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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
My evap canister in my 86 El Camino is no longer working properly. I am looking to replace or rebuild it. As replacement canisters are not available, I am looking at others that may work. This one for a Chevy Pickup: 1990 CHEVROLET K2500 PICKUP 5.7L 350cid V8 Vapor Canister | RockAuto
Looks to be similar with only a vent and purge port, but it is not vented at the bottom like the factory El Camino canister. Does this matter? Can I just use a different canister and fab a bracket to mount it? Have any of you had success with this or with rebuilding your canister?
 

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Deputy Regional Director, Region 13
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6,692 Posts
someone on this forum did do a rebuild a few years ago and posted a thread on it. basically, cut the top off, scoop out gravel, replace with fish tank charcoal, reseal by melting plastic back together, you're done.
do a search on the forum and you should find it
 

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Deputy National Director
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10,382 Posts
here is some info
cut out part of the grating at the bottom of the can, remove the foam and dump out the charcoal. Then remove the foam at the top of the can. Next install new foam at the top of the can, refill with new activated charcoal that you can get from the pet store. Then install new foam on the bottom and glue back in the section of grating that was cut out, install a new filter and you are done! Good thing about the vapor cans is that they are simple ones without a built in purge valve to worry about, G bodies use an external purge valve.
 

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The red or green scouring pads make nice replacement filters just trim to fit.
 

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Director Region 6 (FL) - 2017 Founders' Award Reci
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5,746 Posts
A number of years ago I replaced the one in my 87 with a new one from Advanced Auto . Sorry I don`t have time right now to check if they are still available but worth a try . The advise given by the other three members are spot on and a perfect fix . If you haven`t already do a " Search " , here on ECC and it should call up several previous forums on the canisters . You will also see a few opinions to not replace the canister filter and let just allow the fumes/vapors to go into the atmosphere . While I respect those opinions , I disagree and recommend that you replace/repair your canister . It is neither hard nor costly .
 

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87 Caballero Amarillo, original 305/200-4R, QJ
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There should be 3x filters inside the canister. 2 are a padded like paper and 1 is foam. There's a paper at the very top, then the charcoal, then the paper and the foam is on the bottom covered by the grate.

Most times the top paper is in halfway decent shape, the bottom paper is eww, and the foam has deteriorated into next to non-existent.

The rebuild isn't hard. Actually took me more time to clean up the cannister and surrounding area under the hood than the actual rebuild did. My top paper was decent, so I kept that, used 2x bottles of Walmart activated aquarium charcoal and a Red scrubby from the paint section in Advanced Auto (it's 6" x 9".

Use a razor knife and cut the grate around the outer edge gaps, save the grate. Foam, paper and charcoal can go in trash. Keep the top paper if it's decent. Put the cannister on the scrubby and draw around it twice, make it so you get at least 1 full, the second can be missing a tiny bit. Cut them out slightly smaller, inside the lines, one should be a tight fit.

Put in paper, fill almost to the top with charcoal (both bottles I had ended up perfect amount). Put in the bigger scrub pad, then the grate and stuff the smaller pad in. I used a flathead screwdriver to finish stuffing in the second pad.

If you have to trashcan the top paper, a plain thin green scrubby pad will work, just has to be wide enough to fit the cannister.

Done except for any cleaning under the hood. Grand total was @ $26 and 5 minutes. Took 20minutes to clean the cannister, and cannister seat area under the hood 🤣
 

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I always just search evap canister on Amazon and buy one with right number of ports that looks similar, they are cheap; the lower vent is just a way to purge raw gas when they wear out and are saturated, if the one you buy doesn't have that vent it will still have something to do that job in the design.
 

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87 Caballero Amarillo, original 305/200-4R, QJ
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Lower venting is to provide relief airflow when vacuum is applied to the top, allows for the gas vapors to get sucked into the smog-carb system. GM wasn't into designing cars/parts that lasted 40+ years, it only needed to last long enough for you to get tired of it and buy a new car 🤣, which normally happens long before a cannister gets old enough to be that saturated and no longer viable. Planned obsolescence. If they couldn't get you to buy new, they got you on the flip side by making it so you had to buy new parts. And the #1 manufacturer of OEM GM parts... A/C Delco.
 

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87, H.O.305, T.P.I., performance roller cam & rockers, High flow heads, headers, 3" cat. and exhaust
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Hey SpiralArchitect, you should probably check to make sure your purge system is working properly and pulling those fuel vapors back into your engine to burn them. If not, that could be why you started to smell gas fumes in the first place. The canister can only hold so much before it has to go somewhere. Unless your one of those guys who likes to top off his tank after the pump shuts off. That can cause liquid fuel to be forced up into the vent lines and into the canister when the fuel expands. In my experience, whenever I've seen a canister fail, it's been because it had been contaminated with liquid fuel. It's only meant to contain the vapors from the fuel tank and the Carb bowl (if you have one) while the engines off. OK, I'm gonna get off my soap box now before I fall and hurt myself.
 

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Hello,
My evap canister in my 86 El Camino is no longer working properly. I am looking to replace or rebuild it. As replacement canisters are not available, I am looking at others that may work. This one for a Chevy Pickup: 1990 CHEVROLET K2500 PICKUP 5.7L 350cid V8 Vapor Canister | RockAuto
Looks to be similar with only a vent and purge port, but it is not vented at the bottom like the factory El Camino canister. Does this matter? Can I just use a different canister and fab a bracket to mount it? Have any of you had success with this or with rebuilding your canister?
I highly recommend using the following charcoal filter: Vapor Trapper - Fuel Tank Vent Line Charcoal Vapor Filter

This is a much more pratical and longterm solution. Highly recommend as I've used this on several customer vehicles.
 
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