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Old 2nd January 2015, 12:29   #1
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Default My Premier 118NE Journey: Mechanical restoration in process

Several of my friends own Premier 118 NEs and I have always found the turbine like roar of the the Datsun A12 derived engine amazing.

I have read Scarlet_Rider, ilangop & Funkykar's exploits with the 118 NE innumerable times and guess I gradually fell in love with the car.

I know that all hell would break loose if my better half sees one more car brought in, but being addicted to team-bhp does not help matters much, does it?

Finally decided to take the plunge.
What better day than the beginning of a new year?

A few pics of the newest addition to the family, shot with a cellphone, yesterday evening.

Mrs is yet to make acquaintance, though.

More posts to follow ...

This narrative would remain incomplete if I didn't mention the saga involved.

The search started by scouring the ads on olx/quikr/trovit/mitula starting 01-Nov-14. A special round of thanks to ilangop as well, for pointing out a car located near KEM hospital.

(a) A Maroon Viceroy circa 1998
Positives -
Ticked pretty much all the boxes. Good body line, minimal rust. A compression test revealed that the engine was in pretty decent shape, plus a friendly/helpful owner .

Negatives -
  • The car had been involved in a front end collision at some point in the past (probably in the hands of the previous owner). Really bad patch up/weld spots visible underneath the bonnet.
  • A section of the front grill was missing and the front end had been modified with four headlights taken off an Eicher truck.
  • A test drive revealed more flaws, major suspension work required, significant play in the steering, ineffective brakes, lots of trim missing from the car.
I decided to opt for the car only as a last resort.

(b) A two-tone (white/brown) NE circa 1998
Positives -
Good body line, new Goodyear radials all around (including spare).

Negatives -
  • A test revealed that the engine lacked compression. Also observed that two of the spark plugs were covered in engine oil.
  • Dead battery. Even after a replacement battery was fitted, the self starter refused to crank indicating possible problems with the starter/solenoid switch.
  • The vehicle was started by pushing and after firing up, the engine was missing all along belching blue/white smoke from the exhaust.
I decided to walk away.

(c) A grey NE circa 1995
Positives -
Good body line, in fairly good condition. A few minor scratches from past encounters with Pune traffic but this was expected.

Negatives -
  • Shoddy paint/patch-up on left front fender.
  • Rusty trunk.
I didn't take any photos of (c).

This car was also a contender until I found "THE RIGHT ONE"

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First, let me state the targeted outcome for this car.

I have no intention of splurging unnecessarily on the vehicle and only wish to undertake repairs necessary for ensuring mechanical/electrical reliability & a tidy appearance.

I prefer to term this as "cost-effective restoration"

Updates for 03-Jan

Had dropped the car off at Javed's garage yesterday for a service.

All spark plugs were cleaned and re-installed. Had attempted to source NGK BP5ES spark plugs but to no avail.

Engine Oil and oil filter was also replaced (HP 15W40 3.3 litres & Purolator PI-127400 respectively).

Transmission fluids would be replaced at a later date.

The front wheels were emitting a loud screech while the car was being driven. I had asked Javed to grease the front wheel bearings. On closer examination, it was found that two of the bearings were shot (the smaller taper bearing on the left & the larger bearing on the right). SKF bearings for the NE could not be found and a different make was sourced from Kalpana motors, NanaPeth. All the bearing were cleaned, packed with new grease and installed.

The front door release levers on the door panels of the car were broken (The original ones are made of sintered metal and break easily. One had to roll down the windows and open it from outside). Plastic replacement levers were purchased.

The rear brake drums were opened up and both drums and brake linings were cleaned with emery paper. No brake fluid leakages were observed. The calipers and the brake pads at the front were also cleaned. Cracks were observed on both front brake hoses. The hoses available at NanaPeth had threaded ends while the ones fitted in the car have a banjo bolt at the caliper end. I intend to replace both hoses plus the brake fluid some time next weekend.

