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Discussion Starter · #241 ·
Vibration: Before the engine removal, when you did your last 1/4 mile tests, is it possible that one of the torque converter turbine blades bent or one broke on one end? This might change the pressure and maybe the amount of fluid (weight) in parts of the spinning convertor. This might cause vibrations. I don't know how commonly this occurs.

I think you have a TH350 or TH400, so I don't think you have a torque converter clutch, so this would not be TCC shuddering.
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Might not be the best reference;
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3) Vibrations and Shakiness
If you accelerate your vehicle past 40 mph and experience a lot of shakiness and vibrations in the cabin, then you probably have a bad torque converter. It will feel as if you’re driving on a gravel or bumpy road. You cannot let this problem carry on for too much longer because it could lead to even bigger problems with your transmission or engine.
5 Symptoms of a Bad Torque Converter in Your Car - Autocartimes.com
This does not appear to be the problem. The vibrations occurred with the old torque converter. When the shop decided to pull the motor again to check the flexplate for cracks, I asked them to just replace the flexplate and at this time they also installed a new torque converter. The vibrations occurred before and after this change, so this does not seem to be the problem.

Thanks for the idea, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #242 ·
Scott, I can say from experience that is is very difficult to narrow down vibrations concerning the engine. I had no vibration before the new engine, and when it was installed the engine had no vibration. I found that the first shop I had taken it to drive it rough and caused issues. The second shop damaged the driveshaft, an minor twist, due to hooking up the tires on dry pavement. The fourth shop had to rebuild the transmission three times, under warranty, to get it right. And now my current shop has helped by eliminating all but the engine vibration I originally took it in for. After replacing the flywheel and installing a rattler harmonic balancer, it still vibrates. His recommendation is that the rotating assembly need to be balanced complete. I have been told by blueprint to pull the motor out ams send it in for repair. Shaking my head as it does not leak, has great power and even solid mpg.
Wow, that really sucks! So frustrating.

I continue to put some break-in miles on the car and I really like the motor. It sarts up way easier than the old motor. It is much more like a modern car. I do not touch the gas at all now. I just insert key, allow fuel pump to run to build pressure and the as I turn the key it fires up immediately.

I reset the timing last night as they had base timing at about 16deg I I turned it to 12 deg as recommneded by BP and Edlebrock instructions.

What's interesting is that the vibration is noticble right at 3000rpm. I can feel it a little bit at 2500 and 3200, but when at 4000rpm it is smooth again. I also notice that it is smoother when the overdrive is engaged.

RJ, do you feel safe driving the car even with the vibrations? How many miles have you put on the motor with this vibration?

Can bad motor mounts cause the vibration?
 

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Discussion Starter · #243 ·
Just throwing something out there. Can you unbolt the converter and run the motor?
Tom
I don't have the skill for this, but I plan to have shop number two do this, hopefully they agree with this plan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #244 ·
After seeing everything you've done, I gotta say that it seems that you've got the chops to do your own wrenching. I'd like to encourage you to stop paying other folks and do it yourself. We are here to help!
Haha. You guys have much more confidence in my skills than I do. My biggest concern here is that i do not have a lift or the heavy tools like a motor stand pull the motor out or up. I typically choose intensive projects, but they are not heavy lifting type of stuff. The biggest installs were the rear end gears and the addition of the GV unit. All the other stuff including the Edlebrock ProFlo are all lightweight items that are easy for me to manage by myself. Plus, work on the top end and interior is much easier for me than stuff that takes place under the car.

The community is great, and youtube is pretty fantastic too, but I have limits that I am not willing to cross, right now at least.

Thanks everyone for the comments.
 

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Discussion Starter · #245 ·
I am putting together a list of items for the second shop to check out. Let me know if anyone has other thoughts.

1. Evaluate harmonic balancer - This is a PWR and only has about 2000 miles on it. It is unbalanced for internally balanced front end.

2. Elvauate motor mounts - I asked the first shop to replace these and they did not do it. I have new mounts ready to install, so hopefully the second shop will just get this done.

