Having got a fair way into the build now, I thought I would document some of the tweaks I have come across on the ways, as a service to other Westfield builders out there. This will be a fairly rag-bag list of things as they occur to me. What's more, I accept no responsibility for you messing up by following any of the tips here. However, they all relate (or at least they will do) to things that we have found useful.

Please note that this is all just my opinion, and I certainly don't guarantee these ideas. What's more, the factory have not been involved at all. In other words, it's your fault if it goes wrong.

Thanks to the various contributors for some of the tips here, at least someone's reading them. If anyone else has any suggestions mail them to me and I'll include them here, subject to the obvious caveats.

Duncan's Dax build page also has a lots of tips on it. A lot of them are, of course, Dax specific but there's a lot of good advice too.

There's getting to be so many of these that I'll add a small index here:


Read the manual
The Westfield build manual is not, by any means perfect. However, it does have a lot of information buried in its many corners so it's worthwhile reading it carefully. One problem with this is that the typography used in the manual is absolutely awful, being designed to be pretty rather than readable.

In particular, it's worth reading well ahead of where you are. We have found several things that are described twice in the manual (for example that issue of cutting out the demister vents in the scuttle) but in different degrees of detail.

If you come across an "actual size" diagram in the manual don't believe it, as the reproduction doesn't seem to be able to do that.


Before installing the gearbox make sure that the connections for the reversing light switch are accessible and of the correct sort to connect to the rest of the wiring loom.

Also, make sure that the casting lugs that are mentioned in the manual as being needed to be removed have been. As mentioned elsewhere we got our gearbox from Westfield and they neglected to do this. Luckily I spotted it as it's quite obvious now the 'box is in that it couldn't have fitted if I hadn't attacked it with a hacksaw.


Brake pipes
It is possible to bend the (steel) brake pipes by hand. Just go very slowly and carefully.

As mentioned in the rest of the text, there appears to be a mounting bracket by the front suspension for the fixed to flexible pipe union. This is in contradiction to the manual which states that the pipes should pass through the bodywork.

The idea is that you use the bracket if you can. Some cars have the battery on the scuttle, as ours does. In these ones you can use the bracket. Other ones, I think those with the Ford injection/plenum* have the battery at the front of the engine which makes the brackets inaccessible. For these cars you will have to use the bodywork to mount the brake pipes.

*Now, when we fit injection it's going to be the nice throttle body stuff, not the plastic box OEM stuff....


Engine fitting
If you have the car on chassis stands, make sure that the engine hoist goes up a long way. I reckon that the engine needs to be over 2m off the ground to fit in when using the standard Westfield chassis stands.

If the hoist will not go this far, and most of them don't. Then lower the chassis down first, perhaps onto axle stands while fitting the engine. (You can use the engine hoist to help do this.) We didn't do this at first and got into a terrible kerfuffle.

Also, although it says not to in the manual, take off the carburettors/inlet manifold and the alternator before fitting the engine. This way makes the engine a lot easier to manouvre and a lot less delicate. If you do do this don't overtighten the Thackery (sp?) washers between the inlet manifold and the head when you put it back together, or you'll end up with frothy fuel and no go.


Tape residue
Westfield have a habit of holding the kits down in the delivery vehicle with packing tape. When you come to remove it it looks like this. They say (although I haven't tried it yet) that this residue comes off using a petrol-soaked rag.

Personally, I think they should pack things in a way that doesn't do this, but I'm only a customer.

More recently, I have tried using a rag with some white spirit. It fetches this off all right, and hasn't as yet done any obvious damage to the gelcoat.


It's best to disconnect the top wishbone before trying to install the driveshafts. Use bungee straps to hold the driveshaft up while you're putting the wishbone back.


Lobro joints
Don't do what I very nearly did and fiddle too much with the Lobro joints before installing them. It is possible for make them come to bits and then you're in real trouble.


