Carl Meek & James Lovett - Build Diary for Westfield
Finishing Touches

September 3 2007 - Brakes & First Drive.
I rushed back from work to fit the new rear calipers. Should take an hour max, then off for a drive. Pah!

First mission is getting the handbrake cable onto the caliper mount, Its on a huge spring, and creating enough loose cable to slot it on is a nightmare. Eventually got it on, and then found i'd threaded the handbrake cable incorrectly! Off it came again, then back on... lots of swearing. Then fitted the flexihose for the hydraulics. Bolted it onto the upright.... sorted.

Now to the other side, and it all starts going wrong. Firstly, the handbrake cable is ten times harder to fit because its under tension from the other side, so the central console in the car had to come off to adjust it. Then, when trying to fit it the spring pinged off onto the floor - that took 20 minutes to get back on. Then, with the handbrake in place, i went to fit the caliper and found the handbrake wouldn't fit in between the pads. Spent an hour trying to compress it... that wasn't going to happen. After a while figured that i needed to twist the piston to adjust it.... and then it fitted. Unfortunately i've now been fitting brakes for over 3 hours! At least there's just the bleeding left, that shouldn't be too painful... (pah again!)

Bleeding the brakes is to be done using the Gunson easybleed kit. Its a great idea, whack a nozzle onto a car tyre - this provides pressured air to force the fluid through the system. I set this up and fluid instantly started pouring on the floor from the rear. Ooops.... i'd completely forgotten to tighten one of the connectors. With that done, we went to bleed again and a pipe popped off the easybleed kit sending a whole pot of fluid all over the floor, car, me, etc.... i even got some in my eye! (ouch... lots of water to flush that out!) We bled all four brakes twice, then with another easybleed explosion, gave up and went back to the pumping pedal option for the final bleed. Eventually, seems ok. Managed to get brake fluid EVERYWHERE!

The brakes appear working fine, I can't push them to the bulkhead. Obviously, new pads all around they're not actually stopping me too quickly yet!

The problem is the amount of dead travel before they even start biting, the pedal is flopping toward the driver a long way. In order to match the other 2 pedals it would make more sense to have the pedal adjusted back so it starts nearer the bulkhead.... but if i adjust it back too much further it will run the risk of hitting the stops (which i believe is an SVA fail as well as being unsafe!)

So really, like the clutch, i feel i need a stop bar that prevents the pedal flopping toward the driver too far. But there isn't such a thing. I'll post on the forum for ideas i think!

With the bleeding complete we refitted and torqued the wheels for our first test drive. Unfortunately its going to be short as its 9:30 and the neighbours probably don't like to hear lairy hayabusas at this time.

We drove it around on some private land for about 5 minutes, and nothing fell off, so thats a good start! Managed some forwards, reverses, even second gear for 3 seconds. Its an odd drive sitting so far back and seeing the wheels steer ahead of you... can't wait to get some speed up! Oh, and a bird decided to relieve itself on the bonnet. What aim!

A few tweaks, some more driving, and some better photos tomorrow! Including the new sexy polished exhaust headers.

Todays Build: 1 & 2 people, 5 hours.. Total build time so far: 139 hours, 216 man-hours.

September 4 2007 - Second Drive!
My sister Lisa was involved in a car accident this morning. I spent most of the day keeping her company in hospital. She's fine, a bump on her head, bruised back and some aches and pains. Car's a writeoff.

On my own today, i planned to just do a few tweaks. First to get the car in the sun and give it a quick polish! Then some nice photos :)

First tweak... the front is a bit out of adjustment - camber seems OK but tracking is definitely out. I strapped a laser sprit level to the front wheels one at a time and worked out the tracking angle against the rears. Not exactly precision, but better than nothing. I disconnected the steering rods and wound them in one wind each - that looks much better. I'll check it out of the test drive in a minute!

The new gear position indicator turned up from Hungary today. No instructions... so its a guessing game. Took off the dash and the scuttle and hacked open the wiring. Red to switched positive, black to earth... then to guess on the other two. Turns out green does nothing and white works perfectly - result! A nice blue display.

For the test drive, i went up and down the private strip 3 times trying to brake as much as possible. Getting slightly cockier on my third run, gave it 50% throttle and pulled a huge wheelspin. Wow, this things fast. Managed to get into third gear too, and the gear indicator worked a treat.

Brakes are feeling better, but I think there may still be a little air in the system. We'll try another bleed tomorrow perhaps. Its difficult to tell with the pads and discs all being new - hard to tell apart spongey not-bed-in-yet from air in the system.

Finally, 2 hours spent tidying the garage! Now looking much more organised.

Todays Build: 1 person, 3 hours.. Total build time so far: 142 hours, 219 man-hours.

September 5 2007 - Third Drive!
No photos today i'm afraid, don't think i did anything worthy of photographing.

The only thing on my mind is the rubbish spongey brakes, so i'm going to attack them.  After some close inspection, turns out the AP front calipers have 2 bleed nipples - so basically thats what i did wrong.  Re-bled from all four front nipples and the pedal is hard as a rock, problem solved!

