1960 Austin Healey 3000 Restoration

Another new project started in July 2011.
I bought a "partially restored" 1960 Austin Healey 3000 BT7 on Ebay in June. They shipped it from Florida to Virginia which took about 2 weeks.
Fortunately, there was no damage incurred during shipping, but there was a lot to do, as about the only thing previously done was
some cheap body work and paint job. The engine had been partially rebuilt, and purportedly has new rings and bearings and valve job done.
When it arrived, there were no front seats, no interior panels, and the cockpit was virtually stripped. There were various parts in boxes,
but several hundred parts were missing, ( a few odds and ends missing according to the listing). I will be adding to this page as I go through the
restoration process, hoping to be done in a year or so.
Jump to page in progress on reassembly of another car the same model.

Some photos of the nearly finished Healey, March 2014.

Shown here with the tonneau cover in place.

Some photos of the interior

Dashboard and front area

Front seats

Back seat area

Door and footwell

   Here are some photos of the car before any work was done, except in some cases to strip out some existing parts.

Here is the floor showing the steering column. They provided a damaged steering wheel that was not for this model and did not fit.

The engine was there, but not much attached to it. Just 2 bolts holding it in place.

Here are some photos of the parts. Looks like a lot of parts, but yet more were missing. Heater box and clutch as received.

Various trim parts, flywheel, driveshaft, fan, wiring harness.

The transmission has been removed. Turns out, the transmission mounts were missing and it was just sitting on the car floor.

The exterior body looked pretty good, but the interior panels were pretty rusty and patched up. They will be ground out and replaced with new panels welded in place.

Getting busy grinding out the rusty floor panels.

Got the rear floor ground out. Have the new panel sections already, but will need to weld in a little patch panel on the heelboard. Also discovered that the main floor panel had been replaced with a larger piece of metal that was on welded on top of the frame seams, so will have to grind out the main floor, resize, and weld it flush with the frame section main part so there is no gap underneath.

Driver side floor boards removed.

Passenger side floor boards removed revealing rust to the chassis frame and outrigger.

More rust on the frame cross members by the emergency brake brackets with an old patch job. More work for the grinder.

Starting to fabricate reinforcing metal for the main frame.
Got some of the frame reinforcing welded in. The floorboards need a flat surface to weld to, and need to be sealed underneath with caulk sealant.

  Here is one part that I worked on already. this is the cockpit heater, made by Smith's. It was covered with rust and red paint and the housing was bent.
After taking it apart and cleaning and painting the top and bottom cover.
I disassembled it, beat it back in to shape, and sanded and painted it. Then I cleaned out the core, which is like a little radiator, and bought a new control valve and installed that. Then I put it back together with the clips and it looks great. Fortunately, the core was good and did not leak, and the flow through it was fine.


I managed to find the blower unit on Ebay for just under a hundred dollars, and it worked well but needed cleaning up and painting.

The brake parts were all completely disassembled, including the front wheel calipers, which are not supposed to be split. Everything was frozen up with rust and dirt. In an attempt to use as many original parts as possible, I tried to salvage the existing parts which meant a lot of cleaning, and carefully freeing up frozen parts.

These are the brake adjusters, which were frozen up with rust. After soaking them in Liquid Wrench, PB Blaster, WD-40, and Coca-Cola, I put a blow torch on them and finally got the adjusting screw to budge, but the little pistons were still frozen in place. I had to use a brass rod, and pound them out from the inside while the housing was held in a vise. Then I cleaned and smoothed the little pistons and their cylinders, and put on a light coat of Copper Anti-Sieze compound and put them back together, and they worked smoothly and look like new.

Here is one of the calipers. They were already disassembled, the 2 halves separated, but the pistons were stuck fast in them. No amount of liquid wrench and vise-grips or channel locks could get them to budge. You are not supposed to separate the 2 halves, but someone else did it already, so I just make do with what I got.

I had to sacrifice the pistons and grind a notch on the rim, then put a pry bar across the 2 notches and finally got them to rotate. Then, with some blow torch heat applied, I was able to pull them up while rotating the piston back and forth with the pry bar. They were all rusty inside, but cleaned up with some 600 grit sandpaper, followed by 1200 grit to smooth the bore. I got new stainless steel pistons and new O-rings to rebuild them.

Drive shaft had all 3 grease nipples broken off flush and stuck.