Strange panels
The four weirdly shaped aluminium panels are for fitting either side of the car, in the engine compartment and rear wheel arch, to stop gunk filling up the gap between the side bodywork panel and the side of the chassis.

As far as I can see, these panels are mentioned absolutely nowhere in the manual.

There has been some discussion about squirting Waxoyl into the gap before sealing it up like this. This will make sure that the aluminium doesn't corrode. (Aluminium does corrode, and quite badly too, in certain circumstances. In fact, it oxidises incredibly quickly, much more quickly than steel. The normal colour of aluminium is actually the oxide (rust) as as soon as the metal itself is cut it oxidises essentially instantaneously.)

Before fitting the rearmost plates, look at the mounting of the Tenax fasteners on the hood (see below). I'm not sure but I think without a rivnut tool it might be difficult to fit the fasteners with the plates in position.


Wiper wheel boxes and demister ducting
My idea here is to fit the wheel boxes before the demister ducting. That way you can get the alignment of the wipers sorted before messing about with the ducting which is all hidden inside the car and doesn't have the potential to make the windscreen look gruesome.

Again, this is not what it says in the manual.

Duncan suggests you should:

  1. Ignore the Westfield cut marks on the body.
  2. Assemble the two wiper boxes on the intermediate pipe first to ensure the distance between the holes is correct.
  3. Get Westfield to supply replacement flared pipes if yours are the wrong length, as both Duncan's and mine were.


Air horn compressor
If you have air horns and a ducted radiator, site the compressor on the right hand site of the chassis, as it will otherwise conflict with the top hose. Note that the compressor must be mounted vertically.

You might like to remove the unneeded mounting lug when you do this, as it makes life easier when fitting the top hose later. If you do do this, make sure you treat it to stop the dreaded rust appearing later. We used some Hammerite for this, of the smooth variety, which at least looks vaguely like the powder coating.


Fuel pump unions
I found it impossible to stop these leaking, having got the point that I couldn't force myself to tighten them up any further for fear something would fracture. I solved the problem using some plumber's PTFE tape on the tapered threads of the unions. I presume PTFE--which is just about inert hence the use in non-stick frying pans--and petrol do not react in any meaningful way. At least I hope not.


Front indicators
If you have the ducted nose, do yourself a favour and fit the front indicators before fitting the radiator in the nose and nose in the chassis. It's not impossible the way it says in the manual, just very nearly so. I have the scars to prove it.


Do yourself another favour and get a rivnut kit. This is a boon when building a Westfield as it allows you to put something together and take it apart again without getting hugely frustrated with yourself.

There are all sorts of places where it comes in useful. I have used mine, so far, for:

  1. Fitting the bootbox so that I don't have to grovel underneath the car to fit nuts. This is especially useful as I've taken it out 43 times since I first installed it.
  2. Fitting the dash so that I don't have to ram my hand up the back of the dash, dislodging the wiring and getting glass fibres stuck in my arm. (I've only taken this out twice so far, but there's lot's of time yet.)
  3. Fitting the gear lever and handbrake bezels neatly.
  4. Fitting the fuel regulator to a home made bracket.
  5. Fitting the Tenax fasteners for the hood.
  6. Providing a fixed nut for the bracket that holds the battery down, rather than requiring you to reach inside the passenger footwell with a spanner.
  7. Providing some fixed nuts so that the panel for adjusting the handbrake can be taken off without resorting to self-tappers. (Urchhh, horrible things.)
I'm quite sure there are going to be others...

If you do get one, use aluminium rivnuts in GRP, but make sure that you don't tighten them up so much that you pull the threads out or crack the gelcoat. (Been there, done that...)

I've found two easy sources of rivnut tools. Europa sell them and so do NF developments. Many other good tool suppliers list them, such as our local MacKay's, albeit at heart-attack inducing prices. (And they're not exactly cheap from the two suppliers above!)


