Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Engine in

Exciting moment as the engine goes in for the 1st time.

It's really a 2 man job with one person directing the end of the transmission whilst the other controls the hoist. Here I left Mike holding the transmission while I took a photo!

and there it is, in place:

The holes on LHS bracket don't quite match up with those on the chassis. This is something I;ve seen been commented in several other build diaries.

The single bolt is located okay on the RHS:

And the transmission is central in the tunnel:

Wheels on

Time to put some wheels on and lower off the stands.

Half way down:

and on the ground:

Fitting brakes

More cleaning up of parts from the MX-5.

It was really tricky getting the pads out of the rear calliper. After investigating the MX-5 manual we found the trick. You have to remove a nut and using an allen key draw back the calliper.

Rear brakes with flexible brake pipes and handbrake cables attached:

Front brakes:

Fuel filter

I had the same situation with the fuel filter as the fuel pump... no rivnuts fitted.

It was a bit tight drilling but there was just enough room by the side of the diff. The main decision was which way round to fit it. The feed from the pump comes from the rear and the fixed line comes from the front. Both connections on the filter point the same way so one of the pipes would have to double back on itself. In the end I decided to fit pointing backwards:

Fuel pump

Although slightly out of sync from the build manual, I wanted to get all the back end fuel stuff worked out before installing the engine and the car suddenly became a lot heavier and cumbersome.

The fuel pump (and fuel filter) should bolt to the chassis with rivnuts. Although I'd paid for Westfield to put rivnuts in the chassis, when I came to trial fit the fuel pump there weren't any. Luckily Mike was able to borrow a rivnut tool. I had to do some modifications and bending of the bracket to get the pump into a position where the pipes would clear the end of the suspension bolts. (Ignore the pipe attached. It was just a bit of non-fuel scrap pipe from the donor I used for routing purposes.)

Fuel tank - connectors

The fuel tank comes with the top connector (vent) fitted but the feed and return connectors have to be fitted. Luckly I had some PTFE tape left over from some DIY plumbing!

Handbrake cables

I removed the bracket at the midpoint of the MX-5 cables and cleaned them up:

Then fitted to the mounting plate on the chassis. Not a great picture but it shows the cables from inderneath coming out the back of the transmission tunnel:

Handbrake mounting

I was going to use standard M8 bolts (not like M6 as it says in the manual) but that would make a large buldge under the carpet on the LHS. A couple of builders have used rivnuts but I'd already drilled the holes. Instead I found some M8 X 70M coutersunk bolts on eBay for £2.90.

These fitted great but the heads were ~13mm across and my countersink bit was only 10mm. Mike managed to borrow a larger countersing bit:

It all looked very neat when finished:

Monday, 30 March 2009

Steering Rack

I thought fitting the steering rack was going to be a 10 min job but as always some of the simplest things get complicated. The mounting points on the rack were too close together so there wasn't enough space for the rubber fittings. I spoke to Westfield who said their supplier wasn't great with the welding... very helpful! What they did say was that so long as the RHS mounting was properly fixed, the LHS end wasn't as important. So I fitted RHS first then fit the LHS as best I could.

Here is the rack in place:

This is the LHS. You can just see I managed to get a bit of the rubber to squeeze between the rack mounting and the mounting on the chassis:

and from above...as the rubber wasn't able to fit down the side, it pushed it over:

Engine Cleaning

Although the engine wasn't too dirty I decided to give it a bit of a clean before dropping it in. After half a tin of Gunk and a lot of elbow grease later I had a much cleaner if not totally shiny engine:

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Engine mounting - RHS

When it came to fitting the RHS mounting I was confused as the holes in the mounting bracket didn't line up with the holes in the engine block.

It transpired that the holes used are hidden by the rear mounting bracket on the starter motor:

After asking around on the forum it seems the bracket can be safely removed and there was even a comment on the FM Westfield build diary:

Engine mounting - LHS

The engine mounting for the Westfield uses 4 bolts where as the MX-5 only uses 3 leaving me 1 short (although I'm sure 3 would hold it fine). They are 1.25 ISO Metric FINE thread (I think) rather than the more usual M10 x 1.5. Scouring the parts I took off the MX-5 I found the same bolts were used on the power steering mounting which I would not need for the Westfield.

Two of the holes in the engine block are different to the ones used for mounting in the MX-5. These were full of grime & rust and I didn't have a suitable tap due to the fine thread. Mike used a clever little trick to clean out the holes. He used one of the spare bolts from the power steering mounting and cut a slot down the thread. It then acted like a tap:

and here is the mounting fitted:

it was after re-fitting the exhaust manifold I realised I hadn't re-fitted the water inlet. Something to do later...

and Mike with torque wrench:

More missing bits

Called Westfield to clarify a few points:

1) Assembling the Front Suspension - section 7
I could not identify the locknut for the ball joints.
As part of the Starter Kit they had given me 2 x 1/2" UNF nuts rather than the 2 x M12 X 1.25 HEX PLAIN P&P NUT listed in the BOM.

