Austin Healey Technical Tips

Written by tony oldhand
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Austin Healey Technical Tips
Austin Healeys have unique maintenance concerns. (classic British sportscar image by Christopher Dodge from

Austin Healeys are English sports cars sought by many auto enthusiasts. Production ended in 1971, and as of 2010 they have become collector's items. Instead of being just showpieces on a shelf, Austin Healeys are used by many proud owners as regular and dependable transportation. Any car driven daily requires maintenance, and by understanding some nuances unique to Austin Healeys an owner will save time and money.

Air Filter

Autin Healey owner and mechanic Steve Dubrovich has a tip for cleaning the pancake air filters. First, he soaks the filter in a shallow pan with some kerosene or diesel fuel. Second, he agitates the pan vigorously to loosen and remove the dirt. After that, he hangs the filter up and allows it to drip-dry. He re-oils the filter per the shop manual recommendations and reinstalls.

Generator to Alternator Conversion

To convert from an old generator system to a modern alternator for a six-cylinder Austin Healey, technician Don Lenschow recommends replacing the generator with a Delco internally regulated negative ground unit. This is a common alternator, readily available at any auto parts store. You may have to reverse the grounding system of your car if its grounded on the positive side of the battery. To mount the alternator, some bracketing will have to be fabricated or some off-the-shelf brackets can be used.

Timing Cover Shaft Seal

If the front part of the crankshaft has a worn groove, the front cover seal will leak. Two methods can correct this. In the first method, remove the crankshaft, have the grooved section welded in, and regrind the front part of the shaft. This is time consuming, costly, and labour intensive. You will basically have to tear down the engine completely to remove the crankshaft. Another method, recommended by technician Don Lenschow, is to encase the shaft with a very thin sleeve, 22 thousandths of an inch in thickness. Most rubber oil seals can accept the slightly larger shaft with no problems.

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