Friday, 30 October 2009

Bodywork collection

Martin picked me up at 6:30 and off we went to Westfield. We'd collected the trailer the night before so it was straight down the M6 and arrived in Kingswinsford just before 8:30.

First stop was the Beefeater just round the corner from the Westfield factory:

for the all you can eat breakfast for £7.95. (All low calorie of course.)

Arrived at the factory just after 9am. The bodywork hadn't been delivered (they make/store it at a separate factory a short drive away) so that gave me chance to drop in to see Gavin in Parts (and give him a box of biscuits - you never know when you need a friend in Parts) and spend some time with Simon & Mark in technical (another box of biscuits) to talk over a few items I wasn't sure about. I'd taken a USB stick with me so Simon copied all the pictures they took during their build as well as the latest version of the manual.

The bodywork had arrived so loaded the main tub on the trailer and all the other parts (bonnet, scuttle, fillet, nose and arches) into the back of Martin's cars (wrapped in large quantities of blankets and bubble wrap.

Off we went back home, stopping off at Congleton Propshafts on the way to collect the modified steering column mid-section.

And here are all the parts safely back home:
The 8'x 5' trailer was okay for the relatively short (~80 miles) I had to travel but I wouldn't have liked to go a long way. Even with the wooden cross struts, the tub is very flexible and I was very pleased to get home.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Steering column

More steering column problems...

The upper part is taken from the Mazda. Previously I've posted some comments about the fact the mounting bracket was welded in the wrong place so Westfield had to fabricate a new bracket for me. Then neither of the U bolts they provided fitted to my satisfaction so I ended up fabricating a new U bar to hold it in place.

The lower section that connects to the steering rack is a new Westfield part. There is a bracket that holds it in place. You can just see the top of the bracket here (it's temporarily G clamped in place):

The mid section is taken from the Mazda then modified. The existing UJ is removed and a new one welded on. This was done for me by Westfield when I collected the completion kit.

It was too short by about 20mm. I wondered if the Mazda column was telescopic and could be pulled out but this was not the case. I also checked to see if the column had "collapsed". There are a couple of plastic white o[pins in the mountings that break off if in a crash to allow the column to collapse but these were still intact.

My options were to send back to Westfield for modification (which they said they would do) or get done locally. I had an extra UJ in the completion kit so after some thought I rang Westfield and asked if they could send me just the spline end section. By replacing the UJ by a spline and using the double ended UJ I could make it fit and it had the bonus that I could feed the mid-section through the hole in the panel without having to enlarge (the hole the manual tells you to cut is too small to fit the UJs through) and I could re-use the Mazda boot to cover the hole.

Here are all the parts. On the left is the lower section that connects to the rack. On the upper right is the double ended UJ and the short splined section sent to me by Westfield. Below on the right is the modified mid-section that is too short:

and a close up of the UJs:

I rang Congleton Propshafts who had shortened the propshaft the 2nd time around and they said they could do it. So off I went to Congleton.

Battery & battery tray

I had to decide what battery to get and so what system to use for the battery tray. The battery that had come with the MX-5 had been commandeered by my father-in-law for his caravan motor mover (I think that was a fair price for dismantling the MX-5 on his driveway over several months!)

The kit comes with a long thin aluminium tray for the battery supplied from Westfield:

Here are all the components for the battery tray that come out of the MX-5:

and here is how they fit together (with help from my James Bond DVD collection). The far side hook clips onto a slot in the bodywork on the side of the MX-5. I used the "L" shaped bracket from the picture above to hold it in place. It's "real" use is to hold the tray in place:

I took both trays down to the local Halfords and checked out the batteries available.
The "official" replacement battery for my MX-5 NA model was a 400 Amp battery. They recommended a 360 Amp battery for the NB 1.6 models which was £10 cheaper. The only battery I could find to fit the Westfield tray was 265 Amp which I felt was too low.

So I settled for the 360 Amp battery and using the MX-5 tray.

Diff bolt tightening

Getting at the diff mounting bolts was quite tricky. In most cases I couldn't get access with the torque wrench so I had to use ring/open spanners and judgement for the torque. I tested how tight they should have been on one of the other suspension bolts I'd been able to do with the torque wrench so I had a good idea how much to tighten up.

