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Fumbler's Crocks- Hot Air


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To mark the genesis of my fleet project thread I here present my new car: a 1997 Nissan Micra Shape-

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It really looks that good. There is a reason for this: its previous owner was an old lady who loved the thing so much so she made every effort to keep it in good shape. It originally came from Fleet in the GU postcode which suggests to me it was bought by the present dealer at auction, hence arriving down here in Kent. Before seeing the car I checked its MOT history and its only fails were thanks to broken stoplights, which shows me that it was very well cared for. I suppose an example of this was that on the last MOT, an advisory was a corroded rear silencer. The silencer on the car when I saw it was new. Methinks the lady wanted to keep it as good as possible. It was kept in a garage and so all the bumpers and black trim are very black and the tyres are in very good condition. Spare never used! Also included a free Dettol first aid kit from 1997.
This car has 15000 genuine miles on the clock. We clocked over 15000 during the test drive! The lady owner really only trundled around her village in it and the MOT shows that it only did some meagre miles between tests. This, of course, came at a price. We saw a cherry red Micra from 2002 at the same dealer. Paint was shoddy and when they washed it the boot had massive sections of bare metal and it wasn't very happy. This car, however, is in fabulous condition and there was no contest between the two cars- it really is that good, inside and out. Immaculate interior, driver's airbag, cassette player... all there and all functioning (apart from cassette thanks to new battery and failed display). This meant that I bought it for £1600, £100 over what was my uppermost limit, but I knew I wouldn't see another like this that was in as good shape for a fair while. It was priced very ambitiously, at £1990, so I'm content in the fact I managed to slash a few hundred off the price. There wasn't that much paperwork though. All the dealership received was the logbook with 3 service stamps from 1998, 1999 and 2000, the radio key pass, a National Trust sticker, and the original paperwork holder. I suspect the old lady died and had her car auctioned, and the massive file of paperwork is now someone's egg carton, along will everything else she owned.


As always, this car isn't exactly in showroom condition. While the inside is great and the floor is solid, and the underseal is in great shape, the not undersealed parts need a small looking at. Mainly the rear of the driver's side sill. It's really the only bubbling on the car. I suspect a well aimed stonechip managed to fester over the wintery salted roads, making it rust even more. It's around the size of a 5p piece, and will give me the opportunity to spray the insides of the sill with some chain oil to prevent any further corrosion. Behind the fuel tank there are a few rusty joints- places where the spraygun cannot get paint onto- which some Vactan and Dynax should put to rights. Alternator belt looks original because of the cracking and Nissan badges and will need doing soon as well as the front plate. As much as I like the 90's font and original dealer surround, the dishevelled R and general water ingress is a persistant MOT advisory. It could be the MOT station being strict (and most likely is considering there's a Saxo down the road with far worse blackening), however for the sake of peace of mind and all that, I'll get a new one made. The rear has already been replaced indicating this has happened before.

All in all, I think this is a nice plucky motor. I'll have it by the end of the week; just got to sort out tax, insurance, and it's going to have an MOT. As part of the deal it's getting the MOT and an oil and filter change which will be something ticked off the list. It has some love scratches and chips here and there, but it drives well, is stiff and controllable, and should make out to be a nice summer project!

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Just now, Amishtat said:

Be ruthless with the rust while it's just little scabs and with a bit of maintenence that should run forever 

Indeed I shall. It's at the top of my list along with the head unit. If it's a fuse then that's great. If it's a failed LCD then it's going to be more annoying. At least I can play cassettes but tuning the radio without any onscreen dial will be near impossible.

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I'll tell you when I get to look at it again. In fact the car's so fresh the engine bay gold finish metal brakets are still gold colour and are still shiny. It's very clean. Also came with roadside toolkit which will have a set of spares in the unit from my sister's shagged X reg Micra. Father Fumbler took the kit out when it was bridged and turned into fridge panels. Funnily enough the spare tyre was missing in that car.... along with most of the floor.

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I'll be honest I hated these when they were new. Seemed to be the "sensible" choice for every old fart who had no interest in cars. My opinion has changed now that they're a relatively rare sight and I can see the appeal. A brilliant buy, well done. Always worth paying slightly over the odds to secure a nice example of something.

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43 minutes ago, greengartside said:

Cecil & Larter of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. They were a major player for Nissan (and before that, Volvo) in the town.

Seems good for me. I'll check against its front plate for good measure.