A set of locks operated by a single key for both front doors, trunk & fuel tank lids, glove-box was sourced. For now, only the glove box lock was fitted as the glove box lid was hanging open.

One of the radiator hoses has a crack and needs replacement. The fan-belt and the belt driving the A.C. compressor seem to be in good shape.

The radiator was flushed with clean water. It will be filled with new coolant but only after replacing the damaged radiator hose.

The seats, door pads and the carpet were removed from the car. They are absolutely filthy and need cleaning.

The engine bay, interiors & the trunk of the car have been sprayed with diesel to loosen many years of accumulated dirt & grime.

Rust and perforations were observed on the floor panels (driver & co-passenger side) and would be repaired next week.

Updates for 04-Jan
The carpet & the seat covers were cleaned with detergent and left to dry. Some amount of tear in the carpet was observed and would be stitched & repaired before fitment.

The original upholstery seems damaged (due to sheer age) and would be patched up tomorrow. I have no intention of re-upholstering the car as of now.

Managed to find the used 118 NE sump-guard & a jack. Some #80 grit emery paper, a can of aerosol paint and some elbow grease helped achieve pretty good results.

Will share more updates during the week.

To Do
  1. Remove the corroded sections on the floor pans and weld in new sections. Coat entire floor pan area with rust proof paint.
  2. Make provision for spraying oil on the innards of the running boards
  3. Braze broken flag-pole on the front fender
  4. Fabricate a bracket for the windshield washer reservoir
  5. Clean the radiator & galleries inside the engine block. Use new coolant after replacing radiator hoses
  6. Smear grease inside all four doors
  7. Stitch together torn sections of the carpet
  8. Repair & clean original upholstery (seats/door pads/roof lining)
  9. Sort out all electricals
  10. Clean carburetor & tune-up
  11. Replace front brake hoses, brake oil & bleed the brake circuits
  12. Install missing bolt on front wheel/Tap in new threads in case threads are damaged
  13. Procure hubcaps for all wheels
  14. Seal off the area on the rear left fender which has a broken antenna
  15. Fit a maruti van antenna on the A pillar to plug the holes which remain from a previous installation
  16. Clean all fuel lines/replace fuel filters/hoses, if needed
  17. Fix the faulty fog lamps
  18. Procure a wing nut for the air filter housing
  19. Procure a choke cable
  20. Replace engine oil filler cap - Done

Just to name a few ...

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Last edited by GTO : 6th January 2015 at 18:52. Reason: Adding your latest update to the opening post :)
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Old 2nd January 2015, 12:42   #2
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Default re: My Premier 118NE Journey: Mechanical restoration in process

Let me be the first one to congratulate you on your newest acquisition. HNY 2015.
In line with your PP, you have bought yourself a gem of a car.
Please post more photos (we are alway game for more and more photos) and your buying experience.
Illango is in Pune and has an awesome NE.

Raab rakha.
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Old 2nd January 2015, 13:00   #3
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Default re: My Premier 118NE Journey: Mechanical restoration in process

Quote:
Originally Posted by bikertillidie View Post
Several of my friends own Premier 118 NEs and I have always found the turbine like roar of the the Datsun A12 derived engine amazing.

I have read Scarlet_Rider, ilangop & Funkybar's exploits with the 118 NE innumerable times and guess I gradually fell in love with the car.
Wait...Wait- I know this car. One of my neighbours used to have a very similar car- the reflector strip on the boot, coz the car would've given an FC Test, sometime around 2008/09/10. Perhaps.

MH12YA- Would be a 1998/99 registration, Pune Central.

I perfectly recall the fender flagpole, and vividly recall a reflector strip on the boot.

Perhaps she had an LPG- I'm not very sure.

Tell me, who was the first owner, and the owner from 2003-10ish.

And where exactly did they live in Pune?

The car parked next to her used to be a mint blue M800, with an excellent number- MH14H/5554. And our cars used to be parked beside them, the Alto- MH08C/1003, and MH12BV/6XXX facelifted WagonR F10D, in that loveable yellow. All of them long gone. The WR sold, the Alto stolen, and the blue M800 was last seen driven by a rowdy looking bunch of teenagers, in October 2013.

