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Author Topic: My Nissan 200sx S12 - Careless Whisper  (Read 1805 times)

Offline darquizard

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My Nissan 200sx S12 - Careless Whisper
« on: 01:07:52 PM / 30-Apr-18 »
This is my new to me Nissan 200sx S12. It is a 1987 SE with the VG30E motor, and automatic transmission. I've named the car 'Careless Whisper' for now, it seems like a good 80s name to me.

The car is 100% stock, no modifications to speak of. The interior is blue and completely original, and in really good shape. The only parts that need fixing in the interior are some very small cracks in the upper-door panel pads, and the previous owner eviscerated the stereo system, and cut out the old stereo, so no sound for now.

I got it for $800, it has some dings and dents, no rust to speak of except the exhaust. The previous owner actually cut the Alternator plug from the wiring harness, and then attempted to manually wire the alternator, it was a shit show.  I found a 97 Nissan Sentra at the Pick-n-pull junkyard and chopped it's alternator plug from the harness, soldered the new pigtail connector and plugged in the alternator, now it runs perfectly, no electrical problems to speak of thank god. I removed about a mile of garbage wire someone had installed, presumably for the sound system which had been removed anyway. I'll need to figure that out eventually.

Anyway, here is the list of repairs I'm going to make on the car in the coming months, and also some pictures, in no particular order. 
Repair Battery Drain/Alternator Issue - Possibly Fixed! 4/28/18, still working great 4/29/18 drove to parents house and back 1 hour each way.
Fluid Change & Flush - Oil, transmission, radiator, all of it, no idea when it was done last.
New Tires - Tires are low on tread. Passenger side front small leak from valve stem.
Complete exterior clean and detail - Would be really nice to see what the car looks like with a really professional wash.
Brake Job - New Pads, fix it all up.
Spark Plugs - Should probably do this just to be safe, they're cheap.
Replace suspension bushings - refresh worn out suspension / reduce rear-end drop under acceleration.
Replace Front and Rear Springs - Ideally could lower the car 1.5 inches in the front and rear, I don't want the raked look of the canuck springs.
New Wheels  - The current wheels are pretty ugly, but serviceable.
Alignment
Interior Trim / Dash Repair - Blower vents, arm-rest cracking
Replace Stereo - Wiring harness is a mess, trim pieces were poorly cut out.
Replace Exhaust system - Current one has a ton of exhaust leaks. Muffler is ruined.
Air Conditioner - Troubleshoot issues, maybe replace, maybe delete.
Gauge Cluster - Brighter / LED replace, current one is dim even on max setting.

(The good side!)




The Mitsubishi Lancer back there is my daily driver.




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Offline CzechSilvia

Re: My Nissan 200sx S12 - Careless Whisper
« Reply #1 on: 02:22:54 PM / 30-Apr-18 »
Whoa, a new project here on our forum! Welcome and good luck!
But what do I know? All I know about cars I learned from youtube...

Offline BOSSMAN

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Re: My Nissan 200sx S12 - Careless Whisper
« Reply #2 on: 03:08:42 PM / 30-Apr-18 »
Regarding lowing the car with lower springs (Canucks springs).  I have Canucks springs on my other car (not a S12) and I brought the height up using 1/2 in coil springs from a Ebay seller in Thailand.  This was done a while back so the seller may not be active.
86 CA18ET....owner since 1990.
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Offline darquizard

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Re: My Nissan 200sx S12 - Careless Whisper
« Reply #3 on: 03:52:37 PM / 30-Apr-18 »
Could someone share a picture of their door hinges? My door link-cross member is broken, and also the hinge appears to be bent to me, the door sags and opens too far, which is the reason the drivers side front quarter panel has been popped out, and also the reason there is a dent in the door.

Here is a picture of my hinges. The part is discontinued, Nissan called today and let me know they can't process my order.


