Nate's 1987 Monte Carlo SS

Purchased 9-24-2008

Pictures from the first day home   Engine compartment and overall 1st inspection   Pictures 10/14/08  
Restoration Log - Phase 1   Restoration Log - Phase 2   Fine Tuning - Phase 3

Restoration Log Phase 1
Here is the running account of work begun 9/27/2008

I have never seen these kind of vacuum lines before. It would be nice if they fit tight to the brake booster, but there was a lot of air leaking past these. The back of the carb where it was connected was sliding in and out of the carb too. No seal at all.
I took off the carb to take a look at where the leak may be. It was mostly underneath the square bore to spread bore adaptor.

The carb has Weber stamps on it, just like my old Carter. The number on it is 1405 1785. I'll probably pick up a kit for it to freshen it up.

Ideally, I'll get an intake to get rid of the adaptor, and the leaking. I'll pick up a power steering bracket, to straighten out the pump alignment, and get a bracket for the throttle cable too. There was a cruise control on it. The wiring is still there. of course the vacuum lines are laying loose, leaking like crazy. I don;t know how this thing ran at all.

The rest of the computer harness will be going bye bye. It has all been burned up by the exhaust manifolds at one time or another. Lots of clean up to do yet.

Worked on the Monte for a while today. Started at the junk yard, till it started pouring rain. Got a Power steering bracket I hope will help with the alignment of the pump pulley.

Dropped the transmission pan, and changed the filter. Re-connected the TV cable that had been disconnected, from having the wrong bracket for the cable up top, after a carb change.

I ordered a cable bracket made by TCI, to keep it from pulling out again. there is some serious mismatch of length at this time.

Here is the info:

#376700 700-R4/200-4R TV Cable Bracket - Quadrajet™/Edelbrock®

Checked the crankshaft code, and found this:

3932442 350 68-81
     Pass,Camaro,Chevelle Corvette,Nova Cast Iron,Large Journal
3932442 350 69-85 Truck Cast Iron,Large Journal
3932442 305 76-85 Truck Cast Iron,Large Journal
3932442 305 76-85 Cast Iron,Large Journal
3932442 267 79-82 Cast Iron,Large Journal

Cleaned off the rear axle code location and found this:
2T F C310 1

"2TF" indicates a non-limited slip 3.73 differential.


Checked out the casting code on the engine 10066038:
350.....1992....4 bolt Mains
Goodwrench crate motor, 2-piece rear main seal, "Hecho en Mexico"

  Brother Jim will be sending me the Weiand Stealth Intake for square bore carb's that used to be on the El Camino. That should fix the leaking problems on both the intake and the carb to intake area.

This is the work on 10/5/08


I took off the inner fender, stripped all the melted tubing off the harness so I could keep the wires from the Drive's side intact. Then pulled out the harness. This left a pretty big hole in the firewall.

This shows the A/C wires, coming from the harness just above the computer from the firewall. The heater control bundle.
Here we go. The rat's nest on the ground. If it ever goes back to electronic, it would have to be new anyway. This harness was fried on the exhaust for lack of care and brains by the previous owner, when changing to non-computer control.
Here is the aluminum patch I filled the hole with. I used the screws and holes from the bracket that held the original grommet in place. A bead of black RTV sealed it up nicely.

The wire on the left looks like the old oil pressure switch, but I am not sure. the bundle comes from the driver's side, but also links in to the climate control bundle described earlier, via the brown wire. The brown and green wires go to the climate control bundle.

I want get rid of all this, if it's not needed.

Here is another shot of the same connector in the picture above.
Here is another shot of the same connector in the picture above.

Well, an extraction is in order. The brass threads on this oil pressure sensor broke off in the block. I hope an extractor will get it out.

It will be easier with the intake off.

Stay tuned.
*nib came out with a screw extractor, aided by prayer.

Ya think there could have been a leak here?
The new pump is all ready to put on, except that the previous owner only had 3 of the 4 studs holding the fan on. Have to get another one.

It was really oily around this area of the intake. I don't suppose it has anything to do with a BOLT MISSING. What do you think.

Click on any of these for a larger view.

This is the end of the day on Sunday. I scraped a little on the gaskets, but I am waiting for the intake to get here Monday, and I'll start getting it back together.



Thanks to Nate's supervisory skills, the Monte is very close to firing up. The front of the engine is repainted black, the hoses are all OK or replaced. Got a battery hold down, heater control valve, thermostat housing refurbished, gaskets ant new bolts where needed, etc.