Trolley jack
Quite simple. Make sure you've got one. By the time you've jacked the car up 104 times--which you will towards the end of the build--then you'll really appreciate having one.


Overflow connection
If you have a ducted nose then make sure that you bung up the overflow hole that is in the radiator just by the top hose, or at least it was on our radiator. If you don't do so then you'll end up with water all over the place.

Westfield recommend tapping it at M5 and inserting a bolt with silicone sealant all over it. So far, this approach seems to work, but I'm withholding my opinion for a while.

You will note that you will need an M5 tap for this, something that's not in the Westfield list of tools.


Wheel centres
If you have the Westfield wheels then they have a cap in the middle that covers up the bolt heads. This is held on by a long allen headed bolt. Take care that you do not snap this bolt. Before tightening too much, make sure that the bolt is trimmed to the length needed. (It is in sections so that it is easy to cut.)


Fuel hose
I had real trouble fitting the fuel hose that goes from the tank to the fuel pump, only managing to get it in by a lot of swearing and a certain amount of WD40. A correspondent recommends getting some slightly wider hose (10mm instead of 8mm) to overcome this issue. I didn't need to do this but I can see the attraction!


Garages need light
Lots and lots of it. Whatever you've got isn't enough. What's more they need proper garage paint on the floor. I suspect that if you used anything else then by the time you've pumped brake fluid, petrol, antifreeze and hypoid oil all over it it will be stuffed.


Fitting bodywork
I have to admit that I haven't actually tried this, but my experiences with getting the body on slightly skew leads me to suggest this slightly modified procedure. At least one correspondent has said that these notes were useful, so here they are for everyone.

However, everything here is at your own risk. This is certainly what I would do if I did this again but it might well not work for you.

Everything here takes about a day to do properly. Even if you ignore the rest of this, make sure that you take everything in this area slowly, as messing this up is impossible to hide.

Everything that follows is for a car with detachable wheel arches. If yours is not like this then tough.

The manual talks about an approach that is highly dependent upon a 400mm measurement that is taken between the inside of the boot box moulding and the main chassis cross member. I have become very unconvinced that this is the best way to position the body, as the real problem isn't really about the boot box, which can be hacked around to fit, but about the way that the front sides of the bodywork align at the front of the car. The most critical thing by far about the bodywork is the scuttle fitting which affects everything. As I found to my cost if you get the positioning at the rear wrong then there is very little you can do to affect things from the scuttle forward. The reason you can't change things much is the locating lugs that are moulded into the bodywork and locate in the bottom of the scuttle and the bonnet. Without filing these off, which seems a bit extreme, then you can't move things very much from the roll bar forward once the rear is in place.

Hence, I think it would be very sensible to trial-fit the scuttle on top of the bodywork, probably held in position with some G-clamps, before you decide on the position at the rear of the car and fit the roll bar. Once you fit the bar and rivet the underside of the rear bodywork moving everything becomes impossible, due to the tension that everything is held in.

Hence, I would try things in this order:

