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According to the always true Wikipedia " 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. It produces 96 hp (97 PS; 72 kW) at 6000 rpm and maximum torque of 135 N⋅m (100 lb⋅ft) at 3600 rpm[5][6] through 1971, then 92 hp (93 PS; 69 kW). Bore and stroke were 83 mm × 73.7 mm (3.27 in × 2.90 in) "

As Datzenmike has explained, those HP numbers are not real-world accurate. But take for example this L16 currently for sale:


According to the ad: 78 k l16 with all new seals and oil pump and Weber 32/36. 4 speed shifts good.new clutch

Are there simple modifications, such as electronic ignition and/or a solid state distributor that would increase the power and torque of this motor without requiring a dramatic increase in fuel consumption? The weight of my LJ was mentioned earlier, but remember the LJ has the aerodynamics of a brick. Stock 1988 Suzuki Samurai's claimed 60 horsepower@ 6500 rpm, 76 ft lbs of torque (rpm not listed) , weighed just over 2000lbs. A girl I knew once had one, I drove it often. It was fun, but a gutless pig on the highway and not much better in town. Without major modifications that require time and money and provide performance at the cost of reliability and mpg, would the L16  pictured be a good engine for my project? Also, it comes with a 4 speed, would that be a W63? The L16 with 4 speed transmission is offered at $550 and it would cost at least $100 to get it to me.


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The L16 (all L series) used a 2bbl Hitachi down draft carburetor not an SU. On a really good day it makes just over 70 hp.


The 510 was 2,100- 2,200 pounds and had an L16. It was pretty quick and good on gas. An L20B would add about 20 more hp but the mileage would not be as good. As displacement goes up mileage goes down.


An electronic ignition won't do anything for mileage or performance but it will reduce emissions, maintenance and be more reliable.




This is a 521 truck engine.


3 hours ago, frankendat said:

I estimate my LJ will be 2000 or a bit more fully outfitted. Yes, I began this investigation by considering an L16,  but for lower rpm torque the L18 seemed better. The L18 and and L20B are so similar in size and my familiarity with the L20B prompted this exploration. Also, in the used market, all three engines are offered at similar prices. Finally,  stock LJ's are very slow and underpowered, most swap in Samurai engines. I believe datsuns are better in terms of reliability and simplicity as opposed to Samurai''s. Do you think my reasoning is flawed?


Actually the L16/L18 are identical in outward dimensions and you would have to look at the stamp of the engine size to tell them apart. The L20B is 3/4" taller and has several things that tell it apart from the L16/18.


The stock LJ20 engine is what 650cc? Anything larger would be better for it.


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I can merge engine and transmission into one if you like. Then everyone is on the same page.

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Datzenmike thank you for continuing the conversation. Actually, it was some of your posts along with information from other Datsun sites that sold me on the L20B (It wasn't a hard sell) With engine swaps for a 510 or Rodster, the consensus is that since it costs the same amount of money to build a L16 and an L20B, it is better to build the L20B. My craigslist and facebook and pick and pull experiences confirm this theory as I have found many L20B's for around $500  just not close by. The picture of the Z24 engine bay with pwr steering and pwr brakes (Other thread) is actually for a 4X4 720 for sale in Portland for $700. If it were closer I could buy it and swap the entire drivetrain and electrical. I think the best option would be to find a reasonably priced 1980 4x4 with an L20B (maybe pwr  steering and/or pwr brakes) and swap all the internals, but hell if I have been able to find one. What do you think?

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