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ramzoom 11-30-2008 08:28 PM

Rambler American engine conversion #2
:mwink: Oh boy here we go again....

You might already know we are in the middle of a conversion on a 60 Rambler 2 dr. wagon with a Mazda Rotary...well I also own a pretty clean 59 Rambler American sedan. The motor runs really good but it is looking like a rebuild is coming up so if all goes as planned we will be yanking the stock l head 6 and trans tomorrow and looking to replace it with something "modern"...actually it is a pretty cool powerplant that will provide good pick up and it is not a smallblock anything :mwink: The stock IFS and rear end will remain in the car..I will post pics and info as we go..we are hopeing to have this one done in the next few weeks and then back to the wagon.

If all goes well I should be posting some more info within a day or two......

tomslik 12-01-2008 03:37 AM

oh sure, not even a hint or nuttin'?

ramzoom 12-01-2008 09:25 AM

This one will have pistons ;)

tomslik 12-01-2008 11:22 AM

awww, i figured you'd parted out a prius :D

sbchevfreak 12-01-2008 11:52 AM

Rear drive conversion quad 4, maybe?

ramzoom 12-01-2008 12:04 PM

Sorry tom...the car is already green enough as it is.. :)
No Prius drivetrain....

Quad 4 is a great motor............but no.

Javelin360 12-01-2008 02:08 PM

Cool stuff :thumbup:

I'm looking to add a 74 Gremlin and a 74 Hornet 2dr to my car stable. They would be keeping my 74 Javelin company. I just haven't been able to convince the wife. She thinks the 5 vehicles we have now are enough.

ramzoom 12-01-2008 04:28 PM

sounds like you almost have a dealership going there :D

farna 12-08-2008 08:50 AM

The problem with the 58-63 American is the width of the engine bay. A modern four cylinder doesn't even fit good because the intake manifold sticks so far out to the side. I helped put a Pinto 2.3L (or was it 2.0L?) in a 54 Nash Rambler (50-55 Nash Rambler is virtually the same car as the 58-63 Rambler American), but it was an early model Pinto engine. The carb and intake just did clear the left side after a slight bit of "massaging" to the inner fender panel.

The one more or less modern engine that will easily fit is the Ford I-6 with the intake made onto the head. A late 80s 250 would be great! All you'd need to do is fab engine mounts and have a driveshaft made. I have used a hot rod type tubular crossmember to install an engine in an early American -- the rails are 27" apart on the inside (the engine compartment is only 20-1/2" wide at the narrowest spot, right where the suspension mounts). You will have to make a trans crossmember. Those cars have a continuous rail from bumper to bumper, almost like a frame with a floor pan welded to it. I just made a simple angle iron crossmember for the trans and used carriage bolts going through the floor and rails, the rounded heads weren't felt under the carpet. The rails are 18 gauge steel, so not heavy enough to screw into, and the inner rockers are made in such a way that you can't run a bolt sideways through the rail without cutting a big hole the rocker cover. You could probably drill new holes in a wrecking yard rear trans crossmember and mount it the same way. You'll need to swap a trans that will fit the engine you use, of course. The early (60-65?) Falcon and Mustang 200 sixes used the same manual three speed trans as the Rambler (BW T-96), but the 250 uses a SBF bolt pattern and never used that old tranny.

A V-8 or V-6 will fit, but that narrow section makes it tight! The engine compartment does get wider above the upper a-arm mounts though. The main problem with a small V-6 is the accessory mounts, but you could use early hot-rod type mounts to get the accessories up high instead of off to the side. Forget a later model AMC six, they are too long! The compartment is rather short too, all but the small Ford six (144/170/200/250 -- the 240/300 is way too long!), even the Nissan I-6, is 3-4" too long.

ramzoom 12-08-2008 09:47 AM

Hey Farna,

Tell me about Rambler engine room...Geesh :drunk: They really didnt make it easy for a guy..

I was going to run a DOHC Miata 4 cyl. and 5 speed..I looked at a motor and found the throttle body came off the pass. side and it is tight in the Rambler.

Another member asked if I was using a quad 4 which at the time I said no..but now.....

If you look at the dimensions of the quad 4 it is really compact. More compact than the miata engine. The intake comes off the drivers side and we can fab a intake to run a carb. There is nothing down low to hit the steering box and its stubby enough to clear the steering. I know we will need to trim the firewall for the trans as well as the tunnel. There is a guy that already has adapters to run the T5 5 speed trans.
You can get a flange to weld up yur own exhaust so we can route that where you must like we did on the rotary rambler.
I found the engine so I just need to get it shipped today so we can start...
Take a look at the quad 4 and let me know what you think.....Should be good for around 150-160 hp. A little better than stock.

farna 12-09-2008 03:18 PM

Based on this photo ( it just might fit. The intake plenum is high on the engine, so it would be above the narrow point in the engine bay. Transmission adapters/bells are high at $474 though ( I think the bolt pattern is the same as other GM fours and small V-6s though, so you should be able to use a Camaro trans or Jeep 2WD trans (the Jeep 2.5L used the same pattern as Chevy fours and small V-6s). Not positive on the bell pattern though, might be unique to the Q4.

ramzoom 12-09-2008 06:26 PM

Yeah that bellhousing is up there but whats a guy to do. You hit it on the head..the engine is pretty compact and the intake is up high on the drivers side so you have more room. The exhaust is on the pass. side where it is tighter to the inner fenderwell. I do not want to cut the innerfenders at all if poss..maybe just a small recess if nec. but I dont think we will have to do that. I will post the conversion once we get going. I picked up a rebuilt longblock quad 4 for 800.00 bucks..hard to beat that. We have a couple 4 speeds laying around to use but I think I will go with the T5.
Engine got paid for today so it will be here in a couple days so we will go from there..Will make for a really nice driver when done.
Off topic....I will have a L-head 6 and 3 spd laying around..the darn engine actually runs great but smokes for a few miles at start up then clears up..probably needs valve guides and maybe a ring job. The trans works perfectly and has O/D.

ramzoom 12-27-2008 04:02 AM


Quad 4 arrived and look great..I ordered some engine components and they are on the way.

Found a th200-r4 and plan to pick up this weekend. I still have a Muncie 4 speed laying around so there is still a chance it will go in the Rambler. Not sure..I like a 4/5 speed for fun and it would be cool to have a hurst floor shifter with the little white ball poking out of the floor... but my gut says go with a auto and make the car a nice cruiser. What do you guys think? Stick or auto/od. This car will probably get sold in '09 so I am thinking an auto would appeal to more people..alot of girls and wives love this little Rambler so I am leaning toward the auto..I know my wife would prefer it that way. Throw a lokar shifter out of the floor nice and simple...???

Engine and trans got the yank last Wed. We are cleaning up the engine compartment and front suspension this week and hopefully painting the engine and setting it in the car to see how it will set in there.
I will post some pics later today.....

ramzoom 12-27-2008 10:17 PM

Yanking the motor and trans..........

elliott 12-28-2008 04:26 PM

I was considering putting a Quad 4 in my '59 American coupe a while ago, but now that I see those shots of a bare engine bay, I'm leaning towards a Buick V6.

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