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The Eagle has landed (In my wallet)

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fhpdave View Drop Down
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    Posted: Sep/28/2018 at 8:15am



What we have here is what happens if you are bored and troll the "Cars for sale"section of the forum. In what has to be a world record for the slowest car purchase transaction, (which was totally my fault), I now find myself the proud owner of BillD's 1980 Eagle limited wagon.

Along with a nice cache of new and used parts that sweetened the pot on this deal.

The car is in fairly decent shape considering it's age. There is some (hopefully) minor rot in the front drivers side frame area and wheel well/floorboard that will have to be addressed early on, as well as figuring out just what to do in the engine department.

Right now the engine bay is empty, but included in the deal is a 1982 vintage 258 that is complete but needs gone through and refreshed. I have traded a snow blower for winter car storage with one of my neighbors who has extra  garage space, so that when the weather turns cold I can store my Ambassador there and move the Eagle into the garage and get to work. The plan is to address the rust issues first, remove all that is reasonable from the engine compartment so that I can clean and paint it prior to the engine getting installed, which brings me to my first dilemma/decision. What do I do to motivate this car? I have told others that my next project was not going to be a stock restoration like the Ambassador, but that I was going to have some fun and go the custom/restomod route. So right now I am weighing the options of rebuilding the 258, or sourcing a suitable 4.0 and going that route instead. Rebuilding (or sourcing another 258) would be the easiest and probably the quickest option to get the car running and back on the road, but doing a well executed engine swap would give me more power and no carburetor which is appealing too. Additionally there will be lots of other stuff to do too, such as suspension/steering/brake repairs and upgrades as well as door hinges and hardware work before it will be road worthy again. After all that is done, or maybe while that's being done there is also the interior and exterior that could use some lovin too. All that to say that I now have another thing to keep me occupied this winter, and once I get it into the garage and dig into it, I will post some updates here. As always I look for and welcome peoples' input and comments because while I have lots of experience working on cars this will be my first Eagle/four wheel drive that I have worked on. Let the fun and expenses begin!








Edited by fhpdave - Nov/29/2018 at 9:27am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ollie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/28/2018 at 8:41am
You are just the man that I need to talk too.

I see the 82 258 on the engine stand. It is a serpentine belt. I need pictures of the bracket setup. I am starting with all the pieces in a box and I am trying to figure it out.

Yours is the same as mine with the exception of PS.

Waiting to hear from you

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fhpdave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/28/2018 at 5:25pm
I am fairly certain that this is set up for standard v belts and not a serpentine belt.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote george w Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/28/2018 at 6:39pm
Good luck and have fun on this project. Restomods give you a free hand to do what you like. It will be interesting to see how this project progresses.
Long time AMC fan. Ambassador 343, AMX 390, Hornet 360, Spirit 304 and Javelin 390. All but javelin bought new.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ollie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/29/2018 at 11:50am
Originally posted by fhpdave fhpdave wrote:

I am fairly certain that this is set up for standard v belts and not a serpentine belt.


Ok, thanks anyway. I believe I have mine figured out.

Have fun on your project, my Rambler American project is going to be a resto-mod type also. As much AMC stuff as possible but modern stuff too.

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1974 Postal Jeep -- "Rapid Delivery"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote fhpdave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/15/2018 at 4:27pm
Several weeks ago when it was much warmer than it is right now, I bought multiple cans of engine de-greaser, fired up the power washer and went to town on the engine compartment and the 4.2 engine that I received in the deal.

The engine compartment cleaned up quite nicely, and I think that the nice thick layer of grease actually helped to keep rust down to a minimum.

There is a little rot that will need addressed in the drivers front frame rail as well as in the floorboard that is next to it. The windshield trim is caulked to the glass and the body of the car, so I am guessing that there is a leak in the windshield that was involved in the rust in this area.

Since I totally filled the engine with water when I cleaned it, I went ahead and tore it down and sent the head, block and crank to a local machine shop to be cleaned, magna-fluxed and checked for wear. At this point I was uncertain which direction that I wanted to go in the engine department for this project, rebuild the engine that I have, or source a 4.0 and go that route. I just recently heard from the engine shop, and the block and head are sound and do not have any cracks. However the block needs bored and decked, the crank needs turned, and the head just needs a regular valve job. The price they quoted for all the machine work and new parts including freeze plugs, oil pump and gasket set is $1285.00 which I thought was a smoking deal, so I gave them the go ahead to proceed. I am thinking of using an Isky 256 cam and lifters along with a HEI distributor. I have both a feedback and non feedback Carter 2 barrel carb, but I am not married to either one, and welcome input from the group as to which way to go with the build.

