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April 2013 - Dunmanifestin (P11)

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    Posted: 28 Mar 2013 at 6:37am

Congratulations on winning April 2013 COTM Arron! Both yourself and your Nissan Primera P11 GT Saloon, are a very worthy entry in the NPOC Hall Of Fame!! How does it feel bagging this exclusive award and the awesome COTM trophy as well?

Thank you very much! Well, my initial response was “Holy Mother of Wow” to be honest I didn’t think my car (or maybe indeed myself) had enough of a presence to even be in the running! But as someone who logs in on the 1st of the month, if I can get to a connection to see who’s won COTM, I’m well chuffed and honoured to get the Private Message!

Before we talk cars, modifications and mechanics, we’d love to find out about you the owner. Please tell us about yourself and what you get up to, away from the NPOC.

Well, it’s hard not to talk mechanics as that’s my job! But, OK, I’m Arron, I’ve always lived in Folkestone, Kent, I’ve just turned 30, and still feel 18, I went to University at Kent and got an honours degree in Computer Systems Engineering, then proceeded straight into retail in the now defunct Comet, then for a software company, who gave me a very nice Passat and shoved me all over the country to work, which was great, I loved seeing new places.

After that, I joined my best mate travelling round Australia, Fiji and the US, which was amazing, I learnt to surf and dive, saw some great things and met some fantastic people. Then, I came back to the family business, as a qualified mechanic, the money’s not great but I love it, and I’ve learnt happiness is far more important, if less handy for paying bills.

Other than cars, my main passion is music, (mostly rock/punk/metal) I learnt to play guitar at uni, (and have now acquired 3, one modified! LOL) and was in a band rather briefly, and still jam and create new stuff with a couple of members, and try to get to as many gigs as I can. As some of you may know from my recent ticket misplacement incident!

I used to mechanic for a friend and his dad tarmac rallying in a mk1 escort, and can often be found wandering round at my local circuit (Lydden Hill) when an event is on.

How did you find the NPOC forums and are we any good? Would you happily recommend the club to other Nissan Primera owners?

Oh blimey, after 9 odd years…I can barely remember the day before my last sleep! It would’ve been a pre Google search engine, most likely Alta Vista, looking for somewhere to get some tips on what to look for in the car I desired, and get some ideas of what could be done with it. I’d absolutely recommend the club! The general level of support, camaraderie and playful mickey taking is enough to keep anyone wanting to come back. We’re just all so darned helpful.

What keeps you coming back to the forums every day?

The idea I’m going to see something new or entirely radical on a member’s car, (like “essNchill”s gearstick for instance), the general nosiness of human nature to see what everyone’s up to, a scour around the trading section, and to see if there’s anything I can help out with, or just want to get my opinion in on.

What got you into a Nissan Primera to start with, was it on the list of cars to own, or a chance encounter?

It was very much on the list to own. My dad used to work for the local dealer, and it was a black eZX P10 that started the whole thing. I’d taken a shine to S12’s and a black Bluebird turbo ZX, (it was the vents in front of the rear lenses…I wanted them) but the P10 was stunning, and we had it as a company car for a few weeks. I was little then, but as I grew up, in the heydays of the BTCC, the P11 came though as a new favourite, I fawned over getting one for ages, and then after I graduated, I came back from a holiday to Mum saying, “hey, I found this from your car in here” and handed me a 6-disc cd changer. I was baffled, as my trusty BX didn’t have one, then I looked outside and they’d gone and got me a GT ‘loon in black from Wales on an auction site, whilst I was away on the basis my graduation present was the interest free loan of the money they’d just spent. Best. Summer. Ever. (Once I’d gone and got a box without 5th gear pop out.)!

Do you have a history with the Nissan Primera brand, or is this your first time?

No owning history myself, but tied to the brand through Dad’s old red J-suffix 120Y, and Mum and Dad’s White colour coded B11 SGX, and obviously Dad’s employment. I spent many a weekend in the showroom, parts department and workshop looking at these great machines.

