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Ryan's Micra Blog

The cabbage launcher is on!

I realised I have a million bolts but almost no nuts, so I bought new ones. Shiny. Makes the battery tie down much nicer. I moved the battery inwards, that way I can see the charge indicator, and such a heavy item may as well be closer to the centre of the mass if there's an option.

This time, I needed to make a cutout in the bumper for the exhaust, as I was using the actual hangars instead of pushing it against the bumper and supporting it via horrific bodge. I thought it would be smart to get a shape to work with...

...then figure out using the shape, how much to cut and how to cut the right curve.

I had a go, but it wasn't right. I needed to cut a lot more off than this.

How convinient! The exhaust tip matches this roll of masking tape!

Using the tape roll as a stencil for a circle, I cut a much bigger hole.

That's better, but it's still not quite right. From this angle it looked fine, but because of the curve of the bumper, other angles weren't as good.

The bumper was pretty much done though, so I wired it all back up. Now, both lamps are lighting up.

The cutout definitely didn't look right from this angle, but at this point I didn't want to focus on that any more for the day.

At least the lights were working and the hole was almost correct.

Another day, I decided to cut more away. I lowered the exhaust for some more space.

I just slowly cut more and more off, knowing that it would be much harder to replace material if I'd cut too far. I couldn't use the Dremel due to the noise, so I used some knives, files, and sandpaper.

Eventually I got it looking pretty good.

I decided to end the night by sanding the side spats and coating them with primer.

Today, armed finally with some fuel line, I was able to start the car! It was raining all day, quite heavily, so I had to cover the intake with a filter.

It started and ran, though! It was quite peppy!

There's the new fuel line. It's braided with stainless steel, looks very pretty. I'll fit the new filter once the new engine is in.

I let the car run for a while and get some charge in that new battery (it was getting weak after the troubles of last time, and testing those rear lights).

It sounded good! It moved too. The clutch was biting basically at the bottom, which I remember being an issue before. But it's a really new clutch, so I must've made some mistake in fitting it, or the cable has stretched or something.

Another minor problem was that the interior was very moist. Even though I had a dehumidifier in there. Well, now there's two. Hope that helps.

And to finish off for the day, I sanded the spats then added a very light coat of paint. I'm deciding to do lots of light layers this time, I'm usually a bit too impatient but these have to look good.

Exciting stuff! The car is almost ready to go back on the road!
Man, really struggling for motivation to work on this car! I have had to postpone the engine swap, I simply can't afford it. Today I managed to do a little work here at least. I have more plans for the dash. Firstly I had to remove a huge bug that had gotten in somehow. I found the LCD trim piece and put it on.

Unfortunately it looks quite bad with the face re-applied. So, I guess it's back to 3D printing the trim piece and sticking it on. Ah well, at least I tried. I just need to measure it up and then design something in CAD. I'll do this later when I have more than a few pence in my bank.

I wanted to improve the needle backlighting. They were lighting up okay, but because they are blue, they were only lighting up when the colour of the backlight was blue enough, otherwise they'd just be dark. I've been thinking of several methods of doing this, but today I had a go with this design. I made some inverse rings with some blue strips. The wiring is a bit messy but I just wanted to see it working first.

I haven't tried it out in the dark yet, but this should light up the needles regardless of the colour output. I was going to connect these lights to the RGB setup, using a trio of diodes, but I just decided to wire it up directly to the sidelights.

I wanted to be able to see that the sidelights are on even if the RGB is dim or off. I have a sidelight symbol but I stupidly made it green and it doesn't light up if the backlight isn't green or white. I was planning on making a separate green light to go under the symbol but I've positioned it directly over a stock backlight hole (the idea at the time was to get as much light to it as possible). This means all of the diffuser plastic is right underneath. I'd need to reprint a new face. I tried to use an incandescent bulb and a green LED, but both are lighting up other parts (as by design of course).
Anyway, the needles will also signify that the sidelights are on. I did try out the face over this setup, it was okay, but I think I will glue on some dividers to the back of the face plastic to reduce light bleed.

