Tom Jennings' AMC/Rambler pages

26 mar 2020

formerly, world power systems

Here are my AMC (American Motors) and Rambler pages all in one place. Most of the information derives from work on my own cars or related research. Emphasis is on 1958 through 1969 AMCs and Ramblers, especially suspension and brakes, six cylinder engines, the transmissions available for the sixes (much more limited than those available for eight cylinder cars), general chassis, electrical, etc.

All of my cars are long-distance and daily drivers, so my concentration is on problem solving and reliability solutions while keeping them "all AMC".

Technical documentation

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Rambler 195.6 OHV engine

The Rambler 195.6 OHV engine Endurance, reliability, and performance modifications to the Rambler 195.6 ci OHV engine.

How-To

Changing motor mounts the easy way (AMC 199, 232, 258) This sequence of actions makes the job fairly easy.
Home-made front suspension toe-setting tool An easy to construct and use tool for setting front suspension, front wheel toe-in.
1958 to 1963 Rambler American front suspension The 1958 through 1963 American suspension can be daunting to work on. I've solved many of it's problems and have worked out solutions to reliability and replacement parts. This work applies to the 1950 up Nash double-wishbone suspensions. See the Rambler Roadster for what it is capable of.
1958 to 1963 Rambler American suspension performance mods My Rambler Roadster is based upon a 1961 Rambler American, and it handles very well, due to advanced work on the front suspension described here.
1963-1964 Classic/Ambassador front suspension trickery 1960's Rambler "big cars" (Classic, Ambassador, etc) front suspensions are excellent designs in spite of their reputations for difficulty. They are subtle, and easy to assemble right if you follow this general procedure.
Hot-rodding drum brakes Drum brakes have a bad reputation mostly (not completely) based on examples suffering from years of neglect. When 50+ years old they need more than just new shoes and drums. And with inexpensive modifications they can be made to compete with small disc systems in demanding applications. I've run hot-rodded drum brakes for years in Los Angeles freeway commutes and they they give small discs a run for their money.
Easy, cheap replacement for the windshield washer foot pump check valve Original style replacements don't (aaffordably) exist. If you don't mind this non-standard look this works as well or better, uses common inexpensive parts. A five-minute fix.
A real fix for your sloppy 1960's column shifter The column mechanism in column-shift cars after 50 years of service wear out. They get sloppy, pop out of gear, in general degrade the pleasure of driving. The problem is that the metal components wear out. Here's a fix for this chronic condition.
Modern (1970-up) AMC strut bushings There are quality and installation issues with two-piece strut rod bushings. Here's a look at the various designs available.
1963-1964 strut bushing fabrication The strut bushings for 1963 and 1964 (maybe others) Classics and Ambassadors are not available and later parts look similar but do not fit. Here is a solution to fabricating a replacement that's suitable for daily-driver use.
John Elle's 1970-up AMC front spring perch fix The front suspension on 1970-up AMC cars has a coil spring perch containing rubber bushings that wear and fail, and have historically been very difficult to find. John Elle worked out a replacement using inexpensive and generic urethane bushings. It assumes the metal parts are OK, but they usually are.
An electronic replacement for instrument panel gauge voltage regulators Instrument panel gauges use an electro-mechanical voltage regulator that is either unobtainable or expensive and hard to find. Here is an all-electronic replacement using a common part.
1958..1963 American steering gear (Gemmer) Pre-1964 Rambler Americans, and probably a lot of Nash cars, use this tiny little Gemmer worm and sector steering box. Needless to say after 60 years it's worn, sloppy, and probably out of lubricant. They are surprisingly easy to rebuild. It's a decent design, and a tight steering box makes driving a pleasure.
Replacing AMC/Rambler Motorola alternators with Delco 10si There's nothing wrong with the older Motorola alternators other than they're old and expensive to replace. Most of the Moto's out there are "rebuilds" missing tag data and other critical information. A new Delco 10si, with warranty, is half the cost of the Motorola voltage regulator alone. The "three wire" Delco can be attached to the AMC wiring harness with no cutting or modification.
AMC and Rambler dash knob removal Why is it that automotive instrument cluster, knobs, levers, cranks, dials, etc are so weird and strange? The 60's and 70's Rambler and AMC wiper knobs in particular, even with the factory Technical Service Manual it's not easy. Here's photos of the mechanism.
Automotive LPG Fuel In the late 1980's I converted my 1963 Rambler Classic Cross Country wagon to LPG as a motor fuel, and drove it for 20 years without gasoline. It was great, except for when it was a huge PITA. Here's an electronic copy of the how-to booklet I sold 1200 copies of through the Real Goods Trading Company back then.
Renovating a rusty gas tank Making a rusted old gas tank as good/better than new qith Caswell's Phenol Novolac fuel-proof epoxy and a lot of work.
Home-made 1970-up AMC spring compressor As you'll find out when you go to do the job, it's difficult to find a spring compressor that actually fits 70-up front springs. They're 6.5" diameter, about an inch larger than most. Here's how I made one from scrap.

Projects

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

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
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.

AMC/Rambler parts catalogs

These are very useful -- the drawings show what parts look like, what the order of assembly is, helps with interchange and ID'ing ePay finds, etc.

1960-1965 Rambler factory parts catalog
The complete 1965 Rambler/American Motors factory parts catalog, recently (Jan 2020) indexed. Mobile friendly.
1966 AMC factory parts catalog
The complete American Motors 1966 factory parts catalog. Mobile friendly.
1967 - 1972 AMC factory parts catalog
The complete American Motors 1967 to 1972 factory parts catalog. Mobile friendly.
1973 - 1978 AMC factory parts catalog
The complete American Motors 1973 to 1978 factory parts catalog. Mobile friendly. This is the main catalog; the illustrations are below.
1973 - 1978 AMC factory parts catalog illustrations
These are the illustrations for the American Motors 1973 to 1978 factory parts catalog. Mobile friendly. The main catalog is above.

Documentation

External (manufacturer-sourced) information and documents, and some derived data (aka measurement).

AMC/Rambler brake database
A compilation of disc and drum brake data taken from AMC factory Technical Service Manuals, arranged into one large table, cross-referenced. Now with Bendix, Wagner, Raybestos, UPB, Aimco parts numbers cross reference.
Borg Warner M35 automatic transmission technical service manual
The full service manual for the Borg Warner Model 35 automatic transmission, indexed and mobile-friendly.
Borg Warner R10, R11 overdrive manual
A PDF copy of the Borg Warner R10 and R11 overdrive manual. I really need to break this down into browsable pages.
Factory service manual for the 3TMR AM radio
The Motorola 3TMR is the AM radio used in 1963, 1964 Rambler Classics and Ambassadors. The cheapskates, it's got only five transistors, one more than the cheapest pocket radio of the era, a 2N176 that drives the loudspeaker. The schematic shows AVC, but I can't hear it!
AMC Rambler 22BA AM radio service manual
Two tubes, two transistors, another low-grade AM radio.
AMC/Rambler bellhousings
A weak attempt to document AMC six cylinder bell housings. If you have one not shown here please contact me, I'd love to add data on it to this page.

Cars

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 base model; 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.

Navarro Rambler six

On 14 July 2005 the remaining contents of Navarro Engineering's (Barney Navarro) shop in Los Angeles was auctioned, mostly shop equipment. I went to ogle the twin-turbo Indianapolis 500 engine, ended up buying a load of exotic Rambler test-mule engine parts.

Barney Navarro's 700hp 199ci six sold at auction
This page is mostly photos of the twin-turbo motor.
Barney Navarro Rambler turbo six parts bought at auction
A quick inventory of the parts bought at the Barney Navarro auction.
Navarro turbo setup in a Hornet
The Navarro turbo motor mocked up, interesting though.
Barney Navarro-built Rambler turbo Indy motor
Turbo mock-up.
Note this is mocked up with a TE06, not a T04, which the flange was meant for. The TE06 flange is about an inch wider....

Other car stuff

Cars in Budapest, Hungary, March 2007
Photos from trip to Budapest. No AMC content here! Lots of cool ex-Eastern Bloc (sic) cars though. That's Simon Penny modelling some of the photos.
VAM (Mexican American Motors) 1981 Rally GT
Looks surprisingly like my customized 1979 AMC AMX. I did not know of this car when I did that work.)
Nate's Fast Metropolitan
Ignore these photos. It's not possible for Nash Metropolitans to be driven at speed. Everyone knows that. It is most definitely not going 60 mph in a Mulholland Highway turn. Nope. Beep beep....
The New! for 1956 Rambler V8 engine (327, 287ci)
A copy of AMCer Greg Taylor's pages on the AMC V8, including the SAE paper, Technical Service Manual pages.
Dr. Rambler's Aluminum 195.6 OHV pages
Mostly complete, saved off the web.
Zemco CompuCruise
I had a lovely Zemco CompuCruise computer installed in my 1970 Hornet; very 1970's! It finally drove me crazy and I sold it on eBay. Here is the installation and operating manuals.
AMC sales brochures
A few 1970 AMC color sales brochures.