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Will an 1964 AMC v8 fit in a 61 American?

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Ané View Drop Down
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    Posted: Dec/06/2017 at 1:46pm
Hello,

I came across a low millage V8 drive train (engine, tranny and rear) from a 1964 rambler that was wrecked while parked and left in a drive way for the last 20* years, that I am considering installing into my 61 American 2 door wagon. 

Will this drive train fit in my wagon? and will this 64 suspension also fit in or will I have to make adjustments to the mounts? 

Any help will help. Ive been trying to rebuilt my engine, but my mechanic cant find all the parts to complete the job so Im considering upgrading power and simply swap engines. 

Thanks, 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pacerman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/06/2017 at 2:18pm
Before you consider a swap, post a message here about what parts you need for your six cylinder engine.  Almost everything is pretty much readily available if you know where to look.  Joe
Happiness is making something out of nothing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tomj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/07/2017 at 12:22am
i'm afraid to tell you that what you propose is a doomed project. 

you don't say what the donor is but if it's a v8 it is almost certainly from a classic or ambassador, and you couldnt have more incompatible systems if you chose another brand donor. 64 v8 drivelines are torque tube systems, and you really dont want to install one where they dont belong.

wheelbase and track are totally different. the 61 american is really a mid 50's Nash Rambler. it has no transmission crossmember concept. the american has leaf springs, classic/ambo coils.

also any 40+ year old drive line, *especially* if it's sat for 20 years, is gaurenteed to immediately begin to deteriorate as soon as it's run. it would need a teardown and or refresh.

very few engines will fit int he 61 american without substantial chopping of the chassis sheet metal.

the shortest path to a robust 61 american is to rebuild what you've got.

what parts do you need? i have many. i'm in los angeles. i know a lot about this chassis and engine. here's my somewhat incomplete and unorganized site on the engine: http://195.6ohv.com/

a 61 american wagon is one of my dream cars! lovely little things. i agree the driveline is peculiar but you can make them solidly reliable. i drive mine insanely hard and it stands up, but you have to deal with it's idiosyncracies!



Edited by tomj - Dec/07/2017 at 12:25am
1961 roadster american
195.6 OHV, modded
T5z, 3.42:1 mustang axle
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FSJunkie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/07/2017 at 2:15am
Originally posted by tomj tomj wrote:

i'm afraid to tell you that what you propose is a doomed project. 

you don't say what the donor is but if it's a v8 it is almost certainly from a classic or ambassador, and you couldnt have more incompatible systems if you chose another brand donor. 64 v8 drivelines are torque tube systems, and you really dont want to install one where they dont belong.

wheelbase and track are totally different. the 61 american is really a mid 50's Nash Rambler. it has no transmission crossmember concept. the american has leaf springs, classic/ambo coils.

also any 40+ year old drive line, *especially* if it's sat for 20 years, is gaurenteed to immediately begin to deteriorate as soon as it's run. it would need a teardown and or refresh.

very few engines will fit int he 61 american without substantial chopping of the chassis sheet metal.

the shortest path to a robust 61 american is to rebuild what you've got.

what parts do you need? i have many. i'm in los angeles. i know a lot about this chassis and engine. here's my somewhat incomplete and unorganized site on the engine: http://195.6ohv.com/

a 61 american wagon is one of my dream cars! lovely little things. i agree the driveline is peculiar but you can make them solidly reliable. i drive mine insanely hard and it stands up, but you have to deal with it's idiosyncracies!

This exactly. Listen to tomj.
------- 

The 327 is a big engine. It would be a challenge just to fit it inside a Rambler American engine compartment, let alone have it work. 

And tomj is absolutely right. A "low mileage" old engine is still an old engine. You could probably get another 30,000-50,000 miles out of it before it's totally shot, but what good is going through all the trouble of swapping in an engine that won't last long before it would have to be torn apart? 

