Micra K10 Engine Compatibility Conundrum

#1
Hello All.
I have an interesting problem and hope you fine U.K. Nissan Micra enthusiasts might be able to help me out. I live in the USA and have a Quicksilver 7.5KW marine generator in my boat that has a cracked engine block. I pulled it out and did some research on it, and what I learned that it was manufactured by Generac (a well known generator maker) in 1989 and they chose to use a Nissan 4-cylinder 1.2L MA12 engine to use as a power source for the alternator. What else I learned is that this engine was only used in 1986-1991 Nissan Micra automobiles and these cars were never sold in the USA. Not surprisingly, I have been unable to source a replacement engine or block to fix my boat's generator. Generac also has very few parts available anymore and pretty much stopped supporting this generator.

I know Nissan had many generations/series of their 1.0L & 1.2L engines and does anyone know of another engine that would be similar to the MA12 that was more widely used and produced? The most important factor would be that the flywheel bolt pattern be the same and that the exhaust ports and manifold bolts are in the same location. This engine in a marine application does not use a radiator, but has a very special water cooled exhaust manifold that is also a heat exchanger. There is a seawater pump driven by the drive belt that pumps seawater through a chamber in the manifold which in turns extracts the heat from the coolant. This allows the engine to be cooled with seawater without having to circulate salt water through the engine. Having the exhaust port configuration the same as the MA12 engine is crucial so this vital part of the system can bolt right to the block.

Does anyone know of a similar Nissan engine that fits this criteria? All aluminum would be a huge plus as well. I could even adopt a more modern fuel-injected engine if the exhaust ports and flywheel mountings were compatible (I'm an electrical engineer). Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 

James

Staff member
Chairman
#2
Hi,

I'm sure someone more knowledgeable will be along shortly to assist with possible compatible engines, however one avenue of enquiries could be your neighbour to the north. Canada did receive the K10, and the only engine they got was indeed the MA12. They were quite rare up there, but it's certainly nearer than maybe getting an engine shipped from the UK!

Good luck in your search!

Regards,
James.
 
#3
Canada did receive the K10, and the only engine they got was indeed the MA12. They were quite rare up there, but it's certainly nearer than maybe getting an engine shipped from the UK!
.
Thank you so much James for your amazing suggestion. I was not aware that Micra K10s were sold in Canada. Through a scrapyard search website, I have been able to locate 4 Micra MA12 engines in Canada!!! I was unaware these cars were ever sold there so I would have never tried that avenue to source one. One of the engines I found has only 60,000km on the odometer, it is within driving distance from where I live, and the price was right too at CAN$650.00 = US$499.19 = £381.44. Thank you again for the idea to check in Canada and this sure beats having to spend £5000.00 on a new generator, or travel to the UK and attempt to stuff a MA12 engine in a suitcase:) Marine generators are so ridiculously expensive for reasons that do not make sense. Thank you Thank you Thank you

-Kevin
 

James

Staff member
Chairman
#4
Thank you so much James for your amazing suggestion. I was not aware that Micra K10s were sold in Canada. Through a scrapyard search website, I have been able to locate 4 Micra MA12 engines in Canada!!! I was unaware these cars were ever sold there so I would have never tried that avenue to source one. One of the engines I found has only 60,000km on the odometer, it is within driving distance from where I live, and the price was right too at CAN$650.00 = US$499.19 = £381.44. Thank you again for the idea to check in Canada and this sure beats having to spend £5000.00 on a new generator, or travel to the UK and attempt to stuff a MA12 engine in a suitcase:) Marine generators are so ridiculously expensive for reasons that do not make sense. Thank you Thank you Thank you

-Kevin
Hi Kevin,

Glad that was helpful for you! If you feel like documenting it, I'd love to see the work as it progresses. We used to have an MA12-powered plane on here somewhere but would be quite cool to see the restoration of a marine generator :)

James
 
#5
I have gotten very close to getting my MA12S powered generator running again, but I have hit another brick wall. I was able to find an engine in Montreal Canada and drove up there to pick it up. It was a nice trip, but when i got there and they located the engine, it was realized that at some point the cylinder head had been removed and sold. I didn't think that was a really big deal because my head was in decent shape, no bent valves, and it only had one broken rocker arm. I got a great deal on the engine, it is in really nice shape, but cannot find a replacement rocker arm anywhere in the world!!!! I've searched Canadian and UK auto parts stores and this is not an item that anyone stocks or sells anymore.

