AMC to Chevy
Some may think im crazy but I purchased this 1966 amc rambler 770 classic 2 door and it looks just like a 67 nova. One of the biggest problems I am having is advise on what I can do to possibly install a nova subframe. I was able to stuff a 454 in this and man it's tight but I need to modernize the front end of this reject. A 350 turbo tranny is a tight fit, I was able to install a 10 bolt posi rear end with ladder bars in it as well. Any advise would be great.
Thanks a bunch!
Then just rebuild the front end. I know it's not what you're used to (trunnion on top), but for what you're doing it's your best bet. The suspension is plenty strong, and the trunnion on top is probably NOT worn out. Ball joint has a lot more stress and may be. The only disadvantage to the trunnion is you can't get much caster. It's designed for ZERO degrees caster. You can get about 3 degrees out of it either way, but that's it. It handles fine with zero degrees.
The old AMC/Rambler GEN-1 V-8 weighs about the same is is just about as big as an old Ford Y-block or Chevy 396... maybe 50 pounds under that 454. The cast iron auto trans weighed more than that TH-350. If your car was a factory V-8 car you should be fine. If it was a six you just need stiffer front springs (even the V-8 could use that!). Stiffer springs will do more than a sway bar will on any high spring suspension, so if body roll is a concern get new front springs.
If brakes are a concern you can get a Wilwood AMC kit now, or go to www.scarebird.com and order their kit. They sell you a special caliper bracket and a seal spacer, and send a list of other parts you can find at any parts store (GM calipers and Ranger 11" rotors). Will cost $400-$500 total for new disc brakes up front. If you want bigger you'll have to go with the Wilwood or an Aerospace Components setup ($800+). The 11" rotors should be fine even with the big block.
All this is cheaper and easier in the long run than trying to change the suspension. You'd have to cut most everything in front of the firewall out to use something like a Nova or Camaro subframe. You could install a Mustang II front end, but there is nothing to really gain over the stock Rambler front end with a disc brake upgrade. Note that the lower control arm/strut is practically the same as the Mustang II, just the upper part of the suspension is different.
The Rambler classic is the same size as a comparable year Chevelle (say a 64), a bit larger than a later model Nova, but not by much.
I appreciate the advise. It was a factory v-8, this car was decied out to the max back in it's day. it had ac and everything... talk about having a hard time finding parts... wow. im so far into this thing now that there is no turning back. This thing is going to be bad ***! I know I can make something work and I am sure it has been tried before but even chip foose would probably be stumped on this one. Thanks for the reply.
Parts aren't really that hard to find, you just have to know what AMC vendors to go to! For the older cars www.ramblerparts.com is my first stop. If he doesn't have it try www.kennedyamerican.com or /www.americanpartsdepot.com. www.blaserauto.com also has a lot, mostly NOS and pricey, but sometimes your only choice. Kanter (www.kanter.com) has most mechanical parts as well.
In your case you have the needle bearing upper trunnions (all V-8s used needle bearings, sixes used a plain bronze bushing). There are needle bearings in the trunnion (turns for steering) where the steering knuckle pin goes through. Those NEVER wear out! Only the big acorn nuts on the sides that go through the arms. They just ride on coarse 5/8" studs. The nut should move WITH the arm, not turn IN the arm. Easy enough to check, look under the car while someone bounces on the fender. You might want to remove the tire and put a stand under the lower arm so you can see it good. As long as that nut moves with the arm it's good. If you pull the suspension to replace rubber bushings take that joint apart, clean it, put anti-seize on the threads, then reassemble and grease. Should be good for another 100K miles. I always put a small weld tack on the outer edge of that nut (tack to the arm, with the tack where I can get to it with a chisel or grinder). That way it's locked in place and easy to inspect. If the tack is broken it's probably starting to seize and should be looked at. Haven't had one do that though -- not after cleaning and reassembly. Had one wear enough to fall out though! I hadn't taken it apart or inspected it very closely though. It was worn all to hell! Don't think it had been greased in 20 years...
I have a 454 in my 65 Marlin, same chassis. I used the stock front end, the 454 is over 100 lbs lighter than the original V8. I installed 80 Concord disc brakes, they bolt on to the original spindle uprights. I also used a 70 Javelin sway bar, you have to drill 4 holes to install it, fits perfectly, and mounts in front unlike the stock one under the oil pan. The steering box is the same as a Chevelle box, so the Saginaw pump runs it fine. If you want a quick ratio box, 93 to 97 Grand Cherokee fits with a change of hoses.
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