Nissan L engine

The Nissan L series of automobile engines was produced from 1967 through 1986 in both inline-four and inline-six configurations ranging from 1.3 L to 2.8 L. This was the engine of the dependable Datsun 510, iconic Datsun 240Z sports car, and debut upscale Nissan Maxima. These engines are known for their extreme reliability, durability, and parts interchangeability. It is a two-valves per cylinder SOHC non-crossflow engine, with an iron block and an aluminium head. The four-cylinder L series engines were replaced with the Z series and later the CA series, while the six-cylinder L series engines were replaced with the VG series and RB series.

Nissan L engine
1971 Nissan Skyline 2000GT engine room.jpg
ManufacturerNissan (Nissan Machinery)
ConfigurationStraight-4, Straight-6
Displacement1.3 L; 79.1 cu in (1,296 cc)
1.4 L; 87.1 cu in (1,428 cc)
1.6 L; 97.3 cu in (1,595 cc)
1.6 L; 97.5 cu in (1,598 cc)
1.8 L; 108.0 cu in (1,770 cc)
2.0 L; 119.1 cu in (1,952 cc)
2.0 L; 121.9 cu in (1,998 cc)
2.3 L; 138.0 cu in (2,262 cc)
2.4 L; 146.0 cu in (2,393 cc)
2.6 L; 156.5 cu in (2,565 cc)
2.8 L; 168.0 cu in (2,753 cc)
2.8 L; 170.4 cu in (2,792 cc)
3.1 L; 188.9 cu in (3,096 cc)
Cylinder bore78 mm (3.07 in)
83 mm (3.27 in)
84.5 mm (3.33 in)
85 mm (3.35 in)
86 mm (3.39 in)
87.8 mm (3.46 in)
89 mm (3.50 in)
Piston stroke59.9 mm (2.36 in)
66 mm (2.60 in)
67.9 mm (2.67 in)
69.7 mm (2.74 in)
73.7 mm (2.90 in)
78 mm (3.07 in)
79 mm (3.11 in)
83 mm (3.27 in)
86 mm (3.39 in)
Block materialCast iron
Head materialAluminium
ValvetrainSOHC, DOHC
Compression ratio7.4:1, 8.3:1, 8.8:1
Fuel systemCarburetor, Fuel injection
Fuel typeGasoline, Diesel
Cooling systemWater-cooled
Power output65–570 PS (48–419 kW; 64–562 hp)
Torque output123–170 N⋅m; 90–125 lbf⋅ft (12.5–17.3 kg⋅m)
SuccessorVG, RB

The legendary L16 four-cylinder design is derived from the Mercedes-Benz engine Prince Motor Company was licensed to produce copies of in four- and six-cylinder displacements. By the time Prince merged with Nissan in 1966 it had altered the design to where it no longer needed licensing. The engine still resembles a Mercedes in many ways, particularly the valvetrain.

The six-cylinder L20 rushed into production by Datsun in 1966 was designed prior to the Prince merger using the Mercedes overhead cam engine as a model.[1] Due to design and reliability problems it proved short-lived,[2] and was replaced by the L16-based L20A.[3]



The L13 was a 1,296 cc (1.3 L; 79.1 cu in) engine with a bore and stroke of 83 mm × 59.9 mm (3.27 in × 2.36 in) that appeared in 1967, but was only available in the Japanese market. It produces 77 hp (57 kW). The L13 was essentially a de-stroked L16.



The 1,428 cc (1.4 L; 87.1 cu in) L14 was destined for most of the world, but was never offered in the US.


Bore x stroke (83 mm × 66 mm (3.27 in × 2.60 in).

85PS / 6,000rpm 11.8kg · m / 3,600rpm (single carb specification)

95PS / 6,400rpm 12.4kg · m / 4,000rpm ( SU twin carburetor specification)



The L16 was a 1,595 cc (1.6 L; 97.3 cu in) Inline-four engine, fed by a 2-barrel Hitachi-SU carburettor[4], produced from 1967 through 1973 for the Datsun 510. In US trim, it produces 96 hp (72 kW; 97 PS) at 6000 rpm and maximum torque of 135 N⋅m (100 lb⋅ft) at 3600 rpm[5][6] through 1971, then 93 PS (68 kW; 92 hp). Bore and stroke were 83 mm × 73.7 mm (3.27 in × 2.90 in). The L16 replaced the Prince G-16.


