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148 Posts
Discussion Starter #161
Scott - Test like below for bushings
Open the doors to about 45 degrees.
Pull up on the rear portion of the door.
You should see the El Camino lift, yet you should be able to see if there is slop in the bushings.
Damn it, why did you tell me this. I have about 1/2" of slop. Now I have another project and this one does not look that easy.

Premium Member
4,445 Posts
Usually it is the bushings on the top hinge that wear most.
That is partially why they drop to the lower rear.

Tape the edges of fender and doors to help avoid scratches.
There should be searchable posts here, on Chevelle site and YouTube.
We used a hydraulic jack and two people (need the eyes).
Some folks have used a soft sling and an engine hoist.
Let's encourage others to share their thoughts and images.

148 Posts
Discussion Starter #163
It looks like the driver door has 0.5cm sag and passenger has 1cm sag. The driver door top bushing is cracked and opening up. You are right! That bushing is the problem. It also looks like the driverside has been replaced because the pins are upside down as many videos show to pound them in from teh bottom. But, the passenger door looks original and the pins are in with the caps on the top.

I did plan to use tape. Good tip. I was planning on using a jack but I was also going to unbolt the 6 bolts in the door to remove the door completely. This will give me more access to the hinge pins so I can pound or cut them out. Is there any problem with doing it this way???

Here is the driver hinge with broken top bushing. You cna see the 3 bolts I was planning to remove. I hope this works. I had these all loose to align the door and it did not seem that bad. I want to avoid removing the fender and the other part of the hinge that is under the fender.


148 Posts
Discussion Starter #164
A quick update for today. More blackening continues. The signals came out very good. I like the look. Now I need to pull teh lenses again and blacken all the screws and the metal light assemblies.

A couple weeks ago I had more problems with the exhaust. It seemed like I had an exhaust leak or engine ping. Since installing the headers with wrap I always had some smoke and odor when driving hard. I figured this was part of the beak-in period. But, now the noise. I also keep throwing bolts off the collectors. Both sides. So, as I was diagnosing, I noticed that all the header bolts on both sides were loose. I torqued everything up and the noise continued.

So, today I stopped by the muffler shop. They did determine that the exhaust gasket on one side with teh noise was blown. So, this got replaced and I had them install some new black double wall tips. They look great and the car is running better than ever! I took it out for a test drive and I had much more horsepower. I also no longer had the odor after driving hard at high speeds. It seemed that there was liking a small leak for quite some time until the gasket blew out.

Here is a photo tutoial of some more progress.

Rack is going up. These are the old tips.

New tips are 4" black double wall. Pipes are 2.5".

A throughput shot.

The angle will be aligned with the bumper.

The azz end is rocking! I need to go back and paint the screws black. I will also pull the light housings and spray them black as well.

Full body shot from the rear. Just got out of the muffler shop. Now I gotta go for a test drive. Weather is nice today and almost all the snow melted.

Out for a drive, I stopped for some scenic photos.

Another full body shot. I even blackened the grill push on trim. It is hard to tell it is on there, but it was chrome before and it really stood out.

Better angle of the grille trim. It adds the complete look without popping out like the chrome.

Another look at the rear. It will be so much better when the housings are black.

Premium Member
4,445 Posts
It has been a while since replacing mine. I understand wanting to take the hinges off to do the repair.
I actually purchased 4 new hinges.
That way, the reduced labor costs offset the parts costs.
If doing yourself and your shop time available, repairing hinge bushings is a good approach.
We took the doors off with hinges still connected.
What I can't remember is; "Did Justin thread a long head cut off bolt in replacing top bolt to make sure the receiving end inside the fender did not slip?"
We also replaced all of the hinge bolts, which might have not been needed.
The area under where the hinge bolts to door and fender is going to be ugly.
Add time and consider cleaning it up. Will you brush surface rust, sand and repaint? Consider it now and you won't be shocked.

148 Posts
Discussion Starter #166
Thanks for the tips. I already completed the job. I will post results later. I ended up removing doors and rehung them all by myself with help from a jack. Not too terrible.

Much more room to do the work with doors off. Im glad I did it this way. I did cut all the pins. Getting old bushing out was the hardest part. I also installed new pins the correct way, top down, which cannot be done this way if the doors are on.

