AMC Pacer



Most Pacers are equipped with the 4.2 liter inline six cylinder engine (258ci). It has roughly the same layout as as the smaller 3.8 liter (232ci), but is much more powerful. Best engine in terms of power vs. fuel consumption is the 258 with 2 barrel carburetor. If the smaller 1 venturi carb is on the engine, the intake has to be changed if you want to upgrade to 2bbl.

The sixes are reliable and durable. Mileages beyond 250,000 are no problem, only thing they don't like are high revs. Power peak is reached at 4,800 rpm, and torque maximum is below 2,000. These engines are perfect for cruisin' and good mates for an automatic transmission. After AMC's end the 258 was continued by Chrysler, and its son, the 4.0, has been in production for Jeeps until the early 2000s. After 1980 the 258 was modified in some respects: A plastic valve cover, a lighter block and some other things made the later engines some 50 kilograms lighter than their predecessors. The Pacer has the old heavyweight with metal valve cover — luckily, because the plastic covers are prone to leak.

gebrauchter 258


All American engines get oil leaks after some time (as most engines do, though not all of them as severe). AMC's sixes leak mostly from the rear crank seal. To replace it, the crank has to be removed. If it is not too bad yet, put something under the car when you park it and get used to it.

One of the Pacer's evil parts is the exhaust manifold. It tends to crack. Replacements are available, but they aren't cheap, and used ones will fail soon. So if the engine is loud and you smell fumes inside the car when ventilation is turned on, don't believe the seller if he says something like it "only needs a new seal" — more often than not he's lying, and you pay the bill. Also the threads for the bolts that connect the intake with the exhausts can get bad with time, and as the material gets friable it can not be repaired.

If the car has stalling problems when warm, most likely it's the carb. Tune-up kits are cheap. The ignition module is another part that's not made for eternity. It's a mass produced part bought by AMC and inexpensive.

All other engine and drivetrain parts are durable and available, new or used. Thanks to the very active Jeep scene, many vendors offer performance parts that can allow you to get much more power out of the sixes. Mopar even offers a multipoint injection for anyone who wants to spend big bucks.

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Last modified: 2019-12-25 16:17