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


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

Rebuilt Front Suspension Installed in the Car

It seems that we have been working on rebuilding and installing the front suspension for a very long time, but in this post the suspension and front brake components are finally reinstalled in the car.

We attached the lower “A” arm to the hub assembly. This involves positioning the king pin between two cork washers and screwing the fulcrum pin into the “A” arm the outer bushing, through the king pin and into the other side of the “A” arm.

Screwing fulcrum pin into “A” arm and king pin

The fulcrum pin needs to be centered in the king pin with the concave curve in the pin open such that the cotter pin (with one flat side) can be inserted into the king pin and pushed through the fulcrum pin so that a nut can be attached to the lower end of the cotter pin. This process is covered in the attached video.

Cotter pin in place

After going through that process we discovered that the steel bushes in the used “A” arms were completely knackered with way too much play and we had to order a new pair. The “a” arms are available from British Heritage and are supposed to be as original, however, they are very expensive. A lower priced aftermarket “A” arm, produced in the UK, is also available and contributors to the on-line Sprite Forum reported that these units are satisfactory. So, we ordered a pair of these from AH Spares and repeated the process of mounting the hub assembly to the “A” arm!

After market “A” arm and new coils spring

One side of the “A” arm outer bushing was already capped, but the other side required a screwed plug and grease zerk to be screwed into place.

“A” arm grease zerk fitting

The next step was to install the hub assembly and “A” arm (wishbone) to the car. While supporting  the weight of the hub assembly on a floor jack, the assembly was secured to the damper arm with the top fulcrum pin.

Supporting hub assembly to insert uppertrunbnion fulcrum pin

Like the lower pin, there is a concave spot on the shaft of the bolt through which the damper pinch bolt must align in order for the pinch bolt to screw into the damper arm. The top fulcrum pin is inserted from the rear through a new rear poly bush, pushed through the upper trunnion, and then through the front poly bushing before passing through the damper arm where it is then secured with a castle nut and split pin.

Upper Trunnion bolt washers and poly bushes

Upper Hub Assembling Mounting


The Upper Trunnion sits atop a thrust washer on the swivel axle. Two small shims are placed on the king pin below the thrust washer and upper trunnion before they are placed on the top of the king pin. After the upper trunnion is in place a nylock nut is used to tighten the swivel axle assembly. At this point we have the hub assembly secured at its top. We did not tighten the upper trunnion until after we mounted the lower “A” arm to the car.

New poly bushes were mounted on either side of the inside of the “A” arm and using a combination of a floor jack and a bottle jack the inside of the “A” arm was pushed into place so the the inner fulcrum pins could be pushed through and secured with nylock nuts. These won’t be tightened until we have the weight of the car on the ground.

With everything mounted properly it was time to tighten nuts and bolts. The top trunnion nut was torqued to 40 ft. lbs. If the rotation of the hub (front to back) is too tight a shim is added, if there is too much play a shim is removed.

We then tightened the two bolts that secure the caliper to the swivel axle. These are tightened to 46 ft. lbs. The tab washers under the bolt heads will be turned up at a later date. The steering arm bolts were torqued to 39 ft. lbs. The tab washers under the bolt heads will be turned up at a later date. Finally, the three mounting bolts on each damper were torqued to 27 ft. lbs.

Everything buttoned up

The next step was to install the front coil springs. The spring seats, or pans, were removed  from the “A” arm. The spring was then placed on the spring seat and pushed upward through the “A” arm wishbone. Compressed springs can be very dangerous and consequently we choose to use long threaded rods to safely compress the springs.

We prepared four 5/16″ – 18 “all-thread” rods by cutting each to six inch lengths. Double nuts were placed on the top of the rods and tightened against one another. Coupling nuts were used on the top and bottom to make the nuts more accessible to turn with a wrench. Flat washers were also used between the spring seat and the nuts.

The nuts were gradually tightened until the spring was compressed and the spring seat was tight against the “A” arm. Then, one at a time, the long rods were loosened and replaced with 5/16″-24 x 3/4″ hex head bolts and nylock nuts.

