Driving a 1954 Austin-Healey 100/4 from Peking to Paris in the June 2019 ERA Rally.

Friday, 19 January 2018

0036 Pedals, heat shield, and much much more

We decide on a new work schedule
13th - 19th January 2018

Making progress !
This has been one of the busiest and hardest weeks so far since we started work in May last year, some 9 months ago.  Ashton and I decided we needed to have a different approach - We seemed to be endlessly churning our wheels (figuratively speaking), working every day but not seeming to make any real progress. Our original plan was to have the car at least out of CCC, if not running, by the end of 2017.  With 2017 finished, we needed some improvements in productivity, so we agreed with CCC that at the end of January we would take the car out of CCC and back to my house, where we can not only recover a little financially, but also I (and any friends who can help) can work on the car any day of the week.  One of the biggest delays at the moment is that Saturday and Sunday are the only days that friends can come and help us, but those are the days when CCC is closed.  So we all sat down together and discussed whether this schedule was achievable, and once we dicided it was, we prioritised all the tasks we had listed, and set about completing them one by one.  We then got more done in two days than we had got done in the previous two weeks !

Starting on the heat insulation
While Andrew was busy on the fuel pump installation, I started installing the heat shield material around the passenger footwell and across the firewall.  Healey's always have a problem with engine and exhaust heat,
Firewall heat shield
and our new side exhaust will only compound that for the passenger (ie me !!).   Before I could install the firewall material, Steve and I had to decide which of the many holes in the firewall we really needed for wiring, cables, throttles etc, and which could be blanked off.  There are SO many holes in a dashboard, it is unbelievable.  In the end we decided we only need 5, so the rest had rubber gromments put in, or were
Nearly completed
siliconed when they were really small, and once that was done, I could install the heat shield.  I had made the panel up over the last couple of weeks, but despite putting a protective rubber edging around it, I still ended up with my arms cut to shreds !  Installing spacers on every bolt between the metal and the heatshield means you are always trying to reach behind the heatshield, which is where the damage occurs !  However eventually we got it in place, got the steering column installed and tightened, and the air vent tube bolted in place.

Passenger side heat shield
Next it was the heat shielding on the passenger footwell.  Once again this was a nightmare, with blood everywhere !  It really is incredibly difficult to work with this material, but eventually I got most of it in place (I was working on multiple other jobs at the same time !).  By the end of the week I just had a last piece of edging to bolt in place, which will make it all much neater.   It will mostly be invisible once the engine is installed and the shroud added, but hopefully it will be effective in keeping the exhaust heat away from my feet !

Rubber in wheel arch
I was also fitting rubber sheeting inside the front wheel arches to not only protect the panels from stone damage, but also to reduce the noise from stones incessantly hitting the inner wheel arches as we drive on endless dirt roads.  I use the same thin rubber sheeting that I used on my Lotus on the Alaska trip in 2012, with it glued in place in the wheel arches.  However this time, as the sheets are larger, I have installed 4 small alloy brackets that help to hold the rubber sheeting in place more securely should the glue lose any of its stick !  Once again, a very time consuming exercise, applying glue upside down, and then trying to get everything lined up and held while it sticks firmly !  The rubber sheets had to be roughened up with sandpaper first to make sure they adhered to the glue, and the brackets were all made and shaped individually to insure they would hold everything in place.  Finally, all the individual bolts had to have lock washers and locktite added to make sure they stay done up !

After two very productive days on Monday and Tuesday, on Wednesday Steve was unable to come to
5 stud drums & 4 stud hubs !!
work as he had badly ricked his back, while Andrew had got a small piece of steel in his eye and had to go to hospital to get it removed - So it was just me there !!   While fitting up the brakes we had found two small parts I had not ordered - a tiny 10 cent felt pad that stops the brake shoes from rattling,  and 4 springs.   As I have mentioned before, now we are putting parts back on the car, we are finding all sorts of minor yet time consuming issues cause primarily because we have upgraded to newer (and hopefully better) parts. We have changed the rear axle from the earlier 4 stud axle to the supposedly stronget 5 stud axle, and its upgraded brake fittings. So while we have order new drums and
Front brakes fitted up
pads, we now find the original return springs don't fit, and the steel brake rods in the back need to be cut and rewelded to get them to line up with the new fittings which are at a 90 degree different angle.  Luckily we were able to get these minor parts overnight from Melbourne, but then on Thursday morning, having installed the backing plates and brake shoes, we unwrapped the new front hubs and brake drums - And found a massive problem - The brake drums were 5 stud, and the alloy hubs were only 4 stud !!   Ironically we had ordered and received all these parts in July last year, but I had then stored them without unwrapping them - Why would someone send us parts that wouldn't fit together ???   On this major issue, the Healey Factory in Melbourne again came to our rescue, and overnighted new hubs to us.  So when these arrived on Friday, we opened them with glee - Only to find they were the same 4 stud hubs !!  Now we had 4 of them, and none fitted.

