TheAMCForum.com Homepage
Forum Home Forum Home > The Garage > Transmission & Drivetrain > Eagle and Jeep Specific drive-train issues
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - CA SMOG - 1981 AMC EAGLE SX/4
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Click for TheAMCForum Rules / Click for PDF version of Forum Rules
Your donations help keep this valuable resource free and growing. Thank you.

CA SMOG - 1981 AMC EAGLE SX/4

 Post Reply Post Reply Page  12>
Author
Message
sx4 eagle View Drop Down
AMC Fan
AMC Fan


Joined: Nov/17/2013
Location: CA
Status: Offline
Points: 16
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sx4 eagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: CA SMOG - 1981 AMC EAGLE SX/4
    Posted: Dec/31/2016 at 11:10am
I wondered if there were other 1981 CA smog owners wanting to share tuning tips?

I own a 1981 AMC Eagle SX/4, no AC, smog pump, CA smog version, single serpentine belt, 4.2 L six-cylinder, 4-speed and full-time 4x4, other wise a deluxe model, completely stock (say for aluminium valve cover), motor was rebuilt by first owner 6 years ago, passes CA smog no problem.

I do have some running issues, but I think my problems are typical from what I read here and other sites, my complaint is the off idle stumble, which ALWAYS happens when cold, gets much better when hot, then my power transition seems poor (flat) until rpm picks up and my vehicle's top end seems to be reached way too quickly, I have no tach, but guess is 3000+ and that's it.

The car runs easily up to and cruises at 75mph+ just fine (it's high gearing surprised me for a 4x4).

My SX/4 has a class 2 tow hitch installed and I installed new rear leaf springs with one extra leaf, so it tows my double axle trailer with a car on it just fine - a true surprise.

Complaints: when car is run long distance, the tail pipe tip has tanny/white coating, I figure lean, the radiator never seems noticeably hot, I do have a miss that seems to come and go, mostly low rpm's and idle.

I find the plug closest to the radiator can foul a bit, (but other plugs can have slight fouling too) I have rebuilt the carb (accl pump check ball was oddly missing, took awhile to find a replacement) doing this not long after purchasing the car as the damn carb vibrated all it's body screws loose, but none jumped off.

My Eagle has the stepper motor Carter BBD carb, the CA smog variation.

I do run slightly taller then stock tires, BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO tires ... which would impact drive ability or rather it compounds preexisting issues, but heck, the car "looks great" and the car has ground clearance to die for.

I have replaced most vacuum hoses, new EGR, the CC with injector tube was replaced when engine was rebuilt, replaced fuel lines and filter, includes lines to gas tank and then making my own gas tank filler neck rubber hose adaption out of 2 over the counter filler neck hoses and a exhaust pipe and clamp where the two diff diameter sizes join together - if you don't pass the CA fuel vapour evaporate test, this hose is typically at fault and a damn lethal design being a slip fit into the tank, but I digress.

I feel this car, as factory ordered by the orig owner, lacks true low rpm 4x4 abilities, but man, take it out on the highway and it flies!

Towing with it is easy, but I have to get the revs up on a grade to get the car and trailer moving, which makes me think having a lower axle ratio would be the ideal fix, but doing so seems cost prohibitive with two diff's to pull and change ratios.

I purchased the SX/4 just because it had a class 2 tow hitch, I never owned an AMC, but my cuz'n had a Javelin, so I was aware of the possibilities of AMC's.

I wish CA smog parts were more readily available, but I am collecting up stuff, if anyone has CA smog bits, new and used, please let me know.

Taking a right turn for a sec:
Just how much back lash is considered excessive in the rear diff ring and pinion; if I use the drive shaft u-joint couple's back and forth rotation, how much rotational lash should I be worried about?


Edited by sx4 eagle - Dec/31/2016 at 11:16am
Back to Top
pacerman View Drop Down
Supporter of TheAMCForum
Supporter of TheAMCForum


Joined: Jul/03/2007
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 8483
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pacerman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/31/2016 at 11:43am
My standard recommendation (like many others here) is to get the factory service manual for your car and tune it by the specs in the manual.  Make sure the emission control vacuum lines are routed in accordance with the the TSM or the label on your firewall.  If there is a difference, the label on the firewall might be more correct.  If you are unsure at all of the condition of the carb (even though you rebuilt it) I would make the investment in a factory rebuilt carb from a reliable rebuilder or send it out to one.  If you don't pay attention to like things like the wear in the throttle shaft, the out of tolerance issues can add up to damage the performance.  I had a 80 spirit with CA emissions (but it had the electronic carb on the Iron Duke) so I know what you are going through trying to maintain that smog setup.   Also, clean all of the body and engine grounds and you might even check that they have low resistance after they are cleaned.  Body grounds are very important to those early PCM systems.  Good luck.  Joe
Happiness is making something out of nothing.
Back to Top
amcfool1 View Drop Down
AMC Addicted
AMC Addicted
Avatar

Joined: Jun/18/2011
Location: roanoke va
Status: Offline
Points: 928
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote amcfool1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/31/2016 at 11:46am
hi. congrats on your Eagle, and welcome to the forum.
your idle issue may be solved by drilling out the venturi tubes to .032. This is a standard BBD fix. You will need a wire gauge drill set for this, and do it by HAND!

