Project Garage: Making it Messy

By Sarah Forst

There are seven cars in Project Garage - one for each day of the week.  Well, four in it and three outside of it.  At any rate, it's a constant stream of car projects, from simple fluid changes and suspension upgrades to engine swaps and cam installations.  The Garage is a well-oiled machine. Having sufficient lighting and electrical outlets (Part 2) to efficient tool storage (Part 4 and Part 7) has made working on cars much easier.  Even large scale projects are less daunting with this much organization. However,  Project Garage was about to be faced with its biggest job yet.

Rusty NX
All those years of salt and winters have taken a toll on this NX!

The prognosis wasn't good - cancer; and it was terminal!  I've shared many memories with my beloved Nissan NX, from cruising with the t-tops off on hot summer days (race car A/C) to breaking my road racing cherry at a Friday Funday event at Nelson Ledges.  And now she was dying.  A screwdriver could quickly penetrate the A-pillar and put her out of her misery.  The henna colored tumors were bubbling up everywhere from the fenders to the wheel wells to the sideskirts and trunk lid.  No amount of sheet metal work or bondo coverup was worth getting this car to pass inspection. She wasn't going to be easy to be replaced.

I had dreams for her.  She was going to be my road-race sleeper.  The NX already handles beautifully around the corners.  I just wanted to slip a nice SR16VE N1 or SR20VE 20V (both about as rare as a Sasquatch sighting) or some sort of SR block Frankenstein combination in her engine bay and take her for a ride.  The T-top equipped car made me a little leery to make a full-on race car but locating a non-rusty hard top NX is a lot like finding a winning lotto ticket in the trash.  
Removing engine from NX
This engine hoist has seen better days and tends to leak hydraulic fluid, making it much easier to drop the engine rather than hoist it.
And then I looked in the right trash can.  It was red, but I could always paint it; and a 1.6L automatic - also fixable.  So I rented a truck and a trailer to journey up to Long Island for pickup.  I didn't get more than 10 miles from my house before there was a hitch in my plan.  Or rather, no hitch.  Going through an intersection, the trailer so skillfully hooked up by the rental place decided to drive itself. Luckily, it rolled back about 15 feet and into a curb rather than someone's expensive car.  I had to walk the trailer around the corner while 2 of 4 bystanders helped me, the other 2 just pointed and laughed.  It was a long day and a long drive but she made it back and fit comfortably in the 4th bay of Project Garage.  
Where she sat for years…  They say 'Mo Cars, 'Mo Problems.  Ain't that the truth!  I felt like Octomom with 7 “kids" in my family, all cranky and high maintenance.  A wild hair (and a few beers) would finally provoke a full day's work on the red NX, stripping her down and removing the sorry powerplant she came with.  She was finally just a shell of bare metal.  Now I just needed to get everything out of her sister.  
Removing engine from white NX
150k + miles and still going.  If my VE dreams don't materialize, this baby is going in the red NX.
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Friday, May 18, 2012 3:07 AM
How was the glass, specifically the front windshield? If it is hard to find parts wouldn't that mean the glass will be difficult also?
Wes Dumalski
Wes Dumalskilink
Friday, May 18, 2012 7:11 AM
Shoulda kept the GA16!
Friday, May 18, 2012 2:06 PM
jasonrg77, i own a glass company and just for fun i went in my system to order an nx windshield and no suppliers carry it.. not one of the 4 major glass suppliers i deal with have it. that means you have to get one from the dealer.
Friday, May 18, 2012 3:16 PM
Oh no, here we go again with the Ghey one six..... Give it a rest cheese boy! Jump back in the Lotus and pipe down..... :P
Friday, May 18, 2012 6:45 PM
looking forward to hearing about the revival of the SER
Saturday, May 19, 2012 12:20 AM
Sarah, I'd have been tempted to keep the rear hatch as it doesn't look too rusty - but that's long gone. Keep up the good work.

Seeing the doughnut tire on the car reminded me of driving one of my rusty NXs to it's resting place - 60 miles in the rain - on four doughnut tires. It was a fun drive!

Keep us updated.
Sarah Forst
Sarah Forstlink
Saturday, May 19, 2012 4:00 AM
The glass was very pock-marked and I figured it'd just break if I tried to remove it. The rear hatch wasn't bad but it's so big, I had to consider where I could store and luckily it's not one of those pieces you tend to screw up at the track like fenders or bumpers.

@nissanNx, that must have been a fun drive. At least you only sacrificed four wheels not usually fit for the road.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, May 21, 2012 4:49 PM
Annie Sam got a lexan windshield for her NX made somewhere, you might want to ask her where.
Tevs Yen
Tevs Yenlink
Tuesday, May 22, 2012 7:34 AM
there is a USDM NX1600 being sold with bad rust here in The Philippines for equivalent $2,000. That Chassis would have easily been restored here since good tinsmith labor cost is pretty cheap.

too bad we are not close by like Mexico, your rusty NX would have been a great project car here at my shop :(

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 11:42 AM
Shoulda stuck to the best coast silly Sarah,

I picked up 2 SR20VE's for $700 each and there were 5 or 6 to choose from.....

one at a time they are $800.

Osaka JDM Motors No. Ho.
Pete S.
Pete S.link
Thursday, October 04, 2012 11:55 AM
this story reminds me of my white, 91 SE-R, which went to the crushers looking nearly identical... although sans the rust... my neighbors at the time were not so forgiving to my project car dreams... i still weep a little here and there

but now i have 2 NX2k's, one a daily driver and one a project...
with the same dreams in mind in fact... going VE... always toyed with a GTi-R transplant in the street car for fun, but VE for the race car...

anyway, best of luck and cant wait to see more articles about the Egg!
Pete S.
Pete S.link
Saturday, October 13, 2012 7:04 PM
sarah... here ya go

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