Ten-Year Renewal Blog – last update 7/4/2019


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 as one should. There have been a few things along the way that have required attention, such as the failure of the brake master cylinder that led to the replacement of both masters and the clutch slave cylinder while I was at it. However, for the most part, it has simply been fluid changes, tire replacements and etc.

I am sad to report that I have not driven the Healey as much as I should have during the time since I finished the restoration. About a month after I completed the restoration work I drove the Bloody Beast 8,000 miles in a cross-country trip from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware to California, up the coast to Victoria, BC and then back to Harrisonburg, VA. Between helping my son with his Bugeye, restoring a 1964 Jaguar MK2, and maintaining the 1987 Alfa, a 1969 MB 280SL and the Porsche in addition to the daily drivers there just wasn’t much time to drive! I am ashamed to say that I only put an additional 2,878 miles on the Healey in the ensuing nine-plus years. Driving, however, is the whole point of having a sports car and that is certainly true for an Austin Healey roadster. My son has now taken the Bugeye to his home. I have sold the Jaguar and the Mercedes. I now intend to spend more time driving the Bloody Beast!

After almost ten years I thought it might be healthy to go over the car carefully and examine the condition of components, check tolerances, and replace items that typically wear – even though they might be in operable condition at the moment. I will be making myself a list of items, that will probably not be in any particular order, and I will undertake some of the work as the list is added too over time. I will gradually need to accumulate parts for the work to be done.

For those who read this post, I hope you will contribute through your comments and make suggestions about anything, but particularly about items that should be added to my ten year renewal list. To be clear, an item on the list, an oil change for example, doesn’t mean that it is only to be done every ten years. I will make entries on this post chronologically as items are accomplished. I will keep a ten year renewal checklist as a separate post and add to it as I think about items to address. I will organize this list based on the categories of the Workshop Manual.

So, lets start this project! The most recent actions are listed first:

Rear Main Oil Leak – Diaper Fix

Rear Axle Breather Fitting

Oil Sump Oil Leak Repair

Replacing leaking RH Lever Shock

Cylinder Block, Front Cover, Oil Leak Repair

Preventing Vapor Lock – Float Bowl Kouzies

Fuel Delivery Modification and Ram Pipes 

HD8 Carb Initial Tuning

HD8 Carb Rebuild and Test Installation with Throttle Cable 

Carb Removal and Intake Manifold Replacement

Valve Adjustment

Oil Catch Can Installation

Front Shroud Badge Replacement

Oil Change

Car Show Preparation

July 4, 2019

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 to correct the oil leak problem, although to be fair, it might be worse had I not made the modification.

If you can’t get rid of a leak, then perhaps you can at least do something to keep the leak from hitting the floor. Jim Shope came up with a plan for a little drain pan that basically serves as a diaper for the Healey. The pan catches the slow drips, and every month or so the pan can be wiped out. The following images illustrate the template and measurement for making the drain pan – thanks, Jim!

The Template is 9″ x 7.5″. I used aluminum but steel sheet could also be used. After making the cuts with some tin snips and drilling the two holes, I used a small sheet metal brake to form the box. I then used JB Weld to seal the edges of the box.

Oil Drip Pan Template

Oil Drip Pan Template Mounting Hole Dimensions

Oil Drip Pan Cut Out Ready for Bending

I used some engine green spray paint available from Moss Motors to paint my little diaper. I plan to use a small piece of Pig Mat (Oil absorbent pad) in the pan to collect the oil. Hopefully, I can then just switch out the the dirty pad for a clean one without having to remove the pan. We will see.

Oil Drip Pan Painted and Installed

Main Seal Diaper in place


June 15, 2019

Rear Axle Breather

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 quick switch-out.

Axle Breather

June 5, 2019

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 silver just before installing ten-eleven years ago. While it is off the car, I am going to have it blasted and ceramic coated to make it easier to keep clean. The coating is being done by a local firm, C2 Powder Coating in Bradenton, FL.

The first step was to drain the oil from the sump. While I will replace the oil with fresh, I decided to leave the K&N filter in place as it has only been on the car ten months and has only about 350 miles on it.

To remove the oil sump, I lowered the car on my lift to the lowest brake stop setting. This allowed me to access the sump while on the floor below the car with my floor jack and a few 2x4s. I removed all of the mounting bolts except four to support the sump on the block.

Twenty-two of the twenty-four mounting hex head bolts are 1/4″-28 x 1,” the two additional bolts are 1/4″-28 x 1 1/2″ and these are used to secure the clips used to route the intake manifold copper drain pipes. These two bolts require a nut to hold the clips. Each of the twenty four bolts use a flat washer and a split washer. Tom, at Tom’s Import Toy, recommends using internal star lock washers rather than split washers as the split washers require  greater torque to tighten them down than is required for the bolts. Others have suggested to me that 6-8 lbs. of torque is sufficient for the cork gasket.

Cast Aluminum Oil Sump Before Clean Up

Oil Sump Supported for Removal with Floor Jack

All but four Bolts Removed

I found that I needed to remove the ground strap connected to one of the bell housing/engine backplate bolts so that the sump would clear to fall free.


Ground Strap Interference

It will take about a week to have the sump coated so I sealed the bottom of the block to keep things clean.

Sealing the Block

C2 Powder Coating did a great job with the oil sump. It looks new and bright now rather than stained and tired.

