[Healeys] Steering idler bits

Earl Kagna kags at shaw.ca
Wed Aug 3 23:41:33 MDT 2016

Hello again Simon – greetings from British Columbia, Canada!

Can’t wait to hear who wins the race between you and your nephew when he eventually gets his Healey over the water.

You’ve got it a bit wrong with the idler assembly:  The oil seal is normally not visible – it’s up in a recessed cavity inside the lower part of the idler body when all is assembled.  Your photos are showing the lower part of the idler body itself – give it a bit of a clean and you’ll find that it’s steel.  The item below it that you have identified as the ‘bush’ is actually a dust cover keeping the huge pieces away from the seal itself.  It’s made of some sort of foam rubber – usually white.  If memory serves, the same part is used on the handbrake shaft as a dust / hot air excluder to (theoretically) keep such things from the inside of the car.

The bush is illustration # 16 - P/N 1B6257 in my parts book - and serves to keep the idler shaft snug and working in the body.  That way, the oil leaks out of the bottom where it  should.

It’s worth noting - the oil seal is quite thin - most rebuilders use two of them stacked.  There’s plenty of room in the idler body.  This gets at least one seal lip onto a virgin part of the shaft.

If you had the whole works dismantled and on the bench, it would all be immediately obvious  to you.

I fixed such a leak in situ in my tri-carb years ago by doing a sneaky drain, and refilling it with Penrite steering box lube - the stuff is purpose designed for these old beasts, and is quite thick -  it doesn’t dare leak!

If that’s what you are trying to do, there are a couple of little tricks that will help.

Cheers ----

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

From: Simon Lachlan 
Sent: Wednesday, August 03, 2016 11:31 AM
To: Healeys at autox.team.net 
Subject: [Healeys] Steering idler bits

One for the experts........

1)      I hope that I’m right in my belief that I’ve labelled the correct same parts in the three attached pics??? I ask because they certainly don’t look the same; ie if you go from the parts book diagram to the two photos, the rubber bush looks to be twice the size and the seal bears very little resemblance to that in the diagram.

2)      Leaving aside that the whole area is covered in oil and filth – the residue of a leak incurred while fixing the trafficator – I think we can agree that the bush looks pretty well shot?

3)      Am I right in thinking that the seal and bush function to keep oil in as well as dirt out? ie that its condition matters??

4)      On the assumption that the bush needs replacing and that I’m going to do it ASAP, is the seal something that needs to be replaced as well or is it reusable?

5)      Yes, I have a fair collection of manuals to which I always refer.......But, is this one of those jobs, simple at first glance, which is full of hidden snags? I’ve not seen the dreaded words “Taking special tool” but I can’t be surprised any more by the unexpected in Healey land. Is this a job requiring big sockets and long bars or is there a hidden snag or two?


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