A few more blats up and down and its stopping like a dream!  And f**k me its fast!

The air flow meter carb/throttle body balancer turned up today, so i gave it a quick go - one cylinder is out from the other three and overall not enough air, so its running a little rich.  I dont have the laptop so cant really fix it now, i'll do it tomorrow.

Another guy who lives 200 yards away owns a megabusa too... he came over to say hello.  I had a good look at his car and immediately spotted the problem with my wingmirrors, i mounted them 90 degrees off.  What an idiot.  I refitted the drivers one and i'll buy a new passenger one from westfield.

Todays Build: 1 person, 2 hours.. Total build time so far: 144 hours, 221 man-hours.

September 6 2007 - Grills & throttle bodies
I went to Halfords and bought some black grille. Chopped it up, bent it into shape, and fitted it to the inside of the 3 bonnet holes. This should stop me catching birds!

Next i used my new carb balancer gauge to sort out the throttle bodies. Looks like its running a little rich, with one cylinder shifting a bit less air than the others. I started at the throttle cable end, balanced them all to produce 7.5kg of air, then finally adjusted the throttle pot to give the correct voltage on the laptop screen. Sounds perfect, and hopefully the emissions will be in check too.

That's all for today! Tomorrow i'll sort out the suspension before watching the Brighton Speed Trials on saturday!

Todays Build: 1 person, 1 hour.. Total build time so far: 145 hours, 222 man-hours.

September 9 2007 - SVA Bits
Allsorts of miscellaneous SVA stuff! Pictures tell it all....

The busa is now finished apart from a dead handbrake switch which needs replacing.

September 13 2007 - More SVA
A few more SVA tweaks... changed my mind about using insulating tape!

September 18 2007 - Garage... and SVA Tomorrow
Went to look at a garage today, and i've made the owner an offer. Its 20 feet square so will make excellent storage for the megabusa (and Phil's!) Also will offer storage and a great space to work on the car. Rather dull photos of the outside attached...

On more important issues, i'm off to bed... up at 5:45 to head out to the SVA test in Croydon. Doubt we'll pass, but i truly believe i've done everything i possibly could. Fingers crossed!

September 19 2007 - SVA TEST!
Up at 5:45 after a bad nights sleep, and straight over to James' before heading up the road to cuckfield. We then set off for the SVA centre at 6:30, leaving 1:30 to get there. We blat up the A23, then get stuck in traffic. Its a nightmare clutch in traffic, but i just about survive! I can slowly feel my driving improving as i get used to the co-ordination of paddle shift and get to understand the drive train / clutch / etc. its pretty brutal, up and downshifts are hard to get right and its not at all forgiving. That just makes it more satisfying when you get it right! On the way there we get a wave, a thumbs up, and LOTS of looks! Shame it spat with rain all the way. On the last couple of miles the clutch starts slipping when i boot it in a high gear. Feels to me like the clutch needs adjusting - there's no dead point in the pedal, its clearly applying pressure without your foot doing anything. We fill up with petrol, whip off the bonnet and pedal cover, and adjust it. Thats much better :)

Once we arrive, we drive around to the inspection bay and the inspector comes over. He's a temporary inspector usually based in newcastle, seems a nice guy, fairly young. He does lots of paperwork and then gets stuck into the bonnet - poking around and pulling at things. No point in guessing whether he's impressed or not, we'll find that out later! After an hour he guesses our anxiety and tells us that we've got nothing to worry about, hasn't found anything serious yet, and he prefers to go through detail at the end so he doesn't lose his flow. He goes through lights, protrusions in & out, and lots of other things. I have to take the tunnel cover off so he can check handbrake balance bar.

We move onto the emissions test and i completely fail to hold the car at 2500 revs. We give up and go for 5000 instead, still pretty hard! The exhaust headers are actually glowing red as it runs at 5000 stationary ... poor engine. Machine whirrs away and has lots of 'FAIL' messages everywhere, so that looks a bit worrying! Turns out our CO2 and Hydrocarbons are fine, but Lambda fails. I told him that we can adjust it there and then, but he won't let me, so we move on. We're beginning to suspect its a fail and he's found something.... then he tells us. Its the seats & harness mountings. The harness mounts through an eye on the back rail of the chassis, then goes up about 1" before going downward. Apparently this is above the level of the mounting so therefore the seat is officially the seatbelt mounting. Therefore he needs evidence it is strong enough. His advice is to fit smaller seats "and you can do what you want after the test". How odd, these are standard Westfield items!! Now we know its a fail. bugger.

Next we go for speed test, so on the rollers and he attempts to drive it. Clearly never ridden a bike or used a sequential box, he's clueless! A bit of tuition and we get the car into third and blatting along. Speed at 50mph seems good and that's good enough for him even though he's supposed to do 70.