Ceramic Coated Oil Sump

Steve Gerow posted that Tom’s Import Toys https://tomsimport.com/category/new-parts/gaskets/ sells nitrile oil sump gaskets as a modern replacement for the original cork gaskets. Since I was waiting for the ceramic coating anyway I decided to order the nitrile gasket and I was very pleased with the product. I am sure that it will hold up much better than the cork. I used Permatex Aviation Form-A-Gasket Sealant Liquid to seal the nitrile gasket to the oil sump.

Permatex Form A Gasket

After waiting a little while for the sealant to set and get tacky, I placed the gasket on the sump and used the bolts that mount the sump to the engine block to line up the holes for mounting later.

Nitrile Gasket

Nitrile Gasket Up Close

There are some fairly narrow cavities at the front and rear of the block. I had new cork gaskets to go into the slots, but they required some trimming before installation.

Cork Gaskets trimmed

Cork Gasket Installed

I made some guide screws from longer bolts by cutting the heads off and then slotting the new screws with a Dremel.

Fabricated Mounting Screws

Once lifted into approximate position using the floor jack, I then screwed the guides through three gasket/sump holes to line up the sump for mounting to the block. This worked quite well.

Oil Sump In Place For Mounting Bolts

I then secured the oil sump to the block with approximately twenty-five 1/4″-28 x 1″ machine bolts. A small clip with a rubber grommet is used to steady the front intake manifold copper overflow pipe. At this location a 1 1/12″ bolt is used with the accompanying washer and nut. I tightened the bolts securely but not so tight as to deform the nitrile gasket. After some use, I will inspect the seal and retighten if required.

To conclude the project, I installed the oil sump drain plug with a new copper crush washer and refilled the engine with seven quarts of oil. 

June 3, 2019

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 right front shock was leaking oil. 

I returned the shock to World Wide Auto Parts run by Dave Caldwell. Dave had rebuilt my shocks about ten years ago. In spite of the time that has passed, Dave honored the lifetime warranty and sent a fresh rebuild to me. Amazing!

To replace the shock, I first placed the car on four jack stands and then removed the right front wheel.

On Jack Stands for Shock Replacement

I then placed a floor jack under the spring pan and raised the pan until the shock arm was free of the rubber rebound pad.

Floor Jack to go Under Spring Pan

I then loosened the top mount for the bilstein tube shock using a 3/4” wrench and loosened the lower mount for the bilstein tube shock with 5/8” wrenches.

Bilstein Shock Lower Mount

I then removed the split pin on the castle nut securing the fulcrum pin.

Split Pin in Castle Nut

I then progressively loosened the castle nut and used it to tap out the pin with a soft hammer.

Gradually Knocking the Fulcrum Pin Out

Then using a drift I tapped out the bolt all of the way, leaving the drift in its place.

Fulcrum Pin Removed

Using a large screwdriver I levered the trunnion for the king pen off of the shock absorber.

Screw Driver as Pry Bar

It won’t move far, but I put a large jackstand under the hub to prevent any stress.

Jack Stand Supporting the King Pin and Trunnion

Using a 9/16” socket and ratchet I loosened and remove the right front shock bolt to chassis.

Loosening Front Shock Bolt

Then using an Allen wrench through the access hole in the bracket, I loosened and removed the left front shock bolt to chassis.

Allen wrench to Remove Left front Shock Mount

I then removed the left-hand rear and the right-hand rear shock bolts to the chassis with a 9/16 inch deep socket and ratchet.

Removing Rear Shock Mount Bolts

I was then able to lift the shock away from the car. It was immediately obvious that the shock had been leaking!

Obvious Oil Leak

The next step is to clean up the mounting area before installing the new shock.

Clean and Ready for New Shock

I then loosened the shock arm bolt/nut 9/16” wrench to make it easier from the arms to go over the trunnion bushings.

Loosen Shock Arm Bolt

The next step is to install the new shock to the chassis by first screwing in both of the engine side (rear) bolts. These are grade 8 3/8”-24 x 1 1/4”. This is made easier with some long extensions and a universal joint before the socket.

Long Extension and Universal

In this case, the completion of the installation really is the reverse of the removal process!


May 20, 2019

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 the time, I purchased a “kit” including the mounting brackets for the alternator. The kit was designed to use an easily obtained Delco Alternator: Delco SI 10 alternator with an internal regulator. (about a 72-on Chev). NAPA part # 2134011 and a NAPA Part # VRC 148 plug.

Instructions for the installation of the alternator are provided in the Electrical System entry of this Big Healey Valvechatter website. I will not repeat that information in this Blog entry.

The first step in this process is to turn off battery power with the switch in the boot. I then clipped the plastic tie I had used to secure the radiator overflow hose to the rear arm of the alternator bracket.

Alternator Slide Brackets Coolant Hose Tie

I then removed the bracket mounting bolt and nyclock nut on the swing bracket. The bolt is stainless and it is a 3/8″-24 x 3″ with flat washers and the nylock nut.

Alternator Bracket Mounting Bolt Fastener

The alternator wiring white pigtail connector with white and red wires was disconnected from the alternator body. I also disconnected the red wire and the heavy gauge brown wire from the screw post on the back of the alternator. The brown wire is routed to the alternator from the starter solenoid. The nut on the alternator wiring post is 10mm.

Alternator Wiring

Alternator Wiring

I then loosened and removed the 5/16″-18 x 1 3/4″ bolt with flat and lock washers that is inserted through the mounting ear of the alternator and into the spacer on the cylinder side front cover. Once removed the alternator can then be removed from the car.

Delco Alternator Removed

The five mounting bolts that secure the front cover to the cylinder block are now accessible. In the image below, oil residue from the leaking cover can be seen.

