Nissan L16T: Everything You Need To Know

From 1967 through 1986, Nissan L series vehicle engines were built in both inline-four and inline-six designs with displacements ranging from 1.3 L to 2.8 L. This was the engine that powered the Datsun 510, 240Z sports vehicle, and Nissan Maxima. 

It is a two-valve per cylinder SOHC non-crossflow engine with an iron block and an aluminum head. It is recognized for its dependability, durability, and parts interchangeability. The four-cylinder L series engines were replaced by the Z series and then by the CA series, while the six-cylinder L series engines were replaced by the VG and RB series. 

The L16 four-cylinder design was influenced by the Mercedes-Benz M180 engine, which the Prince Motor Company developed as the Prince G engine in four- and six-cylinder displacements.

But, today, we will talk about the other version of the Nissan L16, the Nissan L16T – the turbocharged version. 

What are Nissan L16T Engines? 

The Nissan / Datsun L16T is a straight-4, four-stroke gasoline engine with a 1.6 liter carbureted displacement from the Nissan L-family. The L16T engine was similar to the L16 but included two SU carburetors. 

The Nissan-Datsun L16T engine produces smooth, steady power thanks to OHC valves, a wedge-shaped combustion chamber, an aluminum cylinder head, and a completely balanced five-bearing crankshaft. The cylinder block is cast as a single piece with substantial skirting. The L16T featured an SU type carburetor to facilitate air-fuel mixing.

The L16T engine has a cylinder bore of 83.0 mm and a piston stroke of 73.7 mm, with a compression ratio of 9.5.

Engine Specifications and Design: 

  • Production Run: 2016 – Present
  • Cylinder Head Material: Aluminum
  • Cylinder Block Material: Cast-iron
  • Configuration: Inline 4
  • Bore: 83.0 mm
  • Stroke: 73.7 mm
  • Valvetrain: DOHC four valves per cylinder
  • Displacement: 1.6 L (1595 cc)
  • Compression Ratio: 9.5
  • Weight:
  • Maximum HP: 103 HP at 6,400 RPM
  • Maximum Torque: 100 lb-ft at 4,000 RPM

Cylinder Block

The cylinder block of the Nissan L16T engine is made of cast iron. The five-bearing-support system is used in the cylinder block, which has a monoblock unique casting construction. Cooling jackets surround the cylinder bores, which are machined directly in the block. The oilways in the block are configured so that the full-flow oil filter is immediately coupled to the block’s right side. Flat head pistons are used in the L16T engine with two carburetors. The cylinder bore of the Nissan L16T engine is 83 mm (3.27 in) and the piston stroke is 73.7 mm (2.90 in), with a compression ratio of 9.5:1. 

The crankshaft is forged from an unique steel. It produces smooth, steady power at high speeds when fully balanced. Oil injected via the main oil gallery and the oil holes that run parallel to the cylinder bores lubricates the main bearings.

The pistons are made of a unique aluminum alloy and feature two compression rings and one combined oil ring to limit thermal expansion. The piston pin is a hollow steel shaft with a specific shape. It is press-fit to the connecting rods and fully floating to the piston. The connecting rods are made of forged special steel.

Cylinder Head

The cylinder head is built of a lightweight and sturdy aluminum alloy with high cooling efficiency, and it has wedge-type combustion chambers. The intake valve has a specific aluminum bronze valve seat, while the exhaust valve has a heat resistant steel valve seat. All of these components are hot press-fitted. 

The camshaft is composed of unique cast iron and is housed under the rocker cover. The camshaft is supported by four aluminum alloy brackets. Camshaft bearings are lubricated via oil holes that feed to the cylinder head’s primary oil gallery. The cam mechanism directly activates a pivot type rocker arm in the valve system. The dual-type valve springs are used in the Nissan L16 engine.

The head diameter of the valves is the same as on the L16 engine, but the duration and valve lift are different. The intake valves measure 42.0 mm (1.65 in) in diameter, while the exhaust valves measure 33.0 mm (1.65 in) (1.30 in). 

The intake valve duration is 248 degrees, and the valve lift is 10.5 millimeters (0.41 inch); the exhaust valve duration is 248 degrees, and the valve lift is 10.5 millimeters (0.41 inch) (0.41 in). 

A double row roller chain powered by the crankshaft drives the camshaft. A chain tensioner, which is actuated by a spring and oil pressure, controls the tension of the chain. 

The intake manifold is built of an aluminum alloy that has been casted. The L16 engines with dual carburetors employ the one with an independent design for each carburetor.

Applications of Nissan L16T Engine: 

  • 1968 – 1972 Nissan Bluebord (510)
  • Datsun 160Z (B210)

Problems Surrounding Nissan L16T Engine:

The Nissan L16T engine production is testament of how engines should be – has a long record of history and heritage. You just need to innovate and make these engines better to cater the needs of the people who loves it. But, Nissan, knowing them, they do not settle for less and the emergence of the L16 from the 60s. 

However, even with the meticulous renders to this engine, there are still issues that it might encounter. Some of these include: 

1. Crankcase Ventilation Issues

There are reports from some owners that the crankcase ventilation tube pops out after the engine begins to idle and eventually dies out after a few minutes. Some of its manifestations include intermittent engine breakdown and engine dying out. 

It can also be caused by a bad ignition. 

2. Valve Cover Gasket Leaks

The oil is spilling from the valve cover vent hose. Because you have a Weber, it should be linked to the air filter. The block vent pipe or the hose connecting it to the PCV valve is broken or missing, and oil is leaking onto the header.


The Nissan L16T engine, despite its old age but young aspirations, is still a pretty solid engine. Most of the enthusiasts who have a deep inclination to the 60s engines as they are made for a wide range of applications. Though it is hard now to find these engines, many still look for them. 

With its solid build and nasty performance, a great engine of its own to show itself even in the 60s and 70s. It also sits with a fine balance between the torque and power production , which some of older engines struggle to achieve. Well, these engines are quite reliable too. 

The vintage and overall montage of the engine adds a striking feature making it one of the wholesome engines these days, even at its long history of production. 

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