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Hi. I'm new here but I have a question. My '84 El Camino came from Florida however the frame is seriously rotted out. Does anyone know where I can get some sort of repair kit. Or do I have to weld new metal. Thanks for the help.
 

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Your kinda limited when it comes to frame repair. You can look for another elky, or malibu wagon for a replacement. Or, box in the rotted area with good steel. Or, go gonzo...custom back-half tube frame, narrowed rear, steam roller tires, ARR...ARR..ARR. Ok, I'll stop now :mrgreen:
 

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You may have a serious problem depending where and how badly the frame is rusted. There are no repair kits made. You will have to fabricate your own pieces. If the frame is really bad, it may not be worth saving. To do a proper job a frame off restoration may be in order. You may want to consider replacing the frame with one from a donor Elky, or having your frame acid dipped to deter further rusting.

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84 is a G body. If the El Camino's body is in good condition and you'd like to keep it, you could get a donor frame from a Monty or another elky. You could also re-box and fabricate new mounts.

A frame off should be done. You should do that to make sure you got it all and have the frame painted or coated / dipped something to stop what is going on and protect against future damage.

It probably sounds like a tough task but really its not that bad. Keep coffee cans around so you can put the loose items in them and mark them to an assembly or area so that you don't forget what came from where. Then on re-assembly you can upgrade the body bushings to newer materials like Poly Graphite, box in the rear control arms while its apart and add new poly bushing to them too and rebuild the front end while it is down.

Oh, don't forget to re-gear the rear end add a posi or locker, change brake pads, wheel cylinders and replace the fuel lines at the tank, while your there and replace the rubber or Flex hoses on the brake system too. Now is a good time to add that overdrive you've been wanting and refresh the engine with a rebuild or just a new ZZ4 crate or perhaps the GM Crate 383.

No problem just a small task! :D
 

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I'm not completely sure about something here Pete, maybe someone here can verify this. Not all 78-87 GM G-bodied cars have the same wheelbase. Just out of curiousity I measured a Monte Carlo the other day and it wasn't even close. It was my sons friends Monte. Next time he comes over I'll measure it again and post it, but there's like a 5" difference, my Elky was actually longer. I'm not sure about the Malibu wagon or any others though.

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I thought you could only use another elky or a malibu wagon frame on 78-87 camino's.
 

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Using another Elky frame is not a problem, I'm unsure on the Malibu, I do believe that all other GM G-bodies will not work. Lets here from some others on this matter before you or anyone else decides to go hunting for a frame.

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Not 100% on these numbers but what i just found while looking around on the net. Monte Carlo wheelbase 108.1 and El camino wheel base 117.1.
 

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Monte Carlo wheelbase 108.1 and El camino wheel base 117.1.
That's correct. The 78-87 Elky had a 117" wheelbase. The only frame that will fit a 5th gen Elky is one from another 5th gen Elky. The 78-87 Monte Carlo, Malibu (wagon, sedan, and coupe), Regal (wagon, sedan, and coupe), Cutlass (wagon, sedan, and coupe), and Le Mans (wagon, sedan, and coupe) all have a 108" wheelbase and their frames are interchangeable.

:mrgreen:
 

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87ElCamino - There are differences between the frames of the cars you listed. Nothing that can't be worked around but some welding is needed. I know, I used a 78 Regal frame for my 79 Malibu. Not trying to be smart, just don't want someone else to find out the "hard" way like I did.
 

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I know there are plenty of suspension differences in the 78 G-bodies like spindles, rotors, bearings, and ball joints, so those parts don't interchange with the 79 (or any other year G-body) regardless of the frame length.

What were the differences, and what did you have to weld on the frame?

:mrgreen:
 

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The header panels on BOP cars is 2" thicker than a Malibu panel. I sectioned 2" out of the frame so the bumper did not stick out 2" far.
The ball joints are the same. But, the wheel bearings (therefore the rotor and spindle too) are smaller on the 78's than 79 and later.
Other little things were the fuel line is on the "wrong" side and a few other minor problems that I don't recall anymore.
Bottom line- if you know enough to undertake a swap like this, you can repair the "problems".
 

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Well if I got to be wrong it might as well be in a big way! That is a lot of difference. After, what 83?, the Elky went to the G-Body before that it was an A, I think.

It was my understanding that GM standardized the frames on all G-Bodies to reduce costs and shipped the truck to Mexico to be built on that change over. Before that they were made here in Texas, well my 80 was.
 

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Please remember I was speaking of a frame interchange on a Malibu. Not an El Camino. Luckily my daily driver 79 El Camino has a fine frame. And saying that, the Elky frame is nowhere near the same as the Malibu.
 

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Rotted frame

I've owned two 5th gen Elkys - one with a clean frame and one rotted. If yours is like mine was, there is a lot of rot on the rear portion of the frame (especially on the "humps" over the rear-end). If you are good at welding, you can rebuild the rails with new metal. If the car is not leveled and braced, however, the heat from the welding may warp the rails and all your hard work will result in a twist in your frame.

I would opt for the frame replacement if you can find a good donor as others have suggested. It is not an easy project, but it is fun. V6 frames have lighter duty springs and I believe the fuel line is on the opposite side of the frame from a V8 version. Other than that, it is should be a bolt on/off operation.

I did learn that when upgrading suspension components, SS Monte parts are interchangable with the El Camino since they share the same "Malibu" frame bolt patterns. Sway bars, heavier duty springs, steering box, brakes, etc. are better performance parts from the SS Monte if you can find a donor car.

Good luck . . . .
 

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Well, I have to just jump in here and defend Florida. Unless your elky was a flood car from near the coast where it was in salt water, it shouldn't have any frame problems. It was probably a "Yankee" transplant. Real "Florida" cars, particularly older GMs rust around the bottom of the rear window and the bottom of the tailgate or trunk lid and around the top of the roof, especially just above the windows. Sometimes the bottom of the doors, but with the drains in the bottom of the doors and rain, that is unusual. The problem is the salt in the air and the humidity. During the day, it is very hot and the salt laden air goes everywhere air goes. Then, at night, the metal cools faster than the air temp and the salt laden air condenses on the inside of the metal, drips down to wherever it stops and "rusts" the panels from the inside out. It doesn't happen under the car. Now, most manufacturers use coated or galvanized metal that eliminates the problem, mostly due to a Congressional consumer protection action (law). (I was in the used car business from about 1978 to 1988.) For those of you who remember, during the 80's especially, you'll remember all of the portable parking lots running north and south, always loaded with used cars, east of the Mississippi. That was northern dealers shipping frame/chassis rusted cars down here for sale and Florida dealers shipping "top" rusted cars up there for sale. Don't get me wrong, the rust problems unique to each region mostly stopped after the cars were in the other region. Anyway, it's something for all of us to keep in mind when we're looking at a "new" elky project to purchase. Don't forget the magnet.
 

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Here are some facts.

78-87 El Camino's Are "W" bodys.

The only complete frame that will fit an elky is an elky.

There is a difference in the lower control arms. The rear mounting point on the 81-87 is wider than the 78-81.

All 5 th gens have 117.1 wb.

The front frame section (second body mount forward) from a 78-87 malibu/monte etc.. is the only part of the that is common to the elky.

I am in the process of doing a frame clip on my 79 elky. It had been hit hard in the left front wheel / knee and "repaird at" be for I got it.

Email for more info.[email protected]
 
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