17 Jun 2013
El Camino Fix List, ca 2003

Doing some site maintenance last night, I came across some pages from 2003 that contained the list of things I needed to fix on the El Camino at that point, 10 years ago. Let's see how I'm doing: (left side is pic and text from 2003, right side is current) I had replaced the metal here in front of the rear wheel, but I had not quite gotten the contour right. I used filler to fix the contour, and it would seem that I used too much, or something got into the filler to bubble up like this. I don't think it's rust since the metal here is new. I probably shouldn't have used lacquer primer, either.

Can't really tell, but there's a couple of areas on the hood where the paint is not even - like a 'sinkhole' but in the clear. Most of the clear was applied too dry, which you can tell easily in person.

First off, I hate these wheels. I see them on boat trailers and cars that I would crush rather than drive. I'm leaning towards 85-88 IROC Camaro rims as a replacement.
Soft 8s are a little better.
I need to replace the lines for the AC. I've got a new compressor, a new drier, and a new upper line, but the condenser is not installed and I lack the lower line. There's also some question as to whether I need to replace my POA valve.

Good airflow is required for the AC Condensor to work properly. It's not getting good airflow hanging on the wall of the garage.

Equivalent F-body condensor awaiting install.
I have a set of new seals for the Heater/AC box and doors but have not yet installed them.

Flexfan needs to be replaced with a proper clutch fan 15 Sep 02 - I've got the clutch, haven't installed it yet..No longer a concern; I've got a Lincoln Mk 8 radiator fan setup waiting for install.

No longer a concern; I've got a Lincoln Mk 8 radiator fan setup waiting for install.

7 Oct 02 - I talked to someone from CC Classics (mds2660@msn.com) this weekend, he says they can recalibrate my POA valve and do something to my condensor to make it all work with R-134. Whee! No longer a concern.

I'm not particularly happy with how the motor runs. I was hoping for 350-375 gross HP, but I think I'm closer to 225. I failed to take detailed notes on what the parts in it are, but I do not doubt that they're not well matched to each other. It is also possible that the compression is too high, and to get the car to run well on 93 octane the ignition needs to be too retarded to have any real power. I've got a functional timing light now so I can test that idea. - Update 5 Sep 02 - Found the receipt for the engine-guts. I'd ordered it all in "L-34" trim (350 hp 396), which means 10.25:1 compression and a medium cam (I found the cam stats online but don't remember where). Since the rest of the engine is a 65 block, I think it's safe to assume the heads are #3856206, which is a 65-66 head with 2.06"/1.72" valves and 98cc chambers. Edit, 7 Oct - Heads are 3872702, still 98cc chamber oval port closed chamber heads, still 2.06/1.72. Found a site that says these ARE L34 heads, so whee! The L34 heads are also 98cc chambers so 10.25:1 is probably correct. Timing is indeed wrong - with the vacuum advance disconnected, I'm at 9.5 degrees BTDC at 800 and 1500 rpm. At 2000 rpm, I'm at 12 degrees BTDC. At 3000 rpm, I'm at roughly 17 degrees (beyond the edge of the tab). Rumor says I should be closer to 12-16 initial and 32-38 total. I've sent mail to MSD to ask their recommendation for which springs/weights to use. 19 Oct - Changed the advance-stop bushing to the silver bushing, which allows 25 degrees of advance instead of the default 21. Changed springs to one light silver and one blue, which gets advance all in by 3200 rpm or so.. before, it was the two heavy silver springs which wouldn't allow all advance in until 4000 or so.

We did have Dyno Day.  The car exploded, but we did have it.

167 hp, 269lb/ft of torque... but to be fair, we never got a full run.

No picture: I would like to change to a 700R4 or 2004R tranny with a proper torque convertor. The decision which TC would be 'proper' will need to wait until I get the motor running right.

That's funny right there.

Front of axle looks like a slight leak too. I'd also prefer to change my ratio, I'm at roughly 3:1 currently. (Update: Code KD 0609B - it's a 2.73 non-posi)

4.11 gears, Detroit TrueTrac posi acquired; not yet installed.

Someone stole my stereo a few years back. They had trouble getting in the glove box so they broke the lock off. The irony is that the glove box hadn't been locked, they just needed to pull down and out.

New lock acquired; not yet installed.

Current seats are from an 88 Mustang GT. They're comfortable, but not correct. I've got a proper bench to put in here once I recover it. Will recover in Red.

Mustang seats sold on Craigslist.  Bench thrown away.  No replacements purchased.

Nothing wrong with the badges, except that the car isn't an SS.

Pedal pads need to be replaced.

Yes, and replaced with manual tranny equivalents.  I have the pads, have not installed them.  Will still need to get a new gas pedal (I think)

Top of the dash needs to be repainted.

After the leaks, I need to replace the carpet again. Haven't decided between black or red.

Need to strip and repaint the metal portions of the dash.

Top of dash primed, but needs more work before painting.

Center AC vent is boogered up and should be replaced.

Ooh.  I had forgotten about this one.  Added to the parts list.

Cheap mirror, and I filled the old mirror hole with filler instead of welding it up. Another lesson learned.

and then I found that I wasn't the first to do that here:

Pass fender-to-door gap needs adjusted.

Fender-holes for the long eyebrow moldings needs welded shut. I like the short ones better.

Ugly patch-welds in the bed need ground down.

Outer wheelhouse, driver's side. Will patch instead of replacing.

It got worse. There's another spot up higher now too.

Can you see the problem here? No? Lock is in upside down. I've got the pass lock in the driver's door and vice versa. 9 Nov 02 - This is also a great pic to show how hazy the paint is.

