Jump to content

My 1st Engine Build Ever ( L26 Refresh Log )

Recommended Posts

Hey Guys my names Joel. I've been on the forum for a few months, browsing and reading a lot. Skimming topics. I've barely scratched the surface on what I wish to learn and things I need to learn, but all in all, tons of good info. around here. Cool stuff in the archive I can't wait to apply to my Datsun as things progress. Clearly I'm a bit reserved posting my personal things but I do document nearly everything. One day I might make an interesting thread; one day. For now I just wanted to share with you all a little bit and maybe inspire someone as I've been inspired. This will be a log covering my first engine rebuild ever. You see, I decided when I bought my Datsun to avoid as many setbacks as possible due to outsourcing, that I'd try to do as much as I could by myself or under watch of a pro. Buying a non-running Z made my step easy and 1st priority....building a reliable heart. So from scrap to key-on here we go!!!!


Just a lil background. I bought my Z and it came with a L28 ( uninstalled ). Engine on a stand, with some quick pre-lim inspections I realized the motor was seized. "No Biggy" I thought to myself, because before I even bought the car I knew a 3.1L build was in the future and that would be the core. I set out on CL to find a replacement but the running engines were scarce and all seemed to be in norcal. The rest just had a sketchy w/ parts or rebuild w/ no receipts caption. I'll pass on those. Anyway, I ended up finding a local L26 w/ some extras for $140 I later when on to sell some spare parts for it netting me a positive $20. It was advertised as running, which I didn't believe that for a sec. but I figured at that price it was worth a gamble to me. Either way I needed an engine and I was prepared to rebuild an engine regardless of who I bought it from. 





Ready to get this thing underway and see where I stood, I hauled my newly found L26 down to our shop where my buddies and I wrench on Hondas to start my inspection. Off loaded and ready for teardown.


14189175775_5e12bd2c8c_b.jpg 14189178285_bfede2238b_b.jpg 14002506638_eb35fb7a81_b.jpg




I've read a lot of people suggesting to begin with this book so I ordered one up.



Edited by Nite_Grind
Link to post
Share on other sites

Back to business, Just snapping some photos of components and condition of the longblock was in when I bought it. Due to time being of the essence, at least that is what I once though, I began to tear it down so I could inspect it asap and plan the next course of action.


1stly ripped off these flat tops

14002486079_4d6e69a15a_b.jpg 14002542067_e21b1d17ba_b.jpg14185877331_be537fc11c_b.jpg




next the N36 Manifolds, which I later sold 



with those items out of the way, next was the exh. manifold. Remember I mentioned earlier the honda guy thing, it did not hot me conceptually until teardown that the exh. and intake were on the same side. #mindblown LOL



smog equipment? BWHAHAHA I scorn thee

14188983274_3fc6217635_b.jpg 14189038245_8dcaf6f426_b.jpg


More misc. goods I'm not sure I will reuse, also removed. They will be handy templates if I do not reuse them.

14165853796_bf9b5af0ee_b.jpg 14165862506_cd504b6e79_b.jpg


Then it was time to take the pan off. If the bearings are/were good I'd just do a bearing slap and install the engine in my car.



somewhere along the timeline I decided to remove the VC. Amongst all the sludge of poor maintenance I heard a hollow part drop...Hmmmm?



that's what it was. A pc. of the oil spray bar




Oil pan off, I began removing rod caps to check the bearings. I only have 5 pics but all the bearings looked good; this might be an actual running engine I said to myself. So I was content on just reinstalling them and torquing them a few ft.lbs extra. All I'd need now is a HG and re-assemble. Of course the conservative way out. How could I explain anything less to the mrs.

d8_zps62fe2551.jpg d9_zpsaa14c9d6.jpg 20140516_132945_zps0f8c37dd.jpg 20140516_132945-1_zps31a7dfbe.jpg d10_zps7b953bde.jpg

Edited by Nite_Grind
Link to post
Share on other sites

Very cool. Have you checked out EmpireZ yet? Ontario meets first thursday of every month at the Denny's parking lot off of Milliken.


Thanks Spyder. I haven't yet sir. Datsun is out of commission, but as soon as it's up and running I will.  I'm hoping, I can do this all within the next month. On top of this rebuild, I still have to rebuild carbs, get a 3-2 header, clutch and flywheel, transmission mount and mount area repair, on top of rebuilding the current 4spd.

Link to post
Share on other sites

So with the bearings in good shape, I was in high hopes this would be easy, with just a gasket swap. So I pulled the head off. Quiet the carb build up.


d5_zpseb8ffee4.jpg d7_zps8a8bf35d.jpg



Front engine components removed - a lot of sludge, not bad for 30/40yrs of being on the road I guess.


IMG_1900_zps4e89da81.jpg IMG_1899_zpsb6c5db3c.jpg IMG_1895_zps53fae776.jpg IMG_1901_zps6504c559.jpg IMG_1898_zpsf4e9bc91.jpg



It was at this point, when removing carbon from the piston tops I realized, with my OCD I'd be digging a ditch. Yearning for a piece of mind would only mean one thing. REBUILD IT ALL.:cry:





Houston we have contact.  Piston to valve clearance was diminished for a moment in time. 





while I thought it out, I'd continue on to strip the block. I knew a proper rebuild would now be mandatory.


IMG_1904_zps4e28c8ea.jpg IMG_1905_zps60ed468a.jpg



paused for a brief moment to inspect cylinders before I continued disassembly. 


IMG_1961_zps10e27663.jpg br9_zps6d034a59.jpg IMG_1953_zpsb244b9f3.jpg IMG_1967_zps9a3c51f6.jpg IMG_1966_zpsb4a6d55d.jpg



bearings cast away like my dreams





fancy crank pose





replaced the mains. I Plan to send the block out to get hot tanked, and prep mentally, physically, financially for a rebuild.