Front Cover Cylinder Side AEC689

The cover is removed by loosening and removing the five mounting bolts and copper flat washers.

Cover to Cranckcase Screw HNS0506

The next task was to clean-up the cover by removing the old gasket and degreasing the part. I took advantage of the opportunity and repainted the cover prior to reinstallation.

Removal of Cover Gasket AEC313

This is the freshly painted cover and the new paper gasket AEC 313.

Front Cover for Cylinder Side with new gasket and Custom Alternator Spacer

Before installing on the block I carefully cleaned the cylinder block and particularly the mounting flange for the cover.

Cleaning gasket residue from cylinder block

I smeared a light coating of Permatex #2 Form-A-Gasket Sealant on the gasket and placed it on the cover, using the mounting bolts to center the gasket on the cover. I then smeared the other side of the gasket and then mounted the cover to the cylinder block using the five bolts and washers previously removed.

Front Cover Cylinder Side Reinstalled

While the alternator on the car was functioning just fine I decided to go ahead and install a new (rebuilt) alternator in its place. one must take care to ensure that the fan belt is properly located on the crank, water pump and alternator pulleys. With the alternator held in place the front mounting bolt can be reinstalled through the ear of the alternator, and the cover and then screwed into the threaded spacer tube.

Alternator Mounting Ear

The 3″ bolt was then inserted through the swing bracket and the “wide” mounting ear of the alternator and tightened providing approximately a 1″ deflection of the fan belt.

Finally, all electrical connections were made and after a final check the boot master switch was turned to the “on” position.

The car was then test driven with the charging light on the speedometer switching off as the car accelerated.

One more job complete!

May 9, 2019

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” insulation material and are secured to the bowls with stitched velcro. Joe’s site indicates that the material offers continuous temperature protection to 650 degrees F and short term thermal exposure to 1000 degrees F. “Koolmat” claims to reflect 90% of radiant heat energy.

The covers are well made and fit nicely. Now, time will tell if they solve the vapor lock problem!

Curto Koolmat Kouzie

Joe Curto Float Bowl Cover

Kouzies Installed

Curto Kouzies Installed

April 10, 2019

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:

Doug Escriva’s Racer

Doug Escriva’s Engine

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 was never fond of the original fuel delivery design in which the fuel hose fed to the front carb banjo with a second feed off that banjo to the rear carb via a 2″ piece of hose. I also liked the idea of getting rid of the required fuel hose screw clamps and changing to AN fittings. Finally, I am a sucker for the look of the air horns on the SUs. Since I live in Florida where it is sandy, I will use some socks over the horns for normal driving to protect the intake ingesting some unwanted silica. While these modifications appeared easy to accomplish, as it turned out it was quite a chore to find the necessary fittings. Hence the long elapsed time from concept to completion. 

Before getting into the components required for the new system, I also need to mention that my Healey friend, Randy Forbes, who is now geographically close since we have relocated to Florida, was also a big help in making some modifications to the components.

These two photos show the new fuel lines, the fuel fittings and the “Y” Fuel Block installed:

Modified Fuel Delivery System and Ram Pipes

Modified Fuel Delivery System with Y Fuel Block

Modified Fuel Delivery Hose and Fittings

I replaced the original brass banjos on each carb with Steel 16mm M16 5/8″ 6AN Banjo Adapters with short necks, part #C1116-0062. These were difficult to find but I ultimately located them on EBay. The seller’s name was smartturboisme.

Banjo Adapter 16mm -6AN C1116-0062 EBAY

These were slightly wider than the original brass banjos requiring new banjo bolts. These were also difficult to source. I eventually located these 3/8″ BSP banjo bolts from AgriStore USA. They were 1 1/2″ long with four fuel flow holes. They were slightly too long to fit snuggly in the SU float bowl caps so Randy Forbes cut them down slightly. While the threaded portion of the bolts fit through the new banjos, the grip portion of the bolts would not so Randy also took a few thousands off the grips.

3/8 BSP Banjo Bolt

I purchased Viton sealing washers for the banjos and the bolts. These were sold by Hydraulic Fittings, part #9500-06V Bonded Seal, 3/8″BSPP (Viton). 2 were required for each carburetor.

3/8 BSPP Viton Seal Washer

I installed a new, as original, petroflex fuel line which connects to the fuel hard line running from the fuel pump to the engine bay. This hose is part #FUL062 from Healey Surgeons. A 90 degree 811 Aluminum hose end #3481-06 was then screwed into to the upper end of the petroflex fuel line. The hose ends were sourced from Pegasus Auto Racing Supplies

Aluminum Hose Ends

A short piece of racing fuel hose, 910 PTFE Lined Aramid Braided Lightweight -6 from Pegasus was used to connect the 90 degree fitting from the petroflex hose to a straight fitting which then screwed into a “Y” fuel block.

910 PTFE Lined Aramid Braided Lightweight Racing Hose

The fuel block has a single inlet and two outlets, all 6AN. The fuel block was made by Russell and sourced from Jegs part #799-650430.

Russell Billet Aluminum Y-Block -6 AN Male Single Inlet

One straight and one 45 degree aluminum hose end was used to connect the outlets of the fuel block to two 90 degree aluminum hose ends at each carb banjo. All of the fittings and hose connections proved to be tight and leak free when tested. I am very pleased with the functional and esthetic enhancement to the stock fuel delivery system. 

I purchased the 2″ polished aluminum ram pipes from Doug Escriva as well as pair of ITG Megaflow JSC-12 Air Socks.

