El Camino Central Forum banner

21 - 40 of 77 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter #21
I did work on the audio system some more today. I added a bunch of polyfil to the dash, kick panels and subwoofer. Amazing how well this works to improve sound quality. I also painted the dash magnet holder with the PEM med blue paint. Came out nice.

I had a lot of trouble dialing the audio system. It is usually somthing simple, but it takes awhile to diagnose. I was getting awful power out of the sub amp. I finally realized it is because I connected a level controller that was not the JL Audio branded RLC. I disconnected the one I had for a PPI amp and it worked. So I replaced the RLC and all is good again.

I am running the CMass UL12 at 3ohms. That is about 500w RMS with the JL XD 600/1. It is stable to 2 ohm. I really want to upgrade to the Critical Mass CM AUE-2.5k amp. This is super clean power, 2500w RMS at 0.75 ohm, which is what i can get from this sub if running the DVCs in parallel. Unfortunately, I texted my audio guy and I can;t get a good deal on this amp right now. So, I will have to wait. That's good, because I really need the Edelbrock more than I need a fancy amp. I can't even start the car to move it out of the garage so I can work on my other car.

Photos

Polyfil Install-2 I am stuffing the kick panels, dash and subwooer box.
130329



Polyfil Install-3 Add some fill to the dash. It is amazing how much this improves sound quality and reduces unwanted vibrations.
130330



Polyfil Install-4 Another view of the dash.
130331



Polyfil Install-5 Inseide box view before hte polyfil.
130332



Polyfil Install-6 Stuffed.
130333



Polyfil Install-8 Painted the magnet holder OEM Medium Blue.
130334
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter #22
Major Engine Compartment Upgrades​



Ok, I am all-in. I put in a little work already, but the real work is still to come. I have a lengthy 5 day stretch of days off from work over the 4th of July weekend and I hope to get most of this work completed.



I’ll start off with a description of the work and parts then I will showcase some photo descriptions.



Engine Upgrades: I decided to go all-in here. I’m not doing any major performance upgrades or breaking open the motor, but all the components are old and I thought this would be a good time to refresh the motor, replace components and dress-up the engine compartment. Chrome is okay, but the future color scheme for this car is to have a dove gray body with black accents. I also want a blacked-out dress-up kit under the hood. Since the motor will be mostly disassembled, this was a really good time to pull the inner fender skirts and replace the blower motor and get everything scrubbed and painted with a fresh coat of satin black paint.

  • Edelbrock Pro-Flo 4 XT fuel injection system – FiTech has been fired!
  • Comes with new distributor and I will keep the MSD AL6 Ignition box
  • MSD Blaster 2 coil
  • Edelbrock Racing Black valve covers with matching breather
  • Spectre Muscle Car Air intake – Comes in aluminum, but I plan to paint the tube satin black.
  • Summit Racing Mid-mount serpentine kit – Black
  • Powermaster Alternator 150 amps – This will add much needed power to the sound system.
  • Summit Racing smooth body iron water pump – black
  • Tuff Stuff Saginaw Power Steering pump – black
  • Lee 12.7:1 gear box and rag joint – I am really excited about this upgrade to improve steering.
  • Timing cover and PWR Harmonic balancer – black
  • SC&C Full suspension Touring package – The rear upgrades were already done, minus the Hellwig sway bar. This kit includes springs, upper control arm, geometry correction ball joints, shocks and some suspension arms. I am really looking forward to this handling upgrade too.
  • Baer Track 4 13” Disc Brake conversion kit

So, far I got the motor stripped, I was able to repaint the front of the block Chevy orange and pulled the inner fenders for a scrub and paint. I am still awaiting some parts and need to paint the engine compartment, then I can proceed with the suspension upgrade then motor dressing and assembly.



Engine Compartment Upgrades-1 Here is a photo before I started the strip down process.
130670



Engine Compartment Upgrades-2 Fitech, distributor and major components (water pump, alternator and power steering pump have been removed
130671



Engine Compartment Upgrades-3 This was the part of the block that needed paint the most. I decided not to paint the sides, due to the work involved to remove the hedders.
130672



Engine Compartment Upgrades-4 Pulled the harmonic balancer and timing cover. Gave a quick VHT Chevy Orange paint to the front part of the block only. I taped the intake area and water pump holes. I planned to trash the valve covers so I left them in place to protect the valves and just let the overspray hit the covers.
130673



Engine Compartment Upgrades-7 Black components going on. Added the timing cover, pointer, harmonic balancer and the main crank serpentine pulleys.
130674



