The Big Healey Ten-Year Renewal Blog – last update 12/10/2020

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If you scroll down to the October 2018 entry to this Blog you can read about the motivation for what I then called the Ten-Year Renewal Project for my 1960 Austin-Healey BT7. True to my history with this car, everything takes longer than expected! While the care and maintenance of a classic car never ends, now in October 2020 I am going to proclaim that the Renewal Project has come to its conclusion.

The good news is that I have accomplished quite a lot and I am pleased to say that the Bloody Beast is running better than it has ever run while in my ownership, and that covers forty-nine years!

This website has a separate entry for all of the major renewal efforts, so one does not have to read through everything in order to obtain more information about a particular project. However, in no particular order, the following is a summary of all that has been accomplished in the past two years:

  • Greased all suspension, steering and handbrake grease zerks.
  • Installed a fresh smear of white lithium grease on door locks, bonnet catch and boot lock.
  • Checked the ground strap in the boot for tightness.
  • Checked tightness of engine mount and shock damper bolts.
  • Checked rubber boots on on suspension ball joints.
  • Checked king pin wear.
  • Replaced fluids in gearbox, engine, hydraulic system, cooling system, rear differential. Replaced the Penrite oil in the steering box and idler with John Deere Corn Head grease to help prevent leaks.
  • Checked all dash lights for functionality.
  • Checked tightness of prop shaft bolts/nuts at both ends of the shaft.
  • Replaced the oil sump gasket with a neoprene gasket from Tom’s Imports and ceramic coated the aluminum sump.
  • Removed the PCV system components and installed an oil catch can system.
  • Replaced my intake manifold, which had two broken mounting ears due to improper installation, with another good, but used unit, sourced from Michael Salter. Jet-Hot coated the manifold before installation.
  • Cleaned and repainted the carburetor heat shield and refreshed the insulation.
  • Replaced the chromed “Austin-Healey” front shroud badge with a new component as the paint had chipped away on mine.
  • Replaced a leaking RH front Armstrong damper with a newly rebuilt unit from World Wide Auto Imports.
  • Replaced ill-fitting rear rally bumper irons with proper irons sourced from AH Spares. The first set had the bumperettes sitting too far from the rear shroud.
  • Had the HD8 SU carburetors rebuilt with delrin bushings installed by Thomas Bryant. Replaced both fuel bowl floats with nitrophyl floats. Added fuel bowl “Kouzies” from Joe Curto to insulate fuel bowls from exhaust heat and prevent vapor lock.
  • Sealed a persistent oil leak at the rear differential drain plug.
  • Adjusted valve clearances to spec. and sealed the cylinder head stud holes to prevent oil leaks.
  • Replaced the plastic (nylon?) breather fitting on the rear axle with a brass unit sold by Land Rover.
  • Replaced the clutch and brake master cylinders. Inspected the clutch slave cylinder and left it in place. Replace fluid and bled the system.
  • Installed a remote clutch slave cylinder bleeder hose from Ol Phartz Parts.
  • Replaced the original fuse panel with a seven fuse/fourteen terminal unit sourced from Charlie Hart.
  • Fabricated and installed a rear main drip tray below the engine backplate/gearbox to catch oil leaks.
  • Replaced the front cylinder block cover gasket to eliminate an oil leak.
  • Replaced the alternator with a “new” rebuilt unit.
  • Replace the Halogen sealed beam headlights with aftermarket Lucas PL 700 headlights.
  • Replaced the original fuel hose delivery system from the hard fuel line to the carbs with a new design and fittings.
  • Added carburetor ram pipes and ITG air filtration socks.
  • Added an electric pusher fan in front of the radiator.
  • Modified the design of the throttle cable routing to the carburetors from the accelerator pedal.
  • New vinyl for the RH door shut face finisher panel side. Will replace the LH side at a later date.
  • Installed new ignition wires, rotor, and distributor cap and checked the ignition timing.
  • Added a bell housing drain hole for oil leaks from the rear main bearing.
  • Replaced the water pump, mounting studs and gasket, fan belt, and upper and lower radiator hoses. Replaced the stainless steel flex fan with an asymmetric yellow plastic (nylon) fan sourced from AH Spares to reduce noise.
  • Replaced the 195 degree thermostat (for Virginia) with a 160 degree sleeved thermostat (for Florida) sourced from British Car Specialists.
  • Washed, clayed, compounded, polished and waxed the car.

