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The Latest... on my cool Rambler Classic 660.

(11/20/02)
Good news! It took a little over two years, but the Rambler is up and rambling. When we found the right tranny rebuilder, it took only three months to get it rebuilt, then, mainly because I was just too busy, it took six months to get it to an installer. He worked on it during his spare time, and we got it running again July 20, 2002.

Sitting for two years had not been good for it. We needed a new set of tires, some lengths of fuel line, which had begun leaking, and the gasket on the accelerator pump needed work. A little body work is required where the tow truck moved it without the rear axle being tied down, and there may still be some fuel leaks. It gets only nine miles to the gallon, and there is a slight smell of gasoline about it. It used to get 18 mpg. We'll get that fixed one of these days. Two people have offered to buy it, but no deal.

(03/24/02)
Good news! After a year of down-time, detailed below, I finally got the T-86E transmission rebuilt...totally like new.
     Here used to be a picture of it. We had to cut down on large files on our server. I was given a choice to have it painted whatever color I liked. I liked it looking the way I had always seen it, what they call "virgin" finish, a little rust, a little rough, but real.

I still have to get it installed, but I wanted to take a picture of it and get it online first. You may notice that the solenoid and the governor are not yet installed. That gets done after the tranny is in the car.

You might want to know who finally did the job the way it was supposed to be done.
     His name is Ed Schwan. He has worked with overdrive transmissions for fifty years, then he semi-retired. He did in two weeks what others had taken months, fiddling around and getting nothing done. I confess, that he had some of his friends help out; although he has a garage overflowing with transmission and engine parts. He had a planetary gear he was going to give me to replace mine, but it wasn't necessary.
     Ed was going to do away with the overdrive since it was in bad shape and not really necessary for my use; however his sources could not find a tailpiece exactly the right length to replace the overdrive case, so they rebuilt the overdrive too.
     They also instructed me how to install it properly, and told me to use regular 30-weight engine oil in the overdrive case. Nobody ever told me that before, which may have been part of the problem. The overdrive went out several years before the rest of the transmission finally gave out. Ed also said they told him that the "throw" on second gear was unusually short, but it had probably always been short. We decided that I had in all likelihood simply grown accustomed the a short throw between first and second.
      We also discussed the likelihood that the gear damage was caused by someone shifting into first without stopping completely since there is no syncromesh into first. I normally let no one drive the Rambler but me. I have a sign on the dash, "Dead stop B/4 shift to 1st" just in case someone gets by me. But shortly before the transmission went out I had replaced both king pins, and a mechanic, who seemed a little spacey, had moved the Rambler. I found the key in the ignition upside down. The ignition worked with the key upside down, but who knows whether or not he also shifted into first while the car was still in motion. That small indiscretion may have been an expensive one.

If you need standard transmission work done, I heartily recommend:

Ed Schwan
20716 Berendo Street
Torrance CA 90502

phone: 310-323-3154

I had estimates from $3,500 to $900 minimum. And Ed got the job done for much less. You can't do any better than that. Next step, get it installed. I have spoken to my regular mechanic. He says he can do it, but he also says he is not a transmission man. More on that later.

George and Mark Wymer, Wymer Automotive, of Freemont, Ohio, promptly returned the $300 deposit I gave them last November to find and check out a replacement transmission in Rambler country. More about that below.
     I found a used one myself, on the internet, a real T-86E with overdrive, in Florida. But that was after I had made arrangements to get mine rebuilt, and I had hauled it in the trunk of my Malibu the 100 plus miles to Torrance and dropped it off. They wanted $400 plus $100 shipping for a used tranny that might work or might not. You can read about that in our Guest Book.

Now, If you want to get some of the background...My Rambler was down for over a year while I tried this mechanic and that mechanic to get it either rebuilt or replaced...the account is below:

The following started as a comment in a reply to an email message:

"Now I am having problems with my '64 Rambler Classic. Something in the transmission... At the recommendation of Bruce, I took it to Courtesy Transmission in Cathedral City, California. Barry, the owner, told me they were extremely busy for this time of year and that it might take a couple weeks. He said he would take a look at it and phone me an estimate."

