October 1st

I decided to go ahead with the wings in the absence of the spacers. So, I drilled out part of the upright so that the bolt that goes through the support arm will have somewhere to go. Perhaps I'll be able to have a go at sticking the wings on tomorrow.

I tried the front wings on the supports and got a bit concerned that it wouldn't be possible to get the wheel on and off. As you can see it's very tight. However, I think it's just about possible. Whether by design or accident I don't know.

It still bashed the brake pipe though.

Finished fitting the centre tunnel carpet. With luck we will also have a got at the gaiters tomorrow.

There's still no word on the SVA. What the heck are they doing?

October 2nd

We made a new gaiter for the gear lever today, aided by Anthea's skill with a sewing machine and Mr Pythagorus. Rather better than the naff one Westfield supplied. I'm in a quandary about how to attach it to the car though. I could use the chrome bezel that I have or sew it to the carpet, the way that Westfield do.

We should decide what to do tomorrow. At the moment I think I am minded to use the bezels, just because it makes things look slightly different from the loads of other Westfields around. Not sure yet how to attach them to the car though.

I finished the day off by sticking the front wings on, although as the promised spacers have not arrived yet this is going ever so slightly out on a limb. They make the car look much better, as it looks "squarer" with them on. However, we need to wait till tomorrow before checking that they are really affixed properly. I think I went a bit over the top with the amount of the glue that I used. This will probably mean that when I look inside the wheel arch it will be all over the place.

I'll also find out tomorrow if it's possible to get the wheels off again.

October 3rd

The wings seem to be stuck on successfully. The only problem is that the bottom rear of each wing seems to be displaced inwards slightly. I suspect this is a result of bending the brackets to make them fit. It shouldn't cause any real problems and it is possible to get the wheels off, I tried.

When turning the wheels from lock to lock, one of the wings gets a bit closer to the bodywork than the other. I suspect that this is a result of having the tracking miles out, so I'm not bothered about it for now.

We finished making the gaiters for the gear lever and handbrake. I finished the day by fitting the former, with the aid of the aforementioned bezel held into the aluminium underneath by inserting some rivnuts into the aluminium, allowing some stainless bolts in the bezel to hold it down.

I've been thinking about the SVA date, or the lack thereof. I will try and phone up the Vehicle Inspectorate and see if anything's happening tomorrow, as it's getting frustrating.

I spent a while looking at the fasteners for the hood and the tonneau. There are a whole lot of press-studs (true to Westfield fashion there are a different number of each of the three bits of each stud) and two Tenax fasteners. I assume the latter are something to do with the tonneau, but as there are no instructions about this I will have to phone Chris and ask him.

October 4th

Before fitting the handbrake gaiter, I padded the lever itself. The reason being that the only arm rest that there is is actually the top of the handbrake and it would be sensible to cushion it a bit. I padded it with some self adhesive foam which seems to work fine.

That done, we fitted the gaiter and bezel. The only thing left here is that two of the bezel screws are not screwed into anything, on account of there not being anything below to screw into. For this I will just glue some screw heads in, so that it looks if there's something there.

I let the car sit on the drive idling for about an hour, mainly to see if any leaks developed and to make sure that the cooling fan cut in and out. Everything seemed to work fine and didn't overheat or leak. It's not exactly quiet though. I guess like all twin-Webered cars it's a bit lumpy until it's properly warm. The engine needs a bit of "nursing" at first start up, following the standard cold-start Weber technique of three or four stabs on the throttle pedal and then starting it. After that it seems fine.

The next thing was to fit one of the seats. I started with the passenger seat as that one is less critical on positioning than the other. I always have a problem fitting into cars due to my ridiculously long legs. I have always thought that I might have to do something clever to the seat, such as leaving it out (!), to accommodate me for long periods.

The seat went in easily, although true to Westfield fashion the right nuts and bolts did not exist in the fastener kit. Afterwards we all amused ourselves by climbing in and out. At least on the passenger side there's plenty of room for me. The problem is on the other side there's these pedals and steering wheel...

After having put the seat in it occurred to me that the space between the seats, behind the handbrake, was available for storage of some form. (This would be rather like the storage area that was in my MR2 at this position.) Or, perhaps it should have a fire extinguisher in it.

October 5th

Phoned Woolies and ordered a tool for punching down the hood clips. According to the build manual you can make do with a large nail and some thing to bash it onto, but I decided that £13 for the real tool would be money well spent. I fitted a hood for myself on an MGB many years ago. It was really rather difficult to do well. I hope that by making sure I've got the rights tools and bits I can make a better job of the Westfield's hood. Not that I intend using it though, but it'll be good practice for the tonneau, which will get heavy use.

