Healey Sports Cars

mods & upgrades for Healey (Nash, Austin, or Jensen) cars, including engine swaps

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Bugeyev8
Brian Marshall
San Leandro CA
(32 posts)

Registered:
12/16/2008 08:53PM

Main British Car:
1960 Bugeye, 1974 MGB,Triumph TR8 1.2 115 Hp 1275 in the Bugeye, Nissan Ka24DE in MG

Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: Bugeyev8
Date: June 19, 2009 05:32PM

This is how I do things..jap 4 clyinder 170hp, very little cutting...goes like hell
engine swap.jpg


J Man
jason adkins
NW OH
(194 posts)

Registered:
01/21/2009 08:49PM

Main British Car:
'61 Morris Minor panel, '70 MGB GT, '74 MGB GT MGB 1.8, unsure yet on the GTs

Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: J Man
Date: June 24, 2009 12:23AM

Sorry not into the Jap stuff but what is that out of? Is yours factory RHD of did you convert it?


HealeyRick
Rick Neville

(467 posts)

Registered:
12/19/2007 05:01PM

Main British Car:
1963 Austin-Healey 3000 Ford 5.0L

authors avatar
Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: HealeyRick
Date: June 24, 2009 05:29AM

Brian,

Very tidy installation. Looks like a blast!

Rick


Bill Young
Bill Young
Kansas City, MO
(1337 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 09:23AM

Main British Car:
'73 MG Midget V6 , '59 MGA I6 2.8 GM, 4.0 Jeep

authors avatar
Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: Bill Young
Date: June 24, 2009 08:12AM

First, thanks for the kind words Curtis. There are indeed no extra frame mods in my car except for the center of the crossmember being relocated back 2" for transmission clearance. The stiffness in the chassis comes from the basic Spridget design and any reinforcement added by my roll bar. I was very careful when selecting and mounting my engine that I didn't have to cut or alter the main chassis rails in any way just for that reason, to maintain strength. I have seen the additional reinforcements added by other builders and most did that very professionally losing nothing by perhaps a bit of ground clearance. Brian, I most heartily agree and have said so on many occasions, unless you are an experienced builder and know what to expect as to the drivability of your car a V8 is not a good choice for a Spridget. They just require too much surgery and reinforcement to the car. They've been done before, I even owned one years ago with a 283 Chevy in it, but it wasn't an ideal choice. The foot wells were quite a bit smaller than stock which limited foot room and made the car a bit uncomfortable to drive for any length of time. I'd hate to think of trying to make the 2500 mile run to North Carolina and back as I just did in my car in a V8 powered Midget. Jason, if you're not into the "Jap" stuff as you say then your choices are indeed limited, but Brian has a vailid point. Unless you have a lot of experience and a big ($10K at least) budget you'd be much better off with either a V6 or just building up a 1275 for the car. There's just no way to build one of these on the cheap without having to cut corners that would result in your safety being compromised. If you go with a V8 you would definitely need much better front brakes, that means major suspension mods and custom components which are expensive. The stock suspension and brakes with upgraded pads should be good for some increase in weight and up to around 150 hp, anything more than that and you need upgrades.
I've been involved in hot rodding for over 40 years now and like Brian have seen some poorly built projects and many abandoned mostly because the builder selected the wrong engine for the chassis and the techincal problems overwhelmed them. Stick with something within your experience range and budget for a first build and you have a lot more chance of success.


Bugeyev8
Brian Marshall
San Leandro CA
(32 posts)

Registered:
12/16/2008 08:53PM

Main British Car:
1960 Bugeye, 1974 MGB,Triumph TR8 1.2 115 Hp 1275 in the Bugeye, Nissan Ka24DE in MG

Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: Bugeyev8
Date: June 24, 2009 12:05PM

as Bill said start simple, you can always re build the car later on, I have re done several of my cars over the years and made huge changes sometimes...sometimes small ones, choose what is right for you at the time, look at cost of all parts before you start, get an idea of what you plan to spend and how much work you can actually do yourself, I have a friend that did a Nissan V6 in a Triumph TR6 for his first swap and he did not ever do anything like this before, he does not weld at all, he fabricated wooden and cardboard mounts and had a shop weld them up, but this also costs money..so add this into the final costs

what ever engine you decide ,get the car into a driving project car and then after working the bugs out take it apart and paint/powder coat,ect , by doing this will save you alot of troubles in the long run...trust me on this one

just because you have a 215, that is not a good enough reason to use it, this is the first mistake people make is to use an engine because they have it or can get it cheap or a good one is "my buddy has this engine" I have never done a swap with any engine because I had it, I went out and bought each specific engine after months of research and measurements

also..the S10 T5 will not live long behind a 215 with real HP stock 215 has about 140hp, you will need to get a Camaro V8 trans best is the World Class version and swap the rear housing from an S10 to it, the V8 ones have larger bearings and will hold up alot better, we just did this for a 46 Ford truck to get the shifter in the right spot, worked great !!


J Man
jason adkins
NW OH
(194 posts)

Registered:
01/21/2009 08:49PM

Main British Car:
'61 Morris Minor panel, '70 MGB GT, '74 MGB GT MGB 1.8, unsure yet on the GTs

Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: J Man
Date: June 25, 2009 10:27AM

From what I can tell is that because I am new to Sprites and not as familiar with unibody cars and asking a lot of questions that means I should just give up since I will be building a unsafe pos that I will eventually run out of money trying to build. Even though I have only made a few posts on here it seems that to a few of you that a am a car building moron.

At no point has anyone taken the time to ask about what experience I have, what my budget is. I guess since I am not the Sprite guru that all of you are I should just give my car to one of you before I ruin it with my ideas. Never mind that I have a couple other vehicles that I am working on, collecting parts for or just sitting on waiting for other things to get done. Also for what experience I lack I have friends to make up for it. I have one friend that has mechanic experience to assist if I need help, another friend is a certified welder that can more than handle the stuff I am not comfortable with. Then I have my other friend that is a retired mechanic, builds cars for customers and has an automotive encyclopedia of information in his head and has the fabrication experience that would surpass just about anyone. So between the 4 of us and a few other people I think I can handle doing a few things that some think are impossible for me (although you know nothing about me)

My wife just gave birth to our first son. I know nothing about babies and am asking a lot of questions, all people with more baby experience than I have. i am sure some of my questions, thoughts and Ideas may seem dumb, odd or simple to them but being my first to me it is new. But if I relate what you are telling me since the baby will cost me more money over his life span than what is in my pocket I should give up. Since I might not do everything right and might mess something up once or twice over the next 18 years that I am responsible for him, I should just give up.


Bill Young
Bill Young
Kansas City, MO
(1337 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 09:23AM

Main British Car:
'73 MG Midget V6 , '59 MGA I6 2.8 GM, 4.0 Jeep

authors avatar
Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: Bill Young
Date: June 25, 2009 11:57AM

Jason, first let me apologize if I in any way implied that you didn't know what you were doing or had the necessary skills or experience. Your posts did mention a very limited budget and your basic questions did imply not much experience with engine swaps in Spridgets so as you requested both Brian and myself have tried to offer our best advice based on our experiences. I'm sure that you and your friends can accomplish the necessary mods to the car to get a 215 V8 installed, but from your mention of a limited budget for the project you might not be able to afford to complete the swap unless you plan on taking several years to finish it. With the arrival of a new son you might well find that hobby money will get even tighter.
What both Brian and myself don't want to see happen is that you begin the project, cut up the Sprite and then run out of time, money, or inspiration and then wind up losing what you have already invested when you sell it off. That's the usual scenario for incomplete projects, losing lots of money.
Installing a V8 into a Spridget is not an easy task and will take a lot of fabrication to do well. You may well use up your friends with a project like this, especially the welding when you have to replace about a third of the firewall and footwell area as well as reinforce the main frame rails and transmission tunnel. That's a lot of work, I know and it takes hours to fabricate the panels and get them welded in place.
Add in the cost of replacing the rear axle with a stronger unit, having it narrowed, and then fabricating the necessary brackets for he suspension, and you are just getting started on some of the more expensive parts of a conversion. My conversion took me about 3 years of slow progress and budgeting to complete and I didn't have to do about half the extra work you would for a V8 car. I budgeted about $3000 for the project, wound up spending almost $5000 and that was 10 years ago. I'd think that at minimum you'll invest close to $10,000 even if you wind up doing almost all the work yourself including paint. Start farming that out and you'll wind up closer to 15K. If you've got that kind of hobby money then by all means go for it. If not then we just advise considering that there are other options available that are simpler and would cost much less. Your choice, we just offer you our experience based on having built Spridgets with V6s, V8s, and other engines. I don't know the depth of Brians experience in other areas, but I've been involved in hot rods, street rods, and other cars for years and this isn't my first engine conversion. Here's a photo of my last street rod built in the mid 80s as an example of what type of experience I'm bringing to the discussion.
Lobucs.JPG



