What was I thinking/planning?

posted Sep 7, 2009, 9:28 AM by Kevin Coughlin   [ updated Apr 13, 2013, 9:27 PM ]
So - I needed a winter car - and I found one I am going to build into a proper snow (and mud, and dirt) slinging machine. An AMC Eagle SX/4. Basically the bastard love child of a Jeep Cherokee and a Gremlin. An honest predecessor of the SUV (the first Eagles were station wagons based on the AMC Concord with Jeep running gear). Mine is a 1983 model - basically an AMC Spirit done up with the same motor, transmission, and transfer case as the other Eagles - and the Jeeps, as well.

The plan is to strip out the interior, replace the broken driver's seat, make the rest of the interior pretty spartan. Carpet out, "rhino lining" coating in - something that you can hose out when you get it muddy. I will mount an 8 point roll bar, build some storage box areas between the front seats, and the teeny back seats will be long gone.

The exterior needs one new CV joint up front - I'll just replace the axle on that side. The rear needs new springs - the old ones are so worn then bend the OTHER WAY - not good. If you notice in the picture the only reason it sits at the normal ride height is because there is a jack lifting the back end. Miscellaneous motor work to make it better (it runs now) and possibly taking out the existing transfer case that lets it go from two wheel drive to four wheel drive - and replace it with one from a Jeep that has two wheel, four wheel, and also four wheel LOW range (for going up the sides of cliffs).

Slightly bigger tires, changes in gear ratios, and to make the tires "fit" instead of ridiculous lifting of the car (unstable - and not bright) I will instead cut the fender wells bigger and do some custom metalwork to make it look right. I should get 31 inch tires in there (stock tires are just over 26 inches tall). That will give me 2 and a half inches more ground clearance - and it already is taller underneath than any car, and some yuppie SUVs.

The tale of this project will be at "The Eagle Project" page