Would you say you are a car modifier, or just passionate about keeping the Primera on the road and using the opportunity to replace failed factory parts with upgrades?

It’s mostly the former I’d say, although quite often it’s the failing of parts that forces my hand to going for those upgrades. I love taking something and making it mine though, we all know cars are mass produced to certain tolerances, and we can improve them in our own way.

Any previous cars, you have thrown a lot of love and money at, in making it “your own”?

One specifically, a silver 1988 Citroën BX 14 RE. My first car, and with me until the P11 came along, it went from a totally stock, to something a bit my own, but very OEM+. GTIs, GTI16vs, they all donated to the cause, I loved that car more than I ever should have, and was gutted to see the new owner failed to tax it, operation cubit took it. I colour coded the bumpers, (after upgrading them to GTI spec, with front fogs and lip spoiler) and the rear wheel trim piece. Headlamp protectors, a phase 1 GT vinyl rear spoiler, facelift short nose bonnet and grill. Facelift smoked rear lenses, de-pinstriped, 16v interior with rear headphone sockets, rev counter, and gauges. Oh, and an AX GT Weber carburetor. That hydraulic suspension was so smooooth (but a bit soft in the corners).

On to the modifications, now would be a great time to tell us all about your gorgeous Nissan Primera P11 GT Saloon! So please list your full spec and all modifications, inside and out:

Oh blimey!

On the outside:

Headlamp protectors (obligatory for me)

Clear side repeaters

De badged rear (started by some thieving little twit one night)

Twin rear fog mod (value for moneytastic)

Custom self cut-out front bumper, meshed (I’m not paying for *another* A/C rad!)
Bonnet grills re-meshed to match the bumper

Front bumper corners splittered (off something Renault, I found it in the boot of a P11 I bought to strip, from a well known member on here!)

Aero blade wipers

White LED front sidelights

Amber LED front indicators

Amber LED side repeaters

Amber LED rear indicators

Red LED stop and tail lights

White LED number plate lights (to complete the circuit so I can leave the sidelights on when parked on some of our more scary country lanes)

Fortunately for me, the car already had clear rears and red calipers!

Nissan Primera P11 114 rub strips, if they make it out of paint by Friday! The pictures will tell!

Colour coded door handles

Colour coded boot trim

OEM mudflaps (these took so long to get I’d just about given up!)


Alcantara door re-trim (to be redone thicker)

Short shifter (I got fed up of turning the air-con on into 3rd gear)

Kenwood Bluetooth, USB, 3.5mm aux, Parrot hands-free head unit.

Pioneer 6x9 rear speakers (mounted under the shelf through original grilles)

Pioneer component front speakers, with crossover (tweeters on the wing mirror covers)

Oil Pressure gauge (due to issues)

Centre console modified to house 3.5mm jack lead that will reach all 4 corners of the car, and usb port

Original Nissan carpet mats (though, I think it’s time to replace)

Under dash fuel pump cut-off switch (again, due to issues)

Removed driver’s foot rest (long legs!)

Boot sound proofed

Nissan Primera P12 gear knob

Later P11 GT steering wheel with thumb rests

Auction site special boot liner

Spare Alloy (well, 7 really…)

Engine etc:

KYB Excel-G shocks all round (Stock replacement)

KYB K-Flex Coil springs all round (Stock replacement)

De-rubbered offside driveshaft, re-balanced with metal and underseal!

Goodridge stainless brake hoses

De-resonator boxed intake

Sticker bombed strut brace (why not)

Red coolant, washer, brake fluid and PAS lids

Auction site Stainless manifold and downpipe

Powerspeed Ashford hi flow cat and stainless cat back

What’s the most enjoyable change you’ve made so far?

