Thursday, 31 July 2014

Tricia's Birthday and our Anniversary plus Electric Mirrors

Tricia's birthday and our 21st Anniversary so we booked into the Woodbury Park Hotel for the night and Tricia also got a pamper session. We left home early giving us 2 hrs to cover <50 miles so lots of  A&B roads and big smiles driving in the Westfield. Slight problem with the handbrake warning light but handbrake well and truly off so kept going.
We arrived at the hotel at 12:30 and Tricia headed off to the body zone while I booked into the hotel. I then spent a hour in the gym and met up with Tricia at 15:30 which must be Pimms o'clock and obviously no more driving.

Next morning we enjoyed the hotels facilities and finished off with a buffet breakfast before more A&B roads (not entirely the same ones) home.

Early in the afternoon a courier delivered the final part in my new upgrade project - the controller for electric windows. I'd seen a few people do the same fit one the WSCC forum and had been collecting the parts over the last couple of weeks after a couple of drives in Europe with side screens fitted I'd got fed up with getting strapped in only to discover that the mirrors had been knocked - Caterham's have their mirrors mounted on the side screens maybe this is a better solution.

Anyway costs so far:

Rover 200 near and offside mirrors £34 for new pattern parts inc p&p
Controller £7 - 2nd hand inc the connector and wires
Wire £12.50
Loom wrap £3
Plus heat shrink, solder, pins and connectors that I already had.

I made the loom off the car and also kept the heater element and wired in parallel with the windscreen heater, I also followed some advice from a Metro forum as the Rover 200 mirrors didn't have the same wiring as those on the WSCC forum.

I did dismantle the whole mirror and modify the mirror mount as feedback on the WSCC forum suggested that the mirrors would be pointing too high once fitted to the Westfield windscreen mounts.

Modified alignment bush plastic metalled in place.

Re-assembling, next step was to screw the motor sub-assembly onto the 3 points on the ally bracket.

And complete.

10mm hole drilled through each of the windscreen mounts to pass the wiring through.

Mirror wired through the windscreen mount and scuttle.
Switch in place in the dash - should have been about 10mm lower to miss the chassis loop bar but I just about got away with it.

I tested them and have plenty of vertical adjustment on both sides but both mirrors are fairly close to being fully adjusted to the o/s which is a shame because other than cutting an offset into the windscreen mounts or prehaps manufacturing shims there's nothing I ca do to adjust further.  I'll live with them for a while and see if it's an issue in use.  The heater elements also work well off the screen timer relay,

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Track Day

I saw on the MSE website that the MOD were resurfacing the runway at Keevil over the summer and that their last day would be the 21 July.  The last local MOD runway that was resurfaced was Colerne and MSE haven't had a day there since, coupled with the return of the Army from Germany will no doubt influence the MOD's willingness to loan airfields out to MSE and the likes. Anyway, James has finished college for the summer so I decided to book just before we left for the Le Mans Classic.

We left home at 08:00 and arrived at Keevil at 09:15 having refuelled and filled up 2 x 5 ltr jerry cans at the last petrol station after Westbury.  We booked in and sorted out a helmet for James, attended the briefing and got out for the sighting lap in group 1.  Once the sighting laps were over all stopped, the paramedic that had been booked had had to stop at an incident and a replacement was 30 mins away. MSE quickly extended the day and ran through lunch to make sure that everyone had the opportunity for a full day and also gave all principal bookers a £20 voucher off another day so good PR for them.

Once the sessions started the queue to get on circuit was long so we had a burger and chips earlier and waited for things to calm down. Sure enough after 40 or so mins the queue was down to a couple of cars so we headed out on to track. About 10 laps slowly building up speed through the corners and reducing the braking points then a final cool down lap before coming in.  First thing was how good the new radiator is, yes the temperatures did rise over the standard ~90 deg C but no where near as high as the last couple of track days and the ambient temperature was ~23 deg C.

