Chapter 40 Restoration Assembly, Week Seven 1/29/2007

Work on the Bloody Beast was restricted to the weekend. Attention was given to the steering components of the car.

The steering idler and the steering box, along with the aluminum spacers were installed and penrite oil was used to fill the idler. The steering box will be filled later. The tie rods and the cross rod were also installed to the steering levers and the cross rod was adjusted to bring the front wheels into eye-ball (not measured) alignment. 

Steering Idler 1

Steering Box 3

Steering Assembly

The rubber ball joint dust covers that came with the new tie rods were cracking even before they were on the car. Others suggested that Hyundai rubber ball joint dust covers, part # 56828-21010 would fit and were of higher quality so I gave them a try. Korean parts on a sixties british car – go figure.

Tie Rod Dust Seals 2

The steering bracket and steering column support clamp were affixed. The clamp was installed in the third hole from the top of the bracket as it was in the original assembly. All mounting bolts were left loose until the dash fascia is installed to determine proper alignment through the steering shaft hole in the dash.

Steering Bracket 2

The radiator brackets were installed and then attention was turned to completing more of the electrical work under the dash. To protect accessory electrical functions I am adding (modern heater, accessory power supply, sound system, interior lighting, etc.), I added a supplementary fuse block mounted on the air chamber behind the dash. It was available from Victoria British, Accessory Fuse Block.pdf Painless Performance Products, #70103 Cirkit Boss/3 Circuit. A wiring diagram is available on the .pdf link. I used the pink wire to the main fuse block on the firewall, the yellow wire for the 2 speed heater, the blue wire for the amplifier, and the purple wire for the accessory power supply (cigar lighter).

Accessory Fuse Panel

Chapter 39 Restoration Assembly, Week Six 1/22/2007

Absolutely nothing accomplished this week other than receiving my rebuilt oil pump. Jack Brashear, fellow Healey owner, had new shafts, and gears put in my pump. I just decided I would rather rebuild the original than mess with a new one. We will see how it works out. Special thanks to Jack! 

Chapter 38 Restoration Assembly, Week Five 1/15/2007

The schedule of the week did not afford much time for car restoration. In fact, nothing was accomplished on the car throughout the work week! Saturday did permit a resumption of spanner work.

The rear leaf springs are an interesting and somewhat costly story. I had ordered new leaf springs and hardware from British Car Specialists to install on the car. I noticed that Martin Jansen had not installed the long grease fittings on the rear bushing mount location as was appropriate for the early 3000s, so I gave him a call to find out what I was to do and Martin told me that his frame was designed for the later BJ8 rear leaf spring set-up, and he recommended a custom made spring that he could provide that was much better suited to the frame. He indicated that his frame would “beat-to-death” the original BT7 springs. I had already taken apart the springs from BCS, installed teflon tape between leaves and repainted each leaf and then reassembled the springs with new shackle hardware. Oh well, a few wasted dollars.

I ordered Martin’s 5 leaf springs which do use the phase 2 BJ8 shackles. Because the assembly pin in the center of the leaves is a bit larger than the BT7 stock springs it was necessary to drill-out the center hole in the lower spring plate to 7/16.” The BJ8 mounting uses 8 rubber bushes in the rear rather than the steel bush of the BT7 variant. Everything installed nicely.

Leaf Spring Rear Shackle

Leaf Spring front Mount

Leaf Spring

Rear Axle pads

I then returned to routing the driving light wiring from the relay under the dash to the front of the vehicle. I used an orange/yellow fibre-covered wire from British Wiring that is supposed to be correct, but I didn’t verify. The wire from terminal C2 on the relay was routed over the heater and below the corner of the parcel tray and then out through a rubber grommet to the engine bay. The wire was then routed through the harness mounting clips to the front.

I used an article from Healey Marque Magazine, January/February 2004 by John Trifari on how to install auxiliary lighting in a BJ8. John provided excellent guidance. Details of the wiring connections are provided in this summary. I did install an optional indicator light with one terminal to ground and the other wired to the C2 terminal on the relay.AH BT7 Driving Lights.pdf

Driving Light Wiring 1

Driving Light Wiring 2

Driving Light Wiring Schematic

I am replacing the stock drum brakes in the rear of the car with the disc brake conversion kit sold by Cape International. The kit provides for a parking brake function by using small calipers ancillary to the Jaguar calipers. It also includes the brake rotors, custom brackets for the calipers, brake pads and mounting hardware. A little trimming of the flange on the axle is required, but otherwise it is basically a bolt on process. Cape Int. Disc Brake Conversion.pdf

