This page shows the latest upgrades to the El Camino.
January 2011 to October 2011.

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.

Click on the pictures to see larger views.
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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 Surgery slowed down progress for a couple years. Back at it now and making progress.
Projects in 2011 (This Page) New lights for the turn signals, headlight upgrade, Serpentine system swap, New body Mount Bushings and Fuel pump.
Projects started 2012 Purchased 200-R4 Transmission to build and convert to overdrive.
Projects beginning 2014 New Wheels and Tires, Big Brakes, Ignition Switch.
Happy New Year! 2011 

Resolution.... Work on the El Camino this year instead of the winter beater.

Work started January 1.

Serpentine conversion and new headlights and turn signals in front.

 This is the A/C side of the serpentine setup. It will go on the passenger side, and is conspicuously and intentionally missing the AIR pump.
Another angle on the AC and idler pulley with tensioner.
This is the Drivers side, showing the alternator and power steering pump.
THe alternator is new, and I will be using the modified valving on the power steering pump I have that boosts the pressure for the quicker steering gear designed for the Monte SS that I put in the Elky last year.
A little touch up on the pulleys.
  The trip to the junk yard 1/18/11 netted a reverse fan and clutch from a V8 pickup that is 19" diameter just like the one in the Elky. I have ground down the rust, and used rust killer type primer on it. I will paint it in 24 hours.

Click this picture for photos of the conversion

Robert Adams came up for a visit from Texas to help with the Serpentine swap and just to visit. He decided to come at the coldest day of the season so far. The heater in the garage kept us nice and toasty though. Click on the picture for a web photo gallery of the event.

We still have to do some things to the installation. Vac lines and the belt was too long by a bit. It went very well though. Thanks to Robert for all your work and coming up. We spent some time with Cort Stevens from the El Camino list and also Tom Straiker.

The brakes were not working well vacuum right off the front of the manifold. I suspected the adaptor fitting, and opened it up to the inside diameter if the metal line.
I still have to test it, but I can't imagine that it wouldn't help a bit.

Tested and works great. Big difference!
This is the back of the turn signal housing in stock form. One 194 marker light and one 1157. Not much notification from this set up that you are turning.
This is the top of the signal with the new H1 and H4 reflector and bulb set up to replace the sealed beams. That project will get on the page later.
Here are the strips of amber LED's 11.8" long from This package cost $75.89.
Here I opened up the back center of the housing to allow for the strip to run straight though.
A better shot of the holes in the sides.
I used a hand brake to bend aluminum to keep the strip rigid in the housing. I did not have a long enough piece to make the outside length, so I riveted tabs on the ends.
Here is the strip adhered on 2 sides with the provided 3M tape (already stuck on 3 sides from the supplier).
I popped one rived on each side, then adjusted the angles, and drilled the other spots.
From the side.
These plugs were $.10 each at Science and Surplus. I notched them for the application.
Nice fit, but I used gutter seal to seal things up later.
The center section was a little more challenging to seal. This is the layout before cutting.
Cut and bent to shape.
The housing is all sealed and riveted in place. The hole for the 194 will be plugged with the original socket with no bulb.

Here is the light in an animation working. I have to get some wiring straight because it only works with the lights or parking lights off. I will be converting the markers to LED to sync with the front signal. Hopefully this will solve the problem.


I finally got a chance to work on the marker lights. I used an electronic flasher unit, but the LED markers still did not work. Through trial and error, I determined that the flasher needed more load to operate (even one designed for LED's didn't work). I put the 194 in the marker wired to the signal wire and there was enough load to work the flasher. I still want the marker to work with lights and parking lights, so I added another socket in the marker housing.

Here are the 2 sockets in the marker housing mounted in the car. The LED is for the marker, and the 194 with a regular filament is the blinking bulb.