Coil spring installed

1 1/8″ wooden spacer block to simulate normal hub height

We will still need to bend back tab washers, lubricate the grease zerks and tighten the inner “A” arm fulcrum pins, tighten the hub nut and insert its split pin and install the grease caps. But, these are all little steps to be accomplished later. The big stuff is done.

Bugeye Restoration Video Episode Thirty-four addresses the joining of the hub assembly with the lower “A” arm (wishbone) and the the installation of the combined assembly to the car.

The following steps are addressed in the video:

0:00 – Lower “A” arm installed to king pin and swivel axle

1:18 – Outer fulcrum pin, cotter pin and grease fitting installed

2:29 – Excessive play discovered in old “A” arms

4:00 – Lower coil spring pans installed in “A”arms

4:30 – Hub assembly and “A” arms installed in car

5:00 – Poly bushes installed in inner “A” arm and then to car

5:53 – Damper pinch bolt and upper fulcrum pin

6:52 – Torqueing the caliper, steering arms, and damper bolts

7:24 – Coil spring installation with “all-thread” rods


Front Brakes, Pedal Box and Steering Rack

Brake Pipes – Sometimes as one proceeds with working on the major systems of the car parts just get in the way! We are installing the modified Sebring-style pedal box with separate Girling master cylinders and that requires bending a new brake pipe with a different configuration from the original. To form the new pipe and trial fit it to the car we found it easier to remove the windscreen washer pump located on the firewall and to loosen the wiper motor mounting as well. “Easier” is a relative term! Not exactly easy to get to the nuts on the inside of the firewall to release the pump.

Easy is a relative term

Using the brake pipe supplied in the Bugeye brake pipe kit that has pipe cut to length with fittings installed for the pipe from the master cylinder to the pipe union proved to be a little too short so we have ordered some extra 3/16″ pipe from FedHill. The short pipe was used to go ahead and make the pipe bends that will become a model for the FedHill pipe when it arrives. 

We then went ahead and bent the pipe for the route from the union to the RH front wheel and the pipe from the union to the LH front wheel. The LH pipe runs over the front chassis crossmember and is held in place with two brake clips.

Crossmember brake pipe clips (2)

LH and RH front brake pipes at Union

To make sure that we did not end up with a conflict between the pipe and the steering rack we went ahead and temporarily installed the steering rack. Permanent installation will occur a little later.

At the front of the car the hard pipe attaches to a clip on the chassis where it is joined by a flexible black stainless steel Goodridge hose. The other end of the hose then screws into the brake caliper.

Brake hose to Brake pipe chassis clips

The brake pipe that runs from the union to the back of the car was removed, but we will wait until the engine and transmission are removed from the car to shape and install the pipe. There just isn’t enough room to maneuver to install the new pipe with the engine in the car. All of the original pipe was removed from the car and stored away just in case we need it in the future. The pipe may be ultimately tossed away but we will keep all of the end fittings.

Brake Pads – We had ordered new Gold Cup brake pads from Moss Motors only to discover that they were just slightly too thick, preventing a good fit in the new calipers. We ordered a set of EBC pads and like Cinderella, found that they were just right. These were installed with new spring retainers and split pins. We won’t bend the pins back yet.

EBC Brake Pads

New calipers, EBC brake pads, Retaining Springs and Pins

Installing the new steering rack acquired from AH Spares proved to be a simple job. The lower brackets were installed on the car with the three 5/16″ – 24 x 3/4″ bolts for each bracket. We have new shims to install in the cradle of the brackets but we aren’t going to install them now. We will wait to use the shims when the final installation on the car is accomplished after paint. After the brackets are mounted to the chassis, the rack can be lifted into place and the top brackets can be screwed into place. We left everything loose until the steering column and the steering rack were mated and the pinch bolt installed. Then everything was tightened down. The steering rack clamp bolts were torqued to 20 ft lbs. The steering rack mounting bolts were torqued to 17 ft. lbs. The steering column pinch bolt was torqued to 10 ft. lbs.

The Sebring-style pedal box was reinstalled with its proper foam gasket. The gasket doesn’t align perfectly and required some manipulation. We decided to glue the gasket/seal to the pedal box but used no adhesive between the seal and the car. Ten 1/4″ – 28 x 5/8″ stainless steel hex bolts and flat washers are used to secure the box to the car. 