Offline weitrhino

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Re: My Nissan 200sx S12 - Careless Whisper
« Reply #4 on: 05:45:38 PM / 30-Apr-18 »
You can pull the retractor out of the door, line it up with the hasp on the door frame, and drop an unthreaded 6mm bolt into the hole. When the pin breaks the door swings open past the detents in the retractor. By the looks of your upper hinge the door was flung open very hard or the wind got ahold of it. You'll probably want to re-weld the hinges back to the frame.
« Last Edit: 05:49:42 PM / 30-Apr-18 by weitrhino »

Offline darquizard

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Re: My Nissan 200sx S12 - Careless Whisper
« Reply #5 on: 09:52:48 PM / 30-Apr-18 »
These hinges are beastly though, while I could possibly re-weld it to the frame, how can I true them before welding? Or just weld the bent-back edge and then bolt it slowly maybe under heat and hope the weld holds? I can't imagine it would though.

I think the previous owner took the retaining pins out on purpose, the woman who drove this car daily was very large, also very nice and friendly, but I think it was done so she could get in and out of the car more easily, and as you said - I think over time the hinges bent back bit by bit from opening the door quickly.

But these hinges don't exist anywhere, I hope I can bend them somehow, but they're really chunky thick metal.

I've removed the door completely and covered the opening with a taped up tarp for now, I'll get the pins ordered tonight and get that part fixed at least.

Also removed the driver's side-skirt, it was bent in a little bit, looks like the car high-centered badly. Here is a video of how I plan to fix it.

https://youtu.be/lopPlHrtHAo


Offline weitrhino

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Re: My Nissan 200sx S12 - Careless Whisper
« Reply #6 on: 10:10:22 AM / 01-May-18 »
There are a few videos on youtube dealing with sagging doors, etc., that may provide you with some pointers. One video showed a method for straightening the frame area where the hinges attach that may be useful to you. Just search 'repair bent door hinge.'

Offline darquizard

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Re: My Nissan 200sx S12 - Careless Whisper
« Reply #7 on: 10:40:01 PM / 01-May-18 »
I removed the door entirely, started with getting the panel off very carefully, and then removed the wiring harness. After that I had more room to get to the hinges, I removed the clips, pins, and then the plug/bushings.

With the door off and the panel removed, I did my best to pop some of the dents in the door, it does look better but still not perfect, I don't have the right tools to work dents correctly.

After a very harrowing experience, and some help from my wife at the very end, I was able to get the door re-installed with new hinge pins and plugs from Nissan parts. I re-installed the hinges first so I would be able to crank on them a bit, as it turns out the hinges were not bent at all, it was the pillar/frame where they mount to, so I simply installed them, and then cranked on them with a pry bar very carefully, I got them mostly in the correct position. There is still a gap though, it isn't perfect.  It now opens without any hitch at all, it still sags a little bit, but the fact I can open the door with one hand and without throwing out my back is a huge bonus.

Now I have to track down the rollpin or un-threaded 6mm bolt like weitrhino suggested to fix the retractor, there is just a random small bolt in there now, but it's doing the trick for the time being.

I also finished up on the side-skirt epoxy job, I removed the clamps after 24 hours or so and the epoxy is holding very well. Hopefully when I remove the screws and dis-mount it from the 2x4 it will maintain it's shape. I am thinking I'll keep it mounted for a while, and probably heat it a bit.
« Last Edit: 10:43:08 PM / 01-May-18 by darquizard »

Offline BOSSMAN

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Re: My Nissan 200sx S12 - Careless Whisper
« Reply #8 on: 02:19:03 PM / 02-May-18 »
Just looked at your pictures, it appears the car had a minor collision with a pole or column at one time by the driver door which should explain the bend on the side skirt and what looks like a weld joint/repair above the wire gorment at the a pillar frame.
86 CA18ET....owner since 1990.
The name is Bossman, but you can call me Mr. Panda....My other car is a Buick....
My Skyline is here!  My Skyline is here!

Offline darquizard

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Re: My Nissan 200sx S12 - Careless Whisper
« Reply #9 on: 03:48:44 PM / 02-May-18 »
Well things are a looking pretty good. This weekend my plan is to remove the front seats from the car start cleaning the interior trim pieces a little bit. That will be a great time to install the sound system as well. I may remove the rear seats as well, they're in really good shape, but I want to get everything steam cleaned and extracted to get rid of that old-ass-car smell, I'll do my best with the carpet, but that may need to be replaced, we'll see.

Last night I removed the fog lights, the mounting bracket under the bumper was badly rusted, so I took the wire wheel to it and got it cleaned up, sprayed down with the rust treatment, and I'll spray them black tonight. Previous owner had hit something, so one of the fog lights was bent back at a weird angle and the lens was shattered, a little time in the vice made short work of that, problem solved! Glad to see I have the original Bosch lamps and lights that were in decent shape, and found some Bosch replacements for the lenses that were brand new.


