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Stanky's Car Fixing Thread - WHAT? SORRY I CAN'T HEAR YOU? 14/7


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Thanks for the positive comments guys, I was very surprised we got it done as fast as we did - the plan was to strip it last night and re-assemble tonight but we'd got it to bits by 9.30 so decided to plough on. We finished about midnight, I'd lost track of time but was really pleased by the time it was finished off. I reckon if we had a lift we could have been done in 4 hours.


I'd not done a gearbox before, but have prior convictions for replacing a headgasket in a Volvo 340 on the road some years ago so similar levels of commitment!


As I've said a few times in various posts, there is quite a bit of space in the engine bay of the 1400cc Almera which was a huge advantage, the thought of major works to the Saab's engine bay which is pretty much entirely full makes me terrified!


Its also relatively simple, cable clutch so no bleeding/messing about and minimal electrics made the strip-down and re-assembly quite easy, though I'd have struggled without my UIL's experience and some of his air tools! It wouldn't have been impossible without them, but they do make things quicker.


I'll take it for a longer run on saturday to see how it is, but the drive home showed it went through the gears fine and was massively improved generally. These really are tough old hectors, other than rust on the rears of the sills ours is surprisingly solid and the mechanics seem unkillable.


Next on the agenda is the altogether easier jobs of swapping out a headlight for a matching adjusty one, replacing the numberplates which are original (and it shows), and changing the coolant.


While these are hardly solid gold shite in the way a Bluebird or 80s Datsun Sunny is, the number are dwindling fast and they are worthless - I'm pleased to have given the little soldier a new lease of life and would recommend them as a reliable and easy to work on workhorse to anyone who'll listen.

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Didn't the Almeira ads feature a Thaw/Waterman type combo in a Sweeny type situation?



I know it happened but I can't find any vids (not even on Nissan's own and they have lots, make of that what you will). The (1995?) ads were "The Car They Don't Want You To Drive.", featuring a sinister couple working for a rival firm who plan to buy them all up and shove them off a cliff (no wonder they didn't sell too well to start off with). I never saw any of the Sweeney or Professionals ones, maybe I had the telly remote worked out by then :P


I've seen very few of them in the flesh but I know an old boy here with one and he likes it.

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  • 6 months later...

So, an update on fixing things vehicular at Stanky_towers. Yesterday it rained. A lot. Wife_Stanky took the Saab out to see a friend of hers, on on her return she said 'You do know the fans don't work don't you?'. I didn't. The motor had been a bit squeaky for a long while, but it worked when I last used the car. However a quick run out to the car confirmed she was indeed correct and the fan didn't work on any speed setting.


Might just be a fuse I thought. It wasn't just a fuse. Bumhats.


So, today the sun shone and I thought I'd get stuck in. Ebay revealed multiple types of blower motor depending on all sort of options so i thought the best thing to do was to strip the dash down, extract the current one and get the part number so I could order a secondhand replacement.


Weaponry deployed. This was £6 at a car boot sale about 5 years ago and its probably the best £6 I have ever spent.




I set to, removing the glovebox. Its held in with 5 torx screws, 2 top, 2 bottom and one through the rear 'wall'. Glovebox removal




With the glovebox out, I could see my nemesis




Next up was removing the ducting, undertray thing and the side on the centre console




This enabled me to get at all 6 screws which hold the blower motor to the intake duct, with these removed and the tabs unclipped, I eased the blower motor and bottom half of the house it lives in out the bottom




Incidentally, it took me about 40 minutes to get to this point, and have never done it before. All the guides I read suggested that it would take at least 3 hours to get this far. I assumed I'd done something wrong.


This is how it looked with all the gubbinz removed




I got the part number, which for my car was Valeo 007018T which is the one with the manual air con, not automagic climate control. I went to ebay to see what a replacement one would cost. about £80 was the going rate. Hmmm.


I took the assembly to my shed to have a good look at it. it was stiff to rotate and very squeaky. At some point early in my ownership the passenger side footwell got very wet after driving in a very heavy rainstorm, closer inspection revealed that the deflector in the engine bay which houses the pollen filter had come away from the bulkhead, meaning the water was running down the screen and being sucked straight into the blower intake. I re-attached it and silicone sealed around the edge to stop this from re-occurring but I think this is what the damage was originally done.




The bearings were very squeaky so I removed the motor from the housing by loosening the three little torx screws in the bottom and sliding it out.




