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Datsun Myths

Just so you all know all of the following here was compiled by James Spalding creator of the Ugly Datsun Page. So WORD to you friend James and thanks again! - There seem to be many prejudices in the Datsun community. People are prejudice against this engine or that transmission with out really knowing why. It's time to take a second look at these prejudices and see if they are founded in reality.

Myth: Z-22E's are inferior and Z-22S's are superior.
Reality: The Z-22E is criticized for having a few "weaknesses". One weakness is the fact that the Z-22E has a thinner cylinder wall than the Z-22S. My Z-22E, which is bored +1mm, has at least 50,000 hard miles under it's belt and I have never experienced any problems that would be related to having gone into the porous inner metal during the overbore. Since there is no "swap in" piston that would allow more than +1mm over bore I see no reason to worry about being able to go larger than +1mm. The Z-22E is also criticized for having a lower compression height than the Z-22S. Although How to Modify Your Nissan/Datsun OHC Engine doesn’t list it this way, the Z-22E has longer rods to make up for the reduced compression height. The Z-22E's rods are as close to six-inch rods as any Nissan engine gets. Longer rods reduce the internal friction of the engine. So, thinner cylinder walls that may result in a lighter weight block and longer rods which results in lower internal friction, doesn't sound so bad to me.

Myth: The 200sx five speed is inferior to the 280zx five speed.
Reality: The 200sx five speed is criticized as being weaker than the 280zx five speed. It is also criticized for it's "funky" shift pattern. The fact is that I've never heard of anyone actually breaking a 200sx five speed. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, I've just never seen even a built up, dual Mikuni fed, L-20b point out any particular weakness in a 200sx five speed. I've never priced tranny parts so I will concede that they may be more expensive to rebuild or fix than a 280sx five speed. I find it hard to believe that a short tail 200sx transmission would weigh any more than a long tail 280zx five speed. The funky shift pattern is a little hard to get used to, but in an autocrosser I would find having second and third in a straight line to be an advantage. The 200sx tranny may be harder to come by but usually go for a lower price than the 280zx tranny. Finally installing a 200sx five-speed doesn't require cutting a hole in your floorboard and doesn't require having a drive shaft shortened. Let's review, not noticeably weaker, lighter weight, funky shift pattern that may be better for autocrossing, cost less, and it bolts in, it doesn't sound like a "weenie transmission" to me. (It should be noted that I have a 280zx five speed because at one time I believed the hype.)

Myth: The 510 sedan's IRS is so much better than the wagon's (or other car's) live axle.
Reality: The stock sedan's independent rear suspension does afford a smoother ride than the wagon's stock live axle. When one begins to modify the rear suspension however it quickly becomes clear that the wagon's rear suspension creates less problems in modified form. The wagon can be lowered without creating alignment problems and the springs don't have to be changed. Also, I have had problems on my lowered sedan with u-joints in the half shafts going out prematurely when I try to drive long distances with a trunk full of race tires, on the wagon that would not be a problem. With out all of the camber a lowered wagon should be less likely to understeer. A well-developed sedan IRS would probably not handle all that much better than a decent four link with the wagon's live axle and would probably cost about the same. I'm not saying that the wagon is superior I'm just saying that the sedan guys who think that their 510 is the best car around just because it has some mediocre independent rear suspension ought to realize that it isn't SOOO great and that a wagon is every bit as good.

Myth: The NAPS-Z is a worthless engine.
Reality: The NAPS-Z engines are typically shunned as a performance option for a 510. People seem to dog on them but no one can really cite good reasons for their prejudice. People always say that they are inferior because it is not possible to install larger valves in the cylinder head. The stock valves are not any smaller than those off a decent L-series head. The compression ratio is lower on the stock Z-series but there may be solutions for that. How to Modify your Nissan/Datsun OHC Engine says that the stock ports aren't that good for performance but that they DO respond well to the little porting that you can do. The stock L-16 is "rated" at 96hp and 100ft-lb of torque. In reality it is actually more like 65 hp and 70ft-lb of torque. In the days of brand new 510's manufacturers would balance and blueprint an engine, they would Dyno test it in the perfect environment with the perfect level of humidity, with the perfect ambient temperature, with the perfect temperature in the intake charge, with the perfect temperature coolant, with no accessories, with an open exhaust, with no air cleaner, with the carb jetted just so, and so on. Then they would add 10% just for good measure and that would be their advertised horsepower figure. In the seventies the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) came up with a standardized procedure for coming up with an advertised hp rating. When Nissan says that the 1982 200sx had 102hp and 129ft-lb of torque your pretty much guaranteed to that have within a few hp of that on your production car. I'll take my horses real any day. A desmogged version of the 200sx fuel injection would be a lot easier to set up then trying to luck into finding a foreign imported fuel injection manifold and scrounging parts from this model and that. You might even pick-up a few horsepower in the process. Use the head from a Z-20 (for possibly smaller combustion chambers) on a Z-22 or Z-24 to bump the compression up and you might end up with a cheap little power house that starts every day and has all it's parts just like Nissan intended. Properly modified you can achieve at least forty more horsepower and least fifty more ft-lb of torque.

Starts every day. Sounds like a reasonable engine choice to me.

Myth: Pininfarina designed the 510's body.
Reality: Many magazines of the day referred to the 510's styling as "Pininfarina inspired". In the day Pininfarina was responsible for designing some of the most beautiful cars on the road. They set the trends that the rest of the world followed. In a nearly coherent interview in 510 Again, Mr. K. gave credit for the 510's styling to Mr. T. Hara. I could believe that Pininfarina did design the 510 I've just never seen a reliable source actually give credit to Pininfarina.



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