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simple and clean, a sleeper...

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2door80amc View Drop Down
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    Posted: Apr/19/2013 at 5:04pm

so i purchased this 1980 AMC Eagle 2-door sedan specifically as a project car. it was available cheap, and while i've become a big fan of 4x4 through my jeep, i really miss having a 'car'. having only ever really 'heard of' eagles, i did some reading and decided that enough was compatible with the remains of my jeep that i could have some fun and learn a thing or two about turning a wrench.



the eagle is solid. i don't just mean has all it's metal, i mean virtually rust free. it's got a couple spots of very notable surface rust, but they're very accessable, and not in particularly critical areas. the underside is pristine, and the interior nearly so. the only serious damage to the interior, aside from the drivers floor, where the carpet is worn through, and a few little stains on the trans tunnel, is the back deck which is kinda wrecked from years of sun. it has all of it's chrome trim and logos and badges. aside from the few little spots of surface rust, the only issue with the paint is where the 'ragtop' covering used to be. the clear coat has peeled a bit there.

mechanically the car is as solid as it is cosmetically if not more so. it feels great on the road, starts first or second try when the battery is feeling up to the task, and idles very well, if maybe just a bit high. the only mechanical part of the car i've done anything with as of yet was detatching the read driveshaft to tow it home, which turned out to be quite pleasenetly easy. brought a can of penetrating lube with me and anticipated a really rough piece of work since as far as i can tell it's all original, but all four bolts came out without much effort, and despite not really thinking of it, i managed to not lose a single bearing.

so now on to the project...

my previous car had been a 95 XJ. it still has a nice solid 4.0 and aw4. not that i'm a terrible pack-rat, but i hate to see goot equiptment go to waste, and after all, it still managed to get me home after the wreck. so now that i'd decided to transplant what i could, the queastions start:

Axels:

i've got a very solid dana 30 and chrysler 8.25 pair geared at 3.55 under the XJ. if i were going to do solid axel, i'd definitely throw those in, but i like the IFS for this, so now i have the question of whether or not to regear. i don't have the equiptment to do the front axel at home, which means sending it out to a shop. and to go from 3.08 to 3.55 seems a waste of effort. i'm not going to be rock crawling with it, though 3.55 would give me some really snappy low end, and with a stroker, torque would be through the roof. not to mention the 8.25 is a pretty heavy duty axel. it's a thought.

Transfer Case:

it cutrrently has a NP119 in it, and i kind of like the idea of the viscous coupling for this. not the greatest off road, but will do very well around town, especially in snow, which is where this one will see nearly all of it's use, so barring any unforseen issues i'll keep that.

Transmission:

the AW4 that i've got is in really good shape, and a very stout transmission for my use. good to somewhere around 500HP, i'll never break it. what i don't know about this is whether or not it's going to take major effort to get it in. i've heard that trans crossmember needs changed to make this work, and lenghts are different, which means prolly driveshafts. given that a lot of the other work i wanna do will require the crank position sensor from the bellhousing, this is going to be an important decision for the rest of the build.

Engine:

this is the meat of what i want to do. my eventual goal will be a 4.5 - 4.6 L stroker. i've decided on that as i've got a nicely running 4.2 already in the AMC, and the 4.0 from my jeep is in great shape. what i don't know yet is how to go about it. while i do kind of like the mystique and vintage aspect of having a carburated vehicle, i'm sure a lot of that stems from the fact that it's running happily at the moment, and i'm sure my interest in keeping it would drop off sharply should it decide to become cantankerous. fuel injection has become quite reliable and proven, and given the other work i intend to do, possibly in stages, i don't really want to think too hard about retuning a carb every time i change something.

simply swaping the whole engine assembly seems to be the most straight forward option, but also the most work. also gives me no option to get into the internals and replace things that wear in there, of which there are prolly a few could use replaced.

since i'm going to want the crank and rods from the 4.2, and the pistons and head from the 4.0 it seems to me it might be easier to swap in the 4.0 head and block, meaning i wouldn't have to remove the AMC's enging at all, and even given my limited wrench time, i'm pretty sure i could do the head from write ups. haven't seen any mention at all of moving a block though, and that kinda makes me nervous.

could also scale back a bit, and do only the head. i know i could do that, and mostly myself with the exception of the exhaust, for which i'd have to find a good shop. this would give me a very reasonable increase in power, with a fairly simple workload that i'm sure i could accomplish.

Exhaust:

this is going to be a 'custom replacment' only from what i can tell. going with a 4.0 head, it seems there is no stock option to fit a 4.0 for independant front suspension. oh well. of all the things to have to go completely custom for, this shouldn't be too big an issue. this also contains the other major piece of hardware for the 4.0 head, which is the O2 sensor. very important to the injection system, but kind of trivial to move once i've had a new exhaust fabbed.

Interior / Exterior:

really not a fan of what they called 'cameo blue'. unfortunately it seems that everything they could make that color, they did, or at least something close. current plan is to paint it classic black, though this one is really really low on the priority spectrum. anyone willing to trade a nice set of cloth seats and carpet in a color would go better with black for a nice complete interior in blue?


as always any input is appriciated. looking mostly now for info on what order to set about all of this. typical to my style, i've bitten off way more than i can chew, so i expect there will be at least a few headaches on the way, though as of now i don't see anything i can't handle.

D
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RebelRay View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RebelRay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/22/2013 at 2:42am
Nice car.  Very clean.  Although I drive a Jeep, I couldn't tell you the first thing about gear ratios.  Just wanted to wish you luck with the project.  Don't forget the pictures!  Sounds like you have a bit of work ahead of you.

What happened to the Jeep?
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2door80amc View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 2door80amc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/02/2013 at 4:17pm

the jeep sadly got into an argument with a minivan about what part of the road belonged to who just after a minor snow squall. neither came out of it healthy, but fortunately no people were injured.


so two questions to the community in general:


i've been debating this for a bit now, and have come to the conclusion that i've got one of two ways to handle my car. either i'm going to go for a full engine and trans swap, giving me a 4.0/aw4 and the option to swap for the 4.2 crank and rods later, or i'm just going to swap the head with the hesco kit and call it a day.


to anyone who's actually done something like this: how much "work" is it really? i know there's a lot of technical aspects, but i'm confident i can cover those. what i've never done is move something this big before. i've been told, not that i entirely believe it, that moving the engine and trans together is easier. sound right to anyone else?


second: is it worth the extra work to have the option of a 4.5? sounds really nice, but is that the kind of thing i'm really going to notice? having little expirence in driving these cars, i really'm not sure what i'm in for yet.


i ask because i'd hate to get done a head swap with the hesco kit only to find out that i really wanted the bigger engine and then have to redo everything.

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