Fire in the Hole

We had planned to run the engine on the starting stand with the gearbox fitted, but thought better of it. First, it would mean that we would have to figure out a way to keep the driveshaft fork in the nose of the gearbox so we would not leak oil out the end. However, more importantly, we wanted to inspect the clutch and the ring gear. So we modified the starting stand to include a mount for the engine rear backplate. 

We then hooked up the choke cable to the carb and we installed a lawn mower throttle cable and slide controller on the control panel and also hooked it up to the carb. These are shown in the video with the link below.

Water was then added to the radiator, Valvoline Racing Oil 20W-50 was added to the engine and some automatic transmission fluid was added to the HIF-44 damper. We then disconnected the coil and spun the engine with the starter until we had oil pressure. After checking ignition timing one more time, and testing for spark at the plugs. It was time to fire it up. It ran pretty well but seemed a bit rich at idle.

After a pause to work on other projects and to wait for parts, we came back to the engine to try to improve the engine’s tuning and to check on the clutch and ring gear.

The clutch had worked just fine but we decided to go ahead and replace the disc and pressure plate since the engine was out of the car. While we were at it, we also made plans to take the flywheel to a machine shop and have the face resurfaced and have the flywheel and clutch pressure plate, or cover, dynamically balanced. That is when things got interesting!

We took the flywheel to Southwest Hydraulics in Venice, Fl for resurfacing, but we got a call from them indicating that the flywheel was “coming apart.” As it turned out the flywheel had been lightened a bt too much and there was very little material between the flywheel lip and the ring gear. See below.

Flywheel delamination

This is going into the trash!

Since they no longer make steel flywheels for the 1275 (aluminum lightened flywheels are available) we searched eBay and located one. It had not been lightened at all which we preferred, but it was not without its problems. One of the clutch cover bolts had been broken off in the flywheel. Fortunately, our friend Randy Forbes came to our aid. Using his milling machine, he first flattened the top of the bolt shaft and then with his drill press using a LH drill bit he was able to remove the broken bolt with no adverse effect. Thank you Randy!

We then took the flywheel back to Southwest Hydraulics for the resurfacing and we also had them replace the ring gear with a new one sourced from A.H. Spares

Flywheel resurfaced

Then it was off to “VAMI” – Venice Auto Marine machine shop where we had the flywheel balanced. Unfortunately, we could not balance the clutch pressure plate with the flywheel because the center hole in the pressure plate was too small to fit on their machine. This should not be a problem as the pressure plate comes balanced by Borg and Beck. The new disc was sourced from Rivergate.

We then reinstalled the flywheel, clutch disc and clutch pressure plate. The flywheel bolts were new and torqued to 4o ft. lbs. A locking tab washer was installed and all the tangs were bent over. The clutch bolts were torqued to 19 ft. lbs.

In the meantime, we replaced the metering needle that came with the carb with a “BDL” needle to get some additional fuel at start up without having to rely so much on the choke. Randy Forbes again came to our aid with the installation of our oxygen sensor.

Oxygen Sensor Bung Installed

Randy doing his thing!

He installed a bung into our new exhaust pipe for the  oxygen sensor so that we could use our newly purchased Innovate Motorsports AFR gauge. This is very helpful in adjusting the fuel mixture at the carb.

Innovate Motorsports AFR Gauge

Before starting the engine a second time we also decided to replace the original-type Lucas starter with the gear reduction starter we had. 

We then started the engine a second time and we were pleased with the changes that had been made. The engine seems to be running well with a static advance of 12 degrees and a full advance of 31 degrees at 3,800 rpm. All of our changes and the first and second running of the engine are included in the Bugeye Restoration Video Episode Sixty.

Episode Sixty includes the following content:

0:35 – Gearbox removal

2:30 – Throttle control

3:35 – Choke cable

4:40 – Engine fluids

6:35 – Priming the oil pump

7:35 – Checking for oil pressure

8:10 – Ignition timing

8:32 – TDC Compression stroke

9:00 – Checking for spark

10:35 – Engine starts!

