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Service station (22): Austin Healey BN4 to BJ8

Service station (22): Austin Healey BN4 to BJ8
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The technology of a Big Healey is relatively simple, but still requires regular maintenance. In the case of the six-cylinder engine, this means checking and setting the ignition, valve clearance and carburetor. The latter have to be synchronized correctly, which of course means a bit more effort with the rare three-carburetor versions, especially since the solution with the carburetor trio is not considered the ultimate wisdom anyway.

Sensible modernizations

An oil change is also part of the regular service work. Whereby you can save yourself the dirty business, in other words: changing the oil filter insert, by converting to a more modern screw-on filter cartridge.

Another modernization that is very popular with Healey drivers concerns the fuel pump. If the cars are parked for a long time, the breaker contacts of the diaphragm pump often corrode. Then the pump only resumes work after a blow on the housing. There are overhaul kits for regenerating the old pump, but if the vehicle owner is not an originality fetishist, the workshops prefer to play it safe and install an electric fuel pump from the latest production.

Take a closer look and save a lot of money

If a complete overhaul is not due, the costs for work on the engine are bearable. On the other hand, you have to dig deeper into your pocket when a new clutch is due. 'To do this, the seats, the cardan tunnel and the center console in later models have to be dismantled and then the transmission lifted out through the interior,' says Healey specialist Jochen Extra, describing the time-consuming procedure also with the chassis. Some owners shy away from these larger expenses and delay the necessary repair of certain parts as much as possible. Or he prefers to invest the money in the appearance of the car. 'Some people dream of installing a stylish wooden steering wheel instead of having the brake pads changed,' says Stefan Marx, who has been screwing on Austin-Healey for many years.

This is how some Healey rolls shiny chrome spoke wheels, the corresponding adapters, however, are badly worn. You can't see it, but you can tell - which is also a tip for prospective buyerssuch a car is. If the wheel can be moved back and forth with the vehicle jacked up and grabbed with both hands, the cone of the adapter is usually worn out.

A change on the rear axle is unproblematic. 'On the other hand, there is more work to be done on the front axle because the adapter also functions as a wheel bearing housing here,' explains Jochen Extra.

So you have to remove the brake calipers, pull down the adapter, and replace the old wheel bearings with new ones - The races are to be pressed in - and later adjust the wheel bearing play. The latter requires a certain amount of experience because the adjustment is made with the help of spacers. It takes professionals around two and a half to three hours to change all four adapters - if everything goes well. Accordingly, on the invoice including the material, at least 750 euros.

Reamer as a must-have accessory

Even more expensive, and therefore happy to take the long bank pushed is a change of the front kingpin. Wear progresses quickly, especially if the relevant lubrication points have been neglected. The consequences are not long in coming. 'Rumbling noises on uneven road surfaces, steering wheel flutter and poor directional stability make it clear that something has to be done,' says Extra.

The repairs that are due include dismantling the front axle in order to be able to press out the brass bushings in which the kingpin is guided becomes. The new bushings have to be pressed in and rubbed down to the necessary extent, which requires a special reamer. Screwdrivers get by with relatively few special tools with the Healey, and some people also know how to help themselves with tools they have made themselves, but this reamer is indispensable.

Because the bushings at the top and bottom of the steering knuckle have different diameters. With an adjustable reamer, the bushes could be reamed individually, but the diameters are never as precisely aligned as is possible with the original special tool. This awl is stepped, so it has two different diameters at the top and bottom, with which the two bushings can be reamed in one operation.

Since this repair also includes the adjustment of the axial play of the kingpin, which is done with spacers, this work is best done by a specialist company with the necessary experience.

Problem case spare part quality

No complicated technology, almost all spare parts available - there working should be fun. Unfortunately, a somewhat less pleasant chapter follows, and that concerns the quality of the spare parts.

Of course, the vehicle owners want to buy their spare parts as cheaply as possible, and that a new part that looks identical at first glance can have different qualities , ismost not aware of it. This and the price war between various parts suppliers meant that some things are now only available cheaply, but no longer of high quality. So if a customer shows that he is quality-conscious, his workshop cannot offer him an alternative in individual cases because of the lack of supply. It is only sometimes that switching to a used part helps.

Growing quality awareness on a broad front is therefore desirable, because it increases driving fun and reduces visits to the workshop.


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