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

New Vinyl Door Piping and Ignition Wiring

Two more little jobs need to be accomplished in my journey to “renew” the Healey:

Vinyl Door Piping

After a little over ten years of use, the vinyl piping that edges the aluminum trim plate on the passenger side door shut face pillar was just worn out. My rear door gap is a little tight and the vinyl piping sometimes gets caught as the door closes.

According to Anderson and Moment’s book, Austin-Healey Restoration Guide, the bottom and rear door sills were covered with aluminum trim plates, textured in a raised pattern. A vertical section covered the shut face pillar, secured to the pillar with eight chrome Phillips screws, 54K3024, #28 in the illustration.

Shut face Pillar

Black grained vinyl piping separated the rear trim plate from the rear fender along the door opening. This piping extended up and over the trim panel with its core removed so that it wouldn’t catch on the edge of the door when opened and closed.

From the Concours Guidelines: From the introduction of the Abingdon BN6 through possibly the end of BJ7 production, the shut facing was fastened with small, #4 truss-headed Phillips screws with very small cross- head screwdriver slots. Starting around 1963 or 1964 the screw head was changed from Phillips to Pozidriv. 

To remove the aluminum trim plates, one must remove the door lock striker, 14B2841, #31; that is attached through the door shut face pillar and packing plate, 14B2842, #32, into a tapped plate, 14B2843, #33. The assembly is secured with four chrome Phillips Head striker fixing screws, RMP0312, #34 (#10 x 3/4”)

Door Striker Assembly

The striker assembly is adjustable so to be sure to return the assembly to the same position once reassembled, tape was used to mark the outside edges of the striker on the aluminum trim plate.

Marked Position of Door Striker Before Removing the alloy trim

I removed the striker plate assembly by loosening the 4 Pozi Drive screws.

Door Lock Striker Removed

I then removed the seven #4 Phillips head screws that secure the aluminum trim plate to the door shut face pillar. The trim plate could then be removed. The image below shows how the piping is glued with contact cement to the trim plate before reinstalling.

Reverse Side of Alloy Trim Plate

Geoff Chrysler, owner of Rightway Heritage Trim, made a pair of the piping pieces for me that are the proper size.

Chrysler Vinyl Trim

I glued the piping to the plate and then remounted the plate on the pillar. The turn at the top of the trim plate is difficult to address and it does take some patience. This is the finished product reinstalled on the car.

Vinyl Piping on Door Shut Face Pillar Alloy Trim

Vinyl Piping on Door Shut Face Pillar Alloy Trim

Ignition wiring

The ignition wiring for the coil, distributor and spark plugs was operating perfectly but I thought as a preventative maintenance item I would go ahead and replace the wires so I would be good for another ten years. This included replacing the distributor cap and rotor on the 1-2-3 electronic ignition device. I used the same type of wiring installed on the car when it was restored. The product is made by Pertronix and is designed for use with electronic ignition systems.

Pertronix Spark Plug and Coil Wires

As supplied, the spark plug terminals and boots are already mounted on the individual wires. One only needs to cut the wires to length and install the terminals and boots for the distributor end of the wires. To make the job a little easier I used a wire/insulation cutter made by Petronix for the task. It works perfectly and leaves a nice clean core to wrap around the terminal.

Pertronix spark plug wire Insulation stripping tool

New Spark Plug Wire Trimmed

I also installed heat shrink wire numbers on the wires to help with sorting the wires.

Pertronix Spark Plug Wire Boot and Number

Pertronix also sells a two piece crimper used to crimp ignition wire terminals to the cable. It works for 7mm and 8mm wires, and produces perfect crimps every time. One places the terminal and wire between the two pieces of the device and then tightens them together in a vice.

Ignition Wire Crimper

All the new products were installed and the car is running just fine.



Assorted Ignition Modifications

The Original Ignition System

Distributor: Lucas DM6A

Coil: Lucas HA 12 volt

Spark Plugs: Champion UN12Y

Modified Ignition System


Having converted the Bugeye to electronic ignition with a Crane system, I knew that I wanted to use electronic ignition with the Bloody Beast, but unlike the Crane system, I wanted to use a system that would be housed in the distributor such as a Pertronix. After doing some research I decided to replace the entire distributor with a newly introduced Dutch product, the 123 Distributor. The United States distributer is https://123ignitionusa.com

More information about the installation is provided in this website post: https://valvechatter.com/?p=12431

One appealing aspect of the 123 is that the advance curve is determined by simply adjusting the settings by turning an adjustment on the outside of the distributor and “clicking” it into place. Sixteen curves are available from which to select. Since my purchase the vendor has introduced a programmable bluetooth distributor that can be managed with a laptop. The model number of the unit I used is 123/GB-6-R-V.