Next we drive forward to the ramp and the car goes in the air with me inside. He gets me to do brakes, steering, etc whilst he does his usual banging, poking, pulling about for ages. He lowers the car and gets me to cable tie a couple of headlamp wires up. Then we do the headlamp tests and again he allows me to adjust the light with the machine sitting in front of it.

The next test is the brakes test and I tell him about having a Limited Slip Diff, and how i've heard it can damage it. He declares a 15 minute break, we have a mars bar, and he investigates! I use this as an opportunity to call Westfield about the seats... I discuss it with them, but they need to speak to Mark who they can't get hold of.

On his return, he doesn't really know the answer on LSDs so he doesn't chance it. Instead he decides to drive the car. He goes left to right and checks the steering self-centres. Then he locks th

September 23 2007 - SVA Update
Mark at Westfield has filed a complaint with SVA technical services department about their testing inconsistency. The seat has passed hundreds of times, and now mine has failed along with one other person also known to have failed. Hopefully he'll win his battle and overturn the failure, but i'm working on a secondary strategy too....

"R7 WSC" (Mark) from the westfield forum is kindly posting me his old seats which don't have headrests or harness holes. These should sail through SVA despite clearly being less safe, how ridiculous. Then straight after, the old seats go back in.

All other minor issues on the SVA have been completely resolved, and in order to help with the emissions tests, 've invented a new 'fast idle' setting on the throttle bodies - not complicated, but it uses a stop screw which allows me to perfectly hold it at 2500 rpm - something that's virtually impossible without it!

I'm off up to the garage again today to fit an intercom system i've ordered. James and I realised that we couldn't talk to each other with helmets on, so this will help somewhat! I've got to make sure its only installed with velcro so its not subject to SVA problems.

Meanwhile, i've ordered the new dash setup to be fitted immediately following SVA pass. Its a carbon fibre blank dashboard, a Race Technology Dash2 and DL1 datalogger. They're also giving me a free CAN engine interface box which is 'beta' testing and i will help with that. All this will allow full datalogging of GPS position, 'G' acceleration, all engine parameters, etc.

October 1 2007 - One week to SVA Retest
I haven't made an update for a while... mostly because i haven't done anything for a while! SVA Retest is exactly a week away, and a few bits turned up, so I thought i'd do some bits.

Sorry about the rubbish quality pictures, forgot my camera so had to resort to camera phone.

I fitted the grotty old seats, but unfortunately i can't reach the pedals! So I stuck a petrol can behind the seat... not sure what SVA man will think of that....!!

Finally, I fitted the carbon-fibre wheel arch protectors, made a carbon central disk for the steering wheel. Clear front indicators and orange bulbs went on too.

October 2 2007 - SVA Inspection Manual
Here is the official SVA VOSA inspection manual:


October 6 2007 - Brands Visit
Visited Brands Hatch to watch a few race series. We saw the Radical SR3 cup, the Junior Ginettas , the Mini Cooper Challenge and Westfield BARC championship.

Radicals are powered by a 1500cc version of the Hayabusa, and they are flame spitting monsters, absolutely amazing machines. Fastest lap was 44 seconds, and I want one!!

Minis were a little dull, they lapped at 55 seconds. Too quiet and not much action.

The Westy race was brilliant - they're only a low spec 1800cc Zetec, but they raced agressively. Three accidents, got a bit messy around Druids.

The megabusa needs to get on track soon... lets hope it passes SVA on monday!

October 8 2007 - SVA Retest
We turned up at the centre 3 hours early. Apparently the booking was at a completely different time! Bad start :( We were SO bored we even discussed different ways of getting in and out of the car in a high speed fashion. 3 hours is a very long time... enough time to read 'Car' magazine cover to cover and still find time to be bored.

Eventually the tester came over, not a minute early (despite seeing him pass the previous guy a good 20 minutes prior) and we got straight into emissions. Since the last time, i have richened the engine a little due to the lean lambda last time. Bad move it seems.... failed on high hydrocarbons, CO2 and lambda, basically i'd gone too far the other way. A tweak of the throttle pot position relative to the butterflies, and another attempt... Also failed, i'd gone too far the other way. Settled for a middle position and it passed on the 2500 rpm but failed idle for too much CO2. At this point i'm sweating - standing over the exhausts is tough, and they're glowing red! Another small twiddle, and failed again. Starting to get desparate... he says its been too long and i have one more attempt. I increased idle speed, made a small lean adjustment and it passes idle... and with another tweak passes 2500 rpm.... and fails idle. He re-calibrates and we go again... and as a total piece of luck pass. More luck than judgement, especially as the laptop ran out of battery before the end and i was guessing the pot voltage and RPM!

With that out of the way, and the time almost 5pm, he clearly wanted to go home, so we rushed through the rest, and he passed us! (It really was that quick... he didn't even look at the seats!) WOO HOO!

So... a good blat home to blow the cobwebs away, rip off all the rubbery bits, and registration tomorrow. Still got to swap seats, fit dash, fit aeroscreen, but we'll see what the registration process looks like first.