Bicycle impact. The bike seems to have fared better than the car in this instance.

I wish I'd gone a bit higher with the color coat and the sanding, the chrome is actually back from the edge about 3/16th of an inch. When I repaint, I will correct this..

Needs resanded and buffed.

Radiator cover needs scuffed and painted black. The cad plating on this is shot. Semigloss black, I'm thinking.

Done, but it doesn't look good.  Need to redo.

I think this was a rust bubble even at this point.  They don't fix themselves.

I burned through the clear.


Paint mixed wrong? Applied too thick? Trim installed too soon? Bad primer? Your guess is probably better than mine.

All of the above.
Still need to get a new tonneau cover - the soft kind that snaps on. I may or may not need to weld up the existing and drill new holes for the snaps on the side.

I will weld up the snap-holes.
No picture: Pass side, low. I shot the clear too dry and it didn't flow out, so wax etc gets caught in the low spots. Looks horrible, a white chalky color to the lower portion (below the body crease) of the whole side. Update 1 Sep 02 - I've wetsanded this area some and polished it out with 3M "Finesse-It". Wow. The portions I touched with it look a lot better than the rest of the whole car - my reflection in these areas is clear, where on the rest of the car it's hazy. I need to go down to 1200 or 1000 on some areas, then come back with 1500 or 2000 before re-buffing. This may save me from having to repaint some portions.

Yeah, no.  The paint looked like crap, and came off in chunks.

Paint-stuff in the stainless.

This stainless didn't survive being removed this time, so when it gets replaced this will be taken care of.

Driver's side outer headlight molding is bent. Piddly stuff, but still needs fixed.

Bed leading edge chrome needs replaced or straightened.


Tow truck bent the bumper.

To be fixed.

Rear vertical bed trim, one of the mounting studs is broken (although if I tightened it down you'd probably never know). Chrome is not in very good shape anyway.

Bought replacements, not yet installed.
I need to repaint the headers. I've got a can of silver POR-20 (the high-heat stuff) but can't get the whole headers without pulling fenders.

Headers removed.

I bought the wrong sidepipes. These are about an inch too long, I've had to bend the exit so they'd stop hitting the rear wheels. I think I'd rather change over to a full exhaust system, with an X-pipe.

Sidepipes removed and thrown away.

And I have a chip in my windshield. (Update 10 Aug: The chip has become a crack and now I get to replace the windshield.). 31 Aug 02, I passed inspection anyway.

I will require a new windshield.

All windows have small scratches on them.

Wrong wiper motor, this is for a non-park setup. Washer motor doesn't work.

Rumor says that a 1980 Camaro motor and the switch that goes with is not too terribly different from the way stock mounts, but has pulse intermittent wipers plus it's a parking setup. There's also something about a 85 Blazer setup but that seems to be for round-knobs.

Or I could go with a 4th gen Camaro setup.
No pic - poor ground (I think) somewhere causes the tach to twitch when turn signal flashes. Adding an additional dash ground did not help.

Maybe fixed (new tach, new turn signals, new grounds)
More poor ground, right turn signal indicator lights dimly when lights are on. Adding another ground did not help.

Maybe fixed.
I've got a NOS glove box lamp I picked up on Ebay that I need to install.

Yes, a glove box light would be nice.  So would footwell lamps.
I'd like to convert to a bigger alternator.

I think I've accomplished that.
I'd like to move to using relays to run the headlamps

Probably a good idea.
Dome light doesn't work.

New harness, new dome light.
Stereo sucks. I need to build an speaker enclosure to fit behind the seat.

Still need to.
Front pass speaker is out. When the carpet gets damp, both speakers are out.

Not fixed.  Well, sorta - the speakers have been thrown away.

Leak at the passenger A-pillar when it rains.

I don't know where this was coming from - perhaps the windshield seal itself?

Leak at the back of the sunroof when it rains. It's not the glass seal, the metal frame seems to leak in the back.

I need to pull the rest of the headliner out.  If the metal around the sunroof is rusty, then I guess the decision is made and I'll need to replace the roof panel (and I will not put another sunroof in); otherwise I need a new weatherstrip for it.
No pic: Need to replace one of the small latches on the sunroof. I needed to replace the big latch 12 years ago and I got the new one from The Top Shop in Indianapolis (317) 788 3000. I'll call them when I get a chance.

As above.

Vent window weatherstripping does not seal. I don't know that this is my fault... it may just be bad or wrong weatherstripping

Pass vent window also doesn't seal well.

No picture: Pass side front upper control arm mount bolthole is larger than it should be, so the bolt wobbles in the hole, making an alignment impossible. This may or may not be the source of the vibration I get at 60+MPH. I have a shop ready to weld it up and redrill it, just waiting on the disposable income to do so.

Fixed ~2005, we had it welded up and redrilled
Would also like to upgrade to the 70-81 Trans Am front sway bar (1 1/4" diameter) Still pending.  Got poly bushings for the stocker; let's see how this goes with the new suspension.
I'm also thinking maybe to do the B-body tall spindle conversion with disc brakes. This would involve offset upper A-Arm shafts, tubular upper control arms, or both. Hahaha.  I've got the B spindles and GW UCAs, if you want them.
I am contemplating going to the 92-98 Jeep Grand Cherokee power steering box, it's a 12.7:1 gear with almost 44 degrees of travel. It's a bolt-in in place of the existing box and should give better feel.

Done 19 Dec 2008
Of course, as mentioned, I need an alignment.

I have new BMR Fabrication lower control arms that I need to install.

Done 15 Mar 2003
I also need to get a rear sway bar.

Yes, I do.

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