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Discussion Starter #1
So what do you do when your El Camino project car is going too slow? Buy another one! It will be four years next December that I've been working on my 1979. Due to scope creep it has become a complete rebuild. All the bodywork is done, all the rust removed, matte blue paint laid on it, and the LS/4L60E fitted. But all the details are dragging on. Every interior piece is new, door glass, seats, etc, etc, and it's taking a while to assemble it all. After I spent two weeks building ducts for the Nostalgia Air unit I had enough, and looked on Facebook market place to find this:
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I found it near Tampa, with a 2000 Silverado engine already swapped in. It also had a 4L60E that "just need to be wired" ha ha. But the price was right and the engine was strong. It has a lot of rust on doors, quarters, rockers, but it's mostly solid. Just like the last one I got, it was living in a trailer park. We dragged it home and I cleaned it and pressure washed it.
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I quickly figured out the trans had a bad pump, so I pulled it and had the pump replaced. It also really did need some different wiring to the trans, so I got that done. It had no exhaust other than truck exhaust manifolds, so I did some internet shopping and built an exhaust for it.
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I put Flowmaster 50s on it, but it looks like I don't have a picture. I also had to notch the aftermarket crossmember, but no photos, since it looks like my iPhone is taking all the pictures in HEIC format(?)

There were lots of other fixes. One of the brake lines was rusted through, and a couple fuel lines, so I got new ones made and put them in. The master cylinder was stuck. Finally I was able to drive it around the block, but the trans wouldn't shift. I downloaded TunerPro and PCM Hammer, and figured out that it had a tune for a manual transmission, so there was no programming to control the trans. I found a file for a 2000 Silverado with an auto and loaded that, and the trans started shifting.

I had to get a driveshaft made. The driveshaft that was in there someone had welded the u-joints to the yoke, so I replaced that. The radiator was this useless aluminum thing with a couple small fans, so I "borrowed" the F-body radiator and fans from the long-term project, and made a wiring harness with relays for the fans. The AC blower moved air, but only out the defrost vents, so I added a vacuum port to the intake manifold and hooked it to the AC, and that got air coming out the vents. The lack of AC hoses still meant no AC, though.
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The battery was behind the drivers seat, so I moved it back under the hood. The PCM was stuck inside the air filter box, so I put in an S-10 coolant tank with PCM mount on the top. I put together a simple cold air intake. It was still pretty messy, but at least it worked.
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The serpentine belt was rubbing on one of the radiator hoses, so I got an idler relocation kit off Amazon and fixed that. There was only one fuse in the fuse block so I went through that and replaced fuses as necessary and fixed wiring. Finally I could drive it around the neighborhood, but I still didn't trust it. The tires were dry rotted, so I "borrowed" the ones off the project car. I had to roll the rear fenders to make them fit, and they still rub some.
The pinion seal leaked, so I replaced it. The suspension creaked and swayed, so I put in poly bushings up front, and replaced the ball joints and sway bar bushings and all the tie rod ends and steering components. That helped a lot, but the steering was still really loose.
After looking on this forum I found a write-up on how to tighten the tilt steering, and that really transformed the car.
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Now I can drive the car with a little more energy, and it's fun. I can't get to crazy, because the tires rub in the rear on bumps, and in the front when I turn hard in reverse. Here's a bad picture of how it looks now. It's storming here now, and I didn't want to take it outside for a photo.
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There still a lot of things to be done. Today I got a box in the mail with lowering springs, shocks, and big sway bars for front and rear, so those will be going on. I'll put on aftermarket adjustable rear trailing arms with poly bushings. After that it's time for new wheels and tires to stop the rub. I'm thinking 18x8 wheels with 4.5" backspacing.

It needs wiring from the trans position switch, so I can keep the starter from working except in park and neutral, make the backup lights work and tell the PCM when the car is in park or neutral.

I want to get all three AC hoses made and replace the compressor and accumulator so I can have AC before it gets hot in south Florida again.

The headlights are dim, the wipers need replacing, the washer fluid bottle is cracked, there's no speakers for the radio.

The big problem is that the rear window leaks. Just like the other project, it's rusted around the window. On that one I had the window removed and the body guy cut out all the rust and fabricated new sheet metal. I sort of like the patina on this one, so I'm wondering if I can just pump a bunch of caulk in there. If not, I'll have the body guy remove the window and fix the rust. But that will require removing the interior, which means that I'll want to fix the holes in the floor, and put down sound deadening, and maybe put in mounts for bucket seats, and while I'm in there I can replace the carpet, and do a few more things. That's what happened with the other project, and why it's been under construction for almost four years. I just want to drive this one, but I don't want it full of water, so I guess I need to fix it.

