Tag: Westfield

Winter Project – Rear Suspension Rebuild

Since first getting a look at the tired state of the rear suspension (Live Axle), I’ve really wanted to get in there and overhaul the lot including;

New Trailing arms and bushes
New coil springs (front ones too) – The dampers were replaced about 18 months ago.
Clean and paint the chassis and Panhard rod.

So with a bit of free time over the winter, I got to work.

I got the car lifted onto axle stands;

Removed rear wheels, Seats and Seatbelts, Boot Box and interior side panels.

I then had a go at removing all of the rear suspension bolts to release the components;

Removed Panhard rod and Rear Dampers (and the rear end of the top trailing arms).

Here I hit a problem ALL of remaining bolts were seized/rusted into their respective Metalastic bushes!

This called for drastic action – Getting in there with an angle grinder – armed with many cutting discs.

After tracking down and borrowing a nice powerful generator from a friend, I got to work, taking a whole day to remove the trailing arms. They ended up unserviceable.

It’s a good job that I already had a new set of arms ‘in stock’ fitted with poly bushes.

After removing these stubborn little critters – I could see the state of the chassis in its full glory – Urk!

The next 2 days spent in the garage were dedicated to cleaning/wire brushing everything I could get to, removing as much loose dirt/powder coat/rust as I could. It’s surprising how much can be scraped off – I had to sweep up the bits and muck plenty of times. At this time I also removed the original (150lb I’m told) rear springs and fitted (as is the trend) shorter 175lb rear springs – they at the very least look a lot better, and should cure the ‘bottoming out’ problem that happened sometimes.

Now that I could see where and what to paint, I gave all of the ‘dodgy’ areas their 1st coat of POR15 and went back to admire it the next day – it really feels like we are getting somewhere.

Over the Christmas break, I got some time to give the rear end another coat of POR15 and fit up the new poly-bushed rear trailing arms and re-painted (by my Mrs) Panhard rod – things were really starting to come together. The trickiest part of the operation was aligning the holes in the bushes with the openings in the brackets – this was solved using a tapered punch – as it was pushed into the bush through the brackets it (sort of) self-aligned.

This was all followed up with a good dose of Dinitrol to try to prevent the new nuts/bolts/bushes becoming one solid lump of rust. A few areas were also treated to additional silicone sealant – mainly around the gaps where the suspension brackets and seat belt mounts meet the inner aluminium panels.
So although I have spotted a small teething problem (the wiring connections to rear lights are temperamental) everything seems to work successfully.
The car has now moved again under its own power and is looking good for it.
Update: I replaced the rear light wiring plugs with some waterproof ones – had to run an extra earth wire to ensure a good connection, but all is well.

Running Repairs – Fuel Pump and Rear Brake Overhaul

While travelling to and taking part in a parade lap at The Silverstone Classic this summer I had a couple of odd incidents.

  • While passing travelling across country, the car cut out and coasted to a stop – restarting after maybe 20 seconds.
  • While on the parade lap at Silverstone the fuel pump (just behind my seat) went crazy – knocking and clattering away.

Knowing that I already had a spare fuel pump ‘in stock’ I decided that would be a good 1st step towards fixing the issue.

The job was a simple one, but included removal and refitting of the drivers seat to gain good access to the retaining bolts.

Before;

After;

Since replacing the pump, the car has had zero problems – and I’m considering it fixed. In fact, the car feels like runs even better, especially at mid-high revs, maybe the old pump had been on its way out for a while.
I also took some time to pay attention to the rear brakes, the handbrake was more-or-less ineffective and, when attempting to bleed the rear brakes at the time of wishbone replacement, I could not undo the bleed nipple.
This turned out pretty time consuming, but easy. I replaced both rear wheel cylinders for the drum brakes and took some care to adjust the (supposedly automatically adjusting) handbrake.
I then re-bled the entire braking system.
The result of this is.
  • The handbrake works without pulling it up to the sky.
  • The car is much more stable under braking.

Upon removal, the old wheel cylinders felt as if notches were worn into the bore, and, my guess is – doing nothing in particular.

Wide Track…

So, at the back end of last summer while taking a trip out for a coffee I managed to slide my car into the kerb.

The damage was limited to;

Scratched LHF Wheel
Misshapen LHF Lower Ball Joint
Misshapen LHF Lower Wishbone plate

Updated: Slight bend in left steering rack track rod

To remedy this;

Wheel scratch covered with touch-in paint
Lower ball joint replaced
Lower Wishbone removed and Plate Straightened with a big hammer

This did not feel like final repair, so I started looking at getting a Wide Track kit to fit in place of the current front suspension.

