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240K&Beyond

The L28R Engine

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Years ago I owned a L28R engine that was purchased from a bloke who had imported it into Australia in a 2 door R30 Skyline from South Africa. It became clear that this was no ordinary engine.

I asked Nissan’s Head Office if I could get the specifications and possibly a manual for my L28R engine. This was when it got interesting; They said they have never heard of such a beastie. I asked them to follow it up further. Two months past when they returned with an answer, well actually, it was a question: Where Did You Get This Motor From? I explained the history, to which there was a long silence at the other end.

The Engineer at Nissan Australia’s Head Office explained that this engine was in fact a racing motor and that’s what the extra R in it’s number meant. It was a limited release and should not be in the country. Yes, they were release in South Africa as there laws were more relaxed.

Apparently, the engine had the larger spec’d head, a fully balanced crank, larger bearings and flat top pistons producing 10.5:1 compression.

Just out of interest, has anyone else heard of, or experienced a L28R? I would like to know more about their origins, were they were release as Nissan Australia really didn’t want to talk about it.

Unfortunately, The engine and car have long since passed.

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Don't take this the wrong way, but it sounds to me as though there is some information and speculation that doesn't completely add up here.

Years ago I owned a L28R engine that was purchased from a bloke who had imported it into Australia in a 2 door R30 Skyline from South Africa. It became clear that this was no ordinary engine.

So do you think this "L28R" engine was actually fitted to this South African-market R30 Skyline from the Factory? Was this a Japanese-manufactured R30, or a South African-manufactured R30 model?

First R30s would be - what, 1981 or so? That's pretty late for any 'special' ( or indeed "race" ) L-gata engines to have been developed expressly for racing. The major push in competition-oriented development for the R30 model in Japan was with the FJ-series engine - not a high capacity N/A donk nearing the end of its production life like the L6. Makes it sound like a locally-manufactured confection for a particular job - but what?

The Engineer at Nissan Australia’s Head Office explained that this engine was in fact a racing motor and that’s what the extra R in it’s number meant. It was a limited release and should not be in the country. Yes, they were release in South Africa as there laws were more relaxed.

So you are saying that this engine had an extra letter 'R' stamped into its block as part of its engine number at manufacture? I've seen Nissan 'LR24' race engines that used standard production-based blocks ( no extra 'R' in the block numbers ) and I've seen Nissan pure race blocks too ( no numbers at all ) but I've never seen or heard of an 'L28R' block.

Now why would they need to stamp the letter 'R' into them? Usually that kind of thing is done expressly to satisfy homologation regulations - which would likely mean a certain quantity would have been made, fitted to cars, and sold the to the general public. It would also mean that homologation papers would exist for an R30 model with that engine type, and documentary evidence of race use ( presumably in South Africa ) would exist.......

Apparently, the engine had the larger spec’d head, a fully balanced crank, larger bearings and flat top pistons producing 10.5:1 compression.

I'm familiar with some special race-dedicated heads for the L6, but these had no type identification marks

cast into them ( I'm wondering what casting yours had? ) and they used quite radically different inlet manifolds that were not interchangeable with the standard production L-gata units - so they are easily indentifiable. Yours doesn't sound like one of these?

"Larger bearings"? Are we talking Mains and Rod bearings here? That I find surprising. How was this achieved I wonder ( and why would it have been necessary? )? Curious.

Do you remember any details of the fuel and ignition systems on this engine? Surely if it was a true "race" engine these too would be quite special?

Like I said - don't take it the wrong way, but questions are sure to be asked when this kind of story comes out of the woodwork.

Alan T.

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Thanks 240K&Beyond for your 2 very detailed answers, must have taken you a while to type up! I really appreciate this as its always exciting to learn something new about the L-gata engines!

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Alan, you never seise to amaze me with your wealth of knowledge about these old Datsuns!!! Bravo!