Because the Sprite was manufactured to be set up as either a LH or RH drive, there is an opening in the chassis sub-structure for a pedal box on the RH side of the car. We fit a new pedal box blanking plate and gasket to this location to make sure everything fit but then removed them so they would not be damaged. The blanking plate uses only eight 1/4″ – 28 x 5/8″ bolts. We will install again after paint. While cleaning the area for the new blanking plate we discovered the original Cherry Red paint used on the car. Just a fun fact.

Original paint discovered

Blanking Plate Installed

The rebuilt front dampers were bolted in place in preparation for the installation of the front suspension. Each damper is secured with three 3/8″ – 24 bolts into captive nuts in the chassis.

Our next step will be to install the refurbished/new front suspension and brakes.

The Episode Thirty-three video includes the windscreen washer pump removal and the beginning of the brake pipe replacement with new conifer hard pipe. The rebuilt front dampers are installed along with the black Goodridge stainless steel brake hoses that connect the brake pipes to the calipers.The steering rack is temporarily installed and the EBC “green stuff” brake pads are installed in the front calipers. The steering rack is connected to the steering wheel shaft. The pedal box with its insulation seal are installed as is the new blanking plate and seal for the RH drive pedal box hole. The car’s original paint color is discovered.

The following steps are addressed in the video:

0:00 – Windscreen washer pump removal

0:20 – New brake pipe from the master cylinder to the brake pipe union

0:57 – New brake pipe from the pipe union to the front caliper

1:10 – RH front damper installed

2:18 – Goodridge stainless steel flexible brake hose installed from the hard pipe to the caliper

2:30 – LH front damper installed

2:45 – Brake pipe installed from the union to the LH front caliper

4:05 – Temporary installation of the steering rack

4:30 – Brake pipe from union to the rear axle

4:45 – Rear brake pipe connection to the flexible hose and routing under the car

6:10 – EBC front caliper brake pads installed

7:35 – Steering rack connection to the steering column

8:30 – Pedal box and seal/gasket install

10:45 – Pedal box blanking plate installation

11:00 – Original Cherry Red paint discovery

Front Hub Assemblies and Brakes

Continuing with the front suspension rebuild, we assembled the swivel pins (stub axles) to the hubs and brake rotors. New king pins were installed in the axles after new bushings were fitted and reamed. New grease zerks were fit and poly bushes were installed in the upper trunnion.

Front Suspension
Front suspension Components

We did a fair amount of research regarding the proper ball bearings to use for the Sprite/Midget front suspension. Bearings from the usual British parts suppliers don’t seem to completely replicate the original bearings used as manufactured. A British supplier, Ransome and Marles, does sell the original ball bearings. They are pricey, but in this case the quality and value seem worth the price. Proper fit and tight tolerances are important! The bearings came with a new oil seal as well. We packed the bearings with high quality bearing grease and installed them in the hubs and then installed the oil seals.

Front Hub assembly
R&M Bearings and Lucas Bearings Comparison

We then secured the new brake rotors to the hubs with the original four bolts and torqued each to 40 ft. lbs. The brake dust shields must be attached to the swivel axles with the one hex bolt before the hub and rotor are slipped onto the swivel axle.

Dust Shields Installed

Once the hub and rotor and the swivel axle are mated the tab washer can be installed on the axle followed by the castle nut. The nut is then torqued to 46 ft. lbs and then rotated clockwise until the hole in the axle lines up with an opening in the castle nut. A cotter pin can then be inserted and bent back although we will wait to bend the pin until the hub assemblies are actually on the car.

Tab washer on stub axle
Hub Assemblies


The new brake calipers sourced from Moss Motors were then installed on the hub assembly. As the accompanying video shows, the two 7/16″ bolts that secure the calipers to the assembly pass through the locking tab washer, the brake hose locating bracket, the dust shield, the caliper and then into the swivel axle. These bolts are torqued to 50 ft. lbs. Again, we will wait to bend back the tab washer until the hub assemblies are on the car.

The proper steering arms were then fastened to the hub assembly along with a tab washer that will be bent back later.

