Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Once (and future?) Rally Champ

The road test that you see the beginning of in the last post went pretty well, considering. It stalled twice near the beginning but thereafter went about its business uneventfully. I'm sure the stalling has something to do with the engine not having been run very much in the last year, and that even when the carburetor was tuned, it was tuned for a much higher elevation (about 5000 feet, vs. about 1200 feet where I live). Also the high-octane gas is probably not helping either. But, the transmission shifted through all 3 forward gear ratios, which is exactly what I had hoped to get out of this first test.

The Eagle's at a shop right now, having the carb diagnosed and hopefully made happy. I picked the closest place to my house, but even that 2.5-minute trip was a white-knuckle ride. It was rush hour, and the car stalled twice, both times as I was stopped, waiting to turn. Even in neutral, I had to feather the throttle to keep it going. Once there, it took a while for the guy to understand that I don't expect an A+ emissions performance right away, just to be able to get to the test facility safely. Once that was made clear, things were a bit more relaxed and we got to talking about how cool a car it is, and how they used to rally these things back in the day, and so forth. So there's that.

In the meantime, enjoy some as-yet-unpublished photos of the fix-up process, up to now.

the factory service manual in its usual spot on the fender

The transmission's underside, mostly reassembled after the rebuild
These next three were for reference, so that I could put things back together correctly.

probably from draining the transmission before removal

a not-great image of the pile of mud I scraped off the starter motor

a view of the just-removed transmission
supporting the transmission after the transfer case was removed

mid-way through cleaning the transmission


  1. Did they really!? I'm finding it difficult to imagine that they rallied these domestic beauties back in the day, but I find that fun! You did a great job in restoring it, though the test results were kind of bitter-sweet. I hope you have everything fixed and she's on the road again. Cheers!

    Ron @ Penn Exxon

  2. Yeah, seriously - do an image search of "rally amc eagle" or something along those lines. These things were quite the dirt devils in their time.
    Thanks for the encouraging words. The biggest hurdle is past, but there will be more to come.