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Ryan's Micra Blog

Flushing the heatercore is a fun job, I did mine and it was night-and-day difference how much heat I was getting out of the vents afterwards, to the point I worried about turning it on with the windscreen frosted incase it cracked

Your last post reminded me of this youtube video I watched years back too (youtu.be/f1QL9veQaNg) as a way to test how much heat each can dissipate. The summary is that they're painting intercoolers black in the video, which increased the amount of heat they scrubbed away stationary by quite a bit, but then a video debunking it showed that the extra layer of paint actually made the performance worse while the car was moving, defeating the point since the car is never under boost while idling anyway. But the set-up is a good one for working out performance of any radiator or intercooler using the calculations in the video. If you have a few radiators that fit and you need to work out which one scrubs away the most heat, you could try a similar set-up with a heatgun, a bit of plumbing and a rad fan to simulate wind moving.
Well, I have all of the equipment they used (even a laptop with that very software), except some piping and thermistors. As much as I respect MCM and have watched all of their videos many times, I'm pretty skeptical about the emissivity physics. I'll read into it though as it's something I've never studied before (even after studying thermodynamics last year)

edit: Hmm, I guess I've never considered how materials give off heat, only how it's absorbed (where the difference between matt black and reflective silver makes sense).

editedit: Seems more like the paint is what's responsible for the temperature drop, more so than the colour. From what I've been seeing, emissivity is more about the material on the surface. If that's the case, if any paint has the same ability to emit IR radiation, the colour would only effect the way it absorbs radioactive energy, so I'd go for something light. Too bad they didn't test black and white paint, in and out of sunlight. a video

edit³: Now I know why I was skeptical. The radiator uses air convection to dissapate heat, not radiation. EE's response to MCM: here
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Well, I have all of the equipment they used (even a laptop with that very software), except some piping and thermistors. As much as I respect MCM and have watched all of their videos many times, I'm pretty skeptical about the emissivity physics. I'll read into it though as it's something I've never studied before (even after studying thermodynamics last year)

edit: Hmm, I guess I've never considered how materials give off heat, only how it's absorbed (where the difference between matt black and reflective silver makes sense).
I remember getting really into it at the time, comparing sizes that would fit (it reasons that more capacity is better cooling) but then also if rust mattered, how much a few bent fins mattered, if it was better to get a shiny new one, were certain performance ones better or just marketing, even considered getting a copper one or painting/powdercoating it which was how I found that video. At the time I ideally wanted the answers online but there's only so much clickbaity "does size really matter wink wink haha sex I'm really funny" jokes you can take while searching through the endless discussion pages you find on google before you get tired of that always being the conclusion and think "ahh f*ck it I'll figure it out myself" and off down to B&Q
I finally got the motivation to start work on my mirrors.
I've got extra shifts at work so this is my last day for a while to get some stuff done.
In the end, I decided the easiest option to separate the motors from the casing was to cut the indicator wire. Felt kinda bad breaking something ridiculously rare, but I can re-solder those when I'm done. It looks to me like the outer casing is glued on to the main casing (the casing that the normal power folding mirrors end at).
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I needed to give them a wash as they were dirty drom being on my old car. So I gave them some degreasing dish-soap.

I was unsure if it was worth masking up the black inner parts, then I remembered how much the left mirror is angled at so I went ahead and did it. Obviously the rest of the inner mirror isn't seen so that can get paint all over it for all I care.

Masking up the indicator lenses was difficult. Very difficult. I think there could have been a soap residue left over as they just weren't sticking. The angles and the way there's a dip to the lenses were making it even harder.

So I began sanding. This felt horrible. I'm very sorry for ruining a top-spec chrome set of power folding JDM indicator mirrors. I started with 800-grit but figured 600-grit was better, then went back to 800.

Then I polished them a bit.

And next came the primer. These are a nuisance to paint as you need to do all sides. I figured I could do it in two goes. I only had a little primer left so one coat is all that's going on. These are so smooth as it is, the primer is only really needed for paint adhesion.

Of course it was raining outside.

A little while later, after drying, I painted the fronts. When they were touch-dry, I peeled off the masking as it needed re-... masking.
These look pretty cool!

A little later still I started re-masking the lenses. This time using much smaller bits of tape.

Then, I sanded the primer layer with 2000-grit paper, which made it way smoother. I was planning on polishing these next week after work, but the paint stayed on when I tested some there and then (I'm impatient). So I polished them. Ended up being really smooth. I'm getting a good feeling about these.

And being further impatient I went ahead and started painting KY5 Techno Grey on the backs of them. I don't have a lot of paint left so I'm going to have to be quite smart with the can. These are looking absolutely amazing already. On top of sanding and polishing the primer, I also shook the can to mix it much more, and I noticed that spraying down causes the spray to be inconsistent! That may be why my previous things were patchy!
They look much better in person. After taking this photo I noticed a few bits that needed more.

I'm not so impatient that I carry on now. I'll do the fronts of these on Monday. I can't wait.

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"I'm not so impatient"
I went to check on the paint and I figured the backs were dry enough. I gave them some heat with the garage hair dryer and did a little more...

There's a little bit of damage on the left mirror where it was sitting on the painting station (the box the TV came in years ago). I sanded it all I could but I figured what was done was done. I put them back on the cardboard, this time quite carefully. At least this time they aren't resting on a single point on the mirror casing.
And I got painting. Finished off the can. These. Look. Incredible.
I think I've finally got it. Too bad this happened after painting my spoiler, as that's a huge piece. They look better in person as always.