Calipers Installed on Hub assemblies

Classic Gold brake pads purchased from Moss Motors were installed into the calipers along with shims. The shims were coated with a Permatex lubricant designed for this purpose. The pads are extremely tight against the rotor. We tried releasing the bleeder valve and pushing back the pistons but this did not rectify the problem.

Brake caliper with classic gold pads

Some EBC green pads were ordered to see if they might fit better. 

The Episode 32 video shows the process of the hub and brake assembly:

0:00 – New king pins in swivel axles

0:25 – Axle grease zerks and poly bushes in the upper trunnion

1:10 – Ransome and Marles ball bearings on axle

2:10 – Bearings installation

2:43 – Packing bearings with grease

4:20 – Tapping bearings into the hub and installing the spacer

6:50 – Install oil seals in hub

7:05 – Brake rotors fastened to the hub

7:40 – Dust shield installation

8:20 – Tab washer installation on axle shaft

8:42 – Castle nut on axle shaft torqued to 46 ft. lbs.

9:10 – Brake calipers, brake hose brackets, tab washers installed

11:10 – Steering arms with tab washers installed

11:40 – Classic Gold brake pads and shims installed


Heater Blower, Fuel Pump Bracket, Washer Bottle and Bracket Removal

We have yet to decide if the heater will be retained in the restored car. Living in southern Florida makes the heater unnecessary, so we may just carefully store the blower and heater box with matrix away for safe keeping to be used at a later date. So, we removed the heater blower and documented the heater blower wiring.

The Old Fuel Pump Mounting Bracket Removed

Smiths Heater Blower Removed

The heater air-flow control cable is disconnected and the dash heater control switch is described in the accompanying video.

Heater and Fresh Air Control Cable

Since the SU fuel pump has been relocated to the rear of the car, the “under bonnet” fuel pump bracket is removed.

The Old Fuel Pump Mounting Bracket Removed

Fuel Pump Bracket

We won’t be needing the brake lights so the pressure switch wiring is documented and disconnected.

Brake Pressure Switch Wiring

The wiper motor mounts are loosened to allow a slight shifting of the motor to make it a bit easier to install the new “Sebring-type” pedal box and finally, the washer bottle with its bracket are removed.

Windscreen Washer Bottle and Bracket Removed

The Episode Thirty-one video shows the actions related to the items above:

The following steps are addressed in the video:

0:24 – Heater Blower removal

1:00 – Heater Blower wiring

1:35 – Fuel Pump bracket removal

1:48 – Wiring harness to the front of the car

2:14 – Heater control switch and air flow control cable removal

3:15 – Brake pressure switch and wiring

3:55 – Wiper motor mounts

4:15 – Washer bottle and bracket removal


Horns, Air Intake, Steering Rack, Pedal Box Removal

This post covers the cleaning of the horns, the fresh air intake, the RH radiator brace and the old steering rack. A comparison of the old and new steering racks is made. The pedal box assembly with the single dual chamber master cylinder is removed from the car. New aluminum polished pedal covers are installed on the pedals of the new dual master “Sebring-type” pedal box. The replacement of the brake hydraulic pipes is begun with the removal of the pipe from the master cylinder to the brake pipe union.

The Hella horns were cleaned and the wiring checked out:

Horn with Mounting Bracket

Horn with wiring

Cleaned Horns

Fresh Air Intake Cleaned:

Fresh Air Intake

RH Radiator Brace

The original twin chamber master cylinder and pedal box were removed:

Twin Chamber 3/4″ Master Cylinder

Original Pedal Box and Push Rods

To be replaced with a “Sebring-Type” pedal box with separate 3/4″ master cylinders. New aluminum drilled and polished pedal covers were installed on the brake and clutch pedals:

Sebring-Type Pedal Box with Separate Master Cylinders

Aluminum Pedal Covers


This Video Episode Thirty shows the content described above:

The following steps are addressed in the video:

1:30 – Cleaning the horns, fresh air intake, RH radiator brace, and old steering rack. 