For reference, these were the emissions readouts:

CO 0.19 (Max 0.20) PASS
HC 69 (Max 200) PASS
LAM 0.997 (0.97-1.03) PASS

CO 0.01 (Max 0.30) PASS

October 9 2007 - DVLA Registration
I drove up to the garage in the pouring rain and got the engine number and Westfield receipts.

I put together a pack for the registration that included the following:

1. Receipts for Westfield Kit and Engine
2. Insurance Certificate
3. Declaration of Newness from Westfield
4. The years tax - only £115 per year for tax which is nice!
5. £50 registration fee
6. Driving License
7. SVA MAC Certificate
8. Form V55/4 registration form
9. Vehicle Build-Up Form detailing parts used

Once the forms were filled in, which took an hour, i drove the whole lot to the regional office in Brighton and submitted it.  The guy told me that the paperwork for kit cars is done on Thursdays, and i won't need an inspection.  Due to the postal strike he's going to give me a call on my mobile, so hopefully we're road legal on Thursday afternoon!

( Fingers crossed everything is in order, and i filled everything in correctly! )

October 11 2007 - Registered!
The car is road legal!  Paperwork came through today and it has been given the plate GX07 OLV.  Not a 57 plate probably because of a date i wrote on the form for when i ordered the kit i should think.

Took the car on its maiden legal voyage down to Brighton, scared a few people by taking them for a ride, and put 50 miles or so on the clock.  Its running like a dream, and it is SO fast.  Rich said "you can't really describe how fast it is, you have to experience it".

Saturday is the suspension setup, so the car is going to stay in Brighton until then.

I've ordered some numberplates, a self-adhesive one for the front and a bike one for the back, just need to get a nice light for the back one.

Meanwhile i'm hunting around for the first track day.... watch this space...

October 13 2007 - Suspension Setup
We arrived at the race car doctor's barn at 9am and got cracking. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but i felt something would probably be grossly wrong!

Firstly we corner weighted it, see the photo - turns out the car weighs 512 kilos, a bit more than we expected, and then we added ballast to represent the driver. Dave made loads of adjustments to even the weights up.

We then got around to doing the camber/caster and after much looking & thinking Dave noticed that our front top wishbones were on the wrong way, which was playing havoc with handling and causing a lack of self-centering on the steering whilst cornering. Correcting this took about 4 hours as we had to mess about with the front Anti-Roll bar loads.

Eventually done, 7 hours work and i have a fully corner weighted setup. His recommendations are that i swap the front tyres from 205/60 to 185/60 which will give the car less of a tendency to oversteer and give it a gentle understeer. I'm going to do this monday.

With a track day at Snetterton booked for 2 weeks time, he recommended that i drive the car and see how it goes, but he feels the rear springs are too soft and may cause the damper to 'bottom out' and hit the stops which could cause a spin. If this happens, or i detect the bottoming out, i should fit stiffer springs, perhaps 300 rate springs.

In summary, i'd recommend any Westfield owner gets it done, after spending so much on a car its an irrelevant cost and can pick up on anything you've done wrong!

October 14 2007 - Engine Problems
I've got a starter problem for some reason. Basically, i hit the starter button and the relay clicks, but the motor doesn't turn. At the same time, the neutral and oil pressure warning lights go out, but the brake warning doesn't. Weird?

I've put a multimeter on the motor itself, and when starter button pressed, i get voltage (11 volts if i remember).

Totally stuck in a petrol station, we push started it, and that was fine - battery doesn't appear to be flat - headlights don't even dip when i hit the starter button.

This has happened 6 times, and getting worse, GRR! The fourth time, i stopped, and tried the starter, it worked perfectly 3 times in a row! Then an hour later, it didn't at all.

I then got a very charged very large battery and jumped onto the starter motor directly - and it wouldn't turn either! It maybe did a wheezy half turn.

So.... voltages as of tonight:

Battery: 11.79
With ignition on: 11.49
With starter applied: 4.2
With my charger on there: 12.0
My big battery voltage: 12.66

My last drive was 60 minutes, so it should have charged higher than 11.79? Directly after stopping, the starter had nothing.

Sorry, can't tell you the voltage with engine running, couldn't make it run! I've left it on trickle charge overnight.

* puzzled *

My conclusions (ish).....

1. That the battery just can't deliver the required load - this is proved by the fact my big battery achieves a half turn where my battery achieves none

2. That the starter is seized, or there's a hydraulic lock or something. Clearly i don't know what i'm talking about here!

It was so reliable, started on the button right up until yesterday! Help please :)

With my problems on starting i thought i'd fit the carputer... see pictures! Its a temporary fit because i'm waiting for the new dash parts to all arrive so i can fit that.

