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DanM LHD Westfield Miata Build (Ottawa)


DanM
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So, with the holidays starting for me today and 2 weeks off work, I figured it was a good time to sit down and start a build thread. This is the first time that I have done anything like this so I am coming into this build as a complete newbie other than the experience I gained stripping down and refurbishing the parts from my 1990 Mazda Miata donor car.

 

My donor was a 1990, with about 234,000 km on the clock.  I picked it up in February on a beautiful Canadian winters day, a couple of months before I was ready to order the kit. I hadn't planned on buying one that early in the year, but as they're so difficult to get hold of here (in donor condition) I had to leap on it when it came up.  On the surface it appeared to be fairly well looked after, but as I got into it I could see that the Canadian weather and salt had taken a bit of a toll. Needless to say the price reflected the condition.

 

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Good luck Dan looks like you have a great space to work in. Having spent a winter in Canada I'm sure you are well insulated 😀

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6 hours ago, 6carjon said:

Good luck Dan looks like you have a great space to work in. Having spent a winter in Canada I'm sure you are well insulated 😀

Thank you!  Job one of my project was renovating the garage as it was in a bit of a state.  It took me a year to rewire, insulate, drywall and heat.  A luxury I would never have been able to afford if I was still living in the UK!  One of the benefits of being an expat. Here are some pics..

 

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Nice one. Nothing beats lying on a floor that's not bare concrete. I have rubber floor mats and no draughts👍

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Donor disassembly and part out.

 

To my surprise, I found the donor disassembly a very enjoyable and relaxing process.  That may sound a bit strange as hobbies are supposed to be enjoyable, but I honestly had no idea I would enjoy it that much!! Even the mouthfuls of rust and crud had a certain appeal!   

 

Happy as a pig in poo! 

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Another big surprise was how big the MX-5 Miata community was in Ottawa.  I advertised my car on Market place to let people know I'd be parting stuff out when I was finished and I was inundated with with people wanting this or that!  No sooner had I taken a part off the car and it was out the door! Seats, hood, soft top, carpets, headlights etc. all spoken for within hours of me posting!  In total I think I got back 50% of the purchase price through the part out and I still have some bits that will hopefully go after I'm done.

 

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Engine out

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Yummy!

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Parts ready for refurb.

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Harness labelled.

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Once I took what I needed someone reached out and asked to buy what was left! so off she went!

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...and then like Keyser Söze, it was gone!

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Refurb

 

Refurbing the parts is still an ongoing process and I'm slowly moving on to more complex parts as my confidence grows. 

I don't plan on spending too much time talking about the refurb because just like the disassembly, there are a ton of threads and videos about the subject on the forums and Youtube.  There is one thing however I would like to share and that is my top 4 best friends throughout the de-rust and refurb. (Not sure if I'm allowed to mention products so feel free to edit)

 

1. Simple Green purple - Not sure if its available in the UK, but this stuff is amazing for shifting grease, grime and other crud.  It even took some of the carbon off my valves!!  

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2. Evapo-rust - Environmentally friendly rust remover.  I poured a little into my kids empty juice bottles and put in rusty nuts and bolt.  They came out clean as a whistle, and I could reuse the stuff afterwards.

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3. Electrolysis - I made a small electrolysis set up using a storage tub, battery, jumper cables, sacrificial rebar, some aluminium cable and water/baking soda solution.  I threw in some of the larger really rusty parts that looked unsalvageable.  After a couple of days, the transformation of parts was incredible!  Just make sure you keep the area ventilated and don't let kids and pets near! 😉 

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4. Finally, POR-15 rust preventive coating.  I used this on nearly all the parts that I refurbed, calipers, knuckles, steering shaft, handbrake....etc.  One lesson I learned a bit too late is that I should have poured a little at a time into a metal dish or tray and sealed the tin immediately. A little goes a long way and it dries quickly.  I wasted a lot and its not cheap here.

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Here are some piccies of the parts that I have refurbed so far....

 

Brakes

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Uprights (Knuckles)

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Engine Parts

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As I mentioned, this is still an ongoing process, but I'm happy with the progress and learning so far. 🙂

 

 

 

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Importing in to Canada

 

Living in Canada I am fairly limited in terms of what is available to buy domestically and what I can import to do a build project.  The import rules state that "Kit Cars" cannot be imported as they would be considered as a complete motor vehicle and need to comply with modern vehicle standards (Airbags, ABS, etc.).  "Car Parts" or "Car Starter Kits" however, are allowed provided that they do not include majors components such as engine and drivetrain , etc.  a complete list is available from Transport Canada.