Now, there are a few manufacturers of these kits, but just before Christmas, in the WSCC magazine, there was an Ad declaring that the Genuine Westfield Wide Track Kit was at a special price to members.

I called and placed an order immediately.

The Kit took a short while to arrive while the factory was switching to a new supplier. But when it did, wow, nice quality.

I soon got around to bolting the bits together that didn’t need a car nearby. This included new upper and lower ball joints (obtained from an online parts shop)
Then, the on the firsts reasonable day of the year, the car was brought around to my house for this transplant (it’s on those concrete slabs to get enough space to slide the jack under).
Removing the old units proved pretty simple, the only sticky parts being the ball joints sticking into the hub. 11mm of thread was cut from the steering track rods to allow the rack extensions to fit tightly and give enough tracking adjustment.
The biggest struggle was fitting the new Westfield poly-bushes into the new wishbones centrally, a few tries were needed per bush. Update: I’ve since learnt that one should clear some of the powder coat inside the bush housings.
Anyway, after whole day of working including a brake bleed, and setting the camber to 1.5 degrees,  this was the result. Update: The camber has since been reset and tracking set – the brake bleed was front brakes only, as the rear bleed nipple was seized.
After this year’s MOT test, I’m planning to re-check the tightness of everything and re-check the tracking and camber.

Dashboard…

I’d had a constant annoyance with the dashboard, whereby the covering had come loose at the base and lost its stickiness.

So with whole day free, I set about re-doing the covering.
In preparation I ordered some 3M Di-Noc Carbon fibre, isopropyl Alcohol, Primer and a sheet of wet lay carbon fibre to fill any holes or ‘make a feature’
Removing the dash, I labelled every wire or plug to assist in re-assembly.
I noticed that the hazard switch wiring had been extended to allow it to be fitted behind the steering wheel. This lash-up was removed and the switch is to be moved to its old school position on the left side of the dash.
Process;
Peel off the Vinyl
Soak the spongy residue with tar and glue remover
Wipe it off
Soak it again
Wipe it off
… Repeat
After removal of all the spongy stuff, a blast with sand paper got the panel all nice and shiny.
I decided upon a few modifications;
1. USB Socket
2. Move the hazard switch to a place where the normal loom ends
3. Blank off the old hazard switch hole, and the heater switch hole.
For the USB socket I tool my Dremel (Archie) and opened out a round hole that was already there – pretty straightforward.
To cut the hole for the hazard with move, I popped some masking tape onto the area beside the 3 gauges in the middle of the dash and drew out the shape, then chopped out along the lines with the Archie.
For the switch blanks, I cut 2 oblong bits of carbon, about 20mm longer than the hole they are to blank.
I then checked that the USB socket and switch fitted in their new holes and washed the dash with isopropyl alcohol. 
I rolled out the 3M covering and laid the panel onto it to roughly cut the shape, peeled off the backing, and dropped the panel down onto it.
I then just worked all of the bubbles out and cut darts into the vinyl where any curves or holes are.
Securing the most acute bits with a layer of primer.
The switch blanks were then riveted into place and edged with Araldite to make sure of security.
Here’s the result;
I love it – please excuse the washing up.
The re-install process was simple with all of the labelled plugs/wires.

Engine Rattle, Seat Height, Floor Mats…

Engine Rattle

There was an intermittent rattle from the front of the engine which I thought was cured by replacing the water pump – no such luck.

After reading a few forums etc, it was suggested that it could be a failing cam belt tensioner or idler.

I already had a spare cam belt, tensioner and idler in stock so I went for it.

Getting to the belt was straight forward and there are many  youtube videos outlining how to do it.

Then came a stumbling block, I couldn’t undo the front crankshaft pulley retaining nut – it was very very tight.

Still i did notice that the cam belt was in good condition and not too old, so finding that the tensioner was very loose in operation I replaced that and the idler.

I used the crank locking tool and camshaft tool to ensure that nothing moved while these parts were slipped in.

Everything was then re-assembeld and I happy to say the noise has gone.

Cam belt replacement is now on the ‘winter upgrade’ list.

Seat Height

I have (since the second day of ownership) more-or-less fitted in the car. I only realised how much I still donot fit by going to the Caterham South Grand Opening and trying on a Caterham SV.

