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Ashyukun
Ashyukun Reader
10/29/12 11:19 a.m.

So, this car... truck... whatever (I'll use 'car' for simplicity ) was originally bought shortly after the $2011 Challenge with the intent of my taking it to the $2012 Challenge. Those who were at the Challenge this year know that obviously this didn't happen... work and other 'real life' issues as well as some issues with the vehicle itself kept me from having it anywhere near done. Instead, I lucked into finding the Cadillac 500-powered Fiero that I took to the Challenge this year (and sold less than 24 hours after the Challenge was done, hopefully to be brought back next year better sorted by the new owner). I'm hoping to have it at the Challenge NEXT year, assuming work doesn't mess this up AGAIN (which it looks like it's going to do its best to do...).

It's a 1979 El Camino, but at some point somebody put a 1986 front end on it, so it has the two smaller headlights on each side vs. the one large that it should have for its year. I'm in no hurry to change this, I'm fine with it as it is. It had a 350 in it that I was told 'had a cam', but beyond that and the fact the rear main seal was shot due to the carb dumping fuel down the intake (likely due to the Edelbrock carb it had on it not liking the higher fuel pressure from the mechanical pump...) I didn't know anything about the engine. It ran, albeit with lots of backfiring, one I fed fuel to it.

The driver's side floorpan is pretty badly rusted out, but it at the same time came with the replacement floorpans to be welded in. There are rusted-out patches behind the doors as well, which seems to be normal for these cars. Other than that, by and large it is pretty solid- other than one very bizarre feature: somebody at some point had cut a good sized chunk out of the front of the bed and screwed in a large metal box accessible only from the inside of the car. My best guess is that somebody wanted a MUCH bigger sub box than would otherwise fit, but who knows. Whether or not it gets repaired as part of the Challenge build will depend heavily on whether the spare back half of an El Camino I picked up ends up getting used otherwise.

It was (and still is, as of writing this) painted bass-boat silver fleck. In its own way, it's kind of awesome- but very much not my style. And sevearl parts of it were replaced at some point, so I've got to repaint the whole thing anyway. I am keeping the original gas cap cover-piece as a reminder of what it started out looking like. The pictures just don't do this paint job justice, other than pointing out it was not done the best and is flaking off to show they didn't do much prep it seems.

One of the first things I set out to do though was to pull the engine and get to checking it over and replacing the seal. Once I did this though, I found that the block had been bored 80 over stock- further than I thought you could actually do- and that there was definite pitting on several of the cylinders. This meant that for my purposes the block was largely worthless. Were I JUST planning on using this for the Challenge and trailering it there and back, I might have been willing to just let it ride, but I intend to drive it halfway normally as a hauling/towing/fun car before and after the Challenge and to drive it the 800-some-odd miles there and back, so it needs to be halfway reliable too (reasonably efficient would be nice... but that is well behind 'performance' and 'reliability' in importance ).

To this end, I bought a salvage-titled 1989 Chevy K1500 4wd truck that had a very recently rebuilt 350 TBI engine in it and an almost as recently rebuilt 700R4 (the Elky came with a THM350, so no overdrive for the highway...). The engine was pulled, but I found a buyer for the rest of the vehicle that was interested in the truck-tailed 700R4 and had a car 700R4 he could sell me, so it was sold with the transmission and I bought his car-tailed overdrive transmission (though it likely won't be installed for the Challenge). At the moment I'm less than $100 away from having sold-off enough from the truck to get the engine for free, and there's little doubt I'll sell enough more to erase it from the budget completely (other than eating up half of my sell-off potential).

I also ended up with the back half of a wrecked El Camino fairly inexpensively. It was primarily bought because I really want a camper top for mine, and it came with a really nice-condition one. However, it may get folded into the budget if I use its excellent-condition bed to repair the cutout from mine, and while it unfortunately does not have a posi rear in it, it may have taller gears than the highway-friendly 2.7X mine has in it now and thus the rear end may be useful if I swap it over to mine. It also came with some decent carpets and other interior trim pieces that I can use 'for free' if it gets included in the budget (and as much of it as possible sold off/scrapped after I've pulled what I can myself use from it).