Does anyone have a spare K10 MA12 rocker arm they would be willing to sell to me, or have any ideas on where I can find one? Thanks in advance for any help!
 
#8
Hello again. I finally have collected almost all the bits to put my Micra K10 powered generator back together again. As I started the rebuild, I realized I needed a few more parts and info to complete this project. First, does anyone have a FSM or torque spec listing for the MA12 engine?

Due to the fact that my headless salvage yard engine looked to be in good shape, but was in reality a huge unknown, i decided to remove the pistons and inspect for any unusual wear or problems. Good thing I did!!!!! Cylinder #4 had a broken ring....which leads me to ask where is a good source to pickup a new set or rings for the K10? Any good mail order auto parts stores in the UK? We have a company here in the USA called RockAuto.com that is really great, but not surprisingly, they do not list the Micra K10 in their database (strange, because they serve Canadian customers too).

Lastly, I dropped my head off at my local machine shop so they could give the head a checkup and hopefully the stamp of approval, but they told me the valve seals were dried out and falling apart. They could not find the exact seals for this head, but said they had some in their shop that were "close" and "might" work. I would rather use Nisan seals because working on an engine once it is installed in the belly of a boat is a PITA. Thanks in advance for any suggestions. I have been taking photos of this project and will post some when I am further along.
 
#9
Could try and get hold of a Nissan Garage/Dealership in the UK and see if they could do anything for you?
If you have the engine number they might be able to help
 
#11
Thanks for the info and suggestion, but I found a USA supplier that had a set of the MA12 rings I was able to purchase. This little MA12 engine was used in an off-brand forklift and they had an old-stock set on the shelf. Got them in two days, honed the cylinders, and they are installed. This project is finally coming together. I found the valve seals from a UK company called Mister Auto (www.mister-auto.co.uk) and they were very cheap at £1.60/ea. They are currently en-route and crossing the pond at the moment.
 
#14
Well, I finally received the last pieces I needed for the engine last week. Over the weekend I successfully reassembled my MA12 marine generator and it has never run (or looked) better!!!! I ran it for almost 10 hours to break in the rebuilt engine and seat the new rings and it produces consistent clean electricity at both low and high loads. I then changed the oil, check the valve clearances, and it is ready to go back into my boat. I cannot thank you all enough for your help in this challenging project. -Kevin S Pearson

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#15
Glad you got it going! I'm in the same boat, I have a Generac Generator intended for Home backup power which has the MA12 and I'm trying to bring back to life. I am trying to duplicate your success I have emailed MJA in hopes of finding a rocker arm needed for my engine, My engine broke a timing belt and must have hit piston on open valve. I have contacted both Nissan North America and Generac but as of now have been unable to order the rocker. Hope for my success soon.
 
#16
This is an interesting string. I am about to acquire a 20KW Generac generator powered by a propane-powered MA12 that hasn't run for an unknown number of years. If it is indeed an interference engine as Paul suggests, I'd better change the timing belt before I attempt start-up! I intend to use the generator as back-up power for my cottage located Ontario, Canada. Paul, what luck have you had finding operating and maintenance information about this generator, and a local supply of parts?
 

frank

Club Member
#17
i had a cg13 lpg engine from a forklift/fridge compressor once (very similar to ma12), and it had flat top pistons fitted (circa 12:1 c/r) to make full use of the lpg high octane.
and the k10 haynes manual has all the technical data you need guys
 
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