October 15 2007 - Solution... and....Suspension Settings
I've been discussing the problems with starting on the forum, and they're pretty convinced its an earthing problem.  I don't actually have an earth strap from block to chassis, so this could be the problem.  Mike R7 WSC said:

Remember even with a bike engine you are looking for >100A which needs probably at least 25mm2 cable - all your cradle bolts with powder coated brakets etc may appear to give no real resistance to earth with a multimeter, but could still be significant - a starter motor drawing 100A at 12V has windings of 0.1 Ohm, so if you have even 0.1 Ohm through your earthing, the motor will only see 6V. (very approx, but you get the idea)

Also, Just received an email from Dave at the Race Car Doctor showing all settings.  He said in his email:

For Jeff, and anyone else who asked, here are all the settings..... Firstly his email said>>>

Reminder re a few things:

Bolt check at Snetterton, especially wishbones, engine mounts, diff mounts
(if you can get access)

185 tyres on the front

See how you feel the car handles, happy for you to phone me and I can talk
you though things.

21-23 PSI hot a good starting point

Once you are confident in the car and an get consistent lap times (this
might take some time), you can refine the set up using tyre temperatures -
you will need a temp gun to do this.
-2.0 -2.0
-1.5 -1.5

Front toe 20mins out
Rear toe 35 min in

Rideheight front 110mm (measured on 185/60 tyres)
Rideheight rear 135mm

October 16 2007 - Earth problem solved
Earth problem solved!  I need to do a more permenant solution, as i've butchered together a couple of grotty old bits of wire - but it fixed it immediately.

Despite the engine block being hard bolted directly to the chassis, the resistance between block and chassis was 0.9ohms which was enough to prevent the starter motor working at 100 amps.  Bizarre!

October 16 2007 - Dash Wiring
I started work on the dash wiring. So far i've done:

Primary connectors to car loom
Temporary power to the Race Technology Dash
Sidelights Switch
Headlights Switch
Ignition Switch
Four dash control switches
Illumination on switches

LOTS more to do, didn't get home until 11pm!

October 20 2007 - Dash Cutting
Managed to get most of the dash fitted.

The carbon fibre had to be cut on almost every edge, a tough job working out where things went. First I cut the steering wheel and gear shift holes, then trimmed some off the bottom, then finally fitted it, drew around the scuttle and cut it with the jigsaw.

Then i drew all the items onto the dash and cut the holes once i'd chosen where they go.

As we stand, various things aren't working yet, but tomorrow should sort that!

October 21 2007 - More Dash
Spent the day trying to wire everything up, total nightmare! Got the car just about driveable in the end, but don't have a speed reading, and have had to put in the old fuel gauge temporarily.

This is the email i sent to race technology .....

I have the DASH2, DL1 and CAN interface which i'm trying to make work with the MBE 992 / CAN.

I need a bit of help please! I'm at Snetterton on Saturday, so i'm desparate to get as much fixed as possible, my priority being Speed Display! These are my issues....

1. Don't know how to use the 'daisy chain' RS232 cable between DASH2 and DL1. I can get the PC to talk to both individually, and can get the DASH2 to talk to the DL1, but not the PC at the same time. Could you give me a wiring diagram? I'm beginning to think perhaps the cable is faulty, or i'm just misundetsanding what should be acheivable.

2. Fuel level - i have no idea how to get this working! It is a VDO sensor variable resistor to ground. Apparently i need a pull up resistor or something... but this is a bit beyond my knowledge, could you advise? I don't mind a trip to maplin if i know what to buy and how to wire it, but i'm drawing a blank currently!

3. Speed. I have 2 wires going to my VDO 'hall effect' gizmo. I've tried putting 5v down one and the other into the wheel speed, no luck. How should i wire this up?

3. CAN Interface. I've tried to configure just the first message ID 0 to grab the coolant temp from the MBE ECU. No luck at all. I can't tell if its even receiving anything - some sort of output showing serial communication would be handy.

4. Version of firmware on Dash2. I've tried flashing it, but it now doesn't work well - it crashes when it receives serial communication from CAN/DL1, and requires ignition off/on to come back. Where is the flash HEX v7 file for the Dash2? I think i need to try again.

Thanks in advance,

October 24 2007 - Even more dash...
Turns out the dash is faulty!  No wonder i can't make it work.  I plumbed in the oil & water temp sensors and was getting nothing at all.... so i had the bright idea of whacking them into the data logger directly instead, and Bingo!  Worked straight away.

So, we're almost ready for the track day on Saturday, the following items not working:

* Wheel speed   (but GPS speed odometer though)
* Fuel Level  (but i've got the temporary old gauge)
* Gear Position  (i'll go blind on this one, expect a few additional upshifts into 7th...8th...)
* Video Recording  (the PC keeps crashing, i'll resolve this soon)
* Accurate temperatures.  Whilst i have temps, they're totally uncalibrated!

So, despite it being a long list, its not unworkable, track day should be fine.

For some reason my battery keeps going flat too, probably the ridiculous amount of crap i've got plugged into the poor thing!

October 26 2007 - First Track Day... DISASTER!

7pm, On the way to Snetterton, with James following on the bike, clouds of smoke started pouring out of the car and James got covered in liquid. Luckily a service station was right there, so i pulled in and we ripped the bonnet off. Lots of smoke from the exhausts, and a puddle under the car... which turned out to be oil.

Very kindly a guy who works for Turbo Technics just happened to be in the same service centre, and he gave us his jack so we could the car in the air. After much fiddling about we eventually found the leak - right out of the spindle of the dry sump pump. Oh dear, a fatal problem. I called the AA and arranged a tow home.

2 and a half hours from home, the tow truck didn't arrive until 1am, and i didn't get home until 4am. What a nightmare! Off to the garage now to take the pump off and diagnose the problem.

October 27 2007 - Pump Disassembled
Pump disassembled and ready for new bits... see photos

November 3 2007 - Dry Sump Replumbing
I spent the whole day trying to raise the dry sump pump and connect it all in, I forgot my camera unfortunately so i'll take some photos tomorrow!

These pictures are the connectors i need to buy.

November 4 2007 - Car working again
I decided to abandon replacing half the pipes as i have the wrong adapters. Car's all working again ready for a drive tomorrow.

These connectors are serious bling!

November 5 2007 - It Drives again!
Unfortunately raining and in the wet, but the car drives!  No dash, so no idea how fast i'm going, or what temperature the oil or water are at, or even how much fuel i have.  The camera was working though!  Recorded all 3 minutes of the drive, which took 2gb... so i now need to figure out an efficient way of getting the file back home!  Drove beautifully, so i'll take her for a longer drive tomorrow.

November 8 2007 - Trackday Prep
Tomorrow evening i set off on the 2 1/2 hour journey to Silverstone.  Hopefully everything will be ready!  I'm off up to the garage now to try and make sure.  Here's what needs doing:

* Install Dashboard - this turned up from repairs today.
* Waterproof the underside of the scuttle
* Calibrate temperature & fuel level...physically by pumping it out again, litre by litre.
* Road speed sensor : using 5v reference feed
* Install the CAN interface to read engine parameters onto data logger
* Silicone blobs on PC connectors where necessary to stop connectors coming out
* RPM feed to DL1
* Format the CF card using race tech software
* Check the DL1 firmware by analysing a log file.  Should be 9-4 or newer.
* Download & install DHCP Turbo and test crossover cable & pc-pc network to get video files onto my PC
* Charging Socket
* FINALLY - replace scuttle

Not much then!!

November 10 2007 - Trackday Disaster Number Two
Total Disaster

We made the drive to silverstone with no drama, almost 4 hours driving and not a blip, the car ran brilliantly.

We went out for the sighting session to learn the track and immediately saw the megabusa's handling potential. Even at relatively slow speeds, the cars in front were rolling about and we felt like we were chilling out.

Once the sessions started, we were straight out, and giving it some welly. Around 12 laps of flat-out driving completed, and it just started to rain. It seemed like a god time to come in, so i headed for the pits. Only one small incident in that session- a bit of an overcook into a corner caused by overtaking other traffic- i was on the outside of a bend and ended up running out of track.... and going onto the run-off.

We went out again, and on the slippery semi-wet conditions managed to spin the car off. Unfortunately it stalled, and the battery didn't have enough power for a restart. Red flags came out and the tow truck came out to tow me in. Once back in the pits, turns out there's oil everywhere and its filled the catch-tank and overflowed everywhere else. Very weird. Past experience says that if you over-fill the dry-sump system, once the oil gets very hot it will naturally level itself by chucking out the overfill. Level seems ok, if a little lower than before, so i clean it all up and go out for a couple of test laps.

In from 2 laps and everything is fine, car ran great, temps are ok, pressure ok, so i go out again. 2 laps in, 105mph changing down from 6th to 4th, a little heel-and-toe, and BANG BANG BANG, sounds like a bunch of spanners dropped into my engine.... not good! Pull into the pit-lane and turn the engine off.

Once back in the paddock, i spend ages trying to work out whats wrong. The engine fires on all 4, pistons are ok, values ok, clutch ok, gearbox ok... all ok apart from the noise- and its LOUD. Very Loud. Chatted to a few people, starting to think its the "big end" or crank bearings, starved of oil. I trace all the oil and it turns out its been overflowing from the top of the sump tank - so the sump pump must have been pumping all the oil out of the engine! All a bit beyond me, i'll work it all out tomorrow....

Luckily the AA towed me home :)

November 14 2007 - Quick Update
A new engine - 2007 with 1099 miles, and a new dry sump system are on their way and should arrive by friday.  I'll then spend the weekend getting started on plumbing it in.

The new dry sump system will run -12 size pipes from the pump-cooler-tank-sump and this will help to solve the problem.  It is a new billet sump plate with scavenges on opposing corners, ensuring the scavenge can always work.  In addition a new pump will replace the water pump instead of the old belt-driven one.  I'll then install an electric water pump.

Lots to do!  Hopefully this will all be sorted within the next 2 weeks.  I'll take some photos as the install progresses.

November 15 2007 - Tank Design
Hopefully the new engine & sump system will be delivered tomorrow.  I still have various plumbing parts to buy, and the biggest of those is the tank.

Having extensively searched for a stock tank, i can't find one that achieves all my requirements.  I need:

I've just spent an hour designing a new tank for my dry sump system.  I'm planning on getting Pace to design it, and it will be up to them to design interior pipe terminations & baffling.


* To Fit in the car... very tight space between engine and my wide-track inboard ARB - this space is just over 4"
* To provide just over 5 litres capacity
* To provide better breathing with gearbox vented into tank (just in case)
* To provide optimum de-airation & surge resistance
* To be as tall as possible to help with surge resistance and de-airation.

As such, a normal cylinder just won't work, so i need something custom.  Pace engineering are *THE* people to use, total experts in tank design.  So i've drawn what i need and they're going to make it for me.

Here's the PDF of the design:

Click here

I've been asked whats the deal with the old engine? ... well the plan is to repair it as soon as I can next year, and sell it to recoup spent funds on the new engine.  Same goes with the dry sump system.

November 18 2007 - Engine Out
An early start this morning, I plan to remove the old engine.

Firstly we had to remove the clutch line, wiring harness, main battery cable, oil pressure capillary, prop shaft bolts, water lines, oil lines.  Once all that was free, we then unbolted the engine.

Chris and I set up a hoist from the roof beams of the garage and gently raised the engine up about 12".  We then lowered the car on its Jack and the engine gracefully lifted free.  The two of us then lifted it and lowered it to the floor - whilst heavy, 2 people can manage it without too much trouble.

Having removed the engine, i set about preparing the new one doing the following:

* Fitting the clutch slave cylinder
* Removing the PAIR valve and blanking the holes
* Blocking the old oil cooler attachment
* Remove the sump ready for the new one
* Remove the water pump ready for the oil pump to go in its place
* Fit the exhaust studs
* Remove the sproket and replace with drive flange

That's all the construction for today, can't do any more until the dry sump parts arrive.

Before heading off, I decided to remove the sump of the old engine and have a peek inside.  The sump pan had huge quantities of swarf and metal bits floating around, the filters were clogged with it too - looks like the remains of bearings and shells.  We then had a poke about with a screwdriver and found conrod #3 had about 10mm of play on the crank!  The banging noise must have been the crank and conrod banging against each other.  The crank shows some sign of blueing from the heat, hopefully both it and the conrod are OK.  I'm not going to rebuild for a while, perhaps next january/febuary.

November 19 2007 - Trial Fit Sump
Last night, i trial fitted the new sump and pump. Don't have the right bolts, so i need to go shopping.

Biggest issue is that the clutch slave cylinder doesn't fit !! Typical...

(oh, and the Simpsons game on the xbox rocks!)

November 21 2007 - Engine Almost Ready
Today i ordered a new billet CNC clutch slave cylinder which will fit, hopefully!

I finished prepping the engine, and aside from the clutch its ready to drop in. Just need to figure out how to do the new electric water plumbing!

November 24 2007 - Quick Update
I fitted the clutch slave cylinder, and we dropped the engine into the car.

I've now completed final measurements for the tank, and this has been sent away to be fabricated by Pace Products.  Here's my final design:

Click for PDF

The engine isn't bolted in, or electrically connected yet because i potentially might need to lift it in & out in order to get the plumbing perfect.

The To-Do list now is...

* Wire up electronics for water pump
* Plumb water systems
* Plumb oil systems
* Refit original electrics
* Re-earth
* Connect prop shaft, clutch, etc.
* Bolt down engine

December 3 2007 - Photos tell the story...

December 8 2007 - Almost back together
I spent the day doing more plumbing and wiring.  Water system is complete, constructed mostly of Samco silicon hoses.  I gave it a test fill and ran the electric pump.  This seems fine although the pump is a bit 'rattly'.

Next i ran the -12 pipe from sump-oil cooler, which is quite a long run, starting at the back of the engine and going to the very front of the car.  The trouble with -12 size hose is that its quite inflexible, and a pain to run.

I then replaced all the vacuum hoses with blue silicon.  This, i admit, is *utterly* pointless, but hey!  I then replaced half the fuel hoses with braided ones, i didn't order enough ends, so i'll get some more ordered.  I got to test out my new Rivnut gun when fitting the fuel regulator.  Its so much better than bolting through the chassis, i wish i'd bought one before.

Its looking very bling, lots of blue & silver.  Pointless, but great.  No pictures today, i'll try and get some tomorrow!

I'm ordering the new Simpson exhaust can now too - a 7" one, quieter, but with no cat.  Dimensions as follows:

A = 27"    (length of main can)
B = 2.5"   (inner pipe size to manifold)
C = 2"      (length of pipe welded to can that connects to manifold)
D = 2.5"   (outer pipe size of manifold - not sure why this would difer)
E = 1.5"   (length from bracket bolt to rear of can)
F = 4"      (actual tailpipe length)

Still got lots to do, from the electrical to the oil system.  Oil tank's been ordered and should be delivered this week hopefully, once i've ordered a few -12 connectors i should be able to fill with oil and water, and run the engine.  Still to do:

* Bolt down the engine, including the bottom 'bar'
* Bleed clutch
* Finish wiring
* Wire in the ignition amplifier & configure ECU - for the water pump
* Take a feed from block temperature into Dash2/Datalogger.  Air temp too, just for fun.
* Figure out why CAN interface doesn't work (still...)
* Run fat earth cable to connect all earth points
* Wire in a big charging socket
* Connect alternator through FIA cutoff switch
* Refit exhaust manifold
* Probably something else that's really important  :)

December 10 2007 - See you next year!
I'm off on holiday for a month, so i'll be back in January.

I had hoped to achieve more before going, but it wasn't to be. Unfortunately despite 'finishing' the water system, the pump was too high and didn't prime, so i had to pull it all apart and order some more pipes.

** Update ... new tank has arrived **

I'm supposed to be doing last minute packing, but i couldn't resist whizzing up to the garage to try out the oil tank, and spec up the connectors i need.

As you can see, it fits like a dream. The bottom and top chassis connectors are perfect, won't even need a spacer washer. I'm very chuffed!!

January 12 2008 - Tow Car Acquired
OK, its a lot more than a tow car, its a 4.2l V8 Audi... but it will tow the megabusa nicely!

January 13 2008 - First Day's Work 2008
Some good progress on my first day back.

Firstly, finished the cooling system, filled and tested it... quickly correcting a leak caused by not tightening a jubilee clip! The electric pump is now low enough to prime itself and it works great. The pump has a band around it, and is then cable tied to an oil pipe, just giving it enough rigidity to stop it banging around.

I then finished the fuel pipes, using the new braided pipe and anodised blue pipe ends. Mostly cosmetic, but provides some protection for the fuel pipe. I still need to clip various bits of the pipe down a bit better, but i'll do that later when i tackle the electrics.

I then trial fitted the oil tank. I drilled four holes in the tank, marked through to the chassis rails, and drilled those too. I then fitted M6 rivnuts, and fitted vibration mounts onto those. Its now sat on four blocks of rubber and has a nice amount of vibration movement. All the connectors for the tank are on order, so i can't connect it up just yet.

I then refitted the battery tray and battery, and fitted rivnuts for the new oil catch tank. This is then fitted in place.

It all still looks a mess because most things aren't clipped in place. I still need to sort the electrical earths out, and need to carry the pump's power lines into the scuttle- once these are done i can clip everything back together.

January 22 2008 - Towhook & Trailer
This update's a bit late, but here goes anyway....

Spent the whole of saturday fitting the tow hook, i was really surprised how difficult it was and how useless the instructions are. We ended up removing the entire insides of the boot area, wall panels and all... the outside bumber, the inner metal bumper, and then fitting the new hook. I then had to dremel a huge slot in the bodywork. End result, totally hidden removable bar. Great!

On the megabusa, sunday was spent installing some oil plumbing, i'll get some photos in the next few days. Unfortunately the -12 JIC connectors are so large, they actually don't fit in the space between the sump and the tank! I've ordered some push fit ones which hopefully will :)

Today the trailer got delivered, and we immediately went down to Kent to pick up James' new scirocco. Towing the empty trailer was barely noticeable, even at high speeds, but once the 1000kg car was loaded on, it was much worse, i barely went above 60mph. At one point, we had a bit of a weave which was very nerve racking!

February 3 2008 - Almost there!
I reckon i'd have got the engine started today... if it wasn't for the cold!  So still a little to do.

Plumbing finished, oil filled, engine bolted in.  Just a few bits of wiring to do, and its ready to start.  Next weekend it is then!

February 9 2008 - Engine started!
Great progress today, got the engine started.

Problems remaining:
* Wires from regulator/alternator getting hot, too thin cables i think! Will fix this.
* Fuel hose not secure enough, need some better clamp connectors
* Split in the radiator pipe, am ordering some custom silicone pipes
* Computer keeps crashing!!
* Still need to hook up my new earth between dash and battery

February 25 2008 - Engine runs again
Made some pretty good progress, got the engine running again.

I'm off to Malaysia for a week and a half, i'll get it on the road when i return :)

Still to do:

* Some electrics
* Install new Firmware & Maps for the ECU to run the water pump
* Install charging socket
* Finish clipping wires
* Clutch - bleed (& fix leak!)

err... i think thats about it

March 16 2008 - Ready to Drive (hopefully!)
Did the following things:

* Installed the latest firmware for my MBE992 ECU, and installed a custom-pin map to control the water pump.
* Clipped all the engine-bay wires into place
* Installed a fork-lift truck charging socket, so i dont have to take the bonnet off to charge it
* Replaced the sealing washers, and bled the clutch - hopefully this will hold its pressure
* Replaced bodywork

Then trailered it up and took it for a car-wash! I'll go and take it for a drive as soon as i get the chance.