The engine I'm planning on using has been bored .030 over, but as near as I can tell it's otherwise stock. The nice thing about it though is that it is in excellent shape overall and that being an '89 block, it is a roller-cam-ready block and I've picked up the roller hardware from a Vortec block as well as some Vortec heads (already had one pair of heads end up being cracked, hopefully at least one of the two new pairs is good...). I'm still working on cam choices- I'd LOVE the GM HOT cam kit, but I doubt the whole kit will fit into my budget so I may be forced to run with just the cam and without the advantages of the other hardware in the kit.

I'm going to be uploading pictures as I go to the Photobucket album I have set up for the build which is located here:

$2013 Challenge Build Album

Ranger50
Ranger50 UltraDork
10/29/12 11:51 a.m.

A Delorean? What was the box for? Smuggling pot or 'shine?

Good luck!

Ashyukun
Ashyukun Reader
10/29/12 12:02 p.m.

In reply to Ranger50:

The box wouldn't have been very useful for smuggling anything- as the pictures show, it's VERY obvious in the bed and is probably one of the first things people would notice when looking the car over. Best guess I've heard was that someone thought that the stock 'smuggler's box' where the spare tire is usually stored on the things wasn't big enough for the subwoofers they wanted in the car and had to make a bigger box. It's really ridiculous... the only advantage to it is if I don't rip it out and put the bed back to normal before the Challenge, it's a perfect place to relocate the battery to...

Gasoline
Gasoline Dork
10/29/12 12:46 p.m.

I'll be watching this one. Keep the progress coming!

Ashyukun
Ashyukun Reader
10/29/12 1:09 p.m.

In reply to Gasoline:

Thanks! I'm learning a heck of a lot in the process of this build... up until starting this, I'd never rebuilt a piston engine before, only a rotary.

I'm figuring that I'm going to get flatly stomped on the two tracks, and would get stomped at the AutoX even if I had a nearly infinite budget , but I'm having a lot of fun and am looking forward to driving the car around after the Challenge as well (with some of the upgrades I can't afford on a $2013 budget.

Double_Wishbone
Double_Wishbone Reader
10/29/12 1:44 p.m.

This looks like an awesomely fun project. Subscribed, and good luck!!

Ashyukun
Ashyukun Reader
11/1/12 8:47 a.m.

Unfortunately I'm on business travel for the next few weeks, so there won't be any actual wrench-turning on the car itself, but I am still trying to hunt up parts. I'd hoped to pick up a cheap TPI setup for post-Challenge, but the storm delayed me and it got sold. If everything works out as planned, I'll be hitting the local yards Saturday afternoon and Sunday and hopefully hunting down some of the parts I still need.

Ashyukun
Ashyukun Reader
11/4/12 6:20 p.m.

Well, the weekend's worth of hunting around the u-pull-it lots nearby yielded almost nothing of real use. The total haul for both yesterday and today consisted of:

pair of hood pins (probably won't be used on the Challenge car) pair of S-10 center caps (probably won't be used on the Challenge car) Stupidly large Volvo turbo intercooler (won't be used on the Challenge car) Pair of rear disc brake backing plates from a Blazer- these might actually get used, but they DON'T have the parking brake hardware on them so they're less than ideal.

I may have a lead on a better-priced limited slip differential for the car though, but unfortunately most people don't know about the 26 & 28 spline 7.5/7.625 rear ends so it takes longer to confirm whether or not I can use the diff or not (all the G-bodies used the 26-spline axles...).

stan_d
stan_d Dork
11/4/12 8:13 p.m.

I think next year might be year of the truck. I am building a chevy truck and I know of a s10 and toyota truck coming 2013.

Look at circle track metric chassie cars for parts to make it turn.

ValuePack
ValuePack Dork
11/5/12 7:10 a.m.
Ashyukun wrote: I also ended up with the back half of a wrecked El Camino fairly inexpensively.

Having reviewed the pics, this needs to become a trailer at some point.

Killer project, looking forward to seeing more.

N Sperlo
N Sperlo PowerDork
11/5/12 7:23 a.m.

