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  • August 17, 2022, 09:35:32 AM

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Author Topic: Thoughts on this Eagle?  (Read 1427 times)

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Offline luckycamper

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Thoughts on this Eagle?
« on: December 17, 2021, 03:16:12 AM »
Hey guys, I’ve been reading around the forums, buying tips, etc. and was curious if I could get some more knowledgeable owner’s opinions on an eagle I’m going to check out soon. Story is, it has a bad wheel bearing in the front (I felt like I read something on here which mentioned a special tool or press to be able to do this job?) and apparently used to run. My potential plan is to show up w a car battery and see what I can make of it.

The rig:
1980 Eagle
automatic
bad wheel bearing, needs battery

Full disclosure: was hoping for a bit more of a solid runner but guy is only asking $600 and Ive been on the hunt for a year or so. Not a fan of the color (easy enough to paint) and the interior wouldn’t be my first choice either. I also prefer the later grill and hood and am wondering if they’ll swap in. Im wondering if the full time awd is going to be after 40yrs in comparison with the part-time.And of course a manual would be ideal.

All that said, I’d be interested to hear some of yalls thoughts before i go chk it out. Thanks for any info you guys could offer!

Offline luckycamper

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Re: Thoughts on this Eagle?
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2021, 03:29:28 AM »
I’ll probably chat w the owner again soon but here are some pix of the car.

Offline Canoe

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Re: Thoughts on this Eagle?
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2021, 04:16:13 AM »
I'll just through some thoughts out.
- The emissions in the earlier years are more straight forward. Easier to fix.
- I'd expect the carb will need some work. Or put a Motorcraft in it. TFI upgrade is pretty much a must for improvements re. power, fuel usage and emissions.
- At one point early on, it was said that the very first front bearings were ball bearings, then they went to roller bearings. I hope I'm wrong on the ball bearings. If that's right, you may end up looking for front hubs that take the roller bearings.
- Do find the threads that describe what to look for that can be a problem, like the rotted trays by the front suspension, and rotter rockers. Both can be fixed (see some of the project cars), if you'd take something like that on.
- Careful/gentle with the rear hatch hinges until you know they're adjust properly.
- Gentle on the hood release inside. Common for the release mechanism up front holding the hood to be rusty or stiff, which should be cleaned up before you break the interior release handle.
- The colour is rather classic for these. Looks like it may buff up nicely. Then a clear coat?
- It's got the tube roof rack, with the rear air deflector!
- Different hood should go on easy enough. I'd expect the same for the grill. Some project cars of mixed and matched grills & lights from whatever they liked and made it fit.
- I had an '81 before my '86, and I loved the full-time only. That may be ready to fail now, so a different transfercase may be in your future. If you catch the leaking limited-slip fluid soon enough, you can clean the transfercase out and put new fluid in, so you can run full-time with an open centre-diff.
- My '81 had diff ratios that were more suited for rough road or towing. My '86 has ratios that are more suited for daily driver, but does fine towing too. If that's an issue, check the tag on the rear diff (easiest to see).
- Wouldn't be surprised if the rear main seal needs replacing. Same for shocks and steering stabilizer, sway bar bushings and links. And rear hatch lifts.
- Does the dash shot show cracks in the windshield?
- Do change all fluids before running it much. I hope you have a trailer to get it home with, so you can change fluids and lube everywhere (lower ball joints!!!) before you put any mileage on it.
- Trans filter & fluid too - DO NOT FLUSH IT - every auto trans I've known to get flushed has failed within its next year. A flush can loosen deposits up really well, but without a rebuild you never get all the debris out, so you turn your fluid into jewellers rouge and wear away it goes.
- With new oil formulations, the flat tappet cams really should have some additives to the oil, or there's some diesel oils that already have some of that in their formulations.

Again, do find those threads on what to look for regarding potential or typical issues.
(And there we are, top of this section
https://forums.amceaglesden.com/index.php?topic=3855.0)
 
Others may see some other things that may matter to you.