Here is a video of the working system in YouTube

This is the stock wiring before starting to add the relays. The headlights didn't really work on high beam, and the draw on the switch and the system was pretty high. You can see the new pin out arrangement if you look real close on the low beam , and the new high beam pig tail spliced in with the connectors. (Click the picture for a closer view)
The loom is torn apart here. This is on the drivers side. all the wires are spliced here from the factory to have 4 wires to one coming from the dash. the lime green is the high beam feed and the light brown is the low beam trigger wire. I cut the wires very close to the splices and fed the wires through the loom and added another sleeve for the new wires.

A schematic for how I wired it is on this page.
Thanks to a search that found this page, on, with great tech tips.
This shows the weather pack fuses in place on the inner fender, fed from a direct connection to the battery. The relays are screwed to the metal plate, and labeled for reference.
Everything is safe from the elements now. Top fuse is high beam and bottom is low. Works great. 25 amp fuses for now.
Body Mount Bushings Project
Started September 15, 2011

The day before, I sprayed all the bolts with PB Blaster. You can only get to the head of the bolts though. The threads are not exposed. The car is on jack stands with jacks for backup. I loosened all the bolts, and removed all of them from the driver's side. # 2 on both sides has a broken bolt, and missing rubber underside bushing, so those will be the challenging ones. I also took the fan shroud off to prevent damage when lifting the body. I also removed the gas tank for another project, and didn't think it would hurt to have it out of there to lighten the load. It is a good idea to take out the bumper filler poly pieces to avoid damage to these while lifting the body.

Product description:
This complete rubber bushing kit is a must have for a complete restoration. Each kit contains all of the necessary 22 bushings and each molded rubber bushing is manufactured to factory specifications to ensure a perfect fit. Steel sleeves add rigidity where needed. Sold as a kit, hardware is not included.

I purchased a set of body mount bushings from Original Parts Group.I was unable to find anything in rubber except for this kit. You may be able to piece together the bushings from old stock at 12 different GM dealers, but they would be old and very hard. I have not been able to do that though. I did not want to use Poly for this, because I have had bad luck with every poly bushing except sway bar links. The part number for the kit is L240670, but wait before you rush out and buy it.

The kit contains enough bushings for the back 6 positions for about $300. There are 7 body mounting locations on a 1984 El Camino, and there is nothing in the kit that resembles the number 1 location. I fault myself just a little for not counting the bushings in the picture, and cross referencing the diagrams in the shop manual. Below are some pictures of the diagrams showing 7 locations. A call to OPGI resulted in a consultant claiming that they don't supply the radiator support mount in the kit. You will see to the left, in the text from the web site product description 9/16/11 that this set is "complete". Hmmmmm **Note- OPGI is working on the customer satisfaction angle with me on this and I have been pleased with the communication as of 9/27.

I am now on the hunt for the #1 replacements, and I think I have found them. See below. Also, my application had 4 of the caps shown 3rd row far right, but I may be able to use the bottom row first 4 for this location. The bushings on the bottom right will go in the number 3 position. Another note.... no documentation at all with this kit. Energy Suspension has a good diagram and basic instructions for their Poly kit that I used as a guide.

Diagrams from the 1984 Shop manual.
I count 7 locations on each side.

Click on the pictures for a larger view.
(this goes for all the pictures on this page)
Click this picture to see the entire left side removed.
Not all bottom caps are shown.
Left to right, positions 1 through 7

 I made a chart with part numbers that were found on the bushing in this picture. I have not been able to cross reference anything through the parts stores, but I am headed to the dealership parts counter to look for replacements. Click to see this document.

I have decided to use the bushings in the bottom of this picture as position #3, and purchase new #1 bushings in Poly that are Energy Suspension parts.
See Below.

The picture on the lower left is numbered for the positions. This picture shows the locations of the bushings I used from the kit, and the #1 Poly bushings. The flatter caps are used in #6 & 7, the odd caps are on number 3, as well as the smaller diameter bushing, the deeper caps are used on 2, and 4, the larger upper bushings are used on positions 2, 4, 6, and 7. 5 has no bolt, and snaps in to the frame.


