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AxeHealey
AxeHealey New Reader
7/13/17 10:16 a.m.

Tiny update: I've been driving it around on the streets a good bit this summer. Headed back to Waterford for their vintage race the weekend of August 4th.

Anyone else going?

AxeHealey
AxeHealey New Reader
8/17/17 8:21 a.m.

My bet on the 20+ yr old cooling system failed me and I struggled with cooling all weekend. Once I finished a cool-off lap and was ready to drive hard again, I'd have to move over to let a freight train of Corvettes and a turbo Porsche by. It was a bit of a frustrating weekend, but there was no one to blame but myself.

I might go to the local SCCA auto-x later in August or September but my focus will pretty much be on the Healey from now through May or June next year.

Cool shot of me going around turn 2. _TPG1934

AxeHealey
AxeHealey New Reader
9/21/17 3:38 p.m.

Back to the Healey!

I made up some patch panels for the front wheel wells a while back and haven't installed them. It's no breakthrough in fabrication, but I'm rather pleased with the rolled edge.

I also test fit the rear shroud for the first time before getting the side panels truly locked into place and...

it fits! Quite a bit better than I expected, actually. This weekend I should have time to get the rear wheel wells replaced as well as the patch panels.

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
9/21/17 8:56 p.m.

Looking good.

 

Driving over the border tomorrow to pick up a big order of parts for the 100-4. This WE and next week should see the car pretty much back on the road. Should be lots of updates on the build thread.

OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle Dork
9/22/17 6:17 a.m.

Keep posting. Someday my dad's BJ8 project will likely end up moving to my garage and this is inspirational.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey New Reader
9/22/17 7:40 a.m.

In reply to NOHOME :

Thanks man.

I'll keep an eye on your thread. I'm excited to see it on the road!

AxeHealey
AxeHealey New Reader
9/22/17 7:46 a.m.

In reply to OHSCrifle :

I started this project when the car was still in my parents' garage, parked perpendicular in the back. Every time I went to work on the car I had to spend 10-15 minutes moving their cars out and dragging the Healey to the middle. I then had to reverse the process when I was finished. It made it almost impossible to just spend a spare hour working on the car.

I'm in way over my head, but it's pretty rewarding. Get going!

JBasham
JBasham Reader
9/26/17 9:00 a.m.

Hi there, I really like what you have going on here.  I have been tracking an E21 Euro since 2013, but only at HPDE or Driver's Club.  First with the stock 2.3L, and now with a 2.5L.  I've have it jacked around to the point it keeps up with Miatas.  But the difference between them and me is, I make that slow lap stuff look good.

I think your paint is just super the way it is.

I think you know how to do the most important thing for long-term ownership of an E21:  fix rusty body panels. 

My next project is to figure out better braking.  My pedal is firm but it's a short stroke and I really have to stand on it. 

 

AxeHealey
AxeHealey New Reader
9/26/17 3:45 p.m.

In reply to JBasham :

Thanks! I'm big time jealous of your 6 cyl power. There's a lot to be said about the M10 but I miss a BMW inline 6 in my life.

I kind of hate the paint so much that I'm starting to like it...at least it's different. I initially intended to paint it, but it's definitely not happening this winter and may not altogether. I'll at least repaint the valence this spring where the bumper masked it off!

My fingers are crossed that the rust will stay at bay a bit and the iffy repairs from previous owners will hold together during my ownership.

Have you removed the booster/is it functioning? If the booster is gone, I think you need to change to a different size MC. 

JBasham
JBasham Reader
9/27/17 3:11 p.m.

In reply to AxeHealey :

The booster is still in there, with the stock MC.  But getting the car slowed down at the end of the front straight is a singular concentration of effort so I think the booster's on its way out.  I have been too busy with another project car to dig into it, but it's on the list for some attention soon.

I will say a prayer for the longevity of your P.O. repairs.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey New Reader
9/29/17 9:35 a.m.

A small bit of progress to report. First of all, I got the two patches done in the front wheel arches. I did a much better job on the passenger side than the driver's. I'm not a great welder to begin with, but butt welds really give me hell mostly because I have a hard time getting a really precise fit with my angle grinder. I'll probably spend some time cleaning up the welds a little more.

 

These patches are where the sills intersect with the wheel arches. This marks the first time in my lifetime (and probably a lot longer) that a sill has connected to a wheel arch on this car. Pretty crazy.

I ran into a strange issue when first attempting to fit the rear wheel arches in place. The arch was literally 1 inch off where it was supposed to hit the boxes in the trunk floor. There were three possible reasons.

  1. The replacement wheel arch was poorly made and I had to modify it. - This seemed unlikely as no other replacement panel I've gotten has been THAT far off. An inch is pretty extreme.
  2. I installed the new trunk box incorrectly. - While I'm no expert, the new trunk box was fit to original pieces that have never moved. I would have really have had to screwed it up.
  3. I was being stupid.

I was being stupid! After losing some sleep over the issue, I remembered that my decision to fit the side panels first to ensure their placement meant I was doing things out of order (outside in, not inside out). So, essentially, I had to undo some of the work I did to get the wheel arch to fit. It fits!

It's coming along.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
10/16/17 1:59 p.m.

The driver's side is done. Everything went together pretty easily. The only issue was caused by me and I will run into it again on the passenger side. The holes I drilled in the trunk floor in anticipation of plug welding to the wheel well were done too far inboard in most cases. That is, the lip on the wheel well is a lot smaller than I expected. It turns out looking a little shifty because I had to lay a couple beads in a few places but it's not the end of the world. The sins will also be partially covered up with seam sealer. The passenger side will be about the same.

I then decided to check the rear trunk floor fitment and it's really starting to come together!