As for the gearing, remember, Eagles are ROAD cars. They were never designed to go off road, though they can.
Towing with an SX4, wow, remember, the SX4 is just an all wheel drive Spirit, which is a SMALL car, Smaller even than the current VW "bug", so, good for you!
Sorry, i can't help with 81, I have an 84 sedan, and the engine management controls are very different.
In a way, you are lucky to have a CA car. Due to CA pollution laws, parts are still available.
Sound like you just need a very thorough tuneup, but, finding someone capable of that these days is next to impossible, so, get a TSM, available on ebay, and read and learn. You will be glad you did!
I would not change the gearing, a lot of money for a dubious gain. btw, what gears do you have? there is a letter code stamped on the pass. side boss of the pumpkin that tells you what you have. It's usually a very faint stamp, so look carefully! H=2.73, (most common), F=3.08, G=3.31. My 84 has 2.35s!, and I like it! Car will run the interstate ALL DAY LONG at 70+, turning about 1700/1800 rpm.
Again, welcome, and good luck, gz
george z
Back to Top
sx4 eagle View Drop Down
AMC Fan
AMC Fan


Joined: Nov/17/2013
Location: CA
Status: Offline
Points: 16
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sx4 eagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/31/2016 at 7:43pm
Thanks for the welcome!
I did purchase factory manual with correct supplements for my 1981 soon after buying it.
Tuned the car until I could tune it no more - well, lots still to learn.
Yes, the electrical grounds, ground cables, pos battery cable were all bad, replaced with bigger gauge cables, rebuilt starter, car starts instantly if fuel pump has not sat for a week or so.
I cut out fusible links in engine compartment, installed fuses, which fixed lots of electrical issues.
Next I fixed the clutch master cyl which leaked on the fuse panel, destroyed it, so new fuse box was added along old one, moved and divided old circuits over on to new fuse box, all new relays, all circuits literally brightened up.
I think my head light switch is going out, figure it's time to add new relays to handle the big current draw and bypass light switch.
I have the factory window sticker, carefully saved by original owner and ceremoniously passed on to me, but only after I had showed REAL interest in WORKING on the car.
Fixed door striker pins with plastic bush, missing, by replacing with used but solid shank Buick Reatta ones, perfect fix, door hinges are fine.
Biggest fix was repairing torn off rear hatch strut mounts (ball mounts), had to make repair plates with welded on nuts and slid them down the C pillars to rest where the ball pins screw into the repair plate, plug welded plates in place, new struts, hatch opens by itself, which it hadn't in years - that was a fun fix, love the big hatch, I can carry a lot in that space, more with the hatch ajar, but CO is an issue.
I really want to get window Louvers, I have seen postings for a couple if guys repro'ing metal and plastic versions, but no word if anyone has gone into production yet? Anyone know?




Back to Top
uncljohn View Drop Down
AMC Addicted
AMC Addicted
Avatar

Joined: Jan/03/2013
Location: Peoria AZ
Status: Offline
Points: 5385
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote uncljohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/31/2016 at 8:52pm
As I have maintained my vehicles in such a way that they were OEM and Smog legal they would and could pass California smog tests and then again Arizona once moved.
The single biggest difference between Arizona and California is the lack of the visual test that California had when I lived there.
Arizona did not have a "Collector Car" smog exemption rule as California did at the time I moved to Arizona. However Collector Car insurance rules generally will also restrict the manner in which the car is driven and also parked. As the 1980 Spirit was purchased and configured to be a daily driver, it has continued to be insured and maintained that way. The AMX is 100% smog legal, however it is registered as a collector car. I was able to tune both vehicles correctly and according to the TSM to pass Arizona "sniffer" tests and physical appearance maintained OEM configuration. If a problem occurred it was 9 times out of 10 one having to do with the deterioration of the vacuum lines on the engine. An Eagle has even more of a problem as vacuum is not only used to operate the engine but also the shifting in and out of the 4 or all wheel drive mechanics.
The single biggest problem in tuning is the tuning of the Carburetor Vacuum brake or solenoid that controls the speed or rpm of the idle. It is a two step device with one step being the control of idle rpm when the engine is warm and a second step when the A/C is being used. The adjustment screw for engine rpm on the carburetor is for all practical purpose placed in a position where it does nothing. The miss-adjustment of this device is another major problem when it comes to passing the smog tests.
Buy using the TSM and carefully learning how the adjustments are meant to be made have served me well for the almost 17 years I have driven these two cars in Arizona.
My Spirit when first placed on the road here after rebuilding was running a modified engine with 9/1 compression as it had come from a 1975 Pacer. Also an Iskenderian 256 super cam. The simple minded computer that controlled the engine was able to adjust it as computers do to maintain a smog tune from year to year. In 2002 when the rules changed here I installed the Chrysler sourced multiport fuel injection system which contained a California Air Research Board "CARB" smog exemption and it has continued to be smog legal only now it passes smog as a 1994 Jeep Cherokee. The AMX? Is still 1980 smog legal. It is a chore to figure out how to tune it, but by the book is the best answer. When I finally found the last of the vacuum leaks it settled down. I suggest purchasing a TSM for your vehicle AND installing a Vacuum gauge to keep one eye on the vacuum. If it changes, there probably is a new leak some where on the car.
SOME AMC Eagles sold in California were sold as trucks according the the label on the passenger side fire wall and as a truck had looser smog requirements including the lack of using the electronic feed back BBD carburetor. Also some areas exempted Eagles from having to pass a smog test as a rear wheel dynamometer was used to implement the smog test and as a 4 wheel drive vehicle could not use a single axle dyno, the test was exempted.
Find out if your smog rules have changed because they might have and to your benefit.
70 390 5spd Donohue
74 Hornet In restoration
76 Hornet, 5.7L Mercury Marine Power
80 Fuel Injected I6 Spirit
74 232 I-6, 4bbl, 270HL Isky Cam
Back to Top
sx4 eagle View Drop Down
AMC Fan
AMC Fan


