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Change head gasket 1974 Datsun 620 pickup

I just bought a '74 Datsun pickup (mini-motorhome) that is showing a little oil in the antifreeze and suspect the head gasket may be leaking. How do I go about changing this? Are there any problems I can encounter? What do I have to watch for? The engine is also using a bit of oil, but by the look of it, most of that might be leaking from the dipstick pipe. Maybe the breather is plugged? I am also wondering what is the normal compression for this engine. I want to check and see if all the cylinders are the same, but am not sure what number I should be expecting. Any ideas?
Thankyou
Doug

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  • Fred Kenmuir May 11, 2010

    let me know what size of engine you have and I'll go out to my shop and take a look to see what your compression should be for you, I am quite sur that I will have a shop manuel on your engine, as I love the older engines.

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As far as compresion goes it is more important that all cylanders are close to each other than what the actual psi is they should be within about 5 psi of each other. When changing the head gasket on the 620 you need to make sure that you wedge the timing chain so that the chain tensioner does not pop out. If it does you need to remove the water pump and front engine cover to replace it. A 6 inch long piece of wood tapered from about 1 inch to about 1 3/4 inch should work. Other than that it's a very easy and straightforward job. I would recomend that you take the head to a machine shop and have it checked for warp, if the engine has been severly overheated it can cause the aluminum head to warp. I know this from personal experience. If there is some warpage just have the machine shop machine it back to flat so that the new head gasket dosen't leak. If you are getting oil comming OUT of the dipstick tube replace the PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) valveThe 620 is a great little truck and the L16 L18 and L20 engines were all very easy to work on and well designed. The downfall of almost all Datsuns was body rust.

Posted on Mar 28, 2009

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