A few things yet to do:

  • Replace rubber in wiper arms.
  • Replace bristle flex draught excluders (door seal) – will complete when hardtop is off the car.

October 2018

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: Ten Year Renewal Blog

Custom Master Cylinder, Pedal Box and Hydraulics

Master Cylinders/Pedal Box

We had been using the original tandem master cylinder originally designed for the bugeye; however, it was a master cylinder sourced from Gerard Chateauvieux of Gerard’s Garage that was modified to incorporate 3/4″ bore pistons for the brakes and the clutch.

Twin Chamber 3/4″ Master Cylinder

Sebring Sprites used a custom pedal box with two offset Girling master cylinders with their own fluid reservoirs. We purchased a replica of the Sebring Pedal Box from Brookfab in the U.K. https://brookfab.co.uk/

We were quite pleased with the Brookfab assembly including the master cylinders, push rods and springs – very professional job.

Brookfab Pedal Box with Girling Master Cylinders

Brookfab Pedal Box

Brake Pipes and Hoses

All new cunifer copper alloy brake pipes with stainless fittings were formed and installed on the car for the 2024 restoration. In addition, Goodridge Stainless Braided (black) were also installed on the car. Both can be seen in the image below:

Cunifer Brake Pipes and New Fittings

Cunifer Brake Pipes and Goodridge Hoses

Brake Fluid

We have decided that because all of the brake system and clutch system are totally new we will use Dot 5 silicone brake fluid in the Bugeye.

Front Disc Brake Conversion

We bought the Bugeye in 1998 and shortly thereafter the car was taken to Grand Touring Classics, Inc in Stanarsville, VA for a safety inspection and a conversion to front disc brakes. Garland Gentry and his assistant took care of collecting the needed parts from a post 1964 Midget and installing them on the car. After some period of time we changed out the 7/8″ master cylinder for a 3/4″ which worked much better.

Of course, it is not as simple as just switching out the brakes. it is also necessary to install new stub axles and king pins, dust tubes and springs, hubs, back plates, calipers, hose brackets, rotors, pads with pad retaining plates with clips, new hoses with banjo bolts and copper washers. For the complete restoration of the car in 2024 all of the front brake components were updated and/or replaced. Parts were sourced from A.H. Spares and Moss Motors.

The front brakes, steering and suspension are integrated in assembly. Details of all of these  mechanicals are detailed in other posts regarding these subjects. The build up of the front hub assemblies and brakes ,may be found in this post: https://valvechatter.com/?p=13792   A video showing the assembly is included in the post.

Rear Drum Brake Upgrade

A common upgrade to the braking system for Bugeyes is the replacement of the rear  drum brakes which use a single action 7/8″ rear cylinder with later MG Midget rear brakes using a larger 3/4″ dual action rear cylinder. We were able to acquire the later backing plates, wheel cylinders, and brake shoes with springs, and handbrake levers from Gerard Chateauvieux of Gerard’s Garage. He indicated that the donor car was in the 1968-72 time frame.

Rear Brake Components

LH Rear Brake Assembly with Shoes and Cylinder

LH Rear brake assembly

The conversion also required using new crossbars or rods for the handbrake system as the original Bugeye crossbars are not shaped properly for the later brakes. These were purchased from Mini-Mania.

Adjustable Handbrake Crossbars

We did have problems with the drums rubbing against the backplates and had to grind away some material from the hub edge to avoid the conflict. 

More information about the build-up of the rear brake conversion including an assembly video that details the problems we encountered may be found in two other posts: “Rear Drum Brake Upgrade”  https://valvechatter.com/?p=13399 and “Bugeye Rear Axle Assembly” https://valvechatter.com/?p=13569 in the restoration series. These posts and their included videos show the mounting of the rear hubs and brake assemblies to the rear axle.

