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Just a L-16, and its two big brothers.


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So, I am working on a L-16 engine.  Got the block, crankshaft, rods, pistons, and bearings from the machine shop yesterday.  The block was bare, no paint from the machine shop cleaning it, and because of cool weather, rain, and a non heated garage, I took the parts in to the house.

The weather was unusually warm today, around 60 degrees, or 15 degrees outside of the USA.  It seemed like a good time to paint the block.


I do have a small space heater I can use in the garage, it is good for some localized heat.  I turned it on, and while the block was still in the house, I put masking tape on it, and attached a chain to two head bolt holes.  The block was then carried out to the garage, and hung on a cable winch.   The last two pictures in this post show the cable winch.


Right side of block.




Left side of block.



Back of block.



I drilled an extra hole in the base plate of my engine stand.  I then just run bolts through the spacers for the top two engine bolts, and use the arms and spacers for the two bottom bolts.  This places the engine pivot higher on the block, and it balances an over head cam engine better, instead of having the engine pivot close to the crankshaft.



One of the lower bolts in place.



Another view of the top two bolts.



This is how I trimmed the masking tape.  Tap very lightly on the sharp edges of the block features, and it cuts the tape cleanly.



I used a piece of cardboard to cover the bottom of the block.



I also put some plastic plugs in to the water drain, and oil pressure switch holes.



The front of the block.



Core plug install.  I used a light coating of Permatex #1 on the edges of the core plug, and used a deep socket to hammer the plugs in.



Then I mixed up some old Dupont Centari I had, and sprayed the block.



Left side of block, painted.  The block was still on the stand, when I painted this side, even thought it is hanging in the picture.



Then I reattached the chain to hang the block, removed the engine stand, put in the back core plug, and painted the back of the block.  Notice the heater in the background, keeping the block warm to cure paint.



This is the cable hoist I use to pick up the engine



Close picture for the chain attachment.  I am using two lifting lugs from other Datsun engines.


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The pistons ended up being a struggle to find.  NLA from Nissan, and I had my machine shop get them.  They are 1.0 MM oversized, but I had to get 6 of them, with rings.  They are made by ITM?  the pistons seem to have a shallower dish than the stock pistons have.

So if I rebuild a second L-16, I have to order a second set of six pistons, but then I have pistons for the third L-16 I rebuild.

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I was just checking this out and got curious.

Both Daniel and red your pcv tube sticks straight out... mines l16 is in a 72 521 matching numers and the pcv tube comes out the top... and even now I looked at some parts diagrams and they come straight out the side...


Is there any significance to that?

Years? models?

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L16/18 had the tube straight out through the exhaust. L20Bs are vertical, bend to the rear and go around the manifold. Look behind the dipstick handle on the block for the engine size.


You may have a later '70s imported block. Does the oil filter boss have 4 threaded bolt holes around it?  

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The L18 was used well into the '80 in Australia 720s. L16 through '78


Loose the filter and connect up to your PCV valve. Engine will last longer and oil stay cleaner longer. There is no downside to a correctly running PCV system.

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You could always try the cheater PCV method. Just plumb the vent tubes together using a tee, then plump the hose into the air cleaner. It will pull a slight vacuum when you're driving, but not much at idle. And it won't affect your carb tuning.


This pic shows my 320 with the PCV grommet in the top of the air cleaner. The hose was not hooked up at the time because I was doing some work on it.



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If you do any work on a Datsun L-16 or L-18 engine, you need to go close to the bottom of this page, and down load the Nissan L-16, L-18 service manual.



The PDF version of the manual is probably better quality than there two images from that manual that I converted to a format that I can put in photobucket.






I laid out the bearing caps, and new bearings.



I used some pipe cleaners and some solvent to do a final clean on the block oil passages, and the passages in the crankshaft.





I then set the bearings in the block.  Number one upper bearing has a tiny hole to match the extra hole in the block.

Your bearings may be slightly different than Nissan OEM bearings.  Pay attention to the bearing notes in the service manual.




I wanted to double check that the crankshaft matched the bearings, the crank was ground .010 under in the mains, and rods.  I carefully set the crank on the bearings,



set a piece of Plastigauge onm the top of the crank journal,



Bolted the cap on, torqued it, and removed it again.   thjis is what the plastigauge showed me.  I did this to all five main bearings.



The rear main cap is a little difficult to remove.  This is how I do it.  one of the few tools I got at Harbor freight.



I thread a M8-1.25 bolt in to the hole provided in the end main bearing cap, and use the adapter shown to hook under the bolt head, and gently pull the main cap up and out of the block.


I then used the paint thinner, and some Q-tips to clean the plastigauge off the crank journals, and bearings.  Time to put the crank in for real.



This is the bearing prelube I used.



After installing the main bearings, I checked the end play of the crank with a dial gauge.  It was slightly over .002.