The difference was staggering – it fitted like a glove – some of this was because of the lovely modern composite seats, but it was mainly because I was low down behind the screen giving better visibility and more knee room

So, I was on a mission to get the seat, and therefore myself lower in the car.

I contemplated throwing a lot of money at Tillet Racing Seats, but after a lot forum surfing found that the 1st option is to remove the drivers seat, take the runners off, take the carpet out… And bolt the thing right to the floor.

I got myself some new mounting bolts with gigantic washers and went at it – it was a simple job and the I now fit a lot better. The view feels almost as low as in the Caterham though the seat is not as comfortable as theirs. I love it though.

Floor Mats

When I removed the carpets to lower the seat I thew them away.

I though that it would be fine (and a bit racy) to have bare aluminium which I might paint black. This was not the case, the main issue being that bare aluminium is a bit slippy and this can cause a fool-slippage issue at inopportune times.

So while at Stoneleigh, I picked up some rubber floor covering.

Today I went about fitting this stuff;

Firstly paper templates were made with the help of some (lots of) masking tape.

These were then laid over the rubber covering and cut around with a sharp knife.

Then after a test fit, giving the alloy floor a good clean, and a coat of aerosol carpet adhesive then carefully fitting the rubber, this is the result.
It looks great.

Cooling System…

Even though I’ve not posted here so much, I have been busy with the car;

The complex cooling system – the myriad of pipes and hoses was never a pleasing sight under the bonnet.

My answer to this was to get hold of a RetroFord water rail and simplify the system.

The job was simple really, the old parts came off easily, including the thermostat housing, then the new parts built up and fitted with ease.

The only slightly tricky area is where an outlet from the new housing passes through the coil pack mounting – to be sure of no contact, the coil mount was loosened and lifted about 1-2mm then re-tightened. This gave JUST enough space to pass a hose for the header tank.

The sensors supplied with the rail fitted perfectly and allowed me to switch back to an automatic cooling fan – which when tested worked so well.

While apart I took the opportunity to fit a new water pump, this was a breeze, but I did find that the threads in the water pump housing are not very good so was careful in tightening.

I have one of these housings, but its a pretty ‘deep’ part on the front of the engine and best suited to ‘winter upgrade’ or leave it alone its not leaking’.

Update: I have since drilled 3 little holes in the thermostat – it prevents air-locking and allows a little bypass.

Wheels and Brakes…

This weekend I fitted some new wheels (14inch Revolution Alloys) that I saw for sale on the WSCC forum.

I got a set of 5 with good Toyo CF1 tyres for £300 delivered from Edinburgh.

At first try they would not fit, as they have an unusual wheel nut design, whereby the nuts have a shank very nearly the thickness of the wheel and fit through a machined hole in the rim.

The trouble was, the wheel bolts had a splined shank section, this prevented the wheels tightening fully.

This was overcome by adding a 5mm wheel spacer to each corner – the bolts now tighten down perfectly.

Next was the front brake pads and discs, I picked up some EBC Greenstuff Pads, and EBC Turbogroved Discs.

These went on pretty simply, the only thing to look out for is the flexible brake hose routing to ensure that it is not pulled when on full lock.

Anyway the difference is staggering, the car stops so much better – directional stability under braking was improved further still by adding 2 clicks front and 1 click rear on the dampers.

Ignition – Done!

So, we are there, Nodiz is now controlling the ignition system on my car.

And here’s how;

Installing the Advance Table

I decided that before any major stuff begins, I should connect to the Nodiz module via Bluetooth and set it up.

Using my Apple MacBook – running Windows 10 in a VM (VMWare Fusion)  it was initially a bit of a struggle getting the onboard Bluetooth radio to work through Win10. I ended up disabling Bluetooth, and using the plug-in USB dongle that is kindly provided with the Nodiz passing it straight through to Windows via VMWare.

After connecting the unit to the battery, I was able to communicate using the software from Motorsport Electronics. I loaded the advance table from their forums, then told the ECU that engine load information will be provided by a Cosworth 3-bar MAP sensor rather than Throttle Position Sensor. It all seemed happy the Advance Table was written to the onboard memory.

Matt from Nodiz explains this HERE.

With this job done, the time had come to get on with the real work.

Removing Megajolt/EDIS

This part was simple, 4 self-tapping screws had been used held these units to the scuttle panel (2 in each) and the wiring harness only linked into the car in 3 places (ignition live feed, ground (earth), and tacho) then 2 terminated plugs went to the coil pack and crank position sensor.