3. Evaluate flexplate and torque converter - Both are new. The vibrations occurred before and after I had this torque converter installed. I am really concerned on the flexplate. The first shop kept telling me that this motor is internally balanced and does not require a balanced flexplate. They told me they had the one from NAPA installed and then changed it out to the one I bought from Summit Racing. The story was confusing and did not make sense to me. This motor requires an externally balanced rear end and the flexplate must be balanced. I bought one specifically designed to fit this motor and I have a feeling they did not install the correct flexplate. The vibration with the new motor is slightly different from the last time and I am really thinking the problem is here.

Can the flexplate and torque converter be looked at by just removing the flexplate dustcover or is there more to it? If this can be done, I think it would be pretty easy for a shop with a lift to do this inspection without too much labor.

Anything else?
 

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Wow, that really sucks! So frustrating.

I continue to put some break-in miles on the car and I really like the motor. It sarts up way easier than the old motor. It is much more like a modern car. I do not touch the gas at all now. I just insert key, allow fuel pump to run to build pressure and the as I turn the key it fires up immediately.

I reset the timing last night as they had base timing at about 16deg I I turned it to 12 deg as recommneded by BP and Edlebrock instructions.

What's interesting is that the vibration is noticble right at 3000rpm. I can feel it a little bit at 2500 and 3200, but when at 4000rpm it is smooth again. I also notice that it is smoother when the overdrive is engaged.

RJ, do you feel safe driving the car even with the vibrations? How many miles have you put on the motor with this vibration?

Can bad motor mounts cause the vibration?
While I have driven around Dallas to and from work and for short runs, I keep it below 3k rpm. It has plenty of power according to the dyno sheet before the vibration point. It drives normal until I need to pass a car, and it’s not good for the motor long term. I plan to find a shop that can do the work and keep it inside at night. That’s been the hardest find. Wish I had a cherry picker and the time for a full tear down as I could do it all myself. Blueprint didn’t balance the rotating assembly complete and used their own pieces to dyno the thing. I’d also like to see the crank alignment for a possible twist from a solid hook up on dry pavement. I took engine building seriously when I was in the service and miss having a craft shop to support my various projects. I was a shop foreman after being a technician in US Army, working on diesel and gas powered motors and electrical systems. 1990-2012.


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I am putting together a list of items for the second shop to check out. Let me know if anyone has other thoughts.

1. Evaluate harmonic balancer - This is a PWR and only has about 2000 miles on it. It is unbalanced for internally balanced front end.

2. Elvauate motor mounts - I asked the first shop to replace these and they did not do it. I have new mounts ready to install, so hopefully the second shop will just get this done.

3. Evaluate flexplate and torque converter - Both are new. The vibrations occurred before and after I had this torque converter installed. I am really concerned on the flexplate. The first shop kept telling me that this motor is internally balanced and does not require a balanced flexplate. They told me they had the one from NAPA installed and then changed it out to the one I bought from Summit Racing. The story was confusing and did not make sense to me. This motor requires an externally balanced rear end and the flexplate must be balanced. I bought one specifically designed to fit this motor and I have a feeling they did not install the correct flexplate. The vibration with the new motor is slightly different from the last time and I am really thinking the problem is here.

Can the flexplate and torque converter be looked at by just removing the flexplate dustcover or is there more to it? If this can be done, I think it would be pretty easy for a shop with a lift to do this inspection without too much labor.

Anything else?
I did a rattler harmonic balancer, vibration still present. I had Ken the engine builder rep at blueprint rebalanced an unboxed and new flywheel l, vibration still there. I had three different sets of motor mounts installed. Vibration still there. Now the rear end is displaying a grinding hum under certain conditions. The pumpkin is also showing leakage from the front input seal.

I have a t56 manual 6 speed. My flywheel had to be removed to isolate possible problems, the transmission isn’t hard for a savvy shop to pull and should have you sorted in one day at most. Just have the part you want installed on hand in advance. Your flex plate is unique to automatics but the same process applies. The transmission will have to come out, as an inspection for any loose bolts is in order. Lock tight should be used on flex plate bolts and there is a centering pin that needs to be in place to prevent shifting alignment. If that dowel pin is missing then this can cause issue.