Ah, those were the days!

There is another similar example in the Aundh area. Daily runner. It is MH12BP registered- reregistered in all probability.

Last edited by FINTAIL : 2nd January 2015 at 13:17.
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Old 2nd January 2015, 13:07   #4
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Default re: My Premier 118NE Journey: Mechanical restoration in process

Quote:
Originally Posted by FINTAIL View Post
Wait...Wait- I know this car. One of my neighbours used to have a very similar car.

I perfectly recall the fender flagpole, and vividly recall a reflector strip on the boot.

Perhaps she had an LPG- I'm not very sure.

Tell me, who was the first owner, and the owner from 2003-10ish.

And where exactly did they live in Pune. There is another similar example in the Aundh area. Daily runner. It is MH12BP registered- reregistered in all probability.
You are absolutely right. The car does have a Lovato LPG kit fitted.

It was owned by a certain Mr. Bedekar of Dattawadi.
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Old 2nd January 2015, 13:15   #5
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Default re: My Premier 118NE Journey: Mechanical restoration in process

Quote:
Originally Posted by bikertillidie View Post
You are absolutely right. The car does have a Lovato LPG kit fitted.

It was owned by a certain Mr. Bedekar of Dattawadi.
Dattawadi would be in the PCMC ,no? I've always lived in the PMC limits.

Perhaps he rented a flat? I'll find out.

Is it a one owner car, by any chance? Who was the first owner? The car I know was sold in the late 2000's. Perhaps.

I haven't seen the car since 2010. The lights on the grille again ring a bell.

This car sounds very familiar. Very familiar.

Is the antenna on the rear fender broken by any chance?

Last edited by FINTAIL : 2nd January 2015 at 13:20.
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Old 2nd January 2015, 14:28   #6
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Default re: My Premier 118NE Journey: Mechanical restoration in process

Quote:
Originally Posted by FINTAIL View Post
Dattawadi would be in the PCMC ,no? I've always lived in the PMC limits.

Perhaps he rented a flat? I'll find out.

Is it a one owner car, by any chance? Who was the first owner? The car I know was sold in the late 2000's. Perhaps.

I haven't seen the car since 2010. The lights on the grille again ring a bell.

This car sounds very familiar. Very familiar.

Is the antenna on the rear fender broken by any chance?
Dattawadi is indeed under PCMC jurisdiction.
I had purchased the car off its second owner.
Yes, the antenna on the rear fender is broken. It probably was an after-market fitment judging by its looks.

Last edited by bikertillidie : 2nd January 2015 at 14:29. Reason: Typo
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Old 2nd January 2015, 14:33   #7
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Default re: My Premier 118NE Journey: Mechanical restoration in process

LCongrats on the new acquisition and she looks gorgeous. Looking forward to see more of her interiors and below the bonnet by way of photos.
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Old 2nd January 2015, 16:27   #8
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Default re: My Premier 118NE Journey: Mechanical restoration in process

Dear Anirban - congratulations! I would love to see it, maybe next week, sometime in the evening. Please read my post in the the "Himalayan Rally" thread of the 1987 event. Although I have mentioned my Mumbai - Delhi - Rally Route - Delhi - Mumbai trip in MGQ8174 there, this was only one of the numerous Mumbai / Delhi - Mumbai trips that I had done in it. This car appears very docile from the outside, but in the right hands, it is extremely potent. I'll tell you what to do and what all can be done. I'll also tell you the exact areas where you need to be careful, for preserving it forever.

