[Healeys] It's not the starter

Bob Spidell bspidell at comcast.net
Sun May 22 06:44:46 MDT 2022

Something to consider, which might be germane:

My dad and I rebuilt our BN2's engine, having the head done by a pro. 
When we reassembled the drivetrain, I put a good, thick coat of Moss's 
'Healey Engine Green' on all parts, painting the engine and gearbox/OD 
separately. Once we got the drivetrain in the car, and at least had a 
'running' chassis I would drive it short distances, then the car was put 
on hold while Dad endured throat cancer treatment. I'm not sure when the 
problem started, but at some point the car became difficult to start at 
times; sometimes it would start right up--though I did think it cranked 
a bit slow--and others it would barely turn over, if at all. We charged 
the batteries repeatedly--one time Dad cross-wired the jumpers somehow 
and actually got a hydrogen gas explosion, only sheepishly only 
admitting 'It needed new batteries' (I got the whole story later)--but 
there was no improvement. Dad suspected we didn't have good connections 
on the battery/starter cable; we had to use oxy/acetylene to get what 
appeared to be good solder connections but, eventually, after Dad died, 
I pulled the starter and sent it to Mike Martinez at Star Auto Electric 
for a rebuild, but that didn't help either. My thinking on fasteners 
keeps evolving, but when I'd first fitted the starter to the engine 
backplate I'd used grade 8 flat washers under split washers, but at some 
point I decided to just use the split washers and, to my amazement it's 
cranked beautifully since then. Apparently, the thick coat of paint 
under the flat washers created enough resistance to hinder starter 
operation, and the sharp ends of the split washers pierced the paint and 
gave good ground. It's not surprising you can't move the starter ring 
much, if you're on the bottom of a compression stroke.

TL;DR: check all your grounds. You might have some unseen corrosion from 


On 5/22/2022 4:26 AM, Patrick & Caroline Quinn via Healeys wrote:
> Hello
> A problem to consider.
> Went to turn the engine over in the BN3. An early C-Series 
> six-cylinder. Rebuilt about five years back, but seen next to no use.
> Solenoid clicks, but no movement from the engine. Must be the battery 
> so charged it, but no change. Tried a brand new battery, but still no 
> movement.
> Out comes the starter and connect it straight to the battery. Whirr 
> away on the floor. Perhaps the original Lucas starter is breaking down 
> under load?
> It occurs to me to try and turn the engine over by hand. Gearbox 
> tunnels not fitted so easy to wield a large screwdriver to leaver the 
> flywheel, after removing the spark plugs. It moves about six teeth of 
> the ring gear, but no more. It moves back the same in the other 
> direction, but no further. Soon lose interest in this manoeuvre.
> What’s up? Why won’t the engine turn over? Thinking cap on and perhaps 
> it’s something at the top of the engine such as valve gear. Perhaps 
> there is a bent valve?
> Any opinions out there?
> Many thanks
> Patrick Quinn
> Blue Mountains, Australia
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