11:30 – Ignition timing again

12:20 – Marking the distributor setting

12:30 – Gear reduction starter reinstalled

13:10 – Innovate Motorsports AFR gauge

14:08 – Engine running again

14:45 – Engine storage until it goes in the car

The exhaust was then removed along with the intake manifold, the HIF carb, and the exhaust header. This was done because we are sending the exhaust header to Jet-Hot for a ceramic coating. We have now covered the engine and pushed her to the side. The good news which is really too good to believe, and surely will not last, is that we have no oil leaks!

Wow, we started this engine work back in September of 2023. Considerable time has passed but we were continually diverted to work on other parts of the restoration. Other than coating the exhaust header we believe the engine is now complete. Hopefully, by Christmas she will be reunited with the car and it will be as easy as installing the engine and gearbox and taking the car for an initial run!



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:


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….


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:

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

Building and Testing the Wiring Harness

Yes, in building a new electrical system for the Bugeye we wanted to add additional circuit fusing protection, we wanted to add relays to take the load off of switches, we wanted to add “personalizations” for safety and convenience but perhaps as much as anything, we wanted to eliminate or at least minimize this:

Working Under the Dash

Anyone who has done it, knows that working on the dash wiring while lying on one’s back is just no fun in the little Sprite. So, we wanted to construct a wiring harness that would take advantage of modern electrical connectors (Deutsch connectors) to make it possible to essentially “unplug” the dash with all of its gauges and wiring in tact and remove it from the car. The water temperature/oil pressure gauge, choke cable and the heater switch complicate this proposition a little, but disconnecting them for removal are minor compared to lying on your back on the floor of the car!

The previous post, “A New Electrical System,” detailed all of the electrical system modifications we are making in the Bugeye. This post covers creating, testing and removing the central wiring harness that serves the engine bay and the dash. Three videos were created to show the process.

Later, we will build the wiring harnesses for the bonnet and for the rear of the car.

The following Bugeye Restoration video episode fifty-three covers the initial work done on the wiring:

0:00 – Fuse box, power supply to fuse box

2:30 – Deutsch connectors, wiring routing

5:25 – Hella horn wiring

7:00 – Deutsch connector from body harness to bonnet harness

8:00 – Removing the harness from the car

9:00 – Disconnecting the wiper controller

10:00 – Harness removed from the car

10:25 – Taped harness

Bugeye Restoration video episode fifty-four covers the fabrication of a switch and control panel hidden behind the dash. The panel includes toggle switches for the radiator electric fan, the courtesy interior lights, the driving lights and the fuel pump selection. The hazard flasher switch, the rheostat for the wiper speed controller and a combination voltmeter and USB port are also mounted on the panel. The video then focuses on the wiring for the gauges and switches on the dash.

0:00 – Supplemental control panel behind the dash

2:05 – dash wiring

3:12 – Fuel gauge

4:00 – Magnetic wiring clips

4:25 – Speedhut Speedometer and Tachometer

7:15 – Ignition and light switch

8:40 – Panel lamp switch

9:00 – Turn indicator switch

9:15 – Hazard flasher diodes

Bugeye Restoration video episode fifty-five covers the testing of the wiring circuits before the central harness is removed and taped.

0:00 – Testing the wiring harness and the connectors

3:00 – Wiper controller

3:10 – Toggle switches on the control panel


A New Electrical System

On November 21, 2023 we began to build the new electrical system for the Bugeye, all centered around the Classic Technologies Relay and Fuse Box. The new harness will be in three discreet sections: one for the bonnet, one for the central portion of the car including the engine bay and dash and one for the rear of the car. We will be incorporating a number of “personalizations” in the car that require modification of the original wiring.

The Bugeye is a very simple car and that extends to the electrical system. The initial design and production of the Sprite focused on keeping costs, and therefore selling price, to a minimum. So, there aren’t many bells and whistles on the car. Some of our “personalizations” are for safety, such as hazard flashers, and some are for comfort or ease of operation, such as interior courtesy lights. A list of these electrical system modifications is provided below. The list is followed by a more extensive explanation of these changes so that documentation is available for future owners.

Classic Technologies Fuse Box with seven relays, fifteen fuses with thirty-four wire connections, electronic flasher.

A panel was fabricated to fit behind the dash fascia to house toggle switches controlling the electric radiator fan, the driving lights, the dual selection fuel pumps (one SU and one Facet), and the interior and boot courtesy lamps. The panel also includes provision for a Lucas hazard light switch, a warning lamp for the operation of the driving lights, and a combination USB/digital voltmeter. Finally, the rheostat controller for the variable speed windshield wiper controller is also located on the panel. The switches on the panel are accessible but hidden from view.