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Discussion Starter · #248 ·
I took some advice from a couple forum junkies, Hat Trick(Tom) and DJenkins and some of the local guys at the car club to try and decided to troubleshoot the motor vibrations myself.

Sometimes, I will talk myself out of a project before I truly understand the details. But, this turned out to be much easier than I thought.

So, I pulled off the flexplate cover and took a video. There was no wobble that I could detect at idle or at 3000rpm. So, I seperated the torque converter and sure enough I can see a wobble at idle but it was difficult to detect at 3000rpm.

So, I unbolted the 3 torque converter bolts. I used a 1/2" ratchet to turn the motor clockwise to expose each bolt on the flexplate so I could remove it. When I got close to the position I would use a pry bar on the flexplate teeth to rotate the motor and get to the correct position to remove the bolts. My flexplate has 6 bolt holes, but only 3 can be used. The other 3 bolt holes are for smaller bolt circle diameter (BCD) torque converters. I numbered the flexplate 1 through 6 and I numbered the TC 1 through 6. The guy from the local club told me this problem is fairly common and suggested that I move the flexplate one bolt hole at a time and try running the motor each time to determine the best position with the least amount of vibration. This took me a good 6 hours to complete, but I was able to handle all this without removing the starter, which was very improtant to me since I had to run the car each time after moving the flexplate to a new position on the TC.

I did find a new TC to Flexplate position that reduced the vibration by about half. So, this method really paid off. However, I think the real problem is a bad flexplate. What does everyone else think?

I have an appointment to take the car into the shop on Monday. I defineately cannot seperate the tranny with my tools to replace and further inspect the flexplate. I think I really need a proper lift to do that kind of work in my opinion.


Here are some photos and videos to share:



Flexplate to Torque Converter Inspection-1 I cut a small piece of alum pipe with a slot on it so I could use this to keep the motor at 3000rpm while looking under the car. It took me about 8 attempts to get the piece the right length.
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Flexplate to Torque Converter Inspection-2 Here is a shot of the Summit Racing HD Balanced Flexplate, 168 tooth and 14". It is connected to a Hughes Performance TowMaster 1800rpm stall Torque Converter (TC). This is the same shot angle I used for the videos. The tranny line unions are a great reference point to observe any vibration or wobble.
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Flexplate to Torque Converter Inspection-4 Here you can see my numbering scheme. At the starting position, both the FP and TC holes are marked as 1. As I tried new combinations (photo taken after the first roataion where FP-1 is at position 6 on the TC), I just recorded everythign on paper and continued to rotate the TC clockwise and took note of the vibrations being reduced, staying the same, or getting worse.
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Here is the first video with the flexplate and TC connected. I did not detect any wobble here altough I can feel it.



Here is the second video with the TC separated from the engine. There is a wobble at idle but it could not be detected at 3000rpm. When I first setup the camera I thought the union connectors on the tranny line were in the way, but it turns out that these serve as a great reference point to see any wobble. These videos came out way better than I imagined.


I really appeciate all the help. Please let me know what you think. I plan to take the car into the shop tomorrow and I want to give them some good direction to keep the troubleshooting time focused. Since I was able to reduce the vibration by half, does anyone think the problem could be resolved by just replacing the motor mounts?

As a reference, when I stand in front of the car and lean on the front bumper, I use my hand to rev the throttle up to 3000rpm. I can see and feel the back of the motor vibrating more than the front (I place my hand on top of the ProFlo 4 XT body) and i can feel the vibration in my legs since I am leaning on the front bumper. So, when I say the vibration is reduced by half, I can sense that in my legs and my hand on the XT body.
 

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Discussion Starter · #249 ·
Oh, besides me chasing this vibration, I did go to my first car show today. It was hosted by the local car club. There were 70+ vehicles and I took first place in the Muscle Car class. I did not know what to expect. This was a great surprise and validation for an adventure that started right about one year ago. Wow! I just went back to page 1 on this journal. It is really hard to believe what this car looked like one year ago. What a fun year!

