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AxeHealey
AxeHealey New Reader
2/8/17 9:40 p.m.

It's literally been months that I've been meaning to start a thread...now's the time.

The cars:

Austin Healey 3000 BT7

My dad bought this car quite some time ago. Proper due diligence was not performed. For any Healey guys out there, it's (as far as I can tell) a BT7 from 1960, titled as a BJ8 with BJ8 doors, engine and transmission. Nonetheless, he drove it for a little bit, moved out of the country for two years, drove it a little bit, had my sister, drove it a little bit, had me, and stored it. I've been a car nut for as long as anyone can remember so I forced him to keep it all through my childhood. We even used to go on special trips to visit it once it gave up its spot in my parent's garage. High school came along and I got it running and used to putz around our neighborhood, stopping with the handbrake.

I then got serious and started a thread about the restoration here: Healey Thread

I got busy with our kitchen renovation this past summer and there isn't much action in the Motorsports section of BCF so I stopped posting there. There's a Healey specific forum that I've posted some things in, but I'm trying to consolidate. When I stopped posting pictures, I was working on the hinge pillars and sills. A lot has happened since then.

Copied from the old thread, here is the plan for the Healey:

Phase 1:

Restored to good "driver" quality level with some...racing...upgrades such as:

  • Cage (not sure to what extent)

  • Side exhaust

  • Up-rated suspension components (again, not sure to what extent)

  • Racing clutch, lightened flywheel

  • Oil cooler?

  • Other misc things such as racing seats, tow hooks, battery cut-off, etc.

I see Phase 1 as getting us to a point where we can take the car to open track days at Nelson Ledges, solo events, etc. where we can get our feet wet and don't necessarily need a fully "built" race car. I expect the car to remain in the Phase 1 state for a good amount of time, possibly getting some small upgrades along the way

Phase 2:

  • Fully-built vintage racer- When we reach Phase 2 will be primarily dictated on (mostly) my financial situation.
  • The engine is a strong runner, but certainly to be competitive we'll want to have it built into a true racing engine. This is not in the cards right now.
  • Toyota 5 speed conversion?
  • Competition components throughout

Since the last post on BCF, I've finished the sills, both hinge plates, both footwells, driver and passenger floors, tacked in the forward mounts for the rear leafs, replaced the rear crossmember and tacked the new side panels in place. Being able to stand on a floor board without it flexing was a moment I had to capture.

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Old BMWs are very close to my heart. The car I bought myself in high school was an '85 E28 and I drove it all through college. My best friend from college drives an E21 and we made our going out money working on a few Callaway E21s and other vintage BMWs a local collector had.

Last year, I decided to sell my C10 and buy a car to race. I realized it will be quite some time before the Healey is actually a legitimate race car and I've spent entirely too much time watching racing and longing to be out there (save some auto-x and track days). This (ugly) E21 came up for sale near Columbus for something like $800. I hadn't sold the truck, had nowhere to put it, but was practically running to my car (on my lunch break mind you) to drive down and buy it. I call the guy who informs me it was purchased THAT MORNING.

Fast forward 6-8 months, the truck is sold, I'm cruising CL and what do I see? Yep! $1,500 later I was driving an unregistered, rough-running, loud as hell, green and yellow race car on 20+ year old tires across town. Sketchy. (Click on the picture for the video.)

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It was prepped ITB and ran at Mid Ohio and in a number of other events from 93-96. My plan with the car is to clean it up and get it all prepped for vintage racing. I'll use it to get my competition license and develop my driving.

Most of the progress on the E21 has been cosmetic thus far although it is running a lot better after getting it to run on 4 cylinders consistently and enacting a bit of an "Italian tuneup". My competition school is in April, so I'll be making a pretty big parts order later this month or next and diving in. Day one:

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How it looks now:

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That's where I'll leave it for now. Clearly, I'm no master fabricator and I've never prepped a race car before so any tips, tricks, etc. are more than welcome!

RoddyMac17
RoddyMac17 New Reader
2/9/17 9:49 a.m.

I'm liking the Healey project, reminds me of being in high school. Dear old dad and I did a minor resto on a BN7. Are you planning on putting on a set of side curtain doors or are you going to keep it looking like a BJ7?

AxeHealey
AxeHealey New Reader
2/10/17 8:16 a.m.

Nice!

Yep, side curtain doors will be going on. We got a pretty good pair from a local Healey guy years back.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey New Reader
2/13/17 7:53 a.m.

Between an hour Saturday morning and a couple yesterday afternoon, I was able to get the jacking damage on the front crossmember of the Healey repaired. Here's what I started with:

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Sorry for the poor lighting, it's pretty dark in the garage and I have to use an LED work light.

My plan was to remove the bottom section and use the frame rail repair piece Kilmartin makes that has the correct profile. I had a section left over after fixing the spot under the driver's right foot and both in the trunk. Since It's bent, I made a couple relief cuts to aid in getting it back in shape and then welded those up also.