3:40 – Brake/Clutch master cylinder (Sebring-Type)

5:13 – Pedal Box removal

5:35 – Installation of new aluminum pedal brake and clutch pedal covers

6:08 – Removal of brake pipe from master cylinder to brake union

Front Suspension Chassis Clean-up and Further Disassembly

Steering Rack – Our next step is to remove the steering rack. We are going to replace the old rack with a new one from AH Spares. The tie rod ends were previously disconnected from the steering arms so this was just a matter of disconnecting the steering columns and removing the two aluminum brackets that secure the rack assembly to the chassis crossbar. To get to the rack we did have to remove the coolant overflow tank from the LH inner finder valance that was fastened to the inner fender with 1/4″ – 28 x 1/2″ hex head bolts and nuts.

Coolant Expansion Tank

The steering column was then disconnected from the steering rack by removing the special pinch bolt and nut from the column. Note that the bolt fits through the indentation groove in the steering shaft.

Steering column Pinch Bolt to Rack

Steering column pinch bolt

The steering rack brackets are aluminum and consist of a lower piece with a cap. Once the caps were removed, the steering rack assembly could be lifted away.

LH Steering Rack Bracket

RH Steering Rack Bracket

Steering rack bracket caps

LH Steering Rack Lower Bracket

RH Steering Rack Lower Bracket

On a left hand drive car, there is supposed to be a shim on the lower right hand bracket and we did find that to be in place. To our surprise there were two aluminum shims on the left hand lower bracket. These were apparently installed to compensate for the damage to the chassis crossbar. This will need to be investigated further at a later time.

RH Steering Rack bracket with one steel shim

LH Steering Rack Bracket with two aluminum shims

With most of the front suspension components removed and out of the way, it is time to clean up the front of the chassis and get rid of the grease and grime. This looks much better than it did!

Cleaned Chassis crossmember

Video Episode Twenty-nine shows the removal of parts and the clean-up of the front of the chassis. The front shocks, the steering rack and its mounting brackets are removed. The rebuilt front shocks from World Wide Imports are received and painted. The fresh air intake and its mounting braces are removed. The horn wiring harness is disconnected from the horn relay and horns, and the horns are removed from the car. The location of the horn wiring harness clips is shown. Unfortunately, some damage to the front chassis is discovered and pointed out.

The following steps are addressed in the video:

0:00 – Front shock removal

0:20 – Steering rack removal

0:46 – Steering column pinch bolt

1:02 – Steering rack chassis brackets

2:25 – Steering rack chassis crossbar damage

3:20 – Rebuilt front shocks

4:33 – Front of chassis clean-up

5:35 – Fresh air intake removal

6:00 – Horn relay wiring and wiring harness

7:48 – Chassis/Inner finder brace removal

8:22 – Horn removal

9:12 – Horn wiring harness and clips

9:48 – Lights and electric radiator fan wiring harness

10:15 – Front of chassis clean-up complete

The front shocks were rebuilt by Jane and Peter Caldwell at World Wide Auto Parts. They do a great job with refurbishing the lever shocks. We are going to revert to these and give them a try before possibly reinstalling the front Bilstein tube shocks.

Rebuilt Front Lever Shocks

There are two wiring harnesses that run along the right inner fender valance. The smaller one is for the horn and the larger one is for the front lights and the electric radiator fan. The smaller horn harness is held in place by two “P” clips that are secured with Phillips head machine screws that are #10-32 x 1/2″ to captured nuts in the valance. 

Horn wiring harness

Horn wiring harness

The horn harness is routed to a relay with four wires. The dark red wire is connected to relay terminal 84, the blue wire is connected to terminal 87, the green/brown wire is connected to terminal 86 and the red wire to the horns is connected to terminal 30.

Horn Relay

Lower Horn

Horn Wiring Connections

There are two horns. The upper horn is mounted to the fresh air intake panel and the lower horn is mounted to the chassis via a bracket and two Phillips head #10-32 x 1/2″ machine screws. Power to the horns comes from the relay terminal 30 that feeds to a splitter with one red wire then routed to each horn. Each horn also has a black ground wire. 

The larger lights and fan harness is zip-tied to the RH inner fender brace. The air intake is also held in place with the brace.