I endearingly call this car my COVID-car. I am an avid traveller and since I have been restricted to home this past year, Elky and the garage has been my escape from reality. :D



137705
 

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The TC bolts were the the same size as the hole in the flex plate? The TC pinion matched the crankshaft journal? I think your on the right track.
Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #251 ·
I got a call from teh new shop today. They also seperated the TC from the FP and they felt no vibration. They believe the TC is bad or there is a bad connection to the tranny or the tranny stator is bad. I'm not sure how this could be, since the vibration is new, but I had it with the old TC and with this new TC.

I called Hughes performance and they wil lring me back in the am, but based on the symptoms they too think the problem is the TC or the tranny. I will cry if the shop F'ed up my tranny. The TC is an 1800 stall and this was recommended for the old motor with 190Hp stock, about 250 with my modz. I also have very little launch power and an 8 sec 0-60 time. So I am thinking of moving up to a 2500 stall. This seems to be a good match. I shall see in the am when they call me back to dsicuss the options. Hughes sounds like they are going to step up and take care of me. That is a nice feeling. Let's see what happens.

I should get the estimate tomorrow. I also asked them to investigate the leaks and they pretty much told me that everything is leaking: exhaust manifold (ticking that I detected), intake manifold has a large leak of oil on both sides, oil pan has a small leak, tranny pan has a large leak and vacuum manifold has a small leak and GV unit has a small leak at the exit seal. This is crazy considering that WHOLE reason I took the car to the first shop was to stop the leaks. Now I have a new motor and new TC that I probably did not need AND more leaks than when I started.

The new shop suggested I take it back to the first shop to correct the leaks under warranty. That AINT happening. I am totally done with them. I trust the second shop and have used them for years. I regret not taking it to them in the first place. The problem is that this is going to cost about 2k to fix all these problems crated by the first shop. Arrgh!

I also called GV about the rear seal and they said they will send a new one, but they are very suspicious that the driveshaft is too short and this is why the seal is leaking. I know they are wrong. I nailed those specs and the shop that cut and balanced the driveshaft got it perfect.

I also bought a B&M shift improver kit for the tranny. I may do this myself when I get the car back, but I am also leaning towards just having the shop do it so everything can be done under warranty and I get the car back right with no f-ing leaks.


Arrgh, this is killing me.
 

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Have you checked into pawning that trophy yet?
 

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Discussion Starter · #253 ·
haha, no. I am still a little surprised and since it is my first 🏆 it holds sentimental value. i would be like one of those guys on Pawn Stars that won't negotiate a fair price because the personal meaning is to high. haha.
 
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I got a call from teh new shop today. They also seperated the TC from the FP and they felt no vibration. They believe the TC is bad or there is a bad connection to the tranny or the tranny stator is bad. I'm not sure how this could be, since the vibration is new, but I had it with the old TC and with this new TC.

I called Hughes performance and they wil lring me back in the am, but based on the symptoms they too think the problem is the TC or the tranny. I will cry if the shop F'ed up my tranny. The TC is an 1800 stall and this was recommended for the old motor with 190Hp stock, about 250 with my modz. I also have very little launch power and an 8 sec 0-60 time. So I am thinking of moving up to a 2500 stall. This seems to be a good match. I shall see in the am when they call me back to dsicuss the options. Hughes sounds like they are going to step up and take care of me. That is a nice feeling. Let's see what happens.

I should get the estimate tomorrow. I also asked them to investigate the leaks and they pretty much told me that everything is leaking: exhaust manifold (ticking that I detected), intake manifold has a large leak of oil on both sides, oil pan has a small leak, tranny pan has a large leak and vacuum manifold has a small leak and GV unit has a small leak at the exit seal. This is crazy considering that WHOLE reason I took the car to the first shop was to stop the leaks. Now I have a new motor and new TC that I probably did not need AND more leaks than when I started.