Some unique information - please see if you can find any information on the NISMO catalogue for the A12 engine. NISMO stands for "Nissan Motorsports International". Just to give you a mouth watering teaser, the A12 engine, originally 1171 cc developing 52BHP/5600 rpm can become 1298 cc developing 120BHP/6000 rpm. NISMO had everything engineered, using the same block! 2 kits were actually imported, they were kept in the stores and were never used, SAD! Then there was Jay Mehta / Thirumal Roy's GBO409 in the 1989 Himalayan Rally. It was prepared in England, flown into New Delhi on the day of pre-event scrutiny (I was the scrutineer, K.K.Krishnamurthy was the chief scrutineer, the venue was the National Stadium). It had brake bias built into it. It was extremely fast, we did 160+ on the Ghaziabad road the night before the flag-off. I have a picture at scrutiny, enjoy! Then there was MH011388 that Katie Bhathena raced on the Juhu track on 08 February 1989 against MFC 977, the BMW M3 of our dear "Jangu Uncle" (Jangu Nicholson)! .

Wow, those were the days, please relive them, now that you have the car.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
Attached Thumbnails
My Premier 118NE Journey: Mechanical restoration in process-scan0016.jpg  


Last edited by DHABHAR.BEHRAM : 2nd January 2015 at 16:29.
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Old 5th January 2015, 17:55   #9
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Default re: My Premier 118NE Journey: Mechanical restoration in process

Quote:
Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM View Post
Dear Anirban - congratulations! I would love to see it, maybe next week, sometime in the evening. Please read my post in the the "Himalayan Rally" thread of the 1987 event. Although I have mentioned my Mumbai - Delhi - Rally Route - Delhi - Mumbai trip in MGQ8174 there, this was only one of the numerous Mumbai / Delhi - Mumbai trips that I had done in it. This car appears very docile from the outside, but in the right hands, it is extremely potent. I'll tell you what to do and what all can be done. I'll also tell you the exact areas where you need to be careful, for preserving it forever.

Some unique information - please see if you can find any information on the NISMO catalogue for the A12 engine. NISMO stands for "Nissan Motorsports International". Just to give you a mouth watering teaser, the A12 engine, originally 1171 cc developing 52BHP/5600 rpm can become 1298 cc developing 120BHP/6000 rpm. NISMO had everything engineered, using the same block! 2 kits were actually imported, they were kept in the stores and were never used, SAD! Then there was Jay Mehta / Thirumal Roy's GBO409 in the 1989 Himalayan Rally. It was prepared in England, flown into New Delhi on the day of pre-event scrutiny (I was the scrutineer, K.K.Krishnamurthy was the chief scrutineer, the venue was the National Stadium). It had brake bias built into it. It was extremely fast, we did 160+ on the Ghaziabad road the night before the flag-off. I have a picture at scrutiny, enjoy! Then there was MH011388 that Katie Bhathena raced on the Juhu track on 08 February 1989 against MFC 977, the BMW M3 of our dear "Jangu Uncle" (Jangu Nicholson)! .

Wow, those were the days, please relive them, now that you have the car.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
Thank you sir!
Was doing some reading between meetings at work and came across the NISMO catalogs which does mention a 1298 cc variant of the A12 engine.

http://datsun1200.com/modules/myalbum/photo.php?lid=413

Last edited by bikertillidie : 5th January 2015 at 17:56. Reason: typo
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Old 6th January 2015, 19:05   #10
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Default Re: My Premier 118NE Journey: Mechanical restoration in process

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Tech Stuff. Thanks for sharing!

Man, seeing that blue air filter box, big two-spoke steering wheel, meter console with clock sure brings back memories. This is me with car no. 1641 bought from BCMA, Opera House. Great gearbox, spacious cabin & nice ride. But without doubt, it was the most unreliable car we've ever owned. In comparison, a Premier 137D bought at about the same time was far more robust.

Mine had the usual mods of the time: Number plates, jet black tints with front pull-up curtain , fake Pioneer stereo (with blinking equalizer knobs), autocop security, foglights...enough to make the car feel 'fully loaded'. How times change.

My Premier 118NE Journey: Mechanical restoration in process-p1000323.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM View Post
I have a picture at scrutiny, enjoy!
Talk of a wolf in sheep's clothing, wow!