Engine bay with Megajolt

Units removed from scuttle
New Nodiz with MAP sensor (left) and Old MegaJolt with EDIS (right)
Installing Nodiz
I offered up the new wiring harness and decided where to place the new components, the Nodiz is secured with Velcro tape so can go anywhere, but the MAP sensor is a bolt on part, I used the self-tapping bolts that used to retain the Megajolt/EDIS to mount the sensor on the scuttle panel. The new cabling was then connected to the car harness in the same points as the Megajolt (live, ground, tacho).
I turned the key and the car started 1st time – wonderful.
,
A much more elegant solution
Although the car ran very well, the tacho (rev counter) wasn’t working. After a lot of looking around forums etc. about this issue, I boiled it down to 3 options; 
  1. Fit a ‘pull-up’ resistor to the connections at the back of the gauge
  2. Fit a diode coil driver pack to the ignition coils and use that to drive the tacho
  3. Do both 1 and 2

I ordered both parts online and got around to making the tacho work this weekend – removing the VDO tacho I soldered a 1 ohm resistor between the 12v feed and the RPM signal wires (pins 2 and 4).

Resistor in place
I started the car, and, to my surprise it worked perfectly. In summary; The engine now runs very cleanly and pulls very hard – with a working rev-counter.
I’m Delighted..,

At Last my car runs properly…

Since getting this car, it has given me an annoyance…

This annoyance has either been a constant misfire when on the original engine.
Or, on the new engine, a reluctance to pull at full throttle.
To be honest it drove OK on light to mid throttle albeit with a bit of spluttering.
After the carb rebuild I decided to check through the ignition system – even going to the point of ordering a new (simplified) system from Motorsport Electronics called Nodiz.
Today I decided to check through the old ignition system (Megajolt) and fit the first batch of parts supplied as part of the kit from Motorsport Electronics.
I worked through all of the wiring to and from the Ford EDIS unit – and although not particularly pretty – it was all good. Note: Nodiz does away with the EDIS and reduces wiring and complexity – but removes the (handy, but who cares) limp-home capability of EDIS.
I then fitted the very nice thick new Plug leads – hand made by a nice fella from eBay, and the nice beefy coil pack from Motorsport Electronics. The old coil pack had cracked around 2 of the mounting holes.
After fitting and some plug fettling and terminal tightening – I took the car for a spin… WOW!!! it’s so awesome. 
I can honestly say – it has not been right since the day I collected it – but it flaming well is now. Not a hint of a splutter, misfire, or hesitation at any throttle angle at any speed in the rev range. And it pulls like a steam train.
It has made me so so excited for the summer and a trip to Le Mans.
Next jobs;
Water Pump (Noisy since new Alternator).
Thermostat Housing (leaking – Standard).
Gear Selector Saddle (Tighten Gear Change).
Reverse Switch (Not working).
Remove all Carpet and make something new.
Brake Fluid Change.

Carburettor Rebuild…

So,

I decided that it might improve the WOT(Wide Open Throttle) running by giving the ZX9R B carbs a rebuild.

As a bit of a grounding I watched this fellas videos on  You Tube.

Here’s what I found during the rebuild process.

The inlet manifold take-off pipes for the Megajolt MAP (Manifold Absolute Pressure) sensor were a bit loose – one was off completely – I pushed them all on tightly.

The float heights in the carbs were not even – they should all be 14mm, only 1 was – I reset them by bending the little tags on the float.

I increased the jet size to 1.6mm as per many recommendations. To richen the mid throttle range I raised the needles by adding a washer below each needle stop.

a few little back bits were found knocking about near the jets and needle valves – maybe plastic or hard rubber, i cleared these out.

After a clean up and rebuild – refit – I put them on the car and started it, but fuel came out of every orifice (even the venturi).

Stripping them once more drove me to replace the float needles and seats – reading through some forums I heard that the varnish in worn carbs keeps these things sealing, and that after cleaning this off – if they are worn troubles can arise.

I also replaced the float bowl rubber gaskets to ensure good sealing.

They looked glorious;

2nd Try – the carbs went back in quickly and the car started 1st time, alas though they still leaked fuel – from the overflow pipes – I remedied this by dropping the fuel pressure through the Filter King to around 2psi – at 3 psi the fuel must have been pushing the float valves open.

I found at part to  mid throttle the car is feels like it has more torque and the exhaust note is wetter – this I think is due to raising the needles.

It was still unhappy at WOT though – so maybe going for different main jets once more is the key.

I’m looking forward to balancing them and giving the car a good test in some dry weather to get an opinion.