Engine Compartment Upgrades-8 There are a few parts on the motor that I really like and did not see the point of replacing it. But, I did want to refresh them. So, this was an easy project. I pulled the wire holders and rubbed all the chrome with a scotch brite pad. I did not work too hard on this. I just took off the chrome brightness. I also tried steel wool, but it did not work as well as scotch brite.
130675



Engine Compartment Upgrades-8.5 I added a VHT black wrinkle paint. I added this to the fuel pump delete cover and it looked great. But, I found the paint to be finicky and did not look as good on this piece or a couple small trim pieces. So, I painted the satin black on top and decided not to use the wrinkly paint on any other items.
130677



Engine Compartment Upgrades-9 Here is a look at the engine bay with the inner fenders pulled. There should be lots of room to work on the suspension and brakes.
130676



Engine Compartment Upgrades-11 I sprayed the underside of the inner fenders with undercoating and the top side got a coat of satin black.
130678



Engine Compartment Upgrades-12 With the inner fender off I can access the blower and you can see the delete box. I need to pull off the FiTech sump holder and I plan to place the coil here. The benefit to this mod is that I only have to patch one set of holes since the coil holder fits perfectly on the existing hole pattern.
130679
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter #23
Almost all the parts have arrived. Still waiting on the 12.7:1 Steering Box. Opened the ProFlo 4 XT to check it out. It is much lighter than I imagined.

130680


130681
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,377 Posts
I'm glad you are doing that 12.7 steering box because it'll never be easier than right now with everything wide open. I did mine using a mid 90's Jeep Grand Cherokee Saginaw box for about $100 including a new Dorman 31011 rag joint. No more floaty, grandma easy steering. Now it feels like I have control.

Rick
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter #25
Thanks Rick. This was one of the conditions that made my wife feel unsafe while driving the car.

I realized that I needed a longer throttle cable too, so I purchased a Lokar cable with some pedals. i'll as that to this project list too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter #26
It's amazing all the little things that add up when doing a project like this. I am away from home to help my wife settle in to a new place for some work related training. This gave me a lot of idle time this weekend. I brought the instructions for the disc brake and front suspension installation. I realized that I will nbot being tearing this car apart that often and that I should take care of the small things when I can.

So, after reviewing the kit pieces and install instructions I realized that I should replace all the control arm bushings and rebuild the steering system. I know these parts had a lot of worn bushings, so it made sense since I am replacing the gear and major suspension components. I just can't live with myself, if I kept the worn bushing while making everything else new and upgraded. Price was not too bad either in comparison to the labor work involved with the break down.

Steering rebuild kit, ball joint removal tool (I will rent the install tool), control arm bushings and sway bar end links are on order.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,459 Posts
Congrats on the SC&C suspension! You will love the Lee box!! I have one, it is like a dream. It snaps back to center like a manual and gives excellent road feel. Hands down the best thing I ever bought for my car.. If it feel too hard at first don't get alarmed, you just have to get used to them. You will love the new feel once you get that elco out on the twisty's.. I also got a 13" Grant wheel ($80).. I really love the feel it gave my new suspension..

I know Mark gives alignment settings but I ended up with my own. I have +8 caster on the drivers side, +8.5 on the passengers side. -..25 negative camber both sides. 1/16 toe in both sides...
This setting really gave me nice highway feel, high negative camber on the highway made my car continually go side to side, I was always correcting.I had the negative camber set at both a half degree and then at 1 degree, nether worked well. Having the front tires flat on the road made a big difference. Also the high positive caster really brings the camber on as soon as the wheels is turned, when you want it..

That fill really looks like something I need for my 69. Its like being in a empty drum. I have to keep my woofer down low (photo).. I use the stock Delco radio for a head unit and run it into a Blaupunkt amp. Then have one 8" woofer and one 6x9 Blaupunkt five way. It gives me nice hi fidelity mono sound..
That fill is what I need unless you know something else.. Thank you!

130695
130696
130697
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter #28
thanks for the comments and alignment tips!

I think poly fill sheets may work better in the glove box area to prevent spilling. and it will look better in locations that can be easily seen. you can use s combo of the fill and sheet materials as needed to fill the voids. shoot back some photos after you get it done.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter #30
Thanks 78.

So, today was day 1 of the 5 day build project. I was able to get the right side stripped down. Steering is off, right suspension and arms are out. Bushings are bad, so I decided to replace them in the lower arm. This was pretty challenging. I finally got it done. Tons of caked on grease and debris. My plan is to spray the left side with more WD40 and let it sit over night. I had a hard time getting the main bolts off the hodl the drum back plate in place.