Also got the Ambassador moved to a new home for the winter and got the Eagle inside and out of the weather. Hope to get the transmission removed this weekend and strip out the engine compartment and see what I got to work with. More updates to follow.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fhpdave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/29/2018 at 10:04am
Time for quick update on the Eagle. A couple of weekends ago, I put the car up on the tallest jack-stands that I own and removed what was left of the exhaust system and also removed the transmission/transfer case.

Here again I am glad that I purchased this transmission jack a while ago at an estate sale. This is only the second time that I have used it, but when you need one it is nice to have, and as a bonus I have been able to loan it out to a few guys at work, and now I have a credit in the "favors" department with some very talented people.

It has gotten very cold here in Ohio, but the weather gods have been smiling on us on the weekends, and this past weekend was no exception, so so I rolled the Eagle outside and used my engine hoist (another great purchase from a guy who was moving and didn't have room at his new place), in a somewhat unconventional way so that I could clean off the bottom of the car and see what I have to work with. Now for those that work in the safety department, at no time was I under the car, but used an extension on my pressure washer so that I could attack it from the sides laying on a creeper.

After multiple cans of engine de-greaser, to remove a very thick layer of built up grease/oil/road grime, I was pleasantly surprised at how well it cleaned up and that the leaky components had done a nice job of rustproofing the middle of the car. If you look at the passenger side inner rocker, you can see some rot through there that will need addressed soon.

In the while we are at it department I also used more engine de-greaser and cleaned up the transmission, driveshafts, tranny skid plate and cross member. Its so much nicer dealing with parts that are cleaned and not caked in grease and grime. While I was doing this a realtor who stopped by for my wife to do some sewing alterations for, and who is also looking for a new place for us to buy observed that maybe a condominium is not in our immediate future! I had not originally planned on doing anything to the transmission, but seeing how things were leaking, and that I have no idea of its condition, I have decided to go ahead and rebuild the transmission and put new seals and gaskets on the front differential too. I have also been running some of the smaller brackets and bolts through the parts washer and painting them in the basement in the evening after work. I have also edited the project title to reflect the mission creep that has set in on this project too.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ollie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/29/2018 at 10:17am
Originally posted by fhpdave fhpdave wrote:

...............I have also edited the project title to reflect the mission creep that has set in on this project too........... 

Don't they all????? Thought that was part of the game...Wink

Having AMC Fun,
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1966 American Convertible -- "The Rambler"
1974 Postal Jeep -- "Rapid Delivery"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote fhpdave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/18/2019 at 4:04pm
I haven't posted an update for a while here on the forum, but have done so on some of the Eagle Facebook pages where there seems to be more interest in these cars (hence their own page), but I thought that I would post a quick update and some pictures here just in case anyone is interested.

Here you can see that the car is now in the Ambassadors' old spot and I have removed the entire front suspension so that I can clean and rebuild parts as needed, and also address the rot that is pictured in the front uni-body frame rail.

Here is a electrolysis/rust removal set up that I built with stuff that I already had at the house. The only cost that I had was a 3 dollar box of washing soda from Mennards, which is a bunch cheaper than some of the rust removal products that you can buy.

Pictured here is a before and after picture of the spring perches. I had read post about how effective this method of rust removal is, but was totally blown away when I saw how well it worked.  

I also got all the engine pieces parts back from the machine shop and took a few evenings and cleaned/painted and assembled the engine so that there are fewer loose parts laying around, and its one less thing that I will have to do.

During these cold snowy days, instead of running the heater in the garage, I worked on projects that were easy to do in the basement, like the front wheel hubs. Here is one that is all disassembled, cleaned, and ready for some fresh grease and seals. Everything is pressed together, and it took and assortment of pullers as well as a heat gun to get everything apart

After some painting, as well as the use of a hydraulic press, the hubs are ready to be reassembled  to the front steering knuckle.

Which is shown here all put back together after all the other parts went through the de-rusting process and were cleaned and painted.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 69BBB3904spAMX Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/18/2019 at 6:27pm
Very cool on the electrolysis set-up. I have read about this, but being in Calif, I've never really needed it.
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