When this engine was installed in a 1972 Canadian 510 sedan model with manual transmission, two sets of points were installed in the distributor and this second set of points was in circuit only in third gear to obtain a different dwell angle. A similar arrangement exists in the US-spec 510/610 cars and 521/620 pickup trucks for the years 1970-1973.


The L16S was an engine that was used in the 910 Bluebird sedan and van/wagon. This engine was equipped with an electronically controlled carburetor.



The L16T was basically the same as the L16 but had twin SU carbs, flat top pistons (same as ones used in 240Z) and a slightly different head. It produces 109 hp (81 kW).


  • Nissan Bluebird (510) - At least in European version, where it was known as Datsun 1600SSS (P(L)510), 1968-1972.
  • Datsun 160Z (B210), specific to the South African market where it was assembled.

Note the L in PL was for left hand drive models.


The L16P is the LPG version of the L16.



Cutaway of an L18 engine

The L18 was a 1,770 cc (1.8 L; 108.0 cu in) with a bore and stroke of 85 mm × 78 mm (3.35 in × 3.07 in) engine produced from 1972 through 1976. It produces 105 PS (77 kW) at 5,000 rpm in the most common trim. The L18 replaced the Prince G-18 in 1975. All variants used the same camshaft lobe lift. 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 L18S was an engine that was used in the 910 bluebird Sedan



The L18T was basically the same as the L18 but had twin SU carbs, higher compression pistons, and lower volume combustion chambers. A high lift cam, 2 mm (0.079 in) bigger inlet valves and 1 mm (0.039 in) bigger exhaust valves were also fitted. It was installed into the 610-series Bluebird 180B SSS and UK market 910-U Bluebird 1.8 GL coupé. It produces 110 PS (81 kW). Also used in the Bluebird SSS Hardtop Coupé (910) for General LHD markets.


The L18P is the LPG version of the L18 engine.



The L20B is a 1,952 cc (2.0 L; 119.1 cu in) with a bore and stroke of 85 mm × 86 mm (3.35 in × 3.39 in) engine produced from 1974 through 1985. In US spec, it produces 110 hp (82 kW) in 1974-75 form with 112 lb⋅ft (152 N⋅m) of torque as installed in the Datsun 610 and 97 hp (72 kW) in 1977-78 form with 102 lb⋅ft (138 N⋅m) of torque as installed in the 200SX.[7] The L20B engine introduced larger-diameter of 60 mm (2.4 in) main bearings while retaining a fully counterweighted crankshaft. The forged U60 crankshaft also ushered in the use of a six-bolt flywheel boss. The block introduced a taller deck height to accommodate the longer stroke and connecting rods. This specification would also be used later in the Z20 and Z22 engine series. The bigger powerplant even helped spawn an important new offering from Datsun's competition department -50 mm (2.0 in) Solex twin-choke carburetor kits- complete fuel systems that help produce nearly double the power from the ubiquitous L20B. The legendary robustness and nearly square configuration have made this engine a popular choice among tuners for turbocharging.

The engine used a carburetor but switched to fuel injection (and round instead of square exhaust ports) in some non-USA markets in 1977. Carburetors were used in all US L20B applications for both cars and trucks. There were six versions of the L20B in the US- U60, U67, U95 (used in cars) and U60, U67, B98, 04W, and 05W (used in trucks). In the US, the L20B was used in six different model families -A10, 610, 710, S10, 620, and 720 models- making it the most versatile powerplant in the company's US history. To avoid confusion with the six-cylinder L20, Nissan designated this engine the L20B.


LZ (competition)Edit

The "LZ" twin cam head was designed to give a power boost to the Datsun L series engine for competition purposes.