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Great little car :smile:

We had a 1.3 one of those for years until the CVT autobox died. Fun little things that feel surprisingly modern to drive. Not that common on the steel wheels with the little hub caps either.

Handling is a bit wobbly but it just adds to the enjoyment !

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Collected car today. Still very nice and spritely. Here are some pics to drool over!

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As you can see it is very clean. Got progressively dirtier as the centre console airvents spat out old leaves and bits of its own vent filter foam.

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Unused spare, but the roadside repair kit was used at some point.

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Found this relic in the boot as well!

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As you can see, one faint section of the LCD can be seen so this is a display failure. Given how old the vehicle is the carbon ribbon that gives the black characters should have detached from a copper ribbon, instead of becoming detached from its bonding agent like in later models. This should mean it's less of a headache to repair. If all fails, getting a radio (with code) from another pre-1998 model will work just fine. Later models have the radio linkes with the immobiliser ID and will not work in another car.

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Grot spot #1, the only bubbly rust on the top side of the car.

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Here's the real problem, this 5p sized bit. Will need to cut out, then pour some old ATF down into the void, and then reseal with some new metal. Will ask an-man-with-an-welder to do that because I cannot weld yet. THe jacking points on this side have been used as the other sill isn't rusty like this one.

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The factory sprayed underseal is doing very well. Just needs some care at the seams and everywhere the paint gun couldn't get to. Fortunately, it's quite clean under here!

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On the passenger side it's quite the opposite story. Instead, the suspension mounts are in good shape thanks to the oil from the old shocks and other oily things (they were replaced because of this). This sill has a few creases like this, and I can't figure out why! I thought it might be a manufacture defect, but now I'm not so sure.

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And here's the engine bay. All is very, very clean and shiny. Even the plated steel is still plated and golden!

 

Unfortunately, the Jenolite I had on order was refused because Grandmother hadn't updated her card details. SHould be here by tomorrow though so I can begin to clean and derust where its needed most. I can see why the rear suspension mounts rot away really quickly; they just weren't painted very well from the get-go on my car, and perhaps many others. Will need mats and some door armrest-y handle things. They've completely degraded.

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Whatever it is, it's in nowhere near as bad shape as the other side. I was prepared for blowing sills and am very happy I can nip this in the bud. I took the rear plate off this evening to see if they did any screwhole sealing. Nope. two sets of holes, one for the old one and another set for the new, with no paint etc so its all a bit bubbly around the screwholes. Blew WD-40 into the holes, the smeared copious amounts of Vaseline around and in the holes and on the screws. The heat of the day should mean it self heals and creeps into where necessary. Put WD-40 into the drain holes on the boot and in the latch access port for good measure, then closed it and let all excess fluids drain out- helped me get the bumper to a nice shine! I'll go about this practice again with some proper Dynax S-50 or Fluid Film which is designed for this stuff.

I also noticed the passenger side creased sill has a different (and much better) shade of silver applied to it, indicating it's most likely a new sill, and why those creases aren't becoming the hotbeds of corrosion like they should be. Genolite will be here tomorrow, meaning I can attack the rust situation. What's nice is that a chemically bonded polymer coating forms on the outside of the reacted rust converter which helps aid in future paint or underseal coatings. I would have preferred Vactan, but decided not to because Amazon Prime convenience and Grandmother wanting to gift it something, therefore having the product for free, essentially.

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If you plan to keep it, bung some wayoyl or something similar in the front crossmember. They rust out in no time usually at the edges. I've seen some really nice looking cars where that's buggered. Oddly doesn't seem to often be an MOT fail but worth keeping good as it must do something for strength.

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I'll be putting it on ramps at some point. Right now I'm crawling under the rear and applying Jenolite again because suspension mounts. The stuff actually worked, just 9 hours after the expected drying time, and in low temperatures so it just doesn't evaporate off. It seems doing it in the evenings is the best time to do it. After doing some research about crossmember problems I'm just hoping mine's not too bad. It did sit for a while so I'll be smearing some Dynax UB all over that at the earliest opportunity. Since my car has no PAS, it shouldn't be an MoT failure, however some places are stricter than others. As the MOT station the lady always went to was strict as anything and this hasn't come up, I'm feeling hopeful that my problem's wont result in me having to spend ages drilling out spot welds and worrying.

