03/07/02 At 159 hours to date, the going is pretty slow. Installing all the wiring, plumbing and systems is taking a lot of effort, and progress is sometimes hard to see. The bike wiring harness and some fuel injection parts had to be sent back to England for modifications. No word yet on when they might be coming back. In the meantime, installed seats and working on a few other items...
03/12/02 Doing a bit more work. Quite a bit of trimming of fiberglass panels - need to make openings for exhaust, filler cap, steering shaft, etc. Lots of itchy glass fibers in my hands. I figured out a technique holding a dremel in one hand and shopvac hose in the other. This limits the mess, but doesn't eliminate it. On the plus side, the exhaust is now in (just waiting for bolts to come in at the Suzuki dealer), as is the filler cap. The car is looking more complete.
Unfortunately I won't have it done for the first track day of the season, and probably not for the second one either. Oh well. 175 hours so far. I guess this is the last 10% of the work that take the SECOND 90% of the time...
04/05/02 Been messing with the electricals a little at a time. The wiring harness has returned from England (along with a COD bill for $212 which I still need to discuss with them). It takes quite a bit of effort just to identify what's what and get all the wires routed and tied down...
I do seem to be making some progress though, slow as it may seem. I think I have figured out what all the parts are and what modifications need to be made to what. A couple issues are still cloudy and two connectors are a mystery, but I think it should work without having that positively resolved. Or so I hope.
Overall, it almost seems like there's a light at the end of the tunnel. 188 hours to date. Whew.
04/06/02 Filled and bled all the hydraulics. Front and rear brake systems and clutch. The rears proved a real pain - it took several hours. The brake light switch kept leaking (and it still may). After the brakes, set up and adjusted the throttle cable. All the pedals are now done, although may require some tweaking later. Also did some more work on electricals. Another full day of work and I should be able to try and start the engine... 195 hours to date, maybe another 20 to go if I'm lucky.
04/14/02 - *** IT LIVES!! *** Finally started the engine, at 209 hours construction time. This makes today its birthday. Still quite a bit to be done before it's driveable, and then a lot more to tweak and sort out, but this is a milestone. Of course I took a video of the occasion :)
The car is looking more car-like with every day. Still, it's amazing just how much goes into even a simple device like this. I've certainly gained a new appreciation for what it takes to construct one of the many things we tend to take for granted...
04/27/02 - *** IT DRIVES!! *** The Westie is out for its first run. Picked up the kart today with my friend, then figured might as well see if I can drive this thing. She's a BEAST! (video here) There is a lot of tuning that needs to be done. The car wants to spin its tires at low speed. I need to get used to the clutch and/or put a heavier spring on it. And wear narrow shoes. The handling is quite darty, a downside of having fully adjustable suspension. Too easy to get it wrong. Will try to take out some negative camber upfront, which should also reduce toe out. Hopefully that will help.
The maiden run was made naked, without the hood, nosecone or front fenders..
Later I taped the missing body parts on with duct tape to see what the finished product would look like (the nose will be a bit lower than what is in the pictures)....
Sitting next to the kart in the driveway the Westfield looks rather large... It isn't :)
Are we having fun yet? ;)
05/04/02 Spent some time drilling and trimming the nose cone and hood to fit. Also took out some negative camber and decreased the front toe-out. Attached the front fenders. Need to fix some leaks, attach the front grille and the remaining bodywork and do some test driving. Hopefully in the next couple of days.
It took eight calendar months and 220 hours of work to get it to the current state from this:
Couple of days ago I got an e-mail from a fellow Westfield owner in regards to the steering rack, and he suggested a company in England that makes a faster one. They also make wide-track suspension that would allow me to turn the wheels sharper and reduce the turning radius which right now is like a u-haul truck. I will probably order the parts in the next couple of days and have them arrive in a month or so. It's not even running fully yet, and I'm already thinking of modifying it. Figures.