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Building a Westfield – part 2

by Peter Osborne

Building a Westfield – part 2

by Peter Osborne

Towards the end of the first part of my Westfield story – see HERE – I recalled how I became stranded at the side of the road with no forward motion after the bolts on the UJ on the offside drive shaft came loose.

Tightening the bolts restored drive enabling me to get home, where a thorough inspection seemed to reveal that all was OK and no damage done….er, maybe? We'll come back to this later.

So I then proceeded to put some miles on the car – mainly it has to be said on my own as none of my family were that eager to enjoy the delights of Westfield motoring. Full harness belts not meeting with approval from wife and daughters blessed in the chest department.

Quite a few miles were racked up on (usually) local roads including a special favourite, the B4011 from Thame to Bicester, a popular biker’s road - and, I’m reliably informed, Ronnie Peterson’s choice when commuting from his home near Maidenhead to Silverstone. (See video to left).

Fun as these outings were I began to get a bit bored with doing the same thing and the car started to spend long periods in the garage between venturing out. I began to think of doing something more entertaining with the car.

Coincidentally, JW was also hankering for something with which to scratch his track itch (his competition days being behind him), so we hatched a plan to start using the Westfield for some track days.

But first we decided that some mods to the car were necessary – a baffled sump to overcome oil surge at the increased G forces that would be generated by our fantastic cornering speeds (well, JW maybe, probably not by me!).

As I’m somewhat taller than Jeremy, and my head protrudes above the standard Westfield roll-over bar, I was particularly concerned about the effects should we (me) manage to turn the car over, so a taller, braced bar joined the list of changes.

Northampton Motorsport supplied a shortened, baffled sump at a good price. No problem fitting that I thought, so – car up on stands, sump drain plug out, oil drained, old sump removed and new sump offered up.  Ah, sump won’t actually meet with bottom of engine block – something was fouling and preventing attachment of sump to block. But what?

Turned out that the oil pump pick-up pipe was hitting one of the baffles within the sump. What to do? Applying some grease to the end  of the pick-up pipe revealed exactly where it was fouling and it was out with a file to remove enough of the baffle, and take a bit off the pick-up, to allow the pipe to miss the baffle and the sump to marry up with the block.

I can hear you saying: “What about all that swarf in the sump?” No problem! My ingenious vacuum cleaner attachment – actually a length of unused petrol pipe racer-taped into the end of the cleaner hose – sucked most of it out from sump nooks and crannies, and a good wash-out with petrol got rid of the rest.

Sump fitted, so time to fit the new rollover bar.

Problem #1: rear stays have to go through boot box to mounting points on rear of chassis. OK I can cut away parts of the boot box; but that will leave a couple of nasty looking gashes – how do I make them look a bit neater?

A hunt in the shed revealed a length of plastic water piping left over from some DIY job of sufficient internal diameter to allow clearance for the stays. And a fibreglass repair kit seemed the ideal thing to position said plastic piping in the boot box.

First job after removing the boot box was to cut a notch out of the lip that supports the boot box to allow clearance for the rear stays.

Then to work out how much of the box to cut away, and where, which involved lots of angle measurements before taking a drill and hacksaw to the box - and hoping I’d got it right! Trial fitting of the stays proved that I had, so now to integrate the cut pieces of plastic pipe in the right place and at the correct angle.

Slipping the pipes over the stays,  packing out with cardboard, and bolting stays into position between rollover bar and chassis, provided correct positioning within the modified boot box and a few strips of fibreglass matt applied ensured they stayed there.

Once the first coat of resin had set the stays were removed (carefully) and more fibreglass and filler applied and rubbed down until a smooth finish achieved, then a good coat of Mr. Halfords’ spray can grey primer applied.

I decided that matching the original yellow of the body panels might be too difficult, so Mr. Halfords supplied a spray can of gloss black.

So with new rollover bar and sump fitted we were all OK to take to the track – yes?

Well, not so fast because here is where we return to that little incident I referred to at the top of this page when the bolts on the diff UJ came undone. At the time I thought that no damage had been done; but, after all the work described above, a nasty noise and vibration began to make itself felt when I drove the car.

It appeared to come from the rear of the car and I narrowed it down to the diff area – so perhaps some damage had been done to the diff internals in that incident.

Every time I took the car out the noise and vibration seemed to get worse making me think that some expensive repair works would be in the offing. That, plus some other things occurring in my life, led me to take the, reluctant, decision to sell the car. The first person who came to see it bought it – although he did beat me down on the price (he'd noticed the noise!).

Do I regret the decision to sell? Probably.