 This is a picture of the conspicuously absent (from the kit) #1 mount on the right, and a bushing from the kit for another position. If I can get a duplicate of this, I may be able to use the rubber part on the old metal housing.

The bolt is longer on this one too, and requires a washer and nut on the top. These were in good shape, and I am going to re-use them, unless the ne/w kit has the bolt with it.

   As you can see, they are quite different, but the rubber is very close to the same. I may see if I can drill out the center, and weld another pipe to the cup for better strength.
  Here is the new rubber in the old cup. From the looks, comparing to the picture 2 spots up, it should work. Now if I can only get another couple bushings. I may use the metal from the new one as a washer too, just to raise it up a bit.

Solution - replacement for the above part

See Image of parts 

 Looking on the Monte SS forum, there is a mention of an Energy Suspension part that may work for the #1 position. Part number 9.4102 is the same size apparently. Lots of good information on this Forum.

 Time to buy a welder! I ordered a Mig 135 kit from Eastwood to patch up the frame.

As you can see in this picture, the hole in the frame is the same size as the old bushing that has been removed, it rusted right through, pushing the mount through with it. The bolt has long since rusted in half, and is hanging there at the moment (see next pic). The bottom cap and washer is long gone too.

   I went to Priority Products in Saint Charles, IL and bought some washers to weld down to the top of the frame. The will be perfect for the job. The hole is just the right size, and overlaps the rusted area plenty far enough to support the new bushing. Just waiting for the welder now.

Priority Products in Saint Charles, IL is also where I also bought new bolts for all the positions for about $14 instead of $60 or $80 that the kits go for. That included washers.
The bolts are:
Position 3 = M10x1.5x55 - grade 10.9 GM part 14085301
Positions 2, 4-7 M10x1.5x80 - grade 10.9 - GM part 12337833
Position 1 = M10x1.5X95 (I used a 100 mm with washer at the bottom) - grade 9.8 (grade 10.9 will work)- GM part 10049638
   This is the number 2 position on the passenger side. In this view, and with the ones above, I decided to take the inner fenders out. This is going to make things a lot easier. It also made a little more work that I will have to clean up. One tab of the right front fender broke off that had a clip rusted to it..... hey! I will have a welder to fix that soon!
   This is the nut that came though the square hole above the bushing in the picture above. All of the mounts are pretty much like this. #2 gets a lot more moisture (and salt) than the others though. I'll heat this up and separate them on both the #2 positions. Sure beats trying to drill and tap them from underneath on a moving target. Notice the bolt rusted though on this one too.

I should mention that another factor that was hard on these #2 bolts, was that I put F-41 braces on the front in the top and bottom, along with a 1.25" sway bar from a Turbo Regal. Also the rear got a 1" sway bar. The twist on the frame is right at #2 I figure. Especially with a mushy frame. A couple safety driving schools, and spirited driving from time to time, and I am not surprised.

 9/20/11 The welder arrived (Tuesday), and I just ordered it on Friday!

I also separated the bolt from the pate in the above picture. All it took was soaking it in PB Blaster overnight, and I put it in the vise with a pipe wrench. It turned right out. I ran a tap through the threads just to freshen it up. I got the other side out, and separated the parts for that too. So those are ready to drop back in place.
This is the spare washer I bought for the frame bushings to sit on.
So I am practicing on what will be going on the car.
I tried out the welder last night, after getting some .035 flux core wire. This doesn't use the gas, but works on a lot heavier metal. My first attempt was pretty lame. Then I figured out that the polarity has to be reversed to use the flux core wire. In this picture was the first try, and then with the polarity issue corrected. That time was not so bad, with a lot less splatter. I am hoping that 30 years of welding gold, silver, and platinum will pay off when I finally get down to working on steel.

