The Healey Shaft

By Loren Cross

Originally published in the Austin-Healey Magazine


Does your Healey give out with smoke when first started or upon hard acceleration, but no other until...? Do you have oil in or dripping from the rear air cleaner? Is the oil pressure abnormally low? If the answer is yes to any or all of these it is possible that the problem could be a worn rocker assembly.


Case In Point: 1963 Engine Prior To Rebuilding Assembly.

Oil Pressure (Hot) At 2000 Rpm: 40 Lbs

Oil Pressure (Cold) At 1500 Rpm: 55 Lbs

Oil Pressure (Hot) At Idle (950) Rpm: 20 Lbs

Oil Consumption - One Quart Each 500 Miles

Oil Dripping From Rear Air Cleaner.


Same Engine After Rebuilding Assembly.

Oil Pressure (Hot) At 2000 Rpm: 60 Lbs

Oil Pressure (Cold) At 1500 Rpm: 65 Lbs

Oil Pressure (Hot) At Idle (950) Rpm: 40 Lbs

Oil Consumption - None

No Oil In Rear Air Cleaner.


Please do not interpret me wrong. A worn rocker assembly is not the only cause of oil consumption or low oil pressure. This is just the way it affected my car. Obviously mine was quite worn. A simple check - remove rocker assembly cover. Oil should just barely ooze out of the hole in the top of each rocker. A steady stream or spouting indicates wear.


The book says:

Diameter Of Shaft Bore Of Arm: .8110 Minimum At Wear Point

Bore Of Arm: .909 To .910

I/D Of Bushing After Ream To Fit: .8115 To .8125

Clearance: .005 To .0015


Note: if the diameter of the rocker shaft at point of wear - if less than the above minimum the shaft should be replaced. Good luck and have fun.


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