I took it in June 5, 2000. I waited a couple weeks. Then I phoned again in another couple of weeks. They had not had time to look at it. After 7 weeks, I found a shade-tree mechanic who said he could save me money, but he would have to work under my shade tree in 115 degree weather. Courtesy has been around a long time and is in demand. Barry said he had scheduled it for Friday. It turned out to be a week from Friday.

I dropped by on Thursday to see if the overdrive linkage might have accidentally been engaged. It used to make the same sort of noise when the overdrive was engaged after the overdrive quit working about 10 years ago. Barry told me he had scheduled to take it apart Friday and that I should give him a call Monday. I did, but it was 15 minutes after closing time, and nobody answered the phone. I tried again on Tuesday, earlier in the day. They had the transmission out of the car, sitting beside Mark's work bench. That was 8/8/00. Barry told me they had not called me because they lost my paperwork. I gave him my name and phone number again. I called again 8/14/00. Still not on the bench. At this writing (9/24/00), I have not received phone call #1 from Courtesy Transmission.

I phoned 8/22/00. They had the transmission on the bench and torn down. The overdrive had burned up because when I had it installed, the installer, Ben's Transmission in San Bernardino (now out of business) had not told me that there are two oil compartments. I had been checking only one of them as I was accustomed to doing. The cluster shaft and the bearings also needed replacement because of wear resulting from the overdrive going out.

Barry told me that they had a Rambler core with overdrive parts that might be good. He planned to use that and send the bad parts to Los Angeles for serial number by number replacement to make sure we get the right parts. I also told him that Ben had not exchanged the speedometer drive gear in the transmission when he installed it, and while it was apart, I wanted to match-up the speedometer gears to avoid the "apple core" effect I had been putting up with for several years. The speedometer worked but there was an error of 15% because of mismatched gears.

On September 5, 2000, I had been working on the idea of sending them an anniversary card because my friends kept asking me, "Where is your Rambler?" And when I would tell them, they would marvel at my patience. I phoned and spoke with Mark. No change. I sent the card: "I knew what I was doing when I put the two of you together: my '64 Rambler and Courtesy Transmission. Thanks for taking the time to do a good job - 6/5/00-9/5/00."

Pretty much wishful thinking, but I didn't want to antagonize anyone. I only wanted them to take my job seriously. Even though they have my phone number, no one responded to my anniversary card. I waited until the 22nd to phone. Mark answered. I didn't ask about the card. I asked about the Rambler. Mark seemed a little irritated. He said that he was waiting for Barry to take the core apart to check the overdrive parts, then he would send for all the parts at the same time.

I told him that I would certainly like to have my car back. He retorted, "And I would like to have my bench back." Barry was not there. I did not ask when he was expected back.

The following Monday morning, 9/24/00, I got the bright idea of having Bruce call to see if he might be able to build a fire under Barry. Bruce refers all his transmission work to Barry, and he might value his opinion. I stopped by to see Bruce. I told him the situation, and he volunteered to phone Barry. In the meantime, it was suggested that I phone Courtesy every day to inquire.

We will see if that works. I recently received an email message suggesting that I "give 'em Hell!" Not an easy thing for me, even though I bandy the word about on this particular site. I have had two experienced ladies, one originally from New York, advise me to do the same. I would have to fortify my vocabulary considerably to do it convincingly, and I am not sure that vocabulary is enough. One of the ladies uses the term "Or else..." in such situations. I am afraid they will ask what I would ask, "Or else what?" I can fall back on the BBB and the Chamber of Commerce and, maybe, the State agency that licenses mechanics, but, knowing what I know, I wouldn't be scared of them. And Barry probably knows more about their relative effectiveness than I do, unless I am the first to be treated this way. Not likely. And we are approaching our 4-month anniversary.

I might also mention to them that I am putting all this on the Internet, but that has not impressed anyone so far either. Maybe it would impress them if several readers send them a brief note giving them "Hell" for me. Their address is:
Courtesy Transmission
AM-COH AUTOMOTIVE, INC.
68400 Ramon Rd.
Cathedral City, CA 92234

Phone: 760-324-4573

I hesitate to ask it, but that might have an effect.


My first phone call from Courtesy:

10/17/00, exactly four months and three days after promised, I got a phone call from Barry at Courtesy Transmission. He had been calling around for parts for the Rambler transmission. Verbal estimate: $2,000.00.