Redundant Electric Fuel Pumps

The Bugeye began life with a 948 cc four cylinder motor that had a mechanical fuel pump mounted to the engine block. We converted to an electronic SU negative ground 12 volt fuel pump years ago and it was mounted in the engine bay. Then we mounted the pump in the rear of the car as outlined in an earlier post: https://valvechatter.com/?p=13599

SU electronic fuel pump negative earth

The SU pump was sourced from AH Spares in the UK. After acquiring the Michigan body shell we decided to modify the fuel delivery system yet again to incorporate a redundant electronic pump to have a ready back up in the case of a pump failure. The back up pump was sourced from Pegasus Racing and it is a Facet Cylindrical pump rated at 2.75-4 psi.

Facet Cylindrical 2.75-4 PSI Negative earth electronic fuel pump

The two pumps are installed in series and will be wired with a toggle switch permitting the selection of either pump or no pump at all – an effective theft deterrent. Nut serts (1/4″-20) were installed in the rear bulkhead to serve as mounting points for the rubber isolators, also purchased from Pegasus, that fit between the bulkhead and the pumps. 

A new stainless steel pre-bent fuel pipe was purchased from Summit Racing, modified to accommodate the new pump setup and installed in the car.

Bugeye Interior

We have introduced a number of modifications in the interior to suit our interests. These are listed in no particular order below:

Gauges – Speedometer and Tachometer

The right hand drive connector for the speedometer cable on the Rivergate five speed conversion never worked well. Once the cable came loose and a second time the cable broke.

Rivergate Speedo Cable Adapter

Now seemed to be the perfect time to convert to the GPS speedometer sold by Bugeye Guy.

The unit is made by Speedhut instruments and apparently David at Bugeyeguy.com has a custom face made for the unit to look similar to the original Sprite gauge face. Details about installation including the wiring may be found in another post “A New Electrical System.”: https://valvechatter.com/?p=13986

The speedometer uses a gps sensor which routed between the driver’s door and the dash trim and is secured to the top of the dash with a magnetized plate.

Bugeye Guy GPS Speedometer

Bugeye Guy Speedo GPS Sensor

We liked the speedometer so much that we ordered the matching tachometer too!

Speedhut tachometer

Many of the electrical connections for the tachometer take advantage of the wiring loom provided with the speedo so that the tachometer can piggy-back for shorter wiring runs. Really happy with both of these upgrades. At first glance, the new instruments do look very much like the originals.

Hazard Switch and Lights

Of course, the Bugeye did not come equipped with hazard or caution lights. However, in today’s world and particularly with such a small car, hazard lights are really essential. The Classic Technologies relay/fuse box incorporates a hazard flasher relay system. We purchased a Lucas 155SA hazard switch to activate the system.

Lucas Hazard Switch

The switch is a push/pull type and incorporates a flashing warning light in the body of the switch. The switch will be added to the dash panel we built and is installed behind the dash.

The Lucas 155SA hazard switch was used in many British cars, and apparently the one we ordered was used in the 1974-75 triumph TR6 and the 1973-77 Triumph Spitfire. Details about installation including the wiring may be found in another post “A New Electrical System.”: https://valvechatter.com/?p=13986

Variable Speed Wiper Controller

Some years ago Ed Esslinger authored an article on a Sunbeam Tiger web site about a kit he put together to provide unlimited variable control of the speed of the Lucas wiper motor. We tried one of his kits on the Big Healey and liked it. Great for handling mist and light rain. Unfortunately it doesn’t make the wipers go any faster! 

We installed the control knob for the variable speed rheostat on the vertical panel we made and installed behind the dash. We took advantage of the blanking bolt nuts intended for the steering column bracket in a RH drive car as a location for mounting the  controller electronics. No holes were drilled in the chassis. Details about installation including the wiring may be found in another post “A New Electrical System.”: https://valvechatter.com/?p=13986

LED interior gauge lamps

All of the lights were converted from the original incandescent bulbs to LEDs sourced from Moss Motors.

LED Interior footwell and boot courtesy lights

LED interior footwell, map and boot courtesy lights operate remotely by a key fob or manually with a toggle switch on the panel behind the dash.  We ordered the RF Relay and key fob from Amazon. DieseRC 433Mhz Universal Wireless Remote Control Switch DC 12V 1CH RF Relay Receiver Module with 1 Transmitter, EV1527 Learning Code Remote Switch. Details about installation including the wiring may be found in another post “A New Electrical System.”: https://valvechatter.com/?p=13986

RF Courtesy Light Controller

The boot has two aimable LED lights. Each one is mounted on the LH and RH rear interior quarter panels. These lights were sourced from SuperBright LEDS. 

