Nerd Vacation – The Nissan Engine Museum

Nissan Engine Museum

Nerd Vacation – The Nissan Engine Museum

by Joe Lu

I recently had the opportunity to visit Japan for a couple of weeks while on vacation; since I had my camera with me to record the trip, I decided to snap some photos to share with you guys.  Aside from the unique entertainment, great food and cultural attractions that are abundant in Japan, it is a must visit country if you're interested in digging into the history of some of our favorite auto manufacturers. On this trip, I was able to visit a few interesting spots, namely the Nissan Engine Museum as well as the Nismo Gallery, both located in the port city of Yokohama where Nissan is headquartered.


If you ever decide to visit and find yourself looking down this street while crossing Kanagawa Sangyo Road, you're on the right track, the museum is down the road on the left side (you can just barely make out the clock on the peach colored building).  Having no clue on where I was going while I was over there, this would've been a helpful tip… 

Anyhow, upon entering, visitors are greeted with a room containing numerous displays, many interactive, and many pertaining to various generations of Nissan engine technology.  Seeing that Nissan has over 80 years of experience building engines, this is the perfect way for visitors to get a hands-on look at and compare parts of cars that they may not otherwise get exposure to.  A bit of history on the actual hall, before it was a guest hall for visitors, this building was previously the headquarters for the company from its early days until the late sixties.  The building itself is obviously a huge part of Nissan’s history, so it's pretty neat that they allow the public to enter and check out the insides of such a significant building.


Here, we're looking at a display designed to allow for a comparison of a traditional steel valve used in the 90's era VH engine and a titanium one used in the VK engine.  Even using my non-calibrated manual phalanges-scale, the difference in weight is definitely noticeable when doing a side by side comparison.
Similar to the valve display, a variety of connecting rods were also laid out for weight comparison purposes. On the left are rods from an old Z engine and on the right are much lighter rods from a modern QR engine.
Above is an exploded MR20, Nissan's widely used workhorse engine that was developed in conjunction with Renault.  The plastic intake manifold in the photo has been designed to reduce the transmission of specific frequencies of engine noise during acceleration, helping to cut down on the buzziness inherent with small displacement 4 cylinder engines.

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