I can't wait to continue with these.

Then of course I'll need a couple of days spare, with no rain, to execute the mission.
The plan is as follows:
•Doorcards off
•Dashboard off
•Extract electric windows from Cassie & glass (needs cleaning)
•Do a small mod with Cassie's dash (glovebox mesh thing, you'll see)
•Remove old windows and winders from new car
•Install electric windows in new car (could be some extra wiring required, steal components from Cassie gracefully)
•Modify doorcards with parts from Cassie's
•Install mirrors
•Do all wiring at once, make it very very neat and fully soldered
•Replace exterior door handles with the painted ones
•Replace SRS module to suit dash with airbag
•Repair fresh/circulated air cable
•Install Cassie's dash
•Install dash switches with custom lighting from Cassie (also possibly use faceplates from new car as they're not scratched)
•Finish off mixing colours and seeing what looks good.
•If possible: Install footwell lighting and connect rear pocket lighting (looks like I'm going to buy some high quality Chinesium, probably arrive in several weeks time)

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After a long day at work, I just went to check on the mirrors. They look incredible. Only one issue. The paint got a little damaged from it sticking to the box underneath, and both mirrors have some silver showing on the backs. It's pretty annoying but I guess it'll have to be like that for now.
I added lacquer, lots and lots. This time I propped up the mirrors on the box with some packaging air packets, so the backs aren't touching the card.
No photos for tonight, but these are going to look amazing.

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I saw a Mystique yesterday at work. Looks so much better in person, especially this extremely clean example with second-face headlights.

Over the past few days while I've been working lots, I've been adding lacquer to the mirrors and giving them time to dry and cure. They're progressivley looking better and better. I figured the fronts of them were more or less done now, but the backs and even the rear-edges weren't covered well enough at all. So I've flipped them now. Hopefully there isn't the same issue with paint sticking on the fronts as that'll be much more noticeable. I've now got some time off so if the rain would pause for a couple of days, I might get on with the mission.
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I did some more polishing with the doorhandles too. These are looking perfect.

My LCD backlight on my dash has started to fail. It flickers. It's lasted for years, which is pretty good. I don't seem to have any spare white T5s so for now I'll stick in a yellow one, or maybe red.
I've just bought some quality Chinesium T5s that I'm curious to see if they'll fit. Instead of the diode mounted on a plastic base with a resistor inside, these ones are made from one piece of that recycled-looking board (like the T10 blocks I've used), and have three chips mounted on them with resistors surface-mounted. These could potentially make the overall backlighting much better, as I noticed the design doesn't really work with my SMDs when I sprayed the interior chrome. There could, though, be a clearance issue with those diodes mounted on the sides.
These were £0.86 for a pair, so I bought 10.

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The mission was commenced! Before I started, I wanted to see if I had enough of that grille wire from years ago to make a kind of barrier for the glovebox, because things keep flying out of it and getting behind the dash. Didn't really seem to be enough so I gave up on that idea for now.


Doorcard off, glass out, and the new body-coloured outer handle on! Looking awesome!

So, of course this car already has some of the wiring in the door already, as it has central locking. So I figured I'd strip down the door looms from Cassie and only use the wires that I needed. In the end I didn't need many, especially on the left door.

Before taking the steering wheel off, I figured I should probably mark the thread so I can get the wheel back on straight first time in the future.

Comparing the dashes... Wow, the airbag makes it heavy.

A good day, finally, to do some major work!

I realised that since there's already a loom in the door, I need to combine the exsisting one with elements of the new one. So I de-pinned the missing pins from the exsisting plugs, and fed them through.

As for the mirrors, I had a go at a new method of labelling wires, and bunched them all together for a neat install.

A subtle difference in colour between the handles. I'm going for the light colour handles as the dark ones are becoming a dirty looking colour. I'm still using the darker surround though.

Just like last time I didn't really get a lot of pictures as I was too busy in the moment. But here we go, an electric window! I've been keeping silica packets in my doorcards, I've now taped them to the inside of the access panels to keep the inside of the doors from being moist.
I've also swapped the door glass over, because someone for some reason printed the number plate on all 4 side windows and the headlights, so now none of the windows have the plate stamped into them. And I've been missing my NATS eagle. Good to have it back.

Mirrors are done! They look awesome!

After a quick polish, I assembled them. Annoyingly I damaged a few little areas of paint, it seems the chrome was very difficult for the paint to stick to. But it's okay, they're small bits.

I managed to get both mirrors on, but only the left side fully wired in. I ran out of solder! So I'll have to continue tomorrow. I also ran out of electrical tape immediately so I've been using sellotape this day. It's not too bad, I just hope it doesn't have any problems later on.
Also I've been stupid with the length of the wires for the mirrors, I keep adding on extensions and now the switch is too tight, so I'll need to resolder the whole switch probably.

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I hate soldering lol, it's such a 1 time gig to get it to look perfect and the right length and neatly tucked in and whatever and everything after that first attempt is just "it's not fantastic but it'll have to do" and everything after the first 45 minutes is "this is wrong but no way I'm cutting, stripping, splicing, waiting for the iron to warm up and put enough heat into it again"
Day two of the mission. I forgot to say yesterday, I added some of this sheath (can't remember what it's called) to the wires in the door, so none are exposed.

