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Figbuck

L16 to L20 swap

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I'm finally losing the rings in my #3 cylinder.  Original L16 got a new head recently and new Webber... not happy with real compression... hahaha.

 

I'm looking for some way to end up with an L20. 

 

I found a guy who has an '82 720 that runs and drives, 110K miles. But it is an automatic. Should I grab it for $1000, take the engine and look for a 5 speed transmission? Should I pass on this and find an engine and trans together...

 

I have spotted a couple of 620s that were project trucks that are sitting and don't run... less money, potential spares for my truck and part them out when I'm done. Right now it's a hassle to think about towing a roller.

 

 

 

Any suggestions or ideas

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The '82 720 will be a Z22 or may have a transplanted Z24 but either way a Z series engine. Clean smooth reliable but not barn burners. Faster and more powerful than an L16 but you will need a Z series transmission. There were 26" long 5 speeds for a Z series, if you can find one. It will match your 26" 4 speed so the drive shaft doesn't need to be shortened.

 

Easiest fit is a complete L20B with flywheel and clutch and put your engine brackets and oil pan on it. As close to 'drop in' as there is and fits your 4 speed.. Your exhaust manifold will also fit. Depending on the L20B year you may have to use your intake.

 

Good so 'see' you Cleary.

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You could buy that 720 as long as it has the Z22, take everything off the Z22 block and put all your L16 stuff on it except for the timing chain cover, you will need an L20b front timing chain cover, you would end up with a L22b

You will need to drill 7 holes in the Z22 block for head cooling passages, but if your head is a 210 head I would not waste my time, that head has too small of valves and intake ports, too much work to make it flow/breath decently.

What head casting do you have?

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All L16 had 'number heads'. The 210 head is rumored to have been designed for the L14 originally. On a 2.2 is has to move over 37% more air. 

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You can use the Z22 block without drilling any extra cooling holes, just make sure the head gasket has the rearmost cooling passage punched out. Some gaskets had the hole, some did not.

 

The Z series front cover can be modified by welding two bumps where the L head 6mm bolts are, and then drill and tap them to fit the L head. You don't need a machine shop to do this. Anyone with a TIG welder and a belt sander can do this.

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Good, that's what I needed to hear... 

 

I may just buy the 720 truck to chase parts and stuff while while the 620 is apart.

 

I might have to tow one of these later non-op 620s that I've seen on craigslist, out to the farm where I'm going to work on it.

 

I can be patient and find a good L20, but my L16 is getting really tired.

 

 

 

 

 

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I bought a '77 King Cab with a 5 speed. It's a nice truck and should/could be a good daily driver or restored. The guys I got it from took the seat and lost interest. The guy they got it from... looks like the middle of doing a Weber conversion... three nice stock carbs,  older intake manifold, an empty Weber box and the package with the Weber throttle linkage. A little rust, but great floor pans, good bed, great intact doors. The seller guys said most people who responded to the ad, just wanted parts. Good hood, tailgate, bed, grill, fenders valances... it's all there pretty much.

 

Maybe not such a great deal money wise for me... but I can't wait around. A guy listed a running L20 for $300. He was doing a KA swap. I told him I wanted this engine... It still wasn't out of the truck. I could bring him cash after the weekend on Monday. It got sold out from under me. 

 

I did a compression test on this L20, the reading were wildly different. Put some oil in the cylinder, and got higher numbers, but way too inconsistent for a serviceable engine. It doesn't look like a very high milage engine. It must have been running ok for the guy to want to put a new carb on it.

 

If I am going to all the trouble to put another engine in my truck, I want it to be a fresh engine. I'm looking for a machine shop around Beaverton/Hillsboro area to do the block for me. I will take the head to Aluminum Head Rebuilders in SE Portland. They did the A87 head I'm running right now 2 years ago. Great service, good work, fair prices. They gave me a lead on a machine shop near to where the King Cab is parked now.

 

Not sure if I'm going to try and part the rest of truck... or just have it towed to the Pick n Pull in Sherwood. The King Cab needs to be gone soon.The seller guys said a bunch of people called up wanting parts off the truck... most calls on the factory 620 tach and the clean dash panel. He said some guy wanted to give him $450 to remove the tach and sent it to him. hahaha

 

Who wants a factor tach? How bad? I run a little AutoMeter tach mounted up on the clamshell that I like... and a little AutoMeter oil pressure gauge in the left spot where the tach would go.  Once I harvest the hood and a few other things, it's going to the Pick n Pull. Maybe I will craigslist it for a week to see if anybody wants a project or parts truck. I need to get the truck gone pretty soon from where it is.

 

Somebody who wants a King Cab with the factory front disc brakes project truck... this would be it. It looks rough but it's not a bad as my truck ten years ago , before I banged all the dents out and painted it. 

 

Stay tuned; I need good luck. 

 

 

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If it's got front disc brakes it isn't a '77. Only '78 and up got the front disc brakes.

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I will have to look at the tag on the door pillar again. I thought that is where I saw it... or else the title.