There were 3 other Westfields at the day, one of which, a XE engine car, had failed the noise test with 104 dB but after striping down the exhaust and applying sections of beer can plus adjusting the wading they managed to get just below the 100 dB threshold (my new carbon fibre exhaust was 92 dB so 5 dB lower than the original Westfield one).

One of the other cars had been at my first track day last year and was a red FW bodied car with a Duratec engine with an interesting front spoiler. I noticed that it had some ducting around the radiator so went over to have a look.


Upgraditis had been well and truly at play as this was now a 340 bhp supercharged monster with the ducting to allow a clean flow of air to a very large intercooler.  Neil, the owner, is a regular on the track day circuit with his brother and they'd decided that 220 bhp wasn't enough and they needed more power.  James went as a passenger with Neil and was well and truly impressed, even offered to spend his first salary on upgrading ours (about 5 years plus away as he's only just sat his ASs)

We managed to get out for about 6 sessions during the day each of 8 to 10 laps with gradual improvements as we went along.  I used the GoPro to record one or the sessions and also used a CMS Pro app on my phone to record my times and allow me to carry out so post day analysis.  Our top speed was 96 mph and best lap time 1.23 mins and the best of my sectors would have been 1.21 mins so plenty to work on but sadly not likely to be a Keevil anytime soon.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Le Mans Classic


Thursday - Early start James and I leaving Yeovil at 06:00 to travel to Lychett Minster for the meet up prior to heading for the ferry, short stop after 2 miles to disconnect the hose that I'd used to bypass the oil catch tank that I'd removed because the mounting bracket had a crack and I did want it failing whilst away - unfortunately pressure was building up and the car was burning oil during deceleration.
In the queue for the ferry

Malcolm and Dale were already there when .arrived and Chris, Andy and Brian arrived shortly after so we headed off for fuel and then the ferry.  We met up with Colin in the queue for the ferry and then Paul and Joe arrived from Castle Cary shortly after.

On the ferry

After a comfortable crossing with a Full English Breakfast #1 we assembled up inside the ferry port and headed off as a convoy of 7, 6 Westfields and an Aston Martin BD9 convertible, unfortunately road works, traffic and traffic lights conspired against us and we got split up almost immediately into 3 and 4 cars only to meet up again after an hour or so.

Petrol stop

One fuel stop on the way and then tractors combined with extended no overtaking mean we arrived at the campsite in three groups.

Up with the WSCC Pendant and the camp chairs.......

After setting up camp we had dinner and then headed into Arnage for a few beers.

Michelin Chicane

Indianapolis Curve

Friday - after FEB #2 we headed out for a drive and found our way to the public sections of the track - Mulsanne Straight,

Indianapolis and Arnage before heading off to the Pistonheads lunch South of Mulsanne.

Pistonheads swag

After lunch and grabbing some swag from the Pistonhead team we headed back to the campsite via a super market then into Arnage for beers and car watching.

Perfect colours for the post children at Uni man cave
Lotus XI - Before
And After
Saturday - FEB #3 then headed over to the circuit to get our bearings, walked around all  the displays, had a few Guinness then watched the first few races from the mount over looking the Dunlop Curve and Chicane.

  A quick run back to the campsite for dinner was followed by a return to the circuit to watch the racing this time initial from by the Ford Chicane then after a trip to the Paddock from the Grandstand just across from the Start/Finish Line after a very long day we eventually got to bed in the early hour of the morning.


Little Big Mans 7
Little Big Mans 7

Sunday - FEB #4 then immediately over to the circuit and more racing  - heavens opened mid morning and washed us off the Dunlop mound.  Once the rain subsided we resumed watching the racing, had lunch including Guinness went to the paddock and then watch some more races. 

Late at night
little & large
By 14:30 the combined effect of weather, fatigue and the Britsh GP drove us back to the camp site to watch and drink in the club house.  Lots of interaction between the various groups on the site and plenty of beers and wine before heading off for bed.

Monday - FEB #5 then pack everything ready for the drive home.  The convoy kept together until shortly after a coffee break we got split again until meeting at Arromarches before heading up to Cherbourg with the car hitting 7,000 miles on the way.  By the time we disembarked in Poole it was dark so James and I headed straight back to Yeovil.