Boot LED Light

 

In the front footwells we also installed LED lights sourced from Better Car Lighting in the UK. 

Footwell Lights and Brackets

Turn Indicator Warning Buzzer

The turn indicator switch in the Bugeye is not self-canceling. While there is a warning lamp on the dash located between the speedometer and the tachometer, it is often not sufficiently bright to let the driver know to turn the switch to the off position. We installed a little buzzer sourced from Radio Shack to provide an audible alert when the flashers are turned on. 

Modified Windscreen Washer Pump (plunger) 

The Bugeye came equipped with a windscreen washer system that was activated by pushing a plunger mounted in the dash. The pressure created by pushing the plunger moved the cleaning fluid out to the windscreen. The process worked well enough, but when the Big Healey was restored we became aware of Stu Brennan, an owner of a Sunbeam Tiger, who had converted his hand activated pump windscreen washer to an electric washer. Stu’s idea was to put an electric momentary micro switch inside the aluminum pump canister thereby eliminating the need to install an additional switch somewhere. Since the washer in the Tiger is the same as the one in both the Big Healey and the Bugeye we decided to give it a try.

Two items needed to be purchased for the conversion. An electric pump typically used on later Sprites was ordered from Moss Motors.  A Home Depot switch was purchased, Gardner-Bender, Push Button, GSW-22, SPST always-off. Details about installation including the wiring may be found in another post “A New Electrical System.”: https://valvechatter.com/?p=13986

Washer Pump Parts

Under Dash Parcel Tray

Later Sprites and MG Midgets had a parcel shelf mounted under the dash on the passenger side of the car. We decided that it might make sense to add one to the Bugeye as well because there just isn’t much space for storing small items. The shelf was originally made from some type of fiberboard. We located a fellow in the U.K. who makes the shelves out of aluminum and for an extra commission will add the front rubber cushion to the shelf too. All at a very reasonable price.https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?item=116168223491&rt=nc&_trksid=p4429486.m3561.l161211&_ssn=bicycle55cps

This is an image of the shelf sans the rubber cushion. All of the mounting holes are incorporated. We will cover the shelf in red vinyl to match the interior.

Aluminum Parcel Shelf

Seat Sliders

The seat slider mechanisms on John’s car worked, but not smoothly.

Original Seat Slider Tracks

Original new sliders seem to be unavailable at the current time. While reviewing the topics on the Austin-Healey Experience Forum we noticed a post by Vishal Patel who had replaced the original sliders with some generic contemporary sliders produced and sold by the Racewill Store on Amazon. Vishal was very helpful in answering questions about his approach and we decided to adopt his modification for John’s Bugeye.

Our first step was ordering the slider kits. The adjusting bar will be more visible than the original adjusting arm, But we like that you adjust the seat by pulling up on the bar in the center of the seat rather than on one side. We were pleased with the quality of construction and the operation of the sliders. The seat tracks have mounting holes that line up with the original ones (12.5″ on center).

Seat Slider Kit

Our next step was to cut some 1/8″ steel plate to form the pieces that will serve as the connectors between the original seat frame and the new slider mechanisms. They are roughly 18″ long by 3″ wide. We positioned them in place on the seat frames by utilizing the existing holes on the frames. We drilled holes in the plates to align with the seat frame holes and then mounted the plates on each side of the seat frames. With the steel plates in place we then welded the plates to the frames.

New Steel Mounting Plates Bolted to Frames

New Steel Mounting Plates Bolted to Frames

Next we installed 1/4″-28 rivnuts into the ends of the new seat slider tracks. The holes in the tracks needed to be enlarged ever so slightly. Now 1/4″-28 x 3/4″ hex head bolts will be used to mount the seat frames to the tracks.

Slider Track Rivnuts Installed

We noticed that the studs that are welded to the seat frames and are used to attach the seat back to the lower frame were in very bad shape. These were ground out with an angle grinder and new weld studs were welded in place. The nut and washer on each stud is used to hold the stud straight while being welded.

