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One point five narrow boats                 (Canal world thread on this)

Pinto 2.1 engine just fitted in my Westfield SEi (1989) Westfield SEi 2.1 (1990) Westfield SEi 2.1 (1990)

It`s almost incredible to think now but I used to love cars and driving, in fact I actually used to think up an excuse to drive somewhere, whereas now I try and find any excuse not to...... The roads are too full and too many of those on them think the Highway Code is something to do with Bletchley Park. In fact even if they know what`s in the HC they think it only applies to everyone else, not themselves. To be frank I`m only surprised there aren`t even more road traffic accidents.

Anyway, this is the Westfield SEi I built in 1989. It was one of the first (if not the first) with a Ford "Pinto" 2.0 engine and as such I encountered quite a few problems which I had to solve as I constructed it because the "build manual" and many of the parts supplied by the factory were wrong !

Even back then I had some desire to keep the standard complement of arms and legs, hence the choice of colour, yellow is statistically one of the safest car colours, for obvious reasons, which are even more important when the car is about 2ft high........  

Pictures taken up on Bole Hill SW Sheffield.    (Link)

This is the engine of my old Westfield, I was actually more proud of building this than the car itself !

It`s a 2.0 Pinto out of a Ford Cortina, bored out to 2.1 litres, balanced bottom end, fast road cam, vernier, Weber Twin 40s (too small, they should have been 45s really), K&Ns, 4:2:1 exhaust and a skimmed gas flowed head. I did the latter myself, and, in fact, went too far with the grinder on the first head, straight into the water gallery.....

119BHP at the wheels, approx 145 at the flywheel, at only 5400rpm, and oodles of torque at all revs. The car only weighed 650 kilos, so you can imagine how fast it was. Unfortunately it only did about 18mpg with a poxy 6 gallon fuel tank. It was also too loud, but the difference between me and these ignorants on noisy motorbikes is I had no choice, there was only one exhaust available for it. Link.

I truly used to love my bikes, even a Westfield 2.1 isn`t as exciting as a bike, but when I realised I`d end up playing wheelchair basketball if I didn`t get rid, they went. I`m shocked at the riding of many motorcyclists, they obviously don`t have quite such a high regard for the number four* as I do. An interesting sidelight here, I was single then so it wasn`t the thought of being being killed which frightened me, it was the horror of ending up paralysed that made my mind up to quit biking......

This was my last bike, a Kawasaki Z650 which I bought as a part completed rebuild project. There are a few things worth noting :

The rear light is moved under the tail piece to accentuate the bike`s lines (standard Z650).

The seat is non standard, and wasn`t that comfortable for any passenger I seem to remember.

Those crash bars were useless as they were 2 separate sections (no strengthening "through bar"), so when I dropped the bike (cow s**t on the road....) they just bent right over.

The brakes were far too spongy till I fitted Aeroquips.

The front mudguard was a "sports style" plastic one which replaced the metal original and so allowed "fork flex", to cure this I fabricated a piece of bracing metal and fitted it beneath.

Note the steering damper which pretty effectively calmed the frisky forks.

The original owner had removed the indicators and mirrors which in my book was a ridiculous example of form over function, I bought some more and fitted them. He`d got rid of the rear mudguard as well, but I`d rather stay dry (or at least drier), so I sourced one and fitted it.

Last, but very much by no means least, that exhaust was not ear splittingly loud, I detest motorcycles with loud exhaust pipes, they`re ridden by selfish ignorants in my book.  (Link)

* as in four limbs.......

Kawasaki Z650 up near Owler Bar (SW Sheffield - 1987)

Fancy using this car as everyday transport through two winters ?

It did have a hood and sidescreens.

But no heater.......

Not keen ?

I don`t blame you.

Fortunately the exhaust was on the drivers side and gave out quite a bit of heat so I made up a removable panel to encourage more of that heavenly heat into the cockpit. Later I fitted a heater (out of a Mini), it worked, to a certain extent, it was controlled by a fan switch, so you had two heat settings, ON and OFF.

Forget air conditioning, the above is why I consider any car with a heater is refined.

In fact I`d have thought anyone who has had a motorbike and used it in the winter would think any car is refined, after all, cars not only have a heater, they`ve got a roof and windows.......

Half built 2.1 Ford Pinto angine and Ford (Cortina) 4 speed gearbox, awaiting installation in Westfield SEi (1989)

Though I say so myself I think I made a good job of the engine, but the gearbox rebuild wasn`t much of a result...... In the picture the gearbox is on my "pit" (just behind the half built engine), though to be accurate the gearbox is only the bit in the middle with the metal cover bolted on the top. The box was noisy and the gearchange wasn`t as slick as I`d wanted, so I stripped it all down, replaced all the synchro rings and all but one of the bearings. All but one because that particular bearing was only available from Ford and was a ridiculous price.

Unfortunately when I got it back in the car it was just as noisy and the gearchange was no better either, I suspect that was because the actual teeth on the gears themselves were worn and chipped thus they wouldn`t slide on and mesh together as easily as they should. Worse, as I was out driving past Ladybower I suddenly had no gears at all ! Removing the gearbox revealed that the spring pin on the selector rod had fallen out, with the benefit of hindsight I shouldn`t have reused the old one, obviously..... (Link)

Get some T Cut on it you bleedin` scrounging fraudulent cow.........