The plan is to replace all steering components and suspension/brakes. Will be adding a SC&C Touring package. The only thing I am reusing is the spindle and lower control arms. Everything else is new and Howe ball joints and SPC springs will correct the geometry issues on the A-body car.

As I was removing the steering components, I discovered that my El Camino was plotting to kill me. The pitman arm nut was 1/2 undone and the arm had slipped down about 1/4". Super scary. It made me think of the game my love wife loves to play. Would you rather. . . So, I will ask you guys the question I was pondering.

If you are driving 65 mph down a winding backcountry road with little traffic, windows down, wind blowing your hair and music rockin, would you rather your brakes go out or your steering go out??? Sick game and both options really suck. :unsure:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,377 Posts
Yes, brakes. A quick drop to Low 1 on the shifter gets things slowing down.

Rick
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter #33
I forgot to mention, there is a big lake to the right side and 6 miles of downhill in front of you. :poop:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter #34
Day 2 starting. Goal for today is to tackle that left side breakdown. I am hoping to get everything off, then some power washing and scrubbing the engine compartment in prep for paint. I wanna get paint on it by the end of the day. I can spend the srying time trying to assemble the bushings and many other small jobs to prep for the upgrade placements.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter #35
Good day today. The WD40 soak overnight helped. I had two stubborn bolts, one holding the drum back plate just above the power cylinder and the other was the rear bolt holding the lower control arm. I had to use a 1/2 breaker bar with cheater bar and all my muscle to break the nuts loose. Once off it took me another 30 minutes to pound the bolt out of the control arm. That bolt was clearly rusted and fused to the metal. About 1/4 of the threads were filled with metal rust and the entire shaft was pitted with rust. I will replace these bolts.

The first side teardown took about 10 hours and the second side (even with the rusted bolt) took about 4 hours. . . learning curve. I also struggled with removing the oval bushing. The round bushing and ball joint went pretty easy.

I moved on to power washing the parts that I will be reusing. Not much actually, just the lower control arms, spindles and steer rods off the spindles.

I then moved on to painting those parts and washed the engine compartment. Taped everything up then painted the engine compartment. I decided to go with a Semi-Gloss (Satin) Black for the frame, firewall, hood and all other non-engine parts. I used wrinkle black paint on the power brake booster and radiator support cover (it was chrome) and gloss black on all engine/auxillary components. Today this was the master cylinder. That is my paint scheme. Photos to come when I have time. But, I still have a lot of work ahead and don't want to use up that precious time.

Tomorrow I plan to pull the tape and begin prepping the steering, and other motor parts while I await delivery of the oval bushings. They were supposed to arrive today, but not. My goal for tomorrow is to do as much prep work as possible and get the suspension and brakes put back together. If I can get the steering installed too, that would be a bonus.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter #36
My wife knows me all too well. She often reminds me that whatever I estimate a project will take, it is often twice as long. So, on my 5 day build project, I would estimate that just over the half way point.

I am full of bruises. . . arms, legs, belly and I even gave myself a shiner from the ball joint vice slipping and smacking me in the eye.

I am at work this week, so I will try to do a few project update posts in the next couple nights. Progress has been made!

The hardest part has certainly been in the suspension teardown. Removal and install of the lower control arm bushings and press-in ball joints was really hard! I had to buy some extra ball joint/bushing press-fit tools in addition to the rentals.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter #37
Suspension and Steering​

I purchased the SC&C Touring Package with Baer 13” Trak4 Front Disc brake conversion kit. I also purchased a new steering system with Lee 12.7:1 Gearbox and Tuff Stuff Power steering pump. The steering linkages, bushings, shocks and sway bar are also getting refreshed. The only thing I am reusing here is a couple burly metal parts, the lower control arms, wheel steer bars and the pitman arm.





