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Thread: Reviving an L26 - My 1st Engine Rebuild Ever.

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    Registered User Nite_Grind's Avatar
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    Default Reviving an L26 - My 1st Engine Rebuild Ever.

    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.





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

    Last edited by Nite_Grind; 09-09-2014 at 08:36 PM.
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    Registered User siteunseen's Avatar
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    My 1st car engine re-build was an L28. I bought this book, http://www.amazon.com/Rebuild-Your-N...ld+your+datsun.

    I didn't have one single problem and it fired right up, never had to call my Dad for help. He was amazed and disappointed.
    1972 240Z #918 New Sight Orange
    1977 280Z #305 Light Blue Metallic
    1972 240Z #110 Persimmons Red

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    congrats on the purchase - and on the guts to do it yourself. it will certainly be rewarding to have built it from scratch.
    +1 on siteunseen's recommendation, a great read and super clear. another companion book to consider, since you're going for more than stock:

    How to Modify Your Nissan & Datsun OHC Engine - Kindle edition by Frank Honsowetz. Professional & Technical Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

    good luck, and keep us posted!
    '78 280z - Daily driver/work in progress...

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    Quote Originally Posted by siteunseen View Post
    My 1st car engine re-build was an L28. I bought this book, How to Rebuild Your Nissan/Datsun OHC Engine: Covers L-Series Engines 4-Cylinder 1968-1978, 6-Cylinder 1970-1984: Tom Monroe: 9781931128032: Amazon.com: Books.

    I didn't have one single problem and it fired right up, never had to call my Dad for help. He was amazed and disappointed.
    HAHAHA. Well that's good news, because thats the book I ordered.

    Quote Originally Posted by rossiz View Post
    congrats on the purchase - and on the guts to do it yourself. it will certainly be rewarding to have built it from scratch.
    +1 on siteunseen's recommendation, a great read and super clear. another companion book to consider, since you're going for more than stock:

    How to Modify Your Nissan & Datsun OHC Engine - Kindle edition by Frank Honsowetz. Professional & Technical Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

    good luck, and keep us posted!
    Thank you, nothing to grand but it's going to do the trick hopefully when it's said and done. I definitely think rebuilding it myself is my core motivator for my datsun and I can't wait to get it done. Already feels good to know I'm in the right direction, because I do have that manual you both suggested.
    Last edited by Nite_Grind; 09-08-2014 at 09:05 PM.
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    Whatever you're using to host your pictures doesn't seem to work. At least on my Windows 7 / Chrome machine. Broken links.
    1976 280Z, with some minor modifications

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zed Head View Post
    Whatever you're using to host your pictures doesn't seem to work. At least on my Windows 7 / Chrome machine. Broken links.
    Sorry Zed, secret society.
    " I hopped in a Datsun for a test drive.........All I wanted to do was keep driving!"

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    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








    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


    smog equipment? BWHAHAHA I scorn thee




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




    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
    Last edited by Nite_Grind; 09-09-2014 at 08:34 PM.
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    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.








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    While you 'splainin to the missus, go ahead and try telling her why you need round mouthed carbs instead of the ones you have.
    1972 240Z #918 New Sight Orange
    1977 280Z #305 Light Blue Metallic
    1972 240Z #110 Persimmons Red

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nite_Grind View Post
    1stly ripped off these flat tops

    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
    Sounds like the spray bar had been holding on by a thread and it looks like that rearmost cam lobe may have been running somewhat dry for a while because of that. Is it OK?

    [vader]Do not underestimate the power of the flat tops.[/vader]

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    Quote Originally Posted by siteunseen View Post
    While you 'splainin to the missus, go ahead and try telling her why you need round mouthed carbs instead of the ones you have.
    yes, I'm working on my powerpoint presentation. I'll explain pros, cons, efficiency, and benefit. but patience they will come.

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Obvious View Post
    Sounds like the spray bar had been holding on by a thread and it looks like that rearmost cam lobe may have been running somewhat dry for a while because of that. Is it OK?

