Friday, 1 July 2016

Euro Tour 2016

Day One

The plan was an early start and then catch the ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao followed by an Atlantic Coast and Pyrenees Mountain Pass drive.  Unfortunately the weather was awful so we adjusted the plan and dropped down on to the motorway for the last leg just to make sure we got to the overnight stop in time.

Day Two - Pyrenees to Millau

The morning driving was incredible - mountain pass after mountain pass up into Andorra.  After lunch in Andorra we elected to drop down to the coast and use the motorway and N roads as the sky was looking threatening

Day Three -
Tarn Valley and Grand Canyon (French)

The route was "borrowed" from the Bentley Owner Club and worth the effort.  I had to pick up Myles from Nimes Airport so missed the morning but after lunch we all completed the drive through Grand Canyon with sme excellent driving and weather.  The last stage was the run down to the coast and a night in a luxury hotel.

Day Four - St Tropez and the Coast Road

Excellent weather and breakfast and photos in St Tropez followed by a drive up the coast to Cagnes-Sur-Mer.  Following the coast was very scenic and we tracked in land to find some more bending roads while heading to the overnight accommodation.

Day Five - Monaco

Grand Prix circuit half a dozen times plus stops for photos.  Chris' car needed some work as the front wishbone bushes decided to crumble.

Day Six - Monte Carlo Rally route and Northern Italy.

Lots of switch back roads - stopped for coffee at a café along the route of the Monte Carlo Rally and first taste of the Alps

Day Seven - Stelvio

After Lake Como a long boring drive to and from the mountain but totally worth it for Stelvio - I could have stayed all day.

Received a package of bushes from the UK and replaced all on the lower front wishbones on Chris' car before dinner.

Day Eight - The long One

Left Varese at 4am and got up into the mountains.  Grand and Petit St Bernard Passes driven (The Italian Job) with the 43 Euro Mont Blanc tunnel between the two.  A slight change of route included a stooped for lunch by Lake Annecy and then a run through Lyon to get to Vichy by early evening.

Day Nine - Loire Valley

A relaxed start with time for breakfast - after a faf with the paperwork/jobsworth receptionist we left at 10am and ambled through the Loire stopping at Magny-Cours where a track day was in full flow.  After coffees we headed of to Sancerre for a wine tasting and lunch before a final short leg to the over night stop.  Well it should have been short but unfortunately we fell foul of the French Police who decide that a 20 minute talking to was warranted - we eventually got to the over night stop but it took a couple of hours for everyone to meet up again.

Day Ten - Run Home

Beautiful weather again and another relaxed drive.  We had an early start and stopped after Le Mans for breakfast - omelette and coffee.  Easy crossing to the UK and a dark final run to Yeovil - just short of the estimated 3,000 miles

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Cambelt Change

Whilst my engine was a new crate engine it was actually built in 2004 so the cambelt was 12.5 years old with only 3.5 years and ~12,000 miles.  After a discussion at the last WSCC Dorset meeting about preparing the cars for the European Tour I got a call from Malcolm who had bought a couple of Gates belts for £25 each and changed them on Chris' and his own car and offered to change both Colin's and mine before we left.  I'd already bought a full kit with pulleys and a water pump and had all the necessary tools but my cams weren't at the standard Ford settings after the 'swing' at Northampton Motorsports so I'd delayed fitting it until I'd worked out how to retain the offset.

Malcolm and Dale offered to help me work out a method and we agreed for them to come over on Tuesday night.  In preparation I removed the bonnet, HT leads, spark plugs, cam cover, Aux belt , water pump pulley and all the cambelt covers leaving only the crankshaft pulley.  Malcolm and Dale arrived at 7:30pm and set to worked, the engine was set to TDC on a locking pin and the crank pulley removed.  The cams and caps were marked with a paint pen which was then scribed to provide a very accurate position marking.  Once this was done the cambelt was removed and replaced as normal and then the cams 'swung' back to the painted/scribed offset marking.  After manually cranking the engine through a full cycle and the cams checked against the paint/scribed markings with one needing a minor adjustment.  Once this was done Malcolm and Dale left me to refit all the covers etc and give the engine a quick start to make sure everything was okay - total time 1.5 hours.  As the engine was new and we were only changing the belt based on ageing I retained the existing pulleys and water pump and will change them all in 5 years.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Stoneleigh 2016

