asifnyc New Reader
Dec. 14, 2015 12:12 a.m.

Apologies in advance but this is going to be a slow build so don’t expect a grosh level of productivity here :) I’ve embarked on an adventure to make a 1975 AMC Gremlin my daily driver. I’ll cut to the chase and tell you that I am already 1,000 miles in. The car IS my daily driver at this point. Now the goal is to make it more comfortable and also to make it a bit cooler (although I already think it’s pretty damn cool as it sits).

A quick recap to bring us up to date. Bought the car from a fellow AMC club member in January 2014. He had driven the car for a number of years and then it started to become unreliable. He said it stranded him a few times (mostly in the rain I believe). So he parked the car and bought a Gremlin X (factory V8 car). The car sat in his driveway for 4 years before I came along. $600 bucks later it was mine!

He only lives 10 minutes from me so after winching it on my trailer and getting it home it only took me 20 minutes to get it running. Once I had it registered I took it for my first test drive. Just drove it to the local super market. I made it there and back but the clutch slipped really badly (oh, 3 speed on the floor, bitchin’!). Also, the bottom of the car was just caked in oil and crud and it was leaking so badly from everywhere that I had to put a big drip pan under the car. My guess was that the clutch was covered in oil so I thought the only way to fix this is just pull the motor/trans and reseal everything. So I parked it and then it sat again for a little over a year. I wasn’t able to prioritize this car as most of my shop time goes to my road race Javelin.

But, in April 2015 I had the Javelin at the cage builders doing some work and I had a hole in the shop. So I took the opportunity to pull the Gremlin in and yanked the motor. I separated the motor/trans and when I got to the clutch… it wasN’T covered in oil as I had expected… The clutch disc didn’t look really worn either. But it was shinny so maybe it was glazed? Anyway, I spent the next few months cleaning everything and repainting a lot of stuff. I changed all the gaskets and put in a new clutch disc/pressure plate. More time passed and in September I finally got the motor/trans back in. And even more time passed but in early November I had everything back together and was ready to drive driving it again.

So I’ve been driving it pretty much exclusively since then. I have used my truck a couple of times, but like I said, the last 1,000 miles I’ve driven have been in the Gremlin. Btw, this car has a name. I’ve never named my cars but the PO gave it a name and all the local AMC club people know it by that name so I use it. The car is named Greta. There’s a few posts on my blog with some more details and a video of the engine pull on my youtube channel.

I haven’t done too much to it since I’ve been commuting in it. Now that it runs I’m finding I really don’t want to do anything to sideline it for more than a weekend. But, I’ve got 2 weeks off over xmas and hope to hit some items (although, as usual, road race car is first priority). The one thing I did get done is to pull the bumpers. 1975 bumpers are ugly, huge and weigh 60lbs a piece. So now I’m 120lbs lighter :) Here’s my punch list: The bench seat is not comfortable. The drivers side padding is shot so it’s a literal pain in the ass. I want to get some kind of bucket seats for it. The brakes suck. 4 wheel manual drums are not the hot ticket. I’m going with a Scarebird bracket and hubs. No arm rest. I want a center console with an armrest and a drink holder :) (cheap plastic version ordered from Amazon today, $15) The 15” steering wheel is like a giant bus wheel. want something smaller. *if I really get ambitious someday I may try to swap in the tilt column I have from a Javelin. FM radio + more/better speakers. The AM radio and one, dash mounted speaker is not working for me. rebuilt carb - I have a carb on the bench. want to rebuild it and then swap it out for minimum down time. HEI distributor - have one on the shelf. will need new plug wires for it. Dynamat and carpet. This car had carpet but PO put it in the V8 car and put THAT cars rubber mats in this one. Rear view mirror – current one is pretty fogged out so that’ll get changed out at some point. Horn doesn’t work. need to fix that. Driver’s side fender cap is cracked and missing pieces including the side marker light. Need to replace that. Needs all new weather stripping Headlights need a little adjustment It’s doesn’t handle that bad but I’m sure it could use a front end rebuild. Change out the wheels/tires. Haven’t decided what I want to do here. Current tires were added shortly before the car was parked by PO. So no miles but 5+ years old. paint - eventually, most likely do it myself. Probably flat black. motor - long term I want to swap in a 4.0 EFI jeep motor (early ‘90s).

Here’s a few pics: Day I got the car

Current - Sans Bumpers!

Hangin' out at Sonoma Raceway

Contemplating a career change :)

wheelsmithy HalfDork
Dec. 14, 2015 5:40 a.m.

Most excellent. I had a '69 Javelin in high school. They just look right to my eyes.

SilverFleet UltraDork
Dec. 14, 2015 9:46 a.m.

Oh yes!!!! AMC's RULE. I look forward to watching this one.

dropstep
dropstep HalfDork
Dec. 14, 2015 1:18 p.m.

