Being an eternal optimist has its pitfalls. Mainly it’s the times when you’ve talked youself into thinking something is a lock when it really isn’t. Such is the case with our smog-era AMC 360 that will find its way into the gullet of Attilla the Jav, BangShift.com’s former dirt-track stock car 1968 AMC Javelin.
Our delusion was that we were going to score a cheap motor from Craigslist, check the bearings, make sure stuff was decent, mess around with the heads a little, throw a bunch of bolt-on parts at it, and beat on the car until the lakes froze and we’d go ice racing.
It sounded really good on paper but reality would rear it’s head and send the original plans packing.
As you’ll see in the gallery, the lower main bearings are beat to hell. Ironically, they are beat up due to the reason that we were attracted to this particular engine in the first place. It spent it’s life in the front of a Jeep Wagoneer that was used as a plow truck for decades. Not thinking through that information we jumped on the deal. The 1974 model year engine only has 55,000 miles on it and cost us a reasonable $200.00.
Let’s think about plowing for a second. It’s a high load, low RPM affair. It’s obviously done in the cold weather, and if anyone has ever driven a plow truck before, the temptation to use it as a four wheeled bulldozer has taken everyone over at one time or another.
The first thing we noticed when we started to pull the motor apart is that the oil that remained in the engine has a strong odor of gasoline, lending us to believe that the carb was not properly adjusted and this thing sat for months at a time until snow duty called and it was put to its punishing work. Junk gas, a wonky distributor, and a heavy foot trying to relocate snow banks seems to be what ultimately did these bearings in and has us thinking that a 10 or even 20 cut on the crank is necessary to clean things up. The caps show evidence of walking, a sure sign of big time detonation.
The good news is that literally everything else with respect to the motor looks great. The pistons look fine (we were going to reuse them, but are now debating adding some compression), the factory rods are in satisfactory shape, and the innards of the motor were clean and showed no sludge at all.
Our plan right now is to assemble a budget minded (yep, we’re broke too!) motor that’ll live it’s life under six grand, make lots of low-end grunt, and hold together while churning a set of spiked tires on the frozen lakes, running down the strip, and hopefully (fingers crossed) make a pull or two at Maxton.
Enough yapping. To the photos!