The 2 vertical bolts were east to get at with ring spanners from the tunnel side:

underneath the rear one was accessible with the socket set, the front one I use another ring spanner. You can also see the bottom horizontal bolt:

The top horizontal bolt:

Front suspension bolt tightening

Tightened up all the chassis end bolts for the front suspension. Front bottom:

back top and bottom:

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

A collegue starts building...

A colleague from work has just started his build of a Westfield. He's gone for a complete new kit:
- SEIW Sport
- 2.0 litre Zetec with Throttle body upgrade (~170bhp)
- FW Bodywork front and rear

You can see the progress here.

I sold him my chassis stands and lent him the pipe bender.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Fuel tank earth strap

Part of the new IVA regulations say that you must have the fuel tank earthed. I believe the new tanks that Westfield send out have an earth connection but mine being just pre-IVA didn't. The solution I used was to attach an earthing strap to the fuel outlet. The strap is the type used to earth household water pipes and I picked mine up from the local hardware shop:

Rear suspension bolt tightening

All through the build manual it says not to tighten up the bolts as these will be done during set-up stage. This makes perfeect sense as I've lost count of the number of times I've had to take something off to get at something else. Having said that with the body coming in a couple of weeks and most things on the chassis, I decided it was the time to torque up some of the bolts. I did all the ones on the chassis end of the suspension. These would be difficult (impossible in some cases) to get to after the body was on. Also, they are not involved with the set-up.

The 3 bolts that hold the upper diff bracket & upper wishbones:

The 2 bolts on the inside of the lower wishbones:

Air filter ducting

Westfield don't provide anything to connect the air filter to the plenum pipe so I got some ducting from Euroaspares:

I measured the diameter of the air filter outlet at 70mm so I got the 69mm dia ducting. I might have been better going for the 76mm as it went on but only after a struggle. The plenum chamber inlet is slightly smaller. I originally intended cutting off the end of the rubber connecting pipe as a spacer (although oval it's circumference looked to be the same as the air flow outlet) but with the ducting being on the small side I couldn't get it to fit.

Instead I wrapped tape to increase the diameter. I re-used the same clamps to fit it as used on the MX-5.

Here it is in place, although I might make it a bit shorter:

Monday, 5 October 2009

Engine oil

Changed the oil filter:

Replaced the washer and torqued the sump plug (which is easy to get at):

Transmission oil

Filling the transmission wasn't as easy as the diff. The drain plug was easy to get at (being at the bottom!). I replaced the washer and torqued up.

The fill plug is slightly difficult to get to. As the car was on the floor I tried from the front. I removed a bracket I'd meant to take off earlier (can't remember what it was for on the MX-5 but I remember at the time thinking it woudn't be needed on the Westfield):

Even without the bracket you can't really get at the plug:

So I resorted to putting the car on the axle stands and attacking from below. Even so you can't get a socket on as there's not enough gap between the transmission and the panel of the footwell.

My tip of the day is slacken off the plug while the engine is out of the car! It was really tight. I resorted to hitting the end of a spanner with a lump hammer to get off. Once off it looked like some tape or threadlock had been used to fix it in place.

Diff oil

Filling the diff wasn't too difficult as there is easy access to both the drain and fill plugs. I replaced the washer on the drain plug.

The fill plug is clearly visible. The edge of the drain plug is just visible at the bottom of the diff:


Time to start filling up the car with various fluids. I got onto and order a job lot including the various bits need for servicing:

I also popped into my local Machine Mart and picked up an oil filling/extraction pump. The diff and transmission fill points are in difficult places to get to. I could have used a funnel with pipe but I didn't have one and I wasn't sure if I could get to the transmission from above so it might not have been possible to use a funnel.

Bodywork ordered

Phoned Westfield and ordered the bodywork. For some totally known reason that is only clear to Westfield themselves, the bodywork is actually part of the starter kit but they recommend you don't collect it until you need it unless you have a good place to store it (which I don't).

A couple of days later I got the confirmation letter through saying it will be ready between the 28th and 30th Oct (about 5 weeks lead time).

I'll need to sort out a trailer so I can pick it up.