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

Sunday, 11 November 2018

0072 The radiator comes out

9th November 2018
A big change of plan for the cooling

205 days to go !

Side brace in boot
Started off the week by trying to work out a better and more stable way of packing stuff in the boot.  Our first efforts while we were out in Alice Springs were a miserable failure - Within only a few miles of bumpy roads the bags and boxes in the boot had escaped from their tie-down straps and were all over the boot.  A major rethink was in order !  One big advantage we now have is that there are main roll bar braces running down either side of the boot, not only providing a very solid limit to prevent movement of the items in the boot from side to side, but also providing a mounting point for brackets that can better hold down the contents of the boot.  With these ideas rolling around in my head, I looked at the optimal ways to implement them.

Bag storage in the boot
The original idea for strap tie down points was to bolt or weld them to the chassis somewhere in the
One bracket made up
boot.  However, the problem with this method is that if they turn out to be incorrectly positioned, they are difficult to remove / move.  Even welding brackets to the roll bar braces had the same issue - Fixed mounting points are not easy to move.   But if I
made up brackets that could be strapped to the roll bar braces then they would be easily installed, and
A bracket in position on brace
can be quickly and easily moved as required, without scarring or further weakening of the mounting structure.   Also cheap, as I can make them up with some short lengths of alloy strip that I have on the shelf.   After a couple of experiments, I had a bracket that could easily be strapped to the roll bar braces using hose clamps, would provide a firm tie down point, and could be easily reused in any position.   All I had to do was make 6 of them - two for each of the side bars, and one each for the forward vertical bars.  This would then give us side to side and also front to back tie down straps.

The larger canvas bags hold most of our spares and tools, and I found an old medium size soft cooler bag which fits perfectly in the remaining space, and can be filled with anything we want.  There is still some room on top and around the sides of the boot to store other items like clothes etc.   Obviously nothing will be final until we have everything available, but I think we are now moving in a better direction that previously.

Oils and liquids also need storage, and now the fuel pumps have been moved higher, the wells on either side of the boot will provide a good location, one thing I learned from a couple of other participants was that  liquid storage containers require excellent protective packaging to prevent them rubbing together and eventually puncturing.  Oil and water mixed in the boot of a car make a horrible mess !!

New SPAL fan arrives
Last weekend I had a weekend off from the Healey and went down to Phillip Island along with about 60 other Lotus' for a trackday.  While down there, Ashton and I discussed several of the current issues with the Healey, and one major one was the cooling and the need for spare parts.  We have been advised that the water pumps on the Healey are fairly unreliable, even new ones, and as a result we were considering carrying an electric water pump as a back up.  However we were also told that when the OE units break they will often seize which means that before an electric water pump can be installed, the original pump must be removed, and replaced with a blanking plate.  And to do this on the Healey requires removing the radiator and a number of other ancilliaries - Not something that would be easily or quickly done beside the roadside.  The solution would be to install an electric water pump now, and remove the existing water pump, get a blank made up to take its place, and finally to fit an electric fan to replace the engine driven fan.

Radiator removed from car
Research showed that the optimal fan was an SPAL unit, and further research showed that a flat bladed fan was more efficient than a curved blade fan, but the curved blade is quieter.  However, noise is the least of our concerns, so a flat bladed 13 inch fan was ordered, along with a Davies Craig electic water pump EWP115.  After draining out the coolant, most of which unfortunately missed the bucket and went onto the garage floor, I was able to remove the temperature probe and the radiator shroud - Which wasn't simple because it had been installed before the front radiator ducting had been installed !  Once the shroud was out, the radiator lifted out relatively easily, and when the new electric fan arrived, I took both down to Andrew so he can fabricate a bracket to mount the fan.  I also took down the alternator adjuster bracket so he can make a spare one for us to take in the car.

Fan positioned on radiator
The fan fits on the radiator perfectly, and should work well.  Next task is to remove the existing water pump and fan, and then to buy a new fan belt that will just run directly from the crankshaft pulley to the alternator, as it will no longer be required to turn the water pump.

I am now off to the UK to attend the ERA briefing for the rally, so by the time I return in 2 weeks time, all these items will be completed and I can install them and ensure they all work satisfactorily.

Rest of the photos are here :-  https://photos.app.goo.gl/pAcSzjXFFa5CiPCx8


  1. Hey guys, instead of hose clamps had you considered the metal cable ties. These are very strong and easy to fit and take no space if you carry spares. Ed

  2. I would always prefer mechanical solutions over electric. I understand your reasons, but I don't believe the waterpumps on Healeys are that unreliable. But no-one ever tried Peking Paris in a Healey. I originally wanted to, but the Classic category was already fully subscribed and we took a Lagonda 3 Litre instead. Sadly we sheared a half-shaft at the splines in Khovd and with no spare and still quite some miles until a point where we could send another one to we had to retire. So, who am I to advice! :-) (Maarten Hoeben)

  3. Maarten, the issue is more that IF the mechanical water pump failed,especially if it seized, we would have to carry blanking plates, and remove radiator etc to remove the pump before fitting either a replacement mechanical pump (heavy/large to carry) or fitting an electrical unit. Then there is the issue of the mechanical fan spinning on a blanking plate if we fitted an electric pump on the road. Too many potential issues that would take too long to repair when in a rally situation. The Healey water pump may well be reliable, but if it DID fail, it would cause us a major delay, or worse. Thus the choice. It is all about mitigation.
    Yes, Eddie, we hear you. Good idea.

  4. Hi Giles, understood! Will follow you. Wish I could do it again, this time in a Healey 100!


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