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Glen_I
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Evening all,

 

First of all, apologies as I had every intention of starting a diary last April but as we all know the past 10 months have been odd to say the very least and not gone to plan (more on that later)!

 

So then long story short (as possible).....

 

I purchased my one as a kit back in 2002 after placing the order at Stoneleigh (did look at a Caterham but found the salesman not very helpful, maybe because I normally look scruffy being a mechanic and was in my mid twenties??) but after approaching Westfield it was a different story, so order placed.

 

Collected the kit the day after my partner (now wife) moved into a new home, got back from Kingswinsford placed the body on a wooden jig and stored that in spare bedroom and then started the build, no real drama's and in 2004 it passed it's SVA 1st time and in time for me to use it as our wedding car, however I never really had any pics of the first build (no camera phone).

 

I used it in all conditions which never bothered me (caught in the snow in the New Forest - that was, errrrrr interesting!) and I was having fun and in 2005 we purchased a bigger 1930's house which turned into a project, so Westfield parked in a 'damp' leaky roofed garage integral to the house whilst we set to work on what was a straight forward refurb/update as previous owners had lived there since 1950 (we are the 3rd owners) and had not been updated since. So then, garage built at bottom of garden, 2 extensions, a loft conversion and after being told my wife will struggle to carry children we now have 2 children - and after one or two moments of thinking this house is beating me and on the verge of tears I am now done (well, there is always something else to do).

 

So I had it all planed that Easter 2020 I was going to rebuild the old girl, my wife and I had fairly decent secure jobs and she had been putting some money away for the Westfield 'refresh' so what could go wrong🤨

 

As I should have started this last April it will probably be best for me to update this diary over the next few weeks to the point where I am now and how our lives have changed along the way, otherwise there will be information/picture overload and I can't even remember what has happened, also l lost a fair few pics from back when I started in April, phone gave up the ghost and the pics weren't backed up like I thought, my fault!

 

Maybe I will add approx date each time I add to this?

 

Anyway this was the poor old girl last April, a dusty expensive storage system (junk thrown on top) with a tax disc (remember one off those????) dated 2007.

 

Cheers

 

Glen

 

 

 

 

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So then, February 2020 my wife ordered me a full roll cage from the factory as this had always been on my list of things I wanted and I think this was the real trigger for pulling the car apart like I have, there was nothing wrong with the car apart from the odd bit of powder coating peeling in places but there were so many things I wanted to do that I never did originally due to finances and worrying about it not passing SVA, also I am my own worst enemy as I struggle adding new shiny parts to something old (I am dreading it when I have my Defender to pull apart and rebuild/restore)

 

Beginning of March 2020 I hired a van and my eldest daughter and I set off to collect the cage, as this was early in March Coronavirus was still relatively new and I thought it wouldn't really come to much, how wrong was I! (feel terrible for thinking that now!).

 

The first job I done was to make some trestles up as my original factory supplied ones were sat outside with loads of timber laid across them.

 

I Removed the engine and gearbox and then got the car up on it's trestles.

 

As I was stripping it all down I removed the scuttle as this would make things so much easier. I mounted the cage (plenty of tape to protect bodywork)  and marked the necessary places for me to drill the fixings including drilling the holes into the body for the side bars, so far so good......

 

Once I was happy with this I then stripped the rest of the car and removed the body.

 

I then remounted the cage to take a look at how I was going to deal with the side bars as I didn't want the internal side bars bolted in as I had intentions of carbon panels.

 

 

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Next job, tackle these side bars.

 

So with no body fitted and external alloy panels removed, I initially welded in new box section which were aligned with the roll cage side bar mounting points and then drilled through the newly welded side bars and then fitted rivnuts but I then noticed that whilst one bolt would screw in by hand the other wouldn't and after closer inspection realised that the side mounting bolts/tube on the roll cage were at slightly different angles, only very slightly but enough for it to become a little tight to screw the bolts in.

 

Plan B then - I removed the welded bars and placed them lower (same position as they should be if using the standard bolt-in-bars), once this was done I found some 4mm mild steel plate that I then welded to the side bar and top rail where the body hooks over. 

 

Mounted the cage yet again to mark where I need to drill through the side bars, removed the cage and drilled through my welded plate and then fitted/welded in captive nuts, before I welded them I refitted the cage again and then put  bolts through the cage to ensure they were welded at the correct angle so as to not have the same issue as before.

 

This is the point I lost a load of photos so don't have any more with captive nuts welded in place.

 

So in theory once it's all back together the cage should just 'fall into place' with no tweaking and disturbing the new powder coat.

 

 

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Here is a pic later on which shows more clearly the side mounting plates/captive nuts.

