~ My Build - Part 1 ~
The story of my build. These are only highlights as the whole story would send you to sleep big-time.
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How it started:
It was 04:30am one summer morning in July (sounds like a novel doesn't it?) and I was awoken by the kids in the back garden, chatting. It was too hot and they couldn't sleep so they woke me up too - Doh!
I made a cup of coffee and decided to browse the web as you do at 04:30am, as I was wide-awake by now. I hadn't been on E-bay for a while so I thought, let's see what bargains they had today. That's when I saw it.
It was a White Westfield SE 2.3 litre, going really cheap (or so I thought). I had to have it but money always tight as it is, it was going to be a struggle.
Ever since I had my first Westfield back in 1990, I have never lost the bug. That was also White SE and it just seemed too much of a coincidence. My other one was only a 1700 xflow so this was a big step in the right direction. The thing is, I had to wait until 7am to wake the missus with a cuppa of course, to get the ok and she was brilliant. "Go for it" she said, so I did.
Of course, I e-mailed the guy offering slightly more than he was asking, as I didn't want to waste time bidding on it. He accepted and I made arrangements to go and view it in Leicester. Bearing in mind I live in Essex, it was quite a haul. I was also due to go out with the missus but being the kind hearted sort she is, she let me off so I could view the car.
The car looked a bit tatty to say the least but it had one hell of an engine in it, Lotus twin cam from a Jensen Healey, very oily and needed a lots of TLC. It had been used for Drag racing and there were pics to verify this so I thought, well it's gotta be quick then. He had loads of other documentation with it with the lights, spare wheels, horn, wipers etc too but still not what I expected so I made him an offer of the original asking price and he agreed, Wayhay.
I have to say that even though it was in a slightly worn state shall we say, it's 100 times better than one I viewed in March 2003. This was going for £800 but frankly, I wouldn't have given it parking space.
The Start of my headaches:
I didn't have a trailer to pick the car up but the guy kindly offered to drop it down for a small fee which he duly did and I was so excited, a new toy to play with. It arrived about 4 days later and that day dragged, sooo long.
It was another hot day and we had a beer then he went cash in hand and happy. Now this car didn't have any lights, not registered and was very loud but did it stop me taking it for a blast up the street, did it hell. With the missus parked in the passenger seat and all belted up, we went for a 1/2 mile run up the street.
It was at this point I realised I should have taken it for a test drive before I bought it but as it wasn't road legal, the guy wouldn't let me. I found out that the brakes were Shite, like they had a warped disk or something, it had a flat spot from tick-over to around 3000 rpm (total guess as the Tacho wasn't working) but after that it pulled like a steam train. A small list of things I noticed:
- The Tacho didn't work
- The Speedo didn't work
- Brakes needed attention
- Flat spot from tick over to 3000rpm
- Some bodywork needed
- Clocks didn't match
And that was just for starters, well I had my work cut-out and it didn't seem so much of a bargain anymore but hey, I got it now so let's get on with it.Original Dash
The work begins:
I didn't really want to strip the whole thing so I thought let's fix up as much as I can and get it on the road ASAP, not the case. The more I looked into it, the more I found wrong and it seemed like I was going backwards, disappearing into oblivion.
Didn't like where he had put the coil (on top of the scuttle) so I moved it to the end of the foot well plate, much tidier. Didn't realise I would move this about 20 times after that.
Decided to make a list of things to get and I ran out of toilet paper to write it on as it was so long. My wallet was going to take a bashing over the next few months.
I bought new disks and bearings, fitted them and rolled the car back and forth but not enough to test them so that will have to wait until it's mobile again, whilst doing the disks, I noticed the top ball joint gaiter had split, add to list of jobs to do, so onto the next job.
Let's take the dash off and see why the Tacho isn't working . . . . Oh My God. I wish I hadn't, 3 plate full's of spaghetti fell out and all with 3-4 colours, Nightmare city. This was a rewire job and a half I thought, and spent the next 2 months wiring the car, not done this before from scratch, I did however wire my last Westy (now named Westy1) using a Ford Escort loom and just split the switches so this was a major headache.
The web is a wonderful thing and plenty of resources were found on wire amperages and currents and how to wire it all up but a few fuses were still blown in the process.
Took the engine out whilst still doing the wiring, as I wanted to fit a 5-speed box, this also gave me the opportunity to clean the engine and give greater accessibility to the engine bay. Got the gearbox from a Sierra at the local scrap-yard and got it home, forgot to plug the prop shaft end and had a pool of oil in the boot, damn.
The builder (or should I say cowboy) who built the car originally had managed to adapt the bell housing from the lotus engine to fit the ford 4-speed box and as luck would have it, it fitted my 5 speed too. Only needed the housing around the input shaft to be machined down by 1mm. Fitted a new seal at the same time because they are cheap as chips. The engine looks huge, how the hell did that fit in the chassis? I later found out it wouldn't go back in without a shoehorn and lots of pushing and shoving.
Still doing wiring but just to take away the boredom, decided to see why the back axle was creating an oil slick on my garage floor. Well you won't believe this but there wasn't a gasket fitted, he must have worked for Cowboys R Us. Ordered a new gasket and 1 week later a seal arrived, idiots had ordered the wrong part so another week later I checked and they lost it.
Yet another week later I got the gasket and tried to fit it but didn't realise you have to remove the half shafts. With no slide hammer, I made up a lump of wood, screwed to a broom handle and it worked a treat so gasket now fitted and no more oil leaks.
Footwell panels have seen better days and as I now intend to replace Dash, scuttle top and tunnel top panels, I thought whilst the engine is still out, I could replace them too. What the hell, it's only money after-all. It did in fact make things easier as I could poke my head through places I couldn't otherwise have done. Used old panels as templates but somehow they still didn't fit - why is that?I think it's looking worse
Donnington Kitcar show was this weekend so I saved a bit of cash and decided to get some lights, wires etc. Spent a fortune at what was a great show, it was nice to see so many Westfield's there but made me a bit green with envy on how nice they looked compared to my heap, what have I done I keep thinking.
Got home with loads of bits to fit. Rear lights went on first as they were the easiest to fit, then the front light. They looked great and worked a treat, looks like my wiring skills are holding up. Also decided that the crappy fuse box was due for the bin bag as I had a nice new shiny one to fit with a big bag of fuses just in case I blew a few more and I did. Isn't wiring fun . . . Nooooo.
Picked up my clocks this week, Ooh they look sexy (all according what your into I suppose). Got them from ETB and choose the yellow ones as one day in the very distant future, I want the car coloured yellow. Don't know how but that's what I want. Took ages hacking out the old dash just so I could see them in situ, a waste of time I suppose but it had to be done.New clocks in old dash
Still doing wiring - Doh! Engine all cleaned off and taking up too much space in the garage, I decided to refit it so hoist obtained and back in it went, then out, then in, then out, then scratch head and back in again. Due to the increased size of the gearbox, I spent a week positioning and re-positioning the engine mounts etc to get the most clearance around the tunnel and engine bay. The average clearance is around 25mm. I just hope it doesn't move too much when it revs. Had to have the engine mounts remade and still had to pack them.Engine ready to go in
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