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Engine swapping a 79 210?

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An engine swap will also require a transmission, so additionally the transmission mount will need modifying and the drive shaft length altered. So an engine swap is more involved than just putting another engine in. 



I had an A14, they are about 68 hp aren't they. What shape is it in? It can be made to make 100 hp. I think cheaper than a transplant.

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There's a philosophical debate here as well - Ignorance is bliss.


What do I mean by that? When I was a kid, and we engine swapped with angle iron and plumbers tape, our enjoyment was not diminished in the least by doing a hack job. Now, the engine swaps that leave my shop cost over $50k and are massive logistical headaches.


For a first timer, the one thing I can say is - if going with a more modern swap (EFI) get a donor vehicle and try to retain as much of the donor's mechanicals as possible. It pays off in the long run. In more ways than one.


But for a 210 hatchback, a small motor is about the only thing that will fit. I think even an L series in there is a tight fit.


Building the A motor will yield a great engine, and yes, it's easy enough to get 100hp out of one, but you need to find one of the few shops left that still know anything about the A motor. I wouldn't drop it off at my local machine shop/engine rebuilder and have them do it.

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I believe if you can find an A10, that's a '79-'81.5 HL510 , these cars has L20B/Z20S engines. The cross member fits the 210 and has the engine mounts in place. You will need L series engine brackets for an L series engine though.


L series engines start at near 100 hp and go up from there with add ones and include a wealth of transmission options including the 5 speed used in the 280z/zx and the 810/Maxima six cylinder cars. You can even get a 720 truck 2.2 and 2.4 liter engine and keep the L head and swap the blocks for a 'stroker' or LZ Frankenstein engine. But first look into what you can do with the A series engines. 


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So I'm the resident A-series guy here; I've been racing a 1200 for 30 years.


You can get 90-100hp at the wheels with an A-series and still have a streetable car. 


The only difference between the A15 & A14 is the crankshaft and pistons. You can bore the A15 out to 79mm. 1mm oversize Mazda Miata 1.6 pistons have a 32mm pin height can be milled down 30mm pin height for an A15. This will give you a 1600cc motor. You could also simple order custom pistons, those are around $600 for the set.


The big power gain will be in the head. Find either a GX head or an H89 cylinder head. You can port the head yourself; you are just cleaning up the ports. I did mine using a dremel and looking at the pictures and Datsun 1200.com. Larger valves are available; either use modified L16 valves or by them from B-projects in Japan.


Get a reground cam from Delta Cams. Isky cams still sells dual valve springs (you need those)


Add side draught carbs and a header plus 2" exhaust.


All of the above will get you to 100-110 at the wheels and set you back 2-3K.


A cheaper alternative would be to find an A15 crank, 77mm pistons from Rockauto, A H89 cylinder head, Isky valve springs, Delta cam, header and Weber 32/36 carb. This will get you to around 85-90hp at the wheels. That can probably be done for $1000 to $1500.




Convert to a L20 or Z24 motor. Clearly. Up the ports on those and run a mild cam. Datsun1200.com will have most of the information you need. You may need a custom driveshaft for the conversion.


I like the A-series motor becuase it's light. The A15 in my race car is 185lbs complete with clutch. The 60 series 5 speed weighs 54 pounds.


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