[Healeys] BJ8 Brake Servo

Earl Kagna kags at shaw.ca
Mon Aug 1 19:18:58 MDT 2016

A few years ago, several Healey owners here installed PBR VH40 boosters in our BJ8’s.  We sourced them at:


in Australia.  I learned some interesting things in the process – the important one is that the VH40 booster is made in several different versions with different boost ratios.  It means that you have to be sure that the one you buy has a matching boost ratio as the original Girling for it to work properly in your BJ8.  (the earlier Healeys that had optional boosters installed would use a VH44 that would match the earlier smaller Girling).

These boosters are diaphragm units, which means that a vacuum loss will lock the brakes on – sometimes not the best scenario! – ask me how I know about this.  Turns out that there were some defective small rubber elbow hoses – the one that connects the two sections of the unit.  They were split on installation at the factory.  The fix was easy – shorten the steel pipe leading up to the valve body and use a length of quality vacuum hose and a couple of hose clamps.

We have found the PBR VH40 to be an excellent replacement for the original Girling – I’m told that it’s getting increasingly difficult to find quality rebuild kits for the Girling.  So in the interests of safety, a replacement booster is preferable in most respects.

The above web-site will answer quite a few questions for you.  We had mounting bracket kits and pre-bent brake pipes sent with the boosters – the brackets were Kilmartin pieces at the time.  So basically the whole thing was a bolt in proposition.  A slightly longer (about 4 inches) vacuum hose is required to connect the booster to the manifold.

Incidentally, the PBR booster has a bleed screw right on it, which makes things a bit easier when bleeding the system.

I am happy with the braking feel of my BJ8 with the PBR booster installed.  I’m pretty sure that they can be sourced in North America.

Earl Kagna
Victoria, B.C.
BJ8, BT7 tri-carb

From: Randy Hicks 
Sent: Sunday, July 31, 2016 1:24 AM
To: Healey List 
Subject: [Healeys] BJ8 Brake Servo

Hi, have a friend needing to replace a BJ8 brake servo (booster). 

Suggestions and sources needed. 

I have PBR (VH40, I believe) on my BJ8 and happy with that for 7-8 years. Are these still available? Where?


Randy Hicks
'56 100 M  White/Black 
'56 100 M  Florida Green/OEW “Irene"
'65 BJ8 
'53 MGTD 
'77 450 SL 
Healey100M at me.com

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