Bugeyev8
Brian Marshall
San Leandro CA
(32 posts)

Registered:
12/16/2008 08:53PM

Main British Car:
1960 Bugeye, 1974 MGB,Triumph TR8 1.2 115 Hp 1275 in the Bugeye, Nissan Ka24DE in MG

Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: Bugeyev8
Date: June 25, 2009 12:01PM

If you get that idea from what I have said, it was not intended

I can only speak for myself here but I just hate to see people get over their heads with a project and was just trying to help you set a realistic goal

as to your background in cars, from the first posting that you made asking if there were mounts availible for the swap, lead me to believe that you did not have much automotive background, I appoligize to you for that if I was wrong

you should not give up on anything because someone else says something negative, do what you want to do..it is your car, just be safe about it

Good luck with whatever road you choose, if there is anything you need help on let me know


HealeyRick
Rick Neville

(467 posts)

Registered:
12/19/2007 05:01PM

Main British Car:
1963 Austin-Healey 3000 Ford 5.0L

authors avatar
Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: HealeyRick
Date: June 27, 2009 02:21PM

Jason,

I don't think anyone was trying to disrespect you ... just trying to point out that this is not the easiest swap in the world. It requires a lot of fab and engineering skills. If you don't have those skills, you'll need to find someone who does. And, unless they're one of your buds, you'll have to pay beaucoup bucks to do the work.One of the great advantages of a forum like this is to learn from the people who have already gone down this road and have the scars to prove it. Don't think anyone is trying to discourage you from making the trip, just want you to know what awaits you on †he journey.

Rick


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5812 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: June 27, 2009 03:06PM

Just keep in mind that different people will do a conversion different ways, and always pay closest attention to those who have actually done the swap you are considering. It is usually not real helpful to solicit advice from someone who dislikes the engine you would like to use, unless you want reasons to not use it. Many things may be possible even when common opinion is against them.

So rather than getting angry at Brian, just consider his perspective. He would never do this swap. He hates this engine. He will have every conceivable reason not to do it, and for him that is the right choice. He will never agree with you on it unless you change your mind, but that isn't a bad thing. Greg otoh will be a strong ally, and Rick and Bill will help where they can, both quite capable of pulling your chestnuts out of the fire on occasion. So pick their brains and find out all the ins and outs of the conversion. Use the information Brian gives you to your advantage. He will help alert you to trouble areas that you might otherwise miss until it's too late to do anything about it. But then, you already knew all of that I suspect.

Jim


getagripgreg
Greg Stasko

(33 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2008 12:08AM

Main British Car:


Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: getagripgreg
Date: July 02, 2009 12:38AM

Oh boy! This has gotten exciting while I've been away. :)

Lots of very good advice given here and I understand your response, Jason.

I would agree in principle that for this project to be a success, it is going to take alot of work and alot of money. However, one man's POS is another man's pride and joy. Success is subjective and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

MY 215 Olds powered sprite is still a vision in my head of what I imagine success to be. Right now it is a rusty POS that someone else gave up on 30 years ago when they ran out of talent or motivation or money.

I have about $3000 invested so far, to make the car go, turn and stop. But it is still a horrible turd. It is a safe bet that I will have dumped AT LEAST $10K into it before it is "nice". Another $5K on mechanicals and $5K on cosmetics. My boss, who has been building vintage race cars for 25 years has a rule of thumb that any "toy" car, that is a car that's just for fun, will cost $20,000 to finish.

My car might run and drive, but I'm stalled out because I face the real hard stuff now. I need to design and fabricate a structure to reinforce the front half of the car. I need to redesign the steering column and weld in joints. Hell, even the simple bodywork and floor repair needs doing, and I'm not in the mood to suck rust dust right now! :P

FWIW, I build vintage race cars for a living and have done so for 20 years. I'm currently restoring the 64 Alfa Romeo TZ2 that is on the poster for this year's Pebble Beach tour, and I built the drivetrain for a Dusenberg that will be on the grass there too. We have a Jaguar XKSS in the shop right now that is inspiring me regarding a square tube front subframe for the Bugeye, JUST LIKE A D-Type! (imagine how cool that could be...)