Bespoke wiring harness utilizing Deutsch connectors to permit the quick and easy removal of the dash with all gauges and switches in tact

Alternator to replace the generator (dynamo) and external voltage regulator

Radiator electric fan

Hazard switch and lights

Driving lights with operating warning lamp

Variable speed wiper controller

Speed Hut electronic GPS speedometer and tachometer

LED interior gauge lamps, flashers, side and tail lights and brake lights

LED interior footwell and boot courtesy lights operated by a key fob with a forty second operating delay and a manual override toggle switch

Radio Shack buzzer serving as a turn indicator switch alarm

Dual redundant fuel pumps selected by toggle switch

Modified original windscreen washer pump 

And now for some additional detail:

Classic Technologies Relay/Fuse Box

We upgraded from the original Model SF6 fuse unit with the two glass fuses of 35 amps and 50 amps to a modern fuse/relay panel supplied by Marc Goldblatt, owner of Classic Technologies. We have chosen to locate the box on the RH fender valance where the original regulator was secured to the car. We installed four rivnuts in the valance to make mounting the box a simple task.

The Classic Technologies fuse/relay panel provides for 15 fused circuits with 34 pin connectors, 7 relays including horn, ignition power, fog lights, high beams and low beams headlights, starter and accessory power and 2 flashers for the turn signals and hazard lights. We selected the optional flasher relays for LED lights. 

The Classic Technologies panel is only 6 3/4″ (171mm) long X 4 5/8″ (81mm) wide X 2 3/16″ (56mm) tall. The lug-less terminations into unpluggable connectors are another nice feature making the installation of the panel easy and convenient. A poster size color schematic was provided along with a clear instruction manual to guide hobbyists like myself through the installation. We also decided to purchase all of the wire from Marc. It doesn’t match the original wire as available from British Wiring, but it is close. Marc will provide additional support if needed.

Fuse/Relay Panel Design Theory

The 15 fuses are broken up into three groups:

  1. Constant Power: Fuses F1 through F4, F8, and F15. These fuses are tied to the battery + terminal (B+). Examples: Courtesy Lights, Parking Lights, Hazard Flashers, and Horn. These features have power regardless of ignition switch position.
  2. Ignition Power: Fuses F5, F6, and F7. These are items that are critical to starting the car that should have power while the car is being started. Examples: Coil, Alternator excitation, Fuel Pump, Gauges/Warning Lights, brake lights.
  3. Accessory Power: Fuses F9 through F14. These are items that are not critical to starting the car and should not have power while starting the car to maximize power to the starter. Additionally, in order to prevent battery drain, these items should not have power when the keys are removed from the ignition. Examples: wipers, heater motor, turn signals, overdrive, radiator fan, radio, reverse lights…

Classic Tech Fuse Box

Bespoke Wiring Harness

The impetus behind building a custom wiring harness was the desire to have the ability to install and replace the dash with all of the switches and gauges in place. Anyone who has laid on his back on the floor of the car and under the dash appreciates the motivation to pursue this approach. A friend who owns a Cobra shared what he had done and it was a model for exactly what we were after.

Cobra Dash

Note the Molex connectors on the right side of the back of the dash. In our case we chose to utilize deutsch connectors. These are water tight plastic connectors. One can use traditional wire pins that crimp over the wire end or one can use “solid barrel contact” terminals with a special crimping tool. We recommend the solid barrel type. We picked up these items from Amazon supplied by JR Ready. The connectors come in various sizes from two wires up to twelve in each connector. The connectors are extremely easy to use and provide a superior result. This is a sample kit as provided by JR Ready. A special purpose crimper is used with the connectors. It is inexpensive and does a super job.

JR Ready Deutsch Connectors

Deutsch Connector Crimper









This is the finished result after crimping the terminal on the wire:

Four Indent Crimping

As we built the wiring harness wires were gathered together and organized with small zip ties. Once all of our wiring was tested the zip ties were replaced with Tesa electrical tape and then the final harnesses was sent to Rhode Island Wiring to cover the harness with a braided cloth cover appropriately color coded for the Austin-Healey Sprite.

