Over the past few months I've given the engine of my Austin Healey 100 a total and complete overhaul!
As you can see in the pics below the engine as it was when I pulled it out of the car, was in typical filthy rusty shape with much deeper concerns hidden inside...
Now though, it's been freshly machined and rebuilt with several new parts and fresh gaskets, bearings and finishings...
I began the rebuild back in the fall of last year, I carefully dismantled everything, making sure to take lots of pics and notes along the way so I could keep track of any issues I found and keep the parts all very organized.
What I found was a very tired engine that had clear evidence of being rebuilt in the past with several tuning "upgrades" added such as:
-.020" over sized pistons, 2 of which had different ring arrangements that the others!
-replacement 'bucket' style cam lifters and push rods
-and a significantly lightened flywheel
Many of the valves had been ground down to their limits, and the entire works would need to be properly machined and made right again.
So I started saving up for the machining and inevitable parts that would be needed to make it all right again.
In the meantime, I thoroughly cleaned and refinished all the hardware and various external parts like the oil pan, side covers, and rocker cover.
It took some careful hammer & dolly work to get the dents mostly out of the pan and rocker cover!
I was also intrigued to find that many of the original "Wiley" whitworth bolts used for the oil pan, side cover, and other various covers had wire holes through the heads - as if they were meant to be secured with mechanics wire. - I've never seen this practice on a Healey engine before, but maybe in '53 they were still using up old stock of fasteners meant for other engine applications?
I ordered all new gaskets including a new performance steel head gasket which had been strongly recommended to me by several other owners.
-I also ordered all new bearings throughout,
-a full set of new standard sized pistons and rings,
-new rubber blocks for the engine mounts,
-all new intake and exhaust valves,
-all new valve guides
-a new water pump
-replacement timing cover with a better/rubber oil seal machined into it.
-new timing chain and rubber tensioner ring
-and a full set of new head studs because originals are often prone to stretching over time..
In late Decemeber I packed up the head, block, crankshaft, camshaft, pistons and valve assemblies and handed them all to Mid Island Engine & Machine up in Duncan BC.
Mid Island were strongly recommended to me as they've done lots of Healey engines in the past and knew what they were doing.
They hot tanked the head and block to clean them back to bare cast iron and gave everything a proper inspection and full report.
We decided to re-sleeve the block because the bores were all differing measurements and the pistons were being replaced anyway.
The guys at Mid Island Machine proceeded to fully machine and rebuild the head with -new valve guides,
-new hardened valve seats,
-and a freshly machined deck that will mate perfectly to the freshly machined block.
The block had its new sleeves installed, bored and honed to original spec,
-new frost plugs were installed after the galleries had been properly hot tanked and cleaned of debris
-the deck was machined flat again,
-the camshaft was inspected and found to be true and in great shape,
-the crankshaft has its journals all reground to be perfectly round again making them now .020" under size, so I made sure to get .020" oversize bearings to suit..
Finally in early February I picked it all up and brought it home to my new shop to be reassembled. The guys at Mid Island did a really nice job and were very helpful throughout the process. I highly recommend them to anyone rebuilding a vintage engine.
With all my parts and hardware organized and ready to go, I got some fresh products to use in the rebuild process, including:
-some Permatex grey high temp gasket maker/sealer
-some Clevite heavy bearing grease designed for fresh rebuilds
-Rev-Lube XP2000 for protecting the cam lobs and tappets
-some fresh oil in a squirt can for lubing the pistons, cylinders and EVERYTHING internal
-some Anti-seize for installing the new head studs I bought
-and some rust converter for use on the exterior block surfaces that had quickly turned to surface rust without any paint on it.
The freshly machined and cleaned block...
With the help of my good friend and fellow Healey 100 owner, Trevor Parker, we got to work on a Saturday and proceeded to install the Crankshaft, Camshaft, all the new pistons, oil pump, new head studs, and finally the head.
Trevor was a great help and also provided some of the essential tools like a piston ring expander, ring compressor and of course a second set of Whitworth sockets.
The following weekend I finished it off by installing the front plate, timing chain and gears, timing cover, water pump, oil filter assembly, tappets and push rods, side cover, oil pan, rocker shaft, rocker cover, and engine mounts.
Then I thoroughly cleaned the exterior, using a wire wheel on a drill to remove all the surface rust, followed by priming all the bare steel and iron with Rust Converter.
Finally the next day I gave it all a fresh coat of new light green metallic Healey engine paint I purchased from Moss Motors.
