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[Datsun 1200 encyclopedia]

Engine Oil Specifications

From Datsun 1200 Club

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Category: Engine Lubrication System

Datsun 1200 can use many engine oils including these modern blends:

*  5W-40
* 10W-30
* 10W-40


Oil Change Specs

  1972 USA owner's manual (Page 32):

  th_00_cover.jpg th_32.jpg
Every Three Months
1972 Recommendation
every 3 months
 * Change engine oil (& filter every other time)
every 6 months
 * Replace oil filter
 * Check oil system for leaks
Oil needed: 4 quarts with oil filter change

Modern Recommendation

With today's modern oil blends, we recommend changing the oil and filter every 6 months/6000 miles for regular oil. Regular oil (non-synthetic) is a fine lubricant but as it breaks down sooner, regular changes are a must!

Synthetic oil does not break down as fast, so if using a synthetic oil the changes can be less frequent. For example, Mobil 1 Extended Performance is guaranteed for 15,000 miles/12 months.

Engine Oil Viscosity

Choose the engine oil by the climate in your area. The 10Ws are good down to freezing, per the owner's manual chart, while 5Ws are good for colder climates.

The lower weights (5W especially) will use less HP when the engine is cold, however they cannot be used for high speed driving. Instead, a 5W-40 blend can be used, gaining HP and fuel economy both. And its 40 rating means no problems at high temperatures.

Temp Range: -10F to 120F
Recommended by Nissan, depending on temperature
* 5W-20 (for cold areas)
* 20W-40
* 10W-40
* 10W-30

Nissan also specified some single weights, but those have a limited temperature range.


ZDDP Additives

ZDDP was added to oil in the 1940s as it reduces wear to the engine. But it was reduced (and even removed) starting in the 1970s because it causes trouble for catalytic converter systems. It was very good for flat-tappet engines but today's modern roller-cam engines do not need the extreme wear protection. Old flat-tappet engines like the Datsun A-series and Datsun L-series can last longer with high ZDDP content (high Zinc/high Phosphorus) motor oils.

Since the A series is a flat-tappet engine, it is highly recommended to use an oil designed for older engines that has higher levels of ZDDP in it. The risk you run is rounding your camshaft lobes or wearing through the hardened face of the lifters. Symptoms include a tapping or ticking developing on the valvetrain from your lash on one or multiple valves opening up from the increased wear on the damaged lobes. If you've been using modern oils, the switch to high zddp oils will result in a smoother and quieter engine immediately after the oil change.

ZDDP search for more information

Engine oil such as PurOl, PennGrade 1, and Valvoline VR1 have old-school levels of Zinc and Phosphorus additives (0.10 to 0.15%). However some of these racing oils are not recommended for general street use. An additive such as STP or a premium motor oil such as Mobile 1 FS (with 0.10% ZDDP) may be more appropriate. Racing oils may have up to 0.18% ZDDP but won't have formulation for long oil changes (i.e. it is designed to change the oil after every race).

Factory Datsun 1200 Specifications

Reference: 1972 USA Owner's manual original Specification:

* Multigrade: SD MIL-L-2104B
* Monograde: SD MIL-L-2104B

  1972 USA owner's manual (see pages 22-24):

  th_00_cover.jpg th_22.jpg th_23.jpg
The recommended viscosity grade of lubricants ... varies with temperature changes. The lubricants provided at the factory are intended for use at temperatures between 32 and 90F (0 and 32C).

Oil Usage

It is normal to add some oil between the oil changes. Usually a quart every 1,500 miles is OK. A quart every 500 miles indicates either a serious leak, or "oil burning" (bad rings) in the engine. To test for ring wear, perform an Engine Smoke Test. You can also do a wet/dry engine compression test using an inexpensive compression gauge.

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This page has been accessed 16,145 times. This page was last modified 11:15, 3 August 2021. Content is available under Datsun 1200 Club.