Closer look at the repainted front. This really helped cosmetically. No more orange anywhere. Better look at the brace fabricated for the back of the power steering, and the spacer is a large nut, that is shorter than what it arrived here with.
Alignment is much better, and it's solid for now, till the El Camino pump and compressor setup goes on here, after a serpentine swap there.
These 15" American Racing wheels arrived with Nate from a guy on the way up from Champaign through Craig's List for $140 for the set. The center sections are bubbling on the paint, but they are better than what was on there. For Winter wheels, we'll take them.


This is really the worst rust on the car, so I decided to attack it first. It's ground to metal as much as I could without cutting it out, then sprayed with contractor's rust neutralizer and primer. I let this sit overnight to cure.

If you look close enough at the blow up of this, you can see the marker where the aluminum patch is going to be pop riveted on there.
Here is a better view of the inside of the wheel wells. I scuffed them up to get the flaking paint off, then primed them before getting to work on the goopy stuff.
This is the patch in place. Plastic roofing filler was but between the patch and the body, then riveted in. Then I went over the seams and patch with the filler.

The rest of the wheel well including inside the opening edge was coated with roof coating (tar) to keep the elements and mostly salt around here, from sitting on the metal. The frame was painted black in this section.

Next chance I get, I'll be prepping and coating the other rear wheel well.


The Monte is off the jack stands, and back on the ground. This is the antenna pal Nate bought when he was back the other day.

I worked on the right rear wheel well tonight. After hammering on the surface rust, I came up with a smaller hole than the other side, but I still patched it with some aluminum and rivets, similar to the other side. After undercoating it, it came off the stands.
Looks much better with 15" instead of 20". I am thinking it should be lower though. After I roll it out, and back in again, it might be a bit. I am used to ground effects and lower air dam on the Elky. The hood is lower on this, sitting next to it.

Can someone shed some light on why the center sections of these wheels appear painted, and the outer rims chrome? the coating, whatever it is, is coming off. I am wondering about refinishing the centers to the charcoal gray color like the 71 Chevelle wheels I had.

The throttle/TV bracket should be in tomorrow, and I'll get to test drive it.


This is the bracket that came with the car. I repositioned the TV cable hole, by stretching and twisting it quite a bit. Primed and ready for black engine paint.

This is the painted bracket, along with the fabricated throttle cable L bracket. I bolted this to the stock Cruise bracket from a yard in a time long ago and far away (I got 2 of these for the El Camino in one trip. This was stash)
This is the bracket with cables in place. Still need a different post on the carb for the cruise to work.

On the test run, the cable pulled out at the transmission end again. Before it did, it proved that it was shifting nicely, and working fine.

Also found a pretty bad oil leak from what looks like the rear main seal. Could be the oil pan gasket, but I doubt it. Looks like the engine will be coming out to fix it.

I took some pictures while I had the Monte out on the nice fall day.
See the pictures here.

Tom and I went to 2 junk yards on Friday 10/17. This is what I got. A new housing that isn't cracked where the headlight switch attaches, a right hand hood spring in good shape, the vacuum ball for the A/C and heater door controls, and a spacer to use the old Moroso chrome air cleaner from the Elky. The spare speedometer for the Elky was a bonus.


Came out to the garage and there was also transmission fluid leaking. Looks like the grommet for the fill tube is cracked big time. Pulled everything from the top and got ready to pull the engine. This is the staging area and supervisory chair for Tom.

I can't tell you how great it is to have someone to grab a 9/16" socket from the tool box, when I am already under the car with all metric tools. Thanks Tom. The company is welcome.

Here are the old El Camino Exhaust manifolds. Much cleaner than the ones on the car, and the holes have proper plugs instead of crimped tubes. I have the down pipes, and I hope they just bolt on. The challenge will be, to get someone to connect the back half to these. If I had a Y pipe, I could just put a cherry bomb on there for the time being.
Here is the top side, ready to pull the engine. I hope to get to it in the next couple days.


Well I could only wait one day. I picked up the ram for the hoist and went to work. I protected the nose with a 2x4 to help it clear.

It's out!
This is the last view of the very tired exhaust. The Y goes in to the Cat, then to a 3+" single tube, then another Y to the dual exhaust.
Then engine on the floor.
This is the torn grommet on the trans fill tube. It leaks profusely.

I was moving the El camino and had this vision. The view with "Cowl Induction" aiming at the engine.

Click the picture for a larger view. A much larger version is here.


Lots of cleaning today. Tear down to find that the timing chain was really stretched. This is the old one.

This is the new one.

My work space, ready to clean and paint parts. Looks like I'll be getting a timing cover with a little more room for that chain though. It's wider than the original.

It's also 3/32" too close to the block at the cam side. It needs some sort of shim? Will the cam walk out that far? The top gear in the picture (crank) is for sure seated all the way in.

