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Discussion Starter #81
A few small projects completed today.

First up, I installed a Lokar black dipstick. The Mr Gasket chrome dipstick did not fit the engine hole very well and liked to swign around a lot. The Lokar works great. It has good flex to clear the spark plug wire holders. I bent the retainer and connected it to the valve cover gasket bolt instead of a header bolt. It is much easier to take on/off of here compared to the header bolt.

Second, I upgraded the exterior lighting to Diode Dynamics. This was fun and easy. Some of the sockets were pretty dry and crusty from being 50 years old. I did have two problems. One, the license plate lamp is a 97, not a 104 like I bought (DD recommended this one on there website). The other problem is that the blinkers do not work when I have all teh DD 1157 lamps in place. It's weird. When I have the DD lamps in teh back and use the conventional lamps in the front turn signal location the blinkers work fine. Not sure if I need a different flasher or what. I will try to call DD tomorrow for some support.

I plan to take the El Camino in for paint next month. The color will be a soft gray. It is the modern Toyota color called Cement. The overall scheme will be a gray body with blackened trim pieces and some chrome highlights. The bed will have black bedliner spray with no chrome rails.

The plan is to lose as much chrome as possible, all the body moldings and badges will also be removed. I will keep the chrome trim around the windows and doors. The long skinny pieces are a little harder to treat and paint without damaging them. I plan to do some of the blackening myself. So far I have had pretty good luck with some of the pieces I treated. My biggest concern are the bumpers. These will take some road debris and my method of treating chrome has been to knockdown the brightness with 3M scotchbrite. But I was not stripping down to bare metal. So, a couple months ago I found a black rear bumper listed on ebay. This was listed for $215 and seemed like a good deal and cost a little more than a chrome bumper.

Today I called the shop that is sellign the bumper. They actually specialize in chrome dipping and bumpers. A customer bought this and requested the black color. The shop sandblasts, then primes then shoots with color. Clearcoat on top gives that extra protection and years of life and great resistance from rock debris. It turns out that this bumper has been listed for a couple years at a reduced price because the customer changed there mind and did not want it. Unfortunately, they did not have a front bumper in black, but they do this work all the time and said they can paint one black for me to match the rear bumper in about 3 days. They also charge a little more than the discounted rate as it is labor intensive to sandblast the chrome bumper and repaint it with primer and color.

I ended up buying the pair of bumpers and they shoudl be here before the car goes into the shop for paint. I am really excited about this purchase because I wanted these bumpers will be new and straight. My bumpers have chrome pitting now and quite a few imperfections. That is why I was willing to sand and paint them, but they would still have the damage. Now, I will have nice clean, straight bumpers with a good paint.

Here is the photo journey.

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This ended up fitting way better than I thought. The Lokar has some flex and it was just right to clear the billet wire loom holder. I custom bent the mounting plate and anchored it to the underside of the loom and to the valve cover bolt. You can't see it at all, which is perfect.
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I still have a few twekas to make to the lighting upgrade. I had the wrong lamp for ht elicense plate frame and the front blinker lamps are conventional. This is a BEFORE PICTURE
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BEFORE PICTURE
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AFTER PICTURE
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AFTER PICTURE
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Discussion Starter #82
I took the Elky into the shop today for an oil leak repair. Another shop told me it was the rear main seal and oil pan. This shop said it was the oil pan and timing chain cover. Quote was much less than repairing the rear main seal. So, I got it back today and will need to monitor to see if it is still leaking. It would be great to have a leak free motor.
 

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Discussion Starter #83
I also called Diode Dynamics today and they said the LED lamps do not put enough load on the wiring so I have to install and use load resisitors at each lamp. This seems uneccessay. I only installed 2 conventional lamps into the front and the blinkers were fine. So, I am going to start there and see what happens. I think I can just insert one resistor on each side of the car and call it a day. I will report back later.
 

