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Fumbler's Crocks- Tank Tribulations


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This evening I decided to give everything a damn good waxing (The car, not me, you dirty bastards). Using the new Dynax S-50 I received yesterday I did the entire passenger side of the car, because the car is parked right up to a hedge.


I decided it was best to do what I could find now, because of how clement the weather was. As you can see, my engine bay isn't as clean as it was before.


That's a happier looking crossmember. Did the seams, the inside and all the voids around the seams. Will have the car on a jack tomorrow and this will be the last thing I do because of the effort of putting up the jack. Unfortunately, the bottom of the radiator did also get rustproofed, but it should all evaporate off. It's also at the bottom which should be cooler unless the fluids come from the bottom up.


Look I even did the rear too!


Did the sill seams and where the arch liners trap lots of dirt. That should help.


Sprayed inside the floor beams too. Might as well while I have the aerosol out.


Wasn't planning on doing the rear but elected to in the end because I was out and has the time. That fixes most of my rust woes.


Ah. Might need another one of these soon.


Will also need to sand down and repaint the void between the roof and the boot. Methinks it wasn't painted very well as there is zero bubbling anywhere indicating to me there originally was thin paint. I saw this on the red Micra I originally saw. Then again, paint was peeling everywhere on that car!


Sprayed into the boot because the registration plate wasn't screwed on properly and so the screwholes are a little grotty. This should stop it dead.


The amount of overspray means that I need to give the car a serious wash now! Because the car is silver, my parents decided to affectionately call it Sputnik. Mmmm... Sputnik. Perhaps I will call it that soon myself!

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It's horrible and hot today. 30 degrees. Sounds like the best time to fit a new radio then!


All in. No code needed, probably because it came from a 1993 Micra. Only headache was not seeing that the power+speaker connector had to be turned 90 degrees anticlockwise. Came with all the correct presets too: two of them were Classic FM! Anyway, for all intents and purposes, it went in nicely and all is well with my car.

It speaks German as well. No need to clean the heads either. Probably was never used along with a lot of things on this car. Fits in nicely with all of this. This also enabled me to test both speakers in the doors and they all work nicely indeed. All in all, it was a fairly simple job. When night falls I'll give the backlights a little test as well, just to make sure everything is it tip-top condition. Definitely beats having a permanently locked out (and generally worse) radio in there.

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Good job being done on preserving the little car. Rot is the biggest fault on these, Nissan barely rustproofed the things, it's a testament to how many are still around that (a) the design must have been good & (b) how much owners liked them as they just keep them going. We'd still have our 1.3 if the CVT auto hadn't gone bang :(

Cool stereo ;)

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After doing some talking with the parents I looked at all of the old family cars. One which was of interest was their old M-reg Micra. Red, 5 doors, Tropic edition of an L trim level. I actually looked at this last year with one of my favourite utilities, the Vehicle Tax and MoT Check. No dice with nearly any of the family cars. In fact, none of the cars, apart from all of the Jazzes they've owned (And a CX-7 and X1), are on the road. This was really surprising. I decided to look for the Micra on the MoT history and lo and behold:


In 2011, passed with no advisories. Just over 1000 miles and a year later, it's dead. This should prove why I'm attacking the car with stuff from Bilt-Hamber. Granted, my parents' Micra was sold to a student in Brighton and only did 20000 with her (she bought it in 2003), but there's more things for me to look at. Thankfully, I can get to these things as the wheelarches are very nearly clean so it can get some love.

All of us found these test results really surprising! Father Fumbler's BMW 325Ti from 2002/3 died in 2017 (Suspected write-off). Our solid frog Multipla was taken a few months later. Their Scenic was killed too, most likely because it turned into a bork royale with cheese. Father's Almera died because the engine failed emissions spectacularly, and their ever reliable Ovlov 850 died thanks to nearly every component to do with keeping the wheels on the road and stopping them requiring serious attention.

What's really annoying is that Father Fumbler never wrote down the list of company and early family cars he owned. He had some real shite there as well. Countless Rovers and other shit. Did have a rare red Civic saloon with that VVT engine in it. Of course, they were rare enough that none are on UK roads anymore.