« Last Edit: December 17, 2021, 04:17:25 AM by Canoe »

Online Still Pat

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Re: Thoughts on this Eagle?
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2021, 08:50:52 AM »
Regarding the color, I've seen NUMEROUS Eagles (& own two) in that color scheme. It was apparently used quite heavily by AMC.
'02 FORD E-150 Conversion van - Just sold!
'83 AMC Eagle wagon 258/auto.
'84 AMC Eagle sedan (4 door) 258/auto.
PREVIOUS AMCs:
'72 Gremlin X 304/3 speed
'81 Eagle Kammback 258/4 speed (Purchased new)
'82 Eagle wagon 258/5 speed Ordered new, traded Kammback)
'86 (I THINK) Eagle wagon - BlackBird 258/auto. (Got hit/totaled)
'83 Eagle wagon - White Eagle 258-auto. (Front subframe was rotted out - sold for parts)

Offline luckycamper

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Re: Thoughts on this Eagle?
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2021, 01:58:38 PM »
@Canoe thank you so much, this is exactly the kind of insight I was hoping to hear. Yes I’ve already been reading through the forums a bit and putting together a “check sheet” and this helps out a lot. I’ve been focused on later years but this 80 popped up so the year specific knowledge is extremely helpful. My AMC jeep comanche’s engine just went bust (engine swap project for spring) so I feel like now is the time to pull the trigger but don’t want to act too hastily bc I don’t need another car out for the winter. With a little wrenching I’m hoping an eagle will be my daily through these months (and save the maj work for when the comanche is back on the road).

@Still Pat interesting…if I pick up this bird, maybe I’ll buff it out and see if it’ll decide to grow on me. If not I’ll go w a darker color.

Online vangremlin

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Re: Thoughts on this Eagle?
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2021, 02:03:21 PM »
Looks like it has a CB radio, that is worth half the purchase price right there!
1981 Kammback 258 - "Pepe"
1980 Coupe 258 - "Ginger
1972 Gremlin X 304
1978 Gremlin 4 cyl 121 - sold
1964 TBird 390 - sold

Offline TheBirdman

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Re: Thoughts on this Eagle?
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2021, 04:29:25 PM »
I have a 1980 eagle Im parting out right now, I can send you the front hubs from this one. I drove it around a couple days before tearing it down and there wasnt any noticeable noise coming from the front wheels, though Im sure they could use some fresh grease.

Also yes, the grilles and hoods are interchangeable. I just put a concord slat grille on my 83 eagle cause I like slat better than eggcrate.

Pretty much everything important in the car can be replaced by jeep cherokee stuff, but you should make sure there isnt too much rot in the front unibody frame under the upper control arm, and where the front of the leaf springs attach to the car, those are the only spots that get bad enough to be worth scrapping the car over.

But yeah, being an 80, you wont have any of the CEC/ emissions crap that gets in the way of so many eagle projects, and even if its in bad shape, $600 for that is a steal.
83 eagle wagon 4.0

Offline AMC of Houston

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Re: Thoughts on this Eagle?
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2021, 04:36:39 PM »
Just a note on the '80 front wheel bearings -- they are not rebuildable like the later model hubs.   If you want new bearings, need to find a used later hub that's rebuildable (and get the spacer that goes behind it).
George G.
'81 Eagle Sundancer
'85 Eagle Waggie
1960 1902 Rambler Replica
'64 American
'70 AMX (Big Bad Blue), '70 AMX (White)
'77 Gremlin
'78 Pacer Coupe, '78 Pacer Wagon
'79 Pacer Wagon
'73 Jensen Interceptor
'86 Audi 5000 Turbo
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'09 Nissan Titan
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Offline maddog

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Re: Thoughts on this Eagle?
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2021, 08:04:16 PM »
Just a note on the '80 front wheel bearings -- they are not rebuildable like the later model hubs.   If you want new bearings, need to find a used later hub that's rebuildable (and get the spacer that goes behind it).
I'm not sure that's entirely true because I've had the hubs on the front of my 1980 eagle wagon rebuilt before and believe me the bearings that were in there before were shot and the death wobble that they caused was so bad I thought my front end was going to fall off that or my arms going to get ripped off.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2021, 08:04:59 PM by maddog »
1998 CHEVY S10 (DAILY DRIVER/PROJECT) INTIMIDATIN'
1980 AMC EAGLE WAGON (PROJECT) EAGLE EYES
http://forums.amceaglesden.com/index.php?topic=30758.0
1983 AMC EAGLE LIMITED WAGON-SURVIVOR (gone)
http://forums.amceaglesden.com/index.php?topic=32372.0