There are two different LZ cylinder heads. The early head is the same thickness as a normal L series head. The engine using the first head was referred to as the L14 twin cam. There was no mention of Z in the title. This L14 twin cam head engine has flat exit side exhaust ports, the early 12 bolt rocker cover and the coolant discharge on the inlet side of the head. All early twin cam engines appear to have the 14 bolt rocker cover (6 for the cover and 8 for the bolt-in plug holders). Later engines use the full flat cover with six bolts to secure it.

The LZ engine was built purely for Datsun/Nissan competition use. Engine size can vary between 1400 cc (LZ14) in the PB110 "1200", 1600 cc in the PB210, 1800 CC in the 710 2.0 litres in the PA10 Stanza, to 2.2 liter in the 910 bluebird rally cars. The naturally aspirated LZ engines used 44 or 50 mm (1.73 or 1.97 in) Solex carburettors depending on capacity. The LZ engine found its way into many categories, from "Datsun Works" rally cars, Formula Pacific, Group 4 (racing), Group 5 (racing) and Group C.

In some Japanese racing classes the LZ engine is fitted with low compression pistons and a "T05B" turbocharger. These engines are electronically fuel injected. A very successful example of the LZ turbo was in the famous Japanese "White Lightning" Silvia and "Tomica" R30 Skyline, both driven by Hoshino in the mid 1980s. The LZ turbo engine was also used in the 1986 Nissan March 85G Le Mans car.

The LZ turbo engine was tuned to produce 570 PS (419 kW; 562 hp) at 7,600 rpm and 539 N⋅m (398 lbf⋅ft) at 6,400 rpm. The original LZ20B turbo engine used in the 1983 Nissan Silvia (S12) "White Lightning" Group 5 race car, produced 500 PS (368 kW; 493 hp) at 8,000 rpm.

The LZ14 engine for the Formula Pacific race cars produces 205 PS (151 kW; 202 hp) at 10,200 rpm. For qualifying and non endurance events the LZ14 can be tweaked to produce 240 PS (177 kW; 237 hp) at 11,000 rpm. The LZ14 is naturally aspirated and has a bore and stroke of 87.8 mm × 66 mm (3.46 in × 2.60 in) 1,598 cc (1.6 L; 97.5 cu in).

The LZ engine uses a standard L series engine block to mount the DOHC cylinder head. Usually the bottom end is dry sumped using a Tsubakimoto dry sump pump. The crankshaft used is a Nismo chrome moly "8 bolt flywheel" type. Connecting rods are various length, Cosworth style, to suit the engine stroke. The rod caps have aircraft grade rod bolts and are dowelled. Pistons are thin ring forged units.

The head was available for purchase from Nissan (Nismo) and was sanctioned by the FIA. The LZ14 1,598 cc (1.6 L; 97.5 cu in) was used during the 1973 Japanese GP, taking the top three positions. In open wheeler "Formula Pacific" racing the LZ14 engine dominated competition in most events it was entered in. It received multiple top rankings in some events.


There was also a diesel version of the four-cylinder L-series, used in amongst others the Bluebird 910 and the Vanette. Strangely, it was not installed in the 720 pickup (which has the SD22/25 when diesel powered) although the gas versions most often has the L-series engine. However, in case of a conversion of a gas powered 720 to diesel, it will be much easier to use a LD20 because it fits on the original gearbox and engine mounts.) The N/A version produced 65 PS (48 kW) at 4600 rpm and 12.5 kg⋅m (123 N⋅m; 90 lb⋅ft) of torque at 2400 rpm, later 67 PS (49 kW) and 13 kg⋅m (127 N⋅m; 94 lb⋅ft) of torque. The turbo version has 79 PS (58 kW) at 4400 rpm and 17 kg⋅m (167 N⋅m; 123 lb⋅ft) of torque at 2400 rpm.