Sunday, 15 June 2014

Alternator Mount Fatigue Failure

Car has now done about 6,400 miles and after the run back from the WSCC Dorset Area spent meeting at the beginning of the month as I put the car in to the garage I noticed a high frequency tapping/rattle but couldn't see anything in particular wrong and it cleared when rev'd above idle.  The following day I took the car into work and after taking the long way home I tried again to locate the source.  Using a screw driver as a stethoscope I tracked it down to the alternator.  I removed the belt and the bearing seemed fine but there was some play down the length of the alternator so I decided to replace it.

I took a couple of photographs of the alternator trying to track down the part number but while trying to source a replacement I came across a light weight Denso 60A replacement for a reasonable price so bought it.  The Denso only weighs 3.0 kgs against the current 5+ kgs however, will need a new mount, rewiring with a 3 way connector and some additional connections plus a new 15mm shaft pulley or 17mm to 15mm adaptor for the pulley.  My intent was to put up with the rattle until I can make the new brackets and then fit the Denso alternator hopefully before Le Mans Classic at the beginning of July.

Once the Denso alternator was delivered and with the weather not looking too good for the next week I removed the old alternator to work out whether I'd be modify the mount or making a new one from scratch.  As I loosened the front lower bolt the whole alternator started to move and I discovered that the rear lower mount had broken - with hindsight you can actually see the broken mount in the original photo this is obviously what was making the rattle so no need to replace the alternator.  Once I had the mount removed it was clear that the failure was fatigue with multiple "lands" within the crack and a stress raiser in the weld.

I contacted Mark at Westfield to see if there was any history of this type of failure and he asked me to post the mount to him.  Once he'd received it he also noticed an issue with the hole within the broken mount lug and thought that it could be a combination of (1) manufacturing defect, (2) incorrect alternator mounting - failed mount too loose, (3) belt being too tight.  Whatever the cause, Mark agreed to replace it under warranty and the replacement arrived in the post the next day. By this time I'd worked out that the Westfield mount couldn't be modified to mount the Denso alternator, a new pulley was going to cost more than I paid for the alternator and Le Mans  Classic was now only just over 2 weeks away.  Eventually I tracked down an adapter to allow the current alternator pulley to be fitted to the Denso alternator and for only £5 however, after numerous attempts I couldn't remove either of the old pulleys.  After posting on the WSCC forum I've now got some ideas of how to go forward but need an impact wrench for most of them.  luckily I was looking for an excuse to by a cordless impact wrench and they had just emailed me a VAT free voucher for this weekend so I ordered a ClarkeCIR220 with a 2nd battery.  With all the issues I decided that I'd refit the old alternator for Le Mans Classic as I'd want time to give the new one a good shakedown before heading over to France and there now wasn't sufficient time and the weather forecast was sun and more sun for the next week or so.

Once the alternator was fitted Tricia and I went out for a Father's Day blat to West Bay for fish and chips then back to Yeovil on the coast road via Abbottsbury, Dorchester, Cerne Abbas and Sherborne - 67 miles in all with no issues and the rattle has disappeared.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Carbon Fibre CSR Cycle Wings

Having bagged myself a bargain buy of carbon fibre CSR Cycle Wings it was time to fit them.  There has been some discussion on the WSCC Forum on the risk of them de-bonding at high speed but once I'd re-bonded the originals with epoxy rather than polyester they have now covered more than 6000 miles, including a couple of track days, with no signs of any issues.  I prefer the clean lines that you get by bonding so decided to repeat how I fitted the originals but with some improvements.

First I masked off the brackets to ensure that only the bigheads got bonded.  Front Bigheads are captured bolts and the rears captured nuts.  I just about got away with all bolts last time as the ABS cycle wings had a fair amount of flex but decided that the bolts/nuts combination was better overall.