Air Intake and Inner Fender Brace

Lights and Fan wiring harness

The inner fender brace is secured to the inner fender captured nuts with 1/4″ – 28 x 5/8″ hex head bolts. The bolts were removed as was the brace.

RH Inner fender brace

Removing components and cleaning unfortunately revealed chassis damage. The left front bonnet brace extension has been bent and the LH radiator upright has been previously repaired. These items will require attention later.

Damaged Chassis Bonnet Extension

Damaged Radiator Mount Upright

Previous Upright Damage Repair




RH Front Suspension Removal

Having completed the work on the refurbishment of the rear axle and suspension it is now time to turn to the front suspension. Our plan will be to remove and refresh or replace the suspension components on the right side of the car, then after building back the passenger side of the car we will go through the same process on the LH side. My car was converted to front disc brakes shortly after we purchased it around 1999.

Bugeye Front Suspension Components

The Episode Twenty-seven video shows the deconstruction and removal of the RH front suspension. The following steps are addressed in the video:

1:00 – The proper tie rods

1:45 – Draining and removal of radiator

4:00 – shock absorber removal

4:40 – Brake caliper removal and stowage

5:45 – Grease cap, split pin, castle nut, tab washer and brake rotor/hub removal

6:40 – Dust shield removal

7:20 – Upper Trunnion/bolt

8:00 – Coil spring, spring perch, and lower shock mounting plate removal, tie rod end separation

11:20 – Fulcrum bolts, washers and bushings

11:20 – Cotter pin, fulcrum pin and king pin removal from the “A” arm assembly

Now it is time to order some parts and clean and paint some of the components we will be reusing.

The RH suspension components that were not completely disassembled as they were removed from the car were dismantled on the work bench. All parts were cleaned and painted with POR 15. A hub puller was purchased and used to separate the brake rotor and hub.

Hub Puller

After the hub was separated from the brake rotor, the oil seal and bearings could be removed from the hub. New bearings and seals will be installed in the rebuild.

Video Episode Twenty-eight shows the completion of the dismantling process for the RH front suspension and the removal of the LH front suspension is begun.

The following steps are addressed in the video:

0:00 – Steering arm removal from the stub axle

1:05 – Spring dust tube

1:25 – Spring pan and bolts

1:45 – Upper Trunnion

2:00 – Hub separation from rotor

3:00 – Oil seal and bearing removal

3:38 – Bushing removal from the “A” arm

4:05 – Hub puller is used to separate hub and rotor

4:28 – Begin RH side front suspension removal





Engine Starting

Fire in the Hole! Well sort of. We have been working on getting this engine running for some time. The focus in this video is the ignition. We suspected that the distributor was installed 180 degrees out, so we pulled the distributor and its drive. We flipped the drive gear over so that the larger “half” was on the top and reinserted it into the housing. Reinstalled the distributor and connected the spark plug wires and fired it. The engine ran but was very rough with considerable knocking and banging around. Looks like the ignition issues may be corrected, so now it is time to turn our attention to the carburetors and the fuel side of things.

The 5/16″-24 x 3 1/2″ Bolt used to withdraw the distributor drive needs to be threaded into the drive dog BEFORE the black housing is removed! Also, attention needs to be paid to the proper replacement of the distributor mounting plate – the bolt head must face the front of the car – NOT the nut!

This video Episode Twenty-five provides a summary of the process of correcting the orientation of the distributor drive dog and the firing of the engine:

Carburetor Tuning – Video Episode Twenty-six covers the tuning of the HS2 SU carburetors on the Bugeye. We discovered that turning the jets down an equal number of turns on each carb did not produce equivalent results, so we instead measured the the depth of the jet from the bridge in each carb body. While we will surely do some more fine tuning, we ended the video with each of the jets down 2.5mm. The throttle adjusting screws were set to synchronize the two carbs using an air flow meter. The end result was pretty smooth idling and running with the idle at about 750 rpms. The exhaust is still a little uneven. We will put a timing gun on it before we are completely finished it to complete the tuning process.

