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BN1 vs Bn2 gear box

Fab60

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Hi guys new to the forum and first post! I have been in search for a 100 for a long time now and just wanted to hear the pros and cons of the bn1 vs bn2. I have never had the luck of driving one so i leave up to your opinions/experiences! Looking forward to the advice /friendships in a hobby im desperately trying to get into!


Cheers


rick
 

Healey 100

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Rick:

I have a BN1 but I have driven several BN2's. I love the 3 speed BN1 gearbox. The first gear is fully synchronized and rather tall. It is also very quiet. Shifting down into this gear is easy and it is a delight to drop into on tight turns. The only problem is it's hard to get a jackrabbit start without sliding the clutch with the first gear and it is too high for crawling in slow traffic. Like many, I have removed the block on the real first gear in my BN1 and I do use it occasionally for slow crawling. The shift pattern is backwards on the BN1 and the throws and stick are rather long, definitely feels sort of truck like when you reach so far for second gear. The synchros aren't too strong, so fast shifting is out. Hesitate a tad between shifts and it works great.

The BN2 has a conventional 4 speed pattern with much shorter throws, somewhat notchy to shift. The straight cut first gear is almost too low and it definitely whines and groans. Many folks start in second if they can. Downshifting into first requires a double clutch, it's not synchronized. The BN2 tranny is supposed to be much stronger. I think it is, but the first gear on the cluster gear is definitely prone to spalled teeth and it's hard to get a decent cluster gear.

The 100 is great Healey and I would be delighted to own either a BN1 or 2, there really isn't that much difference between the cars.
 
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Fab60

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Thank you Bill on the insight. I have too heard that the 3 speeds do perform well. However i have been seeing and hearing a lot of people swapping out the 3 for the bn2 tranny as well as a 5 speed toyotoa transmission?? Im sort of a purist so i tend to like my cars the way it came from the factory as much as possible. Small modern upgrades are ok just to keep the car going. I cannot wait to get into a 100, just got to find a good one!
 
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Rick--

In addition to what Bill Sullivan says keep in mind that the BN1's clutch is mechanical, not hydraulic, and its engagement is thus not as smooth as what is found in BN2's and later Healeys.

I replaced the 3-speed transmission in my car when the second gear cluster, which is notoriously weak, decided to shed a couple of teeth while I was in Lompoc CA heading to LA after having driven from MD to Tahoe in conjunction with the Route 50 Conclave 2002 tour. Being almost 3000 miles from home I did the expedient thing and limped down to the shop of Smith Brody, who originally developed the bell housing for the Toyota conversion, in Thousand Oaks, CA. Three days later I drove out with a Toyota 5-speed and made it back to Maryland with no further incident.

Though perhaps not for purists the Toyota conversion, in conjunction with a 3.54 differential, makes the 100 into a very driveable car, esp. at highway speeds. With 180 Michelin XAS tires I am doing slightly over 70 mph at 3000 rpm's.

I have never driven a BN2 but apart from the better transmission and a couple of other refinements it is essentially the same as a BN1. The 100's are somewhat different in character from the later Healeys, and because of the lighter engine lump have easier steering and better handling. They are harder to find since less of them were produced and they are of course that much older than later six-cylinder cars.

If you can get your hands on a decent 100 go for it and count yourself lucky--I love mine.
 

WaltCasten

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Michael...the BN2 clutch is also mechanical (levers and rods). :smile:
 

roscoe

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The BN2 also has a mechanical clutch but does have an overdrive system more aligned with the later big Healeys. The BN1 has an OD governor switch which the BN2 does not have. The swage lines on some BN1s are slightly different from later BN2s. It is an odd thing to check but you might look to see if both sides have the same swage line as some cars were apparently built with mis matched wings and some owners have had to replace a rear wing and put on what they found. You can't see both sides at once and I did look a a car years ago that was like that. Although all big Healeys are beautiful vehicles I am pleased that Norman Nock convinced me when I was looking for a car that I should look at the BN2 or BN1 rather than a six cylinder car. At the time I really didn't know much about them and it was fortuitous that I actually found a rebuildable BN2 before I found a later model. I'm glad I did. Imagine having to maintain exterior door handles on top of everything else we all do.....:smile:
 
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Guys--

I stand corrected on the BN2 having a mechanically actuated clutch.