I got my grease gun and gave the bottom bearing - which was by far the most stiff and squeaky - a dose of multi-purpose grease and spun it round and moved the shaft in and out (fnarr etc) to make sure the grease was well distributed. I tend did the same with the other end which is a bit more fiddly as the fan bit gets in the way. I ended up shovelling a couple of blobs of grease in using a bit of bent wire.


Greased bearing






I noticed this too. Oh dear.




Then I slid the motor back into the housing and screwed it into place. The fan now turned a lot more easily by hand and there was no sqeaking any more. I took the assembly back to the car and plugged it all in lying in the footwell. To my great delight the motor instantly whirred into life on setting 1, so I tried it on all 5 settings and apart from trying to make a determined break for freedom on speed 5 as it wasn't secured, it all seemed good. I turned it all back off and set about re-assembling


Assembly back in place and screwed in, resistor hedgehog thing re-fitted and wires plugged in




Ducting, undertray cleaned and re-attached, centre console sideplate re-fitted






Finally, re-fitted the glovebox, and connected the glovebox light cabling so it worked. No parts left over and looking just like it did before I started, except the blower works again on all speeds and is silent.




So, a free fix, and only took me about 2 hours end-to-end, including ebaying the replacement and generally fiddling about. I've not done one of these before but in all honesty it wasn't that bad a job.


Not sure how long it will last before it gives up again as its clearly suffered some damage from water - there were noticeable marks on the inside of the housing and the undertray thing which i have cleaned so I can see if it is still happening if I have to dis-assemble again, but I think this is from when it flooded last autumn and has been fine since.


I took the cover off the pollen filter to make sure it was clear and it was fine, no leaves and muck that afflicts these cars and causes flooding - it seemed that it was just that the water wasn't being deflected properly before, but is now. This did highlight that the pollen filter was a biohazard and needs sorting out when I service it next weekend.


Thanks for reading, soz its a boring modern but thought some people might be interested.




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Fine spannering, bet garage would have quoted millions for that and recommend scrapping it. Good feeling when you fix something for nowt !

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  • 1 month later...

I'm sad to report that the 146,000 mile original starter motor has whirred its last today. A service of rememberance will be held on the 5th August and all are welcome, bring a bottle, etc etc.


I was going to do a write-up of the removal until I realised those who were interested could just refer to pictures 2 through to 5 of the gearbox post and get a pretty good idea of how it works. Battery out, air intake detached, clutch cable bracket off and then unbolt the starter. I had given it several whacks with a wheel brace and a hammer in-situ to no avail, having standed wife_Stanky a few miles away this morning so after testing the battery which showed a healthy 13v. I diagnosed the starter to be probably at fault. We bump-started it and it ran fine all the way home.


ECP wanted £110 or £74 after perma-discount but I managed to bag a poorly-listed secondhand one off ebay for £22 delivered instead. Its got a 3 month warranty so should be alright and its hardly a massive chore to fit/remove if it does turn out to be duff.


I shall probably write up the replacement shenanigans later this week when the new (to me) one arrives.

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Somehow it always seems to be Tuesdays that I'm fixing the Almera. Not sure why that is but today (having ordered it on Sunday) the replacement starter motor arrived. Got it home and took it out the box to find that the plastic housing for the ignition switch wire had broken off partially in transit and the threaded extrusion that the battery connector attaches to was a bit bent and the thread was rather chewed up. Not a great start.






I got the file and my tap and die set and cleaned up the chewed thread, then using my not-quite-biggest hammer gently tried tapping the extrusion straighter on the bench in my shed. The terminal that goes on is an eyelet and a small nut screws it into place, the bent-ness was concerning as it could have caused the nut to not be able to be done up tight enough. I managed to get it straighter, but not perfect.


Next up, out to the car. I had stripped the battery out, tucked the air intake out the way and undone the clutch cable bracket on Sunday, and removed the old starter. The battery had been lobbed on the trickle charger for a couple of days for good measure.


The engine bay looked like this




And this is the hole that the starter goes in. You can just about see the flywheel through it.




I put the starter in, and did up the two 14mm bolts that hold it in. This is all-but-impossible with the battery, clutch bracket and air intake in-situ but a doddle with them removed.


Next I tentatively connected the ignition switch wire. As I said the female part had partially snapped, but it still connected and stayed put, though the clip to secure it wouldn't work any more. This may come back to haunt me later but is reasonably easy to access.




