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Old 03-25-2009, 08:22 PM
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62 Rambler rear suspension

I have a 62 Rambler Classic 400 which is in need of a drivetrain replacement. I plan to use a SBC and a 3-speed muncie,which I'd like to connect to the column shifter if possible. I have a GM rearend very close in width to the original Rambler rearend. My question is: What type of suspension do you use when replacing the torque tube setup? I gather that this unibody is quite strong so I don't feel the need to add a full frame. What is the best way to go, 3-link,4-link, triangulated 4-link? This particular specimen is sooo clean and rust-free that I don't want to hack anything more than necessary. I'm certainly not the first person to eliminate the torque tube setup so I thought I'd see what others have done. I'm willing to fabricate whatever I need to make this work, very cool car!! Looking forward to anyones input....thanks and rrrrrramble on....

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Old 03-25-2009, 10:15 PM
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What type of suspension is on it currently?
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Old 03-25-2009, 10:23 PM
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You might want to check in with Farna..I think he has the jag rear in his but he should be able to give you some good info...
Good luck
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Old 03-26-2009, 06:02 AM
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The "big" Ramblers (56-60 Rambler Six and Rebel V-8, 61+ Classic/Rebel/Ambassador) all have a torque tube setup with coil springs. The tube is the main locator arm for the rear axle along with a panhard rod.

Easiest thing to do is use ladder bars, the longer the better. Keep them at 30" or more and you won't notice the difference on a smooth road. Rough roads will bounce a little more than the stock setup. For any change just take the spring seats off the original axle then drill and tap the new axle tubes for the 3/8" fine thread bolt and use the original springs. At least that part is easy!

Any of the weld-in three or four link kits with a weld-in cross member mount for the arms should work fine, just be careful welding to the unit body. It's really strong for a uni-body car, but the metal is all 18 gauge. There are rails that go bumper to bumper on the pre 63 Ramblers, so at least you have something good to mount to. I prefer to make a flat flange that goes against the rails the bolt and weld them on to the rail and the floor where possible. Don't have to get the welds too hot that way as the load is spread over a larger area and the bolts help a lot.

If you want something that's almost bolt in, check out the G-body "truck-arm" kit from Hot Rods To Hell (http://www.hotrodstohell.net/truckar...arm_gbody.htm). Springs mount like the Rambler, width and length are about right. You just need to modify the cross member to fit. I'd use the Rambler panhard rod and shock mounts -- they come off easy enough.
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Old 03-26-2009, 07:35 AM
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62 Rambler rear suspension

Thanks for the information, that is pretty much the way I was thinking. What about a trans mount? I've considered running a tube from the new crossmember forward on each side and connecting to the firewall crossmember mounts. This would give me a place to add a trans crossmember. Any thoughts?
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Old 03-26-2009, 01:10 PM
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Well, that would work. The "firewall crossmember" runs right under the bell housing. I'm assuming you'd have two supports running parallel from that cross member to the truck-arm crossmember, then have a support under the trans between the two. A four link crossmember would be too far back to do that, of course.

What I've done on a 58-60 American (smaller, but the body is built the same with rails front to rear) was to make a crossmember from angle iron. I just mounted it flat against the bottom of the "frame" rail and ran 5/16" carriage bolts through the floor and rails. The rounded carriage bolt heads were undetectable under the carpet. I kept the suspension at stock height so there was plenty clearance. If you're lowering the car you could fab a mount that went sideways into the rails and fit inside them. You may find a crossmember that will fit across the rails too -- a Jeep Cherokee CM might be the right width and is pretty flat.
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Old 03-26-2009, 07:46 PM
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Thanks for the info, nice to hear from someone with experience on this type of set-up. My thoughts with the 2 additional frame rails were to keep the cm short as well as distribute some of the force exerted on the rear cm forward. But, as you know, simpler is usually better, and you apparently haven't had any problems with the cm you described, looks like that problem is solved. I'll look into the hotrodsfromhell setup as well as various ladderbar setups. Will post some pictures as soon as I can drag this baby out, still waiting for snow to melt!! Thanks again....
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Old 03-28-2009, 06:52 AM
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Don't overlook the 4BAR (NOT the 4LINK). It's relatively inexpensive and easy to install AND, unlike the 4link, has no binding problems while cornering.