After doing Stoneleigh on a day trip last year I decided that overnighting was the best option.  With only 4 Westfields from the Dorset Area doing the trip we agreed to meet up with others from the Hampshire/Wiltshire/Costwolds Areas on the way. I met Colin at Sparkford at just before 7am and we headed off to Warminster to meet with Chris, Malcolm and Dale.  From Warminster we headed off to the services at Cirencester to meet up with the main group with one more added to the convoy at Stow-on-the-Wold.  After a spirited blat we arrived at Stoneleigh just before 11am and setup camp.

The show seemed much busier that last year in terms of visitors and Westfield seemed to have made a bigger effort with 3 cars of their stand (Zetec, Vtec and Ecoboost......very nice) plus a lot of spares and  special offers, overall there seemed to be fewer of the smaller niche stands, Omex didn't turn up (so I'll have to post Steve's ECU!) and CBS only offer a short term discount code and free postage for you to order online - I missed the ability to actually look at/measure their kit so didn't spend too much time or any money with them. 

Purchases were a pair of 55mm clear LED indicators for the rear lights, high intensity reversing and fog LED 55mm lights from SVC (about £150 the lot)

and an enamel Westfield bonnet badge (£10) I was severely tempted by the Toyo R888R offer (205/50R15 x 4 for £375) but managed to resist - the biblical rain on the journey home have may proved my decision to have been a good one.

and also led to me getting seam tape for the 1/2 hood

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Mid Apr Blat

The sun was shining and after completing a few house repairs (outdoor tap and stop cock replaced and fence panel) is was out for an hour North of Yeovil.

Parked at Walton Hill - across the road there are views over Glastonbury Tor

Monday, 4 April 2016

FreeWheel Pt2

After wiring the transponder to the steering wheel the next step was to install the receiver in the car.  I mounted the main unit just above the rocker switches and the headlight relays where the BlinkStop had been fitted previously.  The wiring was straight forward - power and earth first then confirm that the two unit talked to each other.  Next I wired up Channels 1 & 2 as a BlinkStop largely replicating the wiring I'd just removed except that the toggle switch had to be wired to the output of the unit rather than input so no auto cancel on the backup.  The final element of the BlinkStop was the brake sensor, again using the wire installed previously. 

Channel 3 was wired the BeamStop which needed a pair of relays, one to replace the dipped/full beam switch and the other to switch power for the flash capability.  Channel 3 had to be wired to switch 12V to activate the relays.  When the lights are off pressing the blue FreeWheel switch flashes the headlights and when they're on it toggles between full and dipped beam.  Finally I used channel 6 as the horn, again wiring  the receiver channel in parallel with the dash switch to give a back up capability.  This gives me four spare channels for future expansion.   The wiring is a bit of a bird's nest but I've kept the Westfield Chassis Loom standard just in case I ever want to go back to the analogue gauges and also kept all the additional wires for the digidash and FreeWheel to that I can add functionality at a later date.  Plus I have the extra looms for the windscreen heater and electric mirrors.

Tricia and I have now covered about 120 miles in the car since installing it and the Freewheel has been faultless throughout - having a headlight flash is very useful and I've used the FreeWheel software to adjust the BlinkStop times to see what suits me best.  I've also slightly modified the switch panel on the steering wheel as it was slightly blocking the Digidash.

Mike's website if you're interested in the BlinkStop, BeamStop or FreeWheel

Monday, 28 March 2016

Upgrade Shakedown

Sunshine in mid March encouraged me to get the car back on the road so a final push to complete all the post upgrade rebuild.  12 March was a quick run out on my own - cold tyres and forgetting just how quick the car is led to an entertain drive out and lots of very big grins.  On Sunday Tricia and I did 70+ miles down to the south coast road then back to Yeovil via Sherborne.  Noticed that the battery voltage was low - not sure whether this is the change in lower limit that I programmed the digidash or something more terminal - checked all the battery connections when we got home and they appeared okay.  Tuesday evening was sunny again and I managed to get Tricia out again, battery light still flashing and thought it might be the battery feedback to the alternator as the overall voltage was sometimes lower than 12 volts - schoolboy error the main alternator change cable was fitted but not bolted on......fixed; also a couple of minor weeps from coolant hoses....tightened up.