I also decided to make up a spreadsheet for the car to look over total costs, MPG and whatnot. Here's what I came up with:


There's more below that! I will say that this is great fun. Don't know why, but it's great fun. Bloody car's already costed me £83 already! Most of it's to do with the radio. I've still got to attack that rusty roofskin at some point. I've got the paint and materials, but something like this requires the work to be done at the unit.

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After some sanding down of the loose paint and most of the rust, I attack roof with primer.


A damp sand and some replica paint later I come to this. The masking has left a thick lip between the old and new paint surfaces, so next I need to use thinners on the lip to smooth it up to the original paint and then laquer a couple mm forward of the lip in the picture. Then I have to wait for 2 weeks for the stuff to harden before I buff the section of the roof smooth again.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Today I removed the rear bumper...


With the mission to eradicate this...


...and a whole bunch of other bubbliness. I originally set out to only respray the rear slam bar but that in itself is a semi-permanent fixture in the rear bumper as seen here:



The nuts at the top were the ones outside the car and so were very, very, very hard to undo. I will find new ones eventually, but as they're nuts with incorporated washers I might have to settle for a more conventional setup.



All finished. I ran out of primer, which is the perfect excuse to buy some zinc-rich stuff instead!


This car needs a good run, mainly because I'm using it to pass my driving test and so it's been doing piddly little runs meaning the engine is not warm and so it running rich etc. etc.





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  • 3 weeks later...

How time flies! I decided to break in our new compressor by testing this Dynax S-50 stuff.


And here's the results!. I probably should have taken the wheel off, and I will next time, but the finish is very good. In light of the report I posted in the grin thread, I am confident I'm doing the right thing to my car.


Here's the undercoating gun I used. It is very good for what it does! This particular one is made by Silverline and it pretty hard to find on eBay, but for £15 I'm not complaining. It isn't clogging and has an adjustable spray as well, which is a feature all of the front page undercoating guns don't have.


I filled up the can to about 1 inch. The can the gun fits to is 660ml, however, Silverline does provide a full litre can as well for a good price. Most of the 1 inch of jollop went in the wheelarch and the rest went on my rear axle and box sections. I'd say this part is good for now!


Also messy.


Next entry will be the entrance of the Land Cruiser. I've been told I'm doing the oil change!

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But wait, there's more!


Nearside wheel arch. Did this one with runnified Dynax UB. We'll see which product wears off first!


Because I took the wheels off this time I could also hit parts the gun missed.


That's nearly all of the rear done. Will need to have it on a lift just to get the final few places, but, for the most part, the rear is done.

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Today was the day we serviced the tank.


Here's what it looked like at the petrol station nearly a month ago when we collected it. It's massive!


Air filter was done first because it was the easiest thing to get to. I don't think the old one was taken out in a long while.


And here's the situation with the underneath. All things considered, it could look a lot worse, especially as it had been to Toyota to be undercoated by them as part of a recall. Quite surprising that it was actually done well, because it is not even close to what some frames from this age look like by now. No holes or anything, just surface rust, so that was comforting to find out. It's also has suspension work done to it as the near side rear sphere is newer than the rest, plus new brake hose brackets have been installed in the past. The car was pulling to one side when braking and the brakes were dragging, so last week it went in to have the breaks done. Seized driver's side caliper would do that, so it was replacd after being cut in half.


And here's why I'm liking this car because there are plugs for all of the voids in the metalwork etc. Made it a dream to rust proof in there, that's for sure. There's still a lot to do though, but the middle section of the frame has been coated so that's no longer a worry. No photos because mess.

We also changed the oil, which was very black thanks to Seafoam and age, and the filter which was Toyota branded meaning the car had not been serviced in a very long time... which... is... worrying. However, for a car that sat in a field for two years and then sat in a sales lot for a further six months along with a dead P38, and a mossy BMW E38, it's doing very well for itself. We also re-did the sidelights, topped up the screenwash and pretended not to see the rust around the windscreen. Still got to do the front fog lights because they're full of stones and some other small things. Apart from that, it's ready for Chumley!

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6 hours ago, Shirley Knott said:

Great things happening here, the Micra looks  like a great candidate for preservation, impossibly clean.... keep up the good work!