I managed to extract all 3 of the broken grease nipples using a screw extractor, and replaced them with new ones.
Here is the rebuilt U-joint with all new bearings, and cleaned up with some new paint.

There were no seats in the car, so I had to buy the seat parts on Ebay, piece by piece, and refurbish them.
Here are the seat backs in the process of having the old foam removed. Then they were cleaned, scraped, and stripped.

This is the brake fluid and clutch fluid reservoir. It was painted red and looked pretty rough, so I cleaned it up, tightened up the nuts inside the can, and painted it the original black color. I have a Griling sticker coming to make it look better, but it is the original Girling can.

As removed from the car.

After some sanding.                                                                                                 After some paint.

Here are the fan blades, after cleaning, sanding, and paint.

The generator was dirty and made a grinding noise when turned, so it will be cleaned up and the bearings replaced.


The dashboard was hanging loose held only by a few wires attached to the instruments. It was covered with vinyl and spray painted a beige color.

Here is the current state of my garage, early October 2011.

The right front wheel was hanging out at about a 20 degree angle when I got the car. Both the lower wishbone brackets were bent inward about 3/4 of an inch, so I pressed them back in to position with a 12 ton hydraulic jack, after the engine was removed. The wheel was still at about 10 degrees of outward (positive) camber. I started to disassemble that side and took comparison photos that revealed the problem. Some idiot had assembled the right suspension with the upper trunion link on backwards!

Right axle, trunion link on backwards, disconnected from the shock arms.  Left side for comparison, assembled correctly.

Photo of the left front suspension. You can see the right side coil on the floor to the left of the photo. I used this spray paint stripper which worked great to remove the old red paint and then I painted it back the correct black color.

Shock absorber and front suspension lower wishbone arms removed, cleaned and painted. The shocks were still good, just topped up the oil and removed about a dozen coats of red paint. The shocks were working fine, just topped up the oil a little, cleaned, painted the arms, and reinstalled, with new upper trunion bushings.
Here are some of the suspension parts hanging up for the paint to dry. Here is the right front suspension reassembled, with the upper trunion facing the correct direction now. Brake lines not replaced yet in this photo,  that's next.
The big coil spring was a bear to remove and replace. It is loaded with about 600 pounds of compression and needs to be carefully unloaded and then carefully compressed and replaced. All new bushings were installed, and the idler box was rebuilt with new seal, dust excluder, and gaskets, then filled with hypoid oil. So far, no leaks there.
The steering control side arms were cleaned and the rubber boots replaced. The ball joints were in good shape, so it was not necessary to replace the arms.

Photo of the left side suspension before restoration. Everything was painted red.

Left side, now mostly reassembled, with new bushings, bearings, fulcrum pins, etc.


Driver side toeboard was rusted out. It was ground out and a template was made with cardboard then cut out of a piece of 16 GA sheet metal.

It was measured, marked and heated along the bend line. I just used some cinder blocks as a makeshift bending brake and after heating, bent it to the correct angle using the angle copier. 

Time to get a new cutting wheel for the grinder.

The felt insulation on the firewall was gone, so I had to make new ones.

All glued in on the firewall under the dash.

The pedal cluster was removed and sanded down.

Now, all painted and cleaned up, lubricated, it was reinstalled in the pedal well, after that was cleaned and painted.

Update, March 2012
Inside of engine bay, with the heat shields and some of the electrical system installed.

New brake and clutch master cylinders were installed, along with new wiring harness and air ducting. Teflon bushings were used on the throttle linkage.

A side view of the new fresh air ducting and heat shields. 

All new floorboards were welded in place, and new inner sills were also installed.

New floor and handbrake brackets welded in place and painted.

Front section of new floor, showing new air duct, wiring harness, and steering column.

Here is the transmission shroud, after stripping off the remnants of the old carpet and grunge. It will need reinforcing and then paint, new rubber liner, and carpet.

Just got to the rear end of the car, removed the leaf springs and differential. One of the springs was broken, so a new pair was ordered.

Got the rear axle out. Removed the differential carrier and it looks good, with backlash within tolerances.

Needed to replace the rear wheel bearings and bearing oil seals, but the axle lock nut is a 2  3/16 inch Octagonal nut, with just a small rim available to grab. I made a wrench out of 1/8  inch sheet metal, shown below and it worked perfectly. Note, the left side axle lock nut has left handed threads, so you unscrew it clockwise.