FreeWheel Pt 1

The weather ha improved and I'd finished all the winter upgrades so Tricia and I have enjoyed a number of chilly blats around Yeovil and down to the Dorset coast - after all the time spent in a cold garage it was good to get out in the car again - I'd forgotten how quick the car was (and the need to warm up the tyres)

I've only just installed the BlinkStop but got the digital bug and after an exchange of emails with Mike Rowland ( I agreed to be a guinea pig for the new 8 Channel FreeWheel.  The first step was to install the wireless transponder on the steering wheel.  I'd previously shaped a piece of carbon fibre sheet and installed the 8 switches.

After wiring up the switches I wrapped the loom in in self amalgamating tape.  With the battery installed I tested the switches with each generating a double orange blink which indicates that the transponder has failed to communicate with the FreeWheel Receiver.

Very pleased with the results and once fitted to the car I confirmed that the top switches didn't block off the digidash.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Late 2015/Early 2016

Don't think that a reduction in posts as an indication that the car is spending more time in the garage than the road - quite the opposite. Whilst it is currently in the garage with engine and gearbox removed it's merely upgraditis striking again!

Since my last post James has gone off to university - unfortunately the closure of Keevil has resulted in a reduction of airfield track days in the SW so we went on a Westfield Experience day together - an excellent day whether you own one or not.

Tricia and I have had plenty of blats over the summer, plus the trip to the Isle of Man with Martin, the Poole Harbour Sevens and trips with the Dorset Area WSCCers and finally the Bristol Classic Car Show (where we won the rosette for best club) have seen the car well used.

Malcolm and Dale from Wattune, also Dorset Area WSCCers, overhauled my gearbox fitting the BGHGeartech long 1st gear set, lubrication mods and upgraded lay shaft bearing.  The gearbox had a modified lay shaft pin that wasn't compatible with the BGH gear set so had to be replaced along with the main gear shaft rear bearing. M&D turned the gearbox around in a couple of days once they'd got everything from BGH and now the gearbox is capable of 240 bhp/200 lbs ft and better suited to the Westfield with a longer 1st gear.  I also upgraded the clutch, I stuck to an organic plate rather than a racing one as the car remains principally a road based car and also uprated the cover - overall the clutch is 40% more capable that the standard so will allow for an engine of ~210bhp which is way higher than I intend to go.  I also bought a new quick shift gear lever and modified it to suit a Westfield and also changed the gearbox mount to a Vibra-technics one.  Finally I replaced the bell housing with an alloy one that was 7kgs lighter than the original iron one.

I picked up from a thread on the WSCC forum that alloy radiators required anti-vibration mounts so while the system was drained I fitted a set with a 20mm offset - luckily the hoses are all okay with the increased offset.

One of the Essex Area WSCCers developed BlinkStop, a means of automatically cancelling the indicators.  As an "indicator" serial offender I decided to purchase the kit version and assembled it myself.  An excellent piece of kit with comprehensive instructions, the assembly took about an hour and installation straight forward, again minimising changes to the Westfield loom just in case I ever want to go back to the standard setup.  Final connection twas o add a wire from the brake switch to the BlinkStop as the box inhibits the cancel while the brake is on. I'd like to have the indicator, horn and launch control switches on the steering wheel with a wireless linkage so I can remove the steering wheel without any connectors - definitely a technical challenge and work-in-progress.

Having removed the scuttle to do a couple of minor gelcoat repairs I noticed that the heater matrix had a leak.  After a bit of investigation on the forum it appears that the standard matrix can suffer leaks from the plastic manifold and an all metal classic mini matrix was recommended as an alternative.  Fitting required a few minor modifications to the heater including an extra bracket.  Refitting the scuttle I replaced the heater and wiper motor screws with engine bay bling and a new seal in an attempt to reduce water ingress......

Finally the Dorset WSCCers are planning a European Tour for the last two weeks of June 16 so the deposits have been paid and plans need finalising..... I just need to get the car back on the road.