Tesa Harness tape



The only information we have on the alternator is that it is a rebuilt unit designed to replace the Lucas alternator that we had in the car previously. It is rated output is 65 amps.

Alternator Invoice

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. Unfortunately, the color of the wiring leads from the switch terminals did not match any of the Triumph wiring diagrams that we could locate online. Establishing the proper wiring pattern to make the turn indicators and the hazard flashers work as they should involved a great deal of trial and error and considerably more time than anticipated. However, at the end of the day we were successful. The chart below shows the transition from the pigtail wire colors to the wiring used in the Bugeye as we wired the car.

Hazard Switch Wiring Schematic

Hazard Light Switch Wiring System Schematic

Driving Lights with Operating Warning Lamp

We have decided to not install the reproduction Lucas 576 driving lights on the Bugeye. However, we have wired the car for the easy addition of the lights at a later date should we want to add them. These lights were used on the Sebring Sprites prepared by Donald Healey for the endurance race.

Driving Lights on Sebring Sprites

The lights may be sourced from Installing the lights does require drilling two holes in the front of the bonnet. This is an image of the lights as installed on a Bugeye (not mine) showing the relative position of the mounting to the crease in the bonnet.

Sebring Driving Lights

And, here is a view from the inside the bonnet

Driving Light Mount Inside View

Our wiring scheme is shown below. The lights are activated by a toggle switch behind the dash and we incorporated a warning lamp as well. The switch is powered by a connection to the high beam terminal of the dip switch so they can only be activated when the high beam lights are on. A dedicated bosch relay was added for the driving lights and was located on the wood support block behind the dash grab handle.

Driving Lights Wiring Schematic

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. This is the instruction sheet provided with the kit:

Wiper Interval Controller


The following image illustrates the actual wiring in the Bugeye using the Classic Technologies Relay/Fuse Box:

JWR Bugeye Wiper Controller Wiring System Schematic

SpeedHut Electronic GPS Speedometer and Tachometer

We had experienced problems with the speedometer feed from the Datsun 5 speed gearbox in the past. There is very little room in the gearbox tunnel to properly align and tighten the speedometer cable into the gearbox fitting, so we decided to “upgrade” to an electronic GPS speedometer. Both the speedometer and tachometer were sourced from although they are made by SpeedHut. David, at Bugeyeguys, had gauge faces made for the SpeedHut units to make them look like the original Smiths gauges for the Sprite.

The speedometer and tachometer are designed to be used together and take advantage of mini-connectors to link the gauges together. The speedometer has a red/black wire that is connected to constant battery power and in our application the wire is spliced into a green wire and routed to fuse position #5 through deutsch connector C6. Switched power is provided to the fuel gauge, the speedometer and the tachometer with a red wire routed to fuse position #13 through deutsch connector B5.

The white wire for the speedometer and tachometer gauge lights is joined with the white wire from the power inverter and is then connected to the panel lamp switch. 

The blue wire from the speedometer provides power to the high beam warning light in the speedometer and is routed through deutsch connector D2 to the high beam terminal of the dip switch. When the high beam lights are triggered a red LED light illuminates on the face of the speedometer gauge. 

The black wires from the speedometer, and the tachometer are joined together and connected to terminal #5 in the LH ground bus bar. The black wire from the inverter is connected to terminal #4 in the LH ground bus bar. The inverter is a small 1”x1” black cube that is fastened to the back of the dash fascia with a 3M sticky pad just to the left of the steering column.

The yellow/green wire from the tachometer is routed to the (-) terminal of the ignition coil through deutsch connector E1.

The blue wire from the tachometer is for the charging warning light and is spliced into a brown/yellow wire and routed through deutsch connector E1 to the alternator small spade connector.  

Full instructions may be found at this link: Speedhut Speedo and Tach Instructions

Finally, the gps sensor wire is screwed into the fitting on the back of the speedo and routed behind the dash facia to the LH side. It is then routed between the door and the polished aluminum dash trim and is secured to the top of the dash with a magnetized plate.

Speedhut Speedometer

GPS Speedometer Sensor

Speedhut tachometer

LED interior gauge lamps, flashers, side and tail lights and brake lights

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

RF Courtesy Light Controller

Visit the DieseRC Store. The relay may be set to operate with a delay, so in our case once the fob is clicked, the interior lights will remain on for forty seconds and then extinguish on their own with no action by the operator. We have also wired in a toggle switch so that the interior lights may be operated manually. The relay is mounted on the panel fabricated for the toggle switches immediately behind the dash.