  • 1,952 cc (2.0 L) diesel engine pre-combustion chamber

65 PS (48 kW; 64 hp) at 4600 rpm and 12.5 kg⋅m (123 N⋅m; 90 lb⋅ft) of torque at 2400 rpm


  • Vanette (C120)
  • Largo (GC120)

Introduced in 1986, the LD20 II has a differently shaped combustion chamber. 67 PS (49 kW; 66 hp) at 4600 rpm and 13 kg⋅m (127 N⋅m; 94 lb⋅ft) of torque at 2400 rpm


  • Bluebird (910 and U11)
  • Vanette (C22)
  • Largo (GC22)

79 PS (58 kW; 78 hp) at 4400 rpm and 17 kg⋅m (167 N⋅m; 123 lb⋅ft) of torque at 2400 rpm (LD20T II)


  • Bluebird (U11)
  • Largo (GC120 & GC22)
  • Homy / Caravan (E23 & E24)



Nissan L20 engine

The L20 is a SOHC 12-valve engine produced from 1966. A bore and stroke of 78 mm × 69.7 mm (3.07 in × 2.74 in) meant a displacement of 1,998 cc (2.0 L; 121.9 cu in). The original L20 was plagued by problems caused by its rushed development and was short lived. The L20 was used in the Nissan Skyline 2000 GT and Nissan Cedric 130, producing 109 hp (81 kW) for the 2000 GT and 123 hp (92 kW) for the Cedric.

A new L20, designated L20A, was introduced in 1970 and was based on the design of the L16. The L20A was used in HLC210 (Nissan Laurel/Datsun 200L, 75-77), G610 Bluebird U 2000 GT and GTX, 230/330 Series Cedrics, HIJC31 (Laurel, 81-85), and Fairlady Z (1970–1983). It produces 115 PS (85 kW). There was also the fuel injected L20E, with 130 PS (96 kW).


L20ET engine in an R30 Skyline

The L20ET is a turbo engine developed from the L20E. It is a 12-valve, six-cylinder, fuel-injected engine with a single chain driven cam, turbo (non intercooled), and a non crossflow head. It produces 145 PS (107 kW; 143 hp).

It was released in the late 1970s [8] and fitted to the Skyline C210 and R30, Laurel, Leopard, Cedric, Gloria, and early Fairlady Z lines of automobiles.

This engine was the first engine out of Japan to ever receive a turbo.


The L20P is the LPG version of the L20 engine.



The L23 was a 2,262 cc (2.3 L; 138.0 cu in) engine produced in 1968. It produces 123 hp (92 kW). This engine was produced in limited numbers and was replaced by the L24 the following year. Bore and stroke were 83 mm × 69.7 mm (3.27 in × 2.74 in). The L23 was based on the design of the original L20.



Nissan L24 engine

The L24 was a 2,393 cc (2.4 L; 146.0 cu in) engine produced from 1969 through 1984. It produces 130 PS (128 bhp; 96 kW) and the version with twin side draught SU Carburettors produces 150 PS (148 bhp; 110 kW). Bore and stroke is 83 mm × 73.7 mm (3.27 in × 2.90 in).

A single carburetor version of the same engine was also standard in the Laurel sedan (240L) for various export markets, in the years 1982-1984. While the last generation Cedric to use this engine in Japan was the 230-series (1971–1975), Yue Loong of Taiwan installed it in 430-series Cedrics at least as late as 1984.[9]



Electronic fuel injection was added for the L24E, produced from 1977 through 1986. It produces 138 hp (103 kW; 140 PS) and 180 N⋅m (133 lb⋅ft) of torque.[citation needed] This engine was used in export market cars only and was never sold in Japan.



The L26 is the larger 2,565 cc (2.6 L; 156.5 cu in). Bore and stroke is 83 mm × 79 mm (3.27 in × 3.11 in). It was produced from 1973 through 1978. It produces 140–162 PS (138–160 bhp; 103–119 kW). In 1975, the L26 replaced the Prince G-20. The L26 makes around 165 bhp (167 PS; 123 kW).



