AMC and Rambler stuff

My Rambler (and parent AMC) cars, parts, systems, documentation, stories, how-to's, horror stories, photos, and anything related.








195.6 OHV performance

The AMC 195.6 OHV inline six engine, based upon a venerable Nash lineage, is ignored and unloved, but is capable of decent performance and reliability. It's major problem is ignorance, even amongst AMC/Rambler fans. Here is my attempt at dispelling some of the needless mystery. Most of the information below applies to the entire family of Nash engines, overhead and flathead, including the 172 and 184 cubic inch versions.

trans-axle-tire-calculator.xls
easy calculator for playing with/selecting tire size, axle ratio, transmission ratios.
Hot-rodding the Nash/Rambler 195.6 overhead valve six
10 June2010 new 28 May 2010 It seems like no one but me loves this engine. Too bad for everyone else, because it's a fine thing. It ...
Valve cover leaks
18 June 2010 The valve cover design on this engine is fine; a groove in the cover holds a flattened O-ring type seal, and two scre...
ARP head studs
24 May 2010 Update 13 June 2010 The AMC 195.6 OHV engine has a history of leaking headgaskets that show up in doddering old age, after y...
Balancing the rotating mass
7 June 2010 The bottom end of this motor is drop-deal reliable and grossly overbuilt. Crank and rods are forged, journals are huge; oi...
Cylinder head cooling system mods for the AMC 195.6 OHV engine
23 May 2010 The single most serious problem with this engine is a design flaw in the cylinder head, involving the cooling system. The TSM ...
195.6 OHV cylinder head, internals examined
Here's a crack-ridden cylinder head photographed and sliced up to show it's innards. It's proven very useful in surveying coolant flow and...
Computer controlled electric fan setup for the breadbox American
24 May 2010 Since I'd ditched the boat anchor generator in favor of a sweet little Mitsubishi 35-ampere alternator, I actually had the jui...
Improving the old Delco Remy distributor
Nash designed this 195.6 OHV engine for a world that no longer exists. Nearly all cars were manually shifted, steering was wrestled by hand...
Ford EDIS and MegaJolt Lite Junior ignition
1 Feb 2012 Overview Work in progress, so this will be sketchy for a while. If you aren't familiar with EDIS, you will need to res...
Engine assembly
7 June 2010 Oil pan Every engine I've every built, the oil pan eventually leaks. Cork gaskets are the problem. This engine was assembled w...
Exhaust port and manifold modifications
24 May 2010 The exhaust side of the 196.6 OHV head isn't too bad. Though the hot gases pass through the head for 3" or so, with attendant...
Conversion to full-flow oil filtration
Note: substantial changes July 2010 Full oil filtration doesn't seem optional for modern driving conditions, never mind the sort of driving...
Induction and carburetion
28 May 2010 AMC called this engine the "Economy Six". It was designed for utter simplicity, reliability, smoothness and driveability, ...





1963 Rambler American

My current infatuation is with the "breadbox" American chassis, and it's un-loved engine, the 195.6 OHV. This car has Nash's high quality, silly styling decent at-speed handling.