  1. Mark where the chassis rivnuts are. (The manual tells you to do this rather too late.)
  2. Mark and drill the wheelarch/bodywork fittings. After that take the wheelarches away for a while, regardless of what it says in the manual.
  3. Mount the bodywork, loosely.
  4. Fit the scuttle to the bodywork so that it fits snugly over the locating lugs.
  5. Fiddle around with everything checking the 400mm dimension it talks about in the manual and checking that the scuttle fits snugly and that the front bodywork sides are positioned symmetrically. (You don't want them like this.) Keep everything clamped, although not so that it's in tension. If you can't get everything right, I would lean towards getting the 400mm slightly wrong, but the alignment at the front correct. This is probably because I got it the other way round and the alternative seems better. Of course, I could be wrong!
  6. Trial fit the bonnet and the nose cone, as the alignment of the bodywork critically affects these two things. Make sure that the bonnet sits down properly on its locating lugs.
  7. Try and guess if the bootbox will fit properly. You can't really check this as the box needs a lot of modification to fit around the rollbar, and the rear bodywork is, at the moment, about 6" too low as it's not riveted.
  8. Only after you are happy with everything, fit the roll bar. You'll need a large drill to do this, and the only way I found to work out where to drill the hole was to measure it all, check it, cross-check it, measure again, sit down for a think, measure it again and finally, with sweat breaking out, drill the holes.
  9. Fit the rear wheelarches. This must be done before the bodywork is rivetted up. One thing I didn't do, but I've seen mentioned elsewhere is to bolt on the rear wheel arches with plastic nut and bolts--the sort that are used for number plates. The reason for this is to allow the wings to be ripped away in an accident rather than damaging the rest of the bodywork.
  10. Rivet the rear underside of the bodywork. In order to do this you will have to clamp the bodywork up very tight. Someone else commented that when you push it up to meet the chassis you almost lift the chassis off the stands. However, when you've done this everything goes satisfyingly taut. Westfield reckon that after three months you could take the rivets out and it would stay where it is, due to the bodywork continuing its curing process in that position. As yet I have no idea whether this is correct.
The critical point here is to lean towards getting the front of the bodywork in the right place and worrying very slightly less about the 400mm dimension.


Lots of people have written about the garage for building a kit. However, it has recently occurred to me that I built my car the wrong way round. What I mean is that it would have been much easier to "reverse" it in. In particular, when lifting the engine in it would have eased things if the engine hoist could have been sticking out of the door. Of course, this wouldn't work if you have a grassy bank at 30 degrees just outside your garage door but if it's more or less flat then doing it this way would seem to be better.


The instructions in the manual go through the fitting of the back of the hood in detail, and give up on the sides entirely. Furthermore, Westfield now give you different fasteners than what is described in the manual--at least in my copy of the manual.

So, some related tips are:

  1. The Tenax fasteners go at the front of the bit of the hood at the back of the "door". They are to provide better location so that the wind doesn't rip the hood out and away down the road.
  2. After fitting the rear of the hood, try and get the Tenax fasteners into place next. Then you can fit the rest of the side poppers in such a way as to equalise everything. I got everything out of place by stretching it too much, in some places by about 20mm. (Which probably explains the pain in my elbow after I finished!)
  3. It's a lot easier to take the spare wheel off to fit the hood. In fact, it was the only way I could get sufficient purchase to do it at all, but see the above comment about damaged elbows.
  4. On a related point, it's been mentioned to me that it's best to arrange the poppers at the back so that there isn't one on the exact centre of the car. The reason for this is that the spare tyre makes it very difficult to get at. This is exactly not what it says in the manual, but it seems to me to make sense.
  5. If at all possible, fit the Tenax fastener with a rivnut. This way you can a) get at it and b) take it out if necessary.


Filling the gearbox
Having done this you will notice that you can't get the bottle of oil anyway near the filler hole. In order to fix this get some thickish neoprene tubing (about 10mm outside diameter) and drill a hole in the top of the oil bottle cap that is very slightly smaller than the tubing. Ram the tubing in this hole so that when the cap is replaced on the bottle the tubing will go to the bottom of the oil. You can then squeeze the bottle to squirt oil up the pipe and into the gearbox. Surprisingly, it's sufficiently air tight even without any sort of sealant.

Don't do what a correspondent did and take the gearbox drain plug out to fill the gearbox, unless you fancy a "coiffure au huile pour MT75". Make sure it's the filler plug you remove.


Glue the cycle wings on
After advice from many people I decided to glue the front wings on. This is achieved using some glue that has a polyurethane base but contains magic things classes isocyanates. Apparently these glues were originally used, on cars at least, for bonding in the windscreens of modern cars. The big advantage of gluing the wings on is that you don't have to drill holes, with the possibility of damaging the gelcoat, in a rather exposed position.

Anyway, it seems to have worked fine, so far at least.