Why thank you! I shall try to keep up mthe work. If there was one good thing with the hotness of yesterday, today and now tommorow, it's that all the underseal is runny again and so will self heal and seep into the car more. Meanwhile the Land Cruiser is gradually making the layby an environmental hazard thanks to the stuff dripping off.

We checked the oil yesterday evening. Dipstick read inconclusive making us feel like dipsticks. Have no idea if we've overfilled or underfilled it. Seems to run fine and whatever we put in there is definitely better than the thin black stuff that was originally in the sump, that's for sure!

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Just a quick question for today, as I'm pretty sure other pre-facelift K11 owners will have had/have this problem:


This is what my driver's door armrest looks like. On the right I've scraped away the material and on the left the stuff is crumbling away in my hands. It's a foam blank that is then covered with plastic in a mould. I have found some Plasti-dip that is the same colour as the underside which isn't faded, but if that fails (for example, if it tarnishes really quickly or rubs off because that is a feature), is there another approach to making these good again?

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  • 3 weeks later...

So before the magnificent passing of its MoT we did some preparation to make sure it went a little more smoothly.


This happened. As usual, drips everywhere and is a right bugger to clean. Which is good as it needs to stay on for a long time.


Then, on the N/S, I uncovered this. The chassis has already been painted by something before that is glossy and black. Methinks Hammerite was used because farm, and it was only sprayed on this face. Undercoated it anyway because requirement.


We'll try to forget its there. Luckily, the wheel obscures it. Replacements found. Fitters? Not so much. Dealership it is then!


Oh, and there's this. It's right where the wheelarch and the rear wing meet and are welded. Obviously needs more welding or leaving alone because lazy. Did spray stuff in there so it should help.


Rear brake pads need replacing as well as rustproofing the front. Apart from that, all is well.

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On 8/27/2019 at 2:28 PM, Fumbler said:

Just a quick question for today, as I'm pretty sure other pre-facelift K11 owners will have had/have this problem:


This is what my driver's door armrest looks like. On the right I've scraped away the material and on the left the stuff is crumbling away in my hands. It's a foam blank that is then covered with plastic in a mould. I have found some Plasti-dip that is the same colour as the underside which isn't faded, but if that fails (for example, if it tarnishes really quickly or rubs off because that is a feature), is there another approach to making these good again?

Bit of a kill or cure...but I'd maybe try going over it very carefully with a hot air gun...it might melt the plastic on the surface enough to smooth it back out and stop it flaking off.


Or it might make it twenty times worse.  Find a scrap one to experiment on.


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18 hours ago, Zelandeth said:

Bit of a kill or cure...but I'd maybe try going over it very carefully with a hot air gun...it might melt the plastic on the surface enough to smooth it back out and stop it flaking off.


Or it might make it twenty times worse.  Find a scrap one to experiment on.


Would definitely be a kill because the plastic itself has degraded into something that isn't a plastic. Luckily however:



Some sanding and grey Plasti Dip (the real stuff!) has made the handle come up really good. It's also lovely and non-slip too! I'll be adding another coat to this as well as doing the passenger door pull. This time I'll document every step in the process in case it helps anyone else.


18 hours ago, brownnova said:

That Micra looks like a nice little thing! The early ones are getting rarer!  

They are indeed. Finding spares for this car is a bit of a headache. It'll need an exhaust soon as it appears to be straight piping itself! My Computer Science teacher had a Micra Vibe from the same year up until June when it failed its MoT for heavy suspension corrosion, sunroof generated corrosion, and no sills. Shame really because I wanted his wings and door pulls!

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3 hours ago, Fumbler said:

I know this won't be everybody's cup of tea, but I thought this is what my car deserved. Plus the guy is a very nice, very local chap, who was very appreciative of my car:


I really like his channel and subscribe to him, I didn't realise it was yours until he pointed out the door handle! Really enjoyed watching that and what a cracking little Micra.

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Now that my door handles are complete, I hereby present The Guide to Restoring Your Door Handle/Pull Things!

Are your Micra's door handle/pull things looking tired and worn out? Are you tearing your hair out at the prospect of no fix? Then carry on looking!