Also I was looking at Vortech superchargers on Amazon. Those things are cheap! And it looks like they just bolt in.
 

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.....and so it begins, another long term project begins life :giggle: . But from the look of your shop and the work you've already accomplished, the "non-project" car is in good hands. AND now you get to upgrade the radiator and wheels & tires on the "PROJECT".
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I've made more progress on the car. The suspension swap is complete, with all-new springs, shocks, sway bars, bushings, ball joints, and rear control arms. Also new wheels and tires from Tire Rack. I did find that it has an A-body rear end. I couldn't figure out why it had some fabbed rear upper control arms with heim joints, while the rest of the suspension was stock. Finally I realized that the rear UCAs were much shorter than stock, because the correct-sized replacement ones from BMR pointed the pinion at the sky. I googled, and found that someone had swapped in an A-body axle, with posi. So BMR suggested using Fox-body Mustang rear UCAs, which were the same length as the homemade ones on the car. This worked out great, and improved my driveline vibration, but didn't cure it.
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After I lowered it, the fake Centerlines rubbed badly in the rear. I tried rolling the rear fenders, but it didn't help. Ultimately the smaller wheels and tires did the trick.

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I also replaced the external fuel pump with an in-tank pump, and began using the car for its intended purpose.

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After driving it for a bit I realized I had to fix the driveline vibration, which was still really bad. I measured the driveline angle, and found the rear axle was pointing up at 5 degrees, and the engine was at 0 degrees. The motor mounts were so bad that the engine was sitting on the frame rails, causing the front of the engine to be low. I replaced the mounts with poly, and it brought the engine to 4 degrees down. The car drives much better, and the driveline vibration is mostly gone, but I haven't been able to put many miles on it. The car started stumbling and idling poorly and stalling right after the motor mount change.

My guess is that it's a ground issue, because the engine is no longer grounded to the frame rails, even the the battery ground goes directly to the engine itself. It's always a ground issue. I have a strap on the engine that needs to be connected to the frame rail. It's a 10 minute job, but I've been too busy for the past week to get it done and see. I'm really hoping that solves the driveability issue, because if the driveline vibration is really gone I want to drive the car on the highway for the first time.

I see that there is a car show in North Palm Beach on Jan 30, so I hope to have the El Camino in shape to drive up there by then.
 

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Excellent news. You will solve these little problems in no time.

Rick

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
 

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Glad to see it get used for it's intended purpose. ha ha
I bet it won't take too long before the are two jam up l Caminos in your drive.
 

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i put an LT1 in mine ,used the donor car(94 caprice) springs and cut them down. found out they are thicker springs and thicker springs i heard usually are the better choice when cutting is done... as far as the stiffness , so you dont bottom out to hard when encountering potholes, etc. i just recently bought AMR rims 17 x 8's w/ 235/60's. found out when turning they caught the front bottom part of the fender , so i fixed that, but when i do a full turn they rub a little on the backside(fenderwell). so now, rethinking about it, maybe 50's would have been a better choice. Currently it seems i have about 2 1/2 inches of space between the top of the tire to bottom of the fender well. i want to lower it about 2" and i think i would be able to get by with a little more cutting on the springs. But i'm curious how you took care of your rubbing issues. You lowered it by just the springs? and what is your new rims and tire size? You tires look like 50's ...thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #8
But i'm curious how you took care of your rubbing issues. You lowered it by just the springs? and what is your new rims and tire size? You tires look like 50's ...thanks
Yes, I lowered it just using BMR Suspension lowering springs and shocks. I also did control arms, bushings, sway bars, but none of that affected ride height. Here's a before and after shot of the left rear, with the same tires. It feels like it was lowered more than that.
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I still had some rubbing after the drop, so I switched to 17" VN215 Torq Thrust II American Racing wheels (4" backspacing) from Tire Rack, with 235/45ZR17 Michelin Pilot Sport A/S tires. No rubbing issues at all after that. The Flowmaster mufflers are the lowest thing on the car now, and they occasionally scrape on a speed bump. I have some cutting and welding in my future to raise them up a few inches.

I did figure out my drivability issue. Adding a ground didn't help, so I popped the hood and just studied the engine. I was mostly looking for vacuum leaks or intake leaks, but there weren't any. Then I noticed the MAP sensor was broken off. It must have happened while I had the engine jacked up to replace the motor mounts. Only $49 for a new one and it is running smoothly. Of course now I notice that because the engine sits higher on the new motor mounts now the alternator is rubbing on the underside of the hood. The hood has been modified a few times before, so I don't mind cutting some sheetmetal out of the underside supports so it clears.
 
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