Edited by Fumbler
"Spearing" is definitely not the same as "smearing"
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Had a peek at the front crossmember yesterday. Not too bad at all. Only two 2mm wide holes on the bottom. It's had some repairs done to it in the past, but it's still solid as anything. The seams and everything look as good as the car, which is a nice sign. I couldn't cram Dynax into the seams because it's a bumper removal job and that would have had me working until 10:00PM just to get the bleeding thing off.

With all things considered, the bad parts were in easy reach.

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This is after the undertrays were fitted. The entire bottom section has been slathered to within an inch of its life with underseal, after copious amounts of rust converter. This will be a good test to see if the situation is stopped dead. The underseal has some pretty strong anti-corrosion stuff in it too so it'll arrest what was left behind by the Jenolite.  

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The sills weren't spared either. The final third of the sills on a Micra go and go badly so this should stop it. Fortunately, my sills aren't in bad shape.

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Here's the rear well with the blowing seams sealed and neutralised. Once I get an aerosol version I'll go over the suspension mounts. This stuff is thick as filler, and so a filler knife and stirring stick was used to apply the stuff. When I put this on ramps and when I have the aerosol I'll be able to get into all the nooks and crannies which a brush cannot get to. It also means I can spray into all of the voids and make them good too. This is really the only work that is needed on this car and I hope this will put that at bay for a decent amount of time. Up next will be a brake inspection and a gearbox oil change if I'm feeling rich.

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That looks amazingly clean.  I'll see about grabbing some mats and get them sent or relayed over. Where abouts are you in the country?

Also, K12 Micra CD players fit and work just as well as anything else if you want a more a slightly more modern music format but looking just as OEM:

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Also getting a code is easy and free albeit it might take a couple of days. Got mine from a Micra owners forum.

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Not enough replies here, considering it is in near-timewarp condition and shite.

If you stuck a mid-90s head unit in, it would be pretty reminiscent of someone's first car in the late 90s. Actually belongs to mum and dad, named driver on the insurance, upgraded head unit and home-made sub in the boot. But still a bit embarrassing to be seen in. Job done.

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With the help from Micra forums and eBay, I might just as well get another (and more fully featured) K11 headunit. The other can then go to recycling.

As I turned the car around last night, I can now look at the other side. All is well with the strangely creased sill, and the suspension mount and box sections are looking as good as the other side; some peeling underseal and the usual corrosion in the unpainted areas. I've given it the same rust converter treatment, although it's not really necessary because of what Bilt-Hamber puts in their undercoatings, but it gives me peace of mind.

I also labelled the oil filter with the date of replacement. That'll help me schedule when I need to do it again. It also enabelled me to look at the rear of the front crossmember which is in perfect condition. Once my Dynax S-50 arrives it'll be getting some of that. Got invited to lunch at a friend's so the Micra will be my car of choice for travel!

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Got to see friends in Chipstead today. Had it on the A21, still a lot of fun to drive, and tt likes to cruise at 60MPH. I'd like to ad a sat-nav but can't really because the car is so basic its cigarette lighter is blanked off. Still contains an ashtray though. With all this considered, it's still a box of mighty win. I might try and snap a calendar candidate photo at some point for the July or August month (Whichever's not done yet!). On the plus side, the engine runs beautifully and starts on the first crank of the engine. I also learned that the induction components and the ECU were made by Bosch. It's nice to work on a car that has uniform manufacturer parts on it (Unlike a certain brother's P38)!

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5 minute job to do this. Was done purely to seal where the underseal had fallen off. On the plus side, the rust converter did a good job on the sills. I'll spray Dynax S-50 in the floor voids and then seal them up with the Dynax UB afterwards. Everywhere else on the suspension mounts will be sprayed as well.

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Was happy to see an access port for the front crossmember. Was also happy to see that thre is easy access to all of the seams so this task should be fairly* simple and will be satisfying once done. I shouldn't have to worry about it until the next MoT.

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Also had a look at the air filter. This is the original air filter and it doesn't look too bad. I flipped it around so the lighter area was facing the intake port to even out the wear.

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These look original and are cracking. So are the tyre sidewalls which isn't nice considering they have a lot of tread on them. I'll do the belts in October or before when I do a half service. Then I'll wait until it's time to drain the oil.

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Oh, and I put the excess of what I had on the filling knife on the bonnet to seal the converted areas. Not really necessary as some S-50 would be better, but hey- every little helps.

