Best spark plugs for a Datsun 280z

What ARE the best spark plugs for the Datsun 280z?

ClassicZCars forum, Haynes service manual, and many others swear by only one: NGK’s copper core spark plug.

During this smog-crisis I’m having, I did a switch up to help pass smog (more on that later), and after a bit of research,  sometimes the plain, simple and cheap solutions work best. This is certainly the case.

The best spark plugs I’ve experienced for a 280z are the NGK BR5ES or BR5ES-11.

Daily-Datsun-Sparkplugs (3)

But why? Why not platinum? iridium? hell, if kryptonian-nuclear-nitrous-laced-ium was real and can wallup Superman, I’d think it would have been the best for that straight L6 engine, right? Nope. Save the precious metals for wedding rings. Platinum et al. may fire hotter, but you’ll notice right away that the contact point is much much smaller. Our 70’s era engines aren’t perfect, so there’s certainly going to be carbon build up over time – so less surface area, easier for carbon to build up and over.


B – Thread Size / Hex Size: 14 mm / 13/16″ (20.8 mm)
R – Resistor
Heat Rating Numbers : 5
ES – Firing End Construction: Standard 3/4″ Thread Reach (2.5 mm) Center Electrode
11 – Spark GAP: 1.1 mm (.044″)

The Nissan / Datsun factory service manual says the spark gap should be between .039″ – .043″ (.028″ – .031″ for Canada). So though they’re somewhat pre-gapped at the factory, you should still buy a gap gauge to measure and adjust, checking for variability.



Here’s what the plugs looked taking them out after 2 years…

 Daily-Datsun-Sparkplugs (1)

Ooo not good. So I replaced each one, and let her rip.

Woohoo! More power, instantly. From the moment I pressed the throttle (and i’m usually kind of a turtle), I notice the difference right away!

I’ll definitely be monitoring the spark plugs more closely, and be adding it to a biennial or yearly maintenance routine since they’re cheap enough. $2.49 each.

Now on to that cat…

About justinyee

engineer, musician, designer, artist, dreamer, positive attitude w/ best intentions, critic and friend. i believe in truth, justice, beauty, and above all: love. View all posts by justinyee

2 responses to “Best spark plugs for a Datsun 280z

  • Bryan Delohery

    Hey Justin it’s Bryan, just a recommendation that helped me, I was told by a former nissan/datsun tech to switch to ngk BP5ES-11, he advised I get the projected tip, which is the P, and the non resistor plugs because the plug wires are already resistor

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

a 280z restoration one morning at a time


a 280z restoration one morning at a time

Dirty S30

a 280z restoration one morning at a time


Looking through the lens with rods and cones.


life on wheels

A Lot On Your Plate

A budget friendly blog (now an official website) that gives creative & practical tips, recipes, and more, to help inspire, organize, & simplify your life!


Just another site

%d bloggers like this: