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Hi guys, apologies for being quiet on here of late. I thought I'd update you with news. I sold the black Speedster to a lovely guy who lives down in Devon. He came up to test drive a much newer Chesil in Brighton (pale blue with tan interior) but didnt like it. He drove mine and loved it. Loved the looks which was far more racy than the 'standard' blue one, and the engine went better and it handled far more like a classic car. Funnily enough he thought the newer car was a bit 'emasculated' and too easy to drive - he wanted  a classic car to feel like a classic car. Anyway, both him and his partner are loving driving round Devon country lanes feeling like film stars.

So, my next project.. Is a Westfield XI

Say hello to Josephine (she's in French blue so the name fits). A one owner/builder car (built in 2013), I picked it up a week ago and it feels very special. It's the opposite of my old Speedster in that it's mechanically very sound - the guy who built it was an engineer, now retired, and he built it properly. But there are some, shall we say, not so nice cosmetic stylings that I will put right, as well as going through the mechanicals to sort tired/ worn out bits and pieces (e.g. these cars eat rear trailing arm bushes every 3000 miles). It's a hot A+ engine with around 100hp and it's 544kg all up (1200 pounds in old weights).

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I'll staty on the site because a) I've renewed my membership for another year and b) I like the vibe of this place. So I'll keep my Westfield postings to this one thread and chip into Speedster topics as and when I can contribute.

Have a good weekend y'all!

Martin

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With global warming, you'd be surprised how relatively few days of rain we get in England. As any of you who ride motorbikes will know, you develop a good 'weather eye' and know when you can go out and, even though it's cloudy, it's not going to rain. But the perceived lack of weather protection is what keeps XI/Spyder prices lower than Speedsters in the UK, even though as we all know the weather protection in most Speedsters is designed to 'make you less damp' rather than 'keep you dry'.

As for this car, if you want to know a LOT more, you might as well see the auction listing - it has a load of hi-res images that show the car off beautifully. I was on holiday when it was listed so I missed it, but it didn't make reserve. I presume it failed to reach reserve mainly for the non-traditional blue/tan colour. EVERY other XI I've seen advertised is British Racing Green/ red interior, and they sell for between £23k-£33k. The builder thought green cars were unlucky (a self-fulfilling myth, because all racing cars back in the 50s and 60s were mostly green, and tended to crash a lot with no seatbelts), so he went for blue gelcoat and then sprayed it Porsche Riviera Blue. It looks like Bugatti blue to me, hence the French feel to it.

He then advertised it in a more normal online fashion which is how I found it. And I got it for a good price, even allowing for the costs of changes I want to make.

Here's the extract from the blurb regarding the mechanicals (aimed specifically at all you techie guys who followed my old Speedster work and love these details)

The chassis is a Westfield tubular design with double wishbone front suspension and anti roll bar. The modified Ford Escort rear axle is carried on radius arms and a Panhard rod.

  • Upgraded, adjustable, Protech Coil over suspension fitted all round.
  • Steering is rack and pinion. Uprights, hubs etc. are standard MG.
  • Upgraded Front brakes are Frontline 9” with aluminium 4 pot calipers.
  • Rear brakes are Ford 8” drums including MG chrome handbrake lever.
  • Twin circuit brakes with Wilwood master cylinders with remote reservoirs
  • Gearbox. Ford type 9 5 speed with a long first gear and short remote linkage.
  • Frontline 7.5” clutch and bellhousing.
  • The original donor engine was in generally good, original condition and was renovated and improved as follows.
  • Block Offset bored to 73.5mm giving 1380cc. Crankshaft ground to -20thou. Connecting rods polished and balanced and fitted with Omega 9.8cr pistons. Crankshaft and flywheel/ clutch balanced.
  • MED supplied parts:- Steel vernier cam drive kit. R/S Camshaft. 1.5 Ratio roller tip rocker shaft. Competition oil pump. Cam followers. Valve springs. Competition Balancer crankshaft pulley. Alloy rocker cover.
  • Brand new Metro A+ cylinder head, modified and gas flowed, fitted with Cooper S valves.
  • Peter May baffled sump.
  • All new bearings, studs lock tabs, core plugs and gaskets. ARP Big end, Main and cylinder head bolts/ studs.
  • Refurbished Weber 45DCOE carburetor on 5” Maniflow manifold, with K&N air filter.
  • Edge High Torque starter motor, new water pump, alternator etc.


Now you've seen the good bits, here are the not so good bits:

The alternator failed so the car cut out the other night. I had to push it off a motorway (freeway) roundabout onto a side road. Fortunately there wasn't too much traffic and I could push it into a layby - the car is so light it was like pushing a motorbike. I had even  better luck when a guy parked in the layby jumped out and gave me a push so I could bump start it. A replacement alternator will be picked up tomorrow at a surprisingly reasonable £55 ($75). I'll check all the wiring back to the battery in the rear because it looks quite thin wire considering the juice it has to cope with.

As mentioned, the rear radius arms have knackered bushes. It's a nicely designed system locating on a rigid axle (in this case it's a Ford Escort Mk2 - the 1970s UK version, not the jelly mould US version), with a panhard rod for lateral location. Worn bushes equals massive clonking coming off the revs/getting on the revs. According to the Eleven Owners forum the bushes only last around 3000 miles, and this car has done 7000.

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The interior has been nicely done by the builder, keeping it more or less true to the original - mostly polished aluminium except for tan seats and functional floor mats.

The standard Westfield look is thus - fully carpeted and fairly 'plush':Eleven_8

Whereas the builder went with this:

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I like the spartan look of mine, but there are two things I want to change - the seats which really should be in red (original 11s came in many colours but the seats were always red), and the dials.. For some reason the builder wanted bright yellow. They are quite garish and totally out of place in this car (IMHO). They're ETB dials and very good quality, so I'm going to see if I can get the company to swap out the dial fronts rather than pay £500-odd for totally new dials.

I quite like the black crackle powder coating, even though tradionally the 11 has a cheap red vinyl cover with a minimum of padding.

There are a few oil leaks but sadly, it does seem to be a case of 'they all do that, Sir' with the A Series engine. I can fix a few but the main one will always be there I feel.

Luckily it only has one Weber DCOE45 carb, not the twin Dellortos I had on my previous car, so that's a lot less work. :-)

So, all in all, not too much to do, which will hopefully leave me more time to enjoy it.

It goes like stink and handles beautifully, as you would expect. The steering is so precise and light you only have to think of turning and it's done it. It is loud - the standard exhaust from Westfield is a motorbike silencer that struggles to hit the 105db limit at track days (apparently). But it goes with the racer look and feel.

I think I'm going to enjoy this!

I need to buy a Stirling Moss 'corker' style helmet to go with the car ;-)

Martin

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Hey Martin, a plastic car is a plastic car. You’ll always be welcome.  My best thought about 11’s (which I love) “And you thought a Spyder was small.”  

I like the sparse interior, too, although I might be tempted to spray the interior with truck bed liner for sound deadening. Well down on my to-do list is spraying the inside of my clamshell, frunk, and interior for the same reason.

Last edited by dlearl476

Flies in the teeth..

Yes, I knew the 5 speed gearbox would encourage 'gear envy'. And it helps take it up to 90mph comfortably and because the weight's not 80% at the rear, the stability is a welcome change. ;-)

It's true that, like the Speedster, you have to keep moving if it rains. Although I took a tip from my old family friend who had a real 11 back in the 80s and he had a brollie in the car ready for when it came back into the pits at Goodwood on a track day. I've managed to find a 'double brolly' that effectively covers the entire cockpit, and for just £22.

@dlearl476 thanks for the invite to 'hang around' invite - I absolutely will. As for the other part of your message about sound proofing - pointless. It's a case of wear ear plugs and smile. It's worse for the passenger with the exhaust about 20inches from your left ear.

As for the car being 'compact and bijou', I'm 5'7 and 147lbs and it's squeeze for me to get myself shoehorned into the seat and my legs in past the steering wheel. Any larger and I'd need to fit a removable steering wheel.

As an aside, the main reason for the PO selling the car is he's got another that he's been working on - he picked me up from the train station in it. The most exotic taxi service I've ever ridden in!

Ctype1

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It was nippy enough up in the mountains yesterday that I needed my flight helmet. Pay no attention to the goofy “visor.” The sun was low enough that I needed it. Besides it’s horrible look, it works. Usually it’s snapped up.

The drawback is that one needs ear plugs with it, which I didn’t have. Oddly enough, the wind noise is louder with it on than without.

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I agree, noise from headwear is a real pain, @dlearl476. I know, I have sensitive ears. "Ah, diddums" I hear you say. But at least I hear you say it from 200 yards. ;-)

Anyway, going back to biker references, it's all about wind noise which is often caused by gaps and aerodynamics, hence open face helmets can sometimes be quieter in use than full-face helmets.

@Gordon Nichols as for most suitable headgear, I refer back to my previous post of a Stirling Moss-style 'Corker-style' helmet as probably being the most suitable for a car of this era:

stirling-moss-mercedes-w196-grand-prix-of-the-netherlands-news-photo-1586791503

And of course the goggles and string-back gloves complete the ensemble. Oh, and throw in Dunlop-branded racing overalls. However, in cycling terminology, that would make me a FKW (Full Kit W*nker), so perhaps I'll settle for just a flat cap and sunglasses (or yellow driving glasses for night driving). I definitely need eye-protection in this car - the top of the screen intersects with my vision just below the horizon, so I look at traffic over the top and the road ahead through the screen.

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Great find! And yes of course to the helmet. If you want something that's pretty close to Stirling's style but modern, cheaper and actually effective for protecting yer noggin, see the Thousands brand bike helmets.

I got mine for like $100 shipped and made the ear and neck panels out of the carry bag it came with, to be velcro'd to the leather chin straps. Also made an extended visor I can bolt on, and of course painted it to match the car....as one does.

Looks wanker enough when I'm blowing through phantom toll booths!

Curious about the rear trailing arm bushing issue. Seems like a good design would not eat bushings at oil change intervals.

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I've looked at the Wesfield forums and the reason they don't use rod ends or rose joints is harshness of ride. Personally I think the problem lies with the geometry - there's a lot of power going through the rear axle and the torque generated overwhelms the joints. So, even with my non-engineering mind, if the mounting brackets were taller, even just an inch or two, i.e. as shown below in red vs the standard blue:

Rotational force vs trailing arm geometry

Then the rotational force applied would decrease substantially. Also, I'm guessing if the bush diameters were increased then the load spread would be increased resulting in decreased pressure on the bushes, but at the expense of worse location/ rear steering?

I think ultimately it's a case of 'bushes are cheap, so suck it up'. I may be wrong. Here's a useful explanation of the differing types of bushes.

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However I’ve just realised another conflicting problem, that of the live axle twisting when one wheel goes up/down and the other doesn’t. Any increase in the distance between the two trailing arms on each side (as per the red option above) would result in increased yaw or twisting, which would need increased flex in the bushes. It would be no problem with IRS but with a live axle, you are forced to compromise. I’m sure someone with greater knowledge will set me right, but I’m starting to understand why these things wear out, especially with spirited driving.

@LI-Rick you’re not wrong, it’s a common, well-proven design.

@edsnova I like the fact you’ve painted the helmet with a flash to match the car’s rear wing flashes.

Anyway, I’ve got the new alternator so will test that this afternoon once fitted. I blew out the jets in the Weber just as a precaution. They looked fine and dirt-free.

The problem with getting at the dials to replace/re-face them is that I have to remove the scuttle using the windscreen. Looks simple enough to unbolt though, so fingers crossed.

My Vintage Spyder uses one 1/2" heim joint on each trailing arm as the forward pivot, there are no torsion bars. Vintage Spyders use coilovers.

They neither wear out or are noisy. 40K on the set. I also use the special washers to retain the joint even if the heim ball fails. I recommend these washers for safety's sake if the heim isn't captured by a two-sided bracket.

8 rod-ends, 8 threaded tube inserts, 8 jam nuts and 4 steel tubes and this problem is permanently solved. Add two more joints for the Panhard rod if you must.