ITG JSC-12 Megaflow Air Socks


February 1, 2019

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

SU Tips

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 Adjustment of the HD8 Carburetor

Steve’s document describes the process of tuning the carbs in layman’s terms in an easy step-by-step process. So, here is what I did:

As Steve indicates, the first thing to do is run the engine until it is at normal running temperature and then begin the tuning process. Of course, in my case, I am making the initial settings before actually operating the vehicle. Following my installation in the car I will do as Steve says and get the car to operating temperature and then I will essentially repeat the tuning steps.

Next I removed the dashpots from the carbs with piston and springs and carefully stored them aside to insure no damage to the needles. At this point I have no oil in the damper tubes. I make sure that I know which assembly is for the front and for the rear carbs – they need to be returned to the proper location.

I then backed off the Fast Idle Adjusting Screw for each carb to ensure that neither screw is touching its throttle shaft stop lever. I cut a strip of paper from a note card to slide between the screw and its stop to test this and to get both the front and rear the same.

Fast Idle Adjusting Screw

I then loosened the screws/nuts (5/16”) on the interconnecting shaft clamps so that each throttle plate can be rotated independently of the other. I then rotated each throttle plate fully closed by turning its shaft as far as possible. With each throttle plate held fully closed, I re-tightened its shaft clamp screw/nut. Both stops should reach full travel at the same time.

As Steve notes, “There is an extended arm on each interconnecting shaft clamp with a pin that fits into a slot on the carb throttle shaft lever. The pin is smaller in diameter than the slot, so it’s possible to adjust the clearance between the pin and slot (by rotating the clamp) to occur at the upper edge of the slot, at the bottom edge, or both. I adjust mine on both carbs so that most of the clearance occurs at the top. Clearance anywhere except at the top will allow some throttle shaft rotation before the throttle plate begins to open. The SU carburetor manual specifies 0.006 clearance between the bottom of the pin and the edge of the slot, but this is pretty much impossible to measure due to poor access.”

Steve then suggests, using a small straight edge to determine flushness (I use the end of a 6” steel scale), turn the Jet (Mixture) Adjusting Screw for each carburetor until the jet is flush with the bridge of the carburetor (the bridge is the part in the carburetor throat that the piston sits on when it is down). Turn the Jet (Mixture) Adjusting Screw (#2) counterclockwise to raise the jet (leaning), clockwise to lower it (richening).

Jet Adjusting Screw

Once the jet is flush, turn the Jet (Mixture) Adjusting Screw three turns clockwise (rich) as an initial setting. Where I depart from Steve just slightly, is that I did not worry so much about the number of turns of the jet adjusting screw. Instead, I use a micrometer to adjust both jets the same amount – .0625″ or 1/16″.

Jet Adjustment with Micrometer

I then re-installed the carburetor pistons, springs and suction chambers.

I replaced the original Whitworth screws with number 10–24×9/16 inches stainless socket screws. With a 5/32″ Allen wrench these are much easier to access than the original screws.

10-24 socket head screws for Dashpots

Again for initial setting, I turned the Slow Run Valve (Slow Idle) Adjusting Screw for each carburetor clockwise as far as it will go until it bottoms lightly on its seat. Then, I turn it back counterclockwise two and one-half turns.

After consulting others who had been through this process, they suggested that the throttle plates (butterflies) needed to cracked open ever so slightly to make the idle more “tunable.” This is contrary to the guidance provided by the two reference books cited above and to Steve Byer’s document, but I went ahead and took this step.

I then installed everything onto the car and assembled all of the components as described here. Once in the car, I reattached the choke cables and their mounting brackets as well as the throttle cable.

The next step is to install the new fuel delivery system from the hard fuel line coming from the fuel pump up to the carburetors before I can start the car and make final carb adjustments.

 January 15, 2019

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 like a good time to go ahead and replace the bushings, rubber seals and diaphragms.

Joe Curto has done my rebuild work in the past and I was always very happy with Joe’s work. This time I decided to try Thomas Bryant in Wiscasset, Maine. Tom makes and installs delrin bushings for the throttle shafts. Others who have used Tom have indicated that they were very pleased with the performance of the delrin bushings. This is a link to his website and specifically to a rebuild post he did for HD6 SUs. https://thosbryant.wordpress.com/2018/03/03/su-carburetor-rebuild-hd-6/

These are a couple of images from his site that show the delrin bushing:

Delrin Carb Bushing

Delrin Bushing Installed

Tom also checked the throttle shafts for wear (they were OK), replaced the seal for the slow run valve, installed new jets and diaphragms, replaced several gaskets and adjusted the float bowl levers to the 7/16″ prescribed setting.

SU HD Float Lever Setting

I was very pleased with the quality of Tom’s work and his luck turn around. Very easy to work with. I recommend him to others without any hesitation.

My next step was to test install the rebuilt carbs on my new intake manifold on the workbench. My reason for doing this is that I use a cable for throttle control rather than the stock Healey mechanical system, but I was never real happy with the throttle lever I used ten years ago. It provided no easy way to “blip” the carbs because there was nothing centered between the carbs to hold. In looking around at some photos and websites I discovered that the HS6 carbs used on MGBs and MGCs (I think?) had a nice lever mechanism that I found was available from Burlen in the UK: http://sucarb.co.uk/hs6-carburettor-throttle-and-choke-linkage-kit.html I believe that Joe Curto also sells this component now.

SU HS6 Throttle Lever and Shaft

This piece allows the attachment of the throttle cable at the lower end of the lever and the upper end of the lever can then be used to manipulate the cable by pushing or pulling with a finger. I did have to trim the length of the throttle shaft on the piece to fit my application, but the shaft is exactly the same diameter of the shaft on the HD8s so everything worked beautifully!

