Hello, Healeyphiles -
Mike Salter is one of the premier gurus of Healey maintenance on this list, so
I hesitate to add any contradiction, but my experience was different. From
1984 through 1999, I averaged about 2,750 miles per year in my BJ8. Most of
that mileage was on cruises of 300 or more miles at a time, but at RPMs
usually not more than 3000 - 3500.
Leaded gas disappeared from North Carolina in the late '80s. After that time,
I was forced to use unleaded, but whenever I took the car on the road I
religiously used a lead substitute. Around town, driving to work, etc., I did
not. I had my engine rebuilt by a very experienced engine rebuilder (although
not experienced in Healey engines) in 1999 after putting 38K miles on the
clock (about 80K miles since new).
I asked my rebuilder about unleaded mods to the head. He showed me the
difference between the valves as they were installed in my head, and those of
another (non-Healey) engine, and said that I had significant valve recession.
When the valves were removed, I could see significant pitting of the seats. I
decided to go with the unleaded mods (hardened exhaust valve seats and
stellite valves). I provided the new valves from Moss, and he provided the
hardened seats to match his "cutters". When I got the head back, I could see
that the valve edges stood visibly proud of the seat surface (like the engine
he showed me), compared with the way they were before (flush with the head).
Maybe the mods weren't necessary, but why not if the head is going to be
rebuilt anyway? The cost wasn't that great. Perhaps it isn't necessary on a
car that is used only for weekends around town or infrequent long-distance
Havelock, NC USA
----- Original Message -----
From: Michael Salter
To: 'Don Day' ; 'healey list'
Sent: Monday, May 03, 2004 4:21 PM
Subject: RE: bj8 restoration
IMHO you do not need to do anything to the head or even change the
valves to run satisfactorily on unleaded fuel for a very long time. The
general consensus seems to be that only small high revving engines which
are required to run for long periods at high throttle settings require
hardened valves and/or seats.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
On Behalf Of Don Day
Sent: Monday, May 03, 2004 3:31 PM
To: healey list
Subject: bj8 restoration
to have my head converted so I can use un-leaded gas is it true that I
only need to have the exaust valves replaced?my head seems in good shape
the car has about 75,000 is there anything else I should or could have
done to it while I have it of?
thanks for the help