For initial set-up, I chose the recommended “B” setting. While the distributor is a “drop-in” in for the BJ8 with an electronic tach, a kit is supplied to adapt it for the mechanical tach drive of the BT7. The shaft did need to be drilled and the drive dog from the original Lucas unit installed with a few spacing washers. My unit was supplied by a German vendor Brits’N’Pieces.

123 Distributor

123 Distributor


Rather than the original Lucas Coil, or Lucas Sports coil, I decided to go with the Pertronix Flame Thrower Coil in the Bloody Beast. The coil was originally mounted on top of the generator, but since I am using an alternator, that mounting position was not available. I mounted the coil on the vertical upright shroud support post.

Pertronix Flame Thrower Coil

Pertronix Flame Thrower Coil

 Ignition Wiring

To complement the Pertronix Flame Thrower Coil, is used Pertronix ignition wiring as well.

Ignition wiring

Ignition wiring



Chapter 75 Week Forty-Five October 22, 2007

I continued with the assembly of various engine components in the forty-fifth week of restoration. I learned the hard way that the vacuum line from the intake manifold to the distributor needs to be one of the first items to install on the engine, not one of the last! However, after a number of trial fittings I did manage to get the pipe installed with only having to disconnect a few hoses. The copper pipe slips into rubber connector fittings at the manifold and distributor.

Vacuum Pipe RH side to distributor

Vacuum Pipe LH side to rear carb

The capillary tube running from the water temperature/oil pressure gauge to the fitting on the LH front of the cylinder head was the next item to install. Two small mounting clips and brackets were first mounted to head bolts securing the intake manifold and the tube was slipped under the clips, and the temperature sensing bulb inserted into the head and screwed home.

Capillary tube mounting

Given all of the typical concerns about overheating with the Healey engine, I decided to use a six blade aluminum fan sourced from British Car Specialists, The fan comes with an aluminum spacer to fit between the water pump pulley and the fan.

Stainless Flex Fan

The aluminum radiator and custom made air deflectors were the next pieces to go on.  The radiator was ordered from Cape International and I must say that the craftsmanship is superb. The aluminum deflectors I had made caused the radiator to be a tight fit, but with patience all components were secured into place. I put a light coat of black radiator paint on the front surface of the radiator to give a standard appearance when looking through the front grille. I am using a 7 lb radiator cap as was standard with the original radiator. I then attached the overflow tank hose as well as the lower and upper hoses to the head and the water pump.

Aluminum Radiator and Baffles

Aluminum Radiator and Baffles

Radiator Hose Top

I replaced the original copper hot water pipe with a polished aluminum pipe simply for aesthetic reasons. I like the look.

Aluminum Heater Pipe

Denis Welch makes a high quality (read, as expensive) throttle cable mounting bracket for a conversion from the original mechanical linkage. I did not use the complete Welch kit but I did use the piece located on the intake manifold. It is a well engineered design and looks like it belongs there. I incorporated a stainless steel sheathed throttle cable from Lokar. Fellow enthusiast Jack Brashear gave me some help on the optimal design for the accelerator pedal lever to which the cable is attached. I lengthened an original BJ8 lever to get the desired result. I previously installed the firewall bracket for the cable assembly.

Throttle Cable Bracket

Lokar Throttle cable

In my restoration, I converted to a BJ8 intake manifold and HD8 2” carburetters. This, of course, meant adding a dual choke mechanism as used on the BJ8s. The parts were sourced from Moss Motors. The choke bracket that converts the single cable from the dashboard fascia to the dual cables running to each of the carbs was mounted to the firewall and choke cables were connected. A small block provides the linkage for the single to dual cable. I drilled and tapped the ends of the remote control choke block for #6 set screws to ensure the proper return of the cables in the bracket since this is a common problem with HD8 carbs.

