In the age of computer engine management, people seem to have trouble operating the manual choke on their SU carb-equipped Bugeye (or similarly equipped classic car). So we made a detailed video that breaks down the components so choke operation will be come easy to master for all, for generations! Watch below and give us a call for your Bugeye parts needs!
Nick’s Tech Tips: Don’t let broken brakes leave you hosed!
Hydraulics are the number one fault area on British cars, primarily because moisture gets in the fluid and causes problems. The most common repair issue in the hydraulic system is leaking or seized wheel cylinders, master cylinders, and slave cylinders… but there is one issue that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle during maintenance proceedings… rubber hydraulic hoses.
This week, we had a Bugeye up on one of our lifts for a complaint of sticking rear brakes. The car would stop, but the rear brakes would stay applied even after the brake pedal returned. After a few minutes, the rear brakes would release and the cycle would repeat itself. This is a tell-tale sign that your brake hoses need to be replaced. In the below photo, you can see why:
Brake hoses are made of rubber. As with any rubber part exposed to the elements, brake hoses deteriorate over time; standard hydraulic fluid, which absorbs moisture from the atmosphere, doesn’t help matters, either. The “fun” part about brake hoses is that they are double-layer hoses, two layers of rubber bonded together. The most common failure point on hoses is not an external rupture and susequent leak; what usually happens is the two layers of rubber separate, the inner layer collapses on itself, and your brake hose turns into a one-way check valve. This allows brake pressure to travel to the brakes and applying them, but not allowing the fluid to travel away from the wheels to allow those brakes to retract. It will feel like your parking brake is stuck on, but in reality, your brake hose is holding the fluid hostage!
When hose collapse happens, brakes will either lock up and stay locked, or won’t engage at all, and of course, that will ruin your day. In addition, locked-up brakes will overheat and cause warped brake drums, can melt the bonding glue used to glue the linings on the shoes, and melt rubber seals in the wheel cylinder and create leaks.
So how do you know when it’s time to change your brake hoses? Well, if you are experiencing the symptoms we have described up above with your brakes, that’s usually a good sign. But alternatively, any time you are doing routine maintenance on your Bugeye, get up underneath and inspect the hoses visually. Excessive cracking, slices, bulging, nylon threads showing, or leakage from the fittings are indicators of failed/failing hoses. It’s also a good idea to change your hoses any time you have to change other hydraulic components, like a wheel cylinder, brake line, or master cylinder.
Even if you hoses look good, it’s a good idea to change them every seven to ten years. Rubber has a natural shelf life of about this length of time, and even if your hoses look visually pristine, they could be aged-out internally, and at that point, you have a ticking time bomb in your braking system. But how do you tell how old your brake hose is? Lucky for us, modern replacement brake hoses have a built-in birth certificate!
As you can see in the above photo, modern brake hoses come stamped with a myriad of data, most of which doesn’t apply to the average mechanic. But what does apply is the numbers I’ve circled. This sequence is a date of manufacture, meaning we know EXACTLY when any brake hose has been manufactured, and thus, we also know its expiration date. This particular hose celebrates its twentieth birthday in two weeks! But no cake for this hose… its birthday present this year is permanent retirement!
No matter your brake configuration, we have all of your hose replacement needs in our online catalog! We even have braided stainless steel lines for added corrosion resistance and for that “race car” look! Click the photos below to order the hoses you need or visit our parts catalog by clicking here!
Bugeye Sprite autocrosser for sale!
This is a AN5L 48202, a 1960 Bugeye Sprite we call “Bart”, and this is the car you want if you’re into auto crossing (or lots of grip on the street). Bart is fit with a 185/60 X 13 Yokohama tires for extra grip, as well as a strong 1275 engine with exhaust header and downdraft Weber carburetor.
All good fun!
The car has a flip-forward fiberglass nose with matching fiberglass flares fit on the original rear steel fenders. Two flush dzus fittings hold down each bonnet wing for a nifty bonnet hold down system.
Bart includes a top that fits well and a one-piece top bow, which isn’t the easiest to stow in a car fitted with a roll bar, but we have two-piece bows available for purchase if you’re interested![Read more…] about Bugeye Sprite autocrosser for sale!
Before Spring driving season blooms, make sure to give your car a good visual inspection, with a particular focus on your rubber bits. (If you’re looking to get your car ready to drive this spring, and would rather have us run through it and tighten things up, give us a call and we will be happy to give your car the attention it needs… we pick up nationwide).
The examples below came to us from an armada of British cars here in our workshop for driving-season maintenance. For example, inner control arm bushings need to be fresh so that your suspension is good and tight. These were long past their expiration date. If you see cracked rubber flared out around your inner control arm mounts, it’s time to replace!
Here are some motor mounts we removed this week from a Morris Minor, also well past their useful life. Morris Minors and Bugeyes use the same engine mounts, so if yours look like this, make the change![Read more…] about Fresh Rubbers!
A lost language
My first car (a ’66 MGB) had two dead six-volt batteries for my entire ownership. I never shut it off or parked it unless I was on a hill, and I pop started my way through high school. Sometimes, I had to walk a bit after parking if my destination was, for example, deep into a very flat flood plain, but it in Southern New England, it never seemed to an issue, and all the pop starting and walking seemed to keep me in fine shape.
Nowadays, we expect a little more from our vehicles, and as the world has evolved, societal pop-starting skills have atrophied. So jump into the nearest vehicle with a clutch pedal, check out the video above, and go practice. You never know when The Prince of Darkness will pay you a visit!
Bugeye fender-top beading properly configured and terminated
The beading on the tops of the Bugeye bodies are sometimes damaged or removed in restoration. Here’s a video about how to restore them to their original configuration. Make sure to get your beading cleaned-up and properly terminated before the paint goes on!
Beading came in a “T” section and plugged into the seams and was brazed in place in the factory that built the original bodies. Some restorers like to cut off the bottom leg of the “T” and attach the flat strip along the seam to recreate the original look. Once installed, make sure to avoid hitting the bead strip with a sander or grinder or you will ruin the original profile of the strip.
Should your beading be missing or damaged on your Bugeye, we offer a full body beading kit that provides enough beading material to do an entire Bugeye, with a little bit left over! Click on the photo below to get yours, or click here to view our full catalog! We can also provide cut sections in case you only need a small strip. Call or email for help!