Peter's Marina Motors
Restores, Maintains, Buys & Sells,
Classic English Cars
Table of Contents
(If you have any suggestions to add to this I will post it. Send e-mail to: Peter@EnglishCars.com )
Send us your stories.
Restoration is bringing the car as close as possible to how it came out of the factory NEW, not just all the parts are there and they got a new paint job.
There IS a difference between RESTORED & REFURBISHED. New paint and tires and the engine doesn't smoke is refurbished NOT restored. True restoration is cross between science and art.
This is for those brave souls who will be taking on the this challenging project, it is not an easy task but very rewarding at the end. Taking the car apart will be the easier of the job than the reassembly therefore to make that process easier careful preparation as you are taking the car apart will pay off in this process.
Use a good 35mm camera or a digital camera with macro capabilities. Video will work also.
Buy a "lab book" (hard cover 8.5x11 notebook) from the stationery or office supply store. Each and every day when you finish work, or while working, write down exactly what you did - part by part. This is a good place to draw diagrams (wire colors, order of washers, etc) that will provide detail the pictures won't quite capture. To take this one step further paste pictures in the notebook.Before you get started on a classic car restoration it is very important to document what you are doing and you will need to take lots of pictures and take lots of notes.
(The more detailed the better)
Keep your camera handy and document the disassembly as you go along.
One more suggestion for the little stuff such as bolts, clamps, switches, etc. so easily misplaced get ziploc bags for the smaller items and strong plastic bags for the larger items and a "Sharpie" permanent ink pen to carefully mark each bag. (use your own imagination but make sure you save and catalog everything)
What order of disassembly is recommended?
Recommended Reading Material: -- How To Restore British Sports Cars --
Original Austin Healey -- Copy of Factory Parts Book -- Reprint of Factory Service Manual --
-- Classic Car Restoration Guide -- The Restoration of Vintage and Classic Cars -- Practical Classics on Metalworking --
Some tips on Healey wiring harness etc.
If you have access to a copying machine which will do enlargements, blow up your wiring diagram to as large a size as practical. Then try to trace out each circuit based on the diagram and the color codes on the actual wires. Be aware that there may be some mistakes in the published wiring diagrams. If you run into anything like that, post a note here, including the year and model of your Healey. Most likely, one of us as run into it also.
Once you get familiar with the circuits in the car, you will be able to determine what has been miswired, where your problems are likely to be, places where POs have patched the wiring ...If you are rewiring with a new harness, It is usefull to lay the new harness out on the floor and label each end of each wire with a tag indicating where it was to be connected.
Peter Schauss firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the most important pieces of info you need is the Lucas color code. Lucas was very standardized in choosing their colors and this should be noted in your manuals. As far a tester, I've been using a cheapo multimeter (Volt-Amp-Ohm) for years. The Ohmeter is the continuity tester. Some have a buzzer too; mine does not. The only thing to remember is that Healeys are (factory) positive ground so you will have to reverse the way you attach your meter leads.
The original carpet material in all Healeys was a coarse short cut-pile material called "hogs-hair" which was a wool and synthetic blend, backed with a woven jute backing. It was installed with cut, not bound edges, except for the areas around the gear shift and brake lever. That material is no longer readily available, though there are some close substitutes. Wilton or a similar 100% wool in cut-pile does look very nice, certainly more luxurious than the original. Loop pile kits, 100% synthetic kits, and kits with binding on all edges should be avoided, even though they are extremely cheap.
Do not glue down the front pads (immediately in front of the seats) - these get wet and need to be removed to be dried. That's why they were snapped down. Do not glue down the carpetting to the tranny tunnel - this must be removed to get at the tranny oil opening, and to remove the tranny tunnel easily - which you will do frequently. All other portions are, in fact, glued down. Take a word of advice - find some form of thin insulating material -cockpit insulation is great (reflective material over thin bubble wrap) and glue it down in place of the felt or jute matting that is supplied with the kit. Note that the floor covering is in three layers - roofing felt (tar paper), padding, and carpet. You will get amazing reductions in heat and noise if the floor covering is installed this way.