 

It seems like Automotive machine shops are a dying breed. I talked to most of the shops in this area and they do lots of old heads but not so many blocks. They didn't seem  that interested in working with old blocks, because it's hard to get parts... or some other issues. Probably valid too. I did talk to a guy in Gresham that actually knew what an L engine was and had just done a 280Z short block for a guy.

 

I talked to my guy at Aluminum Head Rebuilders and he said machinist and full service machine shops are a dying breed. Not good news. I still have a couple of shops that are even further out of town. Maybe they are not as crazy busy and everybody else.

 

It's just now starting to sink in how hard this is going to be for me to pull this off. 

 

 

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On 8/24/2020 at 2:22 PM, Figbuck said:

I bought a '77 King Cab with a 5 speed. It's a nice truck and should/could be a good daily driver or restored. The guys I got it from took the seat and lost interest. ........... A little rust, but great floor pans, good bed, great intact doors. The seller guys said most people who responded to the ad, just wanted parts. Good hood, tailgate, bed, grill, fenders valances... it's all there pretty much.

 

Not sure if I'm going to try and part the rest of truck... or just have it towed to the Pick n Pull in Sherwood. The King Cab needs to be gone soon...............

 ................Once I harvest the hood and a few other things, it's going to the Pick n Pull. Maybe I will craigslist it for a week to see if anybody wants a project or parts truck. I need to get the truck gone pretty soon from where it is.

 

Somebody who wants a King Cab with the factory front disc brakes project truck... this would be it. It looks rough but it's not a bad as my truck ten years ago , before I banged all the dents out and painted it.

 

I might be interested in the 620 King Cab. A lot depends on the condition, how much is left after you harvest parts, and how much you need for it. Hit me up with a P.M. and we can talk. I'm only about 70 miles south of you, depending on which part of Portland you are in.

 

Don

 

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16 hours ago, 620slodat said:

 

I might be interested in the 620 King Cab. A lot depends on the condition, how much is left after you harvest parts, and how much you need for it. Hit me up with a P.M. and we can talk. I'm only about 70 miles south of you, depending on which part of Portland you are in.

 

Don

 

 

 

That's great. The King Cab is resting comfortably in a tractor shed on my friend's Farm in Newberg. So you aren't that far away. I'm planning on taking the engine out this weekend... maybe... I hope. I'm leaving the transmission. There are a ton of pieces and parts on it I would love to keep as spares inventory... hahaha... but my Farmer friend Laurel was not that happy to see a another barn find added to her already obnoxious collection of junked vehicles. Even less happy to find out I'm doing an engine swap out there. hahaha Dude, I'm so fucked on so many levels.

 

I will make it worth the effort for you to take it. Better that a Ratsun kind of guy ended up with it.  

 

Hey! Come over and help me for an hour! I'm ready to take the engine/head out. Would love to have another hand. I'm going to rent a cherry-picker from the rental place in Newberg. You can see what shape it's in. It's a really beautiful place too... pick lugs or buckets of blackberries, apples, pears... everything is ripe it's never going to get picked except by the birds. 

 

PM sent  I can e-mail photos tomorrow 

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Figbuck said:

I will make it worth the effort for you to take it. Better that a Ratsun kind of guy ended up with it.  

 

Hey! Come over and help me for an hour! I'm ready to take the engine/head out. Would love to have another hand. I'm going to rent a cherry-picker from the rental place in Newberg. You can see what shape it's in. It's a really beautiful place too... pick lugs or buckets of blackberries, apples, pears... everything is ripe it's never going to get picked except by the birds. 

 

PM sent  I can e-mail photos tomorrow 

 

 

 

 

 

When are you planning to work on it? I may be hauling leftovers from a rummage sale that the women's group at church are having today (Thursday) and Friday. I will need to see what their plans are, but after that I may have Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday through Friday available. I'm retired so I have most any day. I do have back problems so I won't be able to do any heavy lifting, but I am very capable otherwise. By the way, I grew up in the country, did farm work during school, and currently live in the country. I LOVE fresh fruit.

 

Don

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Don, I was going to try to pull the engine tomorrow Saturday, but Sunday could work too. I have a lot of stuff to do, got to work on Laurel's tractor for a minute.

 

I could use a spare hand, just so I don't get hurt trying to use my foot as a third hand. Monday would be good too.

 

Mike; I just checked the Title it's a 1979. I looked at a couple '77s also... neither of them drove, but the engines ran! They were both trashed though.  

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6 hours ago, Figbuck said:

Don, I was going to try to pull the engine tomorrow Saturday, but Sunday could work too. I have a lot of stuff to do, got to work on Laurel's tractor for a minute.

 

I could use a spare hand, just so I don't get hurt trying to use my foot as a third hand. Monday would be good too.

 

Mike; I just checked the Title it's a 1979. I looked at a couple '77s also... neither of them drove, but the engines ran! They were both trashed though.  

 

I just now saw this post. My wife is not back from the rummage sale yet and I need to get together with her as Sunday or Monday will work for me. I just need to know when she plans to can the tomatoes I picked today,  5 gallons worth, as I should help her with them. I'm guessing Monday is when she will can them, but I will definitely get myself in trouble if I say for sure. I will let you know as soon as she gets home.