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Mid March - June  2020:

 

Nothing too exciting to report as I am just stripping it all back to bare chassis ready to be shot blasted and powder coated again.

 

I get a follow up phone call from Patrick from the factory to see how I am getting on with the roll cage and I happen to mention that I was interested in new Protech shocks, wide track wishbones, alloy uprights and front calipers, he came back with a price that I couldn't say no to, all looking good!!! 

 

2 days later and out off the blue we all get told at work that redundancies are being proposed and my job is at risk, never saw that coming, 40 yr old UK company but taken over by a large American Investment company and things were changing and not for the better unfortunately.

 

Fortunately I escaped that round of redundancies and told no more changes (note how I say "that round and no more changes!")

 

Feeling a little more settled again I carried on with the stripping down but to be honest I think I lost a little interest especially as a lot of businesses had closed their doors due to lock down rules and even though I was working along with my wife from home it was becoming extremely hard to maintain our daughters (7 and 10 yr old) home schooling and keeping our employers happy, so I was working extra in the evenings trying to play catch up.

 

Once I got into the right mindset again, I started looking at a couple of things with the chassis.

 

1st thing was the harness mounting points, I always thought these were mounted too far forward and I originally posted this query on the forum and it was confirmed that they were not ideally positioned (the pics explain it clearly enough). Ordered new 7/16" mounting studs and welded them in place as far back as possible with extra triangulation to reinforce this.

 

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2nd job was to remove the metal lugs on top chassis rail for seat belt inertia reels, no dramas here, just removed them with thin cutting disc and then flappy wheel on grinder followed by my little 1/4" die grinder for the final finish.

 

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And finally just welded up a few holes where I knew things would be in a different place including the original seat mount holes as I was using stronger seat mounts as my Westfield supplied ones were flexing and bending a fair bit and that was 15 years ago when I was a 'tad' lighter!!!

 

June 30th it's booked in to be powder coated as they are open again...................yay!!!!

 

Not sure why the second set pic had uploaded upside down?? It was taken with same camera at same time as other seat pic?

 

 

 

 

Edited by Glen_I
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July 2020:

 

So it seems there is a back log at the powder coaters which is understandable so in the meantime this will be a good time to have a sort out in garage as I never had any real worktop space to work on, so time to build a new bench with shelves.

 

A few lengths of 4x2 and the frame is made up and bolted together and then 2 layers of 18mm ply covered in 1.6mm steel and finished off with alloy edging trim....why I didnt do this years ago I will never know?

 

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This part is not car related but it was deemed more important so I was told, a decking/pergola area in the garden especially with limited trips to the pub to catch up with friends (also keeps a certain person on side😉)

 

Thinking I would be furloughed I would also need something to focus on, however fortunately I wasn't but I had started this project and had to finish ASAP. 

 

So set to work and have now made use off this little sun trap part of the garden, also the kids have a climbing frame it now seems!1599382052048.png.b64c7c70bb8e571044608c7371afcffa.png

 

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Roll on Easter and the longer evenings again......

 

Next update will be the return of the chassis.....promise!

 

Glen

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August 2020: 

 

So then, after a slight delay which in the current climate couldn't be helped, my chassis is returned from the powder coaters, they had a back log which is understandable and having to play catch up due to their lock down I now have it finally sat back in the garage.

 

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All I had done was shot blast, zinc primed and then powder coated satin black, really pleased with the finish.

 

I contacted a few companies but this one was recommended by a couple of friends (one is a Detailer and the other works for Williams F1), and the company do a lot of Caterhams and TVR chassis.

 

I was in two minds on whether to have it powder coated or sprayed as I wasn't that impressed how the original powder coat fared from Westfield, but I guess this really does depend on preparation. My Father-in-law works for a large powder coaters who do commercial type projects which are mainly based near coastal areas and he swears by it, also I had items done when I built it originally by a local company and they still looks like new........we will see how it goes, another thing is when I first got it on the road I would use it all conditions and with this out off my system it has a better chance.

 

Its now clearer where I welded the extra plates with the captive nuts for the roll cage side mounting bars as previously mentioned.

 

Once it was on the trestles the first job I done was to spend a fair amount of time with the airline blowing out all the chassis rails to remove the shot, I found with the magnet held at one end and the airline blowing through from the other I could catch a lot of the shot which I kept scraping off the magnet into a container just to save it going across garage and then I continued to retrieve a fair few drilled out rivets. I was shocked at how much shot and rivets came out which actually weighed nearly a 1kg.