Last edited by DannyP

Morning all, did I mention I had a bit of a problem the other evening? Given these types of cars (kit/replica/plastic/bitsa) are always 'non-standard', every secondhand purchase is not just a bit of a lottery in terms of reliability, but you also have to learn all the quirks of both the car and the original builder's attitude/outlook. In this case, the builder knew his stuff, but the car was built 9 years ago, so things wear and decay. As for quirks, the Start button is also used as an ignition light/charging warning light (common practice, so I'm led to believe). The light seemed to be on ever since I picked up the car (I can't remember exactly when I first noticed it but it was definitely on the 2.5hr drive home) so I didn't think much of it. However, at one point during one of my short local blats I did notice the light had gone off for a bit, but there was no obvious reason that caused the light to be on/off. Random, unrepeatable problems eh? The bane of our lives..

Anyway, a couple of evenings ago I stalled at a motorway roundabout and it was then that I noticed the battery was almost dead flat, unable to turn over the engine more than twice. That was odd because in my garage it started fine. In hindsight it was obviously down to driving at night for the first time and having headlights on. During day running the car was obviously charging just enough to maintain a very slow rate of decline.

So, this is were the 544kg all up weight came in handy - I was able to push it off the roundabout and down the slip road to a layby where a helpful chap sat in his car jumped out and helped me bumpstart it. As I was only a mile from home I kept the revs up and got her home with no further hassle apart from the engine running as rough as a badger's armpit.

My electrical experience, espeically on BMC A Series aengines, is not great, but YouTube, Google and car forums such as here are helpful and I have a multimeter, so I at least managed to work out the alternator was not putting out any charge. I figured I'll just get a replacement as it's only £50. It's a Lucas LRA 100 which is meant to charge once triggered above 1500rpm. The problem being, once the new one is installed, it's still not charging. :-(

Not sure if the new one is duff or there's a wire loose somewhere. No fuses are blown - all have been checked and connections cleaned. Given the odd occasion where the light went out I'm tempted to think there's a short or bad connection. But access to the wiring is limited, mainly due to the car being so small and all the wiring sits under the 'scuttle' (the top panel from the dash to the bonnet), which is tricky to remove.

It may well be the exciter wire on the alternator - I'm getting 0v with the ignition off (correct), but only 6v with the ignition on - surely this is wrong?

  • Could I remove the exciter wire and just feed 12v into the exciter terminal on the alternator to see if that tricks the alternator into charging?
  • And following that chain of thought, if I disconnect the entire connecting plug (exciter wire D+ and 2 B+ terminals), and get the engine running and spinning the alternator with the exciter wire energised but NO B+ connections (so I can use my multimeter), will I damage the alternator?

I'm unable to trace where the exciter wire goes at present but presume it has to go to the Start button/ignition light. I'll try and remove the scuttle today (no easy task) to get to the wiring. Luckily the PO gave me a data stick of all the photos he took during the build, which helped him get past the IVA test..

One from early in the build (tan dash and black steering wheel):

Picture 174

One from later in the build (black crackle paint dash)XI_instruments023

At least it's well laid out and pretty simple (once I get access).. Fingers crossed.

Any help offered on exciter wires and charging shizzle gratefully welcomed as always! :-)

Cheers, Martin

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Lane, my contortions were severely tested the other day when I needed to tighten one of the steering column bolts that was behind the pedals.

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Upside down, wiggle under the steering wheel then extend arms fully above my head to reach nut/bolt with two spanners. Five minutes and lots of cursing/grunting later I wiggle out, job done. Next day, I find I could have taken the ally panel just above the pedals off with just 5 bolts and leant over no problem.. Doh.

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Ok, calling all style aficionados.. I want to change my (rather bright) yellow ETB dials for something more in keeping with the era. I'm trying to keep the same units because

a) they work
b) they're British made and
c) I'd rather recycle than just buy new

(I'd most likely have to throw the old units away if I can't get the dial colour changed because I can't see me finding someone who likes yellow dials in this day and age..)

So, here's the original dash setup - yellow dial, black pointer, black bezel

dash_original_yellow

Here's black dial, white pointer, chrome bezel   (forgive the bad photo editing)

dash_black

Finally magnolia dial, black pointer, chrome bezel

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The dash will stay black crackle finish. What's your preference and why?