Handbrake hardware

Handbrake lever 1

I cannot fully assemble the rear axle with brakes until Bruce Phillips at Healey Surgeons finishes the installation of my 3.55 Lempert rear differential. However, I began the process by first installing the rear disc brake caliper brackets on the axle, followed by the rear hubs with new bearings and seals. I had the bearings and seals in the hubs from my pre-assembly process of more than a year ago. To make the hub installation onto the axle an easy job, Mike Jennings, in the August 2005 Healey Marque Magazine, recommended wrapping the assembled hub in aluminum foil and heating it in the oven at 250 degrees for about 20 minutes. He suggested that the hub could then simply be pushed onto the axle by hand. I tried it and it worked as advertised! No tools required.

Rear Caliper Bracket & Hub

The rear hydraulic lines were then mounted on the axle as well as the handbrake hardware including the balance lever, its mounting bracket and the cross rod. All of this will need to be adjusted after the rear differential, half shafts, rotors, hubs, and calipers are installed.

Brake Line to Left Rear

Brake Line to Right Rear

Chapter 37 Restoration Assembly, Week Four 1/8/2007

The front hub assemblies were the next parts to tackle. I had previously assembled new hubs to new drilled rotors. I fastened the rotor disk to the hub extension with 5 nylock nuts. Placed bearing races in the freezer so they would be easier to install in the front hub extensions. Then inserted inside bearing race with proper driver with the careful application of a hammer!, being careful to keep the race/driver straight. Turned the hub over and did the same procedure with the outside bearing race.

Bearing Race Install

Front Hub Bearings – Norman Nock and Doug Reid Doug Reid’s Front Wheel Bearings.pdf have produced some pieces that were very helpful for this process. I followed directions from Bruce at Healey Surgeons and put 90 weight oil on the inner bearing and offered it up to the spindle. The oil provided protection from damage due to the bearing running dry but at the same time, not give a false reading when trying to shim the bearings.

I then placed the spacer (cone) on the spindle followed by the hub extension. I then put an oil filled outer bearing on the axle followed by the tab washer and castle nut. The seal and shims were NOT added at this stage. The nut was tightened down to seat everything and then the works were disassembled. It can be difficult to get the outer bearing and the tab washer off – I used a magnet that worked quite well.

I then put the inner bearings, the spacer and selected shims on the axle. Starting with the thickest one .030, then .010, .050, .030, ( one of each ). I then put the hub extension on the axle followed by the outer bearing, tab washer and nut. I tightened to 40 lbs of torque and determined if one of the castle nut slots lined up with the hole in the axle for the split pin. I took care that the shims were all the way up on the shoulder of the spindle axle so that they did not get mangled when the nut was tightened. The final proper adjustment is correct when you can tighten on the nut and the wheel does not show any reduction in ease of turning with no play.

Bruce indicated that if the rotor drags when you tighten the castle nut, then you need to add shims. If it is to loose, you need to remove the shims. When it is correct, re-tighten to the correct specs. At this point, the hub should be turning freely, with no end float and no pre-load. This was a trial and error process and took a while to complete.

Once I was satisfied that I had the bearings set up correctly, I removed everything, keeping careful track of the shims! I then packed the wheel bearings with wheel bearing grease and installed the front seal. The seal has the spring facing the bearings. I then placed the spacer in the hub extension and bearings in first, and then reassembled unit.

I torqued the nut to the 40-70 lb setting, lining up the hole in the axle with the nut and placed the split pin through the hole in the spindle axle, and then pulled one tab of the pin forward and bent it back over the axle end. I then pushed the grease cap on to the axle ( do not fill it with grease) and gave it a tap with a drift.

Rotor and Hub Install

The time has come to install the front brake calipers, the hose brackets and the brake pads. The calipers mount through the brake dust shield and into the swivel axle. My calipers were rebuilt by Healey Surgeons. I used stainless steel flexible brake lines rather than the stock rubber lines.

SS Brake Line RH 2


Brake Caliper

Mintex pads, MGB 520, were used initially, although I may switch to “greenies.” Shims were used between the pads and the pistons with an application of Permatex Ultra Disc Brake Caliper Lube #24110. All hose and pipe fittings were checked and tightened with teflon tape used on all threads.

I converted the overdrive relay into a relay for the driving lights. The image to the right illustrates the mounting location, again, using nutserts.