Tom

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Hi Alan,

The guy (Simon Gishus I think his name was/is) had two of these 2 door R30.s imported from South Africa. One, which was Red, was quite plush in it’s interior (red everything) and I think it had a L20A turbo 2.0 litre originally. But when I first saw it, he had already ripped out the original 6 and was in the process of installing a FJ20. The second car was a cream, very ordinary looking inside and out. It’s from that one my motor cam from.

Now I don’t know whether it was made in South Africa or Japan, I cannot ever remember talking about it to Simon and the Nissan engineer never mentioned it; Just that it was available in South Africa.

As for the Engine number, I have been rooting around all my paperwork as I know I have the original hand written receipt somewhere. And it should have the number on it. I never “legally” registered my 240K coupe with that engine, so I don’t have that as a lead. Unfortunately, I think I may have left the paperwork with the EFI information down in my Melbourne factory with the cars after moving to Sydney recently. But I’m still looking. . .

The block definitely had an R stamped on it with the engine number. I just cannot remember if it was in the format L28RXXX or L28XXXR. The later could suggest an aftermarket modification as you suggested, but that would not explain the Head Valves having NISSAN stamped on them, or the fact that the Nissan Engineer was able to find something out about it’s specifications.

As for other specialised markings on either the block or head, I cannot remember any of these. To tell you the truth back then I didn’t know there were different heads or blocks, just different bores and strokes. I have a box of old photos (hopefully in Sydney) I will have a look around for any further information.

If I have some pictures, this might help with the fuel injection. But I cannot remember it being any different to the ones I have just ripped out of a R30 hatch and a 280ZX. I do know that the Head had squarish ports on both inlet and outlet. And I had to grind out the Turbo exhaust manifold from a L20A to match the head. Oh, and the inlet manifold was able to be bolted onto another L28 at one stage, but I had to grind some lugs of the standard exhaust manifold for the inlet to bolt up correctly.

Finally, no offence taken, I have been looking for information on this motor for years without any results. And I have never heard of anyone else talking about them. That’s why we have these forums ;-) And if I can provide as much info as I can remember, hopefully that might be enough for someone to remember something, or provide a clue where to look.

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I was wondering when Alan would pop up with his questions. I can't seem to find anything yet on this. Bruce, do you remember if the motor was original equipment or transplanted in South Africa?

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I was wondering when Alan would pop up with his questions.

Miles,

"......pop up........"?

You make it sound as though I'm being impertinent by daring to ask questions about any of this.

I'm not calling Bruce a liar or a fool, but the story he has told - and the 'evidence' presented - is not exactly adding up is it?

Nissan did prepare 'race' engines and identify them with an 'R' mark ( sometimes painted on the engine blocks, sometimes not marked at all except on paper ) so this 'R' type L6 story could have snowballed from a basic grain of truth and become something else entirely. For example, there were 'LR24' engines being put together at Oppama and Omori in 1970 & 1971 - but none of those engines had an extra 'R' stamped into their block numbers. Nissan used the 'LR24' code internally ( just like their 'Kanri bango' system ) and it was never intended to be used or even understood by their customers. However, people hear about it and it becomes legend.

Nissan also made all sorts of special race-oriented parts and equipment that were not sold to the general public ( quite apart from their 'Sport Option' and race option parts which were ) and some of these made it into the hands of privateers via a trickle-down effect - so it is interesting when they occasionally turn up, but not altogether surprising that only limited data for them can be sourced. However, most of these parts are easily identifiable as 'special' - and with a little digging some of the truth surrounding them can be uncovered. Especially if you ask the right questions to the right people.

I've asked some ( I think pertinent ) questions about this "L28R", and made some points about homologation and 'race' use in connection with parts and cars that were sold to the general public. If this engine ( possibly in a special South African-market R30? ) was ever sold to the general public, then there will be documentary evidence to back it up. If it was a legitimately homologated 'race' item then there will be evidence out there to back that up too. I'm all ears.

But I'm doubtful about some of the specifications according to the anecdotal evidence. Why would Nissan be designing and building a normally-aspirated L28 with "bigger" bearings in the late Seventies / early Eighties period? Doesn't make any sense to me at all from either a financial or engineering-oriented viewpoint.