 

By the way, I will need an address/directions for where and when to meet you. I will most likely be driving a 1997 blue astro van.

 

Don

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My wife is back now. I was reminded of something I need to take care of Sunday morning, but I can be up there between 1 and 2 in the afternoon. I will send you a PM with my cell number. I won't be able to take a cell phone call until about 2 Saturday afternoon. Any calls before then may not get through as where I will be doesn't have good cell phone reception.

 

Don

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I'm home now and I need to know where the farm is, an address and maybe directions if it can't easily be found with google. I guess that Monday will work for helping pull the motor since I need to know where the farm is. PM me with an address and directions if you are trying to keep from broadcasting them over the internet. Since I don't where to meet you I need to help my wife with canning and consider Monday as the day I will help you.

 

Don

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Yesterday Don came out to help me pull the engine. Good thing too, I never would have done it without experienced help. What a good guy! There were some problems. I bought a Harbor Freight engine stand. The "Ears" that bolt to the rotisserie plate and fasten to the block, didn't quiet fit so we had to punch a 1/2' hole through 5/8" of steel. We both got a little chewed up on that. 

 

We were in my farmer friend Laurel's tractor shed, with the most fucked rocks and dirt to work on. Drop a washer, lucky to find it with a magnet. There were some other small things that were a bitch, but we had enough tools and stuff laying around to get done in a reasonable amount of time. I think we returned the engine hoist to the rental place in under 4 hours. Somehow I was using a 14mm combination wrench, set it aside, never found it again. I was going nuts looking for it.

 

I looked this morning again. Can't believe it's not there. I went down to McMinnville to talk to the machine shop in the NAPA Auto Parts store. It was like stepping back in time a few decades. No problem… the guy at the counter told me everything I needed to know. Told me what to bring them, then in a week or ten days it will be done. An assembled short block would be $1,900. I guess I’m building the engine myself. The machine work is still going to be five or six hundred bucks, then bearings and main seals.

 

Last week I called and or visited all the machine shops in SW Portland, Hillsboro, because that's mostly where I am, and I'm going to do the final swap further south out in Newberg. There are only a couple machine shop left around Portland, and they are expensive and busy. Only one guy I talked to way out in Gresham, had done a L28 block for a Datsun 280Z. He said he would do the L20, but he was busy and expensive… and in Gresham.

 

My feeing is all the old machinist have retired, and they didn’t really apprentice young guys, because everything new is CNC. The old guys knowledge of how to set up machines was taken over by computer programming. The machine shops I visited all had a ton of aluminum heads all over the place. They don’t really mess with blocks. Too much easy money in the small aluminum heads that are in every little hoopty fucking car on the road anymore. Smaller higher compression engines, run hotter and all these little turbo cars warp heads. All it takes is for a sensor to go bad overheating before the driver realizes it.

 

It just happened to Laurel’s 2018 Chevy econo-zoomer. And just when it was out of warranty too. She had to fight tooth and nail to make Chevrolet help her out. I looked on YouTube and there were a dozen videos of guys who were calling bullshit on Chevy’s engineering of that very same car and sensor failure.

 

When I built the L16 back the the early ’90s, there were real machine shops and real auto parts stores all over Redwood City. There were three local Nissan dealers, and the head parts guy at Palo Alto Nissan, raced Sports Car Club of America series in Datsun 510 coupes and 240Z cars. He had all kinds of tips and tricks that only somebody who as built engines to go fast and then blown them up, would know. Like using Z Car, 6 cylinder oil pump, in the 4 cylinder engine. And using Main Bearing bolts from the Deisel engines because they torque to 65 pounds in stead of 45 foot pounds in the gasoline engines. Said he never blew up a bottom end after that.

 

No more Nissan parts. They quit dealing with older cars about five years ago. The Nissan dealer in Beaverton still had the old parts Micro-fisch tucked in the corner of the parts room. Only one old guy was still left who knew how to find your part, get the parts number, then look it up on the new parts computers to get superseded numbers. Then poof the dealership got sold, and that was that.

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Thank you for the kind words figbuck. One very important thing to keep in mind about the time spent. The peripherals (intake and exhaust manifolds, fan, radiator, etc) were already removed which saved a lot of time. This was done before I got there. Thank you for having this done already, it made a big difference in the time needed.

 

Don

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I spent a couple days taking stuff apart and cleaning. I used Plasti-gage on the connecting rod bearings and they were not very worn. The crank looked great. I should Plasti-gage the mains too... but everything wears the same... and I don't want to take it any more apart. The pistons looked really nice,  I ordered a standard ring set and connecting rod bearings. I'm going to hone the bores. They all look really nice, so do the pistons. Not a lot of gunk, some varnish buildup, but something you would expect from an 80K mi. engine. It's either that or 180K on the clock, but stuff doesn't look that worn out. 

 

The head is a W58 and looks like it was put on not that long ago from the way the gaskets were installed. I'm still going to send it out for new seals, guides and what ever machine work is needed. I'll still get and new timing gears, tensioner, guides and water pump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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