Just a note – when one is placing the two throttle levers on the shaft as seen in the photo above be sure to keep the nuts for the screws securing the levers with an upward orientation – otherwise you will play hell tightening them once on the car!

This image shows the HS6 throttle shaft and lever in place, although it is not yet oriented properly:

HD8 carbs with HS6 throttle shaft

This image illustrates the beauty of the bespoke Dennis Welch throttle cable aluminum bracket. The rod running through the bracket is free to rotate which prevents in cable binding when the accelerator is applied. In the image the proper operating angle of the cable is shown:

Carbs and Throttle Cable in Place

I also replaced the brass floats in the float bowls with new nitrophyl floats sourced from Moss Motors.

Nitrophyl Carb Floats

Nitrophyl Carb Floats Installed

January 2, 2019

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 on the lever and the intake bracket:

I had installed a fuel filter in the fuel line to the front carb. I removed the nut securing the filter bracket to the intake stud and then loosened the clamp at the front carb banjo and lifted the fuel line out of the way:

Front Throttle Return Spring

Then the hose connecting the two carbs could be removed:

Fuel Hose Filter Mount

Banjos and Connecting HoseI then removed the choke brackets from each of the carburetors and loosened the cable retaining nut on each of the choke levers, so that the cables were free. There are three ball point pen springs in the cable to make the cable retract. I left the spring-loaded cable in tact.

Rear Choke Cable and Bracket

The rubber hoses from the overflow pipes at the float bowls were then removed. The float bowl banjo nuts are removed with a 1/4 inch Wentworth wrench. The hoses run through a hole in the insulated het shield.

Overflow tubes removed from float bowl drain pipes

I then disconnected the vacuum line at the rear carburetor that connects to the distributor.

Carb Ported Vacuum Line

The next step was to disconnect the throttle cable from the throttle lever located between the carbs.

Throttle Cable and Lever

Throttle Cable and Lever Orientation

The cruise control chain was then disconnected from its throttle shaft lever. The relative clock location of the cruise control lever and the throttle shaft lever were noted.

Cruise Control Lever and Chain

With all of those components disconnected, it is then possible to remove the carbs from the intake manifold. This is done by loosening and removing eight 5/16″-24 hex head nuts, flat washers and lock washers from the manifold studs. By the way, getting to the lower studs can be a challenge! Before lifting away the carbs and float bowls check to see if the float bowls are empty of fuel.

Carbs removed from eight intake studs

It is then possible to remove the heat shield from the manifold. There is a gasket on each side of the heats shield between the carb and the heat shield and between the heat shield and the manifold. 

My intake manifold had a crack in the front mounting ear. It can be seen in the upper left of the image above. I located another used manifold from Michael Salter. I had the manifold Jet-Hot coated which gave it an almost chrome appearance. So while the carbs were being tended to, it was the perfect time to go ahead and replace the manifold. Several steps are needed to remove the manifold.

First was to detach the vacuum hose from the rear port on the intake that is used for the cruise control.

Vacuum Port for Cruise Control

Custom Vacuum Port for Cruise Control

I then removed the front choke cable from the throttle bracket on the intake manifold.

Choke Cable and Bracket Mount to Intake Manifold

The next step is to remove the remaining two bolts that hold the throttle cable bracket to the intake manifold. This will reveal the lower bracket which has two mounting bolts to the intake manifold.

Upper Portion of the Throttle Bracket

Lower Portion of Throttle Bracket

Then remove the two bolts holding the lower bracket. Lift away the lower bracket. The rear bolt is only about a half inch long. But the front bolt extends through the intake manifold and has a nut on the reverse side.

Lower Portion of Throttle Bracket Removed

The water pipe for the heater is mounted in two locations and these must be loosened to permit the removal of the intake manifold. This requires loosening the clamp on the radiator hose extension. You lose a little coolant, but not too much. The pipe can then be lifted aside allowing access to the manifold. I also unclipped the water temperature sensor cable from its clips. In the image below it is easy to see the crack in the manifold ear.

Front Heater Pipe Mount

Rear Heater Pipe Mount

The nine nuts, flat washers and lock washers could then be loosened and removed allowing the removal of the manifold. The front and rear mounting points for the intake share a brass nut fixing the exhaust headers to the head. I noticed that the exhaust header mounting plate is not quite as wide as the intake mounting plate which probably stressed the aluminum intake ear, hence the crack. On the newly prepared intake manifold, I filed the forward and rear mounting ears down so that they aligned nicely with the exhaust headers. This should prevent cracks in the future.

I had saved my original iron cylinder head and it came in handy on my workbench for setting up the intake manifold and carbs. The weight of the head supports everything and makes mocking up everything and adding intake components much easier than working in the car!

Original Iron Head with Newly Prepared Intake

I double-nutted and removed the carb mounting studs from the old manifold and installed them in the new manifold after chasing all of the threads to clean them out. I used compressed air to blow out all of the stud mounting points.

Removing Studs from Old Intake Manifold

After installing each of the studs into the intake manifold I placed one gasket and then the spacer block on the manifold.

Studs, Gaskets, and Spacer Blocks Installed

I removed the fitting for the vacuum used for the cruise control from the old manifold and reinstalled it in the new manifold with thread sealant and a new copper crush washer.

Vacuum Fitting for Cruise Control Installed

And, then replaced the rear vacuum port plug that screws into the threaded hole in the manifold.