Post Merge
Here is a short video of the current exhaust issues. The exhaust rattles like crazy and sounds awful. If the video isn't rotated yet, hopefully Youtube will sort it out, I did apply the rotate edit on it, but it seems to be having some trouble saving. Sorry for your neck if you watch it.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFbwpxAxHsI

I think I can just delete the muffler here right? The thing is completely broken and destroyed, and isn't even welded any longer, the only thing holding it up is the wires that were installed. The plan is to simply remove the steel wire, and then remove the muffler entirely. After that, I may pickup a short 12-16 inch stainless tube, or maybe just a bent tip just to clamp onto the end with an exhaust clamp, just so the exhaust can port out of the correct location. The rest of the exhaust system is actually intact, and seems to be in okay shape for being a stock exhaust, a little bit of rust but nothing too crazy.

Safe to delete the muffler?
« Last Edit: 01:02:55 PM / 03-May-18 by darquizard »

Offline darquizard

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Re: My Nissan 200sx S12 - Careless Whisper
« Reply #10 on: 11:47:05 PM / 03-May-18 »
w00t!

Driver's side door is hung properly and fixed now. Soo smooth, closes better than my lancer.

https://youtu.be/WzaiDr0F3Y0
Post Merge
Was so excited I got it working I forgot to post a little how-to guide for the door hinge fix.

Here is how I went about it.

https://youtu.be/_I5J9BRcgK8
« Last Edit: 12:04:49 PM / 04-May-18 by darquizard »

Offline darquizard

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Re: My Nissan 200sx S12 - Careless Whisper
« Reply #11 on: 05:59:06 PM / 05-May-18 »
The stereo system is installed so now I can at least enjoy some tunes. It's a very basic setup, some just Polk DB series speakers (only the front two, no sound in rear yet), and a Kenwood deck with Bluetooth and 3.5mm. It was very important to me it didn't light up in 20 different colors, it's all black with blue buttons, which matches the car. Maybe someday I'll invest more money to get better sound, but the install went great and it gets loud enough for me. 

Crutchfield tech support is really awesome, I found all of the speakers and their wires using a AA battery and trying every combination of Black and BlackWhite wires coming from the dash and eventually found all of them, labeled them and taped them off. After that I just had to find the constant power, and accessory power, there is no mute, steering wheel control, or antenna (prev. owner removed it, ugh). So it's sounding loud and proud now, I did short out the illumination wire, so I'm sure I blew a fuse, the dash no longer lights up so I've gotta figure that out, Crutchfield tech support guy said it's usually the rear tail-light fuse that goes, but he doesn't know for sure.

I also painted the front bumper with Duplicolor black trim paint, just a temporary fix for now, I'll do all of the exterior rubber moldings with it, just makes the car a little bit nicer until I get all setup to paint properly, it looks really nice though, with very little prep except a very good cleaning and a really basic rough-up with 300 grit, it came out pretty nice.

Fortunately found a pair of compatible Bosch fog lamp lenses that fit the stock mounting, they look exactly the same as the stock ones too, $23 on amazon.

Since getting the driver's side door to hang properly, I also re-installed the side-skirt much better than having it cracked and bowed inward, the epoxy is holding really well. Repaired the front driver's side quarter panel and mounted it correctly, so the door no longer hits it at all, got all of the little trim/body pieces back onto the car so it's looking about 5000% better than when I pulled it up to the house.

Next I've gotta get the stereo mounting figured out, the Kenwood is just kind of sitting in there- I ordered one that says it will fit, and the pictures look like it does, found the part number here on the forums so that should be good to go.


Here is a little video walk-around I did, looking pretty good!
https://youtu.be/yxM68Y5pobQ


Offline CzechSilvia

Re: My Nissan 200sx S12 - Careless Whisper
« Reply #12 on: 01:53:19 AM / 06-May-18 »
Nice progress! What type of Kenwood head unit did you use? I'm also planning to change the stereo system and I'm thinking of buying Clarion FZ102E head unit, doesn't look exactly 80s but at least will be orange like the dash lights and the digital clock.
But what do I know? All I know about cars I learned from youtube...