1963 Rambler American hardtop
Oct 2008 April 2007 Joe Fulton sold me this great little American 440. It had been destined to be someone's parts car; and Joe took away ...
Airdam for the American
For some reason I decided I wanted an airdam. I'd just walked into the lab for something else, and ended up with it partially made an hour ...
Early American "big nut" axle
Even amongst AMCers there's a lot of rumor and fear about the driveshaft system on these early Americans, known as the "big nut" axle. "Mode...
Hotrodding drum brakes on a 1963 Rambler American
The original brakes on this car were 9" drums, with shoes 2" wide, terrifyingly small on today's highways, and I plan on driving to work (10...
Steering wheel
What can I say, it's a steering wheel. This one is a 15" Mooneyes special 60's metalflake wheel, made by Grant. No one makes an adapter spec...
Cold air intake
Like most early cars the motor sucks hot air from under the hood; it's cold during warm-up (when inducting warm air would improve things) ...
Dashboard and instrument cluster
Since the dash is the focal point of the interior, I started there. Stripped off the ruined foam dash pad, filled the holes, and painted it....
Putting a Ford T-5 transmission onto an early Rambler six
There is one (1) choice of manual transmission for the early Rambler six: the Borg Warner T-96, described elsewhere. Though reliable enough ...
Gas tank
My cars get older and older... and the problems get weirder and weirder until they all seem normal. I ruined a newly rebuilt cylinder head ...
Interior
This car is basically a custom, with the aesthetic work centered around the interior. It's a hybrid of everything I like: Mobius and Japane...
Photos from March 2009
(no excerpt)...
SoCal TT 2009 Rally
(Quick link to chassis setup.) Looking for something more interesting to do with a car than driving to work, I somehow stumbled on the So...
The breadbox American as a Rambler sports car!
(Quick link to SoCal TT.) This page will incrementally document changes to my 63 "breadbox" American to make it handle well (OK better). ...
Front Suspension
The early American front suspension is a very old Nash design. Complete with actual Nash parts; this sort of makes the 1963 Rambler American...
Wheel and Tire fit issues
This is an old car. The original wheels were 15 inch diameter and four inches wide; it came from the factory with 6.00x15 or "heavy duty" 6....
Transmission overhaul
The transmission in this little car is the widely-reviled T-96 by Borg Warner. Tales of the frequent failure of this trannie are common, but...
T-96 with R10 overdrive assembly
This is a photo sequence for a transmission assembly. Likely I'll not write the text up. It's accurate, the place where I shoot two fingers ...





1963 Rambler Classic 550 Cross Country

My 1963 Rambler Classic 550 Cross Country station wagon finally has it's own web page, here; odd since I've been driving this thing more or less daily for 21+ years, and it's been the most useful, fun, cheap, practical, reliable car I've ever owned. From daily commute to deep desert off-road to long distance road trips to camping and trailer hauling, this thing's done it all.

1963 Rambler Classic 550 Cross Country Station Wagon gas tank
The gas tank on most cars doesn't warrent it's own web page, but this car had no gas tank and ran on propane for a few months short of 20 ye...
Aftermarket A/C installation
(August 2008) I finished this installation in 2005, it's still working perfectly fine so I guess I can say it was a success and finish this ...
Fitting a Howell TBI kit into a 1963 Rambler Classic
I bought this kit from fellow AMC-lister Russ (thanks continually!) who originally bought it from Howell for a project that ended up not mat...
My 1963 Rambler Classic 550 Cross Country Station Wagon
Considering I've had this car since 1989, it has very little presence on my website. I have a ton of pictures, I've driven it comple...
1963 Rambler station wagon rear window remove and replace
To replace a rear quarter panel after some idiot in a pickup truck with bad brakes ("but I was pumping them" he sez) crunches it, yo...





1975 AMC Gremlin
My 1975 AMC Levi's Gremlin X
I bought this in October 1998, from a small car lot in San Jose Calif. I found it on an ad on the net. I was searching for a new proj...
SOLD 1975 AMC Gremlin X for sale SOLD
304 V8, 240hp X package Levi's package Power steering (quick ratio) Power brakes Air conditioning 998...
SOLD 1975 AMC Gremlin X for sale SOLD
304 V8, 240hp X package Levi's package Power steering (quick ratio) Power brakes Air conditioning 998...
Gremlin motor build
I'm having the engine from my 1975 AMC Gremlin X rebuilt; it's a 304ci V8. It had only 65,000 miles on it, but it leaked a lot of oi...
Chevrolet 1.94"/155" valves in AMC 304 head
Some details on the valve job. To the right here is the stock AMC combustion chamber, so you can see what we're workign with. We'r...
Locations of 1975 AMC Gremlin "X"/Levis graphics
Since I'm having my car painted, and the stickers replaced, I measured them and took photos. I have no doubt that these are original...