 

Lucky for me Westfields Mazda Miata (MX-5) based Single Donor Vehicle (SDV) kit complies with the Transport Canada import rules and is available through their North American distributor Manik Sportscars based in Richardson Texas.  Tom McClintock of Manik made the ordering and import process very easy for me and what I had imagined to be a real headache became a piece of cake with Toms help.  For those Canadians following this thread the steps were:

 

1. Choose your options package from Manik.

2. Manik provide you with a complete Bill of Material and help prepare necessary import paperwork.

3. You submit paperwork to Transport Canada in Ottawa.

4. TC reach out if they have questions (Manik worked with me to provide what they needed)

5. TC issue approval to import papers

 

Boom, Boom, Boom, it was that simple!!!  I cannot thank Tom enough for his help!! 🍻

 

Once I had the approval in my hand I could go ahead and place my order!

 

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My Build Plan

 

My plan is to build a streetable autocross car that has a traditional British look and is comfortable enough for my wife to join me for weekend drives.  I have no real timeline for the build, I just want do a nice job, learn lots, make some new friends on the way and create something to be proud of!

 

Here's what I ordered so far from the Westfield Miata picklist:

  • Westfield Sport Miata Kit (with 1.6l NA Miata Engine from Donor)

Interior

  • Sport Turbo Euro Seats

Exterior

  • Full Electrically Heated Screen - Standard
  • Side Screens
  • Classic body front and rear
  • Chrome Package - Includes Polished Screen, Lamps & Roll Bar
  • Boot Tonneau
  • Rear Arch Aluminum Stone Guards

Racing, Suspension & Handling Options

  • Nylon Suspension Bushings
  • Detachable Rear Wheel Arches
  • RAC Specification Roll Bar

Colour

  • Body - British Racing Green
  • Seats - Biscuit (Cream)
  • Side panels - Biscuit (Cream)
  • Carpet and centre - Black
  • Tonneau and doors - Black

Other items bought or swapped (not including items purchased for refurb)

  • Differential and Driveshaft - Upgraded to NB LSD
  • Harnesses - Schroth Westfield II ASM 4 pt
  • Steering wheel - TBD
  • Wheels and Tires - TBD

My inspiration comes from this car that I saw for sale in the web (except my dash, steering wheel, kick panels and handbrake will be black:

 

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I officially ordered my kit on the 22nd of March 2021 and it was ready to be crated by the end of July.

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It then took another 3 months to be crated and shipped from Liverpool to Montreal where it passed through customs and was delivered to the freight depot in Ottawa.  Manik provided me with the shipping details so I could track the progress of the ship from Liverpool.

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Kit Delivery?

 

On the forums I see pictures of people’s kits being off loaded from delivery trucks at their homes, so I naturally assumed that mine would be delivered too.  Unfortunately this wasn’t to be!  Once I got word that the kit was ready for collection at the freight terminal, I quickly had to figure a way to 1) get it home and 2) get it off loaded into the garage.

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I initially thought I’d be able rent a car transporter similar to the one I used to collect the Miata, however as the freight terminal did not have a forklift on the truck side of the loading dock I had to change plans.  Next, I looked into renting a box truck with a deck height bed, but there was nothing available in my timeline.  Finally, I resorted to renting a large moving truck from U-Haul with the highest deck I could find and rolled down to the freight terminal in the hope that we could somehow get it in.

 

20 foot truck.

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Should have put my heels on....

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Here we go.....

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Almost there.....

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It's in!! Phew! Step one complete.  Now to get it home.

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Off Loading

 

Once I got the truck home I made a cup of tea and took a moment to think about my next move.  To be honest, it was quite an emotional 15 minutes.  I have wanted to build a car for over 20 years and to be sitting alone in my house with my kit on the driveway was quite moving for me.

So what was my plan for off loading? Up until now it was all about getting the kit picked up ASAP, working around freight terminal availability (Mon -Fri), my busy work schedule, and the rental truck availability.  The crate was too big and heavy to lift off the truck and I had no concept of how it was packed inside.  My plan was to take my time, dismantle the crate in situ and bring in each part of the kit piece by piece.

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Due to the short notice I had no friends available to help, but thankfully, one of my neighbours came home from work early and offered a hand.  My wife also cancelled some appointments and came home to take photos! 🥳

 

First Shot!

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Man, there's a lot of screws!

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and more screws....

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and now wrapping....

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...lots of wrapping!!

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Wow! they really protected things well!! I'm impressed!

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....and finally after an hour or so, it was in!!

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Inventory

 

Next day once the truck was returned it was time to inventory the shipment. This needed tea and lots of it!  I started off by recycling the base of the shipping crate and converting it into a rolling platform by adding some cross braces and wheel dollies. This would be used to store the body, etc. and allow me to roll it out of the garage as needed to create space to work.

 

Once completed, job one was to inventory all the big items that I’d stored in the house overnight while I got organized, things like the nose cone, bonnet, seats and arches.  I was on borrowed time and these all needed to be gone before the family got home!

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Body parts on the rolling platform

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Next, I went through each box one by one, one item at a time checking them off the Bill of Materials as I went.

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What a great feeling to finally have her home.

the inventory process should help you along as there are often parts in unassociated bags and folk often have a lot of searching.

look forward to the build starting 

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