Datsun L28 Engine Specifications

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Datsun L28 Engine Specifications
(Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

Datsun, later absorbed by Nissan Motor Company, is a Japanese manufacturer well known for its sports cars. The company's most famous products were the 240 and 280 lines, manufactured throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The L28 engine became famous for its use in the more powerful 280Z sports car. Nissan no longer uses the Datsun brand name as of 2010 but continues to produce some of the most sought-after sports cars.

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The Car

The L28 Engine, featured in a number of Datsun models, became famous for its application in the Datsun 280Z model between 1975 and 1983. The two-door, four-seat sports car a fan favourite, succeeded the less-powerful 260Z. With its long bonnet and headlights pushed to the edges of the front fascia, the car has a classic design and an aggressive profile. During a time when affordable sports cars were in short supply, the 280Z provided great performance for a reasonable price and helped Nissan gain a foothold in global markets.

Engine Basics

The L28 Engine is a 2.8-litre in-line six-cylinder unit with a single overhead camshaft. This 12-valve engine does not feature multi-valves, as Nissan had yet to adapt the technology back in the1970s. It has a bore (cylinder diameter) of 86mm and a stroke (piston travelling distance) of 79mm. The pistons are flat-top aluminium, which helps reduce rotating mass and allow the engine to rev smoothly. The unusual in-line six-cylinder configuration further helps smooth operation. Most six-cylinder engines ever produced are V-type motors, which take up less space, but in-line engines operate more smoothly.

The engine uses a Hitachi SU carburettor, which automatically meters the gas by measuring the airflow and provides superior air-to-fuel ratios along the entire rev range. It has a compression ratio of 8.5 to 1---fairly low by 2010 standards.

Output

The L28 could achieve 135 horsepower between 1975 and 1980. Between 1981 and 1983, slight upgrades increased output to 145 horsepower. The primary difference between the first- and second-generation L28 existed in the heads---the tubes that take burnt exhaust gasses from the combustion chamber into the exhaust pipe. The better they flow, the more power an engine tends to make. The second-generation L28 has square exhaust ports, which provide more cross-sectional area for the exhaust gasses to flow through.

Another minor difference between the first- and second-generation engines exists in the channel for coolant. Whereas the first-generation engine has channels between all six cylinders for the coolant to flow through, the second-generation engine has a set-up in which cylinders 1 and 2, 3 and 4, and 5 and 6 are connected. This configuration reduces the amount of distance coolant must travel per circulation and further reduces parasitic power losses.

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