HS2 Carb Adjustment

We found these instructions for HS2 tuning in the Haynes Repair Manual for the MG Midget/AH Sprite 1958-1980 to be very helpful:SU carb tuning-page-2

Interior Removal

This will be a gradual process, but we did begin the removal of the interior components. Most of the interior will be replaced with new parts, but we will save everything until the new pieces are installed near the end of this project.

The first action taken was to remove the shoulder harness mounting points for both seats. We will probably replace these with retractable belts when we are at that point in the rebuild.

Shoulder Harness Removal

Shoulder Harnesses

At :13 in the video Episode Twenty-Two summary the soft top frame stowage bracket is removed. Each bracket is held in place with three self-tapping sheet metal screws.

Soft Top Frame Stowage Bracket in Place

Soft Top Frame Stowage Bracket

Next was the removal of the rear shelf carpet and its securing snaps. The process begins at the 1:00 minute mark in the video.

Rear Shelf Carpet

At 1:25 minutes into the video, the rear upholstered quarter panels and hardura covered wheel wells are removed.

Quarter Panel and Wheel Cover removal

Because the hardura wheel covers are glued in place, they left quite a mess when removed. We will need to try some adhesive removal to clean the surfaces.

Hardura Residue at Wheel Wells

We discovered that the covers were originally red. A previous owner had dyed or painted them black.

Hardura Covers removed

Although not removed at this point, it was noted that the wiring harness to the rear of the car is routed through a hole in the frame that is covered by the rear quarter panel.

Wiring Harness Behind rear Quarter Panel


At 4:24 into the video, the RH side seat, seat rails and carpet are removed. Each seat rail is secured to the floor with two bolts into captive nuts.

RH seat, seat rail and carpet removal

There is a wooden packer piece between the carpet and the floor for each seat rail.

Wood Packing Pieces at the Seat Rails

The upholstered panel under the RH door was then removed. It was held in place with four self tapping oval head screws with cupped trim washers.

Upholstered Panel Under the RH Door

Episode Twenty-Two summarizes the removal of the interior components highlighted above.

RH Side Front Kick Panel  and Carpet – On November 17, while working on the final installation of the fuel delivery system it became necessary to remove the RH side front kick panel and front carpet. The kick panel was held in place by three self-tapping oval head chrome screws with cup washers and the two slotted screws that hold the door check strap in place. Once the fasteners were removed the kick panel was lifted out of the car exposing the wiring harness that is routed to the rear of the car.

The carpet was held in place with two floor snaps at the top of the carpet.

Video Episode Twenty-four summarizes the removal of these components:

RH front kick panel

RH Side Front Carpet



Propshaft, Axle and Fuel Tank Install

Axle Install – This process has taken longer than expected but it is now time to reinstall the prop shaft, the rear axle, the new fuel tank and to connect the fuel delivery lines. Installing the prop shaft can be a bit of a struggle because of the flexible front yoke, but it was much easier with the axle and fuel tank out of the way. A clear look at the target (rear of the gearbox) is possible with the axle out of the way. The Episode Twenty video shows the quick job of the prop shaft install:

Details of the installation process of these components is provided below. However, the Episode Twenty-One video also summarizes the installation:

Before reinstalling the axle into the car, we needed to install the axle brake pipe securing straps to the axle housing. These were not on the car when we acquired it, but the brass straps, which are very similar to the original straps, can be purchased from Moss motors. These are easy to install. One first loops the strap around the brake pipe and then around the axle housing. There is one for each side of the axle.

Brake Pipe Axle Straps

Axle Straps Installed

Garage assistant Fiona, using the floor jack, lifted the rear axle and pushed it forward under the car.

Axle on Floor Jack

After a little manipulation we were able to put the special bolts for the spring eyes and for the radius arms into position and secure with nylock nuts. Works best to install the radius arm bolts first, then leaf spring eye bolts. Nothing was tightened completely and won’t be until the car is on the ground.

Axle in Place

Connecting Axle to Suspension

We were then able to install the prop shaft spacer onto the end of the unit and attached it to the rear differential with grade 8 5/16” x 24 x 1 1/2” bolts with nylock nuts.

Prop shaft spacer

Just so we wouldn’t forget we went ahead and tightened the axle assembly nuts to 140 foot pounds of torque. We then bent the tab washer down over one facet of the nut.