    [vader]Do not underestimate the power of the flat tops.[/vader]
    I've read the flats are great for top end, since I've only experienced driving round tops, I'm intent on recreating that drive that fueled this fire. As for the cam issue, I think the previous owner new something was up, but he still was forced to continue driving the car. The cam will be removed and sent out to get cleaned, inspected, and polished.
    " I hopped in a Datsun for a test drive.........All I wanted to do was keep driving!"

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    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.






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












    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.




    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.



    " I hopped in a Datsun for a test drive.........All I wanted to do was keep driving!"

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












    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.



    Last edited by Nite_Grind; 09-12-2014 at 04:57 PM.
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    Nice work on the engine. Any idea what happened to cause the valve to piston collision?

    Also, is everything else in your shop a Honda product? They let you play in their reindeer games?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Obvious View Post
    Nice work on the engine. Any idea what happened to cause the valve to piston collision?

    Also, is everything else in your shop a Honda product? They let you play in their reindeer games?
    I'm guessing a timing event. Only 1 & 6 seemed to have any sort of contact marks. I'll be having the head checked for bent valves.

    Pretty much honda/acura that's our speciality. I am co-owner of this lil mom & pop shop, it's owned by myself and 3 of my best friends, so it's approved .
    " I hopped in a Datsun for a test drive.........All I wanted to do was keep driving!"

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    Hey Joel, where abouts in so-cal are you located? I'm in Oxnard. Not too many Z's this way or they just don't see the road.

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    Keep posting your progress and pictures!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rcb280z View Post
    Hey Joel, where abouts in so-cal are you located? I'm in Oxnard. Not too many Z's this way or they just don't see the road.
    Hey RC, I live a few hours south, in fontana/pomona. There's a few Z's that have popped up and disappeared around here, can't wait to get mine on the road. This will be my daily driver.

    Quote Originally Posted by JR Ohio View Post
    Keep posting your progress and pictures!
    Will do JR thanks for checking it out.
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    Maybe we can meet up some day and talk Z's. Mine is driven almost daily.

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    Sounds good to me!
    " I hopped in a Datsun for a test drive.........All I wanted to do was keep driving!"

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    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









    sometimes when a man is lonely he gets a lil bit hone-y! 1st pass I ended up doing10fwd 10rev passes.







    Fly being sent out for resurface & lightening




    adding these to the parts to be cleaned pile; w/ the others seen above
    " I hopped in a Datsun for a test drive.........All I wanted to do was keep driving!"

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    nice progress - looking forward to seeing things when they're all cleaned up.

    i warped a head due to a clog in the water passages and wound up popping out all the freeze plugs with the head off and using a pressure washer to clean out all the sludge and rust and crud in there - i assume you're gonna hot tank the block, do whatever you can to get the coolant passages clean. the rust scale and crap that came out of mine was unfathomable in both size and qty.

    also, i'm sure you've read lots of posts about how a good chunk of the performance on these motors comes from the head work - lots of really smart folks have spent the past 30+ years sorting out the best ways to extract ponies with careful flow work, valve matching, rocker setup, cam grind, etc. since you're in it up to your knees, might be a good time to look at some machine time up there...

    oh, and there's a guy by the name of larry hassler that makes a really nice, very simple oil spray bar cut from a bar of aluminum. inexpensive, very stout (won't fall apart like the oem) and provides great coverage to keep those cam lobes happy. larry's a good guy - lots of datsun race engine experience and knowledge, check him out.
    '78 280z - Daily driver/work in progress...

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    Thanks! I will definitely be hot tanking this block, head, oil pan, valve cover on top of getting the internals cleaned, crank polished etc.

    as for the headwork, I will be cleaning casting flaws / smoothening passages. Not going for an all out powerhouse, just a revised and refreshed L26. I know it's vital but for what I'm doing it'll suffice. I want to know what it meant to own an L26 260Z, understand it's essence, hence the reason I did not go for an L28 or overbore. All the fancy headwork will come later when I build a stroker using the L28 that was included with purchase of the car.

    as for Larry, I've tracked him down months ago hahaha. I started hunting for spray bars when I realized mine was in pcs. I actually tracked him down by searching this forum, got my spray bar ordered up already.


