Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tech Tip- Rebuilding Hood Hinges

Rebuilding Hood Hinges

The 1955 through 1957 Thunderbird hood hinge has developed a reputation of being something similar to a time bomb just waiting to go off. The riveted hinge bolt which holds the two parts of the hood hinge together has a tendency to break due to wear or corrosion. When this bolt fails, the owner will immediately become aware of its failure. The hinge's two component parts will separate. One part will remain attached to the hood. The other part, being spring loaded, will violently unwind and will stop only by crashing into or through the front nose of your car. Either way, there will be significant damage to your car. To protect your car, inspect your hood hinges for wear or corrosion. This is a part of the car that is hidden inside the body. It is often overlooked when restoring a car. If there is any doubt as to the condition of the hood hinges, they should either be replaced or rebuilt. As this has happened to fellow club member Paul Mounts, Paul has provided the following tip as to how to rebuild your hood hinges.

To rebuild the hood hinges you first have to gain access. The hood hinges are accessible after removing the hood and the front grill. Once you have gained access to the hinges. unbolt the hinge brackets from the body of the car. Make sure you have compensated or neutralized the spring tension on the hood hinges before you remove them. After removing the hood hinges from the car, remove the hinge bolt from each hinge. The hinge bolt connects the two moving brackets of the hinge. You will need to remove the factory rivets from the hinge bolt. This can be done by grinding the rivets off. Replace the original hinge bolt with a clevis bolt which is the same size or slightly larger than the original hinge bolt. Use a locking nut to secure the clevis bolt. Tighten the lock nut enough to secure the clevis bolt, but not so tight as to restrict the movement of the hinge components. Mark the location of the lock nut on the clevis bolt and disassemble. Once the clevis bolt is removed from the hinge, have the bolt and nut drilled out so that on reassembly you can insert a cotter pin to insure that the lock nut will not work itself loose. If your clevis bolt is slightly larger than the original hinge bolt. you will need to drill out the hinge bracket holes to the new larger size to accommodate the larger clevis bolt. A tight fit will also give you smooth hinge operation. Don't forget to grease the new hinge bolt on reassembly. Once completed you have eliminated the problem of the exploding hinge bolt. Now you just have to deal with realigning the hood! Good luck.

source: CTCC Tech-Tip Manual 1993-1997

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