Stupid me went and bought the wrong kind of solder (I had no idea there was such a thing as plumbing solder until today).
It wasn't great to drive the car so disassembled and with bare wires, so when I went to get the correct solder I walked. I got electrical tape too, a very thin one that kind-of shrinks if you put it on freshly hot soldered joints.
While it was raining too much, I went into the garage and started working on the doorcards.

I wanted the top pieces from Cassie, but I remembered that the inner seal strips were not perfect, so I swapped them over. I bent one of them because I didn't see the two rivets holding it on, but I got it more or less straight again.

Quick preview of the door. Looking quite nice.

It's interesting how the newer car has silver screws, and the older has black. Also the plastic clips that hold the doorcard in, the older one has blue clips and the new one has a combination of red and yellow. Similar stuff inside the doors too.

I messed up with the mirror switch by not giving it enough wire, so it couldn't reach where it's supposed to be. So I extended all of the wires coming in from the sides. 10 wires. 20 solder joins. Tedious.

But eventually, the mirrors were in, and fully functional.

Something I've been meaning to add for ages, a connector from an Ikea lamp, soldered in on the car side, but the extra dash backlighting just clips in or out easily. Nice that there's two holes for positive and negative too as there's two pairs of wires from the cluster.

The reinforcing bar added for the passenger airbag. It sucks that the airbag weighs so much as it is, then I had to add this heavy metal beam. It's required though, if that thing detonates I want it to stay where it is.

I noticed the dark dash had a better gauge bracket, so I took it.

I figured I could use the face tabs from the dark switches as I had scratched them on the old set. But I scratched one of them trying to get it off so I only took one.

Dash in! Inside that is. The temperature controls box was being a pain in the ass. I have, however, repaired the broken cables (two now). I tried using sealant to hold it down but it still came off. Turns out, drilling some holes and tying the cables down with a cable tie worked very well!

Doubly stupid me realised that the fusebox was now limiting the length of the wires to the mirror switch. So. Five more extended wires.

Ah, I've missed these custom backlit switches. These are beautifully bright!

It's complicated to fit them in, but I got it done. Except... then I realised. I hadn't fed them through the panel they fit into. So I had to undo this whole thing and redo after feeding the wires in... I'd soldered them in so well, it was hard getting them apart again.

On to the doors, I added the speakers and the high density foam. An extra layer is in the middle where the door goes inwards a little.

And some more foam filled in the mirror hole, to reduce wind noise. Although I think that happened previously because I didn't have the outer seals attached. This time I do, and I picked the best two.

As for the mirror panel, my mirrors didn't come with a blank one, but I prefer the flat black design so once again I've taped in some black foam over the hole.


And then, everything else on! And tada! That looks pretty good! I think the colour combination looks nice. I kindof wanted a dark lower theme, and the upper plastics on the doors were starting to go a dirty-looking colour. The black also shows scratches and scuffs much more. I put the light doorhandles in as the dark ones had gone a funny colour too, but kept the dark surround.

Quite pleased with how it turned out! The horozontal middle part of the dash is actually darker in this theme than the other one.

I started adding the finishing bits. Had to figure out what panels I wanted dark and what ones I wanted light. I changed out that flickering LCD backlight for a yellow one but it just looked orange, I had one spare blue one lying around though so for now that's alright. It's looking so much lighter inside the car now, with this colour change!

The dark glovebox looked crap, but I felt like the light one could be a little better... So I took the handle from the dark one.

Some more dark features...

The storage tray under the wheel is dark. I changed the fusebox cover for the light one.

Lower center panel dark to match the gearstick surround and armrest tray.

And after two solid days, it's done. Everything works and the wiring is so neat compared to before. I'm really really happy with this. I just need to clean all of the interior panels thoroughly and tidy up the mess I've made over these past two days.

I did try wiring in the rear pocket lights, but for some reason the left one doesn't light up (I didn't bother with the right). So I'll have to figure that out some other day.

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To finish off the mission, I've been really needing a clean in here for a while now. Mostly it's just so dusty. So I grabbed the vacuum and got to it. It seems there was so much dust on the seats that it was covering up stains, which are now more visible. Regardless it's much cleaner in here now, I think a good drive with all of the windows down (easy now with electric windows!) will suck the rest of the dust out.

I then went to the local hand-wash again, and just like last time they did great.


However, on the way home, unbelievably, I got broadsided by bird ####. A solid ricochet shot. All the way from the wind deflector to the rear wheel.


I sorted that out immediately before it stuck, and had to hand-dry the side so it wouldn't get water marks (it's just been cleaned, minutes ago!).
Then I went inside to do the final bit of cleaning. I finally ran out of my anti-bacterial wipes that I've been using for years now. So I went and got some at the shop. All I could find was flushable toilet wipes but other than being flushable they looked the same. Plus there's loads of sheets in there, and it was only £1.
I wouldn't reccommend using flushable wipes though. They start to break up when you use them and leave lots of fluff on everything.





Now I really want some SR seats, with a retexture. These are pretty yuck.

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My car keeps getting hot. I've never seen a K11 ever go past halfway on the temperature gauge.
I guess it's because there's very little coolant in there, it's mostly water. But it is topped up. I'll have to look into just how much better coolant is at transferring heat.
It doesn't help when I'm giving it the beans on the backroad.
The needle was almost at the line before I took this photo!

I switched to standard incandescents on the front as the COBs were being annoying and unreliable. Looks like they need a little more time to become more reliable. I picked two of the least burnt bulbs, and they're fairly bright.

