July 17, 2021 at 07:35 #480AndrewOBWKeymaster
I recently had the pleasure of getting my Westfield through its first NCT in Ireland. I had a fairly detailed read of the NCT manual, to prepare myself for it. As the car passed a UK IVA, which is largely identical to an Irish one less than 2 years ago, I was assuming it won’t be too NCT unfriendly. Unfortunately I failed first time around. The list wasn’t too long thankfully, but still frustrating. It was a lot friendlier than I anticipated though. The tester was really pleasant – he actually came in for a chat beforehand, and asked me to stay nearby in case he had any questions. I think he appreciated the cheat sheet made up for the controls, but he actually got me to operate everything when he was testing the lights and emissions anyway.
Headlights – The IVA examiner set these for me on the day of the test, but I’d changed for brighter bulbs since then, which involved moving them out of position. I also adjusted the aim visually few times while driving at night time to improve visibility. I built my car for touring, so specifically went for Euro spec (flat dipped beam, no kickup). Unfortunately, although they were sold as flat beam, they were not. When the tester told me that they had a kickup on the wrong side, I was so stunned, he let me bring the car back in and put it on the machine again so I could see it myself. I’m amazed I wasn’t pulled up on it at IVA. Looking further into Furore’s website, they mention a “modification that may be required for the most stringent IVA tester”. This involved dismantling the lamp, and filing a location slot for the lense 12mm from the original, which rotates the lamp by approx 13 degrees in the housing, making what was the kickup flat, and vice versa. The lamp housing is steel, so not wanting any exposed bare metal, I had to prime and spray it all again after. Not a difficult fix, but took some time.
Controls – access to the ignition barrel is blind, and takes some getting used to. Also, many of my controls (indicators, windscreen wash/wipe, fog light, and main/dip beam switch) are mounted on the steering wheel, and don’t have labels. I printed off a cheat sheet for all of the controls, which I think the tester appreciated, but he had me drive the car anyway, as the footwell is pretty narrow and they have safety shoes on.
Brake lights – on a Westie, these are triggered by a pressure switch on the brake line, rather than a micro switch on the pedal. They need a reasonably hard pedal press to turn the lights on (no servo on these, so you need a fairly hard pedal press to stop the car too). I fitted an additional micro switch to the pedal box, so a small press on the pedal triggered the lights. I didn’t set it quite right, and the brake lights were sometimes staying on after a press, but the tester allowed me to adjust it on the spot.
Dampers – I’ve got adjustable dampers all round. These are very high quality items (quantum one.zeros), and were set up by Northampton Motor Sport after I got the car registered. I’d seen some people having imbalance problems with adjustable dampers, and not knowing how to adjust them to match. Absolutely no issues with the Quantums, which makes me assume the issues with other adjustable dampers are due higher manufacturing tolerances and unmatched pairs. I don’t think high quality items will have such a struggle here.
Side doors/screens – I applied the same logic as the IVA here. You don’t fit them until after the test, so I left them off for the test.
Emissions – 91 engine, so only CO and HC test – flew through the IVA, so wasn’t anticipating a problem here, but my CO value measured at 8.89%. The test limit is 3.5%. HC value was fine at 447ppm. This one had me a bit worried, but fortunately the Mazda ECU has an LED diagnostic blink test, which confirmed my o2 sensor in the exhaust was broken. Easily fixed with a replacement NGK item. Much less fire breathing now on overruns too!
Steering wheel UJs had some play. This was a fail, but a very easy fix. Nipped up the bolts just the tiniest bit and they were rock solid.
Steering rack gaiter cut – This is the offside one, where it had been catching on the bottom rad hose pipe. Ultimately I’m planning on replacing that radiator with a higher quality one, and I’ll change the routing a little then, but for the moment a fresh gaiter solved that problem.
Modifications report. This was incredibly frustrating. I was told I needed to get a modifications report done by an automotive engineer just because it’s a kit car. Doesn’t matter that it’s passed IVA, but the Applus want to pass on the indemnity to someone else. I was absolutely raging about this one, as they’re not cheap, and it’s paperwork for the sake of paperwork. Once it’s passed an IVA test, it should be treated as any other road legal car in that regard as far as I’m concerned. I was quoted €175 to get one done, but decided instead to challenge the requirement. I initially contacted the NSAI, who we’ve been dealing with regarding IVA queries. Kieran there kindly put me in touch with a contact in the RSA, who are responsible for the NCT test. Fortunately they were able to confirm that no modifications report was required.
When I got to the centre for the retest, I had printed an email from the RSA confirming the report wasn’t required, but the NCT tester already knew about it, and told me it had been removed from the system. Unfortunately, he hadn’t had it explained to him why it wasn’t required, and whether it would be required on the next kit car he gets, so I need to follow this one up with the RSA to get a confirmation on when a report is/isn’t required. The rest of the retest went smoothly, and my Westie is now clear for the next 2 years!
Hopefully this might help someone else get a pass, but if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!
August 8, 2021 at 19:50 #488Mark289FIAParticipant
I have a quick question that might be off topic. What year of registration is given to the vehicle. Is it the year of build/completion.
If I build a cobra with refurbished donor parts from 70’s/80’s and I have a rebuilt 60’s/70’s engine, will I be subjected to the emission standards of the year of registration or will the year of registration and emissions standards be defined by the engine ?
August 13, 2021 at 06:53 #489AndrewOBWKeymaster
Generally, the year allocated will be the year the vehicle enters service – so when it’s registered. If you use the original donor chassis in your build, I believe you can keep the original year (and potentially plate). The emissions values are calculated at the time of the IVA. I don’t have the details on the formula for this currently, but I’ve asked the NSAI. Basically, you’ll be subjected to modern emissions rules, and have to run a car etc. but from what I can make out it’s a fairly accurate value, rather than just chucking cars into a high tax bracket.
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