Thanks guys

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I’m changing all of them, but I didn’t have a good enough photo or editing software (or time or inclination) to swap all in the image.

I'm with you, Lane. Black dial looks period correct, but there’s something about the magnolia (they also do white but that’s too bright) which is more like aged ivory, that goes well with the black crackle dash.

Going back to an earlier question, does anyone out there have any suggestions about the alternator/ exciter wire question above?



I'm with you, Lane. Black dial looks period correct, but there’s something about the magnolia (they also do white but that’s too bright) which is more like aged ivory, that goes well with the black crackle dash.



I'm no help with the electrical issue, but I can say that I prefer the magnolia look.  It seems more vintage to me, and easier to read with the black dash.

P.S. I have owned a number of LBCs in the past. 

I'm with Lane, black dial, white indicators. 2nd choice would be magnolia.

In order for an alternator charge, you need to see a draw through the "charge indicator" or "idiot light" wire. If the light burned out(and they do occasionally) the alternator will NEVER charge. This "charge indicator" light is also called an "exciter". The voltage regulator in the alternator needs to see 12v in order to start charging.

With the key on, check for 12v on both sides of the "charge indicator" light. You'll figure it out by tracing it out.

Before the alternator starts turning, there should be a ground or close to it on the "exciter" wire when disconnected from the car's wiring. Once turning and charging, the "exciter" wire should have 12v(or whatever the alternator is putting out) on it.

This is why the charging light goes out once charging, with 12v(or thereabouts) on both terminals of the bulb, the light can't light.

Thanks chaps

I think I'm going to go with the magnolia look - given the car is non-standard (i.e. not British Racing Green and not red vinyl dash) I think the magnolia will work better against the black dash.

@DannyP thanks. I thought as much. So I'm struggling to get the scuttle off to get to all the electrics. Once I've done that I'm sure there's a bad contact somewhere, otherwise why would there only be 6v at the charge indicator wire? The ignition light is working (it never goes out) so there's power to the bulb but not enough going past that to kick the alternator to start charging. At least that's my theory - but I'll find out this weekend. As @Lane Anderson says, I'm looking forward to having all those electricals in one easily accessible place once I get the scuttle off. I'll post photos.

My vote is white on black. Those ivory colored “vintage” gauges have always struck me as one step removed from fauxtina.

“why would there only be 6v at the charge indicator wire”

They sold you a 6v alternator by mistake?

Seriously, I don’t know if there is such a thing, I think 6V went away with generators.

I had some issue with my Ducati only putting out 6V and it wouldn’t start. Thought it was my starter relay, but it turned out my battery had a bad cell and despite being fully charged, it failed a load test. Every time I hit my starter button, it would immediately drop to 6V.

Last edited by dlearl476

.

Martin, diagnosing electrical problems from afar is a fool's game, so here I am.

It's hard to believe that a British car with Lucas bits, allowed to sit idle for long periods in British weather, is giving electrical problems after only eleven years, but I guess it happens.

With any electrical mystery, the first things to check are the ground connections. That may be more true here because both alternators show the same symptoms and because the problem is intermittent. (You did say the 'charge' light has gone out a few times while running, right?)

There should be some heavy grounding cables or straps connecting the battery, engine block, and chassis. Remove, sand to bare metal, and reconnect. Those cables are often screwed down tight and look sound on the outside, but are completely corroded away inside where it counts, especially in damp environments.

As Danny notes, the two wires leading to the 'exciter' lamp are likely candidates, but I think I'd check the grounds first.

.

Last edited by Sacto Mitch

I'm sure I'll change my mind multiple times on the dial colours, because there's also black on white! First things first - get an answer back from ETB on whether they can change my current dials, then I'll lock down the colours.

@Sacto Mitch - thanks Mitch, I thought I'd start with ground connections as you say. The car has been used but with only 7,000 miles in 9 years it's not a lot per year, and after 5 years anything can go wrong with all sorts of things on cars, especially ones based on a 1972 MG Midget!

I'll keep you posted (as always). Hopefully I;ll get it sorted this weekend because it;s going to be dry and mild, and I want to be out in the car, not working on it.

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