The ignition switch connector can just about be seen under the brass pipe in the top centre of this pic. It is grey.


I also connected the eyelet for the power cable and did the nut up. My expert* percussive maintenance earlier paid off as I was able to get the nut done up tight enough to grip the eyelet into place reasonably securely. It could be better but for now would suffice. Its underneath a rubber hood next to the lower of the two splodges of blue paint. and I think is made of copper.


Next up, re-fit the clutch cable bracket and re-attach the end of the cable to the actuator arm thing. This pic is crap but it was beginning to come together now.




Into the final stages now, battery re-fitted and intake pipe back in position and bolted down. Fusebox re-attached to its bracket on the battery tray.




I then re-routed the battery negative cable as it had a bit of a kink in it where the end of the air intake went.


Then, the moment of truth! Jumped in and turned the key - it fired up instantly and settled down to a happy idle. Great success!


Hardly a major job and I knew exactly what to do as this was part of the gearbox replacement job from last December but still very satisfying that I correctly identified the issue, and fixed it myself using a £20 replacement part from ebay. The removal of the gubbinz took about 20 minutes on Sunday afternoon and re-fitting took another 20 mins this evening after work. It didn't even rain.


Hopefully enjoyable reading.






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I'm sad to report that the 146,000 mile original starter motor has whirred its last today. A service of rememberance will be held on the 5th August and all are welcome, bring a bottle, etc etc.


We'll all stand around outside the Hovercraft Museum and throw it in the Solent with some roses :D

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  • 3 months later...

So, the Saab heater blower bearings got noisy again about 8 weeks ago so I set to removing the motor and regreasing them, except this time I tried using copper grease instead of my multi-purpose hi-temp stuff as an experiment. Silence was restored but it rapidly got squeaky again so today I stripped it all down again to see what it looked like.


The copper grease had all dried out very quickly and its lubricating properties had ceased to be.


This was annoying as the previous greasing had given 6 months of quiet operation, the copper grease had been a bit under 2. So out with the multi-purpose stuff again.


Pics above for reference but it was basically the same rigmarole with lots of greasing, sliding the spindle in and out (fnarr etc) to get the grease into the bearing, running it on slow speed to get it spread well, stop, regrease, repeat. I regreased the top bearing too but don't think thats whats at fault.


so, for future reference, if doing this job use regular multi-purpose grease not copper slip because it lasts about 1/3rd as long.

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Shiters - Help wanted please!


I am procuring a new complete exhaust system for the Nissan on Saturday morning as I was able to get it for £150 supply only, the MOT is due next thursday and I would like to ask if anyone is able to assist me in removing the old one and ideally fitting the new one this weekend - probably Sunday. Tea, coffee, bacon sandwiches and crisps can be supplied. I have tools, ramps, jacks and axle stands and offroad space to undertake the work, but I've not done one of these before so would appreciate assistance from anyone who has.


Getting the old one off should* be straightforward as is all scrap so can be cut into sections and removed aggressively. The new one bolts together at the joints so should be relatively easy to assemble. The only problem I foresee is that the manifold > downpipe bolts may be completely buggered.


Can anyone help?

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Hmm, so today I procured the required bits at my local exhaust specialist. I'm now £155 lighter. Admittedly less bad than getting someone else to do it but still...


Car full of bits of car




Next, up onto ramps for a bit of a look at what was wrong, and whether manifold bolts could be pursuaded to come off




This looks to be the problem, its not the fron flexi (as I'd been told) because it doesn't have one, its the downpipe from the manifold which has come away from its flange bit and partially separated from the front section of the centre pipe before the cat. With a bit of judicious broggling I managed to get the two bits to sit correctly so that the exhaust gasses would actually go down the whole exhaust instead of pre-catalysed gasses escaping by my feet.


So, lets have a look at the joint from the manifold to the frontmost section shall we? It has three extrusions which connect into the flange bit of the front pipe and then get bolted tight with the aid of a squishy gasket.




After a bit of scrubbing with my metal bristled brush I tried getting a spanner on the bolts to see what I was up against. oddly, 2 of the bolts were 12mm while one seemed to be a bit smaller than 11mm. Cue more brushing


buggeration. Look closely at the leftmost nut in that picture and you'll see that its smaller than the others and has been welded on. The others are flared, but this seems to be a regular bolt which has been screwed on tight then run round with weld. thats the end of that then.