He seemed convinced that I would not be willing to spend $2,000 on the old Rambler, but it had sentimental value, and I would have to buy another car to replace it, probably a used car with other problems.

I told Barry that $2,000 might be affordable for me. He was taken aback. He told me that the Rambler is probably not worth what I think it is. I told him that I had looked it up in a classic car book ten years ago. The book said it was worth $2,600, $200 more than I had paid for it originally, and up until now repairs had been reasonable and far between.

Barry said that he had contacted a Rambler parts place in Illinois that was supposed to have less expensive parts and that he had not got their estimate yet. He would call me back tomorrow. I called him the next day. No report from Illinois. He called me the following day with another estimate: $3,500 parts and labor! To put it mildly, I was shocked. I figured that a less expensive parts place would have less expensive parts.

Barry suggested that I have the Rambler towed from his lot. I had planned on driving it off his lot since I drove it on. When I asked if he could put it back together so I could drive it off, he said that they had broken some parts taking it apart and that they could not put it back together so it would run and that nobody he knew of could do it for less. I mentioned that I had heard of a reputable transmission place nearby that might be able to get parts from Mexico. A friend of mine who used to be a transmission mechanic and who used to live in Mexico claimed that he could do the job for ten times less than the Courtesy quote.

I spoke with another, working mechanic who said he had never spent more than $400 for standard transmission parts for a rebuild. I began thinking that, perhaps, Barry had been selling off my parts to the parts dealers he had been contacting or that he had a buyer for my Classic Rambler and wanted me to give up and award him the pink slip just to be rid of a long, drawn out hassle.

Others of my car cronies sympathized with my straits and backed up my suspicions. I was told that I should not remove it from the Courtesy lot because as long as it was there, he had a responsibility to return it to driveable condition. They suggested I call the Department of Consumer Affairs in Sacramento. The Department is not listed in the Palm Springs phone book under State Government. The Department of Motor Vehicles gave me an 800 number that could 'not be reached from my calling area.'

I tried the Palm Springs City Attorney. No luck. I finally contacted Southern California Auto Club (AAA). The second person I spoke with gave me a number that worked. I waited online for some 45 minutes, waiting for a live person to speak with. Each 50 seconds they played a message telling me how "important" my message was to them. I began to doubt it until Jim picked up the phone. He prescribed "mediation" by some agency. He sent me a "mediation packet" that I am supposed to fill out and return to set up mediation.

After hanging up, I felt that I needed to give Barry an idea of where we stood. When I told him about the mediation packet, he was upset but courteous. At first he thought that he was the one with the complaint, not me. He had taken in this old car with a knock in the transmission and had spent four and 1/2 months tearing it down and looking for parts. And I was dissatisfied? How could that be? Barry claimed that he had not had on official complaint in 20 years. He let slip that there had been such an official complaint...a long time ago.

I began to feel sorry for poor Barry and Mark in spite of the fact that I had gone without wheels for 4-1/2 months, that I had walked one-mile errands in 110-degree heat, and had to forego many familiar amenities. So what if I had driven it onto his lot and felt I did not want to spend double what he said the car is worth. That is my problem, right? Barry went to talk with Mark about the fact that he had said they had broken parts taking it apart. A mechanic had told me that it would be difficult to break parts because everything came out together. Barry came back to the phone to tell me that the parts were already broken when they took it apart. He now told me that the broken parts were what was making the noise. He had originally told me that worn bearings were the cause of the noise, and the noise had suddenly got much louder and constant. The noise I heard was more of a knock and only in first when starting out, consistant with worn bearings. At any rate, Barry agreed to reassemble the car so I could drive it away...and at no cost. Mainly because he wanted to avoid agency mediation. Finally, something somebody was afraid of.

Still feeling a little sorry for Barry and Mark, I phoned Transmission City 500, who had been recommended to me by two people who had work done there; although one told me that they would rip me off only a little less than Courtesy. This is the fellow who recommended an itinerant mechanic who would have to work on the car under my shade tree. The same mechanic who felt the parts should cost no more than $400...unless they were hard to find because of it being an old car. Carlo at Transmission City said he could not tell me anything until he saw the transmission. I told him that it was spread on a bench at Courtesy, only a couple miles away. He was reluctant to invade "enemy" territory to see the transmission.