The relay has five terminals:

Courtesy Light RF Controller Wiring Schematic

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

Boot Light Measurements

Wiring for the front lights will route directly from the designated toggle switch on the panel behind the dash to the lights. Wiring for the rear lights will be routed to the rear of the car through deutsch connector F1.

In the front footwells we also installed LED lights sourced from Better Car Lighting in the UK. We made some brackets to secure the lights and will use the bonnet prop stay captured nuts from the inside to mount them.

Footwell LED Lights

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. The black wire from the buzzer is for ground and is connected to the LH Ground Bus Bar Terminal #2. The red wire is connected with a 4-way bullet connector to the flasher warning lamp.

Radio Shack Turn Indicator Warning Buzzer

Dual Redundant Fuel Pumps

Although the newer solid state fuel pumps aren’t as likely to leave a driver standed when compared to the points pumps of the sixties, we still thought it a good idea to install two pumps in the Bugeye. Information about the pumps, their mounting and their plumbing is addressed in other posts about the fuel system, but notes about the electrical provisions for the pumps are appropriate here. 

A toggle switch mounted in the panel behind the dash controls the fuel pumps. At center, neither pump is activated (a great anti-theft device); a throw upward activates the SU pump, and a throw downward activates the Master Pump. Each pump has its own black ground wire and they are mounted to the chassis near the pumps. 

The pumps can be switched on the fly. The little chart below illustrates the wiring from the switch to the pumps.

Fuel Pumps Switch Wiring Schematic

The primary pump is the electronic SU pump. The pump is model number AUF214 and it was purchased from A.H. Spares in the U.K.

SU Electronic Fuel Pump from AH Spares

SU Pump

SU Pump Model Number

SU Pump Electronic

The back up pump was sourced from Pegasus Racing and it is a Facet Cylindrical pump rated at 2.75-4 psi.

Facet Pump From Pegasus Racing

Facet Low Pressure Pump

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.

The old pump was easily disassembled by un-crimping the lip from around the plastic bottom. The metal is relatively soft, so it unfolds easily. The bottom and the old rubber bellows came right out, leaving only the plunger within the shell of the pump.

Modified Washer Pump

Washer Pump Parts

To provide enough depth for the switch in the canister a slot was cut in the plastic face plate. The slot also provided space for the switch wires to exit the canister. To provide stability for the switch in the canister and to use as a spacer a circle washer was cut of 1/4” wide plywood that fit tightly in the canister and placed it on the switch secured with double nuts.

Washer Micro Switch

Modified Cap

The following diagram shows the wiring modifications made to adapt the new electric switch and pump to the electrical system:

Washer Pump and SwitchmWiring Schematic

The modified switch has two red pigtail wires. Insulated spade connectors join the pigtails with the orange wire routed to the fuse box and the pump. The “negative“ side – black wire (–)  of the pump is grounded to the LH Ground Bus Bar Terminal #1. The pump is mounted to a custom bracket connected to the housing for the bonnet hinge behind the dash.

Washer Pump Push Button

Radiator Electric Fan

We expect that the Bugeye with an engine in good shape and combined with a new aluminum radiator will run at comfortable coolant temperatures. However, in slow moving traffic conditions even an efficient Bugeye’s cooling system can be tested. To address those rare conditions, we decided to install a pusher electric fan. We elected to add a thermostatic control switch along with a toggle switch. Like our other toggle switches, this one is reachable but hidden from view in the custom panel behind the dash. The wiring diagram for the fan is below:

Washer Pump Wiring Schematic










Fuel Pumps, Fuel and Brake Pipes and License Plate

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:

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.

The Cunifer (nickel/copper alloy) brake pipes were completed and trial fitted to the car. In a few places this required cutting pipe and making bubble flares on the end of the pipe. Bubble flares are similar to but not the same a double flares.

Lastly, nut serts were installed in the existing holes in the back of the body for the license plate and the plate was also fir to the car.

