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Old 06-19-2013, 11:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
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AMC Eagle running gear swap help needed!

Howdy all - first post here, and I hope this is the right place... or at least as right a place as any

So I have this 1981 AMC Eagle SX4. It's currently got a AMC 258 motor, Torqueflite 3speed, NP119 xfer case, and Dana 35 rear and Dana 30 front.... I think. It's parked in the weeds at a buddy's house with a stuck motor and pretty beat trans. Fully stripped interior and missing some glass.

I recently got involved with a crapcan racing team that competes in the Chump Car and 24 Hours of LeMons endurance road racing series. Our current car (suzuki X90 with miata running gear) is ok at best, so we're looking to build the Eagle for road racing work. Yea, I know... that's retarded and I'm an idiot. All of this is true. I aint care, a road racing eagle would still pretty badass!

So my question for yinz guys is this: If you had an Eagle SX4 laying around, and were planning on replacing the motor and trans anyway, what running gear swaps would you consider with the goal of road racing this rustbucket?

The obvious first choice is a Jeep 4.0 H/O from like a late-90's Cherokee. It's pretty much a direct swap and pretty reliable. A handful of teams have had some success racing Cherokees in LeMons, so an Eagle SX4 should be even better, right? The option of reusing the 258 bottom end to stroke it out a bit is also tempting, but since we're talking endurance racing, probably isnt a good idea. The 4.0 motor is pretty torquey and kinda low on power, which isn't ideal. And finding parts for RWD and a M/T in a Jeep is challenging.

So I started looking at what guys other 4.0-powered Jeeps swap in. I saw quite a few had success swapping a Ford 302 5.0 v8. I really like this idea, but I'm not convinced it'll fit in the Eagle's engine bay. A 5.0 with a T5 and an 8.8 rear end would probably be pretty cheap to source and easy to swap, IF it fits. Whatcha think?

The 3rd option, which I really like, isn't so straight forward: A Buick L67 supercharged motor. I kinda suck at matching the motor, trans and bellhousing, so I'm stuck here. I'm pretty sure this motor will fit, but then what? I really love how reliable these motors are. And they're pretty easy to find on the cheap. They make great power.... but they were always sold in FWD applications. Any suggestions on any fairly straightforward RWD bellhousing/MT combos that should fit? If i need to replace the rear end to make it happen, I'm up for that (especially if it gives me a wider track and rear disc brakes)!

So whatcha think I oughta do? Any other swaps worth considering. I even considered of a BMW 3-series running gear. Shame one me

Thanks!

Last edited by yinzer; 06-19-2013 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Are you saying it has a dana 30 and 35 swapped in? If so, I don't think ghetto fabbed swapped in straight axles are going to be any good even as a half assed joke road racer. Disregard if it has the stock independent front suspension/rear axle and you have no idea what you are looking at
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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AMC Eagle running gear swap help needed!

The 30 and 35 were stock equipment in the eagle if I remember correctly.

I'm wrong ifs
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Last edited by netwt12; 06-19-2013 at 12:33 PM.
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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it is IFS,the center section is a D30 diff just very narrow
but if i remember right there is something different in the side gears vs a reg D30
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yea, the stock setup us a dana 30 with IFS, and a dana 35 in the rear with leafs. BTW, I think the xfer case is a NP129, not a NP119 (it has select-drive). Not that it matters since i want to ditch it

(and yes, i have no idea what im doing)

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Old 06-19-2013, 12:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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as for the motor I would drop a 99+ 4.8L chev/NV3500 in if you can get one cheap
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Gotcha, it's just that on this site if you say it has a 30/35 combo, most will assume it's swapped in Jeep stuff unless you qualify it with saying it is the stock IFS suspension and rear diff. My dad has an Eagle wagon, and honestly I never investigated the running gear in it. If I were in your situation, I think I'd go with a 4.0 and rebuild the stock auto. A good running used engine shouldn't be hard to find, and rebuilding a Chrysler 3 spd auto is so cheap it isn't worth risking a used unit for your intended use.
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Old 06-19-2013, 01:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Eagle experts here

http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/gener...c-rebuild.html
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Old 06-19-2013, 04:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Makes me miss my old SX4. 2-door hatchback with a little shackle-lift and M+S tires. A manual, straigh-six torque, and 4wd made for a really fun winter car!



