Why this innovative new Sprite product is worthy of its own post!

The new generator shown below (installed in a customer’s car) looks completely stock. Yet, hidden inside is a modern high-powered alternator that outputs more than twice the amperage, spins on superior bearings, and weighs about half as much as the original!

Introducing the “GenerNator,” an exciting innovation of great interest to everyone who owns a Spridget fit with a Lucas generator and regulator. This new dynamo looks original but is superior in every way to the original Lucas generator. It’s available for positive and negative ground cars, as well as traditional Mark One Bugeyes with a tach drive and also for later non-tach drive set-ups.

For years we have done alternator conversions to get rid of the generator and regulator-the alternator provides more power at lower rpms, with better bearings, and it’s more durable. But this change always necessitated a change to an electronic tachometer, because the tach drive went away with the alternator change-over.

No more.

Now, our new GenerNator gives you all the the benefits of an alternator with none of the downsides. It looks completely stock but hidden inside is a modern alternator. It spins the tachometer drive just like the original. The difference is more than twice the output of a generator, more power available at lower RPMS, much less weight, built-in regulator, better bearings.

It’s brilliant!

You no longer need your regulator with this product (this is more great news-regulators are sometimes unreliable-the GenerNator gets rid of another potential trouble spot!) Instructions are included to wire it all up. You can leave the stock regulator in place, it becomes a fused link for the new set-up. If you are missing your regulator, or yours is damaged, you can also order our dummy regulator, which looks stock and includes a fuse hidden inside.

Check it out at our catalog page by clicking here. We are actively installing these in customer cars and have thus far had no issues and expect this product to be a winner all the way around! Retain the stock appearance, retain your stock gauges, upgrade the power output and reliabilty, lighten the weight. What’s not to like?

It’s a particularly timely innovation, and the need for this product was “driven” home this week. One of the cars we recently delivered to Western New York (Hampton) stopped working when the voltage regulator melted. It may have shorted internally, or the generator may have shorted and fried the regulator (we’ll know when we inspect the pieces soon) but regardless, the charging system failed and it left the customer’s car inoperable in his own garage. This is of course completely unacceptable… frustrating for the customer and particularly frustrating for us!

This happened in spite of our routine inspection of these components when we released the car. In fact, every car we sell goes through a comprehensive check list before we allow it to depart, and the charging circuit is thoroughly inspected as part of this checklist. Still, the system stopped working, which is our worst nightmare. Hampton will get a new GenerNator, and this should serve the car and the customer quite well, and most importantly should end hassles with the charging system forever.

If you want to order one of these beauties, click here. We have the tach drive model in stock now, and will have the non tach drive version available next week (for later cars).

Positive ground simplified

Believe it or not, wiring a car with positive ground is supposed to make them rust less. Doesn’t seem to work very well… my first car, a (positive ground) 1966 MGB came to me with rocker panels completely absent, as though they had vaporized. At the time the car was only 12 year old! The car needed more than positive earth to survive..BMC Corp needed more than the flow of electrons to rustproof their cars.

Around 1967, negative earth became more popular and more common on all cars, especially British ones. Negative is nice because you can power negative ground cigarette lighters, LED lights and stereo systems. Alternators require negative ground too, if you are planning a conversion for more output. Negative ground is more common and less intimidating so it’s a popular conversion for formerly positive ground cars. Thus we now have a mixed fleet, with classic cars (and Frogeyes) set-up for both positive and negative ground. It’s imperative that you learn how to identify with ease which type you have. We find that many people are still quite confused about battery polarity and British cars, so I’ll try to clear things up a little here.

Which way is the Frogeye grounded in the photo above? Can you tell from the photo? Don’t let colored leads and stickers fool you, this is something you want to verify before you create a shower of sparks and potentially do any damage.

All batteries have a marking on the case that identified positive and negative. Sometimes these marks are hard to see when the battery is installed in the car. Let’s presume you can’t see those markings-how can you differentiate the polarity? The larger terminal is the giveaway. Every battery has a larger positive terminal. You can see in the photos below that the positive terminal is slightly larger. So in the photo above, the battery above is wired for negatve ground, with the smaller terminal on the right wired to the firewall for ground and the fatter post wired to the starter solenoid.
Make sure you know before you hook up a charger or a jump, because reversed polarity can melt your charger and/or damage your wife’s car if you jump incorrectly. Whenever you connect another battery to yours (or a charger), always connect negative to negative, and positive to positive. Whether you have positive or negative ground, this rule always holds true.

Once you ID your configuration, mark the terminals with a sharpie to make life easier in the future!

Bugeye Sprite A pillar water leaks

The stamping in the sheet metal seems to funnel the water into the front hole, where it can pool in the A pillar…

While preparing Timothy’s teal Bugeye (above) for his road trip, I was briefly caught in a shower. I zipped into our garage and dried the car, and forgot about the deluge until we removed the windscreen the next day to replace the windshield to body seal. Much to my surprise, the depression in the cowl under the windshield pillar was quite wet 24 hours later. The rust commonly found at the bottom of Bugeye A pillars was starting to make more sense.