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Club Member
Great looking car, i would definitely recommend getting the water out the coolant system and putting in some ready mixed coolant. Dont want to go to all this effort for the engine to have issues that could be prevented 👍🏻
oof that's hot, possibly get a coolant flush done as well, might be a bit of scale buildup in there if you're just using hose water rather than de-ionised/distilled water

easy enough to do especially if it's a little low already, just pop a flush in the radiator, do 50 miles or so, disconnect the bottom hose on the rad and on the engine itself and then refill with decent anti-freeze radiator fluid in time for the colder months. If you use a concentrate i'd dilute it with distilled water and then see if that solves the issue
Excellent advice you two, I'll definitely give the cooling system a look at when I swap the engine (could be in the next month or so. Maybe).
But I'm not really fussed about the engine lifespan as it's coming out and getting replaced.

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Yikes, now it's getting way too hot! I had to stop in motorway traffic today and almost considered pulling over. It quickly went back down when I blasted the heater, but now I had to check what's going on here.
It went even higher than in this photo, on the line!

I had a look just now... again it wasn't filled right up to the top of the radiator! So, I filled it up. I forgot to mention last time I filled it up, it was bubbling out what looked like really soapy water, same again tonight. Especially the expansion tank (I tried to wash it out a little).
I guess for now I'll just fill it up with coolant when it starts to get hot. But where is it going? I never see any drips or puddles.
This will all go away when I change the engine (and the radiator!).

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Immediate update: No longer overheating.
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I just bought some Nankang NS2s! I found that there exsists a slightly thinner sidewall size..:
tyres 155 55.PNG

The larger one is the 155/65 and the smaller one is a 155/55 tyre, both on an SRi rim.
It just cost a bit more, and four times makes it a reasonable amount more. Turns out it's probably because the 55 type is "extra load" reinforced which allows it to run overpressured safely. It's also got a slightly better fuel economy rating.
But! After searching around for a bit... I found the thinner tyres for almost the same price! From the same website which was weird. Had the same page open in two tabs but one was cheaper.
So I went for the thinner sidewall. The larger one would have been about the same size as my current setup and that's a little chunky. With a thinner sidewall I should be able to feel an improvement in cornering ability as the tyre will flex around much less. The tradeoff is ride comfort which I don't think would become too harsh. I am after all buying these tyres for their performance.
Lucky me had some unknown PayPal credit on my account, so these were almost half the price!
I better get those wheels painted. I should also get an alignment, not that the car needs one particularly, just since I have brand new nice tyres and all. It would be the best time to do it.
Tried 185/60/14 conti eco contact 5 , they are good on fuel, rain ect and handle well, and they do thinner ones , Amazon are cheap for them
Finally, a day off from work! Here it is in a less-than-great environment of work.

I went to the hand carwash today, really needed it. Looks great now but I should give it a good polish.

Wax would be good too but I've finally run out, after all of these years.

Looks great though! For now.

So, time to try out these massive interior lights. Massive heatsinks on these things. Looks awesome.

Woah. Even on a bright sunny day that's lit up bright. The whole lens is glowing due to the light diffuser built into the lens.

I figured I could have a go with my new footwell light strips. These are shorter than before, but one fits really well on the storage panel under the steering wheel. I cut out the ribs because I've noticed that raised bits cause it to un-stick over time.

Reinforced it with some glue as the plastic is kind of waxy and tape doesn't work well.

Time to try and sell this black interior as I'm not going to use it, so someone should. I posted this on the Facebook group and someone's already coming for the dash tomorrow, nice.

My phone ran low on battery so I had to charge it in my house.
While I couldn't take pictures, I realised why my rear pocket light wasn't working.
I tested the new footwell strips on the main interior light, and what I had throught was positive and negative were, well, not! So, now I got it working!
On the topic of the main interior light, I noticed that it wasn't on anymore. Turns out it was burning up! Damn thing was smoking in there (now my car stinks of burnt circuitboard inside)! Since it's a fancy CANBUS bulb I flipped it around to see if it still worked (which was a little hard as that massive heatsink was like 1M°C) and it worked again, but it was flickering on some of the chips, and smelling stinky again.
I'm now using the other one that it came with, but I won't be suprised if that one burns out too, so I've got several backups stored in the arm rest.
After getting some phone charge, everything was done. I even tidied up some more wiring. I got a chance to clean the plastic trim near the pedals, and the pedals themselves, and that made quite a difference to the freshness of the car.


A little later, as it got a little darker, I got some more photos.

The footwells aren't as bright as before which sucks a little, but they still look good.

And I got some more photos at night.
Holy crap. It's as bright as the sun in there. This new bulb is also a very solid white, not a cool white.

Footwells look nice. You can see the headrest shadow on the dash, this is with the seat really low and far back too. Obviously the stock interior light is positioned in a really stupid place. edit: Just realised that's the shadow from the garage security light, my bad, I'm stupid. But so is the stock interior light anyway.

Pockets looking good!

If anyone's interested in seeing me and my car, and Eddie & his, we're going to JAE this year. It's coming up somewhat soon so now would be the time to get tickets. I'm pretty excited to see more people from the club and check out some awesome K11s. Also I can't wait to show my unique mods to people who will actually notice them.

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Some stuff arrived today. Blue incandescent T10s, a whole load of them, because previously I had a few and they were brighter than the regular ones. Though it seems these ones actually make the light pure white, at a cost of brightness, which won't do, so these are now spares.
As for the orange ones, these ones are dual filament... You can probably see where I'm going with that.