All of these actions are shown in detail in Bugeye Restoration Video Fifty-one:



The New Body Shell Arrives

It took about five months from the time we first learned about the Bugeye body shell in Michigan until we finally got the car delivered to our home in Florida! The travel arrangements got a little complicated but the important thing is that the we now have the car in the garage to begin work. The delivery could not have happened without the assistance of best friend Gregor Henricks who lives in Davison, NC. Thank you, Gregor!

This short Bugeye Restoration Video Forty-eight provides a little coverage of the delivery of the car to Florida:

After some time away from home to attend family events in Virginia, we were able to complete a visual inspection of the “new” shell. It looks remarkably good and we are quite pleased with the purchase. However, we are a little puzzled at one aspect of the car. The gearbox cover is missing the mounting holes for the gearbox mount. The reinforcement metal is there but the holes on either side are missing. The inspection hole for filling the Sprite gearbox is also missing. This is not an issue as we are using a Datsun 210 five speed and would not find the access hole useful anyway. We will have to figure out how to properly measure and drill the two gearbox mount holes. Upon consulting with a few knowledgeable contributors to the Austin-Healey Experience Sprite Forum, we are thinking that the gearbox cover may have been replaced with a later 1500 MG Midget cover? That cover would be structurally the same but without the holes we are missing. More research will be done.

The following Bugeye Restoration Video Forty-nine doesn’t include any restoration work. It is simply a “walk-around” inspection of the shell:

Now the fun begins!

Preparing for Engine Start

As has been stated previously, our plan is to start the engine and getting it running reasonably well before we put it back in the car. We were experiencing an oil leak from the front of the engine and suspected the timing chain cover or the crank seal, so we decided to pull the cover and replace both the gasket and seal. While we were at it we freshened up the paint and upon reinstalling the cover we used a custom reinforcement plate for the cover that serves to spread the load evenly to create a better gasket seal. 

One has to remove the water pump fan pulley to loosen and remove the fan belt. Alternatively, the same could be accomplished with slacking off the alternator but in our case the water pump pulley was easy. The tab on the crank bolt tab washer was bent back and an impact driver was used to loosen the bolt. After the bolt and washer were removed the pulley slipped right off. 

The 1275 “A” series engine originally came with a crank pulley but at some point in time that pulley was replaced with an harmonic balancer that is commonly sold by the major parts vendors. The balancer has a rubber component that helps with vibration and it is, obviously, balanced. Evidence of the balancing is clear in the drilling of the balancer face. The harmonic balancer is deeper than the original pulley which results in the tab washer not having any purchase or key to retain it. To compensate, there is a flat on the balancer face that permits the punching downward of the washer face to create a flat to prevent rotation.  This is demonstrated in the accompanying video.

A combination of 5/16″-24 and 1/4″-28 hex bolts with lock washers is used to fasten the timing cover to the engine.

Timing Chain Cover Mounting Bolts

The video also shows the “massaging” of the bolt holes in the face of the timing chain cover to ensure a flat surface before mounting to the engine. A steel flat edge is used to determine that a flat face is realized. The old crank shaft seal was removed and a new seal was installed with the open “spring-side” of the seal toward the engine. A light smear of oil on the seal was all that was required and it was tapped into place with a piece of wood and light hammering. The face of the engine was carefully cleaned with a razor blade and brake cleaner.

The oil slinger was never removed but if it is in your case, it should be reinstalled properly. There is an “F” stamped in the face of the slinger and it faces “front” toward the radiator – away from the engine.

The gasket was then secured to the cover with Gasgacinch and a black RTV was lightly used on the face of the gasket to the engine. A couple of the upper short bolts were then loosely mounted and the cover was lightly pressed against the engine face. Before tightening the cover the pulley was reinstalled on the crank shaft and the cover was adjusted a bit to ensure that it was centered.

The timingchain cover reinforcement plate sourced from John Howell at Britcarfixes was then installed. This is a very nice high-quality product with very complete instructions.

Britcarfixes Reinforcement Plate

We found it easiest to put a little grease on the bolt spacers to hold them to the face of the cover and we could then easily hold the plate in place and insert the mounting bolts. Our ignition timing pointer was used in place of the bolt supplied by John. After wiggling the cover again to make sure it was centered on the crank shaft, each of the bolts was tightened by hand and the torqued to 8-10 ft. lbs.

