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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    upstate NY
    Posts
    8
    Country Flag: United States

    Default AMC Rebel Machine build/suspension

    hey everybody,

    Been a member reading and watching for a while. I posted about this project a couple of years ago but there ware too many projects ahead, surgery, etc. and it went no where. Now itís back with the goal of becoming at at least a solid roller this year. Everything will be done by one old AMC guy (me) and my son in our home garage.

    Iím trying to get my decision making done so I can order parts for this summer taking in consideration peopleís lead times.

    Project is my sonís 70 AMC Rebel Machine, original ram-air, 340/390, T10, black, black interior. Itís extremely rusty to the point of almost no unit-body structure left although the doors still shut nice. Front and rear frame rails and inner rockers are gone. It wouldnít be worth saving to anybody else other than our family. I understand it is pretty rare being as there were only a few black/black 4 speed Machines. A collector did try buying it just for the VIN and door tag. I donít agree with re-bodying and even a four door or wagon that could be salvaged for parts if itís solid enough would be too nice to cut up. This car is complete and original down to the ram-air seal. It was our sonís first high school car almost 30+ years ago.

    Goal is a nice driving original style car, maybe lowered 1-2Ē that can be driven to work, navigate city parking garage ramps and Northeast potholes, but with more modern feeling suspension and brakes, better handling, firmer steering and maybe an occasional autoX day. But priority would be not a harsh ride because of no wheel travel/short stiff springs.

    Power: AMC 390-401 with maybe a Supercharger Store blower kit and 5-6 speed, 9Ē Ford rear

    My son wants original 15Ē wheels. Maybe a little bigger tire in front. larger in rear. The original Machine wheels are worth more than the car. I wouldnít mind 17Ē AMR T70 style, but either way, the brakes would have to fit 15Ē wheels. Track width is an issue. Stock Rebel is 60-61 and the wheel wells are huge. Any Camaro/Mustang/ Fairlane clip Iíve found is around 58Ē which is too narrow.
    The other issue is because of a traditional style wheel, a Corvette hub style upright wonít work.

    My thoughts have cycled betweenÖ
    1. some kind of existing frame like a G body that could be updated with DSE, etc. components, but original old frame stuff is pretty ugly and I donít want it to look like a frame swap.
    2. AME, Chassisworks, Heidts Camaro/Nova front clip (too narrow) or Ford CrownVic (too wide),
    3. Restoring all the sheet metal to the point that I could use the original suspension or ControlFreakís bolt in AMC coil-over kit or their complete MII based suspension system. Donít really care for the ControlFreak Mustang II spindles and narrow base of the lower control arms and just looks too light duty. And it seems like a lot of work to wind up with the stock suspension, but maybe thatís the best choice?? And I still have to replace everything else anyway.
    4. Building a complete new 2x4Ē perimeter frame that ties into/replaces the inner rockers (very stout on an AMC). None of the aftermarket frames would work because of the crossmember/X-members. The AMC floor sits down between the rocker panels and I donít want to loose the head/foot room with a flat floor.

    And of course I want it to look impressive underneath at a car show.

    I think Iíve narrowed it down to building a frame incorporating an AME or CAChassisworks rear triangulated 4-bar clip with a AME IRS Sport bikini clip or Chassisworks G-Machine front crossmember.

    My concern with either the AME or Chassisworks is not enough wheel travel and not being rugged enough. Neither is double shear on the control arms which seams like a nobrainer to me, but I guess I could build that in myself. Iím also not crazy about the Chassisworks control arm pivot ďpinsĒ and the solid mounting of the rack. ridetechís shock chart says AME and ChassisWorks use a 4.1Ē stroke shock and No Limit uses a 5.2 Stroke. I do like the custom track widths available

    Iím really sold on the No Limit Wide-Ride because of the shock travel and because itís a 61-62 inch track width and is double shear on lower control arms with a nice wide base. But I was told that 15Ē wheels wonít fit their 12Ē brakes. Bummer!

    The other thing is Iím not crazy about is rack and pinion steering. I built a street rod years ago with a rack and was never happy with the kickback in the wheel. I have an older Mercedes with a steering box and love the feel, along with the feel of our older Jeep Cherokee. I think a later GM 12.7 600 steering gear would be perfect. So that leads me to using a GM A body or later Impala crossmember for the control arm and steering pickup points with DSE or ridetech parts. But then Iím back to the track width problem as an A-body is too narrow. The Impala track width would work. I even looked at a Speedway A-body stock car front clip but I guess theyíre offset for turning left.

    Maybe a last option would be TCP Mustang coil over system that takes advantage of the stock AMC spring towers??? I would have to figure out the pickup points though.

    Thanks for sticking with me this far. Iíve gotten myself pretty confused at this point. Iím afraid of making a decision and winding up with something that is too low and rides terrible. Iíve read ĒHow to Make Your Muscle Car Handle" by Mark Savitske a coupe of times for inspiration and information and other chassis books.

    We do have a 67 American convert with AMC 401 and my own 4 link rear using RideTech parts that I'm happy with.

    I guess Iím looking for some ďnew eyesĒ and opinions from people that have done it and could point me in the right direction.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Posts
    61

    Default

    Speedway Motors among others offer a front suspension that is mustang 2 based that is the width you need. Most of the standard disc brakes that come with them will fit a 15 inch wheel...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    upstate NY
    Posts
    8
    Country Flag: United States

    Default

    I forgot to mention the Roadster Shop REVO IFS looks like a great choice for what I want, but they don't show it as a separate crossmember anymore. just part of a whole chassis. I'll have to check to see if it's still available



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