Oh my, my friend. Not getting very far in that.

Ashyukun
Ashyukun Reader
11/5/12 7:45 a.m.
ValuePack wrote:
Ashyukun wrote: I also ended up with the back half of a wrecked El Camino fairly inexpensively.

Having reviewed the pics, this needs to become a trailer at some point.

Killer project, looking forward to seeing more.

I've considered that... but we'll have to see. Its bed will likely be cut up a good bit to repair the stupid box in the back of the actual full El Camino, so I'd have to patch that up. I've also not had the chance to see what gears it has and whether I'll want to swap the read end out into mine for better gears. And the frame is really rusty- if I make a trailer out of it, I'd need to make some repairs to the frame and lose the differential.

Ashyukun
Ashyukun Reader
11/5/12 7:45 a.m.

In reply to N Sperlo:

Not without a good hill.

Ashyukun
Ashyukun Reader
11/6/12 7:57 a.m.

So, after a good bit of consideration and research, I picked up a complete 86-89 TPI setup for the El Camino. It almost certainly won't be getting used for the Challenge since I'd either need a different intake (the cheapest of which is around $400) to use my Vortec heads or I'd have to use a pair of non-Vortec heads- and that's ignoring the engine management aspect (it did come with a wiring harness, but would likely need re-tuning for the modified engine). Still, it will make for a fun project after the Challenge, and gives me a bit more room if I really want to go nuts and add in forced induction.

Ashyukun
Ashyukun Reader
11/13/12 8:32 a.m.

Well, the last week or so has been better for me than expected on most counts except having time to work on the car.

Thanks to another GRMer, I now have a 3.08 posi rear for the car, a Victor Jr. intake for Vortec heads, and a set of higher-lift-capable springs for my Vortec heads (which are off at the cylinder head shop being checked over). I've got the replacement gaskets to put the engine back together coming in, and I lucked into a full set of GMPP 1.6 ratio rocker arms for a lot less than they should have gone for. Add in the ZZ4 cam that I've got coming in, and at this point, there's precious little I still need to put the engine back together (besides some engine paint, but that's on its way too). Now if only I weren't going to be out of town for nearly a month after this weekend...

I've managed to sell off some more of the parts from the vehicles too- the engine-donor truck is now down to $0, and I'm slowly inching closer to hitting the sell-off limit. It's more and more looking like using the nitrous kit on the car is going to be a serious possibility...

Ashyukun
Ashyukun Reader
11/13/12 8:35 a.m.
stan_d wrote: I think next year might be year of the truck. I am building a chevy truck and I know of a s10 and toyota truck coming 2013. Look at circle track metric chassie cars for parts to make it turn.

Sounds like it should be a fun field. I've always liked seeing the vehicles you'd not expect to be racing running in the Challenge.

The valve springs I picked up actually came from a circle-track race team. There's a big racing swap meet coming up in early January not too far from here that I'm planning on hitting up- by that point I'll hopefully be done with the engine, but handling parts I'll probably still be tracking down...

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr Reader
11/13/12 12:02 p.m.

For suspension springs, google "Moog spring chart Gbody"

You can buy springs that are MUCH stiffer and MUCH lower at your local parts store for like $60.00 for a pair of fronts and $60.00 for a pair of rears that will bolt right up with ZERO mods needed.

Also, you can get Bilstein shocks for about $65.00 for each corner.

Get some shorter front upper A arms and longer front ball joints and you are about done with the suspension.

Ranger50
Ranger50 UltraDork
11/13/12 12:24 p.m.
wvumtnbkr wrote: For suspension springs, google "Moog spring chart Gbody" You can buy springs that are MUCH stiffer and MUCH lower at your local parts store for like $60.00 for a pair of fronts and $60.00 for a pair of rears that will bolt right up with ZERO mods needed. Also, you can get Bilstein shocks for about $65.00 for each corner. Get some shorter front upper A arms and longer front ball joints and you are about done with the suspension.

http://www.maliburacing.com/coilspring.htm

Ashyukun
Ashyukun Reader
11/13/12 6:24 p.m.