Driving light relay 1

Chapter 36 Restoration Assembly, Week Three 1/1/2007

The New Year itself began with attention turning to the front suspension of the Bloody Beast. The first step was the assembly of the swivel axles. Bruce Phillips at Healey Surgeons rebushed and reamed the axles for me and supplied new swivel or “king” pins.  I then applied a light coating of moly to the pin itself and slid the cork washer, with the chamfered edge down, onto the pin. The swivel pin can then be inserted into the axle and three thrust washers are applied to the top of the pin. One “oilite washer” is sandwiched between two “staybright” washers. The oilite washer was first soaked overnight in motor oil. The top trunnion was then placed over the top of the swivel pin and tightened down with a nylock nut. .002” is the maximum permissible lift.

Swivel Pin Spring

Swivel Axle

Swivel Pin lower trunnion

Upper Trunnion washers 3

Upper Trunnion tightening


I then collected the components needed to assemble the swivel axles to the frame. These included two paired control arms, the assembled swivel axle, the control arm and upper trunnion bushings, the necessary cotter pins, the shock damper, the lower trunnion bushings, cork seals and the lower link fulcrum pin.

Front Suspension Assembly 2

The factory workshop manual provides a very helpful illustration of the components and their relationship to each other.

Front Suspension Schematic


I had paint inside the journals of the control arms and the shock dampers, as well as the holes for the cotter pins so it was first necessary to clean these areas so the paint would not restrict access.

Control Arm Paint

To assemble, I had the side of the control arms with the flats for the cotter pin nuts facing down. I then fastened the spring plate to the control arms so that the alignment of the assembly would be correct. The grease fittings on the lower trunnion bushes face the front of the car. The cotter nuts should be tight but not so tight as to risk distortion of the bushes. The bushes are tightened to the control arms and then backed off a flat. A .002 feeler should be able to be inserted between the face of the bushing and the control arm.

Control Arm Cotter Pins

Lower trunnion components

Lower trunnion in place 2

Front Suspension Asembly 1


Then the time came to secure the swivel axle assembly to the car. Again, the first step was to remove paint from the frame openings that received the pins.

Cleaning hole for pin

Next the small shock rubber bumpers were screwed onto the shock mounting plate. The shock damper sans its valve was fastened to the frame, and Udo Putzke’s tube shock conversion upper bracket was also bolted in.

Front shock 7


Getting the face plates of the lower fulcrum pin washers to line up can be a challenge, so before final assembly, I pressed them against the frame fitting and marked a line on the face plate and the frame to make alignment much easier later.

Marking pin placement

The poly bushings were then placed on the pins and the control arms were lifted up to the frame. A screwdriver was used in the upper link to support the weight of the assembly while it was positioned to secure.

Front poly bushings


As per the workshop manual, a two inch block of wood was inserted under the lever shock to lift it to the proper ride height and then the shock and the lower fulcrum pins were tightened. A split pin was inserted into the hole through each fulcrum pin and bent back.

Temporary pin for shock

suspension spacer

Installed axle assemblies


The next task was to install the spring plate and springs, the lowering spacers and bolts, the bilstein shocks, the disc brake dust shield and the caliper mounting bracket. These steps were complete for the left and right hand side of the car.

I used four pieces of 3/8” fine thread rod to help install the springs. The two rear rods were cut to about 7” lengths and the two front rods were about 5.” I also used long extension couplers and a flat washer on the rods below the spring plates to make it easy to access the nut with the wrench. A single regular nut would “hide” under the plate and be hard to get to. This arrangement worked well.

Installing coil springs

The spacers from Denis Welch were inserted between the spring plate and the control arm and the lower nuts were screwed up tight with the spring in place. Then one at a time the nut was taken off the top of the rod, the rod was tapped out of the hole through the control arm and spring plate and the longer than normal fastening bolt from the Welch lowering kit was installed.

Lowering Spacers 2


The Bilstein tube shock was then put in place and tightened with nylock nuts. This required lifting the shock with a bottle jack so that its bottom fixing hole would line up with the bracket on the control arm. 

The rubber seals were then glued to the dust shield. I discovered that they probably did not need to be glued as they are a tight fit once the dust shield and the brake bracket come together. The steering arm, brake bracket and dust shield were then bolted to the swivel axle. A tab washer is used on the lower two bolts. The wood spacer block will remain in place until the wheels/tires are installed and the car is lowered to the ground.

Dust shield installed