1967 Amphicar Winter Project

My ‘67 Amphicar started dripping oil, apparently from a leaky pan gasket. It doesn’t drip on the floor, it just accumulates in the bilge. Unfortunately, the only option for replacing the gasket is to pull the engine. Putting the car on a lift and dropping the pan from underneath is not possible since it’s all enclosed, just like a boat hull.I’ve already pulled the radiator, fan, oil cooler and muffler. You can see the bilge pump to the right of the coil. Amphicars were built in Germany from 1961-68. They were imported to the US, their biggest market, from 1962-67. While they were of German origin, Amphicars used an 1147cc engine provided by triumph motors. This small reliable engine puts out a whopping 43 hp. Whenever I’d stomp on the gas, I’d get a sudden burst of slow. The 2-part transmission is under the rear seat (looking to the back of the car). The closer part is the water transmission. The yellow arrows point to the shafts that connect the transmission to the props. The shafts have to be detached before I can pull the engine. The 4-speed land transmission sits behind it. The red arrows point to the rubber boots that couple the axle tunnels to the transmission. Water flows right to the transmission when it’s in the water.  Double-lip seals, located where the axle splines insert into the transmission, prevent water from entering. Those rubber boots are probably the 50-year-old originals. One of those failing while in the water could be catastrophic. They will be replaced. I’ll be adding radiator mounts to my parts list. I plan to put in a new clutch also.

Amphicar Winter Project, Part 2

After a couple weeks of preparation, on Dec 7  I finally pulled the engine out of my ‘67 Amphicar. The following activities took 6 days, which include a couple of days waiting for parts.

1.  The rear of the car is so high, I had to remove the wheels and lower the car to get enough clearance. First thing I did was replace the oil pan gasket.

2. Next, I split the transmission from the engine and removed the clutch. The mighty 6 1/2” clutch definitely had some wear.

3 . The old throw-out bearing on the right is also showing signs of wear.

4. The new clutch finally arrived. Gordon Imports in California, the prime parts supplier, would not ship the rebuilt clutch until they received my old one. It guarantees there will be a constant supply.

5. Another task I had was to replace a worn seal that’s allowing transmission oil to migrate between the land and water tramissions. Access to the seal is through the water transmission, which I’ve begun to open.

6. Inside the water transmission. The worn seal is behind a gear that is secured by a large nut. So far, I’ve been unable to loosen it, even with a 4-foot breaker bar. Next up: impact gun.

Amphicar Winter Project, Part 3

My work had been halted because of a nut I couldn’t loosen. An impact wrench, kindly loaned by Chuck, made short work of it. With the nut off, I was able to remove the gear and get to the worn seal that was letting transmission oil migrate between the land and water transmissions. The old rubber seal literally crumbled into pieces as I was removing it. Within the hour, the new seal was in. I would have been ready to reinstall the gear and close up the transmission, but when I checked the needle bearings that the gear rides on, it was clear they were pretty worn. A few days later, new bearings arrived and the transmission was closed. A final torquing of all nuts and bolts and the engine was dropped back into the car. Next: reattaching everything.

I included one additional picture showing the Amphicar solution for getting the hand brake cable to the rear brakes without letting water in. Just clamp a small boot to a nipple on the wheel well and clamp the other end to the cable. The boot stretches and relaxes when the hand brake is set. Just another thing to keep an eye on over the years for signs of age and wear.