Alan T.

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Miles,

"......pop up........"?

You make it sound as though I'm being impertinent by daring to ask questions about any of this.

I'm not calling Bruce a liar or a fool, but the story he has told - and the 'evidence' presented - is not exactly adding up is it?

Alan T.

No, Alan, not so. It's just that you usually come online when there's a controversial or undocumented claim and you ask the questions that are hard to answer, but need to be found in order to substantiate and add to the knowledge base. Sorry if I made it seem as though you were "daring" to ask the questions.

Bruce has already said "No offense taken" and I thought so too. In my opinion, your questions are always direct, to the point, and seeking information rather than questioning the claim. If I offended you, gomen.

miles

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Hi Guys, well two years later, and I knew it would eventually happen, the proof is here !!!

Guess what I found.

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250277603714&ru=http%3A%2F%2Fsearch.ebay.com.au%3A80%2Fsearch%2Fsearch.dll%3Ffrom%3DR40%26_trksid%3Dm37%26satitle%3D250277603714%2B%2B%26category0%3D%26fvi%3D1

Or do a search on Oz Ebay for : "1984 Nissan Skyline R30 coupe"

I have had a chat chat with Danie the owner, and he imported the car from South Africa, where is says there are quite a few of these.

He cannot remember the block but it has a N42 head. And just look at the condition of the beastie. If I only had the money it would be mine right now !!!

I'm going to send Danie the link to this site, and as he is another Datsun-Head, I'm sure we shall all welcome his membership. Just ask him about his efforts with his 1600 back home.

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Hi Bruce,

Nice to see an update to this, but I still can't help thinking that there's a bit of a gap between what was originally being described, and the engine of the eBay car.

From the original post:

.......Where Did You Get This Motor From? I explained the history, to which there was a long silence at the other end.

The Engineer at Nissan Australia’s Head Office explained that this engine was in fact a racing motor and that’s what the extra R in it’s number meant. It was a limited release and should not be in the country. Yes, they were release in South Africa as there laws were more relaxed.

Apparently, the engine had the larger spec’d head, a fully balanced crank, larger bearings and flat top pistons producing 10.5:1 compression.

The engine in the South African car hardly looks like a "racing motor", though does it? As an SA-built L-series engine it may well have had different pistons and a different head spec to other contemporary L28s built elsewhere, but I honestly can't imagine it having bigger bearings. In fact, Nissan's 'Sports Option' cranks for the LY crossflow - for example - used narrower rod-bearing journals than standard, to increase crank rigidity and reduce drag.

I think there are lost of locally-made / locally-specced Nissans that most of us are not familiar with ( especially the SA-market models ), but 'legend' can tend to make things seem more exotic than reality.

I'm afraid I don't know what that letter 'H' in the engine number stands for. I shall have a look to see if it is noted in any of the L-series engine manuals or data that I have, but I suspect that it will be a locally-produced type that I don't have any data on. I'll have a look anyway.

Cheers,

Alan T.

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Maybe they called it an R series in order to sell what would have been a going out of date engine, the head mods could have been to get better fuel economy to pass more stringent emissions.

Larger main bearings do seem a bit odd though, are you 100% sure they were larger than standard units?

How much quicker than a 280zx 2.8 was the R version?

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Well all I can say is that nothing has been found to contradict what had been told to me 18 odd years ago or what I had seen with my own eyes. Maybe Danie can shed some light on the subject. He might know more of the engines origins and specifications.

The Nissan bloke definately called it a racing motor and told me that is what the R stood for. It did not look and different to a normal motor. As I think I already had said, I did know anything about it until I had the head off for larger valves. But they could not put bigger in. That's when I knew something was different about my engine.

I do remember the inlet manifold did not have that much polution kit on it. It looked the same shape as the Jap 2.4E available in Oz, but it did not have that large valve at the back, just a blanking plate. I wish I had photos of it.

Anyway time will tell. I'm just glad to find another.