Rear Vacuum Port Threaded Plug

I then transfered the two 5/16 inch bolts that go through the intake manifold and originally mounted to the exhaust manifolds. Since my car uses exhaust headers these mounting points or not used, so I simply install bolts and nuts into the car holes.

Unused Mounting Bolts to Original Exhaust Manifold

The original intake manifold design incorporates two fittings for fuel drain lines. I used both for the past ten years, but I decided to plug the rear drain hole with this rebuild. I really don’t know if there will be negative consequences to this or not. I did this because the rear drain line was extremely close to the rear header pipe. I just didn’t like that little copper pipe being so close – less that 1/8″ – from a hot exhaust pipe. 

I am aware that some after market intake manifolds do not include the drain line fittings so I hope that this suggests that these drain lines may not be required? The image below shows the brass pipe fitting installed in the manifold.

Intake Manifold Drain Fitting

I then remounted the Dennis Welch Throttle Cable Bracket to the manifold.

Dennis Welch Throttle Bracket

Dennis Welch Throttle bracket Installed

During some down time in this process I cleaned up the heat shield and repainted it.

Refurbished Carb Heat Shield

I then put two new gaskets on each of the inlets in the manifold for the mounting of the heat shield.

Heat Shield Gaskets Installed on Intake Manifold

I then mounted the heat shield and added two more gaskets for the carburetors.

Heat Shield Gaskets to Carbs

At this point, I was ready to install the rebuilt carburetors to be described in the next post.

December 20, 2018

Valve Adjustment 

I really don’t recall when I last checked valve clearances, so as part of this ten year renewal process adjusting clearances was an obvious item for the checklist. You really don’t need many tools to take care of this project. An 8mm socket is used to loosen the hose clamps on the crankcase breather apparatus, a 1″ open end wrench is used to loosen and remove the two rocker cover cap nuts with cup washers and rubber bushes, a medium-size flat screw driver is used to turn the rocker adjusting screws, a 9/16″ box wrench is used to loosen and tighten the adjusting screw nuts, a feeler gauge is used to adjust the gap between the adjusting screws and rocker arms and finally, a spark plug socket and ratchet is used to remove the spark plugs.

I purchased my feeler gauge at the same time I acquired the Healey in 1971. It is still in my tool bag after all of these years:

Forty-seven year old feeler gauge

The workshop manual call for a clearance of .012″ or .3mm between the adjusting screws and the rocker arms for both inlet and exhaust valves. There are lots of good resources on the web and on Youtube that describe the process.

I loosened the breather hose clamps and moved the hoses and clamps out of the way so that the rocker cover can be removed.

I then cleaned the base of the rocker cover to make sure no debris would fall into the cylinder head when the cover is removed.

I then loosened and removed the cap nuts, washers and rubber bushes from the rocker cover and carefully lifted the cover off the engine, taking care to keep the silicone gasket in place so that it could be used again. The cover was then cleaned and set aside. I also carefully cleaned the surface of the head where it mates with the cover. 

Next, was the removal of the spark plugs. This is done to make it easier to roll the car when needed for the valve adjustment process. This is also a good time to inspect and clean the plugs. Mine are visually new so not much was required. Care must be taken to ensure that the plug cables are numbered so that they are reconnected in the proper sequence!

I guess I should bathe in motor oil each morning because it sure makes for good preservation of surfaces. The images below show the Dennis Welch head assembly after almost ten years on the car!

Rocker Arm Assembly

Rocker Arm Assembly

Checked the clearances of each valve as I proceeded. Most were very close to spec although I had two that were a little tight.

The “Rule of Thirteen” is used to know which valve to adjust on a 6 cylinder engine. If valve #1 is open (when the adjuster side of the rocker is up, and the spring side is down) then which valve do you adjust to get to a total of thirteen? The answer is valve #12. When valve #8 is open (up) then to get to a total of thirteen we need to adjust valve #5, and so on. 

Valves open and close in pairs, therefore we can adjust the valves in pairs in accordance with the table below:

Valve Adjustment Table

I backed my car into the garage – nose out – as far to the rear as possible and then let it sit over night so the engine would be completely cold.

The next day I put the car into 4th gear and pushed it forward and in my case the springs on rockers #1 and #3 began to depress. I continued to push the car forward until the springs were fully depressed so that the adjusting screws for valves #10 and #12 were ready to be checked and adjusted. You can either watch the spring movement carefully or you can put fingers on the rocker arms to sense the change in movement. Whichever method works for you is fine. Some people push the front tire to move the car while in gear, others use a wrench on the crank nut or on the alternator/generator pulley nut, or just pull on a fan blade in a clockwise motion (be careful).

Once the adjuster screw is identified that I wanted to adjust (in this case #10), I loosened the adjuster nut, placed my .012″ feeler blade between the rocker and the valve stem and tightened the adjuster nut until the feeler blade was snug and while carefully holding the screwdriver on the adjusting screw so that it would not move (a little tricky) I tightened the nut tightly. I then checked the feeler gauge and readjusted if it was too tight or too loose. This process takes a little practice, but you get the hang of it pretty quickly.

I then moved on to the #12 valve and completed the same process. 

I then slowly pushed the car forward again until the valve springs for #7 and #9 were fully depressed. I then adjusted valves #4 and #6.

I continued with the progression shown in the table above until all valve clearances were properly adjusted.

Next the car was put in neutral and pushed to the rear of the garage again. Then I repeated the full process checking the clearances of each valve a second time. In this case double-checking is certainly a good thing and worthwhile!

Valve adjustment was then complete. 

