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Found an Eagle, need advices.

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nali View Drop Down
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    Posted: Jun/02/2017 at 11:31pm
I need a car and found an Eagle 1986 for sale for a decent price.
Officialy only 88.000 km ...
I didn't see the car yet.
What are the weak points I have to check on this car ?

Thanks.
No more car :)
Maybe a 1965 Ambassador Coupé someday .. If I can find a cheap one.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 73Gremlin401 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/03/2017 at 12:04am
Originally posted by nali nali wrote:

I need a car and found an Eagle 1986 for sale for a decent price.
Officialy only 88.000 km ...
I didn't see the car yet.
What are the weak points I have to check on this car ?

Thanks.


as a former owner of an 84 Eagle wagon that served me for over 100,000 miles (and I bought it with 125,000 on it) I think I can help.

1st thing I'd look for is rust - AMC was using galvanized steel with really good rust-proofing measures by 1984/85, so if this 86 is rusty - run away.  It's likely had a hard life, or been places we don't want to know about.

2nd thing would be engine condition - the 258, with only 88k on it, should idle very smoothly.  If the idle wavers (as in, has 200-300RPM constant variance in it sitting still) but otherwise runs smoothly, (and has all the vacuum lines intact) expect that it has  more than 88k on it.  The timing chain and gears are a wear item, but are nearly always good up to 100,000 miles/160,000km,  if the waver is there, you'll be needing to do timing chain/gears and a distributor gear at the very least.  Be a little suspect if the car's underhood appearance is a mess.  The feedback Carter carburetor can be a pain for some people to tune, but it's really quite good, I always worry when I see something else cobbled on the intake.  Don't sweat the exhaust leaks, that's nearly always an easy and cheap fix.

3rd thing would be the transmission/transfer case/axles - the automatic is bulletproof for regular use, so if it is sluggish in shifting, esp from reverse to drive, expect issues.  On the transfer case, unless it's leaking, you will probably be OK, they are fairly indestructable.  Front and rear axles will have a bit of lash in them, but shouldn't have any big clunks.  the driveshaft from the transfer case to the front axle is almost never serviced, and the u-joints in them go bad.  If the car drives smoothly, but when the 4WD is engaged, it starts vibrating, you'll need to get that done, but it's cheap off the shelf u-joints - nothing exotic.

4th thing would be the "B" pillars where the front doors latch.  When the hinges go (and they all go) the doors sag, and wack the heck out of the latching pin on the B pillar.  Look for cracked metal there.  It's fixable, but doing it the right way won't be cheap.  Fixing the hinges is pretty straightforward, expect to do the fronts. 

5th thing would be the hatch hinges.  these are always weak, look for cracks on the top of the hinge where it bolts to the roof.  Hinges are starting to get scarce, so if these are weak, you'll need to start looking around soon.

The rest of the stuff is easy, and fixable cheaply.  Expect the driver's door hinges to be weak. Expect the fuel gauge to be a little 'bouncy'. Expect the driver's seat back to be a little floppy, and the lower seat springs to be either broken or weak in places.  Suspension and brake parts are for the most part easy to find, so getting those bits up to snuff if they are not all good is no big deal.

 
73 Gremlin 401/Richmond Gear 5spd. Semi-insane.
77 Matador 360/727
Hideous and staying that way.

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nali View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote nali Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/03/2017 at 12:26am
A lot of information here !
Thanks a lot for spending time answering with so much details.
No more car :)
Maybe a 1965 Ambassador Coupé someday .. If I can find a cheap one.
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nali View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nali Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/03/2017 at 1:42am
What millage is to be expected ?
I read 18 mpg, but this may be optimistic ..
No more car :)
Maybe a 1965 Ambassador Coupé someday .. If I can find a cheap one.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote amxmachine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/03/2017 at 3:01am
Closely check front frame and inner rockers for rust
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nali View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nali Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/03/2017 at 3:09am
An Eagle low rider ?
Interesting idea :)
No more car :)
Maybe a 1965 Ambassador Coupé someday .. If I can find a cheap one.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote amxmachine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/03/2017 at 8:42am
NY salt and winter roads the whole front end collapsed on its self.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 73Gremlin401 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/03/2017 at 2:21pm
Originally posted by nali nali wrote:

What millage is to be expected ?
I read 18 mpg, but this may be optimistic ..


Eagles are heavy cars with a relatively primitive (yet very effective) AWD system.  With that in mind, highway mileage can be respectable for its size and weight, I regularly got 22-24mpg when commuting with it from Denver CO to Topeka KS, something I did with it for nearly a year, 2x a month.  Around town, however, the weight of the car, plus the drivetrain drag will bring you down into the 15-18 range, especially with the automatic.
73 Gremlin 401/Richmond Gear 5spd. Semi-insane.
77 Matador 360/727
Hideous and staying that way.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 73Gremlin401 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/03/2017 at 2:27pm
Originally posted by amxmachine amxmachine wrote:

NY salt and winter roads the whole front end collapsed on its self.


Yikes.  This is a perfect example of an Eagle to run, not walk, away from.  I'm looking at this and the only parts I could think might be OK to salvage is the fan shroud, over flow bottle and washer bottle.  What a nightmare.
73 Gremlin 401/Richmond Gear 5spd. Semi-insane.
77 Matador 360/727
Hideous and staying that way.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote amcfool1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/03/2017 at 3:37pm
Hi I have a just restified 84 Eagle. about 1000 miles on it now, get an honest 15mpg around town, have not been on a long interstate trip yet, but looking for about 20mpg. Non lockup 998/2:35 gears, good luck, gz
george z
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