These seals are extremely important. About 50 percent of the Bugeyes we see have some form of blistering at the union of the A pillar and rocker panel. If the windhshield doesn’t seal properly, water runs into the little cavity shown, which funnels water right into the front windshield post hole. You can see how the captive threads are wet, so it’s easy to imagine water dripping down into the flat A pillar floor and ruining your car.

Here’s the new gasket, rolled under for a tight seal. You’ll also notice the windshield wiper posts are clear of the seal when you roll the edge under, which helps keep water out.

The seals that keep out the water have to be done right. I’ve written before about rolling the cowl gasket under so that it forms a tight seal. When it’s unfurled flat, that cowl seal will wick water underneath the windshield, which will run down to the mounting holes and into the car. This car had cracks in the seal, which made water entry easy.

The pad gaskets also have to be sound. We routinely enlarge the holes on these to get them to fit, so that has to be done carefully or there will be more opportunities for water to find its way into the A pillar. Lastly, make sure to tightly butt the new windshield to body gasket right up against the pad gaskets. If they overlap, water will get in, and if there’s a gap, water will get in there too.

The windshield post base pad seals best on the body when the cowl seal is butted against it. Make sure the cowl seal is not underneath, or water can run in. Be careful not to leave a gap between pad and cowl seal, or water can sit in that space too.

We sell new gaskets and you should check to make sure yours are sound. If yours are cracked, you’re due. Voids in the gasket under your windscreen will let water in even when you are washing the car. Good rubber will help you keep the water out.

To buy new ones click the links:
New windshield to body gasket that fits
New windshield post pad gaskets

Don’t do this either to your Bugeye Sprite

There is only one way to put your fuel sender into a Sprite tank that will have the sender work. But that doesn’t stop people from getting creative. The unit has to be configured with the arm on the sender running parallel to the car and perpendicular to the tank. In the photo above, you can see the sender installed at 45 degrees, which limits the full swing of the float and limits the travel of the fuel gauge needle. The upward dent on the tank in front of the sender allows the float to swing upward for a full fuel indication. It won’t work if the sender isn’t oriented correctly.

In the photo below, you can just make out the fuel 1/3 up the inside of the plastic float. We have published this many times but still see so many of these in the field that it bears repeating… plastic and ethanol do not mix. Plastic floats are attacked by ethanol, fill with fuel and sink. We have seen this happen in a matter of months. Throw away your plastic float before verify this theory. We sell a nice metal one instead, that should last longer than your car! You can get one by clicking here, and you can find it already paired with a new fuel sender by clicking here.

A younger version of myself had plenty of fuel run into his armpit while rolling by creeper under a Bugeye and bench-pressing a full fuel tank up into position. A lift and a helper make it a lot easier these days. But you still only want to do this stuff once, so best to do it right the first time.

Don’t do this to your Bugeye Sprite

It’s really not good craft to run a rubber fuel line under any car. It puts flowing fuel in harm’s way in a less than secure envelope. For example, if you run over an alligator, he will have the last laugh as you both go up in flames.

The factory ran a metal line nested in the a metal channel to protect this fire source. In the picture above, this builder ran a rubber length right across his low Sprite-should anything sharp scrape the bottom of the car with this configuration, a 7 gallon fuel leak might result, and a fire too.

It’s probably been this way a good long time, and as long as the car stays on the road, it would probably be fine, but the proper metal line is cheap insurance. The correct way to run the fuel line is down the passenger side flange, all the way to the front cross member behind the bumper, then across the frame cross member to the carburetors.

Whether you have HS1 or HS2 carbs, you can make a line using this coil which comes with the correct fuel tank fitting and is long enough to run the entire length of the car. This is a good thing to do correctly. We run metal lines, and try to keep the unions up out of the gator zone.

These lines will be added to our product catalog in the near future, but if you’d like them sooner you can call us and place an order.

Don’t do this with your Bugeye Sprite!

Slave cylinder push rods have it rough. People are constantly modifying them. It seems that some bugeyeguys wish their push rod was longer.

This one pictured above is one for the hall of shame- particularly ugly-but it worked, (barely). This operator added a 1/4″ drive socket to the bore of his slave cylinder to try and extend the throw. We put in a new long model and solved the problem Why are slave pushrod issues so common?

There are multiple reasons. The eyes wear and get elongated. Clutch forks are sometimes bent, which may necessitate a longer or shorter pushrod.

It often comes down to the backplate. If you change from a 948 to 1275 engine, the thickness of the back plate changes. Notice the thin sheet with curved perimeter on a 948 engine (left) and the flat thicker back plate used on a 1275 (right). When you change the backplate, you effectively move the transmission forward (or aft), and these changes can impact clutch actuation.

We sell two different length pushrods,one for each configuration (longer for 1275 backplates). Check em out in our parts catalog, here. Any time you plan to change your slave cylinder, it’s a good idea to have a new pushrod and clevis pin handy, and to make sure your slave cylinder isn’t throwing all the way out at its limit. A longer pushrod can help make sure your slave cylinder doesn’t eject from the bore when you push the clutch, thus spilling all your hydraulic fluid.

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