Here is a sequence of shots showing the engine before, and throughout the rebuild:
Of course I should technically have installed the vacuum line, starter, generator and the fan belt for the final painting process - as that would have been what the factory did originally.
However I decided to leave those off for now to make it easier to install the engine in the car later on... Those components and other ancillaries and details can be installed later.
So for now, that's it!
The engine is all freshly rebuilt and I'm feeling quite confident that I've done a good job.
It will hopefully provide me with decades of smooth running and minimal oil leakage - though with these engines, that have no rear main oil seal, a little is to be expected...
Until next time -
I've had the pleasure of growing up around Austin Healey's and their restorations through my late father Rich Chrysler, and to this day they are still my favorite British sports car.
In fact just 2 years ago I finally bought a Healey of my own to restore: a 1953 Austin Healey 100 (BN1) - it's been my pride and joy researching and restoring each piece to be as good as I can make it and bringing the old car back to life.
I look forward to each exciting step ahead; getting the chassis painted, getting it back on its wheels, starting it up for the first time, and finally finishing it off with one of my beautiful hand crafted interiors.
From a young age I was taught the arts of concours level restoration, and through this I've always valued doing things right the first time. "Measure twice, cut once" became an inherited part of my inner dialogue for as long as I can remember.
As an accomplished artist, restorer, craftsman, and detailed scale modeler, I eventually learned the arts of upholstery and trimming - specifically for Healey's and other British and European sports cars. - What better way to tie all of my skills and passions together!
For nearly 20yrs now I have been working as a distinguished automotive trimmer, pattern maker, upholsterer and installer for some of the leading trim and restoration shops in the world.
My business is called Rightway Heritage Trimming, and while I've had the opportunity to trim all sorts of rare classic cars over the years, my main focus and specialty has always been Healey's.
More recently I've started producing full interior trim kits and components for the earlier big Healeys which are now available through Rightway Heritage Trimming and made to order.
Our trim kits and components are all made by hand to the very highest standards.
Having worked in a Healey upholstery factory for 10yrs, and growing up around so many Healey restorations, I've always been aware that there was room in the market for really accurate high quality trim for the Healeys.
Especially for the earlier cars that had so many distinct detail variations over the years as the marque evolved.
Many of the earlier patterns, colours and details we offer are not available anywhere else.
,After years of research I am able offer the correct factory colour options including some of the rarer colours like persimmon red, and teal blue:
For the earlier BN1's, we offer the earlier styles of boot trim, tunnel carpets, tonneau covers, and side screen upholstery - all of which had changed patterns by mid 1954...
Our seat covers are made in the highest quality European leather with the correct natural grain as the original.
If you opt to send us your seats for full trimming in house, you'll be treated with my custom made seat foams that look and feel just like the original Dunlopillo foams.
Wherever visible, the covers are hand tacked just like the factory did.
We even offer 100 S style seats with either the standard solid S frames or folding backrest frames (for cars with soft tops)
Our carpet sets are offered in original Karvel and come with the correct brass carpet snaps and rubber Austin logo heel pad.
Our Armacord is all sewn with hand rolled binding, and our floor insulation is the proper thin jute with black coating on one side...
We also offer all the various styles of 100-6 and early 3000 Healey upholstery, including all of the various unique armrests, rear quarter panels, and rear backrest sizes found on BN4's and BT7's.
Our panel kits include all new birch plywood panels, fully trimmed in vinyl with thin wadding to pad the doors as original.
We also include all the extra vinyl covers necessary to fully trim the rest of the interior like inner doors, parcel tray and wheel arches too.
Furflex is included with the earlier cars, and we offer Bristleflex door seals for the later models.
We even offer the correct tool and accessory bags for the earlier Healey models, made by hand in the correct thin vinyl with accurate snaps and tie straps.
When it comes to Healey's I've taken my time to research and source the correct types of materials and colours originally used by the factory.
I've worked with several Concours officials through the Healey clubs over the years that have helped me in verifying patterns and sourcing the correct hardware and materials for my interior components.
All of which has culminated into a range of very accurate interior components that I am proud to now produce and offer to Healey owners and restorers everywhere.
As a proud Healey owner and enthusiast myself, I enjoy writing and sharing pics of the work I've been doing through my blog: a detail enthusiast
If you're interested in ordering any interior components for your Healey or have any questions about Healey trim, I am always happy to assist. 250-813-2090
We are located in beautiful Victoria BC, Canada -
Our website is: www.rightwayheritagetrim.com
my blog is: detailenthusiast.weebly.com
Until next time -
Classic auto enthusiast, upholsterer, coach trimmer, and fine scale modeler.