Modern type AMC strut bushings

Well we (collectively) got what we asked for -- cheaper and cheaper auto parts -- but we forgot that that meant shittier and shittier quality.

In my entirely modern 1970 Hornet I went through three sets of strut bushings in under six months. In a car with all new parts, completely and thoroughly restored, absolutely straight chassis, aligned and checked by a very good shop (Spence Wheel Alignment, Glendale CA). All adjustments are in mid-range, the camber eccentrics centered, etc. Good Nitto tires of factory-correct size, on trued factory 14" steel wheels.

(For comparison purposes, take a look at 63, 64 Classic/Ambo strut bushings in various states, in my 1963 Classic.)

The bushing below is I believe Perfect Circle, McQuay-Norris FA685, or AutoZone or NAPA generic equivalent. TOTAL CRAP! These cheap bushings simply collapsed within a few months. They look like the ones installed on the car at the factory, but the rubber has got to be vastly substandard. I did not record the brand name, but I probably got them at AutoZone or NAPA. The cupped washer in the front has squashed the bushing such that it is much wider than the rear bushing (they were originally the same diameter!), and if left long enough will actually push through the center hole. Needless to say as the bushing squashes flat, caster, camber and toe are changing!

I believe the bushing below is NAPA 274-9054, but be warned, NAPA quality is deteriorating, they may substitute a part that looks like the cheap one above, and not the good one shown here -- open the box at the store and insist on the good one! It compensates for the spreading tendency of the front bushing by supporting it in a thin steel cup. These worked fine. As I tend to, I got a bit fanatical on this research and removed these bushings (I think they are in our 72 Hornet now) in order to test my favorite, the MOOG part.

The MOOG part FA685 replacement, below, is what's currently installed, and has 15,000 miles or so it them, and look fine. They come with assymetrical rubbers, and special dish washers and a big fat central bushing. You will have to ask for, and probably special-order, this MOOG part.

[9 months later] For no reason I can discern the alignment drifted off on the right side of the car; it sure looks like strut bushing drift. At install time I did not measure the precise strut length (say, lower ball joint center to strut bracket) to detect later collapse. The toe was way off, but fine after adjustment and (so far) no changes. I also have a bad upper ball joint; the boot split open after a few thousand miles and it crunches like a dry ball joint; it's quiet for about 2000 miles if I grease it. Next time I'll order polyurethane ball joint boots.

If it turns out that even this MOOG part fails, I will switch to a polyurethane front/rubber rear setup like I had to do in the older unavailable Rambler part.