 

Once I was happy I couldn't really get any more out I then used a couple of cans of Dinitrol 3125 HS with a 600mm long nozzle/hose which worked great for getting into all of the chassis rails especially as this just fitted through the pre-drilled rivet holes, this will give it extra protection and stop and loose rivets 'jingling around'

 

Whilst I had been waiting for the chassis to return I had a couple of trips to Mark (another top man it seems) at Carbon-nv and treated myself to a little carbon......

 

Carbon Fibre to a man is what diamonds are to a woman (well it is in my eyes it is😍)

 

 

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September 2020:

 

Right then, I am fed up at looking at a bare chassis, time to start playing with this carbon fibre.

 

I asked Mark at Carbon NV for any little hints on how to go about cutting it and he kindly gave me a couple of used Perma-grit discs and a sanding block that he said were worn for him but should sort me out, which they did, I did purchase a couple more cutting discs also and a new Dremmel as my old 'Mickey Mouse' one had seen better days.

 

So I thought I would start with the easy panels first, the 2 on top of the scuttle either side of my top mounted pedal box.

 

It all cut so much easier than I expected, not sure what to expect but all was well.

 

The one thing I can not stress enough is how bl**** itchy this stuff is!

 

Lesson learnt!

 

I had a decent mask and goggles (I am prone to eye injuries, and I am an absolute wimp with people poking and proding my eyes, so I do wear goggles now), me being me can be a little naive and I can be my own worst enemy regarding breathing dust in, doing myself no favours.

 

I think back to my apprenticeship days (early 90's) with Mercedes on the commercials and we were carrying out brake shoe lining replacement, basically drilling out the copper rivets to remove the brake lining and then fit new lining and then re-rivet them on again, (this could be 26 individual shoes depending on size off tractor unit and amount of axles on trailer) crap job so 'muggins' would get it, no mask or gloves and airline to blow out the brake dust........not good looking back!!!!

 

After a couple of panels have been cut and sanded, I am now rummaging around in the decorating box in the loft to find some disposable decorating coverall thingys.

 

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To aid me with aligning the rivet holes to be drilled with the original pre-drilled holes in the chassis I 'cobbled' together a hole finder made from a hacksaw blade as I couldn't find a suitable sized one for the job and all worked well, however on a previous post when I was trying to explain how it worked, another member @jonjh1964 pointed me in the right direction for the correct sized hole finder........albeit a little too late for me 😂

 

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I used a PU18 adhesive sourced from Easy Composites to bond the panels along with the rivets.

 

Front bulkhead panels next!

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September - October 2020:

 

Next job then was the bulkhead panels....

 

I made some cardboard templates to start with and as I wouldn't have a return edge like the alloy panels to fix them to the underside of the top rail, I would leave a mating face/edge along the top edge to rivet them to the top rail. However I just could not bend the carbon enough to fit through the chassis rails to offer it up to the correct position (sounds straight forward.....but they would not fit, maybe I had to grow a pair off b**ls and really bend the carbon?), so I made them the exact size/dimension as the original alloy panel (hence the originals have a return edge maybe?) but used a length of alloy box section which I bolted to the underside of the top rail using M8 rivnuts which I could then bond the carbon on to.

 

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Before I went ahead and riveted them in place I thought I would leave this until the interior panels were fitted as this would give me better access in each footwell, one thing that has become apparent is that I am not as flexible as I was when I built it originally!!!

 

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Next would be the rear bulkhead, I was aiming for a smooth/minimal look and so I didn't want any rivets on show if possible.

 

Now I assumed bonding the panels straight to the chassis would be fine, but wanted to confirm this was okay (having dealings with adhesives in the workshop I was sure it would be) but just wanted to be sure, so I messaged @Gary Taylor - Scotland AO as I had been reading with interest his build diary and his 'thing' for carbon😉 and he kindly responded and said he had not had any issues doing the same, Thanks again Gary👍

 

So a few little tweaks to bulkhead as Mark at Carbon NV had supplied it to near fit/dimension and another tube of PU18 we are ready....

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I did use rivets but only along top rail (this will be covered with trim), a couple in each lower corner behind seats and a few down either side (covered with side panels)
 

I then continued with clamps along bottom rails and transmission tunnel sides/top. I also have a pair off extendable props for holding plasterboard to ceiings, so used these against the scuttle to aid in clamping and applying pressure on the bulkhead (this all looked like my kids had been at it but it worked!!)

 

Next panels would be the transmission side panels, I was going to use the original alloy panels as templates but figured I could go and achieve a better fit and finish?

 

After covering the panels in masking tape to protect but also aid in marking the new dimensions I then transferred my measurements to the panels and started to cut, trim and sand, little bit at a time, gaining more confidence in how much this stuff will bend if need be!