    " I hopped in a Datsun for a test drive.........All I wanted to do was keep driving!"

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    cool - sounds like you're on the right track.
    a nice advantage of doing the engines in stages is that you'll love the L26, then after driving it for a while you'll be even more impressed with your performance build - like christmas x2
    '78 280z - Daily driver/work in progress...

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    Hey Joel, great progress man! I have to get down there soon to visit you. But before I can drive my Z I have to bend a new brake line for the right front. I was in the process of installing my steel braided lines and while trying to loosen the brake line nut I stripped it out, bummer. Oh well, guess I know what Im doing in a couple of days.

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    I just did all my lines, and the right front was the worst one. I used a copper alloy so it was very easy to bend. Once I got the old one out, I copied the first half of it by matching it to the old one (Master side), then got the line back into the vehicle, and bent the rest of it from there. It seemed to be the easiest way with the engine and all the other junk in there. I don't know if this would be possible with a steel line. Just my experinece.



    As for the build, keep the pics coming!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rossiz View Post
    cool - sounds like you're on the right track.
    a nice advantage of doing the engines in stages is that you'll love the L26, then after driving it for a while you'll be even more impressed with your performance build - like christmas x2
    HAHAHA Thanks for the heads up Ross.

    Quote Originally Posted by rcb280z View Post
    Hey Joel, great progress man! I have to get down there soon to visit you. But before I can drive my Z I have to bend a new brake line for the right front. I was in the process of installing my steel braided lines and while trying to loosen the brake line nut I stripped it out, bummer. Oh well, guess I know what Im doing in a couple of days.
    Thanks RC. Sounds good to me!! It's a bummer surely but add one new part to the car and it's one less to go ! Sorry to hear that genuinely though. Bleeding brakes can sometimes be a PITA. Especially on AUDI, those cars are PILES IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by HuD 91gt View Post
    I just did all my lines, and the right front was the worst one. I used a copper alloy so it was very easy to bend. Once I got the old one out, I copied the first half of it by matching it to the old one (Master side), then got the line back into the vehicle, and bent the rest of it from there. It seemed to be the easiest way with the engine and all the other junk in there. I don't know if this would be possible with a steel line. Just my experinece.


    As for the build, keep the pics coming!
    I'll do my best Hud. Thanks. I'll post some more later tonight hopefully.
    " I hopped in a Datsun for a test drive.........All I wanted to do was keep driving!"

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    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!








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







    Block and crank return









    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





    Gasket Kit




    " I hopped in a Datsun for a test drive.........All I wanted to do was keep driving!"

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





    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.




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







    pistons and rods cleaned up as well





    and of course I had to snap some pics of my pit crew ( 2of 3 ), they wouldn't have it any other way.
    Blue likes this.
    " I hopped in a Datsun for a test drive.........All I wanted to do was keep driving!"

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  30. #30
    AZ Z Fan duffman's Avatar
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    Saved the best pic for last! Good looking crew!!
    January 1970 240Z
    HLS3001399

  31. #31
    Boat Anchor Repairman Captain Obvious's Avatar
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    You are really good with the camera. My pics always seem to come out so utilitarian...

    Useful and descriptive, but bland.

  32. #32
    Registered User Nite_Grind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by duffman View Post
    Saved the best pic for last! Good looking crew!!
    HAHAHA Thanks Duff. I love them at this age and younger. My 12yr old....driving me up the wall w/ boy talk.

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Obvious View Post
    You are really good with the camera. My pics always seem to come out so utilitarian...

    Useful and descriptive, but bland.

    Thanks Bruce. I figured if I'm going to spend the same amount of time transferring pics from my iphone, I might as well use the same time and effort but w/ my DSLR ( rebel t3i ). If you have one, may I suggest some simple tips? pick a setting your comfortable with, ambient daylight is good - direct sunlight is not needed for things like this; and snap away. These were taken on a semi auto setting w/ flash cancel.
    " I hopped in a Datsun for a test drive.........All I wanted to do was keep driving!"

    1213 AFFILIATION -JDMKIDS | CALI LOVE | AS1 FAMILIA
    1213 AFFINITY - NITE GRIND TRANSMISSIONS | GRIPSET AUTO COTERIE |NASTIE GARAGE | CALI LOVE CLOTH.

