Friday, 19 December 2008

Completion Kit - wrong part & gaps

After going through the parts in the completion kit I realised they had sent me another gearbox mounting bracket rather than the bracket for the lower mounting of the air box.

Phoned Westfield and sent them through a picture of the 2 identical brackets. They agreed to send me the correct part though.

I also discussed several items that I thought would be in the kit but were apparently missing:

Air box to Plenum chamber connector - the manual is a bit vague about this. It describes re-using some of the existing pipe work but most builders seem to use a piece of convoluted piping (closest I can say is like the stuff you get on a tumble drier extractor pipe). Westfield said they do not supply a part for this.

Electrical connectors - I was expecting some connectors for the lights but there were none and Westfield do not supply them.

Steering Column fixing - I was expecting a U bolt for fixing the lower end of the MX-5 steering column. Westfield send me through 2 sizes (with the missing air box bracket). I'm now unsure if the part is normally included but was missing or they were being generous!

Monday, 15 December 2008

Completion Kit - Missing parts

Of the 3 items that were out of stock when I collected the completion kit, the screen pillars and the dashboard came through the following week. Still waiting for the final part - the exhaust connector.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Completion Kit - Collection

Early start for collection of the completion kit. My friend Martin, who formally had the Volvo estate which we used to collect the chassis (on the roof), who now has an Audi A4 estate (what do Top Gear say about Audi drivers?) picked me up at 6am.

A quick drive down the M6 and M5 and we were savouring the delights of a full breakfast in the Beefeater next to the Westfield factory.

There were a few items out of stock (exhaust connector, windscreen mountings and dashboard) so they are going to send those along in a couple of weeks. Everything else went easily in the back of the Audi estate.

I had a full list of questions to ask the guys at Westfield. The 1st of which was about the front mounting for the steering column. After looking at a chassis in the factory, we established the mounting had been welded onto the wrong part of the chassis. For the MX-5 SDV the mounting is farther back than on the standard SE chassis. The top mountings was correct (2 tabs rather than the single bracket). While we was there they fabricated a bracket which could be bolted onto the correct chassis member.

While I was there I looked at a LHD black MX-5 model they had in. I found out later that it was Gunther's (see the "Gust (Belgium)" link). It was in for a check over before going for its SVA. It was the 1st time I had seen an MX-5 based Westfield in the flesh. It's a shame it was LHD as I would have liked to see the routing of things like the steering column and brake line to the rear. Even so, we put it on the ramp so I could have a look at the diff/rear suspension and under the bonnet to see where some of the electrical items had been mounted and the routing of the air flow.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Completion Kit - confirmation

Received the confirmation from Westfield of the completion kit order. The kit is going to be available for collection between 3rd and 6th December.

I had confirmed with Westfield that all the parts in the completion kit would fit into a large estate car which means no need to hire a van.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Completion Kit Order

I was starting to run out of things to do with the starter kit so decided to order the completion kit. I'd heard stories about it taking several months to come through but when I phoned Westfield they said it would take approximately 4 weeks.

I didn't order anything unusual:
Trim - black
Seats - standard vinyl sports seats (black)
Seat belts - 4 point harness (black)

Monday, 20 October 2008

Suspension bush fitting

This all sounded so simple in the manual! It took me all weekend to fit the suspension bushes into their mountings on the suspension arms.

The first job was to remove the powder coating from inside the mountings. I looked to see if I could find a wire brush attachment or flap wheel for the electric drill but none were small enough to fit. In the end I got a bolt, removed the head and cut a slot down the shaft. I threaded some emery paper through the slot and wrapped around some foam to form a tube that was slightly larger than the mounting diameter. By squashing the foam I was able to push into the holes and attach to the electric drill.

The centre tube of the bushes is slightly longer than the outer tube. So, to push through you need something that goes around the centre tube to push the outer tube not the inner. I formed a couple of plates out of scrap metal. In effect they acted like large washers.

Now I was finally ready to fit the bushes. The vice I had wasn't really up to the job. As I tightened up the vice, the jaws were slightly at an angle so the bushes didn't press in straight.
Instead I used a long bolt through the centre with washers at each end.

By tightening up the nut on the bolt it slowly/smoothly pressed the bush into place.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Brake Pipe Clips - Again!