Hard to call, the gear stick is practical. The usb port is fly. That cat back is awesome, and I love the open bumper, and re-spraying the rear corner from bare metal was a big achievement for me (it was all crazed) but, I think the sticker bombed strut brace, just because it gives me the giggles every time I open the bonnet.

Any horror stories of something you thought was going to be an awesome idea but just didn’t work when it went onto the car and can now be found in a bin somewhere LOL??

Not checking the lacquer on my rear trim panel was UV resistant! Or, my red cam cover. Lesson learnt never to trust anyone’s work without checking. I trusted my local dealer to shot blast and clean the cam cover, I failed to check and lost oil pressure in my engine. I didn’t cotton on until I’d gotten another car and engine through “GT786” and the same thing happened. I ripped the baffle off and there was sand everywhere. I’ve since replaced the oil pump and big end bearings and thrust washers in-situ on the current engine, whilst the other engine is becoming something more.

If I gave £500 right now and told you it had to be spent on the car, what would you buy?

Nistune without a doubt but I’d hold off until the new bits are in, when it’ll be worth it.

If money was no object and you could do anything you wanted to your Nissan Primera GT, what would you do?

Hehe, don’t we all write this list out a few times a year to ourselves? Well, not including the bits already in progress…


BMC CDA intake

Thermoblock intake spacers (as I’ve not ordered them yet)

A second 12v socket in the front

A second relocated OBD port so I can hook up the laptop without cables over the steering column)

Footwell and open door courtesy lighting

Flock my spare non airbag dash

Re-trim my spare set of GT seats

Poly bush ARB and links

Poly exhaust hangers too, as there’s a bit of back / forward travel I’d like to eliminate

Find some alloys I like with centre caps to cover the nuts (pet hate)

It would most likely need a little suspension tweak then too!

Some form of window tint, even if just UV

Some custom rear bumper spats (though I have some ideas on that)

Body work sorted and sprayed

Maybe a JDM dual din dash to fit some vital gauges in (Oil Pressure / Battery Voltage)

Quaife LSD

I’m still undecided on the wind deflectors…

I’d love to throw some R33 midnight purple under the bonnet

New wheel bearings, hubs, and abs sensor on the offside front! (oops)

It’s obvious from the answers to a couple of the above questions, there’s possibly something in the pipeline at the moment, care to share?

No! Hehe, of course. Well, as I got a spare car, with all its spare car parts, I’ve got an engine in several pieces, it’s currently a labour of love / first trial at something a bit serious, but several members have supplied me with some parts and I’m trying to get it all together between jobs, and tidied up when done. Spec wise, we’re looking at:

SR20VE oil pump kit, spacer etc

Lightweight crank and water pump pulleys

Fidanza flywheel

Ishihara Johnson Crankscraper with Teflon

SR16VE balanced and coated pistons and rings

New graded shells and thrust washers

Exhaust port matched and polished

New chain, tensioner, guides, gaskets

It should be fun! And will be married to my newly self refurbed 300zx front calipers.

All these bits are in varying stages of being ready, due to family issues, work issues and generally life getting in the way, but it’s getting there!

Do you carry out most of the repair work yourself and is there anything you wouldn’t take on and out of 1 – 5, what rated spanner monkey do you consider yourself to be?

I’m very happy to say I do most everything myself. When I can find the time! I’d love to say 5 – Spanner Orangutan, but, there is always more to learn, even for the professionals! I’m happy to say there are very few jobs I’ve never undertaken on a vehicle.

Time for the quick fire question round!

What makes you smile? 
Induction noise, killer riffs, thoughtful good deeds.

What makes you sad? 
Working on Renaults / Vauxhalls, selfish actions, injustice.

Tell us something we don't know about you..
I have three fake teeth, I’ve broken several bones, I’m a Liverpool fan.

Your favourite colour? 
Black. If you wish to argue that’s a shade, then Blue!

Your lucky number? 
52. No, really.

What will it say on your gravestone?
Should’ve cut the blue wire.