The glue to use is often referred to as "Sikaflex" after one of the manufacturers. Sikaflex actually have a website which lists loads of adhesives and is all a bit confusing. The one in the Europa catalogue, which I ordered, is actually Sikaflex 221. However there are loads of other apparently equivalent products such as Loctite Flexibond and the stuff I actually got from Europa whose name I have forgotten.


Check wiper motor
Several people have had problems with the wipre motor gearbox being assembled back-to-front, meaning that it parks the wipers in the middle of the screen. It's probably a good idea to check this before assembling everything.


Bleeding the brakes
I've had loads trouble with this. The best pieces of advice seem to be:
  1. Use a pressure bleeder, such as a Gunson's Eezibleed. This has the particular advantage that it blows all the time, rather than the blow-suck-blow-suck that you get by pumping the brake pedal. What's more, it makes for much less rushing about.
  2. After initial bleeding, use a piece of wood to jam the pedal down overnight. This seems to reduce any sponginess for reasons that I am completely in the dark about. (Suggestions, anyone?) What's more, at least one person reckons that the effect is cumulative; that is, several nights with the wood in place is better than just one. (?!?)
  3. There are a lot of stories about problems caused by leaving the braking system empty of fluid for too long. This sems to make sense, so bleed it--or at least fill it--as early as you can.
  4. On the initial filling, allow the fluid to move through by gravity initially, just by opening the bleed nipple and leaving it. This apparently helps the "drying out" of seals if the system stays empty for too long.
  5. Watch for leaks around the copper sealing washers that go between the calipers and the hoses. Make sure that you do these up tight right from the start, and fill the system shortly thereafter. If they leak, before you change them just try inverting the washher and cleaning up the caliper and hose surfaces.


Bottom hose
If you have a ducted nose it seems as though the bottom hose/pipe has to be routed through the wishbones; that is, "outside" the chassis. This isn't really described in the manual but I found it was the only way to make it work and at least one picture found out on the web, as shown here, is the same.


My manual said two things that are really incompatible:
  1. The sidescreens must be fitted after the hood.
  2. The holes for the hinges are pre-drilled in the sidescreen frame.
For me, only one of the holes for each hinge was pre-drilled, but even with just the one it is impossible to adjust the position of the sidescreen in any way. Hence, if just fitting the hinges works fine then I don't see why the hood needs to be fitted first. However, if they end up in a slightly odd position, which mine did, then you do need to have the hood fitted in order to adjust them--by opening out the hinge mounting holes and moving the hinges slightly.


I've come to the conclusion that the best way to apply for the SVA test is to send off the form to Swansea a long time before the test is needed. At least 3 months before is probably right. You can then negotiate directly with the test centre about the particular date and time as you need, and even postpone existing appointments. This seems much more sensible than trying to time it right and, as I did, sit around waiting for a test appointment.


Rusty front suspension
After some time using the Westfield, I have noticed that many of the stock front suspension parts are looking rather sad. Things like the top ball joint have got very rusty as a result of the road conditions over the winter. These components are essentially made out of untreated steel. Normally this is not an issue as everything is out of sight and they are thick enough for it not to matter. However, on the Westfield the suspension is out there for everyone to see.

Hence, I suggest that the parts are either powder coated or painted with some anti-rust substance, such as Hammerite, before assembly.


A number of people have contributed bits of information that I have filtered onto this page. My thanks to everyone, although all errors in translation and interpretation are probably mine.

The various contributors are:

  1. Stuart Cottam
  2. Duncan Hurst (You should also look at the list of tips on Duncan's Dax build site.)
  3. The other cam7 and se7ens bods
  4. Andy Barnes
  5. Duncan Hardy
  6. Ed Cane (Web page.)
  7. Ian Crocker (Web page.)
  8. Martin Hill
  9. Nigel Burton
  10. William Wijts
  11. Paul Mattingley
  12. And, of course, Chris Masters at Westfield.