So with this background and access to the shop I work in, I still am daunted by my V8 bugeye project. Then I decide on something like gauges, which I don't have yet... That 5" Smiths Chronometric in the XKSS is PERFECT! Guess what, it costs $500 for a replica. I expect that in the end my dash will have $1000 in it. Choke.

Jason, you are starting with a big handicap of time and budget. But new fathers with limited means have made great art before, so there is no reason to say that you cannot do the same.

I wish you the best of luck and will help where I can.

Cheers!

-Greg


B-Fast B-Strong
William Smith

(144 posts)

Registered:
10/17/2009 11:28PM

Main British Car:
Bugeye Bodied Spriget

authors avatar
Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: B-Fast B-Strong
Date: April 20, 2010 03:20PM

The ford Durotec engine is a I4 engine that will make 250hp easy , all aluminum , just a tad over 200lb's and fits nicely. You can get a bell housing to fit a T5 , intake for two webers, stand alone ignition mod. The car will handle better and go like a bat out of hell and you don't have to cut it all up.
Will

duratec.jpg

Jayson,

Added a picture of the engine and here is another , don't let your feeling get hurt . I did once and I think these guys mean well. They have been there and done that ! Google Quad Rod , they have all the stand alone stuff for the Ford Zertec and Durotec engines and I predict these will be the hot engine swaps in small British sports cars.

Will
0812rc_09_zgm_quad_4_ecotec.jpg



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 06/21/2010 07:39PM by B-Fast B-Strong.


ToyBug
Dan Wilson
Colorado Springs
(14 posts)

Registered:
06/01/2010 10:09PM

Main British Car:
1959 Bugeye Sprite, 50's MG Special Toyota 2-TC 1600cc, MGB 1800

Re: New and old '59 Bugeye projects
Posted by: ToyBug
Date: June 03, 2010 02:58AM

My two cents goes something like this: the Spridgets are not the ideal subject for engine swaps primarily due to the unit body....just about every bit of what little sheet metal there is is structural...cut stuff out with care, and be prepared to think seriously about what will take it's place! My first Bugeye swap was a Volvo b16B and four speed done in 1963. New motor mounts, front and rear were the major part of the deal, and the fronts failed later due to stress and vibration, taking out sections of the top hat main Sprite frame rails. My current car, also a Bugeye, begun in 1974 has a 74 Toyota Corolla 2TC 1600 with a Toyota M50 5 speed. MUCH more had to be cut away and replaced, to include all of the tunnel forward of the shifter, and both inner foot wells had to be refabricated. The end result was a better swap, but much more work. I have often thought that if I were to do it again, I would build a complete tube frame and drop the Sprite shell over it. With 20/20 hindsight, it would have been easier.
Of course, now there are many more interesting motors available to swap into the Spridget, to include the rotaries, and the Miata packages, perhaps even bike motors. With any vee type motor, 6 or 8, the flywheel diameter and trans size will eat up valuable footwell width, to the point that fitting three pedals will be a challenge unless your shoes are REALLY narrow. The alternative automatics are also wide, and I just can't see an auto in a sportscar unless it's a drag machine.
Weight is also an issue. the Spridgets are very nicely balanced to begin with, and given the BMC original motor and trans are NOT light, many modern especially Japanese power packs are considerably lighter, which also contributes to peformance of all types. Whether you want to go fast, stop fast, or go around corners fast, weight is your enemy.
Back in the olden days, we thought that 100 bhp out of a 1600 was good. Modern engine managment systems, turbos and fuel injection make that seem puny. I will witness the fact that anything over 100 hp in a 1500# car is a LOT to handle. A v-6 or 8 is really overkill, and after the third burnout ultimately not that much fun to drive. Many of the modern motors will offer much more than that and run all day, unlike the original lumps.
When I did my first swap, it was considered pretty strange and frowned upon by one and all. The mood was a bit more progressive when the second was started, and now I can see that it is pretty normal as far as (Spridget) car stuff goes. It's nice to finally grow into the mainstream...
Bottom line, if you want a car that is fast, handles well, looks good and is relatively practical to drive, look long and hard at the modern four bangers out there in the yards. If you are into freak shows, and are a pretty competent mechanic, fabricator and shadetree engineer, and have lots of time and even more $, go for the v-8. Or maybe a Chrysler v-10 Viper/truck motor...now THAT would set one apart from the crowds...maybe Leno would be interested...
Dan
'59 Austin-Healey Bugeye, 45 DCOE Weber carbureted Toyota 2-TC 1600, Toyota T-50 trans, inboard shocked front suspension, coil over four bar rear suspension, right hand drive, and 36 years of time......
Toybug001.jpg
Sprite frontend001.jpg