Choke assembly

Choke Assembly 2

Although Jack at Coachworks had installed the alternator with the engine rebuild, I had to remove it for the engine installation. I then put it back on the engine and wired it. Hendrix Wire Wheel provided photos and a wiring diagram to make this an easy job. The red wire on the alternator plug serves as a jumper to the screw terminal on the back of the alternator. The white wire on the plug was connected to the large yellow wire emerging from the wiring harness, originally intended for the large spade connection on the dynamo. The yellow/green wire originally connected to the dynamo was no longer required. Because the alternator output is more substantial than the dynamo, I elected to use a much heavier wire from British Wiring to run from the battery side of the starter solenoid to the screw post on the back of the alternator.

Alternator wiring

The final job of the week was installing the bonnet latch assembly to the car. I waited until the engine was in the car so that it would not impede the path of the engine as it was seated in the vehicle.

Bonnet Latch Assembly

Chapter 12 – Disassembly

February 2, 2003

Front Suspension Components. 

Removed the steering arm by loosening two 11/16” nuts with tab washer connector flattened. Note that the steering arm angles toward the dustshield – not the motor.

Stub Axle Carrier, King Pin, Caliper, Dust Shield

Stub Axle Carrier, King pin, Dust Shield

Brake Caliper – Removed by first unscrewing the brake pipe union. Remove two nuts securing the brake hose support bracket. Remove bracket. Unscrew two caliper retaining bolts.

Removed two rubber bushings from the upper trunnion.

Swivel Pin – Removed split pin at the swivel pin nut and tap swivel pin out with hammer.

Loosen cotter on the swivel pin and retract. Loosen two large nuts (bushings) on “A” arms and remove. Pull out pin and remove “A” arms.

Grease Cup – Pulled out grease cup from hub – fabricated tool with long manifold nut and 5/16” x 3” bolt and the slide hammer.

Straighten and retract split pin on castle nut through the hole in the splines on the hub. Not easy to do!!

Remove castle nut. Brake rotor and hub then lift off of the dust shield and spindle.

From the swivel axle spindle removed the dust cover spring and upper and lower dust covers. Separated the rotor from the hub. 4 bolts  – 2 long ones hold the brake caliper and bracket. 2 short bolts hold the plate to the swivel axle.

Removed rubber “U” seal from around the dust shield opening for the swivel axle.

March 12, 2003

Steering Idler and Steering Box

The steering idler and steering box are next for cleanup. I will have these  rebuilt by someone who knows what they are doing. Probably Bruce Phillips at Healey Surgeons.

Steering Idler 2

Steering Idler Clean

Steering idler 3

Steering Box 6

Steering Box 5

Steering Box 7


The distributor was also in good shape and easy to clean. We may still switch to an electronic unit, but cleaned up the Lucas just in case.

Distributor 7

Distributor 8

Distributor 9

Distributor Clean

Boot Latch and Lock Assembly

The boot latch and lock assembly was in reasonable shape but the chrome will have to be replaced as it is cracked rather badly.

Boot Lock

Boot Handle & Lock

Master and Slave Cylinders

The clutch master and slave cylinder will both be replaced with new items.

Clutch Slave Cylinder

Clutch Master Cylinder with aluminum spacers

Master Cylinder Brake

Headlamp Dip Switch

 The switch didn’t look too good, but it worked fine and would clean up.

Dipper Switch

Dipper switch 4

Brake and Clutch Pedals 

Curiously, one of the previous owners of the car added spacers on the brake and clutch pedals to minimize reach. We won’t use the spacers.

Clutch Pedal 1

Clutch Pedal 2

Clutch Pedal 3

Brake Pedal 4

Brake Pedal 5

Windscreen Wiper Motor

The next item to tackle was the windscreen wiper motor. It was disassembled, cleaned, lubricated, and painted. I tested the motor and it seemed to work fine.

Wiper Motor 3

Wiper Motor 4

Wiper Motor 6

Wiper Motor 7


Chapter 5 – Disassembly

June 29, 2002

Final Interior Dismantling

Gearbox tunnel and extension cover. Both were rusted badly and were discarded. I learned later as I was fitting new parts that I should not have violated the restorer’s rule: Never throw anything away until the project is complete!

Gearbox tunnel and extension cover

Fresh Air cover plate and screen on left (driver’s) side. Three self threading screws.

