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An age old hot rodding adage goes something like: “An engine is more than the sum of its parts”. While that oft-repeated saying has been tossed around so much as to be threadbare, that doesn’t make it any less true. Details are key, and are what separate two otherwise identical engines. Many enthusiasts are so focused on choosing parts that they sometimes overlook little things in assembly that will improve their engine’s durability as well as its performance.
One example is careful preparation of the oiling system. They may believe the factory knew what it was doing when it designed the engine, so they see no need to mess with it. What they fail to take into account is manufacturing tolerances and things like core shift during the casting process. They also may be overlooking the fact that they are asking far more of their engine than the manufacturer had intended it to provide.
American Motors enthusiasts know that their marquee’s V8 engines have a unique oiling system that requires special consideration. These engines supply oil to the distributor gear last and via a circuitous path, which needs careful preparation to ensure adequate oil flow. There are several key areas to focus your attention, and we will highlight each of them in this story. This discussion applies to AMC’s from 1967 and on: 290, 304, 343, 360, 390, and 401 cubic inch varieties.
Follow along as we outline the trouble spots in the AMC V8’s distributor lubrication scheme and show you how to counteract them. A little extra attention given to the oiling system with these simple modifications during your next build will pay big dividends down the road.