Weird older car being brought back for daily life, right up my alley! I also understand not wanting it down for longer then a weekend. Thats how i keep convincing myself to leave the i6 in my car.

FSP_ZX2 Dork
Dec. 14, 2015 1:29 p.m.
ssswitch HalfDork
Dec. 14, 2015 2:16 p.m.

Man that's a good looking Gremlin.

asifnyc New Reader
Dec. 30, 2015 1:55 p.m.

In reply to FSP_ZX2:

Yep, I've seen that Gremlin. Very cool, I'm going for more of a budget build with mine :)

ok... MAJOR MILESTONE!!!!!!!!

cupholders!

I also pulled the AM radio in preparation for putting something else in there. Anybody got any suggestions? Not opposed to cutting the dash but not really my first choice. I want FM + media player (usb and/or flash card reader). Would love a two post solution but the only one I found is some cheap (<$20) thing that got terrible reviews... trying to decide between an actual car radio or maybe an ipod type player with a bluetooth amplifier? Don't want to spend a lot of money but want something that's going to be convenient to use. I bought an in dash media receiver (Boss I think) several years ago and the file navigation and the delay from one song to the next was so bad I gave up trying to use it.

Next up I reverse flushed the heater core (heat had stopped working and was pretty sure the core was clogged). I think it worked, got some god awful crap out of the core and after a minute was getting nice clean water in the bucket...

I've been off work for the holidays so haven't logged too many miles recently. I'm at about 1300 now...

2K4Kcsq Reader
Dec. 31, 2015 8:34 a.m.

way cool. Also I cant stop looking at the yellow one

Ironsides New Reader
Dec. 31, 2015 11:56 a.m.

Moar pics of the Javelin please

asifnyc New Reader
Dec. 31, 2015 11:01 p.m.

In reply to Ironsides:

here you go....

there's also a blue one...

Mad_Ratel HalfDork
Dec. 31, 2015 11:50 p.m.

right after reading your thread I found this. https://greenville.craigslist.org/cto/5379999460.html

asifnyc New Reader
Jan. 1, 2016 12:17 a.m.

In reply to Mad_Ratel:

Awesome! When are you going to get it?

Will SuperDork
Jan. 1, 2016 8:48 a.m.

If this car doesn't end up with the Levi's bucket seats, I will be disappoint.

My dad had a 75 Gremlin with the Levi's package, 232 6-cylinder and 4-speed/overdrive.

asifnyc New Reader
Jan. 16, 2016 9:34 p.m.

Ok, the Gremlin has been grounded :( I was driving home the other night and it had a super quick very strong stumble. Like the ignition cut out just for a microsecond. Shortly after that the ALT light went bright. I was sure it was going to strand me but I made it home. During the ride it did the cut out stumble thing 2 or 3 more times. The ALT light would go very bright for a few minutes then settle down to a dim glow, then spike to bright again. Eventually it just went bright and stayed that way...

Spent a few hours looking at it and I'm stumped. Need some help here. Here are a bunch of details (and pics):

  1. Prior to this incident the car has given me 1300 trouble free miles. However the ALT light was always dimly lit while driving. I had confirmed the battery was seeing high 13 low 14 volts while running so I just blew it off.
  2. The battery is new
  3. The ALT light is always brightly lit while running now
  4. The alternator is not charging (with volt meter I just see the same voltage at the battery that it has before starting the car)
  5. Took the alternator to the parts store for a test, it passed
  6. car has a delco 10si INTERNALLY regulated alternator BUT still has a voltage regulator connected
  7. I suspect the regulator but don't know how to test
  8. Since the ALT is internally regulated and a replacement Reg is $60 I would like to just eliminate the regulator.

I spent the afternoon reading a ton of threads on regulators and upgrading to IR alternators and tried a bunch of stuff but I'm stuck. I cannot get the car to fire without the VR plugged in (and if I disconnect the ground to the VR the car dies). Read some AMC threads that say just tape up the VR connector, wire the red 10si wire to the output lug and the white wire to the car's ALT light (I've done this).

Chevy threads say to jump the VR connector wires (but there wire colors didn't match mine). I tried jumping every combination and I cannot get the car to fire.

With key on there is power at the Yellow and Green VR harness connector. Also there is continuity between the White/Yellow wires and between the Blue/Green wires.

Anybody got anything for me?

asifnyc New Reader
Jan. 17, 2016 11:55 p.m.

ok that was a wild goose chase. what I thought was a voltage regulator was the ignition control module. '75 was the first year for breakerless ignition (didn't know that). I have a 10si internally regulated alternator. problem turned out to be a bad alternator (despite the parts store testing and telling me it was good).

threw on another one and now it's charging and my ALT light is out. back to racking up the miles with this thing...

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