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I took the Elky into the shop today for an oil leak repair. Another shop told me it was the rear main seal and oil pan. This shop said it was the oil pan and timing chain cover. Quote was much less than repairing the rear main seal. So, I got it back today and will need to monitor to see if it is still leaking. It would be great to have a leak free motor.
I would love to have a leak free engine too! I'm pretty sure my rear main is leaking, and of course the oil pan too. It's quite oily underneath. Got all over the exhaust, coated my trans, which didn't help, but it had it's fair share of leaks too. That issue is getting rectified, the trans is getting overhauled. I'd also love to have functional back up lights. Mine stay on right now. I think I need a new switch for the shifter.
The car is looking great, and it's coming along even better. I like the Lokar dipstick and the fact that it's a clean seamless install.
Keep up the great work. Your thread is a motivator for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #85
Thanks man. I think my rear min seal is bad too. But, it was a lot cheaper to do the front and I know that was leaking, so I can always take the car back and do this in steps. It's not like they give a discount since the work is completely separate.
 

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Thanks man. I think my rear min seal is bad too. But, it was a lot cheaper to do the front and I know that was leaking, so I can always take the car back and do this in steps. It's not like they give a discount since the work is completely separate.
I completely understand. I'm debating whether or not to tackle that issue right now. It's difficult to know when to stop before getting to deep. I want to get the car back on the road, but I go to fix one issue and then figure, "well, since I'm here, I may as well do..." and the list goes on.
 

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Discussion Starter #87
So, a lot of the oil leaking stopped, but I still have a few drops by the tranny (rear main seal) area. I need to do some more cleaning in case it is just residue blow back.
 

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Discussion Starter #88
I completely understand. I'm debating whether or not to tackle that issue right now. It's difficult to know when to stop before getting to deep. I want to get the car back on the road, but I go to fix one issue and then figure, "well, since I'm here, I may as well do..." and the list goes on.
I have actually had a bit more luck with resisting to go down the rabbit hole. I have certainly had my share of distractions and added several small projects into the primary project, but I seem to start projects off with a vision and a timeline. I also find that I can bookmark some new projects rather than trying to tackle it in the middle of somthing else.

The latest project was pulling the headlights and adding DD Halo rings. I had one lamp with broken adjuster, so I did a quick repair but it did not last. When I got into it, I finally discovered how to acess the bolts to remove the front grille. I have been wanting to paint that for a long time now. So, I added that in and it took an additional 4 hours or so. But, then when I had that out, I wanted to paint the front side of the metal like I did to the engine bay. This would have added another couple hours and required some taping. I did not have the time so I resisted the urge. The car would still be in pieces today if I added that on because I ran out of time and had other family obligations to attend to the past week.

In a couple weeks I need to do some repairs on the Halos, so I will take the time this time to replace all the headlight hardware, paint the front side metal, paint the headlight retainers, add resistors to the turn signals and repair the 2 broken Halos. I have new bumpers on order too, so if those arrive, I may add this in. I will need a full day for this project and if I plan right it should be managable.

I wonder what rabbit holes will arise when I start this one. :)
 

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I have actually had a bit more luck with resisting to go down the rabbit hole. I have certainly had my share of distractions and added several small projects into the primary project, but I seem to start projects off with a vision and a timeline. I also find that I can bookmark some new projects rather than trying to tackle it in the middle of somthing else.

The latest project was pulling the headlights and adding DD Halo rings. I had one lamp with broken adjuster, so I did a quick repair but it did not last. When I got into it, I finally discovered how to acess the bolts to remove the front grille. I have been wanting to paint that for a long time now. So, I added that in and it took an additional 4 hours or so. But, then when I had that out, I wanted to paint the front side of the metal like I did to the engine bay. This would have added another couple hours and required some taping. I did not have the time so I resisted the urge. The car would still be in pieces today if I added that on because I ran out of time and had other family obligations to attend to the past week.

In a couple weeks I need to do some repairs on the Halos, so I will take the time this time to replace all the headlight hardware, paint the front side metal, paint the headlight retainers, add resistors to the turn signals and repair the 2 broken Halos. I have new bumpers on order too, so if those arrive, I may add this in. I will need a full day for this project and if I plan right it should be managable.

I wonder what rabbit holes will arise when I start this one. :)
The rabbit hole is a dangerous thing. I've also added a few small projects into the interior restoration I'm currently working on. I'll need to bookmark a few things to do later. The pan gasket/rear main seal is one of those things.

When I pulled the driveshaft to drop the trans, I noticed my pinion seal is leaking. This is the second time since I've owned the car that the pinion seal will be replaced. That will likely get bookmarked too. That's an easy enough thing to take care of at another time.

I'm curious to see what your car will look like with those bumpers!
 

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"9. Lee power steering box and pump with new hoses."