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Those two sides are supposed to be seam welded in the middle...No surprise the weld was broken by the jacking. What was a surprise is that the little tack weld that Kilmartin does on their repair sections gave out was I was cutting it to size. I think it was probably due to coincidence that the section I cut only ended up with one tack. I reinforced it a bit.

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All told, I don't think the inside of the crossmember looked too bad. At the very least, it looked no worse than any other section of frame rail. I blew the flakes and sand (from blasting) out and hit everything with some rusty metal primer.

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I still need to grind down the welds, but I'm pretty happy with how it's come out. Certainly a ton better than it was. I'm very happy with the look of most of the welds, some not so much!

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AxeHealey
AxeHealey New Reader
2/20/17 8:48 a.m.

It was gorgeous on Saturday and I couldn't resist taking the BMW out for a little ride. It ran great!

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I got a big delivery for the Healey late last week; just about everything I need to finish up the trunk area. There will be another update this week.

A question for you guys - Will a car fail tech with a cracked windshield? I assume so, but I want to make sure before spending money on a replacement. The BMW has a rather long crack on the driver's side.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair UltimaDork
2/20/17 9:42 a.m.

Subscribed for Big Healey love!

Jroc
Jroc New Reader
2/20/17 9:51 a.m.

The E21 looks good with the front diving board off, but man.... that color scheme

AxeHealey
AxeHealey New Reader
3/4/17 5:06 p.m.

In reply to Jroc:

Yeah, I think the E21 looks best without a front bumper, actually. Honestly, I've started to fall for the lemon/lime scheme, but I'm planning to paint or wrap it next winter.

I finally made some strong progress on the Healey today. The past week was pretty much a bust after a busy weekend and being under the weather until Thursday night.

I got both bumper outriggers located and welded into place. The driver's side went unbelievably smooth but the passenger side fought me tooth and nail. Clamping a slanted surface really isn't fun.

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Again, I'm quite pleased with most of the welds, but some aren't too pretty.

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I then felt like mocking up the trunk floor to see what a Healey with a trunk floor looks like!

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Finally, I cut out the spot welds for the driver's side trunk box and cleaned the lip up a bit. I decided to toss the new piece in for a test fit too.

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In other news, there's a pretty good E21 parts order on the way! My school is April 29th-30th so I've got to get into gear with it.

NOHOME
NOHOME PowerDork
3/4/17 6:33 p.m.

Been there done that with the Healey tin. You are doing a first class job of putting this one back together.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey New Reader
3/5/17 2:54 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME:

Thanks, much appreciated!

What Healey did you build?

NOHOME
NOHOME PowerDork
3/5/17 3:33 p.m.
AxeHealey wrote: In reply to NOHOME: Thanks, much appreciated! What Healey did you build?

This was the victim:

What set off my deja-vue was your trunk reconstruction picture since it was one of my task to fix the same corner. This was early in my metal-shapping experience and my friend who owns the car was concerned that I was going to cut this entire piece out rather than just patch what was there

Was also my first attempt to weld aluminum.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey New Reader
3/5/17 4:10 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME:

Awesome! It seems like it's almost always a better idea to replace the whole panel rather than patch. The piece you made up looks fantastic.

Did you MIG the aluminum? If so, what gas mix did you use, etc.? I've been wavering back and forth as to whether I'll repair the typical rips in the front shroud myself or have someone else do it. I've never welded aluminum.

NOHOME
NOHOME PowerDork
3/5/17 4:16 p.m.

I accidentally bought a TIG welder. This was my first and last aluminum welding.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey New Reader
3/6/17 8:17 a.m.

In reply to NOHOME:

Hah! I don't think I can swing an accidental TIG purchase at the moment...

I think I'll give it a shot with the MIG, but we'll see. I'm sure the welds will be ugly as all get out, but as long as I can get the job done and remove the evidence I'll be happy.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey New Reader
3/10/17 8:43 a.m.

Itty bitty update from last night. Now both trunk boxes are out. I hope to have the new ones in place by the end of the weekend. I'm going to try my had at fabricating the upright panel on the right-hand side that separates the fuel filler neck from the battery. Shouldn't be too difficult.

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My goal is to have all (or very close to all) of the chassis work done by the end of the month...

NOHOME
NOHOME PowerDork
3/10/17 9:31 a.m.

Love the updates cause I can re-live a lot of the stuff that we did when building the car over the last 15 years or so. A person with some patience and a beadroller can make any of the interior panels on the Healey.

As to the one I have been helping with, who knows, it might finally get done this year! (Huge box of parts just arrived to do the interior. Thank you Brexit)

AxeHealey
AxeHealey New Reader
3/11/17 7:11 a.m.

In reply to NOHOME:

It's a well known fact, but it's crazy to me how long these projects can take. We first pulled the Healey out of storage and got it running again over 10 years ago!