A couple views of the work space here.
Getting ready to clean and paint these things.


Getting started with clean and paint for the day. This is the only thing that is flat black. I am testing this for the cowl piece. I cleaned it, put rust converter on it, then primed it first. This is the transmission cross member.

The non-blue balancer
Timing chain in position for 2 degrees advanced.
This is a picture of the 4 bolt main caps if you have never seen them.
The timing chain is aligned now, because I drove the crank gear on all the way ... like it was supposed to be.
POR-15 manifold paint. Thanks to Tom for his left overs.
Believe it or not, these are after a lot of cleaning. I scraped and sprayed and sanded a lot after this. I primed everything, then sprayed them.
Here are the results, and the new seal in the timing gear cover.
You can see the grommet sitting there for another day, when I change all the seals in the transmission.
This is the engine upright, with it's new paint. I just have to install the rear seal, and start assembly.
11/4/08 Started off in the garage about 6:30 AM organizing.
Voted right at 7 AM. Then went on some parts runs.

I decided that it would be pretty dumb not to replace the oil pump at this point. So here is the new one. (USA vs. Mexico on the casting)

Here is just one example of what I have run in to everywhere on this thing. The torque converter bolts are not the same. Which one is different?

I want 3 matching bolts putting the power to the drive train. That will have to be another day.

This will need some attention. The connection between the TV cable and the throttle valve hook keeps coming off. The wire is just a simple 90 degree bend.

The cable end looks as if it has been ground down. My thought, is that if I could find a piece of tubing, to slip over this end, hook to the trans side, then slide over the connection, it would stay together better.

Notice I put an O Ring on this fitting. The transmission side bushing is flat and hard, and I am hoping this will help seal it.


I was brainstorming with the other jeweler at work the other day, and showed him the pictures. Dave came up with what I think is a pretty good idea. I cut a couple notches in the cable end (see close up).

Then I wrapped some copper binding wire around the linkage. You will see that the wire is twisted around the TV lever so it can't go anywhere even if it broke. The notches should keep it from sliding around.
This is the way I left the setup. I want to get some new bell housing bolts, and some new exhaust manifold bolts. I will try to get ones that actually tighten down the assemblies, rather than all the mis-matched bolts that had washers jingling loose because the bolts were too long.


I was off todday and dedicated the day to the Monte Carlo. This is the trim from below the windshield that was all rusty. I had to take this off to get the heater core out so I decided to sand it down and put some rust converter on it. I should be able to get a finish on it in the next few days.

I put the engine and transmission together, Put the exhaust manifolds on, put the new studs on the manifolds. It's ready to drop in now.

The other side. Just look at those nice clean manifolds! The whole thing is clean compared to the way we got it.
If you look at the inner wheel well, you will see that it's much cleaner than they were. How manyconfigurations do you think that frame is set up for judging from all those holes for motor mounts?
This is actua;;y before the above picture. Before I started scraping all the crud off, and before taking the Saw's All to the bolts on the exhaust.
The piece on the left is for warm up, but it was locked up solid. The one on the right was modified for the El Camino to get a bit more flow. That's what is going on the Monte.
The other inner well all cleaned up.
This radiator support was a mess. It was really nasty to look at, rust, several coast of paint in random areas. I just had to sand it down.
This is the finished work. Better than the finish on the outside of the car!

Tom took a look at the pipes on the heater core last week, and suggested that I replace it. The more I looked, the more I agreed it would be a good idea. Now that it's out, it is pretty obvious that this was the right thing to do. I'll be cleaning up a lot of silicone sealer from a real messy job from someone else befiore me.

Tom might be over after work on Wednesday to help get the motor in the car.

Tom came over the night before last and helped get the motor in the car. I finished getting things put back together last night. When I tried to start it, I realized that I must have stabbed the distributor in wrong. I am at the stage that I am looking to get it going. Almost need a helper for that. I think I have the distributor in right now, but I have yet to get it to stay running. Flooding, or the damn manual choke and only 2 hands is mostly the problem.
Here are some pictures of how it sits.
This is the heater box now. I want to get some rope caulk. There is a big mess of silicone sealant to clean off there.
Wider shot of the heater/AC area.
Wider angle general photo
Look at that nice one piece oil pan seal (blue)
Things are much sharper now.
This is the old steering shaft.
This is the cleaned up junkyard version. MUCH nicer for $20

Pictures from the first day home   Engine compartment and overall 1st inspection   Pictures 10/14/08  
Restoration Log - Phase 1   Restoration Log - Phase 2   Fine Tuning - Phase 3