User Login    
 + Register
  • Main navigation


Lost Password?

Register now!
Fast Search
Slow Search
Google Ad

[Datsun 1200 encyclopedia]


From Datsun 1200 Club

Datsun 1200 encyclopedia | Recent changes | Edit this page | Page history | Switch to MediaWiki mode

Printable version | Disclaimers | Privacy policy
Categories: Engine Mechanical | Cylinder Heads


Measuring Combustion Chamber Volume

Use a piece of Plexiglas and a CC'd syringe
23395.jpgAlbum 23395 23396.jpgAlbum 23396 23397.jpgAlbum 23397 5230_4ae06a797ed65.jpgPost 286983

Here's what you need:

  • A large syringe marked in CCs (without the needle, or remove the needle).
  • a piece of plexiglas, big enough to cover one cylinder. Drill a small hole about 6mm from edge of the plexiglas
  • some grease

Syringes are available from animal feed stores or your local chemist. Get a couple of syringes one thats about 20mls and one that has 0.1 increments which is normally about 3mls. That will cost $1-$2.

7952_4c09b4f20ec7b.jpgPost 320626

Here's how to measure:

  • place the head upside down as level as possible
  • put a small ring of grease around one of the combusion chambers
  • place the plexiglas over it and press it flat
  • Fill the syringe with water, and measure how many CCs it takes to fill the chamber

This is also a good way to tell if the valves are sealing well. It should hold water for several hours with no visible leak. If the water leaks out, it's time to lap the valves!

Dished pistons (factory A15)
472.JPGAlbum 472

Note that pistons came with different dishes according to year, country, etc.

23398.jpgAlbum 23398 23399.jpgAlbum 23399

Measuring Piston Dish Volume

Measure piston dish the same way, with a CC-marked syringe.

dish.jpg dish2.jpg

Which Cylinder Head is "Best"?

The two main factors for peak horsepower:

  • combustion chamber design: closed chamber "heart-shaped" is more efficient than open chamber
  • port flow: oval is better than round for high-rpm use, and larger valves can be useful

NOTE: Don't confuse "open chamber" for a hemi-style chamber. Yes, both are 360-degree 'open', but the term "hemi" refers to valves at 45-degrees to each other (all A-type engines use valves parallel to each other). The "open" chamber is not inherently better flowing, but is used to reduce compression for lower NOx emissions.

Some say to start with the A12GX Engine head due to its closed (heart-shaped) chamber -- which causes excellent quench, thus less prone to detonation and more power. Adding bigger valves is good for high-rpm power. Others say a ported standard A12 head will flow as much as the A12GX, but this doesn't increase the compression.

GX heads are not always easy to find, though they pop up for sale every year.

"The best head of the easily available variety, IMO is the H89 head from the A15." - A14Force.

Or you could use the H72 head, and shave/mill it to increase compression.

The "A14GX" (Nissan Competition closed chamber) head is probably the best all-around head: big valves, big ports and an efficient chamber design. But you probably cannot find this Competition head ... unless you already have one.

Aftermarket piston styles vary (flat-top or dished, and aftermarket popup/domed pistons). With dished pistons, the pistons can be shaved and the block milled (up to 0.090 inch) to make high compression "flat-top pistons".

2935.jpgAlbum 2935

On the other hand, for a supercharged motor low compression is best, because you can use more boost and gain more power than is lost due to the low compression.

  • closed chamber head with a half-dished piston is probably best due to the efficient "quench" combustion

For a low-rpm 'grunt' engine, or for maximum fuel economy, you'll want:

  • Small ports
  • large valves with an A14 or A15, small stock-size valves with an A10 or A12 (anyone have another opinion?)
  • closed chamber or swirl-port head

What About a High-Compression Head?

A-series heads usually have 29cc chambers -- whether they are early closed-chambers or emission-type open chambers. The compression ratio is varied by the piston dish: flattops for 10:1, slight dish for 9:1 and deeper dish for 8.5:1. Some of the 1980s heads have 31cc chambers.

So which is better for a street engine?

  • High compression engine: pay 15% premium for high-test fuel but get better mpg
  • Low compresion engine: buy the inexpensive petrol, but get worse mpg

Chamber CCs

See main article: Cylinder_Head_Identification#Chamber_Size

Modifying a Head

See main article: Cylinder Head Modifications
Also see: Head Porting (Port and Polish) 

Retrieved from ""

This page has been accessed 9,098 times. This page was last modified 08:38, 26 February 2018. Content is available under Datsun 1200 Club.