The new shop suggested I take it back to the first shop to correct the leaks under warranty. That AINT happening. I am totally done with them. I trust the second shop and have used them for years. I regret not taking it to them in the first place. The problem is that this is going to cost about 2k to fix all these problems crated by the first shop. Arrgh!

I also called GV about the rear seal and they said they will send a new one, but they are very suspicious that the driveshaft is too short and this is why the seal is leaking. I know they are wrong. I nailed those specs and the shop that cut and balanced the driveshaft got it perfect.

I also bought a B&M shift improver kit for the tranny. I may do this myself when I get the car back, but I am also leaning towards just having the shop do it so everything can be done under warranty and I get the car back right with no f-ing leaks.


Arrgh, this is killing me.
I found my vibration, it was the fan clutch on the water pump. It had roughly a centimeter and a half of wobble in it while the engine wasn’t running and it wasn’t noticeable if you just took your hand and spun it. I replace the fan clutch and vibration went away.


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Discussion Starter · #256 ·
RJ it sounds like you went through a lot to find that problem. I have electric fans and there does not seem to be any vibration or visable wobble in the front of the motor. When I called Hughes, they seemed pretty confident that the vibration based on the symptoms is the TC. But, I am nervous because I had this vibration with the old motor and old TC before the big swaps. It makes me think it could be in the transmission.

I am committed to getting this right, so Hughes is sending a street and strip GM25 TC at no extra cost to upgrade the TOW-5 TC. They said fluid dynamics and little things like the mount and position on the Flexplate can cause vibrations even when TC is balanced. They are going to inspect the TC I send back to them and call me with what they find.

I am really impressed with Hughes level of customer service. GV wants the shop to do all kinds of measurements on the driveshaft length to prove that it is not too short and the cause of the rear seal going bad. FiTech told me to upgrade my fuel delivery system. I had $2000 into fuel delivery before they sent me a new unit. Hughes just stepped up and said swap it out and let's see if that fixes the problem. If it does not and I need a new transmission, guess who I am going to buy it from. Hughes also answers their phone everytime I call them for tech help.

I also plan to add a shift improver kit if this tranny stays in place. Man, I really want this car to be right and to be fast. Online calcs tell me I should be at a 12 sec car and I have a 16sec car right now. 4 sec difference is so so different. I just want to feel that difference.
 
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I’d be pretty surprised if your Hughes torque converter turns out to be the problem. But I’ve been surprised before.

Torque converters are individually hand built and checked for balance before they go out. Hughes is a good company and I’ve used a few of their converters without issues. If disconnecting the torque converter stopped the vibration though, certainly that’s a good indicator. But I’d be more suspicious of the bearings/bushings/clutch packs riding on the input shaft of the transmission. In the interest of your wallet I hope I’m very wrong And your replacement converter is the fix.
 

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RJ it sounds like you went through a lot to find that problem. I have electric fans and there does not seem to be any vibration or visable wobble in the front of the motor. When I called Hughes, they seemed pretty confident that the vibration based on the symptoms is the TC. But, I am nervous because I had this vibration with the old motor and old TC before the big swaps. It makes me think it could be in the transmission.

I am committed to getting this right, so Hughes is sending a street and strip GM25 TC at no extra cost to upgrade the TOW-5 TC. They said fluid dynamics and little things like the mount and position on the Flexplate can cause vibrations even when TC is balanced. They are going to inspect the TC I send back to them and call me with what they find.

I am really impressed with Hughes level of customer service. GV wants the shop to do all kinds of measurements on the driveshaft length to prove that it is not too short and the cause of the rear seal going bad. FiTech told me to upgrade my fuel delivery system. I had $2000 into fuel delivery before they sent me a new unit. Hughes just stepped up and said swap it out and let's see if that fixes the problem. If it does not and I need a new transmission, guess who I am going to buy it from. Hughes also answers their phone everytime I call them for tech help.

I also plan to add a shift improver kit if this tranny stays in place. Man, I really want this car to be right and to be fast. Online calcs tell me I should be at a 12 sec car and I have a 16sec car right now. 4 sec difference is so so different. I just want to feel that difference.
You should be 12 or better. I can turn 11.5 with my current set up, 10.6 with the 373 gears in. WOT with a fuel injected car is same output HP/torque wise as carburetor.
 
