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I purchased this 1981 El Camino about three weeks ago. It has the 305, a slapped on Holley carb, and TH200. The body is a little rough, but manageable. I may have to replace the driver's door. The frame looks great!




So far I've been working on cleaning it up. I've stripped the worn rubber trim off the belt line, and have started power washing 30 years of grime off the suspension/frame.

 

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Discussion Starter #4
This past week I've started tackling the obvious problems with the front end. First, I removed the front shocks. The passenger shock could be easily pushed in and pulled out. The driver's side was a different story. I noticed the top rod of the shock was bent. I had to use a Dremel tool to cut the bolt off. That shock was easy to pull out, but did not want to be pushed in at all.



I then noticed the passenger side brake hose was cracked & broken. I know the brakes were terrible when I bought it, so this is my current task.



I easily got the new hose in. I can't believe how cheap Chevy parts are! $10 for the hose; much cheaper than Mopar parts.



I went to bleed the breaks with my new MityVac, and couldn't get the bleeder screw to come out. I stripped it! I took the caliper off, and tried to use vise grips; still couldn't get it off. So, here's my new task!
 

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Congratulations Miles. It sounds like you are diving right in. BTW, re-built calipers are "relatively" cheap. That might be the way to go.:nanawrench:
 

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Yep it's an El Camino, you finish the first thing only to see whats next!!:nanawrench:
Gotta love em!!:inlove:
Donny
 

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Welcome Miles,, nice project,, and look who is posting!! DDD!!!!!!:nanawrench::nanawrench: Glad to see ya back on the site Donny,, keep the pics comin` Miles, we love pics here,, Matty man
 

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Good thread Miles. FYI, I used this company to source my calipers on my 81: https://www.southwestspeed.com/?sec=view_menu&cat=Hubs And Brakes&sub=Brake Calipers&ssub=!!!GM Metric&sssub=Steel Modified Calipers

I picked up the 2 5/8 caliper for a little extra bite when I brake (Stock is 2 1/2). I didn't need to modify anything else in the system and they work fine. Also, check the hard brake lines for kinks or any other problems. Mine was twisted and kinked shut on the right front wheel where someone tried to disconnect the fitting and twisted the tubing.

-Jarod
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Good thread Miles. FYI, I used this company to source my calipers on my 81: https://www.southwestspeed.com/?sec=view_menu&cat=Hubs And Brakes&sub=Brake Calipers&ssub=!!!GM Metric&sssub=Steel Modified Calipers

I picked up the 2 5/8 caliper for a little extra bite when I brake (Stock is 2 1/2). I didn't need to modify anything else in the system and they work fine. Also, check the hard brake lines for kinks or any other problems. Mine was twisted and kinked shut on the right front wheel where someone tried to disconnect the fitting and twisted the tubing.

-Jarod
Wow! I didn't know these existed. I'll check it out. Thanks.So far, it looks like no preventative maintenance has been done since new.
 

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before you go any further you may want to consider doing a brake swap from a 2000 Blazer. dual piston calipers, they bolt right on, you can also swap out the rear drums for the rear disc from the same Blazer. it certainly sounds like you got the necessary skill sets to do the work!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
before you go any further you may want to consider doing a brake swap from a 2000 Blazer. dual piston calipers, they bolt right on, you can also swap out the rear drums for the rear disc from the same Blazer. it certainly sounds like you got the necessary skill sets to do the work!
Yep, I'm up to the task, it's just finding the parts, or weighing the option of buying new vs. buying used. I knew about the front swap, but not the rear. I'll look that up! I hate working on drums anyway!
 

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go watch the videos on you youtube. you'll be smacking yourself in the head like that guy in the OfficeMax ad "That was easy!"
Thanks for the links! :You_Rock:

Do you think these items come up for sale on the here that often? My local wrecking yard most likely won't have either the Blazer or the Camaro, and the nearest decent yard is several hours away.
 

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Thanks for the links! :You_Rock:

Do you think these items come up for sale on the here that often? My local wrecking yard most likely won't have either the Blazer or the Camaro, and the nearest decent yard is several hours away.
there are some members here who have them, just post a notice in the Wanted section and see who responds. if you get to the jyard, I grabbed the whole front spindle on the Blazer I found (they were in great shape!), and unbolted the rears. total cost: about $80-$100. don't forget you'd have to pay shipping though.

you can also check Camaro and other Gbody forums online, some of our members frequent those other sites. also keep an eye on Craigslist
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I bought a pair of mirrors from fellow member O.D.Showtime . I was able to slap them on today. The drivers door needs to be replaced anyway, but I noticed that the bolts had to go through two sheets of metal on that door, making me think it had been re-skinned in the past.

 

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Discussion Starter #18
I finished changing the plugs and oil tonight. Trying out some Quaker State that is for high mileage engines. I'm hoping this 305 gets replaced this next year, but I might as well make it run smooth until then. This engine leaks really bad. It's either the oil pan, rear main seal, drivers side head, or all of the above. There is oil all over the rear of this engine! So much in fact there is oil on the exhaust cross over and the tranny pan.


 

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Discussion Starter #19
Getting ready to install some new KYB Gas-A-Just front shocks. My daughter really wants to help out. (You can tell I dressed her today :redface: )



I've been looking at GbodyParts.com and think I have settled on the set that has their in-house upper control arms and UMI lower arms. Thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Through some help, I ordered some Moog 5659 rear springs. As I'm hoping to enter an autocross event this upcoming summer, I wanted a capable spring. According to others that have been down this path, this spring should be what I want. We shall see! The good thing with Moog is that the price is nice.

Check out the difference visually. I have sourced a spring isolator from a 00's Camaro, since the top is not the same as the stock spring.

 
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