59 Rambler Wagon chassis Swap ?
Might buy a 58 Rambler Wagon, but need to know what I'm getting to.
All I Can say is WOW!
I found more information on AMC ramblers here, then on the entire internet.
I just learned that the car is a uni-body and has some difficulties of swapping in a V8 and the Torque tube setup is undesireable.
What should I look for in a full frame swap i.e. 1/2 ton truck, ford LTD, or 70's monte carlo chassis? I figure this would probably be the easiest and most cost effective? I'm just worried the body might set to high on a full frame?
So I need some ideas on what to look for to avoid the high body sitting on top of chassis look?
I am willing to get a longer wheel base so it can be shortened to fit.
I would like to do entire frame swap so I would only have to worry about the following:
Engine clearance between the fenders and firewall.
Wheel clearence inside rear and front inner fenders.
Cutting hole for Transmission shifter.
Steering column line up.
Anything I missed?
I would like to aviod building an entire front end and rear end to house the drivetrain, motor, and front and rear suspension.
Any info would be great!
I would look at the chev metric chassis..that is 70's monte carlo..
the ford ltd is an option as well..
Later caprice chassis is also usable..
Morison and Jegs have tube frame kits that may be an option as well..
In any case I would be looking for a complete donor car..including the engine and tranny..
Measure the width of the chassis to see that the rambler body will be wider that the donor chassis..
You may have to channel the body to get the body height down to where you want it to be..in fact I would expect to have to do this..once you have the chassis prepped then you will see just where you have to cut when you set the body down..
You may wish to keep the donor body around as it may be possible to cut the floor pan out of the donor body and adapt it into the Rambler Body..
This seems to me to be a fun kinda project..keep ya occupied for a while..:)
You didn't learn any of that from someone who knows Ramblers!! You don't need to swap onto a frame -- that's one of the toughest unit bodies ever made, and it will handle a V-8 EASILY, even a big block. The torque tube setup is great, but does have to go for an engine swap other than a GEN-1 AMC V-8. Don't let people who don't know these cars steer you wrong!! The existing front suspension is tough too, it will take a lot of abuse and the trunnion joints are easy to replace. 64-69 American, Javelin, and AMX models used a hard to replace upper trunnion, but the big cars (Classic, Ambassador, big Rambler) used a simpler, easy to work with trunnion joint. The GEN-1 AMC V-8 was about the size and weight of a late model BBC and the suspension worked fine for it, and SBC would be a piece of cake! I'll have to check my books to make sure the crossmember could accept welded on engine mounts -- I seem to recall it's stout enough even though AMC used four corner mounts like a 55-57 Chevy through 1962. If not one of the universal bolt in hot rod or early truck crossmembers work (I know a couple people who've used them).
look at this
this link in project journals
Another 59 Rambler
The 59 Rambler link is very interesting, but a totally different car. The link points to a 59 AMERICAN. That's the small body car that is basically a slightly modified 1950 Nash Rambler. Nash made the 100" wheelbase Rambler through 1955 then went to a bigger 108" wheelbase body. AMC reintroduced the 1955 model with some slight revisions in 1958 as the Rambler American, which ran through 1963 with the same basic unit body. In 61 the car was restyled by changing all the external sheetmetal including the roof panel, but keeping the floor pan and all glass area the same -- the main unit body "frame" was unchanged except for the firewall. The 58-60 American look almost the same, and the 61-63 look almost the same, but unless you pay close attention to the glass areas you'd never think a 60 and 61 were virtually the same car!
While KozAZ didn't mention if his 58 was an American or the bigger "Rambler Six" (the bigger car was finally named "Classic" in 61, and there was also the extended wheelbase "Ambassador from 58 on too -- three models from 58 -- Rambler American, Rambler Six and Rebel [same as six but with a 250 cid AMC V-8], and the Ambassador [extended wheelbase Rambler six with 327 AMC V-8]). But he mentioned an enclosed drive. The big Rambler models, including the 1956, used torque tube drive (enclosed driveshaft, with the enclosing tube acting as the rear axle locator arm and transmitting all torque from the engine to the wheels). The American (and 50-55 Nash Rambler) always used an open drive shaft. The torque tube was used through 1966 -- 1967 and later big models all used an open drive.
The big cars have plenty room for a V-8, the American was literally built around that compact L-head six! The only OHV six that will fit the engine bay is the old 195.6 cid AMC engine (1956-65 -- not to be confused with the later model 199, which is a totally different and longer design). Even late model four cylinder engines are a tight fit in the 50-63 small body because the intakes stick so far out to the side! The best fit is a 60 degree V-6 like the Chevy 2.8-3.4, or the Ford 2.9 (I'm sure it was made in other sizes, but I don't know what they are). The only problem with those is the accessory mountings are usually to wide. The engine can be mounted a little forward to keep the accessories away from the "humps" in the inner fender wells of the small body, but even then some would have to be moved in a good bit.
Even the small 50-63 body is exceptionally strong! I have some photos of one with a built SBC that runs 9 second quarter miles using the stock front suspension and chassis. It has been back halfed to mount wide tires, but that is just connected to the original unit body rails. All pre 63 Ramblers (pre 64 in the American) have a box "frame" rail running from bumper to bumper welded into the floor pan, making them extremely strong -- just as strong (if not stronger) as a separate frame. The rails are rectangular and made of 18 gauge sheet metal (about 3/64" thick -- just under 1/16"[which is 4/64"]). They are then welded to the floor pan, rockers, and inner fender panels, making a very rigid and durable structure. The old L-head six weighs only 50-60 pounds less than a fully equipped SBC!
These old unitized bodies are built much stronger than later "three box" designs that don't have a common rail running the length of the body. All unit bodies made after 1965 or so use the "three box" design (engine box, passenger box, trunk box). Three box use the rocker panels for longitudinal support of the passenger compartment then have rails for the trunk/rear suspension and engine compartment/front suspension that overlap the middle box under the floors. The main tie-in with the center box is actually the side to side reinforcements built into the middle box floor and the inner fender panels that extend from the firewall and rear body out.
59 rambler american wagon
As I read this tech I see I can put a small v8 into my little wagon but will I lose the heater box on firewall? also what do you do when you do away with the tork tube? This is the first rambler i have ever had and would like to do this swap out of motor as easy as I can.Would like to keep all the original stuff I can also. Any help would be appreciated.
You've got the bigger 58 Rambler Six (has just Rambler nameplates), not the small 58-60 American (has Rambler and American nameplates). You won't lose the heater. The American doesn't have a torque tube, only the 56-60 Rambler Six, 58-66 Rambler Ambassador, 58-60 Rambler Rebel (same as Rambler Six but with a V-8), and 61-66 Rambler Classic (finally gave the Six a real name!) have the torque tube. The bigger Rambler body came with a V-8 option from the factory and has plenty room for a V-8 with no cutting under the hood or losing the heater. The small American doesn't have to lose the heater unless you use a Chevy engine -- the rear distributor causes loss of heater. A 302 Ford or 318 Chrysler is a better fit, any small block with a front distributor (or newer model with no distributor).
As for the bigger car, all you need to do is fab engine mounts. The crossmember doesn't have "perches" for mounts as the old cars used four mounts -- two in front of the engine and two on the bell housing. The trans just hung off the bell, even the big heavy autos back then, which wasn't a problem. You will need to fab and weld or bolt perches to the crossmember or devise some other means to mount the engine, and make a rear crossmember for the trans. Trans-dapt and others make universal crossmembers for hot rods that will work for the engine and trans if you want. J.C. Whitney carries them, but their site search makes them hard to find (hell, anything is!!). Try different combos of phrases until you do. The distance between the front rails in the 58 is 31-1/2".
The torque tube is the main locating arm for the rear axle. You will need to replace the rear axle with one from a 83-92 Ford Ranger. Only the 90-92 4.0L models have the 8.8" rear axle, the others are 7.5". If you're building a cruiser with moderate power (400 hp or under) the 7.5" axle shouldn't be a problem. The Explorer and 93+ Ranger axles are 2" wider than the earlier Ranger. They will fit, but you will need deep set 4x4/front drive wheels to fit in the wheel wells. The stock wheel wells will take a 215 tire easily, a 225 will fit but might be snug.
Since the tube located the axle, you have to have a way to do that once the tube is gone. A four or three link kit will work, but ladder bars are easiest. Just make sure the bars a 30" long or more -- the longer the better. A "truck arm" kit for a GM G-body from "Hot Rod to Hell" (http://www.hotrodstohell.net/truckar...karm_gbody.htm) is easy to mod to fit. All you need are the arms and crossmember they mount to -- the panhard rod from the Rambler can be used. Just grind/drill the rivets and bolt/weld it to the donor axle. The spring seats on the Rambler axle are easy to remove, they are hold on by one 3/8" fine thread bolt in the center. Just place them on the new axle and drill and tap it for the bolt.
Removing the Rambler axle is easy. Disconnect all brake lines and the shocks. Unbolt the tube from the transmission. Put a floor jack under the car from the rear, jack up the axle, and remove the tires. While the car is up put jack stands under the body in front of the axle. Lower the jack then reach under and pull out the springs. You might have to jack the body up just a bit more, but with the tires off the axle will usually drop enough to get the springs out. Pull the axle out the back of the car by rolling floor jack back. You might have to get in front of the axle and give it a good kick (good jack stands, chock the front wheels!) as the yoke doesn't slip on the trans and has been on for near 50 years... it tends to stick.
The only drawback is you can't move the car with no rear axle, and with the torque tube or transmission out there's nothing to hold the rear axle in place. I bolted a 4' length of 2x4 onto the axle (on what would have been spring pads on a leaf spring car) and set the body down on that -- with the gas tank out too. If you hit a hole or big rock the axle might shift, so be careful if doing something like this! A friend used a pair of furniture moving dollies on casters with jack stands on top to move his around the shop.
I must have said something wrong in my message. I have a 1959 rambler american two dr wagon. so from what I gather I do have tork tubes up front and need to do something with them correct.would of been nice to be able to keep the rear end inplace on this little thing but if it has to go it has to go.Let me know about the tork tubes and what I can do with them. thanks
No torque tubes in the little American.... :D
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