Hey, look at that, another K11 appeared! Pretty cool fella from on here, check out his blog Franken-Mikey Build here.
Managed to get rid of my dash and a few other bits right away which frees up plenty of space.

Later on I had another look at the cooling system. I decided I'd drain it out, and run some water through it while it was open. The coolant looked like murky water. I put in some used coolant that I recently took from Cassie, my first car. Using old coolant is of course like putting on underwear that you've managed to stretch to 3 days but in this case, it's temporary and it will do.
I've noticed that the top pipe on the radiator is squeezing. Also I had to squeeze it approximately a thousand times to burp out air bubbles to get the coolant in. Hmm.
Oh and I also took off the breather filter on the cam cover. It's just full of oil now and not, well, breathing. I left the pipe upwards in case oil does seep from it.

Something I've never done before is tighten the throttle cable. A slack cable could mean that even when you're flooring it, it's not fully open!
I tightened it about as much as it would go, it looks tight but it's got slack in it. I'll get to see how this feels later.

And to finish off I started prepping my wheels. I sanded and polished two of them, and got a little primer on one, but I ran out and don't have any backup cans. My tyres should be arriving any day now so once these are painted, the tyres are going on and the steelies are coming off. My all-season budget tyres on the front are looking pretty abused. Because they do get abused.

I've got some holiday coming up, but hopefully after that I might get the engine swap done.

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top tip for getting the air out, park it on a steep hill, put the blower on 'outside air' and fan speed 1, let it get hot enough to put the radfan on and and rev the b*llocks off of it with the expansion tank lid off to get the waterpump spinning
Here's a cool photo from some woods.

And one I got at work today. I either drive small things or big things.

So then. I took off the boot handle because it needed fixing. I took out all four of the bolts then hot glued them back in. Only one of them wasn't broken (the plastic they insert into). Pretty crap design.

I had to do this quite quickly as the bolts can slide out of place, so I figured I'd get them back on while the glue was still quite malleable.

That looks much better! Now there's no gap on the outside edges! Excuse the polish marks around the edges.

While I had the polish out I started to get the mirrors shiny. They were looking really dull. At first, the fronts were looking really really good.

After some more polishing on the boot handle it started to look good! I tried to polish off the marks from the badge but they still remain.

I also polished half of the bonnet as the scratches were showing again. Took a while because I put loads on, but eventually the bonnet and the mirrors were looking much better.

Bring on JAE.

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Nice little photo from at work today.

Something's arrived!

Yes! My NS2s!



I've got two days off at the end of the week so I'll get some paint supplies, get the wheels done then look to get these tyres fitted! Awesome!

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Tomorrow the wheel painting begins!
There's a few things that should hopefully be arriving in the post somewhat-soon. This arrived earlier though!

Cool kit with custom needles and backlighting. I wasn't very satisfied with my custom setup and I think some of the blue backlights have failed. I was quite suprised that there aren't loads of Chinesium needles you can bulk buy on Amazon, I only really found this one kit (blue green or red). And it comes with these ring-shaped backlights that fit behind the needles. It's got a variable resistor to dim it down but I doubt I'll be using that.
If it actually is too bright, I'll link it to the dimmer for the air controls.

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Time to get on with these needles then!

It sucks a bit that the small needles are a bit short on the new kit, but they'll do.

I tested the old needle backlighting and, yes, the two on the right had broken. Turns out the resistors on both were completely burned out, and the remaining two lights looked like they were soon going to have the same issue.

While I'm testing out some light, let's see the smaller ring!:

And the larger one:

This is a good time to polish the gauge cluster screen! These things always pick up lots of little scratches. I tried to polish the silver in the actual unit too but it just wore the paint down.

And so the rings were in place. Held in with hot glue.

I reinforced the wires going into the holes like I did with the previous setup as a snag would pull the rings out of place. They look good!

I tried a blue bulb in the battery charge warning light, figuring that white light shining on the red filter would look better than amber light. But in the end it was much much dimmer so I reverted to the clear bulb.

While I was doing things, my aluminium pressed plates arrived! Hell yeah!

No badge, no plate, just grey grey grey.

They look better in person, but here we go! Metal plates! No more fading letters.

Didn't quite get the front one aligned in the middle but it's not obvious. No more rusty screw holes.

Back to the gauges, I drilled out the holes for the needles a bit as the plastic diffuser isn't needed with these rings in place. I also had to cut down the back of the diffuser on the rev counter because it was colliding with the backlight ring there.

Getting the small needles on was fairly easy. One slipped on and the other just needed the hole opening up a little. Turns out they have to be on quite lightly otherwise they won't turn. The larger needles were more difficult. Their holes were too big. I ended up putting a little superglue in the holes and letting it get mostly dry, then they went on without slipping on the motor shaft.

They're on! The speed dial had to be quite high. I had to cut the length of the rev counter down a bit to fit (the two large ones were the same length).

There it is! Yeah, the smaller ones are pretty small, but they'll do. The larger ones are longer than the original set!

I went for a quick drive and it seemed the speedometer wasn't working. It turned out that the glue had just gotten the motor a bit stuck, after turning it a bit it worked. That gave me the opportunity to get some dried polish off of the inside of the gauge screen anyway. I really can't wait to see these in the dark. Really need a white T5 for the LCD panel though...

Oh yeah, the wheels..!