Documentation
144 / 170 / 200 / 250 Manual Tranny Swaps
The first step to any swap is to determine what you have, then decide what you want.  Please read this page as there is quite a bit of ...
AMC/Rambler bellhousings
Not done yet, but getting there. Numeric dimensions will follow. Then there's this Ford stuff here. Send me your bellhousing data and I'll...
Factory service manual for the 3TMR AM radio
The Motorola 3TMR is the AM radio used in 1963, 1964 Rambler Classics and Ambassadors. The cheapskates, it's got only five transistors, ...
AMC/Rambler brake database
A substantial compendium of AMC/Rambler brake components, intended mainly for cross-referencing and parts-swapping, and finding non-...
1960-1965 Rambler factory parts catalog
Front-Cover, page 1, Model information, page i, 1a, 1b, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, ...
AMC/Rambler front spindles
Trying to lessen (or is it worsen) the mild controversy over AMC/Rambler front spindles, I figured I'd start compiling data here. Here'...
AMC Six water pumps
Part numbers and description of various water pump specs and such from AMC list email....





How-to
Automotive LPG Fuel
Tom Jennings, 3 August 2003 In 1987 I embarked on a project to convert my car to run on LPG (aka propane) instead of gasoline. What lit...
Tuning the GM 1227747 ECM
These are expanded notes to myself, I am in no way a TBI tuning expert, I have this one car, a 1963 Rambler Classic 550 Cross Country statio...
Tuning the GM 1227747 ECM
These are expanded notes to myself, I am in no way a TBI tuning expert, I have this one car, a 1963 Rambler Classic 550 Cross Country statio...
John Elle's AMC front spring perch bushing fix
One of the things that's unobtainable for AMC cars (small chassis, 69 up) is the rubber-bushed spring perch, and they all go bad. Lu...
AMC and Rambler dash knob removal
Why is it that automotive instrument cluster, knobs, levers, cranks, dials, etc are so weird and strange? It's unbelievably difficult to fig...
Substituting a modern Delco alternator for that old AMC/Rambler Motorola
There's nothing wrong with the older Motorola alternators, other than they're all getting old, and are expensive to replace. The Delco a...
A real fix for your sloppy column shifter
(See my WPS AMC page for more of my rambler hacks.) The Flash-O-Matic column shifter on my 63 Classic has never been right. It's slop...
Modern type AMC strut bushings
Well we (collectively) got what we asked for -- cheaper and cheaper auto parts -- but we forgot that that meant shittier and shittier qualit...
Rambler 1963-1964 Strut bushing fabrication and replacement
The problem here is that the original part, an overly-complicated two piece assembly, is made of rubber. Old rubber. Newly-manufactured ...
Installing a Motorcraft electronic distributor and TFI upgrade
This information applies to all engines that accept the Ford/Motorcraft Duraspark ignition, even though the example here is for an AMC p...
An electronic replacement for that miserable dash regulator
On early (eg. 1963) Ramblers, the dash voltage regulator is a 19th century style make/break thermostatic device. They fail, and are ...
Home-made AMC spring compressor
As you'll find out when you go to do the job, it's difficult to find a spring compressor that actually fits 70-up front springs. ...
Rambler 1963-1964 front suspension trickery
This information is intended to help assemble or diagnose Rambler trunnion front suspensions, and assumes you have a factory Technic...





Navarro Rambler six

A few years back I bought at auction the remains of Barney Navarro's Indy 500 Rambler six project; a (likely) test mule engine in parts. It's still in pieces awaiting a suitable project, but it's damned interesting stuff, and Navarro was probably the first to exploit the crap out of this incredibly rugged but modest engine. 550hp from the single-turbo version (which I seem to have) then later 750hp from the twin turbo version. Remember this is in the dark ages of turboing, no computers in the car or in the shop!

