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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey all,
I was recently given a stock, two-tone grey 1984 V8 El Camino Conquista. I was wondering if you have any tips on what I should do with it, now that I'm done high school. Should I keep it all stock, modify it, etc...

Any ideas?


More pictures...
 
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Welcome to El Camino central. Now whatever you want to do with your El Camino is totally up to you. From doing an engine swap to changing rims to even doing a complete custom paint job is like I said totally up to you. There are so many different thing you can do to a 5th gen. From adding diffrrent body parts like a front bumper or rear bumper to a crawl hood induction. The custom mods is endless. It will come down to also what you want your EL Camino to do too.

Now some people will tell you to not do anything to it if it has low miles since it could be more valuable if you keep it stock and sell it the way it is. Now it all comes down to personal preferences on what you want to do.

I will say do whatever you want to do with it. Put a big block or small block in it. Leave it all stock. Do whatever makes you happier. The only person you should be impressing is yourself. Now if you want my honest option I would say for right now fix any body work that needs to be done. Then if you want to do something then work on that after you do body work. If you fix any rust as soon as it starts it will save you a ton of money in the long run.
 

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You say its two tone GREY! It sure looks to be two tone BLUE in the pics you posted. Just sayin!

I agree you should do with it what pleases YOU.
 

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Hello and welcome!
I have made every wrong decision concerning vehicles when I bought them......until the current El Camino. Here is what I learned that may help you. Decide what you want the vehicle to do.....
1. Daily driver (reliability, not so showy that it's a theft target, must be capable of light hauling)
2. Street Terror (pure handling and performance, power over reliability, possible theft target)
3. Weekend Cruiser/Show Car (appearance foremost, heavy modifications possible, high theft target, no hauling if scuffing possible...need other reliable transportation)
In other words, decide what you need the vehicle to be to make you happy. Decide what you need to do to get it there and possibly make up a budget or outline your costs. Keep in touch with us and post photos as you go along. Have Fun!
Craig
 

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Welcome to the site, and have fun with your new toy, no matter which direction you choose.
 

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Welcome !!
Is it a 350 or a 305? Do you know what gear you have? If it's to be a daily driver, i'd say keep a low gear and a stock engine and put some money on some new rims & tires :)
Have fun!
 

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Since it was recently given to you, and you're using it as a daily driver, I would suggest making it dependable first. If you haven't done so already, give it a complete tune up and change all the fluids including the brake fluid, rear diff, tranny, etc. Check out the brakes to make sure they're up to snuff and possibly flush the cooling system. Once you've got it running dependably, you may want to make it look a little better by giving it a good detailing. If you don't care what it looks like, or it looks good enough to you, start looking at riding comfort. You may want to change out the shocks for a nicer set of Bilsteins or the like. If you've got some extra cash and/or the know how, you may want to think about rebuilding the front end and steering components so that the vehicle responds better to steering wheel input and is simply a better performer.

We could go on and on here, but at the end of the day it's really up to you as to what you want to do, the size of your wallet, and your own know how and availability of time to work on your El Camino. Good luck and welcome to ECC!
 

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The question of what to do is one we all ask ourselves, but it all comes down to one thing - budget. I well remember being a young buck when my whole world revolved around having a cool car, but my reality was a low wage job and no mechanical ability. I don't want to come off sounding like a jerk, but being right out of high school and cool cars usually don't coincide. Do like K5 says and concentrate on what needs freshening. You will learn some skills and save a few bucks on labor. Get a starter set of tools and seek out like minded people. Hang onto it...how I wish I still had my first car.
 

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Deputy Director Region 9 (MI-IN-KY)
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Would you have any suggestions if I was to use it as a daily driver?
They actually make great daily drivers. How many miles does it have? Since it was given to you, can you find out the service history? What wheels are under those Dodge Duster wheel covers?
 

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You can just sell it to me :biggrin: I agree with just plain john just enjoy driving the car make small upgrades and modifications that you can afford to do on your own or with the help of an experienced friend. You will learn a lot from this site as well, Welcome :beer:
 

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Hello again!
Great thoughts on the daily driver. Sit for a second and think what makes a car a Good daily driver.
1. Starts reliably ....so make sure the battery/cables/starter/wiring connections are in good shape....check your distributor cap/rotor/plugs/plug wires/fuel filter/air filter/oil/trans fluid (color/smell)....perhaps run a bit of Seafoam treatment in the gas and dribble in the carb (follow can directions)
2. Runs reliably with good fuel mileage (as good as new did).....check your hoses...vacuum lines (really an important thing to do)....check timing....accessory drive belts.....check for anything missing like brackets with nothing on them...etc....check the alternator for output...repair anything Leaking (rear end....power steering...etc)
3. Appearance....here's the fun part....the You part....it's the wheels....steering wheel....radio....seats (install buckets...or a bench...or ??)....find a nice junk yard G body and change up something for cheap like install a factory tach or gauges
Just make a list or spreadsheet....sort of put things in importance....and........post photos! LOL
Craig
 

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Aloha and welcome to the site. If I may add my two cents, like the others stated, what is the purpose of the car that you will be using it for? From what I can tell in the pictures, it looks like it is in pretty good shape, no visible modifications to the body or wheels so essentially you are starting out with a blank "canvas".

First thing though is to spend any available cash on reliability! Trust me, a very nice car that does not run OR runs poorly is no fun what so ever. Make sure that it is mechanically sound before you began dropping money into it. As for resale of the vehicle, it is only worth what another person is willing to give you for it. Don't get caught up in what you put into it because cars like women are money traps, you will never re-coup what you put into them when you move on.

Lastly, get yourself a service manual and a good set of tools as discovering what makes these cars "tick" is why I left the VW scene and got into Chevy. Kind of an awakening. I went from German Iron to American Steel!

Good luck and keep posting pics of your progress/changes if any!

Aloha'z:nanawrench:
 

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As stated above, make it is safe (brakes, tires ,steering andsuspension) and reliable if its your only form of transpo. then read around on the forums look at what others have done and make your decisions.
start with simple things, like exhaust, wheels and tires restoring the interior. and move on to other projects if ya want to. These cars have a pretty fair resale so if ya dont get carried away (like i did )
you should be able to return your money if ya ever sell it.
Be warned tho....once ya start it becomes a sickness....its actually fun to fix these ole girls up. they look really good too.
 

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As stated above, make it is safe (brakes, tires ,steering andsuspension) and reliable if its your only form of transpo.
This is first and foremost! Then as for keeping it as a daily driver...upgrade the suspension (read past posts on this) it doesn't take a lot of money and is fairly easy to do. It can make it go from handing like a boat to...well not quite like a Vette...but a whole lot better. Installing used F41 sway bars (front and rear) and jounce bars is a big improvement...also a good set of shocks all around. Welcome to ECC...now get busy and read all the great info on this site... have fun, just don't bite off more than you can chew...at least financially anyways...getting fancy costs money...something like a 450hp smallblock could be considered fancy. After addressing any safety issues work on handling and appearance.

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I go about any used car the same way. Make an assessment of condition and needs and print a long list, including even the most trivial needs. Attack the list one item at a time, based on available time and $$ and scratch it off the list.
Do the mechanical systems first, such as brakes, suspension and engine performance. On an older car, change all the fluids, including oil, trans, coolant and brake fluid, even differential, as well as all the hoses, including the brake hoses. Only after you have a completely sound car should you consider and modifications. If it sounds like a father talking, it's because I'd tell my son the same exact words.

Bill
 

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Welcome and congrats ,as others have said mechanical and fluids first then a set of new wheels and tires ,get rid rid of those white walls . just my 2 cents....:beer:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Wow, guys! Thanks for the tips!

As far as I know, it's all (or almost all, but those hubcaps) stock. It has nearly 80,000 miles. It's a 4.4L engine. That's a 305, right?
I'm going to get a general tune-up, and see what they say changes would be good, reliability-wise. And surely I'll get some wheel covers that are at least Chevy-branded.

Would it be a good idea to pay for a history report from the VIN plate?
 

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Levisan, welcome to our site. Direct all your tech questions here first; we can all help.
Get ready for a long term project and make it fun.
What I like; Choo SS front nose and fiberglass rear bumper; new paint all the same color.
Stock drive train; well maybe 295hp!
 
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