The video illustrates the process of repairing the frame studs, and installing the new seat slider tracks.

Seat Belt Harnesses

Upgrading to shoulder harnesses was a must, but unlike the belts we had in the car previously, we decided on retractable units this time around. We ordered our belts from BugeyeGuys.

Red Retractable Seat Belts

While we generally try to do everything we can to avoid drilling new holes in the Bugeye sheet metal, it is required for this installation. Four holes in the interior floor and two holes in the rear wheel wells.

Seat belt mounting holes

Shoulder Harness Retractor Holes

 

This is a brief video showing the installed belts:

https://vimeo.com/942791115/4a83c628a8?share=copy

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Sealing and Paint

The time has come for painting the Bugeye!

Color and Painter Selection

The short list for paint colors included Nevada Beige, Old English White and Cotswold Blue. The Nevada Beige and Old English White were factory colors available for the Sprite in 1959. The Cotswold Blue is period correct in that it was available at the time, but not for Austin-Healey Sprites. Slightly different variations of Cotswold Blue were used on Jaguars, Triumphs, Rovers and perhaps some other makes. We zeroed in on the Jaguar paint code as produced by Glasurit. Glasurit Line 22 was the single stage urethane topcoat paint used originally we believe. We will be using Glasurit 55 which is a basecoat/clearcoat urethane system.

This was a data sheet we located on the Austin-Healey Experience Forum.  It provided information on the Jaguar version of the paint:

Cotswold Blue Glasurit codes

This is the actual paint that we used:

Glasurit Cotswold Blue 55

We are hoping that the end result will look similar to the Jaguar XK 140 below:

1957 Jaguar XK-140 Cotswold Blue

The next task was to find a painter. Unfortunately, Jeremy Turner who painted the Bloody Beast is a long way away in Virginia. By way of word-of-mouth we located Gabor Fodor in Sarasota who has his own painting business. As with Jeremy, Gabor owns a one person operation which appealed to us. We put a call out to the Paradise Coast Austin-Healey Club membership to see if anyone had a truck and closed trailer who was willing to help us get the Bugeye to Gabor’s shop. Amazingly four members immediately offered to assist. Gary Cox arrived at the house on March 5, 20024 and we delivered the Bugeye to Gabor that morning. Thank you Gary!

Undercoating Protection

The underside of the Bugeye is in such great shape and looks so good that we did not want to cover the surface with undercoating, but we did want to add some protection against road rash in the wheel arches. We considered Raptor Bed Liner but after consulting with Jeremy we decided to use a product called Rock-It XC made by SEM. This is the data sheet with instructions for the product: Rock-It XC Data Sheet Instructions

Rock-IT XC

Gabor did a great job of masking off the area to be treated and then applied a sealer to the body before spraying the Rock-It XC.

Masking for Rock-It 1

Masking for Rock-It 2

Masking for Rock-It 3

The Rock-It XC product can either be sprayed on as black and left that way or it can be top coated with the body color if you like. However, it can also be purchased in a tintable mix with directions on how much paint color to add to the product to achieve the desired effect. We went with the tintable version and will just have to wait and see how well it matches up with the body color. By adjusting the air pressure in the application gun one can also vary the texture of the product on the surface. We chose heavy smooth which calls for 65 psi in the gun. We are very pleased with the results. The last shot below shows the texture.

Front Inner Fender

Front Inner Wing 2

Rear Inner Fender

Heavy Smooth Texture

Seam Sealer and Sealer

The next job Gabor undertook was seam sealing in the interior. We used a urethane 3M seam sealer for this. Here are a few of the images after the seam sealer was applied:

Front Interior Seam Sealer

Rear Interior Seam Sealer

This is the sealer we are using before paint:

Sealer

Boot Sealer

Interior Floor Sealer

Front Interior sealer

Interior Paint

Rear Interior

Rear Interior 2

Front Interior

Front Interior 2

Exterior Sealer and Paint

Two months to the day after taking the chassis/rear body to Gabor for final bodywork, prep and painting the car exterior received sealer, color and clear coat. The car will now cure for about a week and will then be sanded before two more coats of clear are applied.