IMG_1974_zps5869b0d2.jpg br1_zps393b6463.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...
The building never ends. The more I stare at this machine the more extravagant I wish to be. A quick reality check, and back to earth, I press-on with the fundamentals. While the block is out for cleaning I decided I'd be sending the flywheel to be lightened and resurfaced, some before pics. Not into researching a performance clutch kit right now. Just stay within the realm of wholesome is what I'm after.


letting my boys in on some L6 lovin - poppin freeze plugs

vc5_zps19d703c9.jpg IMG_2009_zpsdbb886b8.jpg vc15_zpsb190ea46.jpg IMG_2013_zps25a77fd2.jpg



sometimes when a man is lonely he gets a lil bit hone-y! 1st pass I ended up doing10fwd 10rev passes - now she's officially ready for the machine shop

IMG_1916_zpsbd2be63e.jpg vc14_zpsa10b126e.jpg IMG_2012_zps1bb354ec.jpg



Fly being sent out for resurface & lightening 

IMG_1907_zps7f4e03b5.jpg IMG_1908_zps806d494d.jpg


adding these to the parts to be cleaned pile; w/ the others seen above


Link to post
Share on other sites

so I had sent my block out to my friends shop to get hot tanked and cleaned, I guess he's a stickler for properly maintaing the fluids, because all my parts came back dingy. EHHHH! GRRR! Some may say that's what you get for being cheap, but I assure you I wasn't. My intensions were good; to support a friends. Should have went with my first instinct. So in the right hands, and some media blast later WALLLLLAHHH! 


L26B5_zps9dfeae95.jpg d2c39b5b-93b3-4be8-934f-74673e29c002_zps IMG_1985_zps20e09ae0.jpg



my old tattered spray bar that's now in a better place

L26B1_zps3b2334a4.jpg c44b5a49-3a1d-458a-909f-ca690496606c_zps IMG_1989_zps360ced5a.jpg



Block and crank return

block001_zps3161c9dd.jpg block002_zps809e482c.jpg block004_zps557996f1.jpg block005_zps1100c388.jpg



while waiting for the head to come back ( apparently it has a bent valve so I will order one up ) I ordered the basics. Timing Components

IMG_1923_zps1b5db360.jpg IMG_1928_zpsc3a47cc8.jpg



Gasket Kit

IMG_1931_zpsc3b1f94f.jpg a7399ef6-1d91-48c8-bf4f-6e6e60601e26_zps IMG_1933_zps4eb29429.jpg



freeze plugs. - note do not buy this kit, can be ordered cheaper at your local parts store.

engine003_zpsc6de2f44.jpg ENKEI002_zps2bcc3d9d.jpg



When I bought my timing kit these were in it..... should have checked this part # 1st. :( set back #1 2.8L Rings.... ummm could have sworn I asked them for 2.6L! Grrr These will be going back for sure.

engine007_zpsd8781f19.jpg engine001_zps09b7c6aa.jpg



Turbo Oil pump to keep oil psi up, I drive aggressive-ish so might come in handy, while I attack fwy on ramps LOL

engine004_zpsc1d2f5ba.jpg ENKEI005_zpsc199d110.jpg engine006_zpsa0063508.jpg



pistons and rods cleaned up as well

l26037_zps11c95247.jpg l26038_zps76ba8661.jpg



and of course I had to snap some pics of my pit crew ( 2of 3 ), they wouldn't have it any other way.


Link to post
Share on other sites
Some good info. I was schooled on another forum, which is great, that oil pump posted above is not high vol. I'll need to exchange that. I ordered a turbo pump, but guess what, wrong again. So I'll be ordering a KA24DE pump.


As for the build, here's some goodies all cleaned up, and ready for paint.


tolerances006_zpsa186846d.jpg block007_zps45355d09.jpg block006_zpsdef3fb7a.jpg



yes I plan to rebuild the original 4spd. It's all about the datsun experience.




arrival of the achilles heal - ebay member shorted me a few, but is sending me another full pack. ( vandervell rods, clevite main. )

internals1001_zpsa3a0ce4b.jpg internals014_zps67b9b1ae.jpg internals015_zps8facef58.jpg



cough cough round tops have made its way into the build ;)!!! Balance tube will be shaved and welded. Carbs will be rebuilt to compliment the engine.

vc8_zps586762cf.jpg vc9_zpsa70342d2.jpg



extras I received




With the block and VC prepped at work I decided to tackle some stuff at home. 4 stages Rattle can enamel.

L26B8_zpsf42fe2de.jpg IMG_1992_zps54f90634.jpg L26B11_zpsa71cee01.jpg l26b13_zpse6e521cb.jpg IMG_1998_zps10628151.jpg l26b15_zpse3b01e82.jpg IMG_2000_zpsbc775738.jpg l26b17_zps7b676352.jpg IMG_2002_zpsb7751c6d.jpg IMG_2014_zpsd9e6dcf3.jpg IMG_2003_zps583e5f55.jpg goodies004_zpsf1400092.jpg



My minions join daddy again. My lil man ( yes I know he's a cute boy LOL ), and daddy's girl.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Which engine/machine shop did you send your block parts to?


I used carquest; formally known as graves.


Totally agree, Nite_Grind.  its all about the datsun experience, just like in 1974.


Well at least as close to it as I can get in a slightly updated form. I know headers are not the purist option but it's a sensible one nonetheless. 


Great story. Keep up the work


Thanks sir, I'll do my best. I have to sort a few things out, as life would have it, so this may slow down a bit.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...