  33. #33
    Boat Anchor Repairman Captain Obvious's Avatar
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    Only word of advice on the engine build... I'm sure you already know this (and I would consider it "common sense"), but make double dog sure that you get every last molecule of blast media out of the engine internals before you assemble.

    I'm sure you already knew that but the only reason I'm mentioning it is that it's easier said than done. All those nooks and crannies where sheets are spot welded together and stuff? Up on the blind underside of the oil pan baffles? Inside the PCV separator? That sort of thing.

    And thanks for the photo tips!

  34. #34
    Nova Scotia,Canada,Earth Blue's Avatar
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    One can dip a block in a rubber garbage can full of water and muriatic acid if in a pinch....
    There is scarcely anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse, and sell a little more cheaply.
    The person who buys on price alone is this man's lawful prey.


    John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)



    ZCars in Eastern Canada seaport ready for shipment to Europe

    http://ZSportCanada.com


  35. #35
    Registered User Nite_Grind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Obvious View Post
    Only word of advice on the engine build... I'm sure you already know this (and I would consider it "common sense"), but make double dog sure that you get every last molecule of blast media out of the engine internals before you assemble.

    I'm sure you already knew that but the only reason I'm mentioning it is that it's easier said than done. All those nooks and crannies where sheets are spot welded together and stuff? Up on the blind underside of the oil pan baffles? Inside the PCV separator? That sort of thing.

    And thanks for the photo tips!
    your welcome. Everything has been throughly cleaned. This machine shop is pretty on point. It's washed, beaded, washed again, and the air-blow the parts. I've yet to find media in anything they've done for us in the past. I do thank you for the heads up, it has happened before on a trans build I did some 9yrs ago. Keeping the impossible possible, put the respect/care back into perspective.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue View Post
    One can dip a block in a rubber garbage can full of water and muriatic acid if in a pinch....
    one can save this knowledge for L31 build. Appreciated.
    " I hopped in a Datsun for a test drive.........All I wanted to do was keep driving!"

    1213 AFFILIATION -JDMKIDS | CALI LOVE | AS1 FAMILIA
    1213 AFFINITY - NITE GRIND TRANSMISSIONS | GRIPSET AUTO COTERIE |NASTIE GARAGE | CALI LOVE CLOTH.

  36. #36
    Registered User Nite_Grind's Avatar
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    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.








    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. )







    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.





    extras I received



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






    Last edited by Nite_Grind; 10-14-2014 at 10:44 PM.
    " I hopped in a Datsun for a test drive.........All I wanted to do was keep driving!"

    1213 AFFILIATION -JDMKIDS | CALI LOVE | AS1 FAMILIA
    1213 AFFINITY - NITE GRIND TRANSMISSIONS | GRIPSET AUTO COTERIE |NASTIE GARAGE | CALI LOVE CLOTH.

  37. #37
    Registered User Nite_Grind's Avatar
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    My minions join daddy again. My lil man ( yes I know he's a cute boy ), and daddy's girl.
    " I hopped in a Datsun for a test drive.........All I wanted to do was keep driving!"

    1213 AFFILIATION -JDMKIDS | CALI LOVE | AS1 FAMILIA
    1213 AFFINITY - NITE GRIND TRANSMISSIONS | GRIPSET AUTO COTERIE |NASTIE GARAGE | CALI LOVE CLOTH.

  38. #38
    Boat Anchor Repairman Captain Obvious's Avatar
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    Very nice!

    Are you gonna rattle can the block or you got more elaborate plans for that?

  39. #39
    Registered User Nite_Grind's Avatar
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    Thanks. This is my "low-budget" rebuild, so it will be rattle canned also.
    " I hopped in a Datsun for a test drive.........All I wanted to do was keep driving!"

    1213 AFFILIATION -JDMKIDS | CALI LOVE | AS1 FAMILIA
    1213 AFFINITY - NITE GRIND TRANSMISSIONS | GRIPSET AUTO COTERIE |NASTIE GARAGE | CALI LOVE CLOTH.

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