I found out from the forum that all you have to do is tap the clips sharply with a rubber mallet (or a piece of wood/hammer) vertically down and the top half will "implode" and slide down into the bottom half. A lot easier than trying to break them.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Diff bushes modification

The diff mounting bushes are taken from the MX-5 but there are tabs that needed removal. I was able to use a jigsaw with a fine cutting blade to remove the main part of the tab and then finish off with a file to get a smooth finish.
The one on the left has the tab still in place, the one on the right has had the tab removed:

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Brake Pipe Clips


I realised that how I was using/fitting the brake clips was wrong!
The clips I'd got looked like this:

They fitted okay into the 1/4" holes but weren’t very firm, held the brake pipes a long way away from the chassis and I broke several of them whilst trying to push the brake pipes onto the clip. Here is how the front pipes looked fitted (originally):

After searching for brake clips on the internet, I found a picture of some similar ones but as 2 parts! I realised that they were meant to be snapped apart and the upper part with the clip slotted into the lower part. It all made sense. The pipes only needed a bit of minor adjustments to the bends to fit closer.

The only shame was that I'd routed the rear pipes along the inside of the chassis which was no longer necessary. Having already bend the pipes and drilled the holes for the clips I decided not to change to run along the top of the chassis member.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Brake Pipes - Rear Pipes F and G


I found a problem when coming to fit the 2 rear brake pipes. The brake clips I have seem to hold the pipes quite a long way away from the frame of the chassis. This means that if the pipes ran along the top of the chassis member, they would interfere with the fitting of the suspension arms. I decided to run them along the inside of the chassis member as from all the build pictures I have seen there is nothing in the inside that they would foul. This meant they had a couple of extra bends in them but nothing too intricate.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Steering column modification

There is a bracket welded to the bottom of the MX-5 steering column that is not required for the Westfield and needs to be removed. Although the steering column is only needed much later in the build, it is a job that has to be done sometime.

I initially started to remove using a hacksaw. After a coupe of cuts which removed the main part of the bracket, I decided removing using a hacksaw was going to be hard work. Part of the problem was it was very awkward to fix in a position I could cut. I borrowed an angle grinder and removed with a lot less effort.

I finished it off with a file to get a nice smooth finish.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Fitting body panels (RH side)

Returned the chassis flat after fitting the bottom panels. Positioned and drilled the holes for the RH outer side panel but decided not to rivet in place. I feel that leaving off will make access easier for some later tasks like adjusting the pedals and fitting the steering column.

I've finished the panel fitting for now as panels on the top of the tunnel are fitted later.

Doing all the riveting by hand without a pneumatic riveter wasn't too bad. Having said that I only did a couple of panels at a time and had some friends help for the larger panels. If you were intending doing the whole lot over a weekend say, I'd definitely recommend hiring a pneumatic riveter unless you want very sore hands!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Fitting body panels - LH floor panel

Turned the chassis on it's side to fit the floor panels:

Fitted the RH (drivers side) floor panel.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Brake Pipes - Front pipes A, B and C

Fitted the 3 longer pipes at the front. I debated about the route of the 2 that went from the front t-piece to the flexible brake lines. The manual shown the lines running along the inside of the chassis member but most of the pictures from other build sites show the pipe running along the underside. As the t-piece is underneath the routing is much easier. In the end I went for the easier route. I don't believe anything will foul the lines but only time will say if this was a good decision.

The connection to the primary port on the master cylinder is really tight. It has to have a bent very tight to clear the clutch:

and from below:

Here is a picture of the front t-piece from underneath (it was taken after I had lifted the chassis onto its side). It shows the location of the t-piece underneath the chassis strut and how the 2 lines going to the front brakes fit a lot easier if they run along the underneath rather than the inside of the chassis:

Here is one of the pipes going from the front t-piece to the connector with the flexible lines:

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Fitting body panels - LH outer side & scuttle

Fitted the LH outer panel (lots of rivets!) and the scuttle.

Under the end of the scuttle is the only place so far that you can see the underside of the rivets:

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Brake Pipes - Pipe D

Started forming the brake lines. The first one I attacked was the smallest (labelled D in the manual). Not sure if this was a good move as although short, it had to be bent into quite a complicated shape to fit.

I tried forming the shape on a couple of scrap pieces before attempting on the real thing. One thing that caught me was the fitting on the end that attached to the master cylinder was longer than on my test piece. It meant the bend had to be a bit tighter.

As the lines are very rigid, it was quite difficult to fit in place with the master cylinder and the T-piece in place. I found it easier to detach the T-piece from the chassis, fix the brake line to the T-piece and master cylinder, then re-attach the T-piece to the chassis.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Spacers (& handbrake correction!)

Here is the selection of spacers I got with the starter kit (the 3 for the pedals are not shown as they are fitted in the pedals!):

My assumption was that the ones top right were for the handbrake. After a few posts on the forum, I have now found out they are for the bottom of the rear shocks. In fact the spacers for the handbrake are not in the starter kit. Luckily I had not tightened them so they are not damaged (someone else did the same thing and they crush when torqued up - glad to know I'm not the only one to get this wrong!).