Sealing The Rocker Pedestal Studs

Fellow Healey owner Steve Gerow pointed out that one needs to be sure to apply sealant to the rocker pedestal studs otherwise oil can seep through the studs and leak into the cavity in which the park plugs are located. I noticed that on my car I was getting a little oil into two of the spark plug cavities, so, after adjusting the valves and before replacing the spark plugs and rocker cover I decided to pull the rocker studs and apply some high temperature sealant to the threads.

If one uses a mirror you can see where these rocker stud holes are drilled all the way through the head. If not properly sealed one can see that a leak could easily develop.

Rocker Pedestal Stud Hole in Spark Plug Cavity

To remove the studs I used the double-nut procedure where one screws a second nut onto the stud and tightens it against the existing nut. A wrench can then be used on the lower nut to slowly turn the stud out of its home.

Double-nuttting studs

Following Steve’s suggestion I cleaned the stud and cylinder head threads with brake cleaner and then blew them dry with compressed air. I applied Permatex high temperature thread sealant to the threads per the instructions. 

Permatex High Temperature Thread Sealant

The last step was to torque the rocker pedestal stud nuts to 25 ft. lbs. Another job complete.

November 30, 2018

Oil Catch Can Installation

Our Austin Healeys did not come equipped with oil catch cans but they did have a method of addressing combustion “blow-by.” The image below, with the components outlined in red, depicts the components of the system.

A contaminated air/oil/fuel mix leaks down from an engine’s combustion chamber, around the piston and into the crankcase, where a build up of pressure occurs. This gaseous mix is vacated from the crankcase through a fitting on the middle tappet cover to a ninety degree rubber hose and metal tube, another short rubber hose and into the “T” pipe fitting on the top of the rocker cover. The other side of the “T” pipe fitting on the rocker cover uses a rubber hose to direct the gaseous mix to the rear carburetor where it can then be recirculated through the rear carb into the intake manifold.

Original Crankcase Breather Design

The consequence of the “blow-by” mix being reintroduced to the combustion chamber and spraying the mix onto the top of the pistons, spark plugs and the intake valves could be carbon build up leading to pre-ignition. In other words, while we go to great lengths to use high quality filtered fuel and oil, the Healey’s system introduces dirty waste products back into the engine. That just doesn’t seem like a desirable situation!

Properly designed oil catch cans address the problems cited above. The oil catch can has an input hose (or more) to collect the contaminated gas and through a system of baffles/filters separates the liquid from the gas. The clean vapor exits the catch can through an air filter and into the atmosphere. Again, if properly designed, this air is relatively clean. The dirty liquid mix works its way to  the bottom of the catch can where it is collected and periodically drained off. 

So, if this is such a good thing to do for our engines why don’t all cars have catch cans? You usually only see them installed as aftermarket items on performance vehicles or collector cars. The answer is probably as simple as extra cost to the manufacturer and the creation of one more maintenance factor (draining the collected oil/fuel mix) for the vehicle owner.

After only forty-seven years of ownership I decided to “fix” this issue! There are many catch cans on the market, some demonstrate pretty sophisticated engineering while others don’t do much more than “catch the oil” as the name suggests. One more example of you get what you pay for.

I decided to go with a universal oil catch can designed and manufactured by Mishimoto, Model # MMBCC-MSTWO. I ordered it directly from Mishimoto. I like this unit because of its diminutive size, easy mounting, and great filtering design. Other catch cans will work equally well, I am sure.

Mishimoto Universal Catch Can

Mishimoto’s black anodized aluminum mid-size can has two baffles to minimize oil slosh and a 50 micron bronze filter to release clean air to the environment. The can is 3.8″ tall and has a diameter of 2.5″. The inlet, outlet and drain plug holes are all 3/8″ NPT. It holds two ounces of liquid and is easy to take apart to clean with soap and water. It comes with two plastic 1/2″ barbed hose fittings. Mishimoto also markets a Petcock drain kit for this can that I also purchased.

Mishimoto Drain Petcock Kit


Once the catch can decision was made my attention turned to the plumbing required to make the system work in an already very tight Austin-Healey engine bay. I have never been fond of the appearance of the rubber hose exiting the rocker cover to the rear carb. Cape Sport International came up with the solution to my esthetic concerns – all a matter of personal taste.

Their product is part number AEC2041CSF2 and it offers an alternative to the original “T” pipe fitting. Their “U” pipe fitting allows one to easily route to outlets from the rocker cover to the right side of the engine bay. The piece is nicely made and is chromed. It looks like this once installed:

Capesport “U” Breather pipe

These are the components used in my catch can system for the Bloody Beast:

Bloody Beast Catch Can System, Part One

Bloody Beast Catch Can System, Part Two

I used the brass fitting on the bottom of the can because I had it. Apologize for the variance from the black aluminum.

I will substitute a chrome crankcase breather pipe for the stainless steel pipe when I have the chance to get one chromed to match what I have in the car now.

So here is the final installation of the Mishimoto Catch Can and all of its related plumbing. Pay no attention to the hose clamps. They will all be changed when my new clamps arrive from Australia! See note and reference below. As you can see in the image below the catch can is tucked behind the shroud support and under the RH fender. I simply turned a second crankcase breather pipe horizontally to route the emissions rubber hose to the catch can to avoid a rubber hose lying haphazardly across the right hand side of the engine bay.