Offline Canoe

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Re: Thoughts on this Eagle?
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2021, 08:43:40 PM »
Just a note on the '80 front wheel bearings -- they are not rebuildable like the later model hubs.   If you want new bearings, need to find a used later hub that's rebuildable (and get the spacer that goes behind it).
I'm not sure that's entirely true because I've had the hubs on the front of my 1980 eagle wagon rebuilt before and believe me the bearings that were in there before were shot and the death wobble that they caused was so bad I thought my front end was going to fall off that or my arms going to get ripped off.
This is where I believe we're into where the very first Eagle hubs were (ball-bearings? in) an unserviceable hub, you bought a new hub and bolted it on. When I went to the dealer to buy a hub they thought I was crazy until I showed them the service manual. Fortunately my '81 wagon already had the new hubs that used roller bearings, a relatively easy service (if an adventure the first time you do such). So Eagles were switched very early to roller bearing hubs. So for an '80, I'd say all bets are off. Could fall either way.

Offline maddog

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Re: Thoughts on this Eagle?
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2021, 10:02:31 PM »
Yeah I'm inclined to agree with you on the all bets are off thing because I bought new bearings new seals and then took them to a machine shop and had them press the old ones out and the new ones in using my original hubs and they had no issues whatsoever in doing so. Also I have never replaced the hubs themselves so either somewhere mid-year they changed the design or somebody before me change to the later hubs but they looked like they were the originals and bear in mind I've had the car for almost 15 years so I'm kind of doubting that a previous owner changed them out given the shape of the rest of the Eagle.
1998 CHEVY S10 (DAILY DRIVER/PROJECT) INTIMIDATIN'
1980 AMC EAGLE WAGON (PROJECT) EAGLE EYES
http://forums.amceaglesden.com/index.php?topic=30758.0
1983 AMC EAGLE LIMITED WAGON-SURVIVOR (gone)
http://forums.amceaglesden.com/index.php?topic=32372.0

Online amcfool1

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Re: Thoughts on this Eagle?
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2021, 11:48:22 PM »
hi, that looks like a fully loaded Eagle. tilt wheel, top of the line radio, (for its time), cruise, etc. If its not rusted out, I say go for it. btw, the 1980 258 six, is the last of the "unlightened" engines, meaning 7 main bearings, the good steel valve cover, and the Non-feedback carter BBD carb.
good luck, gz

Offline Canoe

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Re: Thoughts on this Eagle?
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2021, 11:55:48 PM »
... Also I have never replaced the hubs themselves so either somewhere mid-year they changed the design or somebody before me change to the later hubs ...
Back when, I was looking at replacing the roller bearings in my '86 wagon. Just before I did, someone (in Florida?) who had/was-clearing a warehouse that among other things, had bunch of the replacement hubs built with roller bearings. Old new product. So I bought a pair of hubs and installed those. But - this was into an Eagle that already had roller bearing hubs. It was just easier as I no longer had access to a press.

Checked the emails. $121 a pair in Dec 2009.
Probably some others from the Eagles Nest who remember this.

My understanding is that these (serviceable) hubs were made for dealers to swap out the unserviceable ball-bearing hubs.

Offline Canoe

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Re: Thoughts on this Eagle?
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2021, 12:01:44 AM »
If you buy it and it doesn't have the roller bearing hubs, when you get such hubs from a donor Eagle, see if you can get the lower ball joints if they're good. A new lower is, what, $200 now?

So if the lowers are good on this one, make sure you sneak some grease in there to extend their life.

Offline TheBirdman

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Re: Thoughts on this Eagle?
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2021, 10:57:41 AM »
I cant speak for the ball bearings, but the later rollerbearing hubs im fairly certain the intention was that you buy a whole new hub to replace as well, at least thats what my haynes manual says. It just so happens that you can split it apart and replace the bearings if you find all the right bearings and seals in stock. When I did mine I recall them being a bit more involved than most bearing jobs Ive seen, although not terribly so.
83 eagle wagon 4.0

 

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