With the end play checked, I then removed each cap bolt, cleaned it off again with lacquer thinner, and applied a thread locker, and then torqued each bolt to the specification, see the page from the service manual above.




These are the parts for the block oil baffle for two L-16 engines.   I have two engines apart, and it does not take much more time to clean small parts for two engines, than it does for one engine.



Oil Baffle cavity.



Oil baffle net installed.



Oil baffle plate and screws installed.  I used Locktite on these screws also.






One of the members on Ratsun.net made a seal installer a few years ago.  It uses the flywheel bolts to evenly push the seal into the block.



seal installed.


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  • 3 months later...

Saturday May20, 2017 I cleaned the outside of a 521/L16 oil pan.  Used an electric orbital sander on some of it.  But before I did this, I cleaned off the outside with steel wool, Dawn and water, then more scrubbing with paint thinner, and steel wool.  Earlier I had also cleaned a second oil pan.



This is how I clamped it to the bench.  this works on the sides, and the back of the oil pan.  Also did some hand sanding.



After cleaning, the pans got primed with PPG DP40 LF, and then painted with some blue Dupont Centari I had.




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There are 5 main bearings. All the same but the thrust bearing, and it goes in the middle or #3 position. Looks correct to me. Block vent is driver's side and between #3 and #4 bearings.


Main bearings only have one hole. Mount the shells with the oil hole and the groove into the block to let oil down to the crank which is cross drilled to feed the rod bearings. Top and bottom shells are interchangeable so watch out. Tops have an oil hole and a groove, bottoms are smooth and solid.  Again, looks OK.


My FSM says #2 and #4 are the same and #1 and #5 at the back are the same but that the front has an oil hole. This makes little sense as how would the rear crank journal be fed oil??? (probably some translation error) The rear of the block is drilled for oil and all my bearings look the same with a groove and an oil hole for the tops and solid bottoms except the #3 thrust bearing.

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The bearings I got were not OEM Nissan bearings, And I noticed some inconsistencies with the factory service manual.  But it is possible I made a mistake.   Can I check the bearings without having to disassemble the engine?

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  • 8 months later...

On Jan 26, while checking the Pick-n-Pull website, I noticed they had two 1980 720 pick ups.  That afternoon, after doing some running around, I went there to check the two pick ups out.  Started to remove the stuff in the way to remove the engine.  this truck had factory air conditioning, that was a PITA to remove.  I needed a 1 1/6 and a 1 1/8 wrench to disconnect one of the condenser lines.  Went home without the engine.  Saturday, I went back with the two wrenches, disconnected the condenser line, removed the pad from the engine that held the condenser, and air pump, and finished unbolting the engine.  I went back to the office, and asked about a engine hoist.  That was at 4:15 PM, and they close at 5:00 PM.  I was told, come back tomorrow.  i went there Sunday, and was told, we do not rent hoists on Sunday.  "Can you come back on Monday?"  They also gave me two free entry passes.  Monday, I went back, and got home with this.

I had it on a pallet, in here. 

I also got this.

Cylinder Head

The engines in both trucks did not have oil pans on them. I do not know why.  Maybe 4 wheel drive trucks are bashing the oil pans?
the truck I got this engine from had a speedometer cluster on the floor, it had 24339.1 miles on it.  It could have been the cluster from the second 720 in the yard.
I need a L-16 oil pan and engine mounts from a 521 to put the L-20-B engine in a 521.  The engine also was missing the carburetor.
In September, of 2014, I was in contact with a gentleman from Australia that wanted to put a L-20-B in to a 521, but he backed out of the deal after I had already harvested an oil pan, and engine mounts and packed them in a box to ship.  I opened the box,
Tuesday, I went back to the yard, to look at the second L-20-B engine.  The cam cover was off the engine, and had rust on the cam.  I tried to turn the engine, it turned a little way, then stopped.  I removed the spark plugs, and the engine turned.  It also squirted water out of number 3 and number 4.  I got the alternator, exhaust pipe, some bolts, and other small parts off that engine.
Later that day, I laid the engine I got on Monday on its side.
I cleaned the oil pan surface,
Put the oil strainer on, sorry, I missed that picture. 

I put one of these oil pans I painted last May,
on the engine.

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I like to keep some engine gaskets on hand.  i went to Dick Hanna Nissan, in Gladstone Oregon today.
Oil pan gasket, Nissan part number 11121-A3500.  The standard Nissan L-16 oil pan gasket used to be a cork gasket, but Nissan competition also had available a "special oil pan gasket" 99996-D1135.  I think the old cork gasket is NLA, and they just make the 11121-A3500 gasket, I think it is the same as the special (not in an Olympic way) gasket.
Oil pump gasket, Nissan part number 15066-21001
Oil pick up, or strainer,  Nissan part number, 15059-73400
Does anybody recognize the cork gasket in the next two pictures?  It was in a gasket kit I bought for L-series engines.

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