The 118 looks delicious. This picture is proof of the famous statement 'wheels make the car, just like legs make the lady'. The rubber has completely transformed its personality.
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Old 7th January 2015, 08:08   #11
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Default Re: My Premier 118NE Journey: Mechanical restoration in process

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Mine had the usual mods of the time: Number plates, jet black tints with front pull-up curtain , fake Pioneer stereo (with blinking equalizer knobs), autocop security, foglights...enough to make the car feel 'fully loaded'. How times change.
Hi Rushabh,
The car looks really great ! Too bad, it turned out to be unreliable.
When was this photograph taken - early 90s?

Updates as of 06-Jan

Bodywork has finally begun.
Rusty sections of the flooring are being removed. Radiator hoses have also been procured.
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Old 8th January 2015, 11:43   #12
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Default Re: My Premier 118NE Journey: Mechanical restoration in process

Updates as of 07-Jan

I managed to find two litres of 80W90 GL4 transmission fluid. Had searched high & low but GL5 continues to remain elusive.

Work on the body is on full swing. Discovered some additional damaged sections on the car -

21. Additional rust spots/perforations discovered on the RHS running boards & trunk
22. Hump to accommodate spare wheel was damaged - Fixed

I attach a few more photos showing the rusty areas, the damaged front wheel bearing & broken door release levers.
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Old 9th January 2015, 10:45   #13
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Default Re: My Premier 118NE Journey: Mechanical restoration in process

There was no progress since 08-Jan as Munna (the tinkerer/welder) is unwell.
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Old 12th January 2015, 12:44   #14
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Default Re: My Premier 118NE Journey: Mechanical restoration in process

Updates as of 11-Jan -

Most of the pending work has been completed over the weekend and a couple of new issues have cropped up.
  1. Remove the corroded sections on the floor pans and weld in new sections. Coat entire floor pan area with rust proof paint
    - Done. Two litres of 3M Underseal rust proof paint was used to coat the sections underneath the car.
  2. Make provision for spraying oil on the innards of the running boards
    - Done. Provisions already exist on the car. The rubber grommets near the driver and co-passengers feet were removed and used engine oil was sprayed inside the running board until it started dripping from below.
  3. Braze broken flag-pole on the front fender
    - Done
  4. Fabricate a bracket for the windshield washer reservoir
    - Done
  5. Clean the radiator & galleries inside the engine block. Use new coolant after replacing radiator hoses
    - Pending
  6. Smear grease inside all four doors
    - Done
  7. Stitch together torn sections of the carpet
    - Stitching proved tougher than I expected. After a couple of broken needles and blistered fingers, I gave up
  8. Repair & clean original upholstery (seats/door pads/roof lining)
    - Done. Used surf detergent powder & water to clean the roof lining and the seats. The door pads seem to be covered with some kind of polythene like material and hence could not be cleaned. This will be attended to later.
  9. Sort out all electricals
    - Done. The friendly Lucas TVS dealer at Gadital helped out.
  10. Clean carburettor & tune-up
    - Deferred a thorough clean up of the carb for later. Used carb spray after opening up the air-filter housing to clean up deposits accumulated around the butterfly valves. The spark plugs were cleaned and the gap was set to 0.9 mm using a feeler gauge. The C/B points were cleaned up and the ignition timing was set to 7 degrees before TDC using a timing light. Someone had earlier setup the timing to 15 degrees before TDC (probably to cater to LPG requirements). The gap between C/B points was adjusted and dwell angle now reads as 48 degrees. The idling rpm was set to 800. Valve clearance checks and a thorough clean up of the distributor have been deferred for later. The engine now runs silky smooth.
  11. Replace front brake hoses, brake oil & bleed the brake circuits
    - Done. The brake circuits need further bleeding though.
  12. Install missing bolt on front wheel/tap in new threads in case threads are damaged
    - Pending
  13. Procure hubcaps for all wheels
    - Done. Managed to source new stainless steel hubcaps (Everest) from a very old shop. Was really exhausted following up on multiple leads. Phew !!
  14. Seal off the area on the rear left fender which has a broken antenna
    - Done. Fixed a rubber grommet.
  15. Fit a maruti van antenna on the A pillar to plug the holes which remain from a previous installation
    - Done.
  16. Clean all fuel lines/replace fuel filters/hoses, if needed
    - Pending
  17. Fix the faulty fog lamps
    - Done.
  18. Procure a wing nut for the air filter housing
    - Done.
  19. Procure a choke cable
    - Done. Will need to replace the knob though as the current one reads "STOP".
  20. Replace engine oil filler cap
    - Done
  21. Additional rust spots/perforations discovered on the RHS running boards & trunk
    - Done. The areas were patched up and the sections repainted.
  22. Hump to accommodate spare wheel was damaged
    - Fixed.