Can you believe this fraudulent cow claimed for whiplash and got £5700 ! Not only was it a side to side scratch (bump would be altogether too strong a word for it....) but you can see the car has hardly any damage on it whatsoever. In fact the other car had no damage at all, just paint on the side of the bumper ! Let`s be honest, she stole that money. And it`s scroungers like this Bint who put up our insurance premiums even when we`ve got yet another year of NCB.....  (Link)

Up closer just to prove it you bleedin` lying Bint......... Sign in New Zealand banning trucks using noisy engine braking. We want quiet OVER HERE as well, if it isn`t too  much trouble......

These pictures banning trucks from using engine braking in residential areas were taken in New Zealand. Over there they actually value peoples` quality of life. People don`t like noise, it`s officially one of the biggest causes of stress. In NZ they try and reduce it, as the above pictures prove. They extend that to clamping down on noisy cars and motorbikes, which I detest with a passion. Those little gits on their bleedin` noisy scooters shattering the peace, I`ll bet you all hate them nearly as much as me. You know what it`s like, you`re out unwinding in the idyllic sylvan countryside surrounded by blessed beautiful peace, and then some ignorant tosser rides by with his deafening exhaust audible from a mile away. I admit it, for a second or two, I could quite happily throttle him.....… I despise these selfish morons so much I would pay out of my own pocket to have them prosecuted (and I`m no bike hating zealot, I had bikes for years).

So how many noisy motorbikes do you think S Yorkshire police prosecuted in 2009 ? I found out using the freedom of information act.

The answer ?

None.  Zero.  Zilch.  Sweet bleedin` FA.  And, judging by the number of noisy ignorants on the road, I`ve no reason to believe the other police services are any more efficient.

Now noisy bikes and cars aren`t exactly hard for PC Plod to catch are they ?

And the fines could pay for the enforcement.

So if that lack of action isn`t a disgrace then I don`t know what is.

Great Britain, where "the powers that be" really care about people`s quality of life.


What about this loud pipes save lives thing some bikers spout ?  I accept that loud exhausts might save the odd pedestrian from being hit by a motorbike but I wouldn`t have thought many pedestrians get knocked down by motorbikes anyway. Loud exhausts make no difference to the safety of a motorcyclist because the two things that kill most bikers are rider error (usually involving excessive speed) and cars. And most cars have their windows wound up and their stereo on, particularly if there are annoyingly loud motorbikes around….. So, “loud pipes save lives” is bollocks, it doesn`t save any motorcyclists, it just makes everyone else`s life a misery. Besides, if bikers are arguing that their motorbikes can only be made safe by making them deafeningly and illegally loud, they`re on a slippery slope to having them taken off the roads altogether. So personally I wouldn`t go there if I was them.

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Back to the top

Back to the top

Traffic light timers, now there`s a good idea......

When we went to China for the Eclipse in 2008 I noticed that many of the Chinese traffic lights had countdown timers on, what a brilliant idea !

Think about it, how much stress and indeed fuel would that save ?

If you know the light`s going to be red for 30 seconds (or more ! ) you know it`s worth switching off your engine. You`d also know exactly how much time you`ve got to consult your map if you`re lost !

On the other hand, when approaching a set of lights you`ll know whether you`ll get through them from way back (assuming you`re using good observation and anticipation…..), you can take your foot off the throttle and gently slow down, less fuel, less wear and tear on your brakes, and less stress.

Oh yes, one last thing, drivers running red lights will have even less excuse than they have now.

The only question is, why haven`t British traffic lights got countdown timers ? (Link)

Overhanging vegetation can cause accidents !

It occurred to me as I couldn`t see through this overhanging vegetation that if every boater broke off just one small twig every hour, the canals would very soon become far less infested with this kind of thing. OK, British Waterways (aka the C & R T) should really be the ones cutting back the overgrowth but they`ll never keep on top of it will they ?

On our trip on the Monmouth & Brecon canal I started breaking off bits of overhanging vegetation and found it very satisfying, though I did soon realise there are three golden rules :

1 Don`t concentrate so much on vegetation clearance that you neglect steering the boat !

2 Inspect what you`re about to pull off for thorns before gripping ! (The vast majority of overhanging

   tresses are actually “thorn free”).

3 If, when breaking off the twig, it doesn`t snap off as easily as you`d expected, just leave it !

By adhering to these three rules I had no problems at all whilst I improved the canal for everyone else as well as myself, try it !  (Link)

Canal narrow boat plus "butty", not as clever as you`d think.... The ultimate lock winding handle

Perfect lock windlass

Omnidirectional Staus TV aerial, not recommended. Status 550 TV aerial. Better than an Omni......

Omni Aerial

(not recommended)

Status 550 aerial. Within that covering is a small Log Periodic aerial. That is far better than an Omni, though it does need aligning onto the transmitter. Unfortunately the shorter a Log becomes the lower its gain, and this is a short aerial…..

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RollsRoyce Merlin crankshaft forging information


Rolls Royce Merlin crankshafts were forged flat !

The visibility out of modern cars is appalling, not only does it make them difficult to park there are safety implications in having such big blind spots. The view out to the rear three quarters in this Seat Ibiza we hired in Portugal was absolutely abysmal.  Link

Modern cars poor rear three quarters views, potentially dangerous ?