It turned out that because we upgraded to wider 2 1/4 inch front brakes which came from a later
Front steering installed
model Healey, for some reason no one seems to have done this before, and all the hubs are for the original 4 stud brakes, which for some reason no one seems to have available.  We have now spoken to D Welch in the UK who sent us the original parts, and it turns out that they too cannot supply these parts.  So now this begs the question - Why did they suggest we use the wider brake units if they cannot supply hubs to suit ?  There is going to be a lot of to-ing and fro-ing on this over the next few days because without these parts we are literally stuck.  We need to mount the wheels so we can get the car off the cradle, and only then can we install the gearbox and engine (it will be too heavy to get off the cradle once the engine is installed).

Fuel filter and pumps
In the meantime we continued on everything else.  Andrew has just about completed the fuel pump installation - He was waiting on some parts, and having to mill others - It is the same old problem with these old cars - Some of the fittings just aren't available, or are very hard to find, because they are the old British threads and everything you buy today is metric. But eventually all the parts arrived, and the pumps were installed.  He has made it so that the pumps and the fuel filter can be quickly and easily removed if they need to be cleaned or worked on, simply by undoing a couple of bolts.  This makes it possible to keep the pumps low down thus reducing any possible pumping issues from the fuel tank, while still making them easy to work on or repair.

Installing pedal box

Around the rear axle we started installing all the steel brake rods (which as mentioned needed cutting and rewelding to fit) and the Panhard Rod - Again due to the later axle, this also had to be modified to fit. All these minor irritations were slowing us down and frustrating us, especially in light of the front hub issue.   Andrew then moved to installing his revised pedal and clutch assembly which he had made up some weeks ago from scratch, and eventually he got that all installed and working. 

Making brake lines
Steve meanwhile was making up the new steel brake lines.  The original ones were not in good condition, and the brake fluid I had found in the brake fluid reservoir was very watery and rusty, so we don't really feel we can trust the original lines.  Additionally, the flex rubber hoses that connect the hard brake lines to the front brakes themselves were too short by an inch or so - Once again a problem cause by changing over to the different front drums.  We therefore made up some new slightly longer ones in house at CCC.  Eventually the front hubs were fully complete - Except for the 5 stud hubs for us to mount our wheels on !!

Steve and I have also spent this week planning our work on the wiring, and ordering the parts we will
Planning the wiring
need.  We now have a firm idea of where we are headed on this, and are planning on working late one night this week to install everything.  We will use the basic loom that we already have and is in good condition, but for anything critical (like fuel pumps for example) we will just add in a new section just for that so that we are certain it is all good.  We are also going to add indicators - Currently our US model car has a complicated "flasher unit" that
Possible small indicators
is required because the rear indicators also act as brake lights as well as rear lights.  By adding separate orange (not red) indicators, we can do away with the flasher unit, and also be prepared for some bureaucratic policeman in the middle of no where who decides that all cars must have orange indicators - or similar.  Better safe than sorry in these instances, and we will make them so they can be easily removed afterwards.
We got the dash into place temporarily to work out where we will mount everything, and even got the new steering wheel in place briefly - Looking good !

Overall, despite the guys being off work on Wednesday, we got a lot done this week.  We can complete the wiring and everything else next week, except for the front hubs !  We need to sort that out as quickly as possible !  In the meantime we will concentrate on everything else.

Remainder of the pics are here :-  https://photos.app.goo.gl/E8c5v1d3p4g2zrk42


  1. Guys, I love the idea of the side exhaust, it reminds me of those rally Healeys that looked fantastic !

  2. Thanks Will - it gets it out from under the car and gives us another few inches of ground clearance - every little bit helps on a car not really designed with ground clearance in mind :) Andrew has crafted a funtionally complete and visually attractive solution I think!

  3. And I checked the ground clearance as soon as Gidget hit the ground for the first time - 8 inches !!!! Still have to put engine in though !! Photo evidence in next post shortly. Thanks for support, Will !!


Ashton & Giles welcome any visitors, support, and comments as we prepare for our Adventure !