Axle Nut Torqued to 140 ft. lbs.

Locking Tab Washer Folded Over the Nut

Bilstein Shock Install – Our next step is to install the rear Bilstein tube shocks. The lower mounting bolts are ⅜”-24 with 9/16” hex heads. Note the spacer on the lower mount must be in the hole properly before tightening down the assembly. With the original leaf springs we had the lower mount bolt head closest to the springs and the nut closest to the differential,  however, with these new springs the shackle for the springs conflicts with the bolt and makes it almost impossible to insert it into the mounting point. So we just switched the direction.

Lower Shock Mount

Upper Shock Mount

Rebound Straps – Next, is the installation of the rear axle rebound straps. New straps from Moss Motors are used. The top bolt is a ⅜”-24 x 1 ¼”. The lower mount is a ⅜”-24 stud affixed to the axle casing.

New Rebound Straps

New Rebound Straps Installed

Hub Seals – After bending down the locking washer tab on the axle nut, a new rubber “O” ring was pressed into its hub cavity.

Rubber “O” ring Installed in Hub

Followed by the paper gasket which was coated with Permatex high tack gasket sealant on both sides before installing the axle half shaft. This sealant was recommended by Mini Mania and was used in their YouTube video of the Sprite rear axle assembly.

Permatex Sealant

Paper gasket installed with Permatex High Tach on both sides

We then installed the axle half shaft and quickly screwed in one of the countersunk pozi drive screws into the axle hub.

Axle Half-shaft Installed

Brake Drum – We then installed the brake drum and screwed in two of the pozi drive screws through the brake drum into the axle half shaft and the hub. Those screws were tightened as tight as possible and then we installed four hub nuts on the hub studs and tightened those. I could then re-tighten the two screws. That should give us a good seal.

Brake Hubs Installed

That completed the axle work for the time being so we reinstalled the fuel tank being careful to connect the power wire to the fuel tank sender. This was a quick and easy job.

Fuel Pipe – We then installed the fuel pick up line from the front of the tank over the axle and to the new location for the SU fuel pump.

Fuel Pipe from Tank to Pump

Fuel Pipe to Pump

Reconnect handbrake cable at rear axle, fill rear Differential with oil and install fuel tank filler pipe – We reconnected the handbrake cable in the same position that it was prior to disassembly. 15/16″ of threads showing. We will ultimately replace the handbrake cable with a new one, so this is just temporary and of course we will need to adjust the shoes in the brakes and then adjust the handbrake tension.

Handbrake Cable Connection to Lever

Thread Runout on Handbrake Cable

We then filled the rear differential with just under 1 quart of MT 90 gear oil. The Red Line MT 90 product is a 75W – 90 synthetic G4 gear oil. We used a syringe to push the oil into the filler plug hole until it just starts to drip out of the hole then installed the filler plug

Red Line MT-90

Fuel Tank Filler Pipe Install – As stated previously, the original fuel tank for the Bugeye had the filler pipe welded to the tank as one piece. The Bugeyeguy supplied fuel tank has a separate filler pipe which is joined to the tank with a rubber collar and two hose clamps.

Fuel Filler Pipe, Rubber Sleeve and Clamps

Fuel Filler Pipe Installed

We were finally able to get the car off the jack stands and onto the ground. Now it is time to move to the front suspension.

Finally, Back on its Tires

Finishing Up the fuel delivery and Suspension – We got the Bugeye up on the lift on November 17 to make it easy to tighten all of the fasteners associated with the rear suspension. We also added a fuel filter in the hose from the fuel tank to the fuel pump.

Hastings Fuel Filter GF160

Fuel Filter, Pump and hoses

Video Episode Twenty-three shows the work done in finishing the suspension and fuel delivery systems:

Temporary power to the fuel pump – We will address a permanent solution to routing an electrical wire to the fuel pump when we work on a new wiring harness. As a temporary solution to test the fuel delivery system to the carburetors, we simply ran a wire from the switched side of the fuse panel, through the firewall, along the RH seat rail and through the seat belt bolt hole in the interior floor to the fuel pump. To accomplish this we went ahead and removed the RH side front interior kick panel and front carpet.