63A
* 32101-W0411 CASE TRANSMISSION 0779-
  * HLA10RFU 2-dr sedan FED
  * HLA10RFV 2-dr sedan CAL
  * FHLA10FU 4-dr hatchback FED
  * FHLA10FV 4-dr hatchback CAL
  * WHLA10FU Wagon FED
  * WHLA10FV Wagon CAL
* CAN -0679
A10 1980-1981 [Z20S] FS5W63A
 * FHLA10FU 4-dr hatchback FED
 * FHLA10FV 4-dr hatchback CAL
720   	L18  F4W71B 32010-G7300 TRANSMISSION ASSY -0979
                   32010-12W00 TRANSMISSION ASSY 0979-
910   	L16S          F4W63L
910   	L18S FS5W71B, F4W63L?
910   	L18T FS5W71B, F4W63L?
910   	LD20 FS5W71B, F4W63L?
S110  	L18E 32010-N8900 TRANSMISSION ASSY FS5W63A
            32101-N6810 CASE-TRANSMISSION
            32130-R5600 EXTENSION ASSY-REAR <> 32130-R5609
       MT   37000-N8501 SHAFT ASSY-PROPELLER 1979-1980
            37000-N9901 SHAFT ASSY-PROPELLER 1981- <> 37000-N9902
       AT   37000-N9905 SHAFT ASSY-PROPELLER 1984-
720 L18S 2WD R4W71B F4W71B 
         4WD FS5W71B
910 L16S VAN F4W63L
A10 * 32101-N6800 CASE ASSY-TRANSMISSION [32100]
      L16S -7803 32010-N7400 FS5W63A
      * 32130-N6809 EXTENSION ASSY-REAR
      L16E -7803 32010-W5500
      * 32130-N9009 EXTENSION ASSY-REAR
      Z16S 7804- 32010-W7000
      Z16E 7804- 32010-W7101
      Z18S 7907- 32010-W7300
      Z18E 7907- 32010-W7311

Long Transmissions

Or use a standard L-engine transmission. The only bit of cutting wil be 1/2 of the gearstick hole but that can be welded that back in the other side to make the factory rubber shifter gasket fit back in. You can see it here:

  • 2118.jpgAlbum 2118
    Comparo: Stumpy vs Regular transmission
    Notice the shifter location (top part of picture)

Photo Gallery: L Engine transmission comparison photos at

  • Rear crossmember (gearbox xmember) may not line up with transmission mount -- depending on the gearbox model used.


Bolt-ins (require rear mount mods)
* 1981-1985 R30 Skyline with L24
* 1977-1979 S10 "200SX" dogleg (rally shift pattern)
Custom driveshaft & shifter hole enlargement
* 610
* 710
* 1977-1978 620
* 1980 720
* S30 early 1969-1971 FS5C71A
* S30 (240Z, 260Z,280Z)
* S130 280ZX
Modded - requires swapping front case
* Z-series engine gearboxes
* S13/S14/S15 gearboxes

Rear Crossmember

Depending on which gearbox you use, the rear crossmember may need a bit of spacing to provide clearance.

If you use the 63-series stumpy gearbox, the stock 1200 automatic crossmember will work.

For 71-series gearboxes, see 71-Series_Transmission#Crossmember


See electronic ignition:
* L20B Matchbox Distributor
* L-series EI

L20B Swap Notes

The L20B is a 2-liter four cylinder engine. Not to be confused with the 2-liter six cylinder L20. The L20B is about 19mm taller than other L-series fours.
14151.jpgAlbum 14151

  • no holes cut
  • just panel beat the lower corners of the front of the tunnel with a hammer, as the L series is wider
  • modify the engine mounts on the crossmember
    • 1200 crossmember had the mounts trimmed to an angle simular to that of an 810, then cut the 810 mounts in 1/2 to finish the job and locate the motor lower and improve the mounting angles.
  • 810 oil sump is a near-perfect fit in the 1200, reshape it a little just so it will clear the crossmember, maybe 5 mm with a hammer
    • Or use 5mm spacers between crossmember and body
  • The bonnet will close over sidedraft carburetors (inluding twin Hitachi carburetors)
  • The bonnet will close over downdraft carburetor if the engine is low enough. It is a tight fit. Use a low-profile carb insulator/spacer.
  • fitting the radiator in isn't a problem. you'll need a thermostat-controlled fan in front of the radiator (i.e. on the grill side)

11390.jpgAlbum 11390

10243.jpgAlbum 10243 11879.jpgAlbum 11879 12975.jpgAlbum 12975

Clearance to firewall
277_4c2b4f9cc3c1d.jpgPost 325179

1971_L20B-1.jpg 1971_L20B-2.jpg 1971_L20B-3.jpg 1971_L20B-4.jpg 1971_L20B-5.jpg 1971_L20B-6.jpg 1971_L20B-6.jpg 1971_L20B-8.jpg 1971_L20B-9.jpg

Swap Notes

Engine Fitment

Engine fitment: It is a tight fit

Method 1: Lower car over engine

  1. Remove front and rear crossmembers
  2. Lift car over engine and gearbox
  3. Replace crossmembers
    11382.jpgAlbum 11382 11383.jpgAlbum 11383 11384.jpgAlbum 11384 11390.jpgAlbum 11390

Method 2: put engine and transmission in separately. First put in the transmission, then the engine. If the transmission is removed/installed, remove the radiator and slide the engine forward to gain enough room for the gearbox fitting.

Method 3: If you have the larger Auto tunnel, finagle it. With an L16/L18, it only need the lip of the radiator core support bent slightly out of the way.
277_4b47ba3735911.jpgPost 298900 277_4b47b91d07d5d.jpgPost 298899 277_4b47b9ed94d7d.jpgPost 298899 277_4b47ba25393d7.jpgPost 298900

Method 4: Cut the radiator core support

Tunnel Clearance

Clearance the 1200 manual tunnel:

Or use the larger 1200 Automatic Tunnel, or B210/610/A10 tunnel.

Oil Filter

Use filter housing from Bluebird or maybe 710, so the filter doesn't interfere with the crossmember.

Or use a remote filter adapter:


Datsun 510 (1600) headers reportedly fit well in a 1200.


When using a 63-series 5-speed, you can use Datsun 1200 Automatic tailshaft.

Use an electric fan, as there usually is not enough room for standard engine-driven fan.

New struts are not required. The L Engine is not that much heavier than a 1200, so you can modify slightly heavier springs to fit the Datsun 1200 struts. Or just let the extra weight lower your 1200 a bit.

If you plan to drive faster, and so want to fit bigger brakes, see Brake Upgrades. In Oz an L14 may be self-certified but an L16 or larger will require engineer certification.

The L-series uses the same Temperature Sender as A-series, so it works with the stock 1200 gauges.


With the extra torque of an L16, L18 or L20B, you will want to fit a larger diff. Nissan put the H165 into the L14-powered PB110.

An A10 (Stanza/510) auto or manual driveshaft may fit with H165 diff.

Aussie: Fit 120Y sedan Borg Warner diff and automatic tailshaft. The BW68 diff will handle an L-series engine. The tailshaft fits 63-series stumpy. Other transmissions will require shortening of tailshaft.



L20B into B210 wagon
11587.jpgAlbum 11587 11593.jpgAlbum 11593 11624.jpgAlbum 11624

L18 coupe

Main: L18 Coupe


L20B Wagon

2007: L20B (twin-carb) Wagon ex-wagon1200 ex-1200rallycar ex-supafatto ex-sikyne
11381.jpgAlbum 11381 11382.jpgAlbum 11382 11383.jpgAlbum 11383 11384.jpgAlbum 11384 11381.jpgAlbum 1138111390.jpgAlbum 11390 14156.jpgAlbum 14156 14157.jpgAlbum 14157

L20B Turbo

10332.jpg 10332.jpg 11155.jpg 11156.jpg 11159.jpg 11163.jpg 11165.jpg 11169.jpg 11170.jpg 11209.jpg 12613.jpg 12846.jpg 12847.jpg

Photo Index

Click any thumbnail to see it full size in our Club Photo Album. Read details or post a comment!

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