Six cylinder Ramblers had completely different transmissions, drivelines, axles, suspensions, brakes, and even rims and tires than V8 cars. Rambler put a ton of engineering into making the difference between a six and a V8 car more than just a difference of the engine under the hood. Putting a six in a V8 car is easy, but not the other way around. 
'66 Marlin: 327/T10/3.54 Twin Grip
'72 Wagoneer: 360/TH400/3.31
'73 Ambassador: 360/TF727/3.15
'77 Hornet: 232/TF904/2.73
'84 Eagle: 258/TF904/2.73
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote farna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/07/2017 at 8:00am
There is barely enough room under  a 58-63 American hood to fit a Ford or Chvey small block V-8 -- and even then you have to cut the "humps" above the suspension out. Not the whole spring tower, just the humped part on the inner fender panel. Then it's a tight fit -- have to jack a Chevy motor up to change spark plugs or cut access holes through the outer fender panel and take tires off. The AMC Gen1 (Rambler) V-8 is a lot bigger and heavier than a small block or late model AMC V-8.

The good news is the front suspension will easily support a small block (not the heavier AMC Gen1). The old 196 is a heavy little six -- only 30-40 pounds less than a small block. I'd order heavier springs anyway, as it's sprung pretty soft. www.coilsprings.com will make them whatever rate and height you want -- I'd order 15% heavier and 1" shorter for a V-8. Could be stock height, but won't hurt to lower it a little. If you plan on using lowering plates I'd order stock height though. I order 12% stiffer to improve handling even when keeping the stock six.

It's not that hard to swap in a V-8, but you have to do some fab work, especially for the little American that never had a factory V-8. The 64-69 is pretty easy. You almost always have to change engine and transmission. The six rear axle will hold up fine for a cruiser that you're not running real hard. If you are running hard (lots of burn-outs and such), the six cylinder rear axle will last a while... but will eventually wear out and/or break -- depends on condition of axle when you swap and just how hard you are on it.  Of course you'd have to have a driveshaft made -- $125+ depending on location and what parts you provide.

The little Americans are a bit of work to put just about any other engine in. The only things that fit well without a lot of cutting are the old Ford 140/170/200/250 sixes and some fours. Most modern port injected fours have intakes that stick out too far -- have to cut at least one hump out. Ford Ranger 2.3L and 2.5L fours with the intakes that curve over the valve cover it well though, as do the throttle body Jeep fours.

It's not a V-8, but the Ranger fours have a lot more power than the 196, and you can pick up a complete Ranger as a donor relatively cheap. You still have a bit of work fabricating mounts for the motor and trans. The Ranger rear axle is a good fit too. The later models are a bit wide, but you can use deep offset wheels to compensate. You might be able to cut one side down -- I don't recall if the diff is centered or offset a little to one side. If offset you pull an extra short axle from another and shorten the long side tube. Any welding shop can do that, and wouldn't be too expensive.
Frank Swygert
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FSJunkie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/07/2017 at 9:15pm
Performance 196. ClapClap

Hug

Embrace the six in a row that makes your motor go. 
'66 Marlin: 327/T10/3.54 Twin Grip
'72 Wagoneer: 360/TH400/3.31
'73 Ambassador: 360/TF727/3.15
'77 Hornet: 232/TF904/2.73
'84 Eagle: 258/TF904/2.73
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DaemonForce Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/07/2017 at 10:07pm
I would rather swap in a modern V6 than attempt a V8 swap in an early Rambler. Actually no, there's a more interesting idea. Pull the L4 from an early 90's Comanche pickup and swap all of THAT in!
Originally posted by FSJunkie FSJunkie wrote:

Embrace the six in a row that makes your motor go. 

Bahahaha! There's a decal for that somewhere on fleabay. It's going on my wagon after I'm done with my wiring mess. Party
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote farna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/08/2017 at 7:03am
Hey, it CAN be done! I had a 170 hp 196, and TomJ has done a lot of work with it. I don't think he's getting more than 170-175 hp either, but has done a lot more to make it longer lasting and a bit less maintenance. He's improved the cooling, added a modern Weber carb, and crank fired ignition to get more advance. It still won't be a drag engine -- the long stroke/small bore just takes a few seconds to spin up -- but you can improve mid range power, which makes it much more fun to drive and keep up with modern traffic.

The only real "problem" with the 196 is that it's expensive to rebuild. Pistons are low volume, more or less custom now. That's the biggest expense assuming you have machineable hard parts. If the head is cracked that's a hard to find item. So if your 196 is relatively healthy and just worn, it's salvageable. If you have a cracked head, it can be tough to find one. Other hard parts aren't that hard to find as they interchange over a wide year span.
Frank Swygert
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