I felt it would be not so much enemy territory if Barry and Mark did not have to put the transmission back together, and Carlo would be getting it removed from their bench and lot. I was right. I called Barry. He welcomed Carlo to come and look it over. I called Carlo back. He would send someone else over to look at it, and he would get back to me later the same day, 10/23/00. He never did.


Bringing Baby home:

I brought the 1964 Rambler home yesterday, October 31, 2000, Halloween. In 5 days, it would have been in the transmission shop for 5 months.

As you will recall, I had phoned Courtesy Transmission and told them what I was planning, but I also called another transmission shop, Transmission City 500. They said they could not give me an estimate without looking at the transmission, which is exactly what Courtesy Transmission had said. That way they get permission to "tear down." I told Carlo that the transmission is all in pieces lying on a bench at Courtesy. Carlo said they didn't feel right sending somebody over to the other shop, so I called Barry. He said they were welcome to come look at it. I called Carlo back and told him they were welcomed by Courtesy to look at it for estimate purposes. He said he would send someone over that afternoon. Two days later, Barry called. Nobody had showed up to look at it. I called Carlo again. They had been busy, very much like Courtesy. He would send somebody over that afternoon. Five days later, nobody had showed up.

I decided I didn't need another five months sitting in another shop for another high estimate. I decided to check for availability of parts on the internet and found a Nash/Rambler Club centered in Ohio. I emailed Brent Havekost of nashparts.netfirms.com. He replied that last year he had the transmission of his 65 Rambler overhauled for $500.00, and they did a good job. The shop: George Wymer, Fremont OH, 419-332-4291, an ex-AMC dealer who now worked with his son, Mark, a mechanic. It sounded good to me. I called the shop and talked to Mark. He saw no reason why they could not send us the parts.

Saturday, October 28, 2000, I received a recorded phone message from Chris Vance, the mechanic-on-wheels, asking about the latest update in the ongoing saga of my 64 Rambler. I figured it is time I made my move.

On Monday, October 30, 2000, I phoned Courtesy Transmission and asked if everything was ready so I could move the Rambler. Barry had told me that he would not charge me for tearing it down and putting it together and all the time they had spent on it over the 5 months if I did not file the claim for mediation by the Department of Consumer Affairs and if I would "sign off." Finally! a threat that seems to work.

He asked, "Don't you want to wait for Carlo to look at it?"

I said, "No, I don't want it sitting around for another 5 months."

Barry got the point. "I guess we have kept it sitting around here long enough."

I told him that since he had held off on putting it back together so Transmission City could look at it, I would just take it as is. He said he would put all the parts in boxes in the back seat and give me a list of the parts he had found ($2,000 worth according to Mark, the shop manager. The other $1,500 was for labor). Barry also explained that the "signing off" on the job indicated that we were parting as friends, no hard feelings. That was fine with me.

I Called Chris, the curious shade-tree mechanic. His wife, Elaine, answered. Chris was gone babysitting until Wednesday. His truck is still down, but he has a new vise, still in the box. She suggested that he would plan to help me get the Rambler running again.

I phoned Southern California Auto Club (AAA) and arranged to have it towed. Barry told me it would have to be a flatbed truck because with the transmission removed, the rear axle was disconnected. AAA sent a flatbed truck with a very talented driver and an assistant. The driver had a problem finding a solid place to attach the chains. I told him that the axel was "detached."

He looked a bit incredulous, "Isn't it bolted down?"

I restated, "No."

He was, however, not only able to get it loaded without losing the rear end, but he also backed the truck into our crooked driveway with only inches to spare on each side of the truck and an overhang on the house which limited how high he could raise the flatbed when disengaging the Rambler.

When he saw the tight spot he was in, he retorted, "I don't know whay I ever let you talk me into this!" I didn't remind him that I had actually suggested that we drop it in the street and the three of us push it up the driveway.

After depositing the station wagon at the top of the driveway and hand pushing it up onto the concrete where it could be worked on, the driver handed me a part that had fallen off the Rambler en route. It looked like an end bracket for a rod of some sort. The bolts holding it had been removed, but the caked grease had held it in place until the jiggling ride shook it loose. I later found another small, rubber gromet-sort-of part in the driveway. I told the driver we probably had scattered parts from here to there. Mark at Courtesy assures me that they have double-checked everywhere the car has been for stray parts. They are all in the boxes.