Parcel tray on passenger side. Four self tapping screws on the firewall. Three self tapping screws on the right side wall. One screw and nut into left side to hanging support bar. Then removed the parcel support bar with one screw and nut at top.

Parcel Tray Support brace.

Steering Wheel Shaft Blanking Plate on the right side. Note larger “painted washers” and self tapping screws. Felt gasket found on reverse side of the plate.

Steering Wheel Blanking Plate

Steering Wheel Shaft Blanking Plate Felt Gasket

Two Blanking Screws into captive nuts in firewall on passenger side that just fill holes similar to the driver’s side. These were not painted.

Large Wiring Harness Rubber Grommet in center of firewall. Then removed firewall tarpaper in center of firewall. Note the rubber insulation around the heater box hole and along the seam that would otherwise leak air.

Heat Insulation (tar paper) on firewall

Firewall Grommet

Heater Channel Opening

Center Panel Firewall “Tarpaper.” After removing the firewall “tarpaper” that is in three pieces I numbered the holes:

#1 – Bonnet release rod grommet

#2 – Blank Cover grommet

#3 – Grommet

#4 – Brake Line clip

#5 – Grommet

#6 – Grommet

#7 – Nut

#8 – Nut

#9 – Brake Line Clip

#10 – 1 Nut, 2 grommets Wiper motor

#11 – 2 Nuts

#12 – Nut

#13 – Nut

#14 – Nut

#15 – Nut

#16 – Main wiring harness to dash

#17 – Blank Cover Grommet

#18 – Nut

#19 – Nut

#20 – Nut

#21 – Grommet 

Left Panel Firewall “tarpaper”:

#22 – H2O temp. line

#23 – Oil line

#24 – Nut

Small Blanking Rubber Grommets under the heater opening in firewall. 

Blanking Rubber Grommets

Right Bonnet Hinge cotter pin and 4 washers. The thin washers go closest to the hinge. The nuts go to the inside of the bonnet.

Bonnet Hinge Fixing

Bonnet Hinge

Speedometer Cable at “L” junction to the gearbox.

Speedometer Cable to Gearbox

Clutch Pedal from pedal bar – two nuts. The nuts go to the right side. Removed the Brake pedal from pedal bar – two nuts with nuts to the right side. I noticed at this point that some primatively cut spacers had been added to the pedals for a short-legged driver!

Clutch Pedal

Clutch Pedal Spacer

Pedal Spacers

Floor Dip Switch with two bolts to the fixed nuts in floor. 3 wires: red/blue, blue/white, all blue.

Dip Switch Wiring and Bracket

Dip Switch

Heater Vents on both driver and passenger side below dash. Four self tapping screws in each

Heater Fresh Air Vent Door

July 2, 2002


Fan and fan belt – Loosened 4 bolts and washers and removed the fan and fan belt.

Fan and Fan Belt

Wiring to the coil –  CB Terminal – White with black stripe from/to the distributor body and white with black stripe from harness that goes to the generator. SW Terminal – Large solid white wire from harness to generator.

Coil Wiring

Generator – Removed 2 bolts and nuts and adjusting bracket with self-locking nut. F Terminal – yellow/green stripe wire from harness. D Terminal – Large solid yellow wire connected to large spade.

Dynamo – Generator

Generator Adjustable Mounting Bracket

Generator Wiring

Distributor –  Removed two 7/16” bolts – note position of distributor and vacuum advance. Numbered each wire to the correct cylinder. Disconnect vacuum line and oil feed line to the tachometer drive.

Distributor Wiring


Distributor Cap

Distributor Mounting Clamp

Oil Filter –  Removed two large bolts to the engine block.

Oil Filter Mount

Oil Filter

Starter and Solenoid  Disconnected solenoid to starter lead cable. Loosen two 9/16” bolts accessed through the interior bulkhead and under car.


Starter Solenoid

Starter Solenoid Wiring

Starter Cover

Engine mounts – Removed 4 bolts from right front to frame. Then removed left side.

Engine to frame Mount

Ground strap –  Disconnected the strap from the frame.

Oil pressure line –  Disconnected the line at top union near intake manifold.

Oil Pressure Line Disconnect

Breather pipe –  Disconnected the pipe at the “T” junction on the rocker cover.

Breather Pipe Disconnect