No, but seriously, this is how I did it and it worked out quite well. Firstly, remove the handle from the door. The screw size isn't Phillips or Pozi-drive, it's a cross between the two. Be prepared to have small metal shavings come out. They are screwed on pretty tightly. Use the largest PZ screwdriver you can find; they fit the best in the slot.
Next, use 80-grit and 120-grit sandpaper. Choose finer after this if you want a smoother finish. If I had more choice, I would have gone higher. When looking straight at the centre of the handle, you will see a tanline. The plastic colour will go from a light, yellowish grey to a dark grey. The dark grey plastic is still good and won't come off. It looks like this:


Where the plastic colour goes back to grey is where you sand to. This is because the stuff that's still good hasn't degraded into a loose powder and it won't sand off.


It is illustrated much better in this picture. The plastic will literally crumble away and come right off, whereas the good stuff resists abrasion and scratches very well. Use the 80-grit paper to remove the bulk of the material. It will go down to the foam underneath. Make sure you don't focus on one area as the foam is fairly brittle and flat spots will appear. Once the bulk of the material has been removed, switch to the 120-grit so smooth out all of those scratches. Use higher grit counts to remove them entirely.


When you think you're done with the sanding, wipe down the handle with methylated spirit or some other alcohol product. I wouldn't recommend white spirit and acetone as they'll most likely dissolve the foam entirely. In the picture above the you can see where I missed a few places and so I went back at it with the 120-grit until a finish I wanted was reached. Repeat this step until desired finish is reached. Wipe down again and leave for the amount of time to have some coffee and attack again. I did this in the morning as the coating takes a long time to dry.

The next job is painting the handle. Preparation is the key so I didn't do any. However, it is recommended that you prime the handle/pull with a thick primer, preferably the stuff that is sold by the Performix company. It'll need a good fe coats of primer to seal up the foam to make sure it doesn't soak up the coating.


This is the first coat of Plasti Dip. The instructions say to lay it on thick so an even, wet consistency is reached. I used the Gunmetal Grey Plasti Dip, which can be found on Amazon for around £13.50. Surprisingly enough, it's a very near perfect match for the original colour! This is the real Plasti Dip made by the company that invented it, so it is imported from America. This can mean stocks may go out for long periods of time however. Hang the piece in somewhere that is open and has space around it, because this stuff is THICK! The main reason why you need primer becomes evident here. The foam soaked up the coating in no time. After leaving it to cure outside for an hour, take inside so it can fully cure overnight.


Coat no.2 went on a lot better and less stuff was soaked in this time. I had to spend around 10 minutes outside spraying the exposed foam areas to keep up with the rate of the stuff being soaked in. Luckily however, the more coats you do, the less obvious any scratches appear! Yesterday morning I put a third coat on which went on even better and gave better results. It's probably best more should be added. Add more coats until satisfied with the finish. Leave for a day to harden up. The finished look should be like this:


Now you can see some scratches and foam, however it's a bit more like the original textured finish the handle should've had.


And here's the finished article! Looking back to what it did look like, I can say this is a definite 150% improvement over what it originally was. It also shows how bleached the other plastics are, however they aren't in bad shape so there's no point, right now, to go and fix them.
Now, there are some differences in what this was like and what it is now. The handle was a foam with plastic outside handle. The plastic had a textured finish. Unfortunately, I couldn't make the same finish on my handle. If I had a remanufactured one, then perhaps I could make a silicone mould, but part of me wonders if it would be worth the effort. Secondly,this Plasti Dip is a non-slip, matt finish. This means it could be classed as sticky to the touch or unpleasant to hold, however, this does go away a fair bit once the stuff has fully cured. It is also a matt coating. A separate Performix glossifier coating can be bought but I have no experience of it and no knowledge if it is sold here. Apart from that, I'm very happy with how this turned out and I hope this helps someone somewhere!




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  • 3 weeks later...

My brother's other half is visiting for 6 months come Tuesday, so some Land Cruiser preparations were done today. Rear brakes were highlighted as thin when the handbrake was redone, and considering it'll be doing a trip around Scotland in the coming weeks, we thought this would be a good idea to do. Before:







Brakes reportedly felt juddery after replacement. Upon closer inspection it was the pads wearing down all the corrosion on there. The  original pads weren't too thin, but were wearing unevenly. Interestingly enough, the side that still had a black chassis had its caliper come off just fine. The other didn't. That was fun!