Your favourite drink (any)? 
I drink more blackcurrant squash than anyone I know.

Your sub £10K second hand dream car would be? 
I’ve a list as long as your arm, if not longer. Possibly a MNP R33 GTR. Though a Cerbera V8, BMW 850 or SupraRr would be nice! Or a decent ‘60s Fastback 
Mustang GT to restore and modernise.

If you could steal the keys to someone else’s car (on NPOC) for 1 day, which car would you steal and why?
Ooooo, that’s a toughie, there are many good choices, non Primera would probably be “Ant-Dat”s 180B, I’ve got a thing for older cars with new gear.

So you’ve been an NPOC member for 9 years now (WOW!) and to date, we’ve never met you, or seen you at any of our Club Meets – I’m genuinely interested as to why?

Hehe, drats, I was hoping no-one would notice. *looks innocent* Mostly until the last 2 years I’ve been moving around so much during the week my weekends were spent recovering, and the fact I didn’t want to show the car until it was tidy enough. But I’ve come to realise it’s never going to be tidy enough for me, so it’s time to start getting more involved. Especially as I now make the odd trip down to Havant and I’m a bit shy with new people.

Plus, you all scare me LOL!

Can you see yourself owning this car for a long time, or will it’s time sadly come and you’ll be driving something completely different?

This car is stuck with me ‘til one of us dies. I will have other cars, but this one will stay. (The joys of being in the trade, running costs are greatly reduced!).

NPOC for life (regardless of what car you own and drive) or leg it when you change car?

Well, ignoring the not getting rid, I’ll always be around, I like it here. This is the only forum on the internet I still have any activity on!

Sum up in a few words, why everyone should own a Nissan Primera??

Because they’re massively under-rated, well built, decently designed, great handling, mostly reliable, and cost effective motoring.

Tell Carlos Ghosn why he needs to bring back the Nissan Primera brand:

Well, maybe he shouldn’t if Renault are to be involved! But, the reasoned argument would be in recession people spend more time in the bedroom, which means there will be more need for a family car, and not everyone wants a crossover, you have a gap in your product line up, fill it with a practical, well handling family car, with potential and people will always buy it.

From 2013 onwards in every COTM feature, my final question to all winners is going to be this one... If you could change 1 thing about the NPOC Forums, what would it be and why (and don’t be shy)?

I can’t really think of anything necessary, it would be nice if there was an option to have all the topic’s you’re currently involved in (i.e. starting or posting) together, so you can see what you’re actively interested in at a glance, but, the update emails do fine for me.

Many thanks for telling us all about yourself and your Nissan Primera P11 GT Loon Arron, you have a cracking car! Congratulations once again for winning Car Of The Month for April 2013! Please end this feature, in your own words and feel free to thank anyone who’s made this one possible.

And thank you Shaun! Once again, massively stoked to get the PM and award, really it’s a big thank you to everyone at the club past and present I’ve ever interacted with, or read anything by, that’s made me laugh or poked my interest. 

Massive thanks to you, “ragt20”, “shade” and “Ant-Dat”, for all the conversations we’ve ever had and pointers given, I know it’s not many, but they’ve always been important / useful for me.

“KeithSRI” for the wheels and tyres (it got me a spare set, then I got another car with a set, yes I have 11 wheels, no, I’m not sure what I’m doing with all of them!) 

“GT786” for helping me source another black GT loon as a donor (yeah, 3 wheels came from that too)!

Everyone I’ve bought parts from in the past, everyone I’ve joined in on a topic about music with.

And of course, world peac... oh hang on, wrong speech, my Mum and Dad for not funding a dud on my behalf whilst I was out of the country!

You guys are all legends, and anyone still reading this, you are truly awesome (or bored) and that’s what makes this club one of the first places I check when I wake up.

Much love, teacakes and rock hands! |oo| Az

Congratulations once again to Arron!

April 2013 COTM - Dunmanifestin

Written by essNchill
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