27 November 2014

The rarity of the L-series 4-cylinder engines in 2014...1974 Datsun 160J SSS KP710 Violet Turbo

My rebuild of the LZ18 awaits for my crankshaft repair work to be completed.

I had a thought.

Wow! It's been a long time since I had gone to survey the used car engines shops/yards in my city the old fashion way. Yup, park your car and walk through the masses of engines. Of course it was a fun thing to do every now and then.

A lonely 6-cylinder L-series...not what I was looking for.

This year, 2014, it was very quiet at these places. I had decided to check out if there were any more Nissan/Datsun L18s left from the 1970s to the 1980s since eBay seemed not to have a single complete long block, short block or even a crankshaft listed as of now!

At one of the used engine yards, this being a big one, there were no L18s but I found these...

An L13...

Another L13...slight valve cover differences...

And an L14...

And that was it...

6-cylinder L-series there were still a couple here and there but no L18 4-cylinders.

I did manage to finally find a complete fuel injected L18 at a different yard and only so because it belonged to the owner who had transplanted a different engine into his car. He kept it under the stairs for some reason and was in very good running conditions and stock, according to him. I will make another post of that engine when I've had it delivered.

My conclusion was that Nissan/Datsun L18 engines are pretty rare nowadays! There were tons of them in the 90s but not now in 2014. I could be wrong but this was so in this part of the world here in Malaysia. I had wanted another L18 engine because it sports a fully-counterweighted(some would say "more counterweighted"....another post on this one day!) crank that I could use in my LZ18 despite the 5 bolt flywheel (Could be dowelled). Also the L18 engine block could double as a spare block. The other reason was in preparation for a possible new OS Giken TC16-C1 kit.

Reference this link: OS Giken's TC16-C1 for L-series 4-cylinders 2014

The other 2-litre L20B on the other hand was one engine that never came into Malaysia in the used engines yard. One reason I believe was that they were as rare in Japan and were perhaps made overseas and meant for the U.S.A and Australian markets. So Japanese used engines importers never really brought in any L20Bs into Malaysia. Although Nissan also makes the rare LZ20B racing engines in the 80s, retrofitting an LZ18 head to the LZ20B may be quite involved due to the different deck height. The LZ20B may have some extra height in the gear mechanism housing to cater for that and I'll not dwell on that now.



  1. Here, ten years ago you couldn't give L series engines away but now they are very hard to find. I wish I had kept all of the engines I used to have stored! Now I only have three L series left, an L14, L16 and an L18E. The L18E came out of an imported Japanese market car... we never got L18E or L20B here in the UK.

    It might also be worth you looking for Z18 and Z20 engines. I once built myself an L20B using a Z20 block and L18 head.


  2. L20Bs as I know them sports 8 counterweights cranks which popularly replaces the Z20s' cranks. Another engine which are still plentiful in supply today is the LD20 diesel having a similar crank to the L20Bs. I plan to build a hybrid KA20DE with an LD20 crank to come up with a 16-valve DOHC 2-litre with the desired crank type one day soon.

  3. Hmmm...apparently Japanese versions of the KA20DE comes stock with truly fully counterweighted cranks(as in 8 pear shapes) with 6 bolts flywheels according to online parts diagrams. Yum! I will investigate further...

  4. Hello, I was wondering if there was any way to buy those L13 valve covers? I had never seen that variety before!