There is no point trying to undo the other two at this point - this will require more tools than I posess, so thoughts turn to how I can get the existing, dishevelled exhaust into the condition where passing an MOT with an advisory for excess wob might be achieved. My thoughts turned to the half used pot of gun gum that I had left over from wobbing up the back box joint. If I wob up the front joint and leave the new exhaust in the boot, the nice MOT man might just see the two, and give an advisory on the basis that it will shortly be entirely replaced, rather than fail it...


So, out with the wob






What a mess. however it is now sealed which it wasn't before. Lets leave it alone to dry/harden for a while.


Two hours later its had time to dry/harden/freeze so back down off the ramps with it. Its certainly quieter than it was, and has gone back to being 'a bit blowy' instead of 'is that a spitfire overhead? No, its that seedy-looking man's knackered old banger' but still not great.


The MOT is due by next thursday, I'm hoping to be able to get it in on tuesday for a test then look at what I can do with the manifold weld after that. I need the assistance of someone with air tools and potentially some kind of grinder or air saw or something and the only person I know of who does is busy until at least thursday evening.


The rest of it is a bit grim, I ripped the tatty cat heat shield off the other day as it rattles at certain RPMs and pisses me right off




So, it will either pass the MOT with a stern advisory and I'll look to replace the whole sodding thing next week or the week after, or it will be condemned and I'll go and return the bits and get a £150 refund then cry a bit.


Has anyone dealt with this sort of thing before? I assume there are a couple of options:


1. Replacement manifold - though likely to be fused to an equally fucked exhaust in a scrapper somewhere

2. Hacksaw the nut off and hope to hell I don't damage the threaded extrusion

3. If I fail at #2 - drill out the extrusion and put a long bolt right through. I bet drilling cast iron is lots of fun and impossible in-situ?

4. Burn everything

5. 'Other'


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Not very helpful but I always pay people to do this. Exhausts are always a ball ache.


Is there a tame garage who would fit it for you? Often needs heat to come apart.

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I'm going to hope for the best, my wife's uncle can assist, but not until later in the week (post MOT expiry) or early the following, he has much tools and many wisdom about this sort of thing. He also mentioned that the manifold studs can be a bit of a pig at the best of times so we shall see.


He also has a blowlamp thing which we can use to heat it up before trying to undo anything.

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Attempt to undo them, when they snap drill straight through and use a nut and bolt, you will be drilling the stud rather than the manifold. If you start soaking them with penetrating oil now they might even undo

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ive undone worse than that ...soak the hell out of them and if you snap em nut n bolt it as above


argos angle griner and a cutting disc might be a handy thing to have

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Pretty common on almeras and primeras. My solution is to cut back the pipe both sides of the flange and fit a short length of flexible pipe secured with exhaust clamps. This usually lasts for 20000miles or 20 laps whichever comes first. This saves undoing the 3 downpipe bolts

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Round 3 of this has just finished. We took the Nissan into town earlier and the front repair is holding up well, but the rear has cracked and is blowing again, not badly but it is there. Got home and let it cool down for a bit then went to have a look.


Its cracked right through again, I'm not that surprised as its quite a stressed joint, the rear silencer has 3 hangers but the centre pipe only has two and they are both in the front 1/3rd of it, so it needs additional support really. I scratched my head and went to the shed for a think and to see what I could find which might help. After a bit of digging I unearthed a small bit of thin gauge steel from something or other which I had kept for just this sort of thing. I'll sleeve it thought I. 


This has turned out to work reasonably well, I cut the metal to about 6" by 10" and rolled it by hand into a scroll. Took off the back box from it hangers and slid the scroll of metal down the centre pipe, leaving about 4" poking out the end. Then I carefully re-hung the back box, sliding the pokey-out bit down the stubby bit of actual exhaust pipe. The scroll then unravelled a bit making the sleeve fit better.


Next I dug out the exhaust paste and an exhaust bandage and wrapped the whole thing in bandage then wobbed up the endy bit with paste and its now curing.


This should* fix it up enough for the nice man from the ministry to give me a pass this week.


I also got given a stud extractor by my father-in-law earlier to remove the welded in bolt when I get a chance to change the whole thing properly.


No pics as I was all covered in muck, rust, bits of exhaust paste, mud, poo and various other things. I'll get more pics of the exciting change operation in due course.