More to share later as it will serve as a good DIY reference for myself and others in the future.

148 Posts
Discussion Starter #167
Exterior Trim Blackening Project

It has taken several days to get all this done, but WOW! I am very pleased with the outcome. Before getting the car back from the paint and body shop, I was content with a mix of chrome and black trim. However, after seeing the car it did not look right. So, I decided that all the trim will go black. The only exterior parts that are not black are the wheels.

The remaining pieces include the door window frames, hood edge trim, door edge trim, taillights, reverse lights some screws.

Here is a photo journey of the project. Let me know what you think.

Trim Painting-30 I tried to remove the door window trim, but it was beginning to bend, so I decided to leave it on. I got everything taped, then I rough sanded with scotch-brite red to score the surface, then air blow and wipe with alcohol. Then painted with etching primer, 1 coat.

Trim Painting-33 Then I painted with 3 coats satin black and 3 coats satin clear.

Trim Painting-32 I repeated this process with the remaining parts.

Trim Painting-35 Wow what a difference on the doors. These really needed to be black.

Trim Painting-36 So did the lights. All the parts back here are correct GM, but not all original to this car. The housings had pitted chrome and really needed to be re-chromed or blacked. You can also see in this photo that the bumper was not hung correctly. It actually looks worse than the photo reveals. I corrected this today too.

Trim Painting-37 I was not going to put the door edge protection back on, but I really wanted the protection so on they went. These got bent during removal so getting them back on was tricky. I was scared when they kept popping off because once they went on it did mar the door finish. So, if I was to remove them you would see those scratches.

Trim Painting-38 Here is a goof. Apparently I did not trim this piece of tape to fit. I used a black paint marker (which has a pretty good matching color and sheen). This works great for small touch-ups.

Trim Painting-39 Here you can see the left part of the bumper is not tucked inward far enough. I was able to improve the it, but it is not perfect. I am not sure if it is me or there is something tweaked with the new bumper or the mounting brackets .

Trim Painting-40 You can see the right side is much lower and more tucked compared to the left side.

Trim Painting-41 The front bumper was nearly perfect. I could find anything worth correcting. Nice and centered too, where the rear bumper is also sitting too far to the left.

Overall I could not be happier.

148 Posts
Discussion Starter #168
Here are a few outside photos of the car.

This is the first car wash since painting. I also wanted to wash off any overspray and dirt from the weekend projects. Next weekend I shoudl have time to clay bar the vehicle and put a polish on it. No wax yet. I have to call teh shop to find out how long I shoudl wait for that. I do not recall the normal wait period.

1970 Cement El Camino-11

1970 Cement El Camino-12

1970 Cement El Camino-13

1970 Cement El Camino-14

1970 Cement El Camino-15

1970 Cement El Camino-16

That is all for this weekend. I shoudl have time tomorrow to post the hinge replacement video.

Premium Member
4,445 Posts
Scott When looking at the new images. I hear the Camino say "There is supposed to be my dog in the back". Did Wife's GrandPa have a dog?
The images are well done!

148 Posts
Discussion Starter #171 (Edited)
Yes. We still have him. Getting pretty old. He is deaf and maybe has cancer. He was in surgery today to have a couple small masses removed.

Dorado is a trim, 30 pounds of weiner dog. He rode in the car a coupel weeks ago. He walked right over the center hump and tried to lay down by my feet. I image Dewey would have let him do it.


148 Posts
Discussion Starter #172
Door Hinge Pin and Bushing Replacement​

This project was a success, but I did have a few challenges. I removed the doors for this project and this really is the best way to do it. I was able to handle the doors by myself with the assistance of a jack, but two people would have made it a little easier, but not much. I installed the new pins in the proper direction, from top down. A shortcut is to leave the doors in place, cut out the pins and pound in a new top pin from bottom up.

The hardest part of this project was removing the old bushings. This proved to be difficult and the bushings are brittle so they break easy and it is hard to find the right size punch that fits perfectly.

When I tested the door sag there was about ½” movement on the passenger door and 3/8” movement on the driver door. It was obvious that the door hinge pin had been replaced at least once and the top pin was pounded in from bottom up. This suggests that the door was left on to replace the pin.

I think this will serve as a good tutorial for me in the future and maybe others as well. I have zero door sag in the driver door now and I still have about 1/8” movement in the passenger door even after installing new pins and bushings. I suppose the hinge holes are likely a little worn.

Here is the photo tutorial.

Hinge Pin Replacement-1 This is a look inside the door jam. Each door requires 2 hinge pins and 4 bushings. These kits are commonly made my Dorman and sold at most local auto parts stores. This is the top hinge assembly. There are 3 bolts holding each hinge to the door. The pins should be installed top down. All bushings are installed from outside the hinge towards the middle of the hinge. In other words, the top bushing is pressed in from top-down. The bottom bushing is pressed in from bottom-up.

Hinge Pin Replacement-2 I was able to manage the doors with the assistance of a jack. This is placed under the door with a 2x4 that rests on the inner portion of the door to prevent marring the paint. I lifted the jack to put a little bit of tension, not much. The next step is to remove the 6 bolts holding the hinge to the door. Actually before doing this be sure to apply tape to the fender, door bottom and door side closest to fender. I did not do this up front, but in hindsight, tape all your edges before removing the doors.

Hinge Pin Replacement-3 Here is a look at the hinges. There are a few things to note. 1. The bottom hinge has the spring, stop and roller pin. This is what allows the door to stay at mid-open and full-open position. 2. One hole (inside hole) is larger than the others. This is the bolt that permits for movement in the door to adjust the up, down, inward, outward adjustments. The other two bolts should be just loose enough to move the door. When fitting, I would only tighten the inside bolt until I got the door just right. Then I would tighten down all three and double-check the fitment.

Hinge Pin Replacement-6 Here is a look at the door jamb section. There is a one-piece plate with three female nuts. This will freely move allowing for full door adjustment. The thing to note here is that when you try to line the door back up to install the bolts, this piece will move a lot. I used a pick and inserted it in the outward bottom hole to align the plate, then I inserted the bolt in the inside hole. Once this bolt grabbed a couple threads, I was able to easily line up the two outward holes.

Hinge Pin Replacement-8 Here are a few of the tools I used. Actually I did not use the air hammer. You will need a cutoff angle grinder and a door hinge spring compressor. This is about $12 at the auot parts store.

Hinge Pin Replacement-9 You must remove the springs to unload the doors so you can pop out the pins. This tool make the job fast and easy. Work on one door at a time.

Hinge Pin Replacement-10 Here the spring is out. Once the spring is compressed leave it in this state until you are ready to reinstall the spring. This saves time and extra steps.

Hinge Pin Replacement-11 This is the top hinge. Put a little tape on the hinge to keep it from swinging when you cut the pin. When you cut the pin make sure you cut at the highest point. This is important. You will need to pry the pin upward here to remove the small piece. The less distance you have to move it, the easier it is. Once this piece is out, you can insert a punch through the top and pound the other piece of the pin downward to remove it. Factory pins have barbs that prevent them from being pushed back towards the middle of the hinge. So, think smart here and remember that your configuration may be slightly different from mine.


Hinge Pin Replacement-12 Here is the bottom pin cut and ready for removal.

Hinge Pin Replacement-13 I have a nice long punch that makes it easy to pound the bottom portion of the pin all the way down.

148 Posts
Discussion Starter #173
Hinge Pin Replacement-15 Here is a look at the complete pin once removed. The next step is to pound out the bottom pin and set the hinge plates aside. Then we can move forward with removing the bushings.

Hinge Pin Replacement-16 This is the top hinge on the driver door. You can see two bushings in place. Both are pressed from outside towards the middle of the hinge. These are made of brass and soft. So, they can break easily which will give rise to door lag. You can see the bottom bushing is split. This bushing was like this before I tried to remove the pins.


Hinge Pin Replacement-17 Removing the bushings is difficult. If you happen to have a long punch that is the same diameter as the outside of the bushing, then this will be easy work. I used a combination of a punch and other tools to pop these out.

Hinge Pin Replacement-18 Each pin kit comes with 1 pin and 4 bushings. There are two steel, larger bushings and two smaller brass bushings. Each door took 2 pins, 1 steel bushing and 3 brass bushings.

Hinge Pin Replacement-19 Here is my bushing press. The best way to insert the new bushing is to press it in. Using a hammer is likely to cause damage to the bushing or it will insert crooked and therefore you are more likely to have a sag in your door. A simple bolt, nut and washers that allow the bishing to come out of the bottom about 1/16” will do the trick.