2) Fitting the Differential. Driveshafts, Rear Uprights & Rear Shock Absorbers - section 4
I could not find the spacers for locating in the cupped section of the metalastic buffers for the diff spacing. On the Miata/MX5-5 Westfield forum there was speculation that these are no longer supplied/needed and when I spoke to Westfield they initially weren't sure themselves but they sent some through.

3) Fitting the Differential. Driveshafts, Rear Uprights & Rear Shock Absorbers - section 5
The manual states: "Continue to pivot until it is possible to align the upper mounting bush in the upright with upper wishbone and lower shock absorber mounting. Secure by inserting an M10 x 100mm long bolt."
M10 seemed to be the correct size but I could not find anything suitable in the parts supplied. There were no long M10 bolts provided. Also, 100mm is too short. You need at least 110mm to allow enough thread for the locknut. After discussing with Westfield they agreed to send me a couple of M10 x 120mm bolts.

Here are the missing parts they sent through (they did send 2 of each but only one of the locknut and M10 bolt shown):

Front Suspension

Having nice newly painted shiny black front uprights it was time to bolted on the front suspension. It all went on with no major issues:

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Missing part delivered

The final missing part from the completion kit arrived. It is the piece that connects the MX5 exhaust manifold to the standard Westfield side exhaust.

Front uprights - cleaning

As the front is visible I decided to clean the uprights.
I cleaned off the rust/grime with a wire brush & paddle wheel on the electric drill then finished off with a small hand wire brush and emery paper.
A couple of coats of smooth Hammerite gave a good finish:

Friday, 13 March 2009


Here is what I've spent so far:

Westfield Items:
Build manual20.56
Starter kit:
    Starter kit2,450.00
    Detachable arches 235.00
    Chassis powder coating 199.00
    Suspension powder coating 75.00
    Fit rivnuts to chassis 40.00
    Exterior panels 39.95
    Chassis stands 50.53
    Silicone sealant x 2 11.54
Completion kit:
    Completion kit 4,120.00
    Harnesses 50.00
    Catalytic converter exhaust 233.05
Donor Vehicle:
MX-5 donor vehicle 560.00 eBay
Transport for donor 80.00 yell.co.uk
Miscellaneous Items:
Prop shaft modification 112.70 Propshaft Services Ltd
Engine hoist 90.00 eBay
Ezibleed kit 16.49 Halfords
Hubnuts & replacement gasket 14.53 mx5parts.co.uk
Pipe bender 12.91 Machine Mart
29mm socket 5.70 eBay
Hub puller 5.67 toolshopdirect.co.uk
Copper slip 3.49 Halfords
Barrier cream 2.99 Screwfix
M8 X 70M c/sunk bolts 2.90 eBay
4.1mm drill bits x 4 2.61 toolshopdirect.co.uk
MX-5 Service Manual on CD 2.50 eBay
P clips for fuel lines 2.20 eBay

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Diff problem

As I said in my previous entry, there was a slight problem with the diff...

The diff has oil seals round the holes where the drives shafts go (obviously, otherwise all the diff oil would leak out!). On the inside of the seals are metal spring rings that hold the rubber tightly against the shafts. I'd put rags in the holes to prevent any grit/grime from getting in. When Mike pulled out the rag it flipped the rubber lip and the spring fell out. After several hours of Mike patiently trying to get it back in we decided it wasn't going to go back with the oil seal in place. The MX-5 service manual wasn't much help. Under the appropriate section it said "Remove the oil seal". At least we knew we could get it out without having to remove and totally dismantle the diff. After a very careful operation with several spanners and a crowbar, Mike managed to get the oil seal out without damaging it. Once out the metal spring simply slotted in.

To replace the oil seal we wanted something that was the exact diameter. Scouring the garage came up with nothing. In the end a small Sprite can was an exact fit! With good lubrication and careful pressure the oil seal pushed back into place.

And here it is with the unique build accessory:

Rear Suspension

Attaching the rear suspension was really satisfying as it makes a huge difference to the car for comparatively little time & effort. All the components went on with very few issues.

Re-attaching the drive shafts to the diff was also simple (with a minor issue I'll put in a separate post) compared to the time and effort it took to take them off the donor. Things are a lot simple when you know how they go together!

I decided not to bother painting the rear uprights are they are covered by the rear arches. Although I think I'll do something with the front ones are they are very visible:

You are to read the manual fairly carefully as a couple of the mountings have special washer arrangements:

You have to sense check the size of bolts in the manual as per a couple of times previously they seemed to be wrong. It states you should use 2 1/2" for the upper rear wishbones. As the bolts have to go through the diff mounting as well that is far too short and I used 4". I'd spotted a shortage of 4" and 4 1/2" bolts and picked up a couple more when I picked up the completion kit so I had enough.
One main issue was a lack of bolt to fit through the top of the upright and the bottom of the shock absorbers. The manual says use M10 x 100mm but there was nothing like that provided in the kit. M10 seem to be the right diameter but 100mm is too short anyway. I've dropped Westfield an email to ask what should be used and if they can provide it. As a temporary measure I used a temporary bar: