09 Mar 06

Today is not the day that all this happened, but today is the day I got off my lazy behind and documented it all.

First off, the transmission is rebuilt. You get no pictures and no writeup, because I'm a big jerk.

No, actually I took a lot of pictures and wrote up a complete step-by-step.guide to the rebuild, with the intention that it'd be hosted on Pro-touring.com, but the feedback I got from the folks I showed it to suggested that I submit it to the magazines; so I've done so and now I'm just waiting for responses. Either it'll get published in a magazine and I'll get a little extra money to use for parts, or it'll be published on Pro-touring.com and I won't get any money but it'll still get published, so either way you'll get to read it eventually; have patience.

Anyway, with the transmission rebuild complete, it came time for the Ceremony Of The Shuffling Of The Cars. This is a pain because of a) my driveway gate is in the way, b) my driveway slopes a lot, and c) neither car moves under its own power. Luckily, the wife made a friend at her local hangout that happens to be a repo man, and he's very good at moving cars quickly from difficult places.

So, of course, before I can shuffle cars, I have to get everything out of the way. For once, here's the Chevelle with nothing at all stacked on it.
This is the only picture of the T56 you get for now. Here's where most of the stuff stacked on the Chevelle went.
And, of course, here's where the rest of it went. I still want to build a few more shelves over here to replace the open shelves on the left. I've got a lot of parts left to install.
It took Mark about 30 seconds to hook the Chevelle up to his tow rig...
.. and away it went, with two flat tires and no steering/parking brake/drivetrain/brakes.
He just dropped the Chevelle on the street corner (which worried me a bit), then picked up the El Camino. Here's where the Camino used to be.
Poof, as slick as can be, the Camino was in the garage.
Looks mean, if you can get past the bent bumper and plate (it was already that way, so don't blame Mark).
The Chevelle gets to wear a cover for a while. Actually, there's two covers here. I know the top cover is breatheable, so there's a tarp under it covering most of the passenger compartment/cowl (not completely covering so evaporation can happen).
With the Camino in the garage, it's time to start tearing it down.
Bumper off.
Hood and grille removed. I'm thinking to make a custom grille, although it might suck enough that I'd reinstall the original. I'd also gotten the headlight surrounds all mixed up, so they'll fit better when I put them back on (if I don't replace them)
Once I took the complete clip off the Camino, I needed somewhere to put it.. and I had that poor clipless Chevelle. So, here's what it looks like if you try to put a 69 clip on a 65. The bolts don't come close to lining up. I hope I didn't bend anything trying to carry the clip over there by myself.
The clip is removed. I have some rust issues on the core support over near the battery - that, coupled with the damage caused to it by the wreck in 1991, suggests that it might be time to replace the whole part.
The 396, in all its dirty glory. I told the wife that this was going to be the motor that was going in "her" Chevelle, and she responded "Not like that it isn't" - which I took as free reign to upgrade the motor while I'm at it.
I've got rust issues in the cowl - this is the driver's side, behind the fender.
This is the passenger side. I'm actually not too surprised at the rust. I'll get this taken care of and that'll hopefully also take care of some of our flooding in heavy rain - water comes in at the vents onto the floorboard.
Taking bits off the engine begins.
Radiator removed. It's probably going in the Chevelle so I need to keep it from getting damaged.
Hard to see, but the arrow points at the broken bellhousing of the tranny.
And after a lot of work, the engine comes out. Things I learned: 1. The torque convertor has to slide forward a LOT before it comes free. 2. Transmissions don't like having fluid in them, and if you give them an excuse they'll get rid of it. 3. The oil filter should be removed before you start trying to pull the engine. 4. Be careful of the AC box when lifting the engine - it cracks easily. These are correctable though.
This is what's left of the transmission. It's too bad, really - it shifted well. I'm going to find somewhere to put this; the guts should be OK since it's only got roughly 10k miles on it, and I should need a TH350 at some point.
Anyway, now I need some 1/4" steel plate to make motor mounts, a plasma cutter to open up my tranny tunnel, some sundry parts from the local PepO'ReillyZone (like 396 motor mounts and Camaro radiator hoses), and I can start putting a different motor in this car.

Go back to the previous day (8 Jan 06)