Anyway, it's been nice to actually do something, and there's still more I can do, even without money.
I repainted the replica-Nismo-replica spats as the base coat was really patchy for some reason. These look better now.

Don't let your motivation escape you, get out there and have fun on your project car. Like you used to.
K11 Update!
My car celebrated its 20th Registration Day on 22.02.23.

Unfortunately a hole developed! I wire brushed it and treated it with rust converter. I will tidy this up more, but luckily the spats will cover this up.

Now, I'm still working on the custom gauges. I have decided to take out the front fog bodge and use it elsewhere. The front fog (and dipped beam) warning lights will be wired in directly to the harness, nice and neat. The door open and corner light warning lamps will receive my patented bodge using a bulb cap with a hole drilled in it.

I had to repair a couple of the RGB strips, it was difficult but I did it. I also added blue LED rings around the base of the needles, which is activated by the sidelights (did I already write this before?).

Looking good. Ignore one of the strips, the green line wasn't connected properly.

Not bad.

Let's get this replica of a replica of the Nismo preface spat on, then! This was actually quite difficult! The spat really isn't shaped right, and needs bending and holding in place. I couldn't get it perfect, but it's not bad.

While that was curing, I had a look at the new warning lamps. They look good.

The corner light one is just a sidelight symbol but orange, because the corner lights are orange. I still need to figure out if the dimmer control will be a bunch of relays and capacitors or if I go with my microchip design.

I couldn't leave my jack out in the open so I found something that held the broom handle at the right height.

A couple of days later, this looked very nice.

I realise now that I didn't even clean the surface before gluing, but I think it will hold. I just need to fill in some gaps and maybe add some paint in the gaps too. I need to turn the car around to do the other side as the wall is a required tool in the process.

I designed this bezel for the LCD panel, and at my new workplace, got it printed. Nice!

This should be the final piece of that puzzle.

It fits perfectly. I was going to glue the back of it in, but it's such a tight fit, I don't need to. I sanded it a bit but it might need more. It needs cleaning as lots of sanding dust is in the edges.

But, yeah, that looks awesome so far. Almost done. Just need to wire in some things in the plug. I can do those extra warning lamps later on.

I can't wait for the engine swap. This car will be near perfect then. Then it will be time to get it back on the road.

Engine swap planned for Easter weekend. Expect to see an update shortly after.
The left spat needed some re-glueing at the front tip...

While the right side finally developed a hole (previously mentioned, and treated). For now it can be Miliput-ted (this car is never for sale, so I can choose to do backyard repairs all I like, and I trust this stuff).

Another day, it was time for the right spat to go on. Same procedure as the other side, using my house as a tool.

That oil stain remover is much better as a spat pressure applier.

The left side once again needed re-glueing on the tip! This one was particularly out of shape. Luckily now, a week or so later, it feels solid.

Once things had had plenty of time to set, the equipment was removed, and oh yes, that looks good.

This really adds to the shape of the car.

I just needed to cut off some excess glue, and later on (today) I painted the remaining white bits black.

I decided to buy some stuff! I remembered I had a credit card now, so I went on the internet and had a fun day. Here's some things! Including a short shifter kit and a bearing upgrade for that kit.

I put those wipers on immediately. As before, I have a 20" and 18" on the front, and a 20" on the rear. This maximises wiping ability.
I'm not really sure what I think of this kind of wiper. It's not that ugly single rubber thing that everyone has these days, it's the traditional type but with a rubber sheath over the ends. It looks kind of goofy.

However, I am a bit tired of rusty wipers and blades falling off, maybe these will last longer. The rear one looks particularly goofy, I may revert to the classic type soon.

The next day, more parts arrived for the gear linkage. These are two GizFab products, the rear linkage mount and the front linkage bushing.

This should be a substaintial upgrade over the stock one. It's even kind-of the colour of my car!

Yesterday after work I decided to tackle the gear stuff in preparation for next weekend. I found an entire spare linkage in my garage so I figured I'd get it ready now so we can just swap it in on the day. First of all, the bearing in the short shifter. It's rattly. Really really loose. That's why I got this new one.