Barry had me sign off under the name Dwight Witaker, which is not my name. He had made up a second receipt when they lost the first one, and they misspelled my name. He saw that I still had the original receipt with lots of notes on it.

He asked, "Are those notes of the times you called me?"

I answered, "Yes, I keep track of everything." I didn't tell him that I then upload it to the internet for all the world to read and enjoy...and wonder about.

After I signed off, he wrote above my phoney signature in GI block letters, "OKed to pickup car at no charge cost to bring elsewhere." And below the signature, "OKed for tear down."

As soon as I got home with the Rambler and the list of parts, I phoned Mark in Ohio and faxed him the list. He phoned back after contacting his parts dealer. He could hardly read the fax. Barry's GI block letters. Would I type it out? And they needed all the part numbers they could get in order to nail down the specific transmission. I had told him it was not the original transmission. The original did not have overdrive, which seemed to be causing some problems. I also told Mark Wymer that if it were possible, he should also price a complete transmission without the overdrive so I could go back to the original setup. I also do not have the original rear-end, but a higher-ratio rear-end because all the "experts" told me the original was going out. I later realized that the rear-end had always seemed noisy because it is a station wagon. The open space in the back amplifies the gear noise.

Wednesday, November 1, 2000, I phoned Chris, who seemed not to be home yet. No one answered. I left a message that I would like him to come over to take a look at the parts, verify which parts needed to be replaced, and get as many numbers and tooth-counts as possible so we could order the parts from a reputable house, something Courtesy apparently had not done since they did not have the information necessary to do so.

That is where we are at this point with the Rambler epic. (11/1/00)

Next installment (12/27/00)

Shortly after getting the Rambler home, I phoned Mark Wymer in Ohio to check on the status of finding parts to rebuild the transmission I now have spread out on my work bench. Mark had faxed me a couple drawings of 64 10 transmissions. I needed to tell him whether mine was a 1st type or a 2nd type. The drawings were complete with parts numbers, so I was able to match up the damaged parts with part numbers and fax Mark back a complete list of parts needed to rebuild the transmission on my bench.

The next time I spoke with Mark, he asked if I was still looking for a used transmission which might not need rebuilding. Since it appeared that a couple of parts seemed to be missing from the transmission I had taken apart by Courtesy Transmission (at least the countershaft spacer), I decided that it might be better to start with a transmission that had all the parts in it. Mark said that he had found a 64 Rambler station wagon with the same engine and an overdrive parked in a garage. The owner had bought it to rejuvenate but had decided to sell the rear end. Now he was selling off other parts. Mark said he did not know what sort of shape the transmission was in, but that he could get it for $450.00, which he felt was a little high. Compared with $3,500.00, it seemed reasonable.

I thought it over a few days then asked Mark if he would consider getting the transmission, taking off the cover and checking out whether or not it would work before shipping it to me. He said he would if I would send him a cashier's check for $300.00 as a deposit. I sent him the check November 28, 2000, and I received proof of receipt a week or so later. I phoned him to see how he was coming with the project. He said, "I'll have to see the fellow about the transmission." That was a couple weeks ago.

Last week my daughter saw a 1964 Rambler in working condition for sale in Palm Desert, $1,000 or best offer. Then a friend phoned me that he had discovered a working 1966 Rambler for sale locally. I told him I really was not looking to buy another car...even for parts. I didn't even check to see if the transmission is compatible. We had recently bought a used 1988 Honda Accord for my wife to use, and I have inherited the Malibu to drive around until we get the Rambler going again.

When the Rambler is working again, the Malibu may be up for sale. No promises, but it has become famous on the internet. That should enhance its value somewhat. All the buyer needs is a trustworthy mechanic like panheaded, an Eastern mechanic who says I need to move on. He suggests moving East and buying a Volvo. I will deliver the Malibu personally to anyone who will pay for the gasoline and reasonable expenses, motel every other night and fast food a couple meals a day. A few years ago, I drove from Desert Hot Springs to Argos, Indiana, in three days, driving 20 hours a day and resting 4. Expenses, a little over $300.00. The price of gasoline, however, has gone up since then, at least in California. I understand it is only 86 cents in Macon, Georgia.

