Two Go Mad In The Garage

How two numpties try to build a Westfield kit car.

Monday, March 26, 2007

SVA Fail, but we think a good one

We didn't pass our SVA first time, but few do, and we are not despondent. The SVA process is a peculiar mix of the sensible and the mad. Before you can take your homebuilt car on the road you have to take it to a special VOSA test centre - we had to go to Southampton. Where some guy with a mixture of high tech, and frankly home brew test instruments takes a 3 hour look at your car. Yes 3 hours of prodding poking, brake testing, speedo checking etc. etc.

On the whole this is probably a good idea to prevent people putting complete 'heaps' on the road - but the lengths that they go to are sometimes OTT.

For example one of the eight or so failure items we had was the bottom of the suspension struts - where there are notches to insert the adjuster tool - these were considered dangerous edges - though frankly if you are hit by the car in this position whether it is a rounded edge or not seems a little superfluous.

It is also true to say that such things are not consistent between test centres, Westfield said they had only ever heard of a single other example of an inspector picking this up when I spoke to them this pm.

Here you can see the fix which involved some cut done 'wing piping' - a sort of rubber edging you can get from nfauto and a cable tie.

equally silly in my opinion was failing for the edge of the centre hub of the spare wheel no seriously! It's pretty hard to imagine an accident where you reverse at high speed into someone bending over so that they get a little rubber protection on that edge - which miraculously saves them.

other stuff that is silly is that they can't test a car which has a speedo drive from the front wheel and so want certain manufacturer certificates that may be a pig to get.

That said this is overall a creditable process in my mind, and they picked up a small hydraulic leak in the brake system, some missing fuel hose clips (though it was WF that supplied the engine without them fitted) and a missing split pin in the handbrake connection.

The other nice thing about this test is that it is iterative, i.e. they only test the failed items on a retest.

When we got back, Chrissy was persuaded to have her first little drive (off the trailer and into the garage).

Thanks to Bob, Rory's Dad and Ewan for their kind thoughts, they are much appreciated.

Restest is two weeks on Friday.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

SVA in the morning

We are unlikely to pass our Single Vehicle Approval test, but we at least have a chance.

And I (Tim) would like to say as the car is 'finished' and on the trailer to say how proud I am of my daughter (Chrissy) for all those hours in the garage for persevering and smiling (mostly) and putting up with my grumping (occasionally). Whatever happens in the test, we have built a car which can be driven and looks nice, and there wasn't a single time when Chrissy 'couldn't be bothered', and I'll say it again I'm proud of her.

A very busy week, so no time for blogging. We had an initial list of 37 jobs from Westfield to do from their 'pre-SVA'. We added a few to that as we went along.

Don't have time for all the details as have to be up at 5:30 to drive it to the SVA test centre in Southampton for 8am.

Anyway - struggled to get the brakes right - and picked up some hydraulic fluid burns on my hands from long hours of various activities.

In the next picture you can see 'er indoors sitting in the car being our brake pedal pusher for one of several 'beeding'sessions.

Things had been going OK, until Sunday lunchtime-ish when things started to go a bit adrift - no dip beam on the headlamps - took an hour and a half to debug. An oil leak, and running out of petrol caused several other headaches.

But anyway it's complete and on the trailer ready to go. The nil time to run the car or drive it anywhere means I think our chances are slim - especially with the brakes as they are - which is much better than they were but possibly not test passing quality. But we'll give it a go, learn some stuff and if we fail we'll put it in again in a few weeks.

Message to Bob, we're thinking of you - don't worry about the small stuff - let us help wherever we can.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Blizzards and Progress

A Speed Blog as short of time and loads of work emails to catch up on.

Up very early, cleared snow off car cover, drove carefully through clear but freezing conditions to Kingswinford - after a Mr Bean type attempt at reversing the trailer, we got the car unloaded very efficiently ( about 15 mins compared to the several hours it took yesterday to load it and tie down etc.) and met up with video-star Ian Ridgway (ref: A sportscar is born). Ian is a really nice guy and did his best not to laugh at our build attempts.

Here he is on the right.

Anyway the clutch was stuck and he freed it, he replaced the ify starter motor corrected our dodgy engine wiring, did the car setup and a couple of other little jobs.

The pre-SVA test he did amounted to a page and a half of failure items (which apart half of which we knew as hadn't really preped the car) - here is the list...

ian is the first person to drive our car..... and here is a pic of the first drive ... Ian driving it onto the trailer (sans seat).

The home through the blizzard...poor car got VERY wet....then unloaded it and Tim drove it for the first time in sleet into the garage.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Not a good weekend

We thought we had a small list of mostly easy reassmbling tasks this weekend, but despite working Friday night, Saturday and Sunday we seem only to have gone backwards. Tim now has a bad back, and Arsenal lost in injury time. Argh.

On top of this we are due at Westfield tomorrow and the weather is forecast to be variously, Snow, Hail, Ice and Gale force winds - just peachy for towing an open top car.

Still some perspective is required, much worse things are happening in the world.

Anyway here the key lowlight was the disappearing into the fuel tank of the little shuttery thing that you push the nozzle of the petrol filler through. I have no idea why it came off it just did. removing the tank with the body on does not look very easy.

Aside from that we broke the washer jet, failed to get an engine start, had a big leak of coolant, and didn't get through our list of jobs. Other minor failures will not be recorded as there is enough misery in the world...

We took the carpets and seats out to protect them from the elements on our journey to WF. Here is Chrissy taping some plastic over the dash as some limited weather protection.

We umm and ahhed about removing the tank on Sunday morning, but decided that there was too big a chance that we would not have it secure for the journey so chickened out.

Here is Chrissy pushing the car onto the trailer (Tim is out of shot on the right on the winch - honest, Anna is photographer in chief).