The tar paper (now called roofing felt - 30# weight, btw) on the floors was original, and was intended for sound-deadening and heat insulation. Whether it was glued in or not isn't known. If it wasn't originally glued, then it glued itself down with the heat over the years. It was cut to lay on the flat portion of the floors, one piece on each side of the tranny tunnel opening.
Do you include your own labor? Do you include the cost of that trip to the emergency room after the incident with the bench grinder? Do you include the beers you kept in freinds hands (to keep their hands off your freshly enameled parts?)
The phone calls around the country looking for that Shelly "pot type" jack? The gallons of hand cleaner? The ruined towels? The paint spotted clothes? The plastic parts organizers? Zip lock bags? The garage heater? The air compressor? The tools? Dust masks and goggles? Adhesives, solvents, thinners, activators, hardeners, compounds, waxes, lubricants, cleaners, mystery oil, etching fluid, degreaser, and slushing compound? Do you include "free labor" from freinds? The nine Healey books and concours guide? The garage shelving you had to put in? Do you include the 12 boxes of band-aides?
Seriously, My car started with some outer -lower body rust, bad outriggers sills and rockers, and the flange eaten away on the rear shroud. It needed a hood. Most of the surfaces inside and out were worn, and there were many small incidences of incorrect bits courtesy of the POs.It was a pretty average unrestored car, with the exception that it should have been a tricarb, and had been converted to twin HD carbs, intake and exhaust manifolds, which I had to switch back...
I set out to restore the car to new, in every way possible, and to do as much of the work myself as was realistic. I dissassembled the car, to the bare frame. Some tasks require either specialized tools or skill aquired by performing the task over many years. I stripped all the undercoat from the frame, but sent the frame out to an expert to have the cutting, welding, blasting and painting done. I stripped all of the body panels by hand, but had the bodywork, body reassembly and paint done by an expert. I sent the head out to be rebuilt, and delivered the block to an engine shop for line boring and crank polish and new bearings. I had an all new correct interior upholstery built. All of the rest of the car was done by me. (If you are saying to yourself "that doesnt leave much" then you havent started YOUR car yet, have you?)
I stripped or sandblasted all the zinc and "black parts", cataloged and repaired EVERY nut bolt screw and washer.I found a new carb setup, and polished and rebuilt the carbs. All switches and guages were cleaned or replaced, painted or plated. All the black parts got 4 to six coats of paint.
New harnesses..The list goes on, and on, and on... Those of us who have done this ourselves know that unless you are very wealthy, you cannot BUY the time, patience, and attention to detail that you as the owner may be willing to apply. This has taken me seven years. I was willing to do all this to have the car I wanted. A freind asked me what I would charge to do another Healey, for someone else... I couldn't quote him a price, and have concluded that I could never go through this for a car that was not my own...for any price!
Nuts? Pehaps. Extravigant? Certainly! Glad I did it? I think so.
Do it again? -Are you out of your mind?
David W. Jones Rhode Island '62 BT7 Tricarb
An old tennis ball makes a great holder for nuts and small parts. Make a slit with a utility knife,so that when the ball is squeezed, you can pop little things inside. It will remain shut and keep the small stuff from getting lost. Especially handy when working underneath in dirty conditions, and you can use a marker to ID parts.
Good for spare change too.
Resilver automobile mirrors, allowing the preservation of poured glass, rather than replacing it with modern float glass. If you have questions, I am located in Wichita Falls, Texas and charge $10.00 per automobile mirror, plus $3.00 postage and handling. If you have more than 10 peice...we can discuss discounts. Thanks, RoyceAnn Rankin
For Brake Fluids check this page by Kenneth Streeter, with input from Mike Burdick, Shane Ingate, Chris Kantarjiev, a "Skinned Knuckles" article, and various other sources...The discussion of whether to use DOT3, DOT4, DOT5, or the new DOT5.1 brake fluids...
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