Big Healey

ValveChatter Update August 2018

I want to update ValveChatter readers regarding several “life changes” that have occurred which  will have an influence on this site and on future posts.  My wife and I have relocated from Virginia to Florida. As most retirees do, we “downsized.” In our case it didn’t just mean fewer square feet in the living quarters, […]


The Bloody Beast – 1960 Austin-Healey 3000 MKI BT7

First Drive

Welcome to my website covering the history, restoration and “personalizations” to my 1960 Austin Healey 3000 Mk I affectionately known as “The Bloody Beast.” Feel free to email me with questions, suggestions  and/or comments. I am in the process of transferring the contents of my old website to this new format so it will be a […]


“Healey Highlights” Magazine 1977

In 1977, I was 25 years old and living in Harrisonburg, VA. I had purchased my 1960 BT7 in 1971 while in college. I was a subscriber to Healey Highlights, the “Official Publication of the Austin-Healey Club, Pacific Centre, San Jose, CA.” Through the publication, I learned that the Club’s East Coast meet would be held […]


Bibliography and Restoration Resources

Bibliography There are a number of wonderful resource books about Big Healeys. Two that I found to be very useful were the Anderson-Moment Restoration Guide and the Original Austin-Healey by Anders Clausager. Of course, in the actual assembly the Service Parts List and the Workshop Manual are invaluable. While certainly not a complete library, the […]


3000 MKI Technical Specs

The Big Healey – Technical Specs This Healey is perhaps the best-known Healey – the “Three Thousand.” Like the 100-6, it came in two variants: the BT7 Series (10,825 built) which was the four-seater, and the BN7 Series (2,825 built) which was the two-seater. Made from 1959 to 1961, this model represents the heyday of […]


The Donald M Healey Story

Donald Healey and His Cars Reprinted from motoring@ridedrive.co.uk – Photos and commentary on the BJ7 added by LH Rose. Donald Mitchell Healey, son of a Cornish shopkeeper, was born in Perranporth, Cornwall, in 1898. From an early age he displayed a great deal of potential and understanding for mechanical objects and upon leaving school he served […]


Chapter 1 – Disassembly

Chapter 1 – Disassembly December 28, 2001 To get started with my restoration, the first thing I had to do was move the car from its storage site to its new home. This required putting some new rubber on the wheels as all four of the tires were flat. I purchased some Michelin tubes from […]


Electric Pusher Fan Installation

BACKGROUND While my car usually runs at a reasonable operating temperature, I do get a little worried about the potential for getting stuck in traffic, and now that we are in southwest Florida with routine summer temperatures often in excess of ninety degrees overheating could occur. I have already applied all of the typical tricks […]


Throttle Cable Design Modification

In the mid-2000s I did a fair amount of research regarding the conversion of the original mechanical throttle control linkage used on Big Healeys to a cable system similar to what DMH used on the Sprites. I was restoring my BT7 at the time. The results of that research and a description of what I […]


Lucas PL700 Headlight Conversion

I have always liked the looks of the Lucas Tri-bar PL700 headlights. Unless one can find some new old stock units on eBay or from an individual seller the originals are hard to locate. However, reproduction vintage lights are available and come with a modern twist in that they utilize H4 bulbs, giving you a vintage headlight […]


Rear Rally Overrider Modification

I have never been happy with the Rally Overrider brackets I installed during the restoration process for the Bloody Beast. I ordered the brackets from Cape International and while they fit (I guess), the Rally Bumpers protruded too far from the rear shroud. I had resigned myself to finally solve the problem with some cutting […]


Brake and Clutch Master Cylinder Replacements

I am seeing a very slight seeping of brake fluid around the clutch master cylinder on the pedal box inside the cockpit. So as a preventative measure I’m going to go ahead and replace both the brake and clutch master cylinders. This was last done in 2014. The original manufacturer of the master cylinders was […]


Ten-Year Renewal Blog – last update 9/3/2019

  It has been approximately ten years since I wrapped up (if you ever really complete a restoration of a Healey) the restoration of the Bloody Beast. He has weathered the ten years quite well – better than me, that is for sure! I have taken good care of the Beast and completed periodic maintenance […]


Charlie Hart Fuse Panel

Fellow Healey enthusiast, Charlie Hart has come up with several “customizations” over the years to “improve” on the original Austin-Healey design. He then makes these available to the Healey community. One of those items is a fuse panel that mounts to the firewall in the same manner and place as the original. The panel has […]


Rear Main Oil Leak – Diaper Fix

Healeys, as well as most other British cars of the period, like to leave their mark! That is, one can expect oil leaks on their garage floor or driveway. When I rebuilt my engine ten plus years ago, I installed an improved rear main seal designed and sold by Dennis Welch Motorsports. Disappointingly, it failed […]


Rear Axle Breather Replacement

Most of the vendors sell a plastic breather for the threaded hole in the Healey’s rear axle. However, a fellow in the UK sells brass equivalents from vintage Land Rovers that fit perfectly. While the plastic component works just fine, I couldn’t resist replacing it with a clearly superior quality brass piece. It was a […]


Oil Sump Oil Leak Repair

The cork gasket between the engine block and the oil sump (oil pan) has deteriorated and needs to be replaced. It appears that the gasoline flow from the intake manifold overflow pipes contributed to the problem. The oil sump is an aftermarket cast aluminum piece, not the original pressed steel pan. The sump was painted […]


Replacing leaking RH Lever Shock

I use Bilstein tube shocks on my car having installed Udo Putzke’s mounting kit when the the car was restored. Details may be reviewed on a previous post http://valvechatter.us/?p=3365 regarding the front and rear suspension. The kit uses the original lever shocks without the pistons as the upper “A” arm of the front suspension. The […]


Cylinder Block, Front Cover, Oil Leak Repair

The front cover has leaked oil for some time. In this post, I describe the process to remove the cover, replace the gasket and then reinstall the cover to the cylinder block. This process involves removing the alternator. When I restored my BT7 I “upgraded” from the original dynamo, or generator, to an alternator. At […]


Preventing Vapor Lock – Float Bowl Kouzies

The summer temps in southern Florida get pretty high and I have experienced a few episodes of vapor lock. Joe Curto who is well know as an SU carb guru sells some covers or “kouzies” for the car float bowls to help prevent boiling the fuel in the bowls. The “kouzies are made from “Koolmat” […]


Fuel Delivery Modification and Ram Pipes 

This project actually began back in November and took me till Spring to complete! I was inspired by Doug Escriva’s beautiful engine bay on his even more beautiful Healey racer: I especially liked Doug’s fuel delivery system to the carbs. Of course, Doug’s car is a tri-carb while mine has only two HD8 SUs. I […]


HD8 Carb Initial Tuning

I have read many “how to” documents concerning the tuning of the SU HD8 carburetors including the “Bible” – SU Carburetters Tuning Tips & Techniques and Des Hamill’s The SU Carburetter High-Performance Manual. But, The summary put together by Steve Byers is about the best single document specifically for HD8 carbs that I have reviewed. Byers […]


HD8 Carb Rebuild and Test Installation with Throttle Cable

Since I had removed the carbs to install the new intake manifold, I decided it might be a good idea to go ahead and rebuild the carbs. They didn’t have many miles on them, but it has been about eleven years since they were last rebuilt and although I wasn’t experiencing any leaks it seems […]


Carb Removal and Intake Manifold Replacement

So, here is a step-by-step of the process from tear down to completion. More than anyone (except me) would want to know. I first removed the air cleaner that I have been using for ten years from the carbs. Next was removal of the throttle return springs with a note about orientation of the springs […]