Sealer before paint

Gabor with the Sealed Body

 

Body Paint 1 5-8-24

Body Paint 2 5-8-24

Body Paint 3 5-8-24

Body Paint 1 5-8-24

In the bright sun the Cotswold Blue paint looks so different!

Cotswold Blue in the Sun

As the painting progresses more narrative and images will follow….

 

Carburetor Swap to HIF 44

The Bugeye originally had 1 1/4″ twin SU carburetors. We upgraded to twin 1 1/2″ HS2 carbs shortly after purchasing the car. With the current restoration we are going to try a single 1 3/4″ HIF44 carb. We hope to attain equal performance without the need to balance twin carbs. The single HIF carb was routinely used on Minis with essentially the same engine. The HIF 44 is SU’s most modern carb of the period. The float bowl is integrated into the bottom of the carb body rather than a separate float bowl as with the HS2s. 

Using the HIF carb requires the use of an appropriate heat shield with integrated securing points for the throttle and choke cables. I ordered this one https://www.ebay.com/itm/163969687994  not only is it polished stainless, it also provides an angled extension under the bottom of the carb (where the float bowl is located) to provide a little extra heat protection. This is a very nice piece.

Modified stainless HIF 44 Heat Shield

 A custom intake manifold is also required on the Bugeye. Sourced from Maniflow in the UK. This manifold lowers the carb so that it will not foul against the bonnet.

Maniflow 1 3/4″ Intake Manifold Jet-Hot Coated

After purchasing the HIF44 we sent it to A.C. Dodd in the UK to have him modify it slightly. The biggest change was converting the unit from manifold vacuum to ported vacuum. Bugeye Restoration Video Episode Fifty-nine reviews the features of the HIF 44 and explains the modifications made to it by A.C. Dodd to prepare it for use in the Bugeye.

https://vimeo.com/924772088/d53a91b278?share=copy

Episode Fifty-nine includes the following content:

0:05 – HIF 44 carb documentation

0:45 – Applications of the HIF 44 carb in other cars

1:37 – HIF 44 carb needle

2:20 – Manifold and Ported vacuum

2:26 – HIF 44 Carb heat shield

2:32 – Maniflow intake manifold

2:50 – Choke cable retaining clip

3:23 – A.C. Dodd HIF 44 modifications

5:33 – HIF 44 Hose fitting legend

5:39 – HIF 44 Throttle and choke cable connections 

Setting up the HIF 44 for initial running is really quite simple. (more info to follow shortly!)

HIF 44 Carburetor (RH Side)

HIF 44 Carburetor (LH side)

Setting the fuel mixture is the first step. This is accomplished by turning the fuel mixture screw shown in the image above. The image below shows the proper level of the jet:

HIF 44 Proper Jet Height for Start-up

Turning the adjustment screw to the left will lean out the mixture by raising the jet thereby letting less fuel enter the manifold. Turning it to the right will enrich the mixture. This screw should only be adjusted to effect a change in the idle. It should not be adjusted  to improve the drivability of the car at speed.

The fast idle, or choke, is set by adjusting the fast idle screw against the cam. The images below show the proper setting. The fast idea screw is turned down until it just touches the throttle lever. Once in that position it can be turned down one full turn. A feeler gauge with .018 blades is then inserted between the fast idle screw and the throttle lever. The choke lever is then rotated to line up with the center of the throttle adjusting screw. This is achieved by turning the adjusting screw until it just touches the arrow.

HIF 44 Adjusting the Choke

A small spring clip is used to secure the choke cable end fitting to the heat shield choke bracket. It is a friction fit and is just pressed down over the end of the cable ferrule.

HIF 44 Choke Cable Clip

A two piece cable stop is used to secure the choke cable to the choke lever:

HIF 44 Choke Cable Stop

 We also decided to improve air flow into the carb by installing an aluminum stub stack sourced from M.E.D. Engineering in the UK.

MED Stub Stack

Their site describes the billet stub stack this way:

The MED aluminum stub stacks have been extensively tested on our 110 Superflow flow bench to optimise the elliptical radius on the stub stack. The result is improved air flow to the carburettor/throttle body and a proven increase in performance – on a wide range of different engines and rolling roads.

The stub stack is temporarily mounted in this photo. Eventually the K&N air filter back plate will be installed first with the stub stack mounted inside the filter assembly.