B-Fast B-Strong
William Smith

(144 posts)

Registered:
10/17/2009 11:28PM

Main British Car:
Bugeye Bodied Spriget

authors avatar
Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: B-Fast B-Strong
Date: June 04, 2010 12:24AM

Well there you go ! I will not be the first to put inboard shocks in a spriget. I am going to use shorter coil-over and make a lighter lower A frame. Always someone been there done that. Dan I would like to know how that has worked out for you. I like the design and I bet it works well.
Thanks for the pictures. William


Bugeye RX
Dave Bergheimer

(47 posts)

Registered:
05/16/2010 07:04PM

Main British Car:


Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: Bugeye RX
Date: July 17, 2010 10:46PM

YO J-man, I say go for it. I made some pretty big cut to the uni-body myself and I'm far from being an engineer. I just used common sense and strengthened the areas I cut and made sure I installed addition stiffeners and supports. As I was once told, It's your ride feel free to let the sparks fly and see where it takes you. Good luck.



J Man
jason adkins
NW OH
(194 posts)

Registered:
01/21/2009 08:49PM

Main British Car:
'61 Morris Minor panel, '70 MGB GT, '74 MGB GT MGB 1.8, unsure yet on the GTs

Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: J Man
Date: September 05, 2010 10:14AM

I sold the one in the pictures from my original post. I ended up picking up another one that was cheaper to purchase, more stripped down (less spare parts to worry about) and overall better suited for what I want to do.


bobpa49er
Bob Pipkin

(2 posts)

Registered:
06/20/2012 09:09PM

Main British Car:


Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: bobpa49er
Date: June 21, 2012 12:29AM

I wanted to do that same swap for 20 years. I bought my first bugeye in college 45 years ago and 5 years later I picked up a Buick with the aluminum 215, but after keeping it for 15 years, and selling that first bugeye after I got a second better driver, I decided against it for essentially the reasons listed here. I knew classmates in high school who had put a chevy small block in a bugeye, and broke his back when he flipped it on a country road in central CA. I had also test drove one in the Bay area during college that a guy had driven out from back east in, with no hood they had stuck headlights on sheet metal strips bolted to the inner fenders, had the chevy rear end sticking out 6" on each side, with a powerglide that he coasted down a SF hill to jump start w\ a dead battery. I was not impressed, even always thought the aluminum v-8 would solve some of the issues.
I kept that 2nd bugeye though, even when I stopped driving it when it had an air leak, water leak, gas leak and oil leak, and decided 2 years ago before retiring that I'd do the swap project to something entirely different, but equally fun. I pulled the 948, radiator, fuel tank and am in the process of converting it to a poor man's Tesla. I have 67 hp, 115 lb. ft. rated AC electric motor running at 108V (which has 100% torque available at 0 rpm, by the way,) along with the necessary 600 amp controller, BMS, 5 KW charger and 300 lbs of LiFePO4 batteries. I'm hoping for a total weight of > 1,800 lbs and vette-like acceleration and handling, with a 100 mile range. A fun driving machine, with none of the typical mechanical issues to deal with.
I'd love to find someone who wants to part with one of the speedwell monza FG or CF hoods, with the tiny opening (I don't care about cooling with no radiator,) at a reasonable price? Is anyone out there looking to get rid of one?


Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4411 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: Moderator
Date: June 21, 2012 07:14AM

Welcome to BritishV8, Bob.

Poor man's Tesla? I want to know much more about your project, but I think you should start a brand new message thread about it.


BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5812 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: New '59 Bugeye project
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: June 21, 2012 09:27AM

I do too.We've talked about an electric before but they are very scarce. Show us the way?

Jim
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