Next installment (03/03/01)

Mark saw the fellow about the transmission. It was full of water, so we could not consider it. Mark had been told that it was parked in a garage. The fact was that it had been parked in a garage until the mechanic who bought it for parts put it in his yard. That's where it picked up the water.

I was contacted by Jay Barnes, also in Ohio, by email from this site. He had bought a 64 Rambler that came with a spare 3-speed transmission, bell housing, and positraction rear end. My hopes soared. I can get along without the overdrive. Then we began comparing IDs. Jay emailed me a list of Rambler transmission ID information, and we both began to realize that this is not simply a matter of finding a 64 Rambler transmission. Jay's list was 9 pages printed out. I lifted out the lines that applied to my T-86 and Jay's T-96 to see if they are interchangeable:

INFO COMPARING T-86 AND T-96 (Rambler transmissions)

T-86 3spd N (196/199/232/250/287/290) '50-'67 
T-96 3spd N (196/199/232) '56-'70 

My rambler is a 287 cu.in., V-8, 4-door station wagon, Rambler Classic 660. I had added the overdrive and changed the rear-end unnecessarily.
Jay's T-96 is obviously from a smaller vehicle. Since he bought it as a spare with another vehicle, he did not really know what it was out of. The rear end he has is positraction, but probably would not fit.
N above indicates "Not synchromesh." (Mine has synchromesh into first gear, but that doesn't count.)

T-86 case/gears and other parts are interchangable with with the T-90. But not T-96. You will notice below that the bellhousing is also of different depth.

T-86 used also by Ford with o/d. (289) T-86 has top cover 6 bolts like the T-14. *T-86 was a hd option only behind the 196cid, stock all got T-96. T-96 used also in Jeeps (CJ2->), Studebaker sixes, and early Falcons. T-96 and Borg-Warner alum. automatics have the same spline and are the same length T-96 shaft length is 6.5" T-96 came in 2 models for '70-'72, the H for 199, J for 232; both only in Hornet & Gremlin. T-14 is used in all others with the 232cid. T-96 models are distinguished by different letters. These indicated a "minor" internal change, sometimes a different gear ratio, different bearings, etc. Case remained the same for a number as did overall internal design. T-96H might also be the same tranny as T-96, just an indication to differ it from the J series. (?) T-96J was only used by AMC (much harder to find parts for). T-96J was used in Rebel & American in '67 as well as '70-'72 Hornets & Gremlins T-96J is a hd version of the T-96 with a larger larger first gear (3:01:1 vs. 2.60:1 in T-96), a larger front bearing, and a larger mainshaft. The standard gear cluster should fit the J model as well. Output shaft also seems to be the same, but it may be larger. T-96J Some were prone to premature failure due to improper hardening of internal shafts circa 1971 T-96 and automatic BW M-37 have the same number of splines. T-96 and automatic BW M-35 also have identical universal yokes. (JEEP Tranny Information - most of this info should apply to cars) T-86 Cast iron case, Helical 1st and reverse gear, spiral cut mainshaft, case # T86X-1X, Case length 8.12" T-86 has a 1 1/8" 10 spline input shaft. Length of input shaft varies with application. Output is 1 3/8" 6 spline. Gear Ratios: 2.798 1.687 1.00 3.798 T-86 case/gears and other parts are interchangable with with the T-90. OVERDRIVES Borg Warner OD was available from early '60 to '69, and during '70-'73 there wasn't one available. Borg Warner unit used a large electric solenoid to engage OD. T-10 4-speed ratios Z (GM) 3.42:1 2.28:1 1.46:1 "U" series also had 34 tooth first driven by 18 on the cluster. Later when GM used it on the assembly line the tooth count was changed to a stronger 30 driven by 16. Some T-10's were Super T-10's with aluminum mainbodies "Z" series were all SIII, but to simplify rebuilding Warner came up with a set of parts that would work in a SII (7/8" cluster shaft) case, this maybe "U" HOW TO ID AMC MANUAL TRANSMISSIONS ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Get the number of cover bolts and the shape of the shifter bosses (where the shifter enters the trans) for the ID. model - additional info - main case length - case # ---------------------------------------------------------------------- T-86 6 bolt, round, connected with brace 8.12", T-86X-1X T-96 4 bolt, round, separate 7", T-96X-1X T-86 has a horizontal brace between the shift lever bosses (not a low ridge -- it extends nearly to the ends of the bosses. T-96 may have a casting mark) and has six (instead of four like on T-96) bolts retaining the top cover. There are ways to tell T-10's apart for example: 2:23 "V" has 5 grooves cut into the input shaft, 2:43 "P" has 4 grooves cut into the input shaft, 2:64 "T" has 3 grooves cut into the input shaft, 2:64 "W" super T10 has 1 groove cut into the input shaft. 2:43 "S" super T10 also has just 1 groove. Some cases also have a machined boss on the lower drivers side toward the front with the date code stamped into them. The six cylinder bellhousings are 6.5", V8 is 8" T-96, T-14 [in cars], SR-4/T4/T5 and 150-T are 'short'; T-89, T-86, T-10, and T-15 are 'deep'. SHIFTERS ---------------------------------------------------------------------- While the transmissions may be from different manufacturers, the shifter is AMC and is the same setup for both Borg-Warner and Tremec. ======================================================================

