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1987 El Camino
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25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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My dad purchased this '87 about 5 years ago with 41k miles. Soon after he developed health problems and only put about 200 miles on it in 5 years. This spring he and my mom moved in with my brother and the elks came to live with us in Madison, WI. In 6 weeks I out about a 1,000 miles on it and enjoyed every minute of it, but I also noticed a slew of issues that I expected I'd find with a low mileage, 35 year old car.

Currently, the climate control system isn't working, nor is the cruise control. And, the 305 produces a fair amount of smoke. All of which I can live with, but in all my driving I noted that the suspension seemed non-functional. So we begin with a suspension rebuild.

I contemplated going all out in the beginning, but ultimately decided to replacing the stock bushings, add a 1/2" taller lower ball joint, KYB Gas-A-Just shocks, UMI lowering springs, airlift bags for the rear, and a UMI rear sway bar. Tear down began on June 26th.

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My first surprise was on the passenger side wheel bearing. It was almost non-existent and as a result scored the spindle pretty good. A perfect opportunity to upgrade to S-10 Blazer brakes. Thanks to car-part.com I found a set of spindles and had them shipped. Picked up new dust shields, wheel bearings, caliper, rotors and pads.

On the driver side, the shock fell apart when I took out the bottom bolts. Yep, it was definitely time for a refresh. While I await a friend to remove teh bushings and ball joints on the front lower control arms, I went to work on the rear. The ball joint removal toll made short work of the rear lower control arm bushings. The the lower arms re-installed, we began to work on the uppers. And that's where I'm currently stuck, trying to remove the bushings from the rear housing.
 

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1987 El Camino
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25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
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I tried burning this out yesterday, but that didn't work. Today I found a piece of exhaust pipe at the parts store, 2 1/2" O.D. x 2 1/2" I.D. The O.D. side slid perfectly over the flange, but it was a bit too long to work with my ball joint tool so I had to take the cutting wheel to it. This worked enough to get the bushing just below the surface of the flange. Sizing up a correct impact socket combined with a 4# sledge hammer an out they came.

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The rear suspension is all back together except for the new sway bar. Once that's installed, I'll bring it up to ride height and tighten everything up.
 

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1987 El Camino
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25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
2 1/2 hours of fighting to get the coil spring in had me rethinking my decision to stick with the stock suspension setup over coil overs. The coil spring compressor was the culprit. The threaded rod stick too far over the top of the spring. A new spacer and the spring seated just fine.

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At least I know what to do on the passenger side.
 
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