tomj's AMC/Rambler pages: Cars and projects

26 apr 2020

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Documentation of work done on a car or project that doesn't rise to the level of "How-To".

Factory radios
An unsatisfying and incomplete collection of information on AMC and Rambler factory AM, AM/FM, tape players and CB radios. Information is spotty and sparse, and even the factory parts catalogs are silent.
T5z transmission in an Early American
Using Modern Drive Line's AMC/Nash T5 adapter to fit one of MDL's T5z transmissions into an early (pre-1964) Rambler American.
Early American "big nut" axle
Pre-1964 AMC "small cars" and Nashes have a peculiar method of attaching the rear yoke assembly to the pinion shaft, known as the "big nut" axle. Here's how to work on them.
Disc brakes on early Rambler Americans
Installing a Scarebird disc brake kit to pre-1964 Americans (applies to Nash cans as well).
Motorcraft Duraspark distributor and TFI upgrade
Installing a Ford type Duraspark distributor in an early 232ci six, and using the TFI coil.
Rear axle bearing replacement
A how-to of rear axle bearing replacement that applies to all AMC axles all years, in note form, alas no photographs.
Fitting a Howell TBI kit into a 1963 Rambler Classic
My experience and notes on installing a Howell throttle body injection (TBI) system, intended for Jeeps, on the 232ci in my 1963 Classic.
Tuning the GM 1227747 ECM
Some notes on my experience tuning the Howell TBI kit (GM 1227747).
Aftermarket A/C installation
Some high points of installing a Vintage Air A/C system in my 1963 Classic wagon, on a 232ci six.
1963 Rambler station wagon rear window remove and replace
Simple trick for removing Rambler glass mounted in those rubber gaskets with the "H" profile.
How and why oil pressure senders fail
I had two oil pressure senders fail on the road and at speed, bright red OIL PRESSURE FAILURE lamp scaring the crap out of me. I identified the failure and have a fix that has lasted, so far anyway.

Early Rambler-American-specific projects

I've spent a decade doing decidedly non-stock things to this chassis and engine, on two different cars: a 1963 440 Twin Stick, and a 1961 base model. It's a tough car to drive daily; though of very high quality of manufacture, it embodies very old engineering, and in stock form the demands of modern driving stress it to failure, and parts are hard to find. So I ended up doing a lot of one-off repairs and customizations that eventually led to the Rambler Roadster. The work below precedes the Roadster work. Most of it is one-off customizations to the '63, one step at a time. Later work will therefore contradict earlier statements, etc. I've tried to sequence these pages in a way that reveals the progression.

Interior design and construction of my '63 American hardtop; a hybrid of Mobius and Japanese anime, and Taiyo Matsumoto's work (Tekkonkinkreet), a Japanese anime artist who spent time in France with Mobius' cohort.
Dashboard and instrument cluster
Restomod/custom work on the rusty instrument gauge cluster.
Cold air intake
Simple hack to feed the carburetor with colder air, the pre-1964 American chassis.
Borg Warner T-96 T96 transmission overhaul
Rebuilding the Borg Warner T96 overdrive transmission.
T-96 with R10 overdrive assembly
Photo sequence for a transmission assembly.
Transmission installed
Not particularly useful images, just what it looks like installed. ...
Early American steering wheel (Gemmer box)
Fitting a Grant aftermarket steering wheel to the ancient Gemmer steering box in a 1963 Rambler American.
Wheel and Tire fit issues
Tire and wheel fitment issues on the pre-1964 Rambler American chassis.


Cars I've owned and worked on or built. Many of the project pages above refer to documents within the 1963 Rambler American page below.

Rambler Roadster
A roadster made from a 1961 Rambler American; light weight open car (2250 lbs), custom wishbone rear suspension, home made front suspension, heavily modified engine, five speed transmission, four wheel disc brakes. This is the true sports car AMC could have made.
1963 Rambler American hardtop
Restomod work on my 1963 Rambler American 440 Twin Stick hardtop. Many of the early American project pages above refer to pages within.
My 1963 Rambler Classic 550 Cross Country Station Wagon
I drove this car for 21 years, best car I ever had probably. I put 350,000 miles on it, one engine and two or maybe three full transmission teardowns. Never failed me on the road.
1963 Rambler Classic 550 Cross Country, detail pictures, March 2011
I took a bunch of detail pictures of my wagon before I sold it. One of the few car regrets I have was selling this wagon, though it was driving me crazy at the time.
My 1970 AMC Hornet
Restomod project for a 1970 Hornet; 1983 258, Torqueflite, in diary form.
My 1975 AMC Levi's Gremlin X
I bought this in October 1998 from a small car lot in San Jose Calif. My first and probably only actual restoration.
AMC's 1970's typography
Some notes on the logo and text on the rear ofa 1975 Gremlin X, and a matching typeface found.
My 1979 AMC AMX (aka Spirit V8)
My third-favorite car of all time is this '79 AMX, which I couldn't really call my "AMX", so I called it a Spirit V8, which is what it was. It had quick steering, 304-V8, a torqueflite (later a 4-speed). I bought it in Massachusetts, and took it with me when I moved to San Francisco in November 1983.

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