This page shows work on
the El Camino.

Jan 2009 to December 2010

July 2006 the car got a name: 'Elkenstein'
There are so many parts on it now, from all sorts of different vehicles. Even though it dies once in a while, it keeps coming back to life.

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'Elkenstein' in Car Craft April 2008

See this page for a year in the life of Elkenstein.
January 2006 to February 2007
Blown head gaskets, blown engine, new engine, electrical melt downs, computer swaps, catastrophic failure of the new (rebuilt) engine at 1000 miles.
March 2007 to November 2008 The rebuilt engine, rebuilt again, small tweaks, new rear end, gear change after that.
January 2009-December 2010 (This Page) Surgery slowed down progress for a couple years. Back at it now and making progress.
Projects in 2011 New lights for the turn signals, headlight upgrade, Serpentine system swap, New body Mount Bushings and Fuel pump.
Projects started 2012 New Overdrive Transmission.
Projects beginning 2014 New Wheels and Tires, Big Brakes, Ignition Switch.

It's been a while since the El Camino got anything new. Just got wires and looms in billet Aluminum 1/2009

On March 6th 2009, I was hospitalized for surgery for Arthritis in my spine. I had a laminectomy on L4 & L5. As of July 2009, I am walking 2 to 3 miles a day again, and not in pain as I was for almost a year. Thank God, every day, for good health. There will be no more engine swaps without lots of help, in this lifetime.

I want to install the 200-4R transmission I got from the 1987 Monte Carlo SS parts car in to the El Camino. These are the initial measurements, confirming that I need to have an extension added to the frame to make this work. I won't be doing this on my own (see above)

Click on all all these pictures to see a larger view.

This is the El Camino with the 350C trans. the cross member is much closer to the front.
This is the El Camino from the passenger side.
This is the Monte Carlo SS with the 200-4R. You can see that a 14" section of channel is added to the frame. You can even see the holes that would support a 350 cross member.
This is the Monte from the passenger side.
I thought the channel may have been bolted on the back at the top, but it's just a brake line clamp. Don't ya just love salt? See the floor starting to rot.

NOTE- In late 2010 the Transmission went out on the Monte Carlo. So the transmission from the parts car Monte is going in there. I will probably go with a 700 when the time comes for overdrive in Elkenstein.
I have had enough of the loud rattle sound coming from the right rear quarter panel, over RR tracks and big bumps. I had this noise just after the body work in 1998 too, and the body mad bit a strategic screw in, but it started up again.

I started by cutting an inspection hole in the inner bed on the passenger side, hopefully in an area that would work to diagnose the problem.
This picture shows the internal sheet metal brace looking towards the front of the bed.
This is the back end of the brace, where it rattles on the wheel well. I have a feeling there was more clearance when it was born, but I had new GM rear quarters installed about 1998.
I discovered that when I put a wooden shim in there, the noise stopped. So I scored the shim (thanks for the tip Tom.... my trusted advisor) and broke it off in place. Then I made a little scoop spoon/tube from some aluminum tubing, and filled the end with blue RTV. Even though it's wedged in there, I don't want it to go anywhere from vibration. I'll be leaving the flap open till I test drive it for a while. Then Tom is getting the Mig welder from school and I'll seal it up again.
I bought a new steering gear for the El Camino. It was really sloppy, and there was over an inch of play at the steering wheel before anything happened at the tires. (way over) It was getting pretty scary, and no one wanted to drive it. The part number I used was A1 Cardone 27-6550 for a Monte Carlo SS with a little higher effort, and 2.5 turns lock to lock. It's pretty forgiving on center, so I think it may be a variable ratio box. It has much more road feel than the one I had in there, and a lot less twitchy.

When I first drove it, everything was great. I had Tom drive it, and it acted like no power steering around one corner. By the time I got it home, it did the same thing to me a couple times. I drove to work, and everything was fine, till I was in the lot at work. Coming home, it got to the point where it didn't seem like I had any power steering at all.

Quick call to tech support (Robert has saved my ass more times than I can remember now .... Thanks!!) The valve is the 1" nut next to the 5/8" fitting with the fluid line pointed out here. (click to see a larger picture)

The part in the center of this picture was stuck against the opening in the valve to the right. When I took that part out, the plunger was solid in place. I couldn't get it out with a magnet, but when I forced it in, it broke loose and the spring pushed it out. I cleaned it out, with carb cleaner and air, then cleaned out the inside of the pump. I lubed up the plunger and worked it in there making sure it would move freely, and put it back together. It works great now. Even at idle at a dead stop.

This is a modified valve setup. Here is the link to give your g-body more pressure at the power steering pump: Thanks to Jeff Davidson and Robert Adams




This was my old bass drum pedal from when I bought my vintage 1967 Ludwig drums. I have owned the drums and the pedal since about 1976. I started using an upgraded Ghost pedal for playing in Jonesin', but always kept this one. I saw a TV program called "Gearz" and they were using one of these on a hot rod for a gas pedal, so I immediately went to storage and started plans to get this on my El Camino.


(click on the pictures for a larger view)

Here the top was trimmed, and the bottom plate bolted on, with the post drilled out from the original flip heel plate.
Here the original gas pedal is removed, showing the spring and pin that hold it in.
The mark is laid out for the position of the pivot pin.
I fabricated 2 aluminum plates for the pedal, and riveted them on.
Test fitting revealed not enough room for the post on the throttle assembly to clear the spring.
These modifications cleared enough room to get the pedal on the car.
Here is the installed pedal. Perfect for an old drummer like me!


Friends ..... Check your brakes more often than I did. Don't assume that the wear indicators will make noise before the pads are shot. I replaced these with Centric Posi-Quiet premium replacement pads. They work real good. I would guess they were in there for maybe 7 years.

This is the new MSD 8366 Pro Billet Distributor for EFI.

See for a really great deal. Thanks Chris!

Another shot. Not a closed in as the old stock dissy.
The last time I messed with this was in 2006, when I took parts from 2 different ones, and bought new internal electronics for it.
Nasty build up on the electrodes. I bet that was the noise I was hearing. Like a baseball card in the spokes of a bike wheel.
You can see in this pic that I dated the new electronic module. I had replaced the pickup under the magnets at the same time. I guess it got me by for 4 years. I suspect that using a shaft from one dissy, and the case and magnets from another could leave slop in the system. I did what I had to do to keep it running with what I had laying around.
Here is the new MSD 8366 distributor in place. Thanks to Chris at Runs smooth, even idles better. I still have throttle body leaks that I will be fixing soon. 4/28/2010


Nate and I had some fun going to the Salvage Yard on our day off. We came out with this 1993 Jeep Cherokee steering intermediate shaft for $25 It has the same splines and same D opening at the wheel side as the GM G-Bodys.

This is supposed to be a really good upgrade from the detroit style upper joint and rag joint on our cars.

I rebuilt the rag joint almost 10 years ago with a really thick replacement rubber, and oversize bolts. It literally has no deflection now. I still want to try the Jeep shaft.

This shows the upper joint with an intact boot. This is the 3rd one I have had on the car. The other 2 were trashed here. I transferred the rag joint each time.

This mod is to be continued, after I try to persuade the new shaft to compress with a BFH. Robert swears it will work..... Just have to get violent first. Good Therapy I say.

This one never worked out. The BFH did nothing. Part for sale......


See the next page of work from 2011 to present here

Projects January 2006 to February 2007     March 2007 to November 2008  January 2009-December 2010  Projects 2011
Projects in 2012-2013   Projects 2014