Rear Drum Brake Upgrade

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

Rear Brake Components

LH Rear Brake Assembly with Shoes and Cylinder

LH Rear brake assembly

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

Adjustable Handbrake Crossbars

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

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

Redundant Electric Fuel Pumps

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

SU electronic fuel pump negative earth

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

Facet Cylindrical 2.75-4 PSI Negative earth electronic fuel pump

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

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

Bugeye Interior Personalizations

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

Gauges – Speedometer and Tachometer

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

Rivergate Speedo Cable Adapter

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

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

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

Bugeye Guy GPS Speedometer

Bugeye Guy Speedo GPS Sensor

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

Speedhut tachometer

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

Hazard Switch and Lights

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

Lucas Hazard Switch

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

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

Variable Speed Wiper Controller

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

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

LED interior gauge lamps

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

LED Interior footwell and boot courtesy lights

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

RF Courtesy Light Controller

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

Boot LED Light

 

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

Footwell Lights and Brackets

Turn Indicator Warning Buzzer

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

Modified Windscreen Washer Pump (plunger) 

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

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

Washer Pump Parts

Under Dash Parcel Tray

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

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

Aluminum Parcel Shelf

 

Seat Belt Harnesses

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

Red Retractable Seat Belts

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

Seat belt mounting holes

Shoulder Harness Retractor Holes

 

This is a brief video showing the installed belts:

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

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Sealing and Paint

The time has come for painting the Bugeye!

Color and Painter Selection

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

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

Cotswold Blue Glasurit codes

This is the actual paint that we used:

Glasurit Cotswold Blue 55

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

1957 Jaguar XK-140 Cotswold Blue

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

Undercoating Protection

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

Rock-IT XC

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

Masking for Rock-It 1

Masking for Rock-It 2

Masking for Rock-It 3

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

Front Inner Fender

Front Inner Wing 2

Rear Inner Fender

Heavy Smooth Texture

Seam Sealer and Sealer

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

Front Interior Seam Sealer

Rear Interior Seam Sealer

This is the sealer we are using before paint:

Sealer

Boot Sealer

Interior Floor Sealer

Front Interior sealer

Interior Paint

Rear Interior

Rear Interior 2

Front Interior

Front Interior 2

Exterior Sealer and Paint

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

Sealer before paint

Gabor with the Sealed Body

 

Body Paint 1 5-8-24

Body Paint 2 5-8-24

Body Paint 3 5-8-24

Body Paint 1 5-8-24

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

Cotswold Blue in the Sun

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

 

Carburetor Swap to HIF 44

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

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

Modified stainless HIF 44 Heat Shield

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

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

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

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

Episode Fifty-nine includes the following content:

0:05 – HIF 44 carb documentation

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

1:37 – HIF 44 carb needle

2:20 – Manifold and Ported vacuum

2:26 – HIF 44 Carb heat shield

2:32 – Maniflow intake manifold

2:50 – Choke cable retaining clip

3:23 – A.C. Dodd HIF 44 modifications

5:33 – HIF 44 Hose fitting legend

5:39 – HIF 44 Throttle and choke cable connections 

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

HIF 44 Carburetor (RH Side)

HIF 44 Carburetor (LH side)

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

HIF 44 Proper Jet Height for Start-up

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

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

HIF 44 Adjusting the Choke

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

HIF 44 Choke Cable Clip

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

HIF 44 Choke Cable Stop

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

MED Stub Stack

Their site describes the billet stub stack this way:

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

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

Stub stack temporary installation

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

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

Needle Metering Increments

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

BFY and BDL Needle Comparison

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

K&N Air Filter

K&N Filter Packaging

 

 

 

Powerspark Electronic Distributor

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

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

Powerspark 45D with Cap

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

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

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

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

Viper Dry Resin High Energy .8 ohm Coil

Headlight Fitting

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

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

JWR Bugeye Wiring Diagrams

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

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

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

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

JWR Bugeye Power Distribution to Fuse Box

JWR Bugeye Electrical Wiring by Component

JWR Bugeye Deutsch Connectors Wiring

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:

https://vimeo.com/913981383/62234c4caa?share=copy

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.

https://vimeo.com/913992798/07c6df6f44?ts=0&share=copy

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.

https://vimeo.com/914010274/237d25f4f3?share=copy

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. http://www.classic-technologies.com 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

 

Alternator

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 Bugeyeguys.com. 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: https://valvechatter.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Wiper-Control.pdf

Wiper Interval Controller

WIPER CONTROL UNIT

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 Bugeyeguys.com 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