I'm lacking in the bead roller department, but I think I'll be able to handle this piece. I "fabricated" the scuttle side pieces which were a bit more complicated.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey New Reader
3/14/17 8:01 a.m.

Well, I didn't make as much progress as I wanted to this weekend and then ran out of welding gas last night... Progress was made nonetheless.

I had to cut two pieces out of the vertical trunk panel a while back to repair the top section of the frame rail. On Sunday, I made a patch piece for the driver's side. Not my best work, but it'll do the trick. I then got the box prepped for plug welds and realized I needed to prime all of the welds that it would be covering up. The spray can I'm using still has a lot of paint in it, but it pretty much just dumps paint all over. I coated the both sides and left to let it dry.

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Yesterday, I started mocking everything up to get the box in the right spot. I had to do a little bit of tweaking, but it's sure going to look nice once everything is in place!

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After the gas ran out, I decided to tinker a bit with the BMW. I got the new window net in (whooptiedoo) and got the fire extinguisher mounted. I also think I decided where the cutoff switch will go...

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The coffee can holds the registration and insurance card.

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Saturday was supposed to be spent at the shop, but I was craving a junkyard run. I wasn't really looking for anything in particular, but I happened upon an E46 sedan. 40 minutes later I had all but one battery cable removed. Now I can relocate the E21 battery!

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AxeHealey
AxeHealey New Reader
3/19/17 7:48 p.m.

Trunk boxes in!

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Started getting the E21 interior ready for some cleanup and a new coat of paint before getting the new seat in place, etc.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey New Reader
4/5/17 9:58 p.m.

All - I've run into an issue and really could use some help. I'm in the process of installing a 6 post master cutoff switch (along with relocating the battery to the back seat) in the E21.

Some background on the ignition system. The guys before me removed the ignition barrel and replaced it with a toggle switch (power on) and a starter button. The car started / starter engaged every time without fail before this.

With power running through the master switch, when I flip the toggle switch, power comes on and the fuel pump goes per usual. When I hit the starter button...nothing. I have not yet run the ignition switch to the master cutoff and then to the coil, but I've also removed the master switch from the equation and still no beans with the starter.

Unfortunately, I didn't have my voltage tester at the shop tonight, so I don't have any readings, but I'm hoping you all may be able to shed some light.

How it was wired before...

Battery positive terminal went to:

  1. Starter / alternator (yes, someone had spliced the alternator wire in)
  2. Fuse box

Battery negative terminal went to:

  1. Ground on intake manifold (fuse box grounded directly to the negative terminal)

How it's wired now...

Battery positive terminal goes to:

  1. Main post on master cutoff switch. The other main post then runs directly to the starter. I then ran the fuse box power directly to the starter.

Battery negative terminal goes to:

  1. Ground in the back seat... fuse box grounds to old battery tray (where a number of other things ground)

I'm sure it's something extremely simple, but I'm exhausted and I had to give up and come home. Also, if this whole thing isn't really coherent, refer to the aforementioned exhaustion.

Thanks in advance everyone!

AxeHealey
AxeHealey New Reader
4/6/17 7:57 a.m.

After not sleeping much last night thinking about this...I feel like it has to be a grounding issue.

My thought is that maybe now since the battery no longer grounds to the engine, there's no ground between the engine and the body meaning the starter isn't grounded. I'm going to give that a shot tonight.

Thoughts anyone?

AxeHealey
AxeHealey New Reader
6/1/17 7:12 p.m.

It's been a while, but a lot has happened on the BMW front. I somehow got the thing mostly race-ready and up to Waterford for my competition school. Everything went as planned aside from forgetting the log book at home...

I took it VERY easy all of Saturday and most of Sunday as the car was completely untested and I needed it to make it through the weekend. I finally drove it had during the short race Sunday afternoon and was making my way through the pack when I counted on more grip on soaking wet concrete than there was. I went off but didn't cause any damage to the BMW or anyone else. All in all, it was an awesome weekend.

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NOHOME
NOHOME PowerDork
6/1/17 9:07 p.m.

Waterford is a pretty neat little track. Hilltop never ceased to intimidate me,

Stampie
Stampie SuperDork
6/1/17 10:34 p.m.

Sorry for coming in late but wasn't that E21 on the $2017 board a while back? I've always had a soft spot for E21s. My ex step dad was an shiny happy person but he brought one from Europe when he came back state side. That car was the only good thing about him but I still remember driving it around the neighborhood while practicing to get my license.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey New Reader
6/2/17 8:29 a.m.

In reply to NOHOME:

It really is a fun track, that was my first time there. My spin was actually on my way up the hill to hilltop.

In reply to Stampie:

It probably was, yeah. I tried to buy it well over a year ago from a guy in Cbus asking $850 (if I remember correctly) and then actually bought it about 10 months ago from someone in Avon Lake asking $2000. Could have been on there both times! A euro E21 would be a cool car to learn on.

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