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Realistic Build Budget ?? - Quite Long


DaveMorton
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Hi again all,

My master plan as discussed previous (ie. buy a xflow westfield SeiW and then convert to bike power) is looking like it may be replaced. A friend of mine with another kit car had severe wiring problems caused by buying second hand and other issues too (inc. inexplicable tyre wear possibly from a twisted chassis)

If I was to build build from scratch then this would have many advantages eg.  i) have a better understanding of the car,  ii) be able to relace and service all parts myself and iii) I should be happy with the spec and build quality (hopefully).

However looking at my Westfield pricing book if I buy all the parts from them it will cost thousands and thousands of pounds.

Given that the Mega range IRS starter kit is £2995 inc vat and a bike engine + ancillaries and instuments is not more than £1,000 what is a realistic build value using new for the necessary bits (eg. Coilovers, discs, pads etc.) and used/recon for calipers, raditors etc.

I'm budgeting on around £6,500 - £7,500 at a guess but would be very happy with a lower price and not too concerned at a slightly higher price although the £10K + using westfields pricing and not getting to the end of the book was a concern :o)

What parts do I 100% have to buy from westfield? The book suggest for instance Springs and shocks but I would have assumed that coilover suppliers (eg. Avo, Koni, Spax?) would be able to help here and be considerably cheaper. eg. Westfield front springs at £350 (ouch)

Anyone know exactly?

All help appreciated as I'm looking to make a decision after Xmas :0

PS I still haven't driven a bike engined one but I'm as sure as I can be at this stage that bike power is the way to go for me. My requirements being a country lane sunday driver (so no need for too fast but need for good acceleration) with trackday use too. (I live around 25 miles from Cadwell which is nice).

Cheers

Dave

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Double your budget and you'd be getting nearer the mark.

You'd be amazed at all the little bits you don't think of - instruments, engine, wheels, tyres, seats, if you go for a screen then you need wipers and a heater for the SVA, lights, etc., etc.

Yes, you can get some of the mechanical components cheaper by sourcing them yourself, especially things like brakes, diffs, engines, etc. but you will still end up needing quite a few bits from the factory on top of the the starter kit.

As for your £1,000 for the engine, ancillaries and instruments - I fear this may be a little on the low side.  You'd also need to think about how you'd connect the engine to the back axle, re-jetting the carbs, a modified sump, whether you'd need / want a reverse box, etc., etc.

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I'd still buy 2ndhand and re-engine for your sort of budget for the following reasons.....

1) You'll have a working car with all the 'bits' (ie. wheels and tyres/seats etc.) so you can decide what to change and when as your budget allows....:d

2) If you're going to re-engine and worried it might have wiring problems then why not rewire it as a lot may need replacing anyway with a bike engine (new loom is £200 all in, double that plus a bit to get someone to do it for you) ???

3)  If you are re-engining and rewiring then you might as well pull the whole car apart and rebuild it which will teach you as much as building one from scratch maybe even more  ;)

4)  You can drive it NOW :D  and then rebuild it knowing what it should feel like afterwards (hopefully even better!;)   :xmas:

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And don't forget that there will be no need for an SVA test *spit* should you buy an existing car and rebuild it from scratch.

All it will be is a change on the V5 document and you're fully legal again without any of those ridiculous 'wrong switch' 'wrong lamp curvature' 'pointy nut' crap that seems to make up the SVA test......

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Why not have a look at Ed's site which has a page dedicated to his rebuild + bike engine. Includes costs/problems etc.

He built the car himself then converted to bike power.

http://cdslash.rm-rfstar.org/westfield/bike/index.html

Seems to me like you would need to be pretty good at wielding a welding torch.

Have you also seen:

http://biketransplant.tripod.com

Mike

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I think Ed's conversion may be a little unrepresentative in cost terms, owing to the fact that he got a complete bike that had been written off for absolute peanuts.  He was able to sell his old engine and most of the bike which went a long way to financing the conversion.

He's definitely worth having a chat with though - I think he'd do one or two things slightly differently next time.  But then, that's always the way when you do something as a one-off like that.

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Dont believe what certain people say about bike conversions to older cars being impossible. They're not, but they are tricky and very hard work.

You need to be handy with a welder, and have plenty of time, because while the costs werent high, it required an awful lot of effort and research to do my conversion.

That said, I found it very rewarding, I learnt an awful lot. It's nice to feel you've really engineered something yourself rather than just making a big lego kit.

With a  conversion like this, you'll always find it harder to make the final product as neat and tidy as a car that was built with a certain engine from scratch, eg holes in bodywork, wiring loom routed an inefficient way etc etc.

Before even starting a bike engine conversion, join the bike engined mailing list, found out as much as you can at torsional propshaft vibrations. This must be the NO. 1 consideration when engineering any engine mounts, planning propshaft runs/reverse box layouts etc.

I learnt so much from my conversion that I decided I want to do a second iteration putting it all into practice. I'm building a second car now, using an electric reverse system. This is a million times better than the mechanical reverse boxes.

There is a way to get a good headstart into a conversion and take the complex bit out of it... get someone like Playskool/Z-cars or Stuart Taylor Motorsport to do the engine mounts and leave you to do the ancilliary bits..

So, err in summary. Doing a bike engined conversion is harder than building a car from scratch...but by no means impossible.

And the first time you drive it, its all worthwhile ;)

I think my car was one of the first car to be retroconverted to bike power, so I hadnt heard of what problems were involved. Now theres a fair crowd of experts on the bike-engined-list, the problems have all been identified. Knowing these problems up front makes for easier solutions!

Choose the engine carefully, and take advantage of the fact you dont need SVA. That means you can use engines like the Yamaha R1 or the Kawasaki ZX9 that were not made pre95 and so would otherwise be tricky to SVA.

These two engines are very compact with relatively upright cylinder barrels, this all helps to get decent propshaft runs. They're also both significantly more powerful than a blade.

I think the R1 might be my favourite.

Busas and Birds are nice engines, but they come with a penalty. They're physically larger, and heavier. (A bird is 28kgs heavier than a blade).

Oh, onto build budgets for a new car...

I recently got a pre95 engine with all the ancills for 900quid.

If you go reverseless, or with electric reverse (I can show how its done) you can build a Megablade using largely factory supplied components for <10K. just!

Cheers,

Ed

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