 

Once I was happy with the general shape I then taped some 1mm strips of alloy to the chassis/transmission top rails, my reasons were I could clamp the side panels in place and then using a sanding block sand it back until I hit the alloy strips which will give the exact profile and straight edge of the transmission tunnel and wont damage the powder coat, repeating on both sides.

 

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Once I was happy I then bonded these in place and held again with the clamps overnight.

 

Next day I roughly trimmed the top panel to size, leaving a 1-2mm overhang, I then taped it down tight and in place and then marked where my fixings would be.

 

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Drilled straight through and into chassis, removed tape and tunnel panel, and fitted rivnuts, I then refitted the tunnel panel nipping it up, now I know the tunnel panel is in place I could start to lightly sand the panel until it is aligned with the sides with just a slight chamfer as I was hoping to avoid any rubber trims to to cover the edges.

 

 I think I succeeded............

 

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The outer side panels were fitted in same manor using PU18 and plenty of clamps and timber as seen above especially on the slight curve under scuttle.

 

I also bonded a piece of alloy to the side panel and chassis just to stop the interior panel from moving (I like things to be solid).

 

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You can also see where I fitted the new set off harness mounting points and 'beefed up' with some extra triangulation as mentioned at the start of this build.

 

 

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Next job was the side panels, I intended to reuse the original ones as I figured they can't really be seen, but I still sprayed them satin black, but before I did refit them, I (and some people will say why?) had some 25mm polystyrene insulation so I cut some small squares and bonded it in between the outer and inner carbon panels, this just gave a nice solid feel from the inside, and whilst there shouldn't be any water ingress between the two panels, if this did happen the polystyrene won't break up or absorb water causing other issues.

 

I then moved on to the floor panels and same again I reused the original ones but did fill the old seat mounting holes (due to new mountings) with chemical metal, sanded smooth and had these powder coated.

 

Flipped chassis over and bonded them and riveted with enclosed rivets to prevent any water ingress.288038127_20201026_091653(1).thumb.jpg.85022795b6c47b68628e1b6122239ffd.jpg

 

Finally finished off the footwell panels, I had previously fitted the steering column to take measurements of where I need to make the hole on the footwell panel, I found it was easier in this order.

 

 

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October 2020:

 

I refitted the wiring loom, this was fitted in the same place using same fixings as before. I did think about 'opening up' the loom and remove some aspects like the the wiring for heater, wipers but thought I may be grateful for it one day so left it alone.

 

I cut the hole for the grommet in transmission top cover but then had a re-think, so cut the top cover in to two sections, so if the top cover needs removing it can be done easier that before.

 

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Mid october 2020:

 

Funny old month this is turning out to be it seems...........

 

Whilst we are working (from home) we are all summoned to a 'All hands on' Team meeting????

 

70 odd blokes sat there looking puzzled then the HR woman appears, announcing that 70 odd people are being made redundant! So that's us all done then it seems.... She then disappears.

 

1 week later the numbers have now changed as they forget they made a load redundant back in March!!! You could not make this up!!!!

 

A day later I wake up with 'Man flu' my wife says the same, (I state it can't be real 'Man flu'), just a bunged up nose then its runny, otherwise we felt fine, about 4 days later I am eating something very spicy when I realize I can't really taste it? My wife's taste is fine, (she is with me don't forget 😆) but we both went and had a Covid test and sure enough we are tested Positive, both gob smacked as we have been so careful but having a 6 and 11 yr old (who is at secondary school) we can only guess they brought it home??

 

Fortunately we were fine (my sense of taste and smell is still poor, but I am not grumbling about that with what others have endured)

 

So with 10 days of isolation to deal with it was back into the garage again!

 

So started stripping and preparing the pedal box as the powder coat had flaked off in places to be either sprayed or powder coated when I had one of those 'I have an idea' moment.

 

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How about I cover it in carbon off-cuts I had left over????

 

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This is more like it!!

 

I have since fitted a washer for the spindle bolt, and want to find a tube/sleeve to fit over where the clutch cable comes through.

 

What I have succeeded in making though is a (albeit slightly) heavier than standard carbon fibre pedal box😂

 

Oh and I hung on to my job (again.......), sadly though we have lost nearly 70-80 blokes from the office, all Automotive Technical Authors who have come from the workshop like myself, and I am 1 off 16 remaining.........my time will come this year (2021 no doubt), but in the meantime I am healthy, I can't smell a great deal but that has it's benefits with my wife's cooking!!!

 

 

 

 

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This is a very good read. Well written with a bit of humour. Hope 2021 goes well for you   

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  • Glen_I changed the title to 2004 SEiW 20XE 'rebuild'

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