Joined: Nov/17/2013
Location: CA
Status: Offline
Points: 16
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote sx4 eagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/31/2016 at 9:59pm
On my "CAR BUILDING ORDER", line 5, NO. 8 "GEA", is letter H, I will assume the 2.73 diff gears are installed, oh, window sticker says 2.73 axle ratio too, so that's confirmed.
Car has sport pack, sway bars are installed, probably part of heavy duty suspension pack?
Manufacturer's suggested retail with transport to CA = $9,034.00
AM/FM/MPX cassette tape radio $356.00
While CA Emission system & factory test was $50.00
Radios clearly the big ticket item.

Back to Top
amcfool1 View Drop Down
AMC Addicted
AMC Addicted
Avatar

Joined: Jun/18/2011
Location: roanoke va
Status: Offline
Points: 928
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote amcfool1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/01/2017 at 2:15pm
hi, sounds you are very capable! yes the relays for the headlight system are a very good idea. Did that to my 84. I did not do my own wiring, used a custom relay/harness from Danielsternlighting.com. good luck, gz
george z
Back to Top
sx4 eagle View Drop Down
AMC Fan
AMC Fan


Joined: Nov/17/2013
Location: CA
Status: Offline
Points: 16
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sx4 eagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/01/2017 at 2:31pm
My 1981 4.2L 6 cyl Eagle SX4 (WITH CA SMOG) build sheet says the factory installed a #8303 Carter BBD WITH FEED BACK STEPPER MOTOR - does anyone have a reference book for AMC Carter BBD carbs, showing what differences they have, perhaps if the car has a manual or auto, CA smog, with or with out A/C, with or with out air pump etc.?
I have not run across any reference materials posted online which cover the Carter BBD models used on AMC Eagles.
Does anyone have a cross reference or interchange for a Carter BBD #8303?
I run across eagle carbs for sale with numbers #8216, #8393, which claim they are for a 1980/81 eagle, so what Carter parts reference/interchange are these parts dealers using?


Edited by sx4 eagle - Jan/01/2017 at 2:37pm
Back to Top
sx4 eagle View Drop Down
AMC Fan
AMC Fan


Joined: Nov/17/2013
Location: CA
Status: Offline
Points: 16
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sx4 eagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/01/2017 at 4:09pm
I did find a general CARTER BBD application guide - not what I am looking for - as I would like to find a specific AMC FACTORY or CARTER application guide explaining more detailed and technical differences for each Carter BBD model installed specifically on 6 cylinder 4.2L Model 50 AMC Eagles, with a focus on CA Smog applications, but more technical info that can be shared would be a helpful resource.
This thread would be a great place to start posting this info for owners to easily find specs and then help better tune there cars with correct knowledge of the carb that is mounted on there car is correct, and if not, which carb should be correct - could save lots of time for owners, like myself, trying to keep a CA smog car on the road, in as original factory specs as possible.

http://www.ace-fuelsystems.com/PDF/RebuildCarb.pdf
Back to Top
pacerman View Drop Down
Supporter of TheAMCForum
Supporter of TheAMCForum


Joined: Jul/03/2007
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 8483
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pacerman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/01/2017 at 6:09pm
I have not seen a 1981 TSM or 81 Supplement, but many/most of the TSMs in the fuel section have a table with the approved carbs for that year and the differences in the specs (venturi sizes, etc.) and tuning settings for each approved model number.  Joe
Happiness is making something out of nothing.
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply Page  12>
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down



This page was generated in 0.172 seconds.
All content of this site Copyright © 2018 TheAMCForum unless otherwise noted, all rights reserved.
PROBLEMS LOGGING IN or REGISTERING:
If you have problems logging in or registering, then please contact a Moderator or