Hinge Pin Replacement-20 Use a socket and wrench to press in the bushing. Remember, press from outside towards the middle of the hinge for all bushings.

Hinge Pin Replacement-24

Hinge Pin Replacement-21 Now put the hinge plate back on and insert the new pin. I used an old pin to pound this into place. These pins are barbless, but the heads have ribbed area to stay tight once locked into place.

Hinge Pin Replacement-22 Be sure to get the head sitting flat against the hinge plate. I used a small hammer. A very large hammer may actually bend the hinge plates, so be careful.

Hinge Pin Replacement-25 Putting the door back on was not too hard. I put the door back onto the jack and moved it into position. This was tricky, but doable. The hard part was lining up the nut plate inside the door. What worked best was using a pick through the bottom outward hole. Then I inserted the bolt into inward hole, got a couple threads started. Then the other bolts went in easy. I tightened all three bolts. Then I tested the door fit. From here you loosen the two outer bolts just enough to move the door. Leave these loose. Now loosen the inside bolt. Remember, this is the adjuster bolt because it has the big hole in the hinge to allow for the most movement.

148 Posts
Discussion Starter #174
Hinge Pin Replacement-26 Now just keep repeating this process until you get the door properly aligned. The gap at the bottom should be about 1/8” to ¼” above the bottom door frame and it should be equal from front to back. If you have less gap towards the rear then you have sag or there is misalignment with the hinge under the fender. This is a real pain to adjust and requires removing the fending once the door is on.

Hinge Pin Replacement-27 The gaps are not perfect, but much better than how the paint shop hung the doors. There is no play in this door at all either. When I do the door test, the whole car starts to move rather than having a lag.

Hinge Pin Replacement-28 Nice alignment here too.

Hinge Pin Replacement-29 Now that everything is aligned, I tightened all 6 bolts and I am ready for paint.

Hinge Pin Replacement-32 All taped up and two coats of base color with one coat of clear coat.

Once I completed the drivers door I moved onto the passenger door. More challenges with the bushings on this door too. All in all, this took about 8 hours to complete both doors. I have about 3 hours into removing the old bushings. I would definitely do this again as the reward of having sag free doors is worth the effort. I would also remove the doors and not risk all the other headaches of having the doors in place. In fact, I could not image how I would have removed the old bushings with the doors still on.

148 Posts
Discussion Starter #175
At some point in time I am going to upgrade the interior. I am liking the TMI products. I will go back in color with a center console and buckets. For now, I am settling on another Lokar product. They have a series of handles for the interior which look really nice.

Like everything I have bought from Lokar, these handles are great looking and function better than OEM.

Photo tutorial:

Lokar Handles-1 I chose the black midnight series. I will show the install for the vent window.The others are the same. I did have to use a dremel on the door armrests in order for the handle to operate correctly.

Lokar Handles-2 Instructions are the same for all three handles: Door, window and vent window.

Lokar Handles-3 Here is a look at all the pieces seperated.

Lokar Handles-4 Here is the OEM vent window crank. There is a lot of play in this handle. Time for an upgrade.

Lokar Handles-5 The first step is to pop off the clip and remove the handle. This exposes the splined spindle.

Lokar Handles-6 The first piece to install is the shaft insert. It has two set screws that locks down on the spindle. No more loosey goosey C clip.

Lokar Handles-7 Now slip on the trim ring. You want this to touch the door panel or be within 1/8", If it doesn't than pop off the shaft insert and trim down the spindle with a cutoff saw.

Lokar Handles-8 Next comes the crank arm. I started with the window tightly closed and I positioned the handle at 90deg to the floor. All handles are equal and look good when windows are closed.

Lokar Handles-9 Now the washer and button head bolt will afix the crank arm to the insert shaft for a tight connection.

Lokar Handles-10 The last piece is the cap. This is held in place with an oring. Great all around fit and function. I love these Lokar parts.

218 Posts
Those look like they function really well. They also seem like it would make door panel removal much easier than trying to get that darn clip off. I'm always reluctant to do anything behind the door panel because it means I have to fight with the clip in order to get all the handles off. I will be looking into these probably after the holiday.
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