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Discussion Starter · #259 ·
I’d be pretty surprised if your Hughes torque converter turns out to be the problem. But I’ve been surprised before.

Torque converters are individually hand built and checked for balance before they go out. Hughes is a good company and I’ve used a few of their converters without issues. If disconnecting the torque converter stopped the vibration though, certainly that’s a good indicator. But I’d be more suspicious of the bearings/bushings/clutch packs riding on the input shaft of the transmission. In the interest of your wallet I hope I’m very wrong And your replacement converter is the fix.
I think you are right too. I just don't want you to be. I am planning for a new tranny. Anything less would be great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #260 ·
So, I am still waiting on the TC to arrive. With a long 4 day weekend and the wife working, I decided to take the car home and work on some of the projects.

I still have some oil leaks and it turns out that many of the bolts were not up to torque, so I went through a round of checking and torquing the intake and headers and oil pan bolts. I really hope this stops the leaks and I do not need to replace those gaskets.

I also painted the wheels. They had a strip of polished alum and I blackened these. This came out great.

The big project for the weekend was to install a B&M shift improver kit and reseal the leaking tranny pan. Well, after pulling off the valve body, the front servo piston rod was in two pieces and there was some metal damage. My fist sign was metal shavings in this fresh oil. I had changed the pan to a black ribbed pan about a month ago. The acumulator was also bent slightly at an angle and this causes the piston to be off center. Not to mention another nasty indentation in the metal from from the servo rod.

I am really curious if this could be the cause of the vibration, or worse, if the vibration caused this to fail. Any thoughts if this would be the cause???

I have some parts on order and a TransGo 400 Pro improver kit. I plan to install some of these parts to gain more performance while most importantly replacing the accumulator assembly to get rid of the bent one. I also bought a governor recalibration kit so I can improve my shift points higher into the rpm range.

Here are a few photos and descriptions.

TH400 Shift Improver Kit Install-1 The vacuum modulator made a significant improvement and was very easy to install without opening the tranny pan. I was able to get my best times: 0-60= 6.9s, 1/4 mile time 15.2sec @96mph.
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TH400 Shift Improver Kit Install-2 I was ready to move on with more performance with this shift kit from B&M.
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TH400 Shift Improver Kit Install-3 Tranny pan off and everythign looks good underneath.
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TH400 Shift Improver Kit Install-14 However, I did notice some metal shavings in the tranny pan and this is new! The ATF is fresh and i just replaced the pan a month ago, plus the shop replaced the pan twice to try and stop the leaking, but they failed twice. They definately broke somthing when they introduced the vibration and I am hoping I found the problem. Oh, they also broke the transmission mount. This was fine when I installed it.
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TH400 Shift Improver Kit Install-16 As I pulled the valve body off, the servo came out in two pieces. This at least explains the metal shavings. I just don;t know if this was the cause of the vibrations.
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TH400 Shift Improver Kit Install-8 You can see the damage caused by the broken front servo piston.
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TH400 Shift Improver Kit Install-22 Here you can see that the accumulator is also bent. I'm not sure which occured first, but most likely the servo broke and then torqued the accumulator into a bent position. As part of the tuning kit I did remove the accumulator spring and the piston does not move up and down freely. It grabs the cylinder wall near the fully extended position as seen in the photo.
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So, I have a TransGo 400 Pro kt on order. It has a new accumulator assembly. I also bought a used Front Servo assembly from ebay. I could not find this part new at all. It's almost like it rarely fails. They are not in the shift improver kits either. I also bought a B&M modulator kit, but I plan to make sure the vibrations are gone before installing this kit.




1970 El Camino Blackened Wheels-1 The other big project this weekend was painting the polished wheel trim black. It came out great and the difference in the look is quite dramatic.
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1970 El Camino Blackened Wheels-3
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1970 El Camino Blackened Wheels-5
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