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Old 07-29-2008, 07:06 PM
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1966 Rambler American 440 Restoration

Hey gang, just acquired my grandparents 1966 Rambler American 440 with the 6cyl and 3 on the tree. The engine will run but I am told engine parts are hard to come by. So I would like to put a small V8 under the hood to give it a little growl as we cruise around with it. Is there a specific engine/transmission that will work in these cars? Thanks in advance for all your suggestions! Scott

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Old 07-29-2008, 09:30 PM
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the smallest engine in the 1966 American would be a 199 engine,car more than likely has a 232 with possibly a 2bbl carb, being a 440.
199,232, 258 have a lot in common with the '87- up Jeep 4.0 so parts are not hard to come by.. jeeps until '86 used the 258.. ignition parts are standard GM 6cyl coil and points, transmission is a BW- T96 most likely...

you can put any small block engine in it, pretty much all of them fit. transmission mount might need a little mod, if you brand swap ( not with a Mopar Small block, the TF 998's and 727's were used from '72 up in AMC so you can find parts to put them in )..

If you want an AMC V8. www.bulltear.com has the mounts or Galvins Rambler parts has a V8 mod'd cross member for somthing like $360 + core.. and then AMC 290,304.343,390 and 401 V8's would bolt in, but you will need the AMC cased Mopar transmission..
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Old 07-30-2008, 03:28 AM
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be aware that the engine/transmission sit about 2" to the passenger side and that a sbc/lakewood scattershield and the trans tunnel interfere with each other....
i WAS hoping to not cut the tunnel on my 69....
oh yeah, i'm going to use a MII crossmember for an early nova as everything seems to be worn out anyway (in the frt suspension) and that SHOULD get me more header clearence...

it still may get an amc engine IF i can find one that's reasonable....

i'll tell ya what, i think an injected 5.0/302 ford and a 5 speed would be a hot ticket in one...
i think it'd be a better fit...
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Old 08-26-2008, 06:46 PM
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The best bet for an engine upgrade is a Jeep 4.0L with the EFI. That's got more power than most carbureted small blocks (305 and under, and some up to 360 -- the Jeep six is only 242 inches!) from the start. It's got about the same power as most mid 70s 350/360 cubic inch V-8s, and pretty much bolts in. You'd need to change the trans, but if you find a 2WD Jeep (hard to do in snow country!) you're all set.

You can drop something like a Ford 302 in, that would be the best choice of modern small blocks. You just have to change the trans also and make your own mounts. It's not that hard if you have some fab skills. The AMC 6 to V-8 mounts sold by BullTear.com should work with a little modification -- the mounts on an AMC V-8 block are in nearly the same location as other V-8s, just might need some spacers and to re-drill the bolt pattern.

The rear axle is basically an 8" (7-9/16" to be exact). It's about as strong as a Ford 8" or the small Chevy axle. It's also rather narrow! A Ford Explorer axle is close to the same size, but is a couple inches wider. With the correct offset wheels it will work. If you're running 7" wide wheels with something like 205 or 215 width tires you won't break the axle -- the tires will break loose first.

You do need to re-torque the axle nuts though. The hubs are held onto the axle by a big nut similar to front wheel drive cars. This was done to make it easy to change brakes and bearings. That nut needs to be tightened to 250-300 lb/ft. AMC never specified a re-torque interval, but the end of the axle does stretch and the lock washer looses tension over the years, and yours is 42 years old! I re-torque the nuts on all AMCs unless I know for sure they have been torqued in the last 10 years (which has been all of them!). Just take the wheel covers or centers out, take it to a tractor-trailer shop. and get them to break the nut loose then use their 3/4" or 1" drive torque wrench to tighten them back up. Might take 400 lb/ft to loosen one, but that doesn't mean it was that tight -- just that STUCK! If the nut is overtightened it's possible to stretch or break the end of the axle over time -- it will work loose faster -- so don't go over 300 lb/ft (factory spec is 250). Less and one day a tire will hook up real good and the car won't go anywhere because a hub broke loose and the axle is spinning inside the hub. Then the whole axle has to be replaced.
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