If you enlarge the picture, you will see that there is quite a bit of plating that has to be ground off these washers to make the weld stick.
I picked up the new bushings from Thompson's today. Here is a picture of the new and the old together.

Looks like they will work nicely!

Just look at that nice new welder. It needs some Soul.... I'll be working on that for sure.
This was a full day! I started out with cleaning and welding on the driver's side frame at #2.
I got the washer welded on, and put all the bolts back in the driver's side.
This picture shows the bushing, marked to cut down by the thicknesss of the washer. I did this with a scalpel, very sharp, I use that to cut rubber molds for jewelry making. So I am used to this kind of surgery. I did this on both number 2 mounts because of the added metal.
This is the passenger side with the inner fender removed. I'll have to patch some metal on the fender to get this back on. The tabs that hod it were rusted, and one slip nut was seized and tor it up pretty well.
This is the driver's side with the inner fender removed.
The passenger side was not as bad on the frame side, but the body side was not so good.
This shows the body support fron underneath. (#2 Passenger side)
I had some 20 ga steel laying around, and reinforced the back side with some angle brackets to beef it up a bit. This shows it welded to the front of the support.
This shows the top and bottom welded on the passenger side.
   I put some paint on the surfaces to slow the rust down a bit. I don't drive it in the rain or snow any more, so I hope I don't have to test it's ability to keep from rusting again. .
Here is #2 on the driver's side all finished.
This is the view from below #2. You can see how much the frame rusted away from the bottom of the bushing.
Another good day of work in the garage after work and dinner.

I took the fuel sending unit and pump out of the fuel tank that I removed with Nate's help, before doing the body mounts. I am going from a stock TBI in tank pump, to the Vortec style that should keep up with the needed fuel pressure much better. The old one started out at 11.5 pounds of pressure, and slowly went down to 3 pounds after about 10 minutes. I need at least 14 to feed the hungry Elkenstein!

This shows the whole assembly. I re-sealed the main feed with quick metal, which is the largest tube in the lighter color. This is a stock Carb style sending unit, modified to work with fuel injection. The old fuel feed is now the return line from the pressure regulator. This way, they are both larger tubes. I was told once that having the return line go through the old vapor line can cause static electicity. That would be very bad inside of a gas tank.
 Looking close at this picture, you can see that the return (now) ends up right at the pick up sock. That will be replaced PDQ also. This one is pretty dirty.
 Also, I was having trouble breaking the seal on the new line, so I fabricated some aluminum clamps to triangulate the new pipe, and keep it fron shifting, especially during installation. You can also see the wires that Robert Adams installed with the proper connectors way back during the TBI conversion. .

Once I get the tank back in, I have to clean up some metal and patch a couple tabs that hold the inner fenders, and I'll be back on the road. Hopefully this weekend........
Got the gas tank back in after work. Just have the inner fenders and caliper pins on the front brakes left, and I hope to drive it this weekend.
I put things back together today. First I had some rattles up front coming from the wheels. It turns out that the rubber o rings and the caliper pins that they slide on may be original 250K miles equipment. This is the hardware I bought for that. 2 sets of the pins (2 for each side), and one bushing/o-ring kit. the small O-rings are not shown. They go right in the calipers.
These are the tabs that hold the inner fenters in place. As you can see, the front 2 on the passenger side were wasted.
Here are the 20 ga steel tabs I fabbed up to reinforce the locations.
I thought this one was in better focus, but it looks like the camera thought I should shoot the belt grinder. Anyway, these are the 2 tabs welded on, with some undercoating behind them, and some primer and paint on top.

The inner fenders bolted up, then the associated accessories, then the bumper filler poly pieces. I was ready to go, but had plans for the weekend.

I test drove the vehicle today. No rattles in the front coming from the brakes so far. The body and frame are securely attached, and it handles great. The fuel pump seems to have improved the performance from first impression. It even sounds different at higher rpm.

Now it's on to other projects.
More data for burning a chip is first on the list.

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