Here is the wrench, about a foot long.

Homemade wrench in place to unscrew the locknut.

Replacing the rear leaf springs, had to weigh down the back end to jack up the spring and bolt it in place without lifting the whole car.

Axle and new springs now in place.

Getting to work on the dashboard, June 2012.

Underneath side of the dash top after attaching the vinyl.

This is the padded dash top, still need to make the holes and put on the demister vents.

This is one half of the dashboard after gluing on the vinyl and cutting holes for the instruments.

Finally got it installed on the car August 2012

Still have to put on the dash top and steering wheel.

Inside the trunk there are some vinyl covered wood blocks to hold the spare tire in place. These were pretty beat up, so I removed the old covers and cut some new ones.

There were some tacks and glue holding the old vinyl in place and I managed to salvage the tacks and reuse them.

The finished blocks.

Block installed back inside the boot, showing the new Armacord liner installed. 
Here is the whole trunk (boot) with the new Armacord liner intstalled over the new fuel tank.

All the Tenax pegs on the rear shroud were replaced with nice new ones.

Hear are the seat tracks installed with the padding in place over top of the black felt paper.

The door posts got new aluminum trim, door seals, and beading.

The seat bases were cleaned up, painted and strips of vinyl material matching the upholstery were glued on.

The rear quarter panels were missing alltogether, so I had to purchase new ones including the hardwood upright anchor posts, trim them up a little and glue on the vinyl.

Here is the transmission in place, all rebuilt by Healey Surgeons.

This shows a test fit of the carpeting in the main cockpit area. Still need to attach the armrest, and install the seat belt anchors.

Below shows the rear seat area after gluing in one section of the deck carpet.

The flat pieces of sheet metal on top of the rear wheel wells were missing so I had to replace those.

Here is a photo of the rear seat back after removing all the rotten vinyl seat cover and wadding. The plywood is all rotten and delaminated, will be able to reuse the hardwood frame, but will cut out new plywood for the flat surfaces.

I used the old wood as a template and cut new plywood for the rear seat back.

Here is the back seat area with the new wood on the rear seat back and the rear quarter panels set in place.

August 2012, got the engine pretty much finished, all new valves and guides, new rings and bearings, cylinders honed, painted original Healey green. Now it is hanging on the engine hoist ready to install.

Finally got some guys over here to help me squeeze the engine back in to the car.

Still have to put on the peripherals, generator, radiator, etc.

Now the radiator, generator, and distributor wires are in place.

Update Dec 2013
Moved house a year ago and had a lot of work to do on both the old and new houses, so project got stalled for the past 12 months, but now getting back to work.

How do I leak? Let me count the ways.
A few of the areas that commonly develop leaks in these cars.

The connections under the brake and clutch fluid leaked. Got new fluid lines and still leaked. Will get a new can and see if that does it, the old one had fairly ratty threads on the connectors.
Got the new canister and that did the trick. No leaks here since replaced it a month ago.

Oil leaked around the valve cover toward the rear of the head. Got one of those red silicone gaskets and put the red silicone sealant where the gasket meets the head and that seems to be holding for now.

Some steering box lubricant fluid leaked from the end of the steering box and where the shaft comes out the bottom. Tightening up the bolts stopped the leak at the end cover, and the shaft leak is very minimal, only about 1 drop per month, but will keep an eye on it.

Fuel leaked at the fuel line joints to the carbs. Tried a few different washer gaskets and finally got it stopped, but had to put a fair amount of torque on the banjo bolts.

OK, I cheated on this one. Due to the inevitable oil filter leaks, I put on the modern spin on adapter and so far no leak here.
The only other modern upgrades I used were to put in relays for the headlights and horn, and a gear reduction starter.

A little gear oil leaks out from the plug in the differential. Tightened it up slowed it down, but still about 1 drop per week, so I keep cardboard under that area to keep it off the garage floor. 

Trying to show where the hydraluic fluid lines enter the master cylinders. These leaked until I got new hydraulic lines, and I had already got new master cylinders.

Luckily so far no leaks of coolant at the thermostat housing, under the radiator, or at the hose connections. Another place to check is where the freeze plugs are in the block and the rear of the cylinder head.
Email to scottswim@aol.com

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