And the front pumpkin mounted to the engine!

Maybe I'm missing something about the intended use...isn't the whole point to buy some little crapcan and rally the hell out of it? Buick motor swaps sound like you're building a racecar.

I'd swap in the 4.0 and run it. Or race whatever Buick has the engine you like.

Quote:
Jeep 4.0 H/O from like a late-90's Cherokee. It's pretty much a direct swap and pretty reliable. ...The 4.0 motor is pretty torquey and kinda low on power, which isn't ideal.
A relationship here, you think?

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Old 06-19-2013, 05:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I hope it isn't a clean body, that would be a shame they're rare as hell around here.

If it's already pretty beat, I have no qualms saying this is awesome...

I *think* you can get an sbc bellhousing for that torqueflite. Or a RWD torqueflite with an sbc bellhousing built in. Pretty sure sbcs came in some older fullsize jeeps, and I think torqueflites did too... then you can just find someone making a 60 degree V6 to sbc bellhousing adapter and slap it together.

On the other hand, you could put a 2wd ax15 manual trans (pretty cheap to find, try and get a 94 and later one for the external slave, they can be swapped internal to external but you might as well just try for an external in the first place) behind a 3800 using a bellhousing from a 96+ 2.5L 4-cyl manual dakota.

For that matter, just fucking pull a 96+ 4-cyl RWD manual dakota transmission. Grab the driveshaft and slip yoke too. It'll bolt right to any 60 degree GM V6/"small metric corp pattern" engine and is the same AX15 you'd be looking for elsewhere.

Quote:
#3. 96-00 Dakota 2.5L bellhousing: Connects all to any Jeep 2.5L L4. Because of it's GM 60 degree V6 inherited bolt pattern, also works with any Buick FWD V6 and supercharged V6, any Chevrolet 2.8/3.1/3.4 V6, any Cadillac 4.1/4.5/4.9 V8 and with a minor modification, any Olds Aurora DOHC V8 and Cadillac DOHC Northstar V8. Also bolts to any Isuzu 3.2\3.5 DOHC V6, Holden (Australia) 3800 V6 and the LS4 5.3L V8 from the Impala SS.
Engine Swap Bellhousings - Jeeps-Offroad.com Bulletin Board

The RWD dakota driveshaft will easily be long enough to simply cut down and use with the stock rearend (or whatever you swap in), iirc it uses a 1310 ujoint just like the stock rear. Hell, you could probably grab the 29 spline 8.25 out of the same dakota, you can find them with LSDs pretty easily at the yard. If you go 8.8, grab the adapter flange at the rear diff from a 90-something and newer Ranger with a 7.5 rear diff, it's a 1310 ujoint and fits the same pattern as the 8.8 has on its flange. Or just buy a 1310 1330 adapter ujoint, but new clean parts are going to get you dinged on the $500 limit. Hell, I'd use the stock rearend till it blows up (if it blows up), just bring the welder and 8.8/8.25 to the paddock so you can go for the heroic repair trophy or whatever as well.

I don't know how the you-pull prices are where you are, but I could walk out of the yard here with the transmission (all flywheel/clutch hardware stuffed into the bellhousing, naturally ) driveshaft and differential for $260, unless the guy I usually deal with is at the counter when I get there, in which case it'd probably be $200.
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Last edited by kastein; 06-19-2013 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 07-03-2013, 08:42 PM   #11 (permalink)
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You should join us other Eagle owners over at Evo

AMC Evolution AMC Eagle Forums • Index page
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