I did a ton of research and went with Lee as well. Not cheap but a good steering box with the right feel makes all the difference. I've got the new box and will be installing it in the next few weeks. But car won't be a driver for over a year so I'll have to wait and see how it works.
If you get yours done, let me know what you think.
 

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"9. Lee power steering box and pump with new hoses."

I did a ton of research and went with Lee as well. Not cheap but a good steering box with the right feel makes all the difference. I've got the new box and will be installing it in the next few weeks. But car won't be a driver for over a year so I'll have to wait and see how it works.
If you get yours done, let me know what you think.
I hadn't heard of the Lee Steering boxes. They're only 40 minutes from my house. If I end up getting one to solve the gearbox leak on my car, it'll be a quick fix to go down there and pick one up. But boy are they expensive! What is the factory ratio? I see they have 3 options, 12, 14 and 16:1
 

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Discussion Starter #93
i think factory is 16:1. 12:1 is most desirable for autocross and performance driving.

Lee is a racing brand. this is a case of getting what you pay for. They rebuild boxes with all new gears and ball bearings. other rebuilders do not replace everything. you pay more for time, quality and parts. the difference can be felt.

Call them one time and ask what makes their rebuild different from other companies and you will be sold.
 

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Discussion Starter #94
"9. Lee power steering box and pump with new hoses."

I did a ton of research and went with Lee as well. Not cheap but a good steering box with the right feel makes all the difference. I've got the new box and will be installing it in the next few weeks. But car won't be a driver for over a year so I'll have to wait and see how it works.
If you get yours done, let me know what you think.

My car is mostly done now. Paint coming in October. This car now steers and handles like a sports car. the steering is super tight and responsive. i feel like i could take this car as is to an auto cross track for some fun.

Due note that i made a lot of suspension upgrades too and all new steering parts and bushings.

This IS getting close to being a daily driver. I need limo tint and AC. Will do this in 2021.
 

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Discussion Starter #95
The bumper shop sent a bumper for a 71 el camino. I think it is 71. Kinda bummed. They don't want it back. Anyone want a black primed bumper. Chrome has been sand blasted off and bare metal primed with black. I thought it was going to be a top coat black, but apparently just primer.
 

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The bumper shop sent a bumper for a 71 el camino. I think it is 71. Kinda bummed. They don't want it back. Anyone want a black primed bumper. Chrome has been sand blasted off and bare metal primed with black. I thought it was going to be a top coat black, but apparently just primer.
Damn, so you got the wrong bumper, AND when you get the correct one you're going to have to paint it?
 

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Discussion Starter #97
Yup,

They also asked me to send my bumper so they can sanblast it. The guy said it was a good core. I thought they hade new remanufactured bumpers. the rear bumer seemed to be new, but the front 71 bumper had a lot of road debris on the inside so I am thinking it was a used pull off bumper.

I'm going to call the shop tomorrow and see what is going on.
 

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Discussion Starter #98
Diode Dynamics Halo Update


My lighting upgrade woes continue. I last left off where I installed the DD Halos, but ended up burning out two drivers. So, DD was quick to respond and send me replacements. I figured that there must have been a defect in the Driver side Lo Beam Halo. It turns out that I pinched the wires on the install and caused the burnouts. So, I need to chat with DD and see what we need to do to make things right.



Once I pulled all the headlights out it became clear that the retainer ring was pressing on all the wires. I was lucky that only one ring was toast. So, this led to some mods that relieved the pinching with the retainer rings. I do not think I got any pictures of this, but will describe the modz in the photo tutorial.



I have been online reviewing and peeping at many cars over the past couple months to find a look that I really liked. My favorite DRL setup is that from a Dodge Challenger and the BMW with quad headlights. Both of these cars have a similar horseshoe shape DRL. So, I opted to cut my DD Halo rings to give a similar affect.



The other thing I wanted to address is painting the front of the car. I did not get to this when painting the engine bay, largely because I did not know how to remove the front grille. But, now I got it all figured out. Everything was painted before the car goes into the paint booth in TWO WEEKS. Woohoo!



The last thing to note is that I did not do any pretesting. I did not think about since I discovered the source of the blown halo drivers. So, when everything was put back together, I fired on the Halos and was disappointed to see that the original Halos installed on the Hi beams were white, 6k and the Lo Beam halos were yellow, maybe a 5 k or lower. So, I think the drivers are wrong. I have an email out to DD to clarify the problem. Arrgh, this battle continues.