 

In general, everything's going well with me and my motor. The next jobs will be washing the car, looking at the break shoes on the rear (not needed but I want to familiarise myself with my car), fixing any chips in the paintwork and putting the rear tyres on the front as they're cracking less. So far, so good.

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  • Fumbler changed the title to Fumbler's Crocks- Hot Air

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      As before, front wheels off, bar on the wheel bolts... nothing. What to do next? We need to use the car's own power to try to free off whatever is seized on the front wheels but the car is nose in to the lockup so we can't get jump leads to it. We need to drag it out but we don't have a tow rope however we manage to find what appears to be a self tightening dog collar / leash in the car and decide to cue MAXIMUM SKETCHINESS!!!

      A gentle tug from the ML of doom proved the NSF wheel is tight but not seized however the OSF is not moving. Fuck it... drag it while pushing from the front. If we need to shove it back in there's an old tyre in a pile of rubbish waiting to get uplifted by the council that can act as a cushion and the ML will do the job no bother. We also took the front brake discs off to minimise any drag from those.

      We decided to drag it out just enough to get my jump leads on to the battery. We had already taken the battery out to try it on the leads outside the car. Surprise surprise* it was so dead it had gone open circuit so there was absolutely no magic pixies flowing in to it. Luckily I had an old battery from the 740 that was the same size so that was obtained, inserted and then put to work. Time to leave it to charge for a wee bit.

      Now that we've got some electricity going from the ML in to the 205 it's time to see what will happen. Thanks to Mr Touring for providing the videos...
       
       
       
       
      At one point we were vexed by the daft French screw on battery terminals
      We were getting a bit desperate by this point. We used quite a lot of "easy start" and the amount of electricity was causing problems.
      We took a break at this point for 10 mins or so. Mainly to make sure we didn't get too frustrated but also to make sure the maximum possible amount of electricity was in the actual battery so that the leads were just there as a boost. This was clearly a good idea...
      Learning from all the antics of the last 15 mins or so we left it for another 5 mins. Using a clamp meter we let it get to the point that almost no electricity was flowing in the leads and therefore an almost complete charge and spraying the "easy start" ahead of time, results were finally had...
      YAY! MUCH ELATION! Oh and that old diesel stinks. Time to get the leads off, move the ML and let the 205 tick over for a few minutes to let the engine settle. Next we found out why the front wheels were not for turning...
      So yeah. All the CV Joints were completely solid. But anyways it was mission accomplished for the day. We got it moving and a general once over suggests that it should be easily salvageable therefore if auntie wants the space in the lockup, it's going to have to go somewhere. Time to put it back in and wrap up for the day.

      Thanks to 320 Touring in assistance. The list of work is substantial but not insurmountable. It needs - a battery, front discs, front pads, front calipers, front lower arms, front driveshafts, possibly bearings, rear drums, rear shoes, rear fitting kit, probably handbrake cables, flexi hoses all round, 4 new tyres, 3 of the 4 doors don't work properly, a water leak at the water pump but that can get done with a new cam belt, probably a thermostat, engine oil, filters all round, fresh fuel, a good clean, handbrake light, oil pressure light and a rear screenwash leak inside the tailgate.
      Oh and a sidelight bulb...

      Interim time:
      Lockup secured in Cumbernauld.
      Car transporter trailer booked for Wed 12th Feb to move it. The V70 will do the honours.
      Another bit of tinkering - 4th February
      So it has been agreed the V5 will be transferred in to my name. With an impending trailer move, I thought I'd go back and have another look at things and reassemble the front brakes. I've already installed a new battery so it can be started without the need for leads and it does so quite happily even though the fuel coming from the tank smells like paint. I drove it about in circles for 5 - 10 mins to free up the CV joints and scrape the rust off the brake discs. I also did some straight line tests pulling away in 2nd which seemed to free up the turbo actuator.
      I also found the radio code so I got that working but you'll have to take my word on it 'cos YouTube will just give me a copyright flag.
      I shall leave this one here just now. Not much will happen for a while. There will of course be the drama of the trailer move but once it's in the lockup a plan of action will need to be drawn up. A sensible first course will be, I think, to find someone who will give it a once over for MoT viability before any new parts are obtained. All the obvious stuff should be easily DIYable but I don't know what lurks underneath. Some things like the timing belt and water pump will be paid for but the rest will just get picked away at in due course.
      I also found some period souvenir parking tickets...

      ---ENDS---

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