Be wary, however, of the installation instructions offered by the manufacturer. You certainly DON'T want the bars horizontal (parallel to the ground). This will give you horrible squat on launch. See Page 19 of my site for some tips.
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Old 03-29-2009, 06:20 AM
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Hmm, yet another option, will check it out. I was looking under the car yesterday, seems to be enough room for most any type of suspension, I'm liking the idea of a 4-link of some sort...thanks for info...
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Old 04-19-2009, 09:04 PM
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Must do Rambler, but without AMC drivetrain?

With not much education about suspension geometry, most people probably would look under an AMC torque tube drive car and think 'this car has a stupid drivetrain', but in reality, the torque tube system employs the tube itself for an extra long ladder bar which connects very near to the car's 'reaction point', which is in more understandable words known as the center of gravity. When the engine's power is directed to react upon the chassis geometry somewhere other than the center of gravity there is a geometrical lever formed between that point and the center of gravity. The lever action generated can be seen when a high powered car lunges up and down, turning around it's center of gravity before it moves forward on a hard launch, the turning motion being absorbed into the chassis springs. For this reason, the AMC torque tube drive system offers very good traction, having only a very slight lever action from the torque reaction to reach the center of gravity, not much of weight of the car being misapplied into it's springs, rather the weight of the car instantly reacting to the drive wheels; the entire car will lift slightly as the car leaps forward. This provides instantaneous forward motion when accelerating with very little unwanted gyration, which is the whole idea that drives other make enthusiasts to swap out an inferior drive system, such as a leaf spring type -to gain a traction advantage. (I'm not an engineer, but by my studies on chassis geometry and design, I think I said that right...) Bear in mind also, most auto enthusiasts are pre-conditioned to think they must buy 'speed parts' from a universally known aftermarket manufacturer. So most people think that since the Rambler engines are not listed alongside the most popular engines it must be swapped out. This is not absolutely correct; an engine does not know what name is on the valve cover, but rather all engines respond to proven hop up methods, and this only changes the parts buying quest to different set of dealers. A logical swap in V8 engine to replace the '62 Classic's inline six would be a Rambler V8 or and AMC V8, by using the appropriate bellhousing and transmission. To use a Rambler V8, one would need to find a junkyard/parts car donor to get the engine crossmember, engine and transmission. To use an AMC V8, one needs to find a similar parts car V8 transmission, crossmember and use a '66 thru '72 V8 bellhousing. As with any non-big three make of antique/collector cars, there is the factor of finding the less common sources for parts, but the Internet has lent much to AMCers in the way of finding parts and sources. From my AMC enthusiast point of view, swapping in a different make engine and drivetrain makes as much sense as swapping a Windsor V8 into a Camaro. Why butcher the car like that? At my website <amcramblermarlin.1colony.com/> I've attempted to debunk most of the empty excuses not to stay all AMC when doing hop up mods to these relatively unknown cars. I'd say do a built up stroker Rambler V8 & forget the mainstream tunnel vision factors that compel you to want to make the car a Frankenstein collection of 'you must buy these through this catalog' parts.
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Old 04-19-2009, 09:52 PM
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if its an amc I would put any engine that suits your fancy, after all, amc used allot of parts, from other manufactures to build their cars. i am not quite sure, but a maverick comet 8 inch is about the same length of differential
utilize some of the stock suspension parts. lower control arms, spring cups, etc and add upper control arms, weld a tube or square stock in between the factory stamped sheet metal rails above and forward of stock location of differential have a custom drive shaft made up
looks close to stock, upper control arms are out of sight. good made set of sub frame connectors, bobs your uncle. not many parts to fab up or buy.
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Old 04-19-2009, 10:04 PM
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you couldn't get rid of the trunion without a lot of re- engineering on the stock front suspension, there is a coil over trunion eliminator kit, but for '66-'69 Americans only
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Old 04-20-2009, 05:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McLeay F1
...amc used allot of parts, from other manufactures to build their cars.
In fact, I believe they used the Chevy small block just before their demise.

Yes, the torque tube suspension will get you down the road. The same performance can be achieved, however, with articulated links and with a decrease in unsprung weight and manufacturing cost.
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Old 04-20-2009, 08:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyShope
In fact, I believe they used the Chevy small block just before their demise.
You're thinking about Studebaker, not AMC! AMC was bought out by Chrysler in 1987. The AMC V-8 was produced for the Jeep Grand Wagoneer through 1991, when the Grand Wagoneer finally ceased production.

AMC only used a FEW parts from other manufacturers. That fact makes unknowing people assume they bought nearly everything from someone else and then assembled the cars. ALL auto manufacturers have been using outside suppliers since the first cars were made. GM, Ford, and Chrysler bought up a lot of their one-time outside suppliers in the 30s in an effort to make everything. WWII meant they had to concentrate more on the big stuff and spread manufacturing out, relying on smaller manufacturers for many components. This had to continue after the war due to the government portioning out still scarce raw materials for new consumer products. everyone figured out they could cut some cost by using smaller independent manufacturers to make a few components, something that has increased over time. AMC was the smallest of the US auto makers to survive the Ford/GM price wars of the 60s, and had to find ways to build cars more economically a lot sooner than the others since they didn't have the volume of the bigger companies. So they used off-the-shelf parts when they could buy things cheaper than they could make them, and get the needed quantities. They made their own engines and rear axles (AMC cast some axles in company owned factories, contracted with Dana to build a certain number of the AMC design every year -- the Dana 35 used in Cherokees is actually a slightly modifed AMC model 15 -- many parts interchange), bought transmissions, carburetors, and electrical systems. Of course they made their own car bodies too. GM bought some wiring harnesses from AMC for a few years for a couple models, as AMC owned a wiring harness factory with extra capacity. GM bought a few other small parts from AMC owned subsidiaries, but AMC did buy much more from GM than the other way around. The only thing that AMC bought from GM since 1966 was steering columns and steering boxes (Saginaw). For some other items, such as engine electrics, they changed over the years. Less than 20% of AMC car parts were from other auto manufacturers, with only a few engine exceptions (Packard V-8 and auto trans for 55-56, Audi 2.0L four 77-79, GM 2.5L four 80-83, GM 2.8L V-6 84-86). The engines were always stop-gap measures until an AMC design was ready. AMC actually bought rights to build the Audi 2.0L, but it was soon decided that it just wasn't big enough, and work started on an AMC design. Took a few years, so the GM 2.5L was used.

The torque tube is fine, and does have some strong points, but requires way too much work to keep. It could be done, but as Billy pointed out, there are more modern suspensions that would also be easier to install. "Truck arms" give all the same qualities of the torque tube, but also have about the same unsprung weight. Less unsprung weight = better ride and handling.
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Old 05-28-2009, 07:44 PM
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I've been out of town for awhile, just wanted to say 'thanks' for all the advice. Rest assured, I have no intention of 'butchering' this car, quite the opposite. Any changes I make can easily be returned to stock. As for the engine, since neither the car nor the engine knows what is on the valve cover, the engine will be a roller-cammed sbc. Why not an amc? Cause I use what I have, and I have the whole drivetrain on the shelf. I wouldn't mind building up an amc 390 sometime but for now, this is it. As for suspension, the 'tube' could be made to work, but I'd like something adjustable, the 'tube' has a 'fixed' instant center. I'm considering building a 'wonder-bar' setup, mostly because I'd like to see how they work in the real world, not just the magazine ads. In this case it may be the best answer, since I wouldn't have to modify the floor pan as I would with truck arms or 4-link....thanks again....
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