The bottom line...
If you have a T-86 or a T-90, it may fit my Rambler. I would like to get it back on the road, so let me know. I publicly thank Jay Barnes for contacting me concerning a possible fit. If you would like to contact him about the T-96 he has, do it here. Below used to be Jay's workshop:

My son-in-law knows a transmission rebuild specialist. I am going to check him out. I have been told that, although parts are scarce, damaged gears can be rejuvenated by applying missing metal and remilling. I have to check out that alternative. The first gear and the corresponding gear on the cluster are damaged. The damage, however, was probably caused by worn bearings...and the OD planetary, or pinion gear is worn. I also cannot find the spacer that went between the roller bearings on the counter shaft. It was not among the parts returned by Courtesy Transmission, but they have responded to my several inquiries that they do not have it.

Erik, my son-in-law told me that Don Johnson (760-378-3112) really knows his business, rebuilding transmissions, but that he is trying to retire. He would require that I find the parts myself, which I had been led to believe by Courtesy transmission and Wymer Automotive in Ohio was nearly impossible. Mark Wymer and his father, George, told me that they had found four transmissions that would fit, however, the owners would not sell them. Since when are transmissions collector's items? Oh well. I phoned George. He had deposited my cashier's check for $300 and was still looking. When I told him that I was also looking again, he said if I found anything, to let him know and he would refund my money. Mark was going to some sort of convention the following week and was going to look around there for a transmission for my Rambler.

Next installment (07/13/01)

After receiving several helpful emails via the form below concerning Rambler transmissions, several from Jim Maerzke who lives in Kenosha where Rambler is still building Jeep engines, I indulged in a flurry of activity, trying to determine what I might be able to accomplish toward getting the Rambler running again. Most of the messages are in the Guest Book.

I was finally able to contact Memory Lane Wrecking in Sun Valley (1-800-281-9273 - disconnected - 818-504-3341 from information). They did not have a T-86 but recommended I call "Rambler Bob" in Huntington Beach. "A nice guy" they said. They also said he was going out of business but not yet. No such name or number. I went online and came across Tony Zamisch, 977 Florida St., Imperial Beach, California, 619-423-0364. Tony suggested I phone Bob (Rambler Bob?) who suggested I call Martin, a "vintage transmission expert - has Rambler modulators." Martin (310-679-5697) frequents the Long Beach Swap Meet. Turns out Martin is mostly acquainted with automatics, but he says that gears are a dime a dozen, not at all rare as I had been led to believe by several other "rebuilders."

Martin suggested I call Ed 310-323-3154 a standard rebuilder. He also gave me the number for ANA GEAR in LA, 213-748-2194. They should have any gear or standard part I need. Martin's favorite Rambler source was located in Round Rock, Texas, but he just died, and his wife might have trouble finding parts in his warehouse, area code 512-(?).