Stub stack temporary installation

Much of the tuning of the HIF 44 carb is accomplished through needle adjustment, spring choice and variations in damper oil weight. Our carb came with a BFY spring loaded needle. Upon initial running (but before we have connected an AFR gauge) the engine seemed to run well at higher rpm but lugged a bit at idle and required the use of the choke for longer than expected. We wondered if the BFY needle was the cause of insufficient fueling at idle, so we decided to try a BDL needle. 

The .100″ jet needles (the middle needle below) are measured in 16 increments:

Needle Metering Increments

The following chart depicts the difference between the BFY Needle and the BDL Needle. As can be seen, the needles are very similar. The only differences are in positions 2,3,4 and 5. This should leave us with a slightly richer condition at idle and maintain the same fuel condition in the higher rpm range. Hopefully we will not need as much choke this time. Additional running will tell us if we have improved our running at idle or not.

BFY and BDL Needle Comparison

Finally, we are using a K&N Cone-type air filter for the carburetor. We sourced this one from Moss Motors:

K&N Air Filter

K&N Filter Packaging

 

 

 

Powerspark Electronic Distributor

We previously used a Crane Fireball electronic ignition module in conjunction with the original Lucas 25D. We had the distributor rebuilt and recurved based on our engine modifications by Jeff Schlemmer at Advanced Distributor, However, after some research and discussion with A. C. Dodd, a U.K. “A series” engine tuner we decided to make a wholesale conversion to modern technology and purchased a Powerspark Lucas 45D Distributor. The Lucas 45D distributor replaced the 25D in 1975.

Powerspark manufactures the new distributor casting from an original Lucas model, so it visually appears like the original. The distributor is available in a number of variations. We selected a negative ground high energy model with Powerspark’s electronic ignition module with vacuum advance and top entry cap referred to as D5.

Powerspark 45D with Cap

The distributor is a variable dwell design and the electronic module is capable of three times the spark of their standard sport module. This unit uses a non-ballasted .8 ohms coil and is not suitable for use with copper leads so we have used Cobalt carbon leads sourced from Moss Motors.

This YouTube video by A.C. Dodd does a nice job of explaining the desirability of transitioning to a modern electronic ignition distributor:https://youtu.be/nHOQzi-Je1I?si=NehsJxJQ6vHdZg1Z

At the same time that A. C. Dodd was modifying our new HIF 44 carburetor, we had him recurve our Powerspark dizzy to suit the modifications made to our engine. The unit is now set to reach maximum advance at 3,800 rpm.

We also decided to go with the Viper dry resin high energy .8 ohm coil sold by Powerspark.

Viper Dry Resin High Energy .8 ohm Coil

Headlight Fitting

Before painting the body, we checked to make sure that the headlights and flashers fit correctly. The only change we made from the original was the use of a spring clip at the bottom of the outside chrome trim ring rather then the use of a self-tapping screw. MGs and perhaps later Sprites introduced the spring clip improvement. This makes for a much easier installation and removal of the trim ring which must be done when aligning the headlights for road use. Everything was cleaned, painted or polished and new rubber gaskets and dust excluders were used.

Bugeye Restoration Video Episode Fifty-eight shows the incremental process of installing the headlight assemblies: https://vimeo.com/916270590/1a203247b5?share=copy

JWR Bugeye Wiring Diagrams

We prefer to use an unconventional approach to diagramming the Bugeye’s wiring. We like to use photographic images to help the eye quickly identify the subject one is looking to find.

The wiring is depicted in three different ways: The first depicts the wiring as connections from the fuse box wiring positions 1- 34; the second shows the wiring according to the electrical device such as a light switch or the alternator, and the third shows the wiring based on the connector to which a wire is assigned.

With an I-phone or I-pad one is able to easily enlarge sections of a diagram with just a “pinch” of the screen, making diagnosing a problem on the side of the road a much simpler proposition when compared to the old days.

These will likely need some updating as we complete the wiring to the front and rear of the car, but changes should be minor.

JWR Bugeye Power Distribution to Fuse Box

JWR Bugeye Electrical Wiring by Component

JWR Bugeye Deutsch Connectors Wiring