The offending item (well actually that's the missing bit).

Two other messages - first Bob, sorry to hear you haven't been well hope you have had a better day today, and to Steve - thanks for being so kind as to drop round and check our tie-downs really very much appreciated.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Stuck the Scuttle down

Two and a quarter hours each in the garage tonight, to stick the scuttle down - why so long - well first we had to mod the heater outlets a bit to stop them fouling the ECU, then we had to mod the top of the scuttle a bit (is this the last bit of GRP hacking?) to get a better fit on the sashboard - Carpet Queen Chrissy insisted this was done off the car so we didn't get GRP dust all over her carpets. then we had to masking tape up the sides of the car, and then of course we had run out of M6 x 20 bolts to bolt on the scuttle and nose cone. Wanted to put nosecone and bonnet on as the silicone was starting to dry in case they push the scuttle back a bit.
Then we siliconed on the other side repeater that we hadnt done on Sunday, and finally the scuttle itself...then wipe off any excess silicone and so on.... and suddenly we were worn out and it was time to go and wash the GRP dust off.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

scuttle rebuilt ready for sticking down

We put the heater in, fixed in the washer jet to the scuttle and put it back on the car ready for sticking down (probably thursday) we thought this would be simple but the heater now fouls the cables coming out of the transmission tunnel - well probably be able to route them though with a bit of bodging.

No work tomorow night as Tim has a work dinner thing.

Things to do before the SVA test in 13 days time are ...

Pre factory visit

adjust wipers
Nail and stick scuttle down
refill water system
start engine (buy oil can to squirt oil in through the pressure sender hole)
rivet secondary panels below the dash
headlamp raisers?
headlamp setting?
shift brake pipes so dont clash
bleed brakes

Post factory visit - pre SVA

carpets refit
Bleed Brakes
seal pedal box cover
interior mirror
sva stuff
grommets on rear bulkhead

Monday, March 12, 2007

Gumping in the garage

Don't know why, we normally work well together, but perhaps because of tiredness we got on each others nerves tonight.

Anyway have to be very quick in the update.

We got some owrking windscreen wipers (hoorah) although they do appear rather pathetic - childs toy like.

still havent stuck the scuttle down tho.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

8 days til we go to the factory

Tim had a very difficult week at work with a lot of late nights so no progress til the weekend.

We picked up a trailer and tow car on Friday night, and some extra tie downs on Saturday night although we probably wont need them.

Tim fiddled about with the wipers and their fittings for much of Saturday, and although not happy with them, we think that we will have a go to see if they work.

We had to fit the wiper motor, and then bend the first of the pipes out of the wiper motor so that it reaches the first of the wiper boxes. Top tip - from Mark at WF - do the bending with the cable inside the pipe it lowers the chance of kinking.

we decided to work out where the motor should go by cutting a piece of coat hanger to the same length as the 'A' pipe and then bending that to give a good position for the motor, of course the only place the motor would go fouled the ECU, so Chrissy moved the ECU mounting position and Tim fitted the wiper motor to the scuttle.

Chrissy has worked on the carpets most of the weekend, as we got the main tunnel carpet back from WF, with the gaiters sewn into it. However it still needed a fiar amount of cutting to fit

around various chassis members.

After working on the carpets, Chrissy reconnected the dashboard here you can see her sitting relaxing having a cuss at the manual.

And here you can see it in the finished but untested state.....

One job that required help from 'er indoors, was to turn the car around, as we will need to mount it forwards on the trailer, and so as it was a lovely spring day, we thought we'd do that now rather than in the inevitable rain next weekend, however as our drive runs upwards and is bounded by walls, we had to push the car up into the road and do a three point turn and then roll it back down into the garage.

Chrissy looking a bit worn out after the weekend's work...

Our last job was to seal the windscreen, which before we could do we had to strip about 87 layers of prehistoric masking tape off the scuttle and clean the whole thing off. We just put two new strips of tape on to catch the worst of any silicone seal spills.

We also got some ali cleaner and cleaned all of the windscreen surround, as once the screen is sealed there is no getting it out again.

Its in the garage drying now.

Monday, March 05, 2007

lack of confidence

Tim had to drive almost past Westfield's front door this morning, so he dropped off the tunnel carpet to have the gaiters sewn in.

The famous Mark Walker also spent 5 minutes talking through how to get around one of the problems we had run into at the weekend.

Specifically the rubber tube that butts up against the scuttle underneath and goes around the wiper shaft, was fouling the air distributor thingy that takes the air to the demister vents.

This is a problem other builders have reported on their blogs. Mark however had a solution that we had not seen elsewhere. Specifically rather than butcher the air distribution moulding instead butcher the rubber tube so it fits around it....obvious really.

We have just spent a couple of hours out there tonight, and made some progress - widening out the holes in the fillet to 16mm so the threaded buses for the wiper boxes fit through, and in the bottom photo you can see the lower rubber tube fouling.

What we hadnt bargained for however was the upper little rubber tubes that sit between the scuttle and the fillet also have a 3D problem - they protrude under the screen and will interfere with where we are to seal it.

We could butcher the back of them so this didnt happen, but worry that this is just symptomatic of the screen being badly out of position.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

rest of the pics from the weekend

Speed Blog

Lots of time put in since Friday, but little time left to write the blog.
So here is the short version....
put on front cycle wingy mudgard bits, took 10 x longer than thought, one of them had deformed in storage, one hits the body, both foul the flexible break hoses, took a chip out of one of them filing the fitting holes ... oh b*gger
put on the rear part of the carpet using velcro strips, and similarly the rear retainery finisher stip thing.
fettled the fillet that sits at base of windscreen and did some work on wiper drives, but run into problems
cut transmission tunnel carpet to take gaiters for handbrake and gearstick.
timed out

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