- Written by webmin
It’s funny how you can lose inertia on a project in the blink of an eye. I hadn’t intended to let Project HMX sit for about a year with nothing doing on it – in fact, I had sworn to myself that I’d constantly do something, anything, on it to keep my momentum going – but all the other projects, minor crises, family events, and plain ol’ need for downtime that make up a normal life kept me away from the car since October. Plus, I was also not looking forward to the rear axle and suspension swap that I knew would be next.
Quick recap: The axle under the car belonged to a 1982 Spirit GT with weak 2.35 gears and small 9-inch brakes. The axle I spent last autumn cleaning up came from a 1979 AMX with weak, but marginally better, 2.53 gears and much better 10-inch brakes. I also had the stiffer springs and larger 3/4-inch rear anti-roll bar from the same 1979 AMX which I intended on swapping into Project HMX at the same time as I swapped the axles.
So I started by disconnecting the driveshaft and brakes and removing the GT springs and axle, as you can see above. Not too difficult once I busted through the rust. I’d already removed the old shocks and anti-roll bar end links some months ago.
Service manual said to bolt up the shackles to the bracket at the rear, then move forward to insert the bolt through the front spring eye. Service manual made it sound rather easy-peasy.
Instead, the front spring eye came nowhere close to the forward mount (upper right corner of the photo), no matter how much cajoling and prying I tried.
Solution? Spring spreader. O’Clair recommended it and let me borrow the one we’ve used on the Hemmings Speedster. This particular spring spreader was made specifically for Model A/Model T springs, so I had to adapt it to these AMC springs with a fan spacer. Once I figured it all out for the first spring, it didn’t take more than 15 minutes to do the second spring.
I still have to install the new shocks and anti-roll bar end links and reconnect all the brakes, but I just had to throw the wheels and tires on to finally see it sitting at the proper ride height rather than with a droopy rear end, as it sat before. Once I get this all buttoned up, the next big task will be the bodywork. Joy.