The continuing story of my 1964 Pontiac Tempest Custom...
Body Mount Blues

Pretty exciting picture of a body mount bushing poking out, huh?

The big hole is the handiwork of a previous owner.  You can catch a glimpse of the upper mount through it.  Using a ruler in a photograph gives the impression of professional work.  Hopefully, it will have the desired effect.

This is the cage mount under the trunk floor.  I peeled back the rusty metal by hand.  The cage nut will break from its mount as soon as it sees the wrench in my hand.

Guess which one is the new mount?

While waiting on my rear axle to come back from its rebuild, I thought it would be a good time to replace the body mounts located next to the coil spring pockets.  I mulled over this decision for a while – not wanting to start another phase of the car’s overhaul until the current phase is completed.  Thinking before I act is not one of my strong points.  I usually rush into something without too much planning and screw it up, lose an important item, or get bored and quit.  Just ask my long-suffering wife.  She has plenty of examples that she can call up at a moment’s notice.

It would be extremely difficult to get at the two mounts above the axle if it were in place, as you can see from the picture.  The spring pockets are almost next to the mount bolts and you would need to be a contortionist to get around the axle to reach them.  You can see part of the upper mount peeking through the access hole.

My original plan was to just replace those mounts.  I’d read a number of horror stories about attempts to replace mounts that resulted in cage nuts being broken from their tack welds and spinning madly, resulting in profane outbursts from the person trying to remove the bolts.  While profane outbursts can be satisfying at times, I don’t want my next one to be the result of cage nuts.

The cage nuts are not accessible without cutting open sections of the trunk, so popping one lose would result in much aggravation.  Hoping to head this off, I climbed in the trunk one muggy summer day with a plan to drill holes where I thought the cage nuts were hiding and liberally squirt them with PB Blaster.  Using my X-ray vision, I guesstimated where the two upper trunk mounts would be and drilled.  Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was within a half-inch of where I thought they were!  I applied the PB Blaster and let them marinate for a week, hoping that the canned concoction would work its magic and I would be able to remove the bolts with just my fingers. 

A week later, I was ready to pop the bolts loose.  I secured the services of disinterested son # 1 (disinterested son # 2 was semi-conscious on the sofa) and headed out for an easy R & R project.  Or so I thought.  The PB worked great – the bolts loosened without much effort (with a ½ inch socket wrench) and all was well in my world.  I crawled under the car and prepared to slide out the old mounts.  DS # 1 was instructed to gently raise the floor jack, which would lift the body from the frame, and I would make a quick swap – old for new.  He pumped the jack handle and the whole car lifted off the jack stands about an inch.  Hmm…not working according to my plan.  A moment or two later, it came to me.  The body won’t lift from the frame if the four bolts holding the rest of the rear mounts are still connected.  Duh.  Must have missed that day in Common Sense 101.

One look at the bolts going to the mid-trunk body mounts led me to believe that they would be rust-welded to their cage nuts.  Getting at them would be simple, as most of the trunk floor is metallic Swiss cheese.  I pulled some of the trunk floor near the wheel housing with my fingers and exposed the very rusted cage bolt.  The chances of my getting that one out without it breaking loose are slim to none.  At least I can get at it (and the other one) easily.  The other two mounts are located at the tail end of the frame.  Their cage nuts are also hidden, but I don’t think they will be too rusty and should come out without any problem.  I hope…

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