In doing the 5-speed installation I opted to install a BJ8 diaphragm clutch--much lighter and smoother than the spring clutch in earlier cars.
 
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I expected the mechanical clutch on our BN2 to be a clunker compared to the smooth hydraulic system on my BJ8, but was pleasantly surprised to, well, not be able to tell much difference. One thing about the clutch on a BN1/2--it's an exhaust downpipe issue, really--is that the clutch pedal can (will) hit the downpipe at full throw. I thought this was just a bad aftermarket downpipe design/manufacture, but found out it's inherent. From the Moss catalog:

"Some BN1 & BN2 clutch pedals will hit the exhaust downpipe. This is true for original pipes and Moss pipes in 850-015* stainless steel exhaust system."

* the one we have

I'm considering carving a notch in the pedal arm to clear the exhaust; I'd rather not put a dent in the downpipe. Thoughts?
 

Bob Claffie

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Of the three "big" Healeys I have owned, a quite used 100/4, a new 3000, and a restored 100/6 I much preferred the 100/4 for sheer driving pleasure. Bob C
 
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Fab60

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What are the best places to find a good healey? I would rather buy one thats a driver than an all out restored car that hasnt had any miles on them. I almost bought one rather recently but someone beat me too it! So now the search begins. Thanks again for all the replies!
 

DerekJ

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The best place to buy a Healey is from a club member. If you buy from a dealer you will be paying at least 30% more for nothing at all, because most classic car dealers aren't specialists so they add nothing to the equation. I would also look for a car that has been restored with photographic evidence of a body off restoration. It doesn't have to be a recent one, even 25 year old restorations are generally still in excellent shape as they are not daily drivers. An unrestored car can be a minefield, thats fine for some people as they enjoy the restoration work, but if you are looking to drive it then go for a restored car.
 

glemon

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I had BN1 and loved it, in addition to the gearbox most had a different rear axle than the later cars that was lighter as well. The throws are long, the synchros are slow, and it is leaky, but it seems to fit the vintage sporty touring nature of the car, the engine has gobs of torque and you don't gain much by revving it.

I would never have guessed that it was a mechanical clutch, mine was very smooth on take up, and I never had any problems with it.

As far as the difference between a BN1 and BN2 I guess I am arguing for the BN1, but on the other hand you can't exactly go to the dealer and check off the option boxes you want. 100s for sale are pretty few and far between, and a reasonably priced driver will sell fast, so I would be patient, but ready to pounce when a good car comes along, regardless of gearbox.
 
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Fab60

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What would be a good price range when considering a 100? I know their not cheap but what range low/high would they fall under?

Glemon: I see you have a tr4 in your avatar. Did you go from Healey to Triumph? If so how do the rides compare?
 

CLEAH

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What would be a good price range when considering a 100? I know their not cheap but what range low/high would they fall under?

For a really good driver (which probably means an older restoration) you'd likely be looking at $50k. Maybe $45k? Spend as much as you can, of course, for a better car.
 

catfood

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I like the revese gate three speed box on th BN1 simply because its a very effective anti theft device.
 

roscoe

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You know things have changed when you read in automotive ads "You must be able to drive with a manual transmission to test drive this car and I will not teach you how to do it" as I've seen a few times. :smile:
 

glemon

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I did go from a Healey 100 to my TR250. Long story, would love to have both, but life is short and my resources and garage space are not unlimited.

The Healey is more subtle, classy and understated than the TR, both to look at and to drive, the Triumph is more of a rip roaring sports car, at least mine is because I have modified it a bit. The Triumph also will probably fit you a little better if you are long and lean, the Healey if you are a little broader of beam.
 
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