In reply to Ranger50:

Oh, that's useful. Quite interesting too, since I actually have a set of front springs I pulled from an S-10. Of course, I also have a set of front lowering springs that I picked up for $20, though I don't know the spring rate on them. The car actually came with a set of Monte SS rear springs on it (from what I was told), and the rear actually sits pretty close to where I'd like it to be, though we'll see when I get further along whether I stick with them or not.

I have a pair of KYB Gas-A-Just shocks I picked up for the front fairly cheap, and a set of interesting shocks I pulled off of a Monte in a salvage yard that have small springs over the outside of them kind of like coil-overs (but way too small to replace the actual rear springs). One of these days I'll get a good picture of them added to the album...

Ranger50
Ranger50 UltraDork
11/13/12 6:35 p.m.

In reply to Ashyukun:

Those are those POS "helper" or load leveling shocks. Run a regular shock.

Ashyukun
Ashyukun Reader
11/13/12 10:01 p.m.

In reply to Ranger50:

Duly noted. Though it's a pity since I got them for less than a single shock would normally cost from the junkyard and they still damp quite well. The Bilsteins would be nice, but that would also be a huge chunk of my budget which is starting to stretch thin... If I pick up new shocks for it, I'd probably pick up a pair of Gas-A-Justs for the rear to match the ones I have for the front.

Ashyukun
Ashyukun Reader
11/14/12 4:54 p.m.

So, I arrived home today after stopping off at a truck supply store to pick up some 'Aluminum Restorer' to find something I was not expecting in my driveway: a rather nice-looking 5th Gen El Camino. Turns out that they guy who was coming over to buy the intake manifold off my car's original engine (a nice Edelbrock Endurashine intake) was buying it to shine-up the engine bay of HIS El Camino a bit. I had a good time chatting with him about the car, and checked and confirmed that his engine had the right heads for the intake to work.

So, a bit of money back into my budget (effectively knocking the Victor Jr. Vortec intake I got down to $10), and a nice chat with another El Camino owner. Win-win in my book!

Ashyukun
Ashyukun Reader
11/16/12 7:39 a.m.

Going what would appear to be backwards, the engine is now more or less put back togther- albeit with empty cylinder heads, no cam/lifters/timing provisions, etc.- and sealed off so I can give it a good cleaning. The USPS package slip for the cam was waiting in my mail box yesterday as well, so I'll be picking it up at the Post Office after I hit the salvage yard hunting for an electric fan this afternoon. Though that just reminded me that I forgot to pack my little 12V test battery along with my tool kit this morning. Doh!

Given past history, I expect I'll hear back from the cylinder head shop this afternoon as well regarding the two pairs of Vortec heads. Hopefully they both checked out, and I can get him to doing the machine work (valve job, machining down the valve guides for higher lift) right away so I can get them back before I leave for Thanksgiving on Monday afternoon...

Ashyukun
Ashyukun Reader
11/16/12 11:36 p.m.

Wow... I wish I'd tried using glass bead media in my blasting cabinet a long time ago! It does a fantastic job of wiping paint and rust off of parts without doing any damage to the metal. Literally less than four minutes in the cabinet to totally refresh the top half of the Elky's carb. Granted, it loses the polished/shined finish- but I'll take 'hammered/bright aluminum' over 'clouded and dirty looking polished aluminum' any day of the week. Now that the carb is nicely cleaned off, I can finally get to putting it back together.

The engine is now cleaned off and save for re-masking everything, ready for painting. I'm probably going to be going for a look along the lines of this:

I plan to have the majority of the engine though be the Chevy Orange and the heads black- essentially an inversion of what the car itself will be painted like (after the Challenge... it'll have a bit different of a paint scheme for that...). I'm still on the fence about painting the intake manifold though- but it likely would look a bit out-of-place if the whole rest of the engine was either black or orange!

The ZZ4 cam came in too- though it will likely be some time before I actually install it. Also, the cylinder head shop didn't call today. I will have to check in with him on Monday before I leave for vacation, since it will be another month or so before I'll be in town when the shop will be open.

turboswede
turboswede PowerDork
11/17/12 12:13 a.m.

Maybe look at some of the ceramic coatings?

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