Also sustained this after installing a water deflector to protect the offside front foglamp. This is because the arch liner is completely missing! Wooo! Painful!


No news on Micra apart from the fact it will go on our ramps soon so I can jollop the front. Still delivering mega MPG though!



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So I was looking for some Nissan mats for the Micra, so I didn't mess up the carpet underneath. Well, @Lord Sterling had some and sent them to me. So it's a big thanks from me, to him,  and after a quick wash in the machine they look great!




These are brilliant and fit wonderfully in the car. A big thanks to His Lordship and these should last for a long time.

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  • Fumbler changed the title to Fumbler's Crocks- Tank Tribulations

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      This lasted for exactly 9 months., during which I did lots of this:

      to be repeatedly rewarded with this:
      When the breakdown driver asks how the kids are getting on, you know you've seen him too much....
      I also conducted some invisible repairs on the rusty bits of the beetle. I'll point them out if anyone can't see them:

      A promotion and car allowance then allowed me to purchase a C3 Picasso (best not ask, I hate it). Its purple. I feel like a dick when I drive it. 
      Beetle then had to go due to third child and not enough seats, but it had the good engine, the van did not. A swap occurred. My neighbors love* me and find my antics endearing*. I clearly have no need for a drive or garage.

      After 1 too many FTPs, I was told van or family. I chose family and the van left. 
      I then went a looked at another T25 minibus (three kids now) and was in much trouble for even considering another van. 
      Two weeks later, after some small* arguments* we were in total agreement* and the van was purchased. 
      Roughly 18 months ago - note lovely laqueer peel, mismatched rear wing and low level tide mark:


      After some light fiddling I have made a very basic day van affair, and we dragged it with camping gear and the three kids all the way up to the arctic circle in Finland last summer (wife has family in that part of the world).
      6 days before departure I noticed the rear suspension had a bit of paint hanging off. I pulled and it showed this below:

      Trip to machine mart, a google of "mig wleding for numpties" and a youtube video later and I'd made this:

      and away we went. 
      Here it is in a moody B&W photo  in the land of the midnight sun, which really brings out the high quality paint. the rear suspension is still attached though, so winning. 
      That's an epic catch up post really, but will use this space now to document the exciting* repairs and work done on it to keep everything attached .and working.... 
    • By Broadsword
      I think the Broadsword fleet has become sufficiently complicated to merit a combined thread so that gradually all new additions will appear in one place.
      As of Sunday 17th March the situation is interesting.
      Two Citoren Xantias (remember the white Xantia of Excellence is for sale people!)
      A turquoise XJR6 pending overdue-collection (need that gone now!)
      An XJS 3.6 manual project which will get in high gear soonish. Wont be a keeper but will be fun getting it back to something presentable. Drivers fantastic!
      A Range Rover P38, which is turning out to be really rather good.
      And to mix things up even more I'm off on a collection caper today. Had first refusal on it and was expecting it to come around in a year, but things soon changed and no way was I going to pass up on it. It may well render the second Xantia redundant as I've got a really good feeling about this motor.
      In the meantime here are some snaps of the Range Rover. As usual it was a car I said I would probably never buy due to their reliability*. I have said the same of Jag XJR, XJS, XK8 and I have had all of those now. Basically the moment I declare buying a particular car is impractical or improbable, I end up buying one.
      Things to note on the P38. It's a nice colour with tidy body. The EAS has been removed. It runs and drives lovely and it doesn't have enough electrical problems to hinder progress. The main one is the driver's side window not working, but that should be fixable. I've tried changing the outstation, that didn't fix it. Might be wiring under the seat. Other than that I bought it and took it for an MOT the very next day, and it passed. Since then it had what seemed like a battery drain, but since unplugging the RF thingy for the remote locking and putting on a proper lead-acid battery, which the car can actually charge, unlike the modern lead-calcium batteries, it has been perfect. I will treat it to a full service soon.
      Stay tuned for the latest collection later today!

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