1970 AMC Hornet, August 2004

This month is off to a good start. The interior is approximately together, needing mostly inexpensive items and labor (door panels, cleaning, passenger-door hinge replace, etc) so it's time to start on the engine compartment.

A minor but nice milestone was moving the car from our small parking lot to the scroungy pad in front of my workshop. (The parking lot was 100 steps away, not that far, but annoying when I had to go back for one bolt, one washer). I just rolled the car out onto the street and rode the gravity well. Brakes, steering all got used for the first time.

Last weekend I went to U-Pull-It in Sun Valley and brought back $100 worth of pleasant junk. Carb, radiator, more brackets, TFI spark coils, some interior parts. Spent the rest of that weekend degreasing and painting parts.

This weekend I finished cleaning a bucket of hardware (the vibratory tumbler glass-pyramid media clogged up, added a few ounces of degreaser in the last hour, worked wonders), cleaned and painted yet more brackets, went to the parts store and got a Delco alternator, sent off the water pump and power steering pump off for rebuild. (Strictly speaking the P.S. pump was fine, but I assume it leaks, it's 30 years old... I'm trying to be very harsh about what gets money spent but (1) I don't want one worn item to spray oil over a spotless chassis and (2) I don't want to do it twice.

I had three water pumps (one good used) in the junk pile, and had no idea which was the correct one for this engine (short or long shaft). So I took the Three Stooges pulleys and did the mix'n'match thing, and came up with one combo that lined up the V-pulley groove with the harmonic balancer -- the short shaft pump and the tallest pulley.

(The parts store looked up the number stamped on the pump (a rebuilder's number) and verified it's the right pump for the motor.)

They've got a bunch of parts books they're going to dump, so I will retrieve them all, and do a full cross-listing of water pumps. I'm hoping there are only two.

During the last few weeks I've been cleaning up the 1982 manifold set, extracting rotten water nipples, scraping crud and all the usual work. Rotary wire brush in the small electric drill made it look quite nice (Eastwood clear spray hopefully will keep in that way). I checked the faces for flat, ran a tap through all the holes in the block, tumbled all the bolts, it went together quite nicely. (Yup 1982 intake manifolds fit perfectly on a 1969 block.)

I made a simple blocking plate out of 3/16" aluminum for the EGR port, and the extraneous sensors, and the exhaust pipe to the EGR intake are all standard pippe thread (1/2" I think) so those block off nicely. Good nickel anti-sieze on everything!

Brackets. I fanatically collected brackets. 69, 70, 80, 82, late 70's, you name it, I got it. I figured I'd move engine accessories around to juggle weight and clearances. I've used the 1980+ A/C bracket to put a Sanden in my 1963 Classic (with 1970 motor), required a bit of reworking, I was ready for that. What I wasn't ready for was that nothing fit -- other than the A/C pump. The alternator won't fit on the right side using the 1980+ bracket (hits the timing chain guts). Power steering pump for pre-1975 (I think the changeover year, don't quote me) doesn't fit the new brackets at all. Didn't want to go through the interchange hassle, the advantage wasn't great enough, so it's all back to stock pre-1972 accessory positions! All those brackets bought, collected, cleaned, painted, for nothing!

The Delco alt went in OK. I've done this before, so have lots of people. There's known clearance problems (the Delco is larger than the old Motorola). Since I have the radiator out, it was immediately obvious the new, fat alternator wasn't hitting the block, it was hitting the bracket. I lopped a chunk out of the bracket and got another 5 degrees of swing out of it. This time, unlike the one on the Rambler, I removed the four screws holding the alternator together, and rotated it 90 degrees to put the electrical connections not up against the block (duh). (Pull the casting just barely back enough to rotate past the boss, or you'll pop the brushes.)

As you can see, the alternator is a very tight fit in the original pre-1972 position. The tapped boss I'm holding has about 2.5" of swing total, should be enough, but will mean the belt will be hard to get on!

Though the engine does somewhat distract from the otherwise-clean compartment, it's starting to look like a car. One good thing about using the 1970 brackets is that it puts the Sanden on the drivers side, which makes the A/C plumbing potentially very neat -- everything will be on the drivers side. It will be my second A/C install, hopefully it'll be better than the first (which was OK).

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