The L28 is a 2,753 cc (2.8 L; 168.0 cu in) 12-valve engine. Bore and stroke is 86 mm × 79 mm (3.39 in × 3.11 in). The basic L28 is carbureted. As fitted to the 160-series Nissan Patrol, the L28 produces 120 PS (88 kW) at 4800 rpm and has a torque of 201 N⋅m (148 lb⋅ft) at 3200 rpm.[11]



Nissan L28E engine in a Datsun 280Z

The L28E is the enlarged 2,753 cc (2.8 L; 168.0 cu in) engine produced from 1975 to 1984 equipped with dish-top pistons from 1975 to 1978 and 1979 to 1983 with flat top pistons and a resulting compression ratio of 8.3:1. The E stands for electronic multiport fuel injection, provided by Bosch using the L-Jetronic system, and is one of the first Japanese produced vehicles to introduce the technology. For model year 1981 through model year 1983, the L28E received flat-top pistons and a high quench head, raising the compression ratio to 8.8:1, and thus increasing the power rating from 135 PS (99 kW; 133 hp) (1975–1980) to 145 PS (107 kW; 143 hp) (1981–1983).



The L28E was turbocharged in December 1980 to produce the L28ET for the 280ZX Turbo. The L28ET was produced through June 1983. The early versions had adjustable mechanical rockers though these were phased out after September 1982 in favor of hydraulic rockers. The L28ET produces 180 bhp (182 PS; 134 kW) at 5600 rpm and 203 lb⋅ft (275 N⋅m) of torque at 2800 rpm.[12] This engine was considered too powerful by Japan's Ministry of Transportation, who would only allow turbochargers to be installed in sub 2 litre-engined cars, and was therefore very limited in sales in its homeland.[13]

The L28ET used a single Garrett AiResearch TB03 internally wastegated turbocharger and no intercooler. Boost was limited to 6.8 psi (0.47 bar). Other modest changes were made to the turbo model, with static compression reduced to 7.4:1, and automatic transmission models were given a higher-volume oil pump. The most significant change aside from the turbocharger itself was the introduction of a new engine control system, Nissan's Electronic Concentrated Control System (ECCS).



The LD28 is the diesel-version of the L28 engine. Robust 7-main bearing block design, like all L-series six-cylinder engines. Bore and stroke are 84.5 mm × 83 mm (3.33 in × 3.27 in) respectively.[14]

  • LD28
  • 2,792 cc (2.8 L; 170.4 cu in)
  • pre-combustion chamber

91 PS (67 kW; 90 bhp) at 4,600 rpm and 17.3 kg⋅m (170 N⋅m; 125 lbf⋅ft) of torque at 2,400 rpm


LD28T (turbocharged)

There were no factory turbocharged LD28 engines available in the US market, nor has Nissan ever equipped any of its US-market cars/light trucks with a turbo-diesel engine. LD28T's may be found in Japan, Australasia/New Zealand, southern Africa and parts of Europe.

Nissan also marketed LD28Ts as bare engines for genset and stationary engine uses and may be also found in maritime version.


Nissan Laurel (Euro only)

L2.8 ~ 3.1 (modified)Edit

When fitting an L28 with an LD28 crankshaft with standard bored cylinders it increases the engine displacement from 2,753 cc (2.8 L; 168.0 cu in) to about 2900 cc. It was never actually produced by Nissan, but it is a very easy and common modification to the L28 done by many Skyline and Z car enthusiasts. The most popular modification is the 3 mm (0.12 in) overbored 89 mm (3.5 in) piston, which produces 3.1 litres (3,096 cc); some add a turbo or two, but the more common setup is the triple Solex or Weber carburetors. The only downside is that LD28 cranks are expensive - used units are scarce, but new units are available from the factory. Fully counterweighted 83 mm (3.3 in) stroke and even 85 mm (3.3 in) stroke cranks can be bought from aftermarket companies.

In Japan and other parts of the world a popular low-cost modification was a 3 mm (0.12 in)~ overbore using the 89 or 90 mm (3.50 or 3.54 in) Honda FT-500 / XL-500 motorcycle pistons along with the L14 connecting rods. Other enthusiasts use the much cheaper but heavier 89 mm (3.5 in) FJ20 or even KA24 engine pistons. All of these were cast pistons and had low endurance and would often fail prematurely, compared to custom forged pistons, when subjected to high compression and advanced ignition timing.

