1970 AMC Hornet, May 2004

Here's where I got the drum brakes finally together -- OOPS! them ain't drums! I found a good disk setup in a local wrecking yard on an 81 Concord. I went up to retrieve some minor stuff and was pleasantly surprised to find the disk setup complete with new rotors and pads -- zero grooving on the rotors. (The surface rust is cosmetic only, as I degreased completely and changed the bearings.)

(If you need an immaculate front 9" drum setup, repaired backing plates, new shoes, drums, wheel cylinders, hoses, used spindles, etc... let me know...)

The same donor Concord has a plain old sway bar -- and my Hornet didn't, so now it does. Stock diameter beats no bar at all! Ideally I'd add a rear bad rather than a stiffer front, but likely I'll never do either.

The doors on all of these early Hornets (and Gremlins) have a structural flaw that causes them to crack from the normal stress caused by the pressure of the door seal. Everyone who has one of these chassis knows what I mean... I hope so, because I forgot to take a photo.

The problem is that the window frame flexes when the door is closed, the lower end, affixed to the top of the door with a spot weld, flexes the top part of the door, causing it to crack.

I think (well, hope...) I have a fix -- a brace that fits inside the door and transmits the torque from the window frame onto the door frame, which will easily take the torque. (It might also double-stress the top of the door, time will tell.)

It's shaped to fit around the outside of the "U"-shaped window channel (requiring some wrist gymnastics to install), held in place with silicone rubber (strong and won't rattle). The other end bolts onto the door frame via two drilled holes, that live under the door seal.

The other thing I got done this month was cleaning up the steel wheels. I had them checked by Spence Wheel Alignment (Glendale, CA) and the scunions dismounted, then took 'em home for cleaning and painting. I sort of regret not having them sandblasted and trued but figured I would later end up with better wheels, so why spend the money? Time will tell if this was a good decision or not.

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