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Well all I can say is that nothing has been found to contradict what had been told to me 18 odd years ago or what I had seen with my own eyes.

But Bruce, there's plenty to contradict the quote that this was a "racing engine"........ In fact, I see NO evidence whatsoever that it was ever produced and sold to the public in SA as part of any homologation effort. If it did, what cars used it, and where and when did they race?

The Nissan bloke definately called it a racing motor and told me that is what the R stood for. It did not look and different to a normal motor. As I think I already had said, I did know anything about it until I had the head off for larger valves. But they could not put bigger in. That's when I knew something was different about my engine.

The thing is, most 'race' engines - even those used in a spec series or a limited class - would be virtually free to use whatever sized valves they wanted to in a production head. There would have been little need for Nissan ( even Nissan SA ) to sell big valve-equipped cars to the general public, and the engine in the car shown is miles away from being anything that could be described as a true 'race' spec, isn't it? I'd be very pleased to be proved wrong ( maybe there was a one-make race series for the R30 Skyline in SA during the mid-Eighties? ) but maybe my idea of a true 'race' engine is quite different to that of others.....

Big valves, high compression and a free-flowing head point towards a sporty sub-model intended for road use, but I still think it is a long way from a "racing" engine - sorry!

Alan T.

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But Bruce, there's plenty to contradict the quote that this was a "racing engine"........ In fact, I see NO evidence whatsoever that it was ever produced and sold to the public in SA as part of any homologation effort. If it did, what cars used it, and where and when did they race?

From where I stand I think it's pretty obvious that when nissan SA call this a "race" motor, they're using the term quite loosely (i.e. it was the marketing departments decision). Gotta flog off an old car with an old motor? Slap in some bigger valves, higher compression and a few other goodies, make a hand full more HP, call it a race motor you're selling cars again!

I see no point in even arguing about homogolation, or what series it may have raced in, it probably never did. What far more interesting is that we do have a fairly rare and unknown variant of the L-series motor here. :)

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Bigger bearings could be referring to oversize bearings, meaning smaller diameter journals for less friction. Although that's kinda the redneck way of doing it, and oversize bearings are more prone to spinning also, I think. Still, could be possible.

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Maybe it was "R" for Rhodesia model?:cheeky::P

R for Rand? :D

I saw this particular car a few weeks ago at the Skyline Nationals (Jim would remember it) and I have to say it did sound a little lumpy and lopey, not that I thought much of it at the time.

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Yeah, marketing gimmick sounds more like it. Well, they they did make the 140Z. :)

Could well be - much like the Paul Newman R30 Skyline (here is a link to one of the original ads http://jdmnissanskyline.blogspot.com/2007/09/blog-post_6825.html). On another note it will be a sad day very soon when Paul does pass as he is not very well at all.

And as many Australian/Kiwi's will remember the Ford Falcon XC Corba Coupes which were all the remaining XC Coupe with some engine work and a white paint with blue stripe and some badging, was just a marketing exercise to sell off the last of the XC bodies as the new XD falcon was already heading to the dealers showrooms. Worth a bit now for just a run out special too.

Edited by NZeder

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Hi all,

I am new to this forum. I just purchased a 1971 240z (12/70) fitted with a 2.8L Nissan engine number L28R902644X. The database at partstrain.com says my engine comes from a Nissan Skyline R30.

I am interested to find out if there are any updates on this thread. I have scoured the web for info on L28R engines, but this is the only thread I could find. More importantly, in what year/model cars was this engine originally installed by the factory?

Thanks in advance for your time.

post-23632-14150813921312_thumb.jpg

Edited by Arne

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Engine blocks with "R" and "X" stamped on the engine block # area are factory rebuilt bare engines, sold by Nissan parts department as replacement engines, rather than engines that were used in certain model/market/spec cars.

I know this for sure because I have two factory remanufacturerd engines stamped this way. Nothing special otherwise, no "racing" bullshit or anything like that. I would guess that the "R" means "Remanufactured" or Rebuilt or mayeven be Recalled (?) or something of that nature.

Eiji

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