It was much better, but to my surprise, it still had a minor rattle. So, I coated the surfaces with grease, as a kind of filler, and the rattle was gone.
This is much, much better than the stock bearing. The stock bearing is a plastic cradle!

I realised later that the stock stick has a boot at the bottom, which I couldn't remove. So hopefully the grease protects this joint a bit too.

The next part was the bushing on the end of the linkage, the rod that attaches to the gearbox mount. The stock one just pulls out, it's very floppy (right), the new one is nice and stiff (left) and just pushes in with the help of a vise.

Now for the rear mount. The stock one is a huge rubber block! Obviously there to soak up vibrations, but I want to keep the vibrations and maintain that connected feel. Look at the difference!

I can't wait to try this out.

Unbolting the main mount was tricky. The stock mount is plastic, and the bolts go into little metal sheaths, a bit like helicoils I suppose. Mine were spinning those, so I had to cut them out. Luckily it's a very soft plastic. This doesn't make for a great gear linkage mount though.

Now for a comparison of the two gearsticks. It's clear how the short shifter shifts shorter. The base is aluminium too, so that in addition should stiffen things up. I took the inner sleeve thing (I don't know the name) of the old bushing and put that in the bottom of the short shifter as the supplied ones were too thin. It just tapped out with a hammer and socket. So that part doesn't even have a bushing, there are so many points on this setup which will be stiffer.

Interestingly, despite reading many other people's stories of this shifter kit, nobody seemed to mention that the holes in the mount are too small on the K11.

As it was just about assembled, I noticed there was still a rattle. Then I realised that there was a huge C clip that I had missed, which presses the two parts of the mount down. I couldn't get it on, though. So that will wait until next weekend. If there is still a rattle (there's a pretty big gap between the parts), I will think of a way of padding it out.

(Rear mount is on backwards here, I think)

I can't wait for next weekend. I just need to put the car back together so it can drive. It's finally happening! The MOT is booked too (for my N13 as well!). So, this car is soon going back on the roads, and once again, better than ever!
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The black CGA3 swap, part 1
This will be a very long post!
This weekend, I had 4 days to get the new engine in with my friend. We had lots of tools and lots of time. So it was a very pleasant, easy experience.
Before then, I had to finish getting the car in a driveable state.
I re-assembled the gauge cluster. It still isn't finished so I'll take it apart again, but now it is basically complete, including the 3D printed LCD bezel, and needle lighting (needs work).

I tried to tidy up the radio/equaliser, but it wasn't finished fully. Supporting the equaliser is really tricky.

And even more tricky, is aligning the equaliser and the switch panel. This was a really difficult and stressful experience!

The original CG10 engine (engine 1 of 4) got donated. One of the last journeys in my Honda before it 3-cylinder swapped itself.

It was really tricky to align the switch panel. It was also hard to attach it in place. I used Gorilla glue which didn't really do the trick here. It doesn't really stick to the panel, which seems to have some kind of waxy coating. Still, it's held in place. This took a couple of tries.

I took the car out for a stretch. The battery was completely dead from driving it with the "meters" fuse blown (so no battery charge), so it was good to give it some uptime.

It was also good to flow the air through it and move the wheels.

It developed a fault, where under acceleration it would fire on 3 cylinders. Interestingly enough, the engine management light came on, but it would flash while it was misfiring. I haven't seen that before.

The car was now at home, with the back facing the garage, ready to accept the new engine. Oil pans were as usual hastily thrown under the car to catch some of the oil.

For now, I am borrowing someone elses K11 for the purpose of getting to work and back, until one of my Nissans are ready for the road (Honda is now as mentioned, rather dead)

So. Friday was upon me. It was time to finally do this thing.
Getting the engine into the car was a little tricky! In the end I positioned it over the boot and unbolted the mounts on the stand. Using bubble wrap on the jamb and rags in the boot.

I almost tried to fit it in with the rear bench up! It didn't quite fit, though.

The rear of my car has been sitting really low recently, I have a feeling the shock absorbers are needing replacing. But with the CGA3 engine in the back too, it really sagged low.

