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Old 09-12-2005, 10:34 AM
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Cadillac Engine for a rambler?

Hi,
I have a '63 Rambler classic 550 that I'd like to fix up. It needs a new engine among other things. But recently, My father in law's '73 cadillac with a 472 V8 fell in my lap. I was wondering if that engine would work in my rambler or not. Thanks.

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Old 09-12-2005, 11:17 AM
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It would require some modification to the Rambler and some fabrication to be sure but the end result would be cool as heck!!!
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Old 09-12-2005, 11:21 AM
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Might have to look at how you are going to stop all that power and weight. My brother has a 65 American that we did the pacer disk brake swap with. It was easy and well worth it! Not sure if your year has the same front suspension.

I think you would want to go with a better rear end. Check some sites. I have heard that some fords will fit right in. There is a chart in the knowledge base that lists to widths and the spring pad dimensions.
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Old 09-13-2005, 10:16 AM
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Yeah, the first thing I said when coming up with the idea was that I'd have to put new brakes in before attempting it. I'll have to do some measuring and see what I can do.
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Old 09-13-2005, 10:37 AM
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go for it !
i put a caddy 500 in my 79 GMC.... dont know much about the car you have so I cant give any imput on instalation
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Old 09-13-2005, 03:45 PM
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Yes it will fit in the Rambler and should be in there. It might require a bit of trimming but if they can put one in a Chevette then anything is possible. Remember that 472 really doesn't weigh much more than a sbc
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Old 09-14-2005, 06:52 AM
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Fit won't be a problem -- the old 63 Rambler V-8 (327) was actually as big and bulky as the Caddy. It resembles a Ford 390 or Chevy 396 (The Rambler V-8) in size and weight. That should be comparable to the Caddy. The 195.6 OHV six cylinder in the 550 weighs about as much as a SBC -- it's no light weight either. For the front end all you need to do is swap in a set of Rambler V-8 springs. You can likely use the existing trans crossmember -- there are two sets of holes to locate it on the frame rails. You WILL want to discard the rubbe mounts on the ends of the crossmember though. They break down. Should be easy to fab a metal piece to replace it, or better yet fab a new crossmember and make some hangers that bolt to the original frame location. Do that and you can use the Caddy trans crossmember, just trim the ends to fit between your hangers.

The real problem is the rear axle. 56-66 big Ramblers (all except the American) use a torque tube. The tube encloses the axle and mounts to the trans, enclosing the single u-joint as well. The u-joint lasts forever enclosed like this! The tube also locates the rear axle. The axle is an AMC Model 15, which uses a 7-9/16" ring gear -- the equivalent of a Chevy 10 bolt or Ford 8". It's virtually the same thing as a Dana 35 used in a Cherokee. You need a 58-60" wide axle (hub to hub) to fit the existing wheel wells without tubbing, and then you can only run a 205-215 wide tire. The suspension is easy -- take the spring seats off the Rambler axle and mount them on the new one, then use the original springs. Ladder bars are the easy way to go, but use 36-42" ones -- the longer the better the ride. I made one with 26" bars and the ride was "choppy" on rough roads (like I-10 between Gulfport and New Orleans... glad I moved frm there last June!!). The best way to go is a "truck arm" suspension. A Chevelle kit can be altered to fit the Rambler easy enough, or make your own. A four link is doable, will just take more work. The shock crossmember won't support the weight of the car. If you go with coil overs instead of the original springs make an upper mount in the original spring seats.

One more thing -- don't "pry back" the axle to remove it. Disconnect all brake lines at the rear (park brake lines and the rubber line from body to axle), pull the bolt from the body end of the panhard rod, pull the four bolts on the torque tube to trans flange, jack axle up with a floor jack in the center pushed in from the back and remove tires, put jack stands under the body right in front of the wheel wells, lower jack, pull rear axle w/torque tube attached from the rear. You might have to get under the car and push the axle back with your legs to get the slip joint on the trans loose -- it's been on a while and doesn't move like an open driveshaft slip joint.

The only problem is you can't easily move the car without the axle in. What I do is take the tube off the axle next, then bolt a 4' 2x4 on each end where the strut rods and shock mounts were (take them off first, of course!), with a length of 2x4 across the ends (making a box). Then push this back under the car and lower it. If you're moving it on rough ground drill a hole on each side through the floor and run a 1/4" lag screw into the 2x4 to keep the axle from shifting when a tire hits a rock, etc. Can you tell I work on Ramblers??
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Old 09-15-2005, 08:10 AM
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Thanks everyone, Just found out that i'm getting the engine for free! It's going to be tough since I haven't restored a vehicle since my 76 chev stepside in '94 but I'm getting more excited every day.
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Old 09-15-2005, 05:27 PM
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if you run acrross any problem rebuilding that engine let me know... i just got done doing a complete rebuild on my 500 not to long ago so I may be able to help with any issues that you might have
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Old 09-16-2005, 03:07 PM
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Check to make sure the oil pan is gonna clear. If it doesn't don't worry, they made all kinds of pans for that engine.
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Old 09-17-2005, 09:44 PM
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I've seen a turbo'd AMC 327, those things are tough as nails... but a caddy engine is cool, way better than (the usual swap) 350.
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