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The speedometer was stuck again. After driving for a bit it became less stuck, faster speeds meant more force to pull the needle around so of course I had to aim for 180mph. Polishing the gauge screen was a good idea. It looks much better.
I forgot to say. I have found the source of the leaking coolant. It seems to be pooling into the expansion tank (it was full of the coolant I had put in it), and coming out of the overflow at the top. I found a little puddle by the wheel there on the floor. For some reason the coolant ends up in there and doesn't seem to return. Will investigate more at a later date.

I also forgot to mention how these new needles look different. At first I thought I wouldn't like the concave dip in the middle, but I already think they look alright. Also they have a little bit poking out on the other side of the middle bit (can't remember what that's called now, cap maybe?).
Night shots to be uploaded tonight!

Get the kit yourself here:
Blue, green or red.

Off to Halfords in a moment for some filler primer for my wheels. Got a bit distracted by the little features I was working on. Can't wait for JAE.
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I got some pictures as it got darker.

And when it was even darker.
It doesn't look that much different to before at night. Just the needles look blue instead of almost black. A lot of light is shining upwards from the speedometer needle which needed to be positioned quite high.
I may tweak things, and might add a foil ring to keep the blue on the needles and not on the numbers.

I'm pretty happy with how they look though. I think as the needles move, light shines across the sides which could be pretty cool.
But of course it looks so much better than it did before during the day.

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Time for some wheel preparation then! I cleaned up the last wheel I prepped yesterday with the degreaser and got some filler primer on it.

This wheel in particular cleaned up really well. If they all looked this good I wouldn't paint them. Except of course this one has some damage which needed sanding down.

The centre caps cleaned up really well too. I decided to only polish these and not sand them, as last time they looked a little scratchy and I don't want to wear down the logos.

All wheels primed and ready to go!

After sanding them all down with 2000-grit, including the centre caps (as it's such a fine grit).

Base coat time. This is looking wonderful.

All wheels base coated. Got a bit of running paint on one spoke of one wheel, I waited for it to dry a bit and sanded it back and repainted. Still not right but better. It was from trying to spray around the outer rim, quite hard to get the paint in there.

I love how things look when they've just been painted, so shiny.

The centre caps came out amazingly! So shiny! Even after totally drying, they're really shiny. What looks like runny paint in the still photo is actually the reflection of the clouds in the sky! It was much easier to see when moving side to side.

After lacquering up, these looked sweet.

Then a certain someone arrived, and we both got our cars hand-washed.

Yep, Eddie. Look at how shiny our cars are.

I'll refrain from uploading some of the more unfortunate embarrasing photos, but this one is absolutely required. Just as some rock music started on my radio in the garage, I noticed Eddie looked like his was shredding some notes on his spoiler. He was actually just polishing it.

Now, time for the worst part about fitting a spoiler. And yes, we're bolting it on and using a little sealant, just like I did with my wraparound.

Hull breach detected!

We developed a slightly more sophisticated method of guessing where the holes should be.

The holes needed to be expanded about to account for our error-filled alignment judgement.
After creating the holes, I added some zinc primer to the bare metal just in case that becomes ground zero for rust.

After adjusting the holes about, and covering the bare metal. Now would be a bad time to stop the install.

It was fiddly, but we got it bolted in. The spoiler came with two stud bolts, where we added nuts (one with a large washer for the biggest hole), and added two bolts to the remaining mounting holes. Some sealant was added to reinforce it a bit, not that it's really needed when it's bolted in tight.

After over a year from purchase, his mid-spoiler was on. That looks pretty sick.

Some wax added to shine the paint up (the paint on the spoiler is actually pretty good!). I added wax to a few places on my car too.

A happy Eddie gestures rudely as he sets off under the moon with his new JDM spoiler, in hope that it doesn't fall off.

I added another coat of lacquer to my wheels before heading in, in this light they look really cool. I like this grey-silver. It'll work much better with Techno Grey this time. I've got a couple of days of work now so that'll give the paint a proper chance to cure, then I just need to polish these down. Then it's time to get a tyre garage to stick on the Nankangs!

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I phoned a tyre shop that is a 6 minute drive from my house, they said they could fit my tyres for £30, so away I went!
So with 4 wheels and 8 tires in the back, the total amount of wheels attached/on-board is 9 and 13 tyres.
Those Nankangs were looking really rather small... But remember the tyres already on the SRis are huge.

Pretty soon I came back with 4 less tyres. These look good!

Before getting them on I polished them each, and then waxed them too. The fitting shop didn't use any wheel weights on the outside which is really nice. Just on the inside lip and some more stuck on the barrel (is that the term?) behind the spokes.

First one on... had to individually transfer the wheel nuts from Cassie as alloy nuts have a different taper angle so to get them seated properly you need the right nuts.
While I had a look behind the wheel, I tried to see if there was anything obvious making the clunking noise I've had for months. I expect it's a ball joint, but they didn't exactly look that bad. Later on I'll jack up the suspension to see if anything moves how it shouldn't.

I also found the source of the exhaust rattle that developed yesterday evening. What a suprise, it's the same old part in the same old place that has broken. Well, for now I'll probably just not have a backbox. I like the gurgly sounds it makes when you lift the throttle, and the revving noise, I'm just less keen on the growly low-end town driving noise, it's a bit ugly.

All four wheels on.

