The continuing story of my 1964 Pontiac Tempest Custom...
Nice rear end!
Well, after yet another lengthy period of inactivity, I'm back in action.  The front suspension rebuild is mostly complete (with the exception of the steering column refurb), so I've decided to turn my attention to overhauling the rear suspension.

After 40-plus years of stress and strain on the moving parts, its time to refresh what's worn out.  Hmm - sounds like I'm describing myself.

The springs, shocks, and control arm bushings will be replaced with new parts.  I also plan to replace the brake lines on the axle, as well as the brake line hose on top of the differential in this phase of the restoration.

In the picture to the right, look at the red "helper" springs.  They were installed to help the car sit at the correct height.  They were needed because someone (not me) installed the incorrect coil springs.  These springs had pigtails at both ends and the upper part of each spring didn't sit correctly in the spring pockets.  Clever (for an idiot) install job - but nothing about the previous "restoration" surprises me.

Take a look at the silver tubing wrapped around the axle in the second picture.  That's the brake line.  Perhaps I should refer to it as the "replacement "brake line, as it never left the factory like that.  In defense of whoever installed it, the welded clips that held the original line to the axle are missing, which probably resulted in the creative engineering.

After removing the upper control arms, I tackled the replacement of the axle bushings.  Those bushings were unique to the 1964 model and not available in the aftermarket according a number of restoration parts catalogs in my vast library.  After a lot of searching, I was able to locate the original GM part number.  NAPA's website allows searches by part number, so I gave that a try and found them in stock.  Those two bushings set me back about $100 - close to the price of the complete eight bushing set for 1965-72 models. 

In the third picture, you see my new GM axle bushing removal tool in action.  After several futile attempts at getting the bushings out with the two bushing removal tools that I currently own, the $90 outlay made sense and allowed me to pop them out without much effort.  It will join the collection of tools that will never be used again after I'm finished.  Nothing has been cheap with this car...

The final picture is of the upper control arms after I cleaned them up, but before the bushings were removed.  A gentle exfoliation in the sandblast booth and a coat of paint will have them looking better than when they were new.

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