Offline darquizard

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Re: My Nissan 200sx S12 - Careless Whisper
« Reply #13 on: 10:51:27 AM / 06-May-18 »
It's the 'Kenwood KDC-BT272U' and seems to be working great, speakers get a little bit of distortion when I push them, but no amplifier so thats to be expected.


So, I'm investigating and trying to figure out why my dash does not illuminate, I think I shorted the white/red wire in the radio harness, which Crutchfield said was the illumination wire, so thats probobly why my dash lights don't work.

So off to the fuse panel, only to discover...!



This can't be right - even if I flip the diagram upside down, hardly any of the fuses are correctly rated for their posistion, am I missing something? Am I just an idiot!?

Offline weitrhino

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Re: My Nissan 200sx S12 - Careless Whisper
« Reply #14 on: 12:57:37 PM / 06-May-18 »
I appreciate these little video updates, not only for the work involved and the problem solving but for the sheer joy of seeing an S12 get some love.

Dude, your fuse panel is a wreck! The PO might as well have used pennies in place of fuses.

Offline darquizard

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Re: My Nissan 200sx S12 - Careless Whisper
« Reply #15 on: 03:32:18 PM / 06-May-18 »
I'm just going to replace all of them with the correct fuses I guess, fucking hell. Glad the car hasn't exploded in the mean time.
Post Merge
All of the fuses were tested/replaced to factory specifications.

So, this is a picture of me enjoying the cabin of the car now that the AC works, the windshield wipers work, the dash is illuminated, everything is ice cold and fresh on a hot day.  I do have the radio dash panel, I'm just waiting to re-install it while the universal Metra dash kit comes in the mail. The only thing actually missing is the dash vent covers, which of course nobody makes - if anyone has spares (hahaha) or they can send me one just for a short time, I can get a 3D model scanned and create some non-movable ones with a 3D printer.



« Last Edit: 10:24:16 AM / 07-May-18 by darquizard »

Offline weitrhino

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Re: My Nissan 200sx S12 - Careless Whisper
« Reply #16 on: 02:03:22 PM / 07-May-18 »
There's a guy on one of the Facebook groups who has already made fixed vent prototypes. The last post I saw he needed to make some minor revisions before producing them.

Offline darquizard

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Re: My Nissan 200sx S12 - Careless Whisper
« Reply #17 on: 02:32:01 PM / 07-May-18 »
Oh cool, that would be a big step in the right direction for making it look right.

Does anyone know how to make my hood close tighter? if I press hard on it it does sink into the right posistion, but it tends to pop up just a 1/4 inch but it really makes things look strange IMO. I'll have to take a close look at it.

Offline CzechSilvia

Re: My Nissan 200sx S12 - Careless Whisper
« Reply #18 on: 03:57:22 PM / 07-May-18 »
Oh cool, that would be a big step in the right direction for making it look right.

Does anyone know how to make my hood close tighter? if I press hard on it it does sink into the right posistion, but it tends to pop up just a 1/4 inch but it really makes things look strange IMO. I'll have to take a close look at it.
The bonnet latch is adjustable, try moving it down, it's just two bolts if I'm not mistaken and they are easily accesible with the front grill removed
But what do I know? All I know about cars I learned from youtube...

Offline darquizard

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Re: My Nissan 200sx S12 - Careless Whisper
« Reply #19 on: 01:16:02 PM / 09-May-18 »
Got the interior (kind of) gutted, getting a feel for how bad it is. I work really slowly on interiors because I'm cautious to not mess anything up, trim pieces are neigh impossible to replace due to availability.

Anyway, here is a quick video of the interior situation

https://youtu.be/Fy9ukp85bPs
Post Merge
Using a handy wheel / tire calculator I figured I could get the car to look a bit lower, or just reduce the arch-gap a little bit.

So currently the car has wheels that are 6in width, 15in diameter, with 35mm offset, and the tires are 205/50R15's. So I think if I move to a wheel that is 7in width, 16in diameter, with a 0 offset, and tires that are 225/50R16 then it will reduce the arch gap by about .75 inches, and the offset will be about 1.5 inches further out, making the wheels look a bit more flush as well, though I may stick with the 6inch width so they aren't too crazy.
« Last Edit: 07:45:21 PM / 09-May-18 by darquizard »