Barney Navarro Rambler turbo six parts bought at auction
On 14 July 2005 the remaining contents of Navarro Engineering's shop in Los Angeles (Glendale) was auctioned off, almost all of it reasonabl...
Barney Navarro's 700hp 199ci six sold at auction
On 14 July 2005 the remaining contents of Navarro Engineering's shop in Los Angeles (Glendale) was auctioned off, almost all of it reasonabl...
Barney Navarro-built Rambler turbo Indy motor
I recently bought at an auction one of Barney Navarro's turbo-charged Rambler six cylinder Indianapolis 500 motors. I'm still in the discov...
Turbo mock-up.
Temporary, place-holder page. Note this is mocked up with a TE06, not a T04, which the flange was meant for. The TE06 flange is about an in...
Barney Navarro's Rambler turbo setup in a Hornet
I'm installing a newly-rebult '73 258 six and Torqueflite into Josh's 1972 Hornet, a good opportunity to see how a big fat turbo would actua...





Other cars

Various cars I've owned in the past. The following is a list of cars I've owned, as best as I can recall, in chronological order. I initially lived in Massachusetts, rust-death state; moved to San Francisco, drove the 1979 Spirit AMX out there.

1965 Classic (rusted junker, barely ran, gave to me by my parents); 1962 Ambassador 400 (in great shape, I paid $125 for it!, first car I made nice. Drove it cross-country and back in 1976. Really wish I still had this car!); 1953 Studebaker Champion 1/2-ton pickup (paid $50, sat in a field 9 yrs, rotted out). Unfortunately this is the only photo of it I have, that tiny blue and yellow thing in the background.; 1976 Hornet Hatchback (bought it new from Torres AMC/Jeep, Falmouth MA!); 1959 Rambler American (paid $50, rust-bucket, wrecked interior, crossmember finally rusted off, had a lot of fun with this car); 1969 Hurst SC/Rambler (wrong car at wrong time); 1976 Hornet Sportabout (wrong car for me); 1977 Hornet Hatchback AMX (very, very nice, should have kept it); 1979 Spirit AMX (got a lot of use! I broke unibody, donor for next car); 1970 Hornet #1 (it got the AMX suspension, wheels, brakes, etc); 1963 Classic 550 Cross Country (it got above suspension/brakes, plus gigatons more, still have this car); 1975 Gremlin X (sold Aug 2001).; 1970 Hornet #2

And I mean these are the only cars I've owned, other than a 1996 Honda del Sol, a 1996 Honda Accord, and long ago, a 1955 Studebaker Champion truck. I don't have a "regular" car, Ramblers are my "regular" car, since 1974.

My 1970 AMC Hornet
Intro is below; the following are the construction diary pages: Before... After... January - April...
My 1975 AMC Levi's Gremlin X
(23 Aug 2004 -- photos added.) I bought this in October 1998, from a small car lot in San Jose Calif. I found it on an ad on the net. I...
My 1979 AMC AMX (aka Spirit V8)
My third-favorite car of all time is this '79 AMX, which I couldn't really call my "AMX", so I called it a Spirit V8, which is what it w...





Other
VAM (Mexican American Motors) 1981 Rally GT
(Looks surprisingly like my faintly customized 1979 AMC AMX. I'd never seen one when I did that car.) Date: Sun, 17 Dec 2006 19:45:47 -0...
AMC sales brochures
Funny, I had some of these things when they were new, but of course tossed 'em -- who would have thought such things would be interest...
2004 AMO Nationals
These are just some personal photos of the event completely unannotated....
Cars in Budapest, Hungary, March 2007
Photos from trip to Budapest. No AMC content here! Lots of cool ex-Eastern Bloc (sic) cars though. That's Simon Penny modelling some of the ...
Nate's Fast Metropolitan
Ignore these photos. It's not possible for Nash Metropolitans to be driven at speed. Everyone knows that. It is most definitely not going 60...
AMC's 1970's typography
Sorry if the title leads you to think I've done any research at all. I'm only interested in making custom graphics for my 1970 Hornet, to s...





Road trips
Assorted, mostly old, road trip photos
These are almost all scanned photographs, year photo taken in the filename. They were taken all over the SouthWest....
Places I've been in this car
It's not really obvious, but I built this car (my 1963 Rambler Classic Cross Country) for mild off-road camping, meaning basically ...
September 2002 road trip to Santa Fe
From Los Angeles. I take one, two or more trips to Santa Fe every year, only a few got many photos. These days I bomb it out I40, since the ...