Catch Can Mounting Bracket and Pipe Stanchion

Pipe Stanchion

Hose and Pipe Routing to Catch Can

Hose and Pipe Routing to Catch Can 2

Drain Hose and Valve

The Norma hose clamps look great. I saw these on Doug Escriva’s Healey 100-6 race car and had to duplicate the look – no way to duplicate the car! These clamps are apparently made in Germany but the only place I could find to source them was in Australia- go figure! http://www.norma.net.au/products/hose-clamps/norma/normaclamp-gbs-heavy-duty-hose-clamps/normaclamp-gbs-heavy-duty-hose-clamps

Doug Escriva Norma Hose Clamps

I received the Norma GBS Heavy Duty Bolt Clamps 21-23 mm W4 – All 304 Stainless Steel hose clamps, part #GBS22/18W4, from Auto Parts Wholesalers in Australia and they met expectations! In addition to being very functional and easy to use, they also look great. So here they are on the Bloody Beast:

Norma Clamps 21-23 mm 


Crankcase breather pipe hose and norma clamps


Norma Stainless Clamps Installed

November 15, 2018

Front Shroud Badge Replacement

They just don’t make them like they used to! The shroud badge I mounted on the Healey around 2008 started to lose its color (enamel?) this year. I think the problem was that the entire badge was chromed and then the enamel was applied. It is hard for anything to stick to chrome indefinitely. So, my 2008 badge wasn’t as good as the original.

Shroud Badge Losing Enamel

But…the badges available now are not as nice as the ones that were available when I did the restoration. I had to return one vendor’s badge that wasn’t very good at all. I then ordered one from AH Spares, part # BAD-107, and while the metal is thinner than the one it is replacing, it does have the curvature of the shroud and the lettering and enamel look pretty good. We will see how long the enamel holds up on this badge! The badge has two studs and came with the fixing washers and nuts – a 5/16″ wrench is used.

Replacement Shroud Badge


October 22-25, 2018

Car Show Preparation

The Tampa Bay Austin Healey Club hosts an annual British Car Show held in Safety Harbor, FL. The 2018 Show will be held on October 27 so I side-stepped my ten-year maintenance project and gave some attention to cosmetic issues to get The Bloody Beast ready for the show.

I had clayed, polished and waxed The Beast not too long ago, so this time I just washed and waxed her. I always use Griot’s Garage Best of Show wax. I think it is a great product. Super shine and very little residue. I apply with an orbital buffer (also Griot’s Garage) and remove with a micro-fiber cloth.

Best of Show Wax

The brightwork was cleaned and polished with Meguiar’s All Metal Polish. It produces a great finish. I use it on the stainless steel grill, the chrome and stainless steel wire wheels and on the body chrome.

Meguiar’s All Metal Polysh

I like to use SprayWay Cleaner for the glass. You need to make sure the glass is completely dry after using the cleaner but if you do it results in a clean and streakless appearance. 

SprayWay Glass Cleaner

In the interior I use Griot’s Garage interior cleaner on all of the vinyl surfaces and Lexol Leather Conditioner on the leather seats. I have used Lexol’s conditioner since the upholstery was new and it still looks that way! I wrapped up the interior with a good vacuuming.

Lexol Leather Conditioner

The tires were cleaned and then treated with Griot’s Tire Cleaner. This dressing provides a nice clean and smooth look without an “over-done” glossy shine.

Griots Vinyl & Rubber Dressing

The surfaces under the bonnet were in pretty good shape, but I used some of the Meguiar’s polish on the rocker cover, carb dashpots, and the aluminum radiator upper tank.

While under the bonnet I changed out the spark plugs. The used plugs were sootier than I like and I will address this issue later by examining the timing and carburetor richness. The plugs are gapped to .03″

NGK BP6ES Spark Plug


The Bloody Beast looked quite good for the show and her paint received many compliments. We brought home the Best in Class award. Not bad for a nine-year old restoration!

The Bloody Beast – 1960 AH BT7

The Bloody Beast – 1960 AH BT7

October 16, 2018

Oil Leaks  

Of course, the standard joke is that the car wouldn’t be British if it didn’t leak oil. My car isn’t bad, but when I had it up on the lift, I noticed some oil on the RH side of the frame.

Oil Leak on Frame RH side

The leak got me looking around. I seam to have oil leaking from the alternator mounting bracket suggesting that I need to replace that gasket and reseal the bracket. Not that the frame oil came from the oil sump, but I checked the oil sump mounting bolts and noticed that many of them were not tight. A 7/16″ socket with an extension had those bolts tightened up in no time. I will keep a watch on this area, as I may need to replace the sump cork gasket as well. I will come back to this problem and specifically the alternator bracket seal a little later.

I observed that the rear differential drain plug was also leaking a little gear oil. I took this as an opportunity to change the gear oil and put some sealant on the plug threads. The manual states that the capacity of the rear axle is 1.7 lites, but I just fill the diff until oil begins to drip out to the fill plug hole.

Shell Spirax HD Gear Oil SAE 80W-90







August 24, 2018

Engine Oil Change– A pretty simple and straightforward first step. I have a spin-on oil filter adapter and use a K&N HP-2009 Filter with a little under 7 quarts of Hick’s Oils Collector’s Choice 20W-50 motor oil. A fresh copper crush washer was used under the oil sump drain plug. The drain plug on my aluminum sump requires an 11/16″ wrench for removal.

I ordered the oil from Moss Motors and the filters directly from K&N. You don’t need a filter removal tool for the K&N filter as the canister comes complete with a 1″ wrench fitting! 

K&N HP-2009 Oil Filter


Hick’s Oils Collector’s Choice 20W-50



2 Responses to “Ten-Year Renewal Blog – last update 7/4/2019”

  1. Kjell Johansson says:

    You sold the Jaguar? I am still waiting for posts lol!


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