The old tyres were checked to see how they stood up to around 5 months of abusive driving. Not bad really. The winter tyres held up a bit better because I put them on the rear when the weather started getting hotter. Rear left seems to have worn just a little more than the rear right, and the front left seems to have worn a bit more on the inside than on the outside, much like on that first tyre I had on there.
The fronts have suffered some pretty rough understeer wear on the shoulders where I've pushed them to their limits over and over.
I'll get an alignment done some time somewhat soon. It's not urgent, but I should do it while the tyres are quite new to maximise the benefit.
I may be doing some suspension work to get rid of that knocking, clunking sound so I should wait until after I've done that.

Looks nice though! While technically the car is now lower, the arch gap is now bigger also. So I might be more interested in looking into lowering options. That'll be in the future though as I can't see that being very cheap. Imagine how this would have looked without the lowering springs installed! It actually looks much better once someone's sat in the car, so I might get a photo with some people sat in it some time.

The actual contact patch with the ground is similar to the previous setup (I checked while just one side was changed). Just instead of balooning big tyres they're tight stretched ones.
I had to adjust the pressures too, these tyres, despite being so small, can safely take up to 51psi! They were looking a little flat at the front so I upped the fronts to 45psi, and the rears to about 43psi. I might fiddle around with these pressures to see if I can get a good balance. For now though, they look about right.

After driving around for the rest of the day, I can immediately feel a difference in the steering input. It's way way lighter. The car itself feels a little more pokey with the smaller diameter wheels and with the lighter rims. The broken exhaust actually makes it seem to rev much more freely and fast.
As for cornering grip, I've been taking it easy so far, but it feels pretty good. I suppose these are a better compound and have a much better tread pattern.
As for the ride quality after changing, I guess it's a little rougher but it's not that noticeable really. I've been taking speedbumps very gently.
The speedometer is even more inaccurate now too. At the higher numbers it was a whole 10mph over.

I'm still having a problem with my cooling system. Even after a fresh refill (this time with the expansion tank empty), all of the coolant goes into the expansion tank where it eventually overflows, and doesn't go back into the radiator.
So I've got an overheating issue, a loud knocking noise from the front end every time I turn, my front right brake is squeaking because the shim on the pad is missing, and the exhaust is rattling where it's broken.
Lots of problems are annoying, especailly when some are not an easy fix.

As for the lowering options, apparently if you start lowering the car more than around 30mm, you start running into problems, for instance the rear axle will rest over to the right, so a new panhard rod is needed.
Also if things get particularly low the suspension geometry can be compromised to some degree, I want this car to be functional and take being thrown into hilly corners, so I don't want to ruin the suspension. I'll look more into it some time.

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So, I had a look at this coolant situation. I pulled out the expansion tank and let it flow back into the radiator. It was around this point when I was thinking, "how could that hole allow water through when the cap is on..?"

Well, how could it, when it's a different cap!?
I changed this a long time ago when I got the car because the exsisting cap was ugly. Turns out they're different! And it looks like the hole gets covered until enough pressure pushes the spring and base up. That's how it seems anyway. Well then, time for the ugly cap again. Doesn't matter. The radiator will be changed during the engine swap.

While I was in here, I adjusted the cam cover breather hose (well, that's what it is now without the stock air box). I was just concerned that water could maybe get in there.

As I lifted up the rear of the car to sort out the exhaust rattle, I checked to see how the tyres were looking after one day of driving. The stripes are gone now, but interestingly enough the "Ultra Sport NSII" wording on the central rib is still there.


I took off the backbox as it wasn't joined anymore. It's going to be growly for now, but I do like the gurgles when lifting off. Plus it feels more free to rev now.
I noticed while under there that there were a few areas of rust. So I bashed out the old drill with the wirebrush attachments and ground it down a bit. I got lazy in the end because my arms were aching.

I then coated everything with the Hammerite rust reactant to deoxidise the iron-oxides. After this I coated it all with zinc rust inhibiting primer.

Much later in the day, I got out my pressure washer and got as many bugs off as I could. Then I coated the car in car shampoo and let that work away on the dirt (not that it was particularly dirty).

After rinsing and drying, I skipped polishing and started adding wax. I ended up doing almost every panel...

Oh yes.
This made for a nice new avatar on the forum. Now if only I could crop it...

Then I got more carried away, and did more.
I ended up waxing basically everything.

Then I cracked out my old (now pretty empty) tyre shine. The finishing touches to perfect the new setup.


In the washing process I did knock off some paint on my right mirror, which I tried to cover up but just made worse. I've bought a KY5 touch-up kit which should at least make it look better from a distance. I can then also add paint to all of the missing bits under the badge where stones have chipped it all off.
Perhaps in the future I can do the mirrors better.

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I went for a thrash last night to really test the tyres, and oh boy do they handle nice! They aren't slicks or anything, but considering how narrow the contact patch is, they perform well, better than my old ones for sure.
So today I started doing something. Suddenly it seems that the engine swap might be happening very soon! So I need to prepare the 1.4.
I already had the cam cover off when I checked the camshaft conditions.
So I gave it a tidy up.

Cleaned the inside, as I'm sure oil stuck to every surface impeeds oil flow a little.

And eventually (this took a bit of effort), it was ready for the next step.

I remembered that I had just a tiny little bit of high-heat black paint left over. So, I came up with an idea.

I just about managed three coats in the middle section, the first one was a bit runny because the can was basically empty and I had to make sure I covered the whole mid-section.
I'll do an update later of part two of the painting.
For now, I need to go scan my Hyper Rev magazine, because I have a cool idea for it. Also need to print off my JAE ticket!