Where the rear seat back panel (if you can call it that) meets the side panel was badly rusted. I took a shot a fabricating a replacement panel. It's far from professional but I'm very proud of how it came out.

As it sits now, the passenger side is about 85% welded in after running out of gas. I'll be back at it tomorrow evening and should be able to knock it out and tie up a few loose ends in the front wheel wells. I also fully welded the forward leaf spring hangers that had just been tacked into place.

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
10/16/17 2:22 p.m.

Making good progress on this.  It is a huge relief when you finally get the rear shroud on and it looks like a car again.

 

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
10/19/17 10:17 a.m.

On that note... I was able to get to the shop Tuesday evening and made a great deal of progress. The passenger side wheel well, etc. is finished. Now that it's all solidly in place, the shroud fits and fits a lot better than I expected.

I kind-of-sort-of test fit the trunk floor with everything in place. It fits for the most part, but it's going to take some massaging to get it in the absolutely correct spot. I believe it is supposed to be flat (i.e. parallel to the ground) but to get it in the right spot according to the side panels and shroud, it has to tilt down slightly. I'm out of town this weekend but should be back at it come Monday.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
10/27/17 8:02 a.m.

I think I've probably posted about enough pictures of the trunk region of the Healey but...it's really in the final stretch. Just a couple of supports for the shroud are left.

Granted, the shroud still needs repair but I'm actually amazed that it fits as well as it does.

 

Patrick
Patrick MegaDork
10/27/17 9:05 a.m.

So, we should probably meet at some point, fellow clevelander.

 

i too tried to buy the bmw after it sold in cbus. 

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
10/27/17 9:26 a.m.

I was going to mention that the shroud was in pretty good shape. Still see a bit or mending required. Going to do your own aluminum welding? 3003 alloy  is what I used and I can't emphasize enough how clean you want to get the metal before you fire the TIG. (Or gas torch). I was lucky in that I had scraps of aluminum from an old shroud to practice on and learn the fun of welding old aluminum.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
10/30/17 8:09 a.m.

In reply to Patrick :

Let's make it happen. I don't know nearly enough motorsports people in Cleveland oddly enough.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
10/30/17 8:17 a.m.

In reply to NOHOME :

I've actually decided to not tackle the aluminum myself. I can't up and buy a TIG right now and it would seem that the only real way to MIG it is to buy a spool gun and even then it would be really tough with how thin and old the shroud is. There's enough for me to finish up on this car for me to stay on schedule...my aluminum welding will have to wait.

DeadSkunk
DeadSkunk UberDork
10/30/17 8:23 a.m.

In reply to AxeHealey :

In an earlier post you commented that you find it difficult to get a precise fit with patch panels because you use an angle grinder. I've found that an angle grinder fitted with a flap wheel works much better when you're trying to "shave" your patches a little. Since Harbor Freight has such inexpensive grinders I just keep four of them, all fitted with different grinding or cutting discs.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
10/30/17 11:32 a.m.

In reply to DeadSkunk :

You're right, that's definitely the way to go. I'm still in the switching back and forth stage (even though my one grinder is Harbor Freight). I think a lot of my issue comes from trying to get a precise cut the first time whereas taking your approach and leaving some room makes much more sense. It also probably saves time in the long run...

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
11/16/17 8:01 a.m.

Progress is being made. Both shrouds are at a local fab shop being repaired. Once I get them back (expecting this week or next) I will be able to finish up the trunk area completely. Until then, and while I'm waiting on a part from Kilmartin to finish the back seat, I've moved to the front end and the wheel wells.

I've realized that not only did those who manufactured these cars (or really any old car) not use enough or any rust-inhibiting coating, but they also designed the car with the inherent nature of promoting rust. There are so many instances with large overlaps of metal. Great places to trap moisture and/or debris. There are extensions that come off the wheel wells, down to a steering box mount and then intersect with the front shroud and radiator support. Where the extensions hit the wheel wells and the shroud support, there was almost nothing left. Again, large pieces of metal overlapping.

All that being said, I needed to patch the wheel wells, patch the shroud support and then install the new extensions. I've finished the driver's side along with a patch where the brake fluid reservoir mounts and have repaired the passenger side wheel well.

I know this is coming to an end, but I'm seriously tired of rust repair.

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
11/16/17 9:09 a.m.

I have a love-hate relationship with rust repair. Other than the bugeye, it has always been for profit and I get satisfaction from the results. It works out well as I can make the owner happy and I end up with a perpetually full beer fridge. On my own cars, I have learned to steer clear if at all possible.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
11/17/17 10:27 a.m.

In reply to NOHOME : I suppose that makes sense. If I were making money doing this (which by the way would be impossible seeing how bad I am at it), I may like it a bit more. I'm softly looking for a tow vehicle and am only looking in the south simply because I want nothing to do with any more rust!

 

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
11/20/17 8:34 a.m.

The thing that surprised me most about being in an actual race car in an actual race was visibility. Not only do track days not have tight traffic with everyone vying for position but there's also no head and neck restraint required. With the little 1970's side mirrors, window net, normal rearview mirror and limited range to move my head, rear visibility was tough in the E21. I won an Amazon gift card last weekend and part of it went to a 5 panel mirror. I love it and it mounted just fine where the sun visors went.

I spent almost all of Sunday afternoon with the Healey. My first task was putting a final patch on the wheel well. From the factor, the wheel well is two pieces, spot welded on a flange. I didn't see the point in re-doing this so I came up with a simpler solution. I was proud of the rolled edge I put on it.

The fit with the extension is perfect at the top but my earlier patch of the wheel well doesn't come far enough out at the bottom. It'll have to do.

I then made a patch for the radiator/shroud support complete with the flange at the bottom. I ran out of welding gas when I was about 90% done. Pretty good day.

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