Coloured spark cover

S14 & S15 Tech Guides

Having given my engine bay a bit of a clean, I was struck by how colourless it looked. Not one to sit about if I can change something fairly easily, I did!

Although this is a fairly easy modification, it does require a few days of patience, mainly allowing paint to dry. You will need a Torx screwdriver for removing the cover, and piece of fine wet and dry, a can of plastic primer spray, your choice of colour spray (I used Rover Nightfire Red as it's quite a nice pearlescent), a can of lacquer, a very fine modellers brush and a small amount of light coloured paint for the cover lettering. Optionally, you can touch-up the rocker cover at the same time. To achieve the same look as mine, you will need some rough wet and dry, a 2cm round brush and some matt black Hammerite High Heat.


I think you will be quite lucky if your rocker cover has managed to retain all of it's paint intact. Should you want to touch this up, do the following. Once the spark cover has been removed using the appropriate Torx screwdriver, ensure that the rocker cover has been thoroughly cleaned with hot water and car detergent. Using the rough wet and dry, sand down all chipped and peeling paint and generally roughen as much surface as is accessible. The touching-up I did was only what I could access without removing anything. After sanding, wash off the rocker cover again. When dry, use the Hammerite and the round brush to dab paint generously (not so it runs!) so every 'visible' surface is covered. Allow to dry for 30 minutes and repeat. You may want another coat after that use your judgment. Allow to dry overnight. Use the wet and dry to sand off the rocker cover letters. The result should be as in Figure 3.

Block beforeFigure 1 - Block before


Now for the spark cover. Wash the cover thoroughly then roughen its surface all over using the fine wet and dry in water. When dry, apply two coats of plastic primer. If the surface isn't smooth when dry, rub down gently with fine wet and dry (in water) and apply another coat of primer. If surface is smooth, apply two or three coats of colour. Here again, if not smooth, use the wet and dry. If using pearlescent paint, it doesn't matter if it isn't shiney and polished; the lacquer takes care of that. It just needs to be smooth.

Spark coverFigure 2 -Spark cover


There are a few ways to do the next step. The easiest is to use a fine modellers brush to carefully paint the letters with the colour of your choice. Once dry, apply two coats of lacquer. Yes, it's a purely cosmetic mod. But it doesn't half brighten the engine bay!

Block afterFigure 3 - Block after

Christian Jull

During his 'car years', Christian owned, ran and modified a Nissan 200SX (S14) and Nissan Silvia Spec R (S15). He was an active staff member of the UK 200SX Owners Club and one of the founding members of the S15 Owners Club. He owned and administered the club for ten years. Over the course of five years of Nissan ownership, Christian wrote modification guides to aid others. These guides have proved very popular with 200SX/Silvia owners all over the world.

Included with the guides is a record of car ownership over a ten year period.

Christian is now car-less and lives in the public-transport-friendly city of Helsinki in Finland.