The bigheads were bonded using East Coast Fibre Glass' EC1000 Structural Adhesives.  It's two parts and uses a special gun and nozzle which ensures that it's correctly mixed.  It was very easy to use, insert the twin pack into the gun, fit the nozzle, squeeze and apply to the top of the bigheads.  I cleaned the cycle wings with acetone.

Once I'd got the cycle wing correctly aligned I applied some weight and allowed it to cure for an hour - instructions said 12 mins at 20 deg c.

Once the EC1000 has cured I removed the cycle wings and used the dremmel to remove any excess.  I then cleaned again with acetone and fibre glassed over the bigheads with a layer of standard and a layer of tissue fibre - no photos as this was the same as last time.

Everything was left to cure overnight and then I fitted both of the cycle wing.


I wired up the indicator repeaters, covered with waterproof heat shrink and ty-wrapped in against the bracket.

Finally the finished job with a small mud flap fitted with industrial Velcro - these were taken off the old cycle wings and I'll fit longer ones when I have time.

Tricia and I had a long blat with a top speed of ~70 mph with everything staying in place.  I'll watch for de-bonding over the coming months.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Stoneleigh 2014

The Dorset Area meeting at the beginning of the month finalised the arrangements for Stoneleigh, Colin and I would meet up at the Sparkford Roundabout lay-by on the A303 at 08:15 and then meet up with the others at 09:00 at the Warminster services on the A350.  I agreed to buy the burgers for Sunday night and purchased Water Buffalo Burgers from just outside Yeovil and pork burgers from Haynes Butchers on Princes St, Yeovil on Saturday.

Myles and I got up early, packed the car and met up with Colin as planned and then headed off to Warminster turning off the A303 at Mere to go though the Deverills.  We arrived at Warminster and met up with the others before heading off to Stoneleigh via the Fosse Way.

As always with a Westfield road trip, refuelling is an important part of the plan.

Once we arrived at Stoneleigh the camp site was setup, trade stands and WSCC site visited then the BBQ and drinking commenced..............

And the next morning

Next morning we parked on the Westfield Sports Car Club stand by the Dorset Banner (once we'd moved it)


Once the shopping was completed we headed off home.  Another successful Stoneleigh with the WSCC stand excelling once again - well done to all those who contributed to this

Tuesday, 15 April 2014


Myles was going on tour with the Ivel Barbarians RFC U15s, staying just outside Cork and about 20 miles away from Tricia's home town the week before Easter.  Tricia and I decided that we'd travel out in parallel with the tour so we could watch the games but visit family and friends. The final weather forecast for the weekend was cloudy but dry so the car decision (Westfield v Tin Top) was made and the Westfield packed.

Checking the final travel details I realised that we we're travelling from Fishguard, not Pembroke as I'd though, and we'd be on the same ferry as the tour.  Myles was dropped at the club at 08:30 and I was back home by 09:00 with Tricia and I departing half an hour later and having 4 hrs to get to Fishguard ~200 miles away. 

We caught up with the coach at the Severn Crossing, then met them again at the services near Cardiff as we stopped for coffee and a refuel.  After a final refuel just outside Fishguard and we boarded the ferry on schedule.

Boarding the ferry - no problems with grounding as I took the ramps slowly.

Getting out of docks at Rosslare was interesting due to the over application of oversize speed bumps but once on the roads they were reasonably clear for a Friday night.

The final 30 miles or so were on the N72 from Dungarvan to Fermoy - very enjoyable with lots of linked curves and even a hairpin bend. It was just getting dark as we arrived at Fermoy and with the roof off it was getting a tad chilly.  The car was unpacked and the cover put on for the night.

Parked up at Garryvoe just before a cream tea in the hotel - half hood on because it had just rained.  Note to self - keep to the main-ish roads as some of the tarmac on the back roads is a little uneven/pot holed.......

As for the rugby - the U15s won both tournaments - Myles with the trophies, the medal from day two and his godfather Ronan.

The return to the UK was a reverse of the outbound journey with the adult tourists not being quite so enthusiastic at the bar.  We eventually got home having covered over 750 miles with 5 fuel stops and averaging ~150 mpt (miles per tank).