I am also having issues with the blinkers not working after I installed DD LEDs in all the turn signal and brake housings. I am hoping this is resolved with resistors as advised by DD, but I am skeptical.



Here is a photo tutorial:



Diode Dynamics Halo Update-1 This is a photo of the faulty halo that was blowing the drivers. It appears that the metal retainer ring that holds the headlight to the bucket was pinched and shorted out the wires. This pinch occurred with all the halos, it was just not enough pressure to cause any shorts. I got lucky on the others.
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Diode Dynamics Halo Update-2 The halos are glued onto the outer surface of the headlights (these are HID upgrade lights) with black hi temp RTV Black silicone. Here you can see the headlight was cleaned, I sized up the ring and then snipped the rings with wire side cutters.
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Diode Dynamics Halo Update-3 Here is a look at the cut ring in place on the headlight. Looks good to me and modeled after the Dodge Challenger and BMW DRLs. I really like the look of those cars.
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Diode Dynamics Halo Update-4 The next step was to remove the headlight retainers, bezels, buckets, grille and all hardware and small parts. I also replaced all the headlight hardware since some adjusters were broken and my lamps would often drift. Getting ready for paint prep.
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Diode Dynamics Halo Update-5 All taped up and ready for 2 coats of gloss black Rust Oleum Pro paint. I was not too careful on the taping here since the car is going in for paint in a couple weeks, but after spraying, I actually had no overspray at all. I used the rags along the bumper to cover the areas when I sprayed. This technique was simple and fast. I also cleaned and painted the other parts. The headlight bezels were already painted black, but I did see some chips from road debris, so that was evidence to me that everything needs to be painted with a clear coat for protection. I bought a can of clear matte, clear satin and clear semi-gloss. The one I like best was the clear satin. This gave protection with a flat look, but was smooth and had a little sheen. It looked right. The clear matte was too flat and the surface felt rough compared to the smooth feel of the clear satin. It was a little weird, but that was my observation. So, I bought a couple more cans of clear satin and I think I have a plan in place to paint all the chrome bumpers and some of the trim pieces like door handles and mirrors. Once painted black each part will get 3 coats of the clear satin for protection.
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Diode Dynamics Halo Update-6 Paint applied. No reason to add clear coat to these parts as they will be mostly protected from the elements when the trim is back in place.
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Diode Dynamics Halo Update-7 Tape removed. No overspray. Everything came out great. All the hardware was installed and the headlight buckets were installed.
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Diode Dynamics Halo Update-8 Each halo was trimmed. I don’t have any photos of the modz I made to the headlight retainers, but I cut notches to allow the wires not to get pinched. Then I taped the exposed wires to prevent crushing and wire short-outs. Then the retainers were prepped and painted black. This mod worked perfectly. Then I installed the headlights and did a quick test before installing all the trim. To my surprise, the Lo beams (which has the new drivers) were yellow. I was bummed. I already installed the drivers so I did not want to remove them to check the labels to see if they had a different color temp, but my guess is that they did. Since the passenger halo is not new and previously 6k white, I think the drivers are what determines the color temp of the LEDs. I have an email out to DD for some help.
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Diode Dynamics Halo Update-9 Okay, everything was put back together. The headlight bezels do not looks any different, but they now have 3 coats of clear satin paint for protection from road debris and grime.
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More to come.
 

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Discussion Starter #99
I finally got the LED upgrade under control. While DD kept recommending that I add more resistors, the more I added the more problems I had. So, I experimented by reinstalling the front signal LEDs with regular lamps and I removed all the resistors. To my surprise that seemed to work. All the turn signals worked even with the headlights on. The hazard flasher worked. I used a United Pacific LED flasher with no resistors.

I found a shop in town that seems to have the right knowledge and equipment to do a wheel alignment on the El Camino. I am still skeptical that they can get the caster and camber tuned to the specs I provided without hitting the fenders. I have an appointment on Oct 2. Right after that I will take the car in for paint and body.

Before this date I plan to swap out the brake booster. Mine is very spongy. I was putting this off until I upgraded the rear brakes, but I realized that the booster does not require any brake line changes or bleeding, so there is no reaon to wait.

I will try to share more photos of the headlights over he weekend.

Still no black bumper. I am hoping to get that before the car goes in for paint.
 
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