1-Suspension Breakdown-1 Everything is old and rusted. I started with pulling the drums, drum backing plate and the steer arms.
130864



2-Suspension Breakdown-2 Here you can really see the age of the suspension. The shocks were toast. The shock bushings were in even worse shape. Lower arms look tattered, but were solid and intact without any damage. Perfect for a refresh.
130865



3-Suspension Breakdown-3 The flexible brake lines get replaced but the hard lines will remain for now. I may be doing a master cylinder and booster upgrade in the near future and the lines may get refreshed then, but not for now.
130866



4-Steering Breakdown-1 The steering box and pump has been wet and drippy for a couple years. I am not sure where the leak originates, but I am happy to replace it all. I also discovered that the El Camino was plotting to kill me. Take a good look at the picture. The nut was half off. This likely contributed to the sloppy steering and maybe some of the leaking. I am glad I caught this in time.
130867



5-Steering Breakdown-2 The steering linkage is out. I am keeping everything together for now so I can construct the new system and try to match the lengths in order to have a decent out of box alignment. Not sure this will pay off.
130868



6-Steering Breakdown-3 Pitman arm is off.
130869



7-Steering Breakdown-4 The original gear box was a Saginaw system. I am not sure of the gearing ratio, but likely a 16:1. Does anyone know?
130870



8-Steering Breakdown-5 The rag joint was in decent shape, but will be replaced with a new joint that converts the gearbox gear splines to the steer bar.
130871



9-Steering Breakdown-6 Tear down is complete. Ready to move on with clean-up, paint and fresh bushings and ball joints on the lower arms.
130872



10-Ball Joint Removal-1 I really struggled with the removal and install of the ball joints and bushings. I removed the first ball joint with the control arm on the car. But, I found it easier to do this on the bench with the other arm. I also highly recommend a tool that has a lot of receiver tubes. I found that the rental tool only had three and they were too big to use on both sides. I also used a lot of other tools and pieces to get this work done. If I did this again, I would just buy a proper tool to get this done right in the beginning.
130873
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter #39
11-Ball Joint Removal-2 Removing was easier than installing, but when you get everything straight, the pieces push out with strong efforts, but with each effort you can see the part move.
130874



12-Ball Joint Removal-3 Lower ball joint is out. This was an important upgrade for me. The new disc brakes, larger 17” wheels and ball joints are all designed to correct the flawed geometry of the A-body cars. The hope is that the bump steer disappears and the handling is like a modern geometry car.
130875



13-Ball Joint Removal-4 With the upper control arm removed you can see the long metal tab on the front side. This needs to be cut away. I will share that picture later on. The new control arms are not hump shaped like the stock arms, so when they swing they will hit the metal tab. This mod came with the instructions from SC&C.
130876



14-Ball Joint Removal-5 Another trick here is that the bolts that hold the upper arms are press fit into the metal. So, you can not wrench from the bolt side. You must wrench on the nut side. Then once the nut is removed you can try to get the arm off, but if headers are in the way then you will need to press out the bolts first. I found this to be an easy job with a standard vise and socket that fits over the bolt head. Just press out and remove the bolt.
130877
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter #40
Engine Compartment Delete Box and Paint​



21-Delete Box-1 The blower never worked right when I installed the delete box. I failed to do proper testing before installing it and due to it being mounted under the inner fender well, it is impossible to work on without removing the inner fender. So, I wanted to inspect and repair when I had the chance. You will also notice two brackets that held the FiTech sump. Since I fired the FiTech there is no reason to keep this in place. Plus, this location has some good real estate for mounting the coil and EFI processor.
130894



22-Delete Box-2 Here is a look at the inside. I powered the blower and it was grinding really hard. It appears that the fan blades rub on the delete box fiberglass. I ended up adding a washer under the fan blades to move it forward and off the fiberglass and this worked. However, this blower is old and I had already bought a new one, so I just added the new motor.
130895



24-Delete Box-4 I added a little waffle plate on the backside and filled the holes with bondo. The other holes were the perfect size for the coil mount. So I kept those intact.
130896



25-Delete Box-5 Ready for bondo.
130897



26-Delete Box-6 I sanded down the surface, added bondo and painted the box. I also did some prep work on some relays and other parts that I wanted to refresh the paint on.
130898



27-Engine Compartment Paint-1 Here is a look before cleaning and paint. For the cleaning, I used a scrub brush and soap. I also used a metal scrubber and scraper for dirt and oil spots.
130899



29-Engine Compartment Paint-3 I taped the edges and used some rags to prevent overspray.
130901



30-Engine Compartment Paint-4 Paint is done. I used satin black on the firewall and panels and I used gloss black on the master cylinder. Since the brake booster had a textured finish, I decided to use the black VHT wrinkle paint. It came out nice.
130902



50-Radiator Support The support brace was chrome, so I used a red sciotch bright pad to rub it down and paint with VHT wrinkle paint. I have had good success with this method and if the paint proves to be durable then I will likely prep and paint the bumpers with this method.
130903



31-Engine Compartment Paint-5 Wrinkle finish applied to the radiator support. All the tape has been pulled and the paint dried and looks nice.
130904
 
21 - 40 of 77 Posts
Top