Additionally, the gear oil has also been replaced. Approximately 1.5 litres of Castrol 80W90 GL4 oil was required for the purpose.

1 litre of HP EP90 gear oil was used for the differential.

Still pending -

  1. Identify the source of a loud metallic screech from the front. It crops up in an erratic manner and the sound cannot be heard at all times. I suspect either (a) a faulty electromagnetic clutch in the a.c. compressor unit or (b) the speedometer drive. Will require further investigation.
  2. The a.c. plumbing needs to be checked for leaks and filled with R12 / R134a refrigerant.
  3. Source generic rubber mats for the car. I don't want to mess up the existing carpet even though it's torn at a few places.
  4. Fit an "el cheapo" head unit to fill the gaping hole in the front fascia and reconnect the existing speakers fitted within the car. I am eyeing an unit on SnapDeal quoted at Rs 744.
  5. The tie-rod ends are gone and will require replacement. This would be handled later based on availability of vitamin M.
  6. All suspension bushings need replacement. The car can still be driven for a few thousand kms in its current state but this is required for complete peace of mind. Will require lots of free time and vitamin M.
  7. Stumbled across some more damage while inspecting the underneath of the car. The sway bar at the rear seems to be damaged though it did not appear to be very serious. The sump also seems damaged. I am glad I decided to get the sump guard installed. Will try to source these from scrapyards during my next trip to Bombay.


Updates as of 12-Jan -

Drove the car to work today.
The engine & the gear box felt buttery smooth. I now realize what I had been missing all these days .....

Waited a few minutes watching the poor security guard struggle to open the bonnet for checks. Had to step out to help him, as there were about ten cars queued up behind me. Struggled to hold back a smile when the guard remarked "Apna parking lot mein toh aise bonnet kabhi aayah nahin hain".

Really enjoying my day so far !!!

A few pics from the weekend.
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Last edited by bikertillidie : 12th January 2015 at 13:14. Reason: To aid formatting/typos
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Old 15th January 2015, 12:59   #15
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Default Re: My Premier 118NE Journey: Mechanical restoration in process

Updates as of 15-Jan -

In order to fix the issue of spongy brakes, Javed & team attempted bleeding the brake circuits once again. The bleeding nipples were completely choked up with dirt and had to be thoroughly cleaned.

Despite bleeding, the brakes remained spongy

A faulty master cylinder was suspected. A trip to Nanapeth proved futile as no one seemed to have a TVS Girling tandem master cylinder & the vacuum servo unit in stock. Promises such as "doh deen ke baad confirm karenge" etc were being made by the sellers.

Without further ado, a replacement unit was sourced from a scrapped car. I have still placed an order for a master cylinder kit & a servo unit just as a back-up.

On opening up the existing unit, we found the master cylinder to be leaking, confirming our initial suspicions.

The tie-rod ends/suspension bushes were lubricated and most of the creaks have now disappeared. The anti-roll/sway bar bushes have completely disintegrated but could not be replaced due to a jammed nut with stripped threads. This will be handled over the weekend.

A head unit has been procured from SnapDeal (an unknown make named "Sound Boss") to fill the gaping hole below the dash board. The speakers have been wired up but I am yet to hook up the antenna.
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Last edited by bikertillidie : 15th January 2015 at 13:07. Reason: Terminology change
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