Anyway, after I loaded up some spare parts and tools, the car was ready to go.

So it began! I didn't realise how much the engine falls down when you remove the rear mount (despite doing this so many times), which was a little bit of a scary moment. It may have also ruined the two side mounts (at least the one on the timing side), so I'll need new ones some time.

Finally I was able to show some full comparisons of the gear linkage setups! Check it out! New setup on the top (other than the cross brace which is bent).

On this end, I have a completely solid nylon rear mount (later the brace bushings were replaced with aluminium ones too), and a much stiffer polybush for the linkage which attaches to the mount.

On this end, I have the short shifter kit, which on its own changes the gear shifts by a lot. But in addition, I replaced the poor quality bearing with a steel one. This kit also has an aluminium base instead of plastic, and has a more solid linkage mount rather than the standard bushing.
As well as all of that, I had the stiff rear linkage brace with a polybush instead of the massive floppy rubber block.

So, it was a fairly routine engine removal...


And in very little time the CG13 was on the floor. That was easy!


It was nice to compare the two engines.


This was a great opportunity to clean the engine bay, which had been completely covered in oil.

It was really, really bad. But I got it pretty clean.


The spats survived the journey, and looked awesome.

Now for part 2!


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Part 2

About time for a new fuel filter. This is actually the normal size. I don't know why the one I bought last time was so huge.

While the new engine had the lighter power steering pulley, the old engine had the lighter water pump pulley, so I took it. Every gram counts when the engine is using power to rotate it! Now the two pulleys at the back are the type with holes, as well as of course the CG10 crankshaft pulley which is considerably lighter than the one in the CG13/CGA3.

Clutch removed from the old engine. It was in good shape.

I cleaned the flywheel up. It almost looked new! This is of course a CG10 flywheel, which is significantly lighter than the CG13/CGA3 one!



While cleaning things, I cleaned my springs and roll bar, to show some colour in the wheel well.

I used a pick to scratch the paint from the letters on the engine stamp. This looks good! Even if I messed up the C and got a ÇGA3 instead. I'll clean that up later.

Flywheel on. Now with a slightly repaired dust shield.

My friend cleaned the inside of the gearbox. Look at how good that looks!

We then sprayed a bit of paint on it. We only had about 1/3 of a can, but I made it work.


I was meant to flip this image, sorry. I'm tired. Gearbox on! And it's black too!

Within no time, the CGA3 was in. With a CG10 gearbox!


It was then just a matter of plugging everything in.

I got the gear linkage in. It felt incredible!



I finally turned the key. It turned over for some time, but as all CG engines do, it woke from its coma and fired up. It is alive.


I went outside to say something to the CG13.

I didn't have anything nice to say.

One of the driveshaft nuts got a bit chewed up. It was easier to just buy a whole CV joint, which is pretty easy to change. So I did that.

And that was almost it.

Since the bushings for the cross brace fell apart, as usual, my friend made me some new ones out of aluminium. These will be quite solid!


In they went, now the brace is stiffly attached.

Part 3 coming up!
Part 3.
I ran water through the radiator and the heater core. I'm glad I did. The water first ran brown, but after a moment became clear. I recommend you do the same when you get the chance, especally if like me you used to use hose water as coolant.

The car was able to move under its own power now. The clutch cable just needed adjusting. The fluids were checked and topped up, and coolant was added after it warmed up. It was done. Notice my friend painted my exhaust a little. He also found and fixed multiple holes, now it sounds amazing!

And so the CG13 was put in the boot.

Other than the fuel line after the filter splitting at the start of the journey, it drove home amazingly. The only thing I had to consider was that the clutch was slipping. It's still quite new, so I think some greasy fingers might have contaminated it. I hope that wears off soon. The other thing to check is the cable tightness again.

Anyway. It's done. The engine is now amazing, instead of a mess. I absoletly love it. This car brings me joy.

MOT in 2 weeks. I need to make sure it passes!
After that, I have some custom plates planned.


Give me some frogs.
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Amazing thread. Love the small details effort. Glad to read such a work in progress in 2023 !