Joe Mac (link on right) sent me the attached which shows all the spacers and what they are for:

1 : spacer for the diff
2 : headlights spacers (to put horizontaly on the bracket between the headlight and the bracket (to raise the light at the correct height)
3 : spacer to put in the diff cups (left and right)
4 : spacer for the light bracket and the rear upper wishbone mounting
5 : spacer for the handbrake (but they will be a little to long)
6 : unknow screw (today, it's still in a plastic bag !)
7 : spacer for the bottom of the shock absorber (to fit a metric bolt)

It seems I will have to wait till I get the completion kit before fitting the handbrake.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Pedal Fitting

Although the panels are not finished, I thought it was sensible to fit the pedals before the side & bottom panels were attached and access was restricted. It was a good idea as fitting the clutch pedal proved to be more difficult than expected.

The 2 plates the pedal fixes between had been welded a bit too close together. The result was the pedal wouldn't fit between. This was solved by using 2 bolts in the hole above. By screwing them together I was able to slightly prise the plates apart, just enough to get the pedal in place:

The double thread ended bolt that holds it in place has to be passed through the brake pedal mounting. The alignment was slightly out so it had to be "screwed" through the holes using mole grips. This would all have been very tricky with the panels riveted in place.

The other 2 pedals went in without any issues:

I didn't connect the clutch master cylinder to the pedal as it will need to be replcaed to fit one of the brake pipes later:

Monday, 28 July 2008

Fitting body panels - more riveting

I recruited another friend, Aamir, to help me with more riviting.

Riveted the following panels:
- seatback
- tunnel RH tunnel side
- GRP diff cover bracket
- LH front inner tunnel footwell
- RH front inner tunnel footwell
- RH (driver) front bulkhead

Sunday, 27 July 2008



The manual says this about the handbrake: "Before fitting the handbrake lever it is necessary to drill clearance holes in the tunnel side panels for the two front fixings. To locate these, position a centre punch through the pre-drilled mounting holes inside the tunnel and whilst holding square tap the end. This will leave a witness mark on the outside at the point where the clearance hole must be drilled."

This all seemed quite tricky so I decided drill the clearance hole after the LH tunnel side was attached but before the RH side was fitted. The interesting part was when I came to look there weren't any pre-drilled holes in the chassis at all:

My next challenge was to find the spacers that held the front. The manual says they are 22mm. All I could find were 32mm ones below, although they fitted perfectly with the back attached to the RH side of the bracket:

I found a couple of pieces of wood to hold it in place while I drilled the holes:

and here is it fitted (with temporary bolts/nuts):

Fitting body panels - More drilling & trimming

Continued to drill holes:
- LH and RH front inner tunnel footwell panels
- RH (driver) front bulkhead panel
- LH exterior panel
- top scuttle panel

Did the trimming of the RH tunnel side panel. I was concerned about how neat it would be after the trimming but I found that with a fine blade on the jigsaw I got a very clean cut:

this was so the panel didn't protrude below the chassis:

Trimmed the rear panel:

and some of the smaller front panels need adjustment as well:

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Fitting body panels - Riveting

Riveted the LH tunnel side and the LH bulkhead panel. I wasn't sure how much silicone sealant to use but the natural rate it came out of the nozzle seemed to be about right with a tiny amount being squeezed out of the edge. Luckily I recruited a couple of friends to help as after a few rivets your hands get sore.

Below is Martin demonstrating how much force is needed to pull the rivet:

and here is the finished panel:

Also drilled and riveted the passenger bulkhead:

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Fitting body panels - RH tunnel side

Started to fit the RH tunnel side. This panel has an extra fibreglass panel that fits at the back to provide extra clearance for the MX-5 diff.

Working out where to drill the holes in the fibreglass was very tricky. Unlike the aluminium panels, the fibreglass ones do not have pre-drilled holes. The ones along the centre tunnel were obvious. The ones diagonally across the back panel were not. To make like more complicated there is a pre-scored line in the fibreglass which you would think was the drilling line - it isn't! Luckily I had taken a picture of a finished one in the Westfield factory when I was there and realised not to follow the line. After some careful measuring I got the holes in the right place.

Here is the picture I took at the Westfield factory (it shows the variance between the line and the holes very clearly):

and here is mine:

As with the LH panel I found I had to have the panel as forward as it could go. Even so, the holes in the chassis upright at the front were right at the edge. The holes for the seat mounting needed to be elongated:

needed to trim around one of the floor chassis struts

The panel protruded below the chassis. Although not critical I trimmed back so it was flush: