best engine swap for 65' rambler american and 63' rambler american? - Page 3 - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board
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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 10-10-2012, 05:01 PM
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The L-head was never put in the big cars for a reason! I have to tell you though, after driving a 196 powered 63 American for 15 years (initially a 1V, shortly upgraded to 2V, and with an upgraded cam when it was rebuilt... plus modified air filter housing and exhaust system) the 196 is barely adequate for the big cars. Mine put out about 170-175 hp in the end and it would keep up with modern traffic most of the time. I had an automatic with 3.31 rear axle (the "performance" ratio) but no air. The 58-59 Rambler Six wagon (the big Rambler) had a 3.78 rear gear ratio with standard three speed, 3.31 with auto (3.78 was optional), and 4.38 with the three speed OD trans. That's a bit lower than the American, so it will be buzzing at highway speeds. The little motor needs the gearing to pull the big car around. It's adequate, especially around town, but try holding 65-70 mph with a couple big adults on board and maybe a long weekend of luggage and it will strain pulling hills WITHOUT air conditioning.

It's a great little motor, and yes, the factory put in AC even with an auto trans, but there were few places you could cruise at 65-70 mph for long stretches until the mid 60s. The Interstate system didn't start construction until 1956, and minimal then. Most of it was still under construction in 1958. The six cylinder Ramblers were economy cars, as you mentioned, and not intended for high speed cruising. Keep speed down around 55 and it should hold speed up all but the steepest hills. The 196 would be turning ~2800 rpm at 65 mph with 3.31 gears, and that's a little high for the old 196. It's most comfortable in the 2000-2500 range (as are most AMC sixes with stock cams, even the 4.0L EFI six, but the bigger ones will pull with less gear). 60 mph is just a tad over 2500 -- 2566 rpm. That would be a lot better for it.

The 196 always uses a little oil, it's just the old design. Not too much, but it will use a quart every 1000-1200 miles when run hard (around 2500 rpm and higher). It will use a quart about every 1500-1800 miles regardless (which is just 1 quart between changes, assuming 3K mile changes). Run it at 65-75 all day like I have in the past and it will use a quart about every 800 miles. I mean on a 16 hour trip (made all in one day!) on the interstate. That's just normal for the old gal!

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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 10-06-2016, 05:10 PM
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I just joined the forum & found ur post. Have u determined if the 5.3 will fit in the engine bay? I have a 62 American convert that I want to "have a v8" in but the eng bay looks mighty small!
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Old 10-06-2016, 05:12 PM
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Guess I should clarify that I'm asking about the older car-not the 65
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  #34 (permalink)  
Old 10-06-2016, 07:16 PM
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Holy thread resurrection Batman!!
Didja know the op hasn't been here for 5 years!!
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old 10-15-2016, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by 62 Rambler American View Post
Guess I should clarify that I'm asking about the older car-not the 65
I'm doing a 416" LS stroker in my '63 American and ended up removing both inner fenders and firewall and adapting an MII-based suspension built for an early Falcon. Waaay more work than I had anticipated! I'm on year 4 and still working...

Russ
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old 03-01-2017, 05:57 AM
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A small block Chevy or Ford (Ford 302 is about 1.5" narrower than Chevy WILL fit in the 58-63 engine bay, but it's very tight, especially on the left side near steering shaft. With an SBC run electronic ignition and platinum plugs. Have to jack engine up to change them, or cut well placed holes in inner fenders to slip a socket and extension through -- just take off tire to change plugs. Ford 302 is that slight bit narrower and plug placement is better. You will have to use close in stock exhaust manifold either way, or use early Nova over the rail headers with an SBC (see my photo gallery!). Either way you have to fab motor mounts and a trans crossmember. Not real hard to do... if you have done any fab work before. I've used a universal engine crossmember before, just altered the ends to bolt to the Rambler sills ("frame" rails of a unit body are called sills). Don't like welding heavy things to old, thin (it's all 18 gauge, doubled in places) sheet metal.
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Old 03-01-2017, 01:26 PM
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What kind of animal is that around the neck of the person on the left?

That's some real hot-rodding you all did there. Do those cars weigh any more than a early Chevy II?
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old 03-01-2017, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by techinspector1 View Post
If you are unwilling or unable to do heavy mods, then you should take up another hobby and leave the hot rodding to someone who has the wherewithall to make it all work.
As Sgt. Hulka said to Private Sawyer:

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Old 03-01-2017, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by 59RAMBLERSUPERWAGON View Post
The 195.6 aka the 196 is plenty of motor to run AC, it was a regular factory option on the Rambler Six which ran that motor. I am planning to add factory AC on my 59 or a retro fitted pump and coils from something else. the factory HP i belive was 125hp but torque was like 145 that is stock carb etc. it was built for economy. it was a great improvement over the L head 195.6 which only put out 90hp

Grants Pass, I stopped at a gas station there I think around 1973. Parked next to it was a Nash Metropolitan mounted on a Jeep 4x4 frame with Chevy power. Like Tech says, anything can be made to fit anything if your willing to cut, fabricate and weld.


Geez I just put a different radiator in my old S15 that alone was a 3 day effort to undo the modifications that put the last radiator in, then design, fabricate and install the adaptations needed to put the new radiator in. That's with a shop full of tools an a long history of building. I'll admit that being 78 doesn't make it go any easier. But what the heck last fall I pulled the dead 4L60E out and put a 700R4 back in by myself. Yes I'm getting rid of the computer. Oh, Oh I did have an MRI of my aching back this morning, the nurses loved my Harley Davidson tee shirt. You don't ride at you age do you, hey baby I got a spare helmet if you wanna see for yourself. Damn this getting old makes you think the kids can't do anything anymore and you can't do what you used to. Maybe there is something to bolt on's after-all?


Bogie
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Old 03-02-2017, 10:05 AM
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As Sgt. Hulka said to Private Sawyer:

Careful, ban happy mods here.
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  #41 (permalink)  
Old 03-14-2017, 06:53 PM
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For anybody just wanting a highway cruising motor with A/C like the OP here back in 2012, a Chevy 305 is available almost for free, fits about anywhere, tons of adapters available, grab the overdrive 200-4R tranny and A/C pump/parts/wiring and alternator as well... will cruise all day at any speed up to 110 MPH... as reliable as a stone... parts are dirt cheap... any old hotrodder can fix it... up to 25 MPG...

Last edited by BuzzLOL; 03-14-2017 at 07:00 PM.
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