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Whoops, I didn't continue painting. I ended up visiting this guy instead. At least that means the paint has overnight to dry and cure which is good.

We went to Halfords and I got all of the requred fluids for the engine swap. It came to a whopping £60 in total, but I'll have extra that I won't use. Besides, without my trade card it would have been over £100, so, that saved the day.

The duo, looking good and pretty ready for the show.

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Masking off the middle section of this was difficult.

But I got there in the end. Not a perfect masking, but good enough for me.

And so, here's some red. This time around it's actually red, not orange-red. I guess that's what happens when you buy a Simoniz can and not a Halfords one.

Later on I'll cure this in my oven.

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That's looking pretty sweet! I pulled off the tape after the paint had just barely become touch-dry, but before it hardened, because peeling off masking tape from completely hardened paint makes it flake off at the edge!
I had a got at sanding the lettering, but damn that paint was soft.

I carried on though. Years ago when I last did this I just used a big file, which sits nice and flat across all of the letters. But I don't have a file. So I gingerly used some 70-grit sandpaper. I did catch some of the paint elsewhere but it was guaranteed I would.

A little look on a much more contrasting background, with more light. This looks awesome!

So I gave it a little baking to cure it for high heat. It didn't really fit in the oven. I hope I'm not poisoning my future self by cooking old engine oil leftovers.

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I just wrote a lot on this post and then lost it all so this post might lack a bit of text.
Of course, it was hot and sunny all week, and today, but yesterday it poured down as we did the engine swap.

Of course I needed backup, and I know just the person.
His car is angry at me for some reason, look at its face.

Out it comes once again then, this engine is about to be in a third shell.

There we go! Free at last.

I cleaned up the CGA3 a bit while it was easy to.

Now for my new car. It's very weird to see them in switched positions on my driveway!

Out it comes!

Time to mix and match parts. We took the best condition mounts, panels and other things.
The CG10 flywheel (left) weighs significantly less than the CGA3 one on the right. So we took the CG10.

As for the crank pulley, the CGA3 one (top) is much heavier as it's not hollow. Again we went for light.
Didn't get any photos but we went for the CG10 gearbox too.

Didn't get many photos as we were so busy. I had work the next morning and we weren't done until... that morning.
Also going abroad the next day all the way until JAE so it really was now or never.
We got it in though.

Everything worked fine. It seemed that the MAF sensor was faulty, as the engine was hesitating under power, and after unplugging it it suddenly became strong. The ECU can just guess the air in for now. Must be the culprit for my engine management lights in the past, which would happen if using light throttle at 50mph consistently. Both on this engine and the CG10. I have one more I could try using on a spare throttle body, but I may as well get a new one that has lots of life and works perfectly.

This engine is awesome. There's so little rotational mass that it is so much more free to deliver power. Originally it had AC, with that gone there's one less thing attached buy pulley to the crank, and that AC bracket was silly heavy. A much lighter flywheel and crank pulley give the best effect. The engine is now mated to a CG10 gearbox too which has a slightly different final drive (and I think the gear ratios differ a little). The lighter wheels and smaller tyres also greatly help deliver power.
This car has become an absolutle blast to drive now.
I just need to get used to how much easier it stalls. Also the idle is pretty lumpy, but that could partly be because of the MAF being unplugged.
It is bucking violently when I try to slowly creep forward or reverse which I'll need to learn to tame. All worth it for that power delivery though.

Right, time to go see how my N13 is doing.

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I'm impressed at just how much energy you have dude. It's p*ssing it down and you're at work and going abroad tomorrow and still found the time to swap an engine, these days i'm stopping on my way home to put fuel in and I'm sighing at the 5 minutes it takes to brim the tank and queue up like that's too big of a job :ROFLMAO:


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Hi Ryan,

Car is looking wonderful. If you're coming would love to see it in person at JAE.

Keep up the good work :)
I'm impressed at just how much energy you have dude. It's p*ssing it down and you're at work and going abroad tomorrow and still found the time to swap an engine, these days i'm stopping on my way home to put fuel in and I'm sighing at the 5 minutes it takes to brim the tank and queue up like that's too big of a job
I've been inspired by MCM only having one day to do mods! Yesterday before I left I hastily added some touch-up paint that arrived a few days ago to the bonnet and mirrors.
So when I get home I have a few hours to tidy up the paint, thoroughly clean the oil and grease from all over outside and inside and finish assembling the interior (which I did a little of while I had a few minutes spare at work).
When it's now or never it really must be done! I just want my first JAE to be perfect!

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Hi Ryan,

Car is looking wonderful. If you're coming would love to see it in person at JAE.

Keep up the good work :)
I'll be there, and I can't wait for it.
Don't be too dissapointed when you see how the previous owner "cleaned" it with wire wool, you don't see it in the photos.
All the scratches for that matter, I'll try to hide them under some thick wax though.

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I'll be there, and I can't wait for it.
Don't be too dissapointed when you see how the previous owner "cleaned" it with wire wool, you don't see it in the photos.
All the scratches for that matter, I'll try to hide them under some thick wax though.

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Think I can beat you on paint haha , the pics really Catfish mine haha

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I'm going to be going a little off-topic for a bit, because it's N13 time.
Annoying when you park your car so far away, you have to take a 2-3 hour flight and like a 4 hour journey by car to get to it.
We'll see how well it does in the annual inspection, it seems to be just as we left it, other than a dash bulb flickering off.

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