I spoke to Chris Masters about fitting all these things. Some snippets of extra information crept out:

  • The fastener kit includes two Tenax fasteners. These are for the hood and attach at the point where the hood takes over from the sidescreen, at the driver's shoulder. They provide a more positive fastening to stop the wind grabbing the bottom of the hood and lifting it up. The studs for the Tenax fasteners are threaded. Chris says that Westfield use a rivnut for this, in the bodywork at the side, although a nut would do. Hence the rivnut tool comes in useful again!
  • The tonneau cover is fastened to the same poppers at the back as the hood. (Although it would seem to need some Tenax fasteners too?) Some additional poppers are needed on the scuttle and Chris reckons there should be one in the middle, one by the windscreen pillar, one near the bottom of the crash pad and one where the body sweeps up from the lowest part at the rear of the "door". Clearly, this applies to each side.
  • There are definite SVA problems with the weather gear. The testers do not like the hood frame, nor the mountings for this on the roll bar bases. They also do not like the popper bases nor the Tenax studs. The ideal is really to leave all this off before the test, and freeze on the way there! The alternative seems to be:
    1. Use a spare popper "top" on each popper, to reduce the bending radius on the poppers.
    2. Put some spare hose over the hood frame mountings.
    3. Take the hood frame off, and leave it at home.
    4. Remove the Tenax studs. (Hence using some rivnuts is a good idea.)

I'm not sure what I'm going to do about all this. I would like to leave it all until after the test but given the time that everything is taking I will be out of work to do soon and will need something to do, as well as wanting to avoid frostbite on the way to the test for which the tonneau at least would be useful.

Rats! When I got home this evening there was a small quantity of water (and the dreaded antifreeze) on the floor of the garage. The puddle was under the bottom hose connection which had leaked before (and which was undone to drain the radiator). I tightened it up again, with a sinking feeling that this would not be for the last time. Presumably the leak is a consequence of running the engine for a while yesterday.

The spacers arrived today. The ones for the wing supports look as if they'll fit fine. The other ones are just for spacing the wheel out slightly. It has to be said that using them would allow me to fix the issue about the slightly asymmetric cycle wings. The problem with doing that is that the front wheel studs are really a bit too short. I don't know what to do about this, perhaps I'll just put up with it?

Later on, I fitted the driver's seat. I was approaching this with a bit of trepidation because of my difficulties with fitting in. However, it seems just about OK, especially if I do what I was intending and get either a dished wheel or space the existing one out from the boss slightly. (Anyone know how to get a spacer machined up from a lump of aluminium? If so please email me.) However, I'll probably do this after the SVA so that I've got something that is still as standard as possible.

One issue is that I was always intending to fit the seats without their runners, so as to be able to sit a little lower in the car. The problem is that the tonneau cover has pockets in it for the headrests on the Westfield sports seats. These pockets require the seat to be moved forward of the rearmost position. Moving the seats like that could be hard without any runners. More thought needed, I think.

I need to trim the carpet that goes in the driver's footwell. For some reason it isn't actually cut to go around the pedal bases (in the MT75 cars the pedals are hinged at the bottom). It's going to be rather hard to mark this, I may just chop off the end 10cm of the carpet/footpad and be done with it.

October 6th

Fitted the final bits of carpet, now velcroed down. The driver's foot pedal carpet needs some quite big chunks cut out of it, which seems a shame. I decided to try a minimal bit of fitting, as can be seen. If nothing else it helps in locating the carpet.

Fitted the kick-strips, holding them down with velcro. (In for a penny, in for a pound!)

I phoned Chris (at this rate he's going to remember my name) and told him about the issue with the front wheel studs. He says he will send me some longer ones (perhaps too long but they can be cut down).

Still no SVA date....

Made up a final to-do list with all the remaining jobs on it, a sure sign that I am nearly done.

I tried out my theory about mounting the steering wheel further away from the dash. I got some longer bolts and used some thick-wall steel tubing to make some 3cm long spacers.

It made a huge difference and I went for a trickle round the car park again. (At night, using the cars own lights!) Another couple of centimetres and it will be perfect. The only issue is whether it would get through an SVA like this, or whether I should submit it to the test with just the standard wheel.

The modified wheel actually made the car easier to steer as by being a bit closer one can put a bit more "shoulder" into steering it. (If you watch the BTCC cars on the television you'll see that the drivers have the wheel very close to them, I suspect for this reason.)

I would much prefer to use an aluminium spacer, or possibly, as has been suggested by the cam7 bods, a hardwood/ply/mdf spacer. I can't see that it would be hard to find something that would do the job well.

October 8th

Heart in mouth, I phoned the Vehicle Inspectorate to see what was going on. After holding on and being passed about they eventually said that my application had been "approved" (on October 1st) and was with the testing station, who should contact me with a date. I wonder if I should phone them directly, perhaps even to get a cancellation? Is it possible for an SVA application to be "not approved" then? I wonder how you manage that?

There was a small drop of coolant on the floor of the garage again last night. It would appear that the bottom hose is still leaking. (Not surprising but infuriating.)

I torqued up all the front suspension bolts this evening, and then sat in the car making brmmm brmmm noises. I have this horrible feeling that I'm going to end up with the damn thing sitting in the garage for 6 weeks while the testing and registering is sorted.

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