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The Man from the Ministry, he say "No"


Test date 10 November 2016
Test Result Fail
Odometer reading 147,931 miles
MOT test number 7459 **** ****
Reason(s) for failure
offside rear Subframe mounting prescribed area is excessively corroded sill (2.4.A.3)
offside rear Brake pipe excessively corroded (3.6.B.2c)
Exhaust has a major leak of exhaust gases rear box (7.1.2)
nearside Steering rack gaiter split (2.2.D.2d)
Bumhats, end of the road for the Nissan, I can't sort those bits out myself and it is going to cost £400 for that lot to be done by a garage including what I've spent on the exhaust, and that basically buys me another year of motoring. Then it needs 2 new tyres and A CV boot and so on and so on...
So tomorrow is the drive to the meet James Brown and then new* car shopping. On the way home its back to the exhaust place to return the parts and (hopefully) get a refund as its immaculate having only travelled in the boot of the car so far in my ownership.
Bagged the mats, various tat from inside and I aim to snaffle the battery and bulbs just before it goes over the bridge tomorrow. 
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Right, after much umming and aahing I just can't face more work on this thing. The exhaust will require a lift to get enough angle underneath to get the 7' centre section over the rear axle, it will also need to be up on a lift to replace the brake pipe and I loathe anything to do with brakes. The welding could be done by my uncle-in-law and ditto the CV boot but this is still going to be £400+ of work and bits to get another years ticket - I am almost certain that there are myriad other things which will be needed this time next year and I CBA any more. UIL couldn't look at it until next weekend at the earliest and i'd also need to book it in for the work requiring a lift so I'd be paying for another test by the time that was done and be without a car for 2+ weeks.


Sadly, its off to the dismantlers with it. I took it up there this morning - I'm lucky that I'm reasonably local to SIlverlake dismantlers and they seem to pay decent money for EOL vehicles. I was offered £62 for the Almera carcass if I drove it to them, a tenner less if I kept the battery. I took it for its last drive on the queens highway, relishing the noise of 5,000rpm gearchanges as the exhaust had basically fallen off after the downpipe and it sounded like a spitfire. I snaffled the recent-ish battery which I was given by someone else who scrapped their car as its always worth having one of them about spare, and departed with a tear in my eye. It was a good car, bought as a £400 stop-gap 5 years and 83,000 miles ago it has needed very little doing other than servicing and the gearbox replacement, and even that wasn't much of a chore if I'm honest.


Next, what to replace it with? Wife_Stanky needs wheels to get to work on monday, so with fuck all cash in my pocket and a strict deadline I set to work. Autotrader, Gumtree, local rag classifieds, shop windows and friends brains were checked to see what was out there. It really is staggering just how many fucked Ford KAs and Mondeo's with the EML light on or borked clutch "easy fix though m8" are for sale at any given moment.


Wading through the dross we found a Honda Jazz, 2005, cat d, 1400cc but only £700. I called but it had gone already (take the sodding advert down then 'tard), then I spotted a 2003 Toyta Yaris for sale just round the corner from PiperCub's place. 94k, some service history, MOT to Jan. Gave the chap a call and after some initial confusion he confirmed he still had it and we could come and see it today. Right.


Off we set, Wifey had checked it out and other than the colour - snot green - she didn't mind it too much. It was up for a suspicious £499 which I assumed was a typo or it had an AS * wheels and engine not included at advertised price hidden somewhere, but no. He'd taken it in part-ex the previous day and it was sat at the back fo the lot. It hadn't been valeted and he hadn't put any more ticket on it, but the last MOT only showed up advisories for ARB bushes and a worn tyre which had clearly been replaced since then.


Took it for a test drive, it revved cleanly, no warning lights made themselves known, the clutch seemed a bit heavy but all the pedals had quite short travel compared to the Nissan so might be normal - I don't know. It didn't slip which is the main thing.


Wife_Stanky pronounced herself happy with it so we bought, taked and insured it there and then. I am now a proud owner of some more pez-powered japanese white goods. I have to say, havig driven it back from the dealer about 20 miles over M, A and B roads it seems pretty decent. Its the 1.3 VVTi one, 5 door, no rust anywhere and reasonably comfortable too. It was £300 less than any other Yaris on Autotrader and has half the miles of the next cheapest one. the fact these can dispatch 180,000 miles is reassuring!


It needs the headlight lenses polishing up which I aim to do tomorrow, and provide a write-up of how successful this is using a drill-mounted buffer pad and metal polish. Then it probably needs a service.


so, there you have it. Old chod gone, new white goods in. I'll hand my badge back on my way out...

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