The harmonic balancer tab washer was then reinstalled and the crank bolt was finger-tightened to the crank. The tab washer was then wiggled a bit to ensure that it was centered on the lip of the bolt and the bolt was then tightened to 70 ft. lbs. To do so, we removed the starter and slid a pry bar between some teeth in the ring gear of the flywheel. This held the crank in place while we tighten to the 70 lbs.

Holding the flywheel to prevent crankshaft turning


We then used a punch and hammer to press down the washer along the harmonic balancer flat (pointed out in the video) and then used a chisel to bend part of the washer up against a flat on the bolt to keep everything in place. Finally, we reinstalled the water pump fan pulley, the fan belt, the radiator and its hoses and the electric fan.

The following Bugeye Restoration Video Episode Forty-seven shows the process involved in replacing the timing chain cover gasket and crank seal:

Moving on to Fueling and Ignition

Next we moved on to some other aspects of preparing the engine for starting. To use the single HIF 44 carburetor we obviously had to change the intake manifold and that was sourced from Maniflow in the U.K.

This particular manifold must be used to lower the carb thus preventing it from conflicting with the Sprite bonnet when closed. After receiving the manifold, we sent it to Jet-Hot Coating  to receive their classic ceramic finish and it looks amazing!

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

Just to see how things will look we installed the new intake, the tired exhaust headers (that will get the Jet-Hot treatment eventually), as well as the carb heat shield, gaskets and spacer. These will be featured in a future video that will be included in this post once we receive the carb from the U.K. As shown in the photos below, the sequencing order of the gaskets, spacer, and heat shield is incorrect but will be changed before the carb is mounted. The proper sequencing beginning at the manifold is gasket, phenolic spacer, gasket, heat shield, gasket, carb.

New Intake Assembly Mounted

New Intake Assembly Mounted

After receiving the new HIF 44 carb from the UK it was installed and set up for initial running. The carburetor and its settings are detailed in another post under “personalizations.” 

We then began preparations for actually starting the motor. The first step was to get oil into the engine and water into the radiator.


Building an Engine Starting Stand

In this video we build an engine starting stand. We decided to do this because we will be changing the pair of HS2 SU carbs currently on the car for a single SU HIF 44 carb. This obviously means that a change in the intake manifold is also required. The new manifold was sourced from Maniflow in England, but is not shown in the video because at the time the video was made the intake was being coated by Jet-Hot. We will also be switching from the 25D Lucas distributor to an electronic unit that is yet to arrive.  

Another big motivator for going ahead with the engine stand is that the engine and gearbox are already out of the car, so easy-peasy!

There is also a leak from the timing chain cover that will need to be fixed and this way we will be able to run the engine to determine if we resolved the problem. If a second attempt is required, it will be much easier to fix while the engine is out of the car.

While final tuning needs to be done when the engine is under load, the engine run-in stand will allow us easy access for initial tuning. After constructing the stand from wood we then added the components necessary to start and run the engine. The ignition switch, starter button and starter solenoid from a Big Healey were utilized in the build. An analog engine analyzer was incorporated to primarily provide a tachometer function when testing and tuning the engine. A pair of Harbor Freight moving dollies were used to enable wheeling the new stand around the garage. The exhaust including the muffler will be attached when it is time to start the completed engine.

This view of the stand shows the installation of the radiator and an electric cooling fan. For test purposes the engine-driven mechanical fan is removed. Since the heater is not part of this system, a 1/2″ section of heater hose is used to connect the water valve and the return pipe.

Radiator and fan on engine stand

This view shows “Mission Control.” The panel includes the engine analyzer/tachometer, the keyed ignition switch, starter switch, charging warning light, the water temperature and oil pressure gauge, and toggle switches for the radiator electric fan and the electric fuel pump.

Mission Control

In this view most of the components required to start the engine are visible: the battery, starter solenoid, fuse panel, ground bus bar, fuel pump and hose, ignition coil and distributor are all visible.

Engine Starting Components

The intake manifold, the new carburetor, and the exhaust still need to be added.

Intake, Carb and Exhaust to be Added


This is our wiring schematic. All of the electrical circuits have been checked but anyone interested in building a similar plan should develop their own wiring plan. This worked for us, but may not work for you.

Mission Control

Bugeye Restoration Video Episode Forty-six provides a visual summary of the engine stand construction: