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Westfield build diary


NVP66S
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I feel your pain. When I first started the build I tracked hours spent but after a while I stopped because it was too depressing. lol Wiring took me a long time to do. At least 4 weeks. Removing what is not needed is easy using the Miata schematics but cutting everything so the lengths are right takes time. It also changes a bit as you progress with the build and move things around.

 

After I got the engine running and confirmed the wiring was working right I changed the stock ECU to a Megasquirt MS3. I also never liked the Miata gauges/dash and made a custom dash to look more like a typical Seven. It's a bit slow going at times but the results at the end are worth it! Although I can't help but think I could have saved money and a LOT of time by buying a used Caterham. lmao But what is the fun in that? :-)

Edited by lg2k
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Dan,

 

When I bought back my Stalker, I decided to clean up/rewire the electrical system . . . just so you know you aren't alone:

 

http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=23485

 

http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=21191

 

 

 

Sorry I couldn't make Mojave today. :(

 

 

:cheers:

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After working 20 hours during the past 3 days, there seems to be an end to the wiring in sight. I'm checking things as I go. The horn works with the quick-release wheel, the turn signals work with symmetrical cancelling, headlights work, brake fluid level and handbrake position switches all functional. It's not very photogenic, but here's a before-and-after shot of the horn, headlight, and marker light relays. I modified the bracket from its Mazda asymmetrical mount, dressed the wires, and mounted it to the firewall. I have convoluted tubing to go over the bundles, but that won't go on until everything works.

9threeRelays1.jpg

9threeRelays2.jpg

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I'm up to 45 hours just on the wiring but the end is in sight. The Miata has 6 wire harnesses (front right, front left, instrument panel, rear, engine, and the ECU extension) and I'm making that all one loom for the Westie. A few wires get lengthened, but there's a lot of shortening going on. Not much is photogenic, so I thought I'd post a tutorial on splicing. You old hands are welcome to drop out rather than fall asleep.

 

Splicing..... first the looong argument about soldering vs crimping. I've sat through a lot of discussions on this, both amateur (homebuilt aircraft) and professionally on real airplanes. (Plus the International Space Station that uses nickel plated copper wire instead of the silver plated or bare copper the rest of us use, but that's another story). My take on the argument is that soldering is better than crappy crimping, but solder joints need to be well restrained against fatigue and flex. The problem is that the solder wicks up the wire some uncontrolled amount and creates a flexible-to-rigid transition. But I said crappy crimping. What about good crimping? Let's leave connector back shells out of the picture for now, you can go broke buying multi-hundred dollar crimpers that are only good for one manufacturer's connectors.

 

Wire splices..... I've been doing a lot of them. Here's a common example. The Miata has about a billion things that are backlit when you turn on the parking lights. They use red/black wire for this. In the first photo there's a Mazda splice with 5 wires. I used 3 of them. First, I cut the tape splice and threw it away. I save a short piece of wire so that there are 2 coming out of each side of the crimp connector. That's important because the crimp is designed for a range of wire sizes and too small won't grab tightly.

 

Then, there's the crimper. A good one is important. Preferably a ratcheting mechanism to ensure the squeeze is sufficient and repeatable. I got this one (Thomas and Betts) for $30 used.

 

Then, there's the heat shrink tubing. I get the 'adhesive lined' grade with 3:1 shrink ratio. It costs more than the more common 2:1 grade but it's worth it to get a waterproof seal. The adhesive is actually hot melt glue.

 

Finally, the heat gun. It doesn't need to be an expensive model and I prefer one with a small nozzle. That way I can maneuver it to shoot both sides of the splice. The tubing doesn't get hot around the backside unless you rotate the wire or move the gun around the back. In the last photo, you can see the bump in the heat shrink where the short wire stub is.

 

I apologize if all this is obvious, but I figure there are some beginners out there.

11wire1.jpg

11wire2.jpg

11wire3.jpg

11wire4.jpg

11wire5.jpg

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It's been exactly 3 months since I got my kit. At the time, I thought it was optimistic but not unreasonable to get it on the road by now. Since then, I have about 180 hours on the kit and 120 hours on the donor rebuild, mostly before the kit arrived. My logged time is hands-on only; I don't log the time spent scratching my head, reading the manuals, ordering fasteners, etc. One thing I did not plan on was the amount of wiring work. That alone is over 50 hours. Supposedly you *can* reuse the Miata looms with very little modification. I started by telling myself that I'll just modify the obvious stuff first. The audio system came out. Then the power steering, the power window wiring and the power mirrors. Then of course the heater and blower controls and the rear window defogger. Well, duh the power antenna has to go. Of course, to get at the wires you have to remove all the tape and tubing. That alone is several pounds. The pile of wire bits on the floor is growing.

 

Then there's the fact that the ECU lives behind the passenger seat in the Miata and there are about 50 wires that go to connectors in the upper right instrument panel. Guess where the ECU is in the Westie? Yup, it's in the upper right instrument panel. So all those wires can go. The first photo shows those wires. The masking tape flags are me labeling everything according to the Mazda schematics. The second photo is after removing the unused wires (auto trans controls, power steering pump pressure, air cond controls). Big difference, huh?

 

The next photo shows the connectors I eliminated, and the last photo is the unused pile of wire. I needed something to show for scale and it turned out I had such a thing right there. :) And I thought the Miata was a simple car. :jester:

11wire12.jpg

11wire13.jpg

11wire14.jpg

11wire15.jpg

Edited by NVP66S
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I feel your pain. I put a Miata motor and transmission in my Caterham. The hardest and most time consuming part was the wiring. I spent about 80 hours on it with a six month time out when my eyes went wonky on me.

 

I used a stand alone ECU from Link which used the Miata connectors. After a year I converted over to a Hydra Nemesis which didn't come with Miata connectors so I started over again and spent about 30 hours sorting things out.

 

There is a box of leftover Miata wiring and connectors out in my shop. I find it handy when wiring up other things.

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Oooh my head hurts just looking at that lot, great build thread. Really enjoying it, except for the head ache.

 

Thanks. Since it's appreciated, I'll do the extra work to keep the diary going. Now I'm wondering if I deleted too many things that the factory ECU will just throw up its virtual hands and give up. I'm looking at Megasquirt as a fall back plan. The second O2 sensor went first, as there is no cat pack. I was planning to keep the EGR valve and actuators (really, I was :) ) but it didn't fit in the space available. Ditto the charcoal can. I estimate about another week before cranking the engine.

Dan

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I did the same thing removing the 2nd O2 sensor, EGR, charcoal canister, etc.. The factory ECU will run fine. Obviously with the check engine light on. I did go with the MS3 right away once I confirmed engine and electrical system worked fine with factory ecu. Don't throw away those extra wires and connectors. I know I used them later in the build. For example, I used a connector for all the wiring going to the rear of the car.

 

Wiring looks great. Build gets a little more fun again (you see more progress) once you get passed that hurdle. :-)

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Dan,

 

Be careful standing on piles of disgarded wiring. A fellow car building friend of mine did that once and was sucked head-first into an electrical vortex and not seen again for six months. :D

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I rewired a Lotus Europa with a Ron Francis wiring kit way back in the day... each wire had what it was for stamped along it (Rt headlight etc..). And the fuse box was label for beginners. I can't imagine untaping and pulling out wires per schematic.

 

I got to think it's going to be a lot more fun from here on out. Good luck!

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Finally off wiring and now doing metal parts. The main fuse block was just dangling when I wired it but now it has a proper bracket. Yeah I know it's a detail but the build has lots of this kind of thing. The fuse block needed to move forward and up to let the washer bottle fit.

11MainFuseBracket1.jpg

11MainFuseBracket2.jpg

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I've also been on the lathe. The MX5 air cleaner and MAF sensor box is on the exhaust side with a long plenum runner to the throttle body. The Westfield relocates the air box to in front of the engine with some runner mods. I chose instead to use a mandrel bent aluminum elbow and some SCAT hose. But this means I need to have hose barbs for the idle air and valve cover vent. The 2 loose fittings are off to the TIG man tomorrow. Yes, machined parts are more time consuming than a simple fish mouth and fillet weld, but I wanted more fatigue strength in the welds. The big holes in the thinwall tube were super easy using a Unibit.

11Intake1.jpg

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Dan,

 

The build is looking fantastic. Don't make any apologies for detail, or for individuality produced on a lathe. Detail and individuality is what makes the car yours. If I had a lathe, a mill and could tig weld, every bracket, whatnot, doodad and thingamajig on my Stalker would be billet and/or have welded seams that would rival anything in the aviation industry. Remember what they say (whoever 'they' are :D ), it's the little things in life that count. :)

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Finally off wiring and now doing metal parts. The main fuse block was just dangling when I wired it but now it has a proper bracket. Yeah I know it's a detail but the build has lots of this kind of thing. The fuse block needed to move forward and up to let the washer bottle fit.

 

The mounting ears look like they may be a hinge point subject to vibration failure. I would expect the wiring would provide some dampening, but more flat surface under the ears would spread the load. (I hope I'm not being too picky)

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Neat bracket there,but i wouldnt drill the chassis for it.

 

Westfield has the builder drill about 1000 (no exaggeration) 4.1 mm holes to attach the skins to the chassis, plus about 50 each 6.3 mm holes for the brake line supports, plus holes for several 6 mm Rivnuts (about 7 mm) to mount the body plus Flyin' Miata adds 8 mm rivnuts to the chassis to support the hand brake. I'm not worried about a few more 5mm rivnuts.

 

What *would* degrade the strength would be a longitudinal slot in any tube chassis member.

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The mounting ears look like they may be a hinge point subject to vibration failure. I would expect the wiring would provide some dampening, but more flat surface under the ears would spread the load. (I hope I'm not being too picky)

 

No, you're not being too picky, and I do appreciate an alternate view. I think a better solution would be to have more than 2 attach points. Maybe I'll add a glob of silicone where the fuse block sits near the frame rail. I'm not sufficiently anal to add a 3rd mounting lug with another bolt to the chassis. Doing stuff like that is how I got to have 4000 building hours on my airplane project and it's still not flying. (that project also got slowed down by my making my own post lights made of rubber for forehead smashing during a crash, designing my own bar graph EGT monitor, changing engine cooling from updraft to downdraft, etc, etc)

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