Martin also suggested Ron in Garden Grove, who mainly rebuilds Chevy's, maybe Ford, which also uses T-86 and Borg Warner T-10, 714-537-8028. Martin asked what quote I had been given in Cathedral City. When I told him $3,500, he retorted, "You must have been standing in a bent-over position." The word "screwed" also entered the conversation. Enough of that. I have been told by several that Courtesy obviously decided they did not want to attempt the job after mulling it over for six months. I was convinced of it when I called Barry's bluff. After a pause, I suggested that it might be worth $3,500 rather than buy another car. His response indicated that he had not expected me to take his estimate seriously.

When I told Martin that I lived near Cathedral City, he recommended Courtesy Transmission. He was flabbergasted when I told him it was Barry at Courtesy who caught me in a bent-over position. He said that Barry frequently got parts from him and he had never had any problems. Martin checked his records and was surprised that Barry had not called him about parts for the T-86, suggesting that he or Mark did not even try and that the $2,000 figure for parts was out of thin air. Martin confirmed my suspicions that $1,500 for labor was also an exaggerated figure.

However, on the basis of Martin's allegations that gears and parts for the T-86 should be easy to find and inexpensive, I decided to give Transmission City 500 another try. The next day, I packed up the disassembled T-86 with OverDrive in several cardboard boxes; phoned Gary, the manager; got permission to bring it in; and did just that. I took along photo copies of pages from my manual on assembling the transmission with schematics with gear and part numbers. Gary helped me move it all onto a hand car, and he said he would get Carlo on it the next day. I checked my notes, Carlo was the fellow who said he would look at the same transmission when it was on Barry's bench. Gary said, "That ought to do it." I reminded him that I would like some sort of paperwork. He gave me a copy of the tentative work order dated 07/10/01. I asked him when I should call him to find out the status of the work. He said he would call me when they knew something. I didn't tell him I had heard that one before. Don't tell me I'm getting cynical. No, I wouldn't keep trying if that were the case.

Next installment (07/20/01)

I got a call today from Gary, manager at Transmission City 500. Carlo cannot get himself around my
T-86. He says some parts are missing, but he can't say which ones. They can send it to another rebuilder in Los Angeles. Sight unseen estimate, depending on which parts are missing: from $900 to $1,500. I told Gary I have at least one more option and that I'd check it out and call him back.

I hung up and phoned Ed Schwan, 310-323-3154, recommended to me by Martin, above, as an experienced rebuilder of standard transmissions. Ed was home. He asked what transmission we are talking about. He then told me that the T-86 is a "truck transmission," heavy duty. I knew about the heavy duty designation for lighter cars. Ed says he is semi-retired, has been rebuilding transmissions for 50 years, and is now working out of his home.

He says that there should be little if any problem finding used parts to get at least another 100,000 miles on the Rambler. He felt that the estimates so far, $3,500 and $900 to $1,500 are all too high. He guaranteed that if he were unable to get the old tranny working properly, he would find me a suitable replacement transmission at a reasonable cost. This is an offer I can't refuse.

I phoned Gary back. He says he can have the transmission boxed and shipped to Ed, collect, for $15. I gave him Ed's address, 20716 Berendo, Torance, CA 90502. Gary assured me he could have it boxed and shipped by Monday or Tuesday, next week. I gave him Ed's phone number also, in case the shipper needed to verify his address and whether or not he was home to receive the shipment. I asked Gary to let me know when it is shipped and I will drop by to pick up the envelope of schematics, part numbers, and other information on the T-86 and pay him whatever I might owe him for time and trouble.

I then phoned Ed to see if he needed a deposit to cover the C.O.D. and other incidentals. He was willing to cover that himself to get things started. He asked when it would be arriving. I told him that if it goes out on schedule, Monday or Tuesday, next week, it should be arriving Wednesday or Thursday the same week. Ed said that would be good because he is going to be leaving to visit relatives in Arizona in two or three weeks...since he is retired. He mentioned that since he works on transmissions part-time, it might be two or three weeks before the rebuild is finished. He reminded me that since the transmission is disassembled and in boxes, it might take longer, because it is more difficult to determine just what is missing, but he felt it would be no problem that a little extra time could not solve. How reassuring. I told him that I don't mind it taking two or three weeks since the car has been down for over a year while I have been attempting to find solutions to the transmission problem. After I pick up the envelope of schematics etc. I plan to phone Ed to verify shipment and see if he might find the data in the envelope useful since it has part numbers and layout. If so, I will mail it to him. Things are looking up.



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