Rebello sells crate motors that are modified to this spec based on the L28, with displacements running from 3.0 to 3.2L. They also have a 2.7L for the L24 engine.[15]

DOHC L-Series Engines as a modificationEdit

Another, rather unusual, modification to the L series, particularly the L28, is the "RBL" modification. The RB25 head and L28 block can bolt together, however the cooling and oil passages must be made to align and the belt system must be rebuilt. While it is possible and has been done, it is much easier to install the RB than to make this modification.

OS Giken famously has made a custom head for the L-series, called the TC24-B1. The original SOHC unit is replaced with a DOHC unit that is capable of handling 9,000 rpm. These units are extremely rare, but a new version called the TC24-B1Z is offered[16], an improvement that allows the L32 to handle up to 10,000 rpm and make over 400 hp. This part is still rare and expensive, but it remains as of yet the "holy grail" of L-series modifications.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Chief engineer Mr. Iida reported that the design effort took place on a very rushed schedule, lasting only four months from start to the production of test engines in Oct. of 64. The design cycle was rushed because Nissan wanted to keep abreast of its competition from Toyota. Mr. Iida tells us this rapid design was accomplished by taking the drawings of the block, from a previously designed L Type 4 Cylinder Engine and adding two cylinders to it. Mr. Iida said that they used the Mercedes Benz OHC design, wherein 12 valves are driven by a single over head cam shaft via adjustable rocker arms. The Cam is driven by a double row, roller chain with power taken off the crankshaft.
  2. ^ It was later found that the production engines suffered from excessive oil consumption caused by problems with the design of the oil rings and the valve seals. Customers also complained about excessive noise, and poor fuel economy, brought about by the need to maintain the engine at high idle speeds. After the first year of production, several of these problems were at least mitigated in a second production run. The engine originally equipped with twin side draft type carb.'s - was then equipped with a single down-draft carb., and HP reduced from 123 to 112. Because of its rushed design and development cycle, and the resulting problems that plagued it the L20 would be short lived in the Nissan line-up.
  3. ^ According to Mr. Iida, the design improvements found in the newer and more fully developed design of the L16, were too good to pass up, so L20A OHC, in-line six was designed to take advantage of them. The new 2.0 liter, OHC, in-line six based on the design of the L16 was designated the L20A.
  4. ^ "Datsun-Nissan carburetors". Retrieved 2018-06-11.
  5. ^ "1970 Datsun 1600 SSS specifications". Retrieved 2018-06-11.
  6. ^ "1971 Datsun 510 2-door sedan". Retrieved 2018-06-11.
  7. ^ Flammang, James M. (1994). Standard Catalog of Imported Cars, 1946-1990. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, Inc. pp. 169–170. ISBN 0-87341-158-7.
  8. ^ "240 Landmarks of Japanese Automotive Technology". SOCIETY OF AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERS OF JAPAN. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
  9. ^ 1984 Yue Loong Cedric 807 (Catalog), Yue Loong Motor Company, 1984
  10. ^ "Scans of the Dutch Nissan 2400 GT catalogue". 19 September 2009.
  11. ^ Rohrbach, Hans U., ed. (1982), Internationaler Nutzfahrzeug-Katalog (Inufa) 1982 [International Commercial Vehicle Catalog] (in German), 24, Solothurn, Switzerland: Vogt-Schild AG, p. 261
  12. ^ the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide (2007-11-19). "Nissan Z History". Retrieved 2010-12-05.
  13. ^ Yamaguchi, Jack K. (1982), Lösch, Annamaria (ed.), "Japan: Shogun Strikes Back", World Cars 1982, Pelham, NY: The Automobile Club of Italy/Herald Books: 63, ISBN 0-910714-14-2
  14. ^ Lösch, Annamaria, ed. (1984). World Cars 1984. Pelham, NY: L'Editrice dell'Automobile LEA/Herald Books. p. 372. ISBN 0-910714-16-9.
  15. ^
  16. ^

External linksEdit