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

Fine Tuning Phase 3
Here is the running account of work continued 2/12/2009

Now working on the stereo. The back speakers are in. the Front ones, shown here, were installed by piercing the center bars of the grilles, in order to let the speakers fir without too much pressure on the tweeter assembly, and also because the profile was to high to secure, or install, without doing this modification.

I used some Sea Foam top end cleaner to get rid of some carbon build up on the engine.

I also put on the Moroso chrome air cleaner from the El Camino. I finally got rid of the short fat air cleaner on there.

A shot from the other side. I had to shorten a stock air cleaner riser from the parts car by 1/2" to get this to sit right.

There was also an oil leak at the firewall side of both valve covers. I tightened them down for the first time since installing the engine, back when it was really cold out!!!

Time to get down to some of the real work since I have been sliced and diced during back surgery March 6th. I made it through this procedure with flying colors. I was careful though.

Pictured is the new fuse block (Thanks to Mike Huber) to replace the fuseable link arrangement that these G-Bodies were born with.
The Positive cable goes in on the right side in this picture, and passes through the solid block to the starter. Instead of the mains to the dash, ignition, and heater jumping off the cable at the starter to the fuseable links, these fuses handle it where they can be reached if there is trouble. There is one open tap left for the amp that will eventually end up in the trunk.

This was my physical therapy for the day. Thank God I can toss a wheel without pain. Miraculous really. I am very careful with lifting though.

I was washing off the dirt from 6 years of being parked, and one year of sitting on the mud on the side of the house, before taking them up to the school, and using the tire machine to take the rubber off.

They look OK from a distance. After taking the rubber off, I spun them on the machine, and they were all very straight. Good news.
The bad news, is that they need to be refinished. I am looking in to a couple options for that.
This is the project supervisor, soaking up some shade.
Here is the inside window 'felts'. Hard and cracked, and painful when you're trying to be cool with your elbow out the window.
Here is the new inner felts, purchased for the El Camino in 1998, but never installed. They were a perfect fit, and identical to the ones that were on it. They were stapled on from the factory with hardened staples. I ground one side off, but it took too long. I used an awl to open the back side of the other side staples and bent them so I could pull them out.
Looks much better installed.
This is the finished nice soft rubber inside.


Now for the outside felts and door seals. I bought Metro seal from Rock Auto, and the window felts from Dixie Monte Carlo. Random, I know, but I didn't have too much time for research.

These are the ends on the new seals.
Compare to the old seals.

The bottom of the door has been repaired. There was some Bondo chunks on the inside of the door at the bottom. They must have patched up the outside. There is some rust through at the inside bottom. I took the shop vac to the inside, a wire brush on the drill to get rid of the surface rust, and used some spray undercoat to seal it up. All the drain holes are clear, but they won't get the water they did last year.

The seals fit OK for repo's. The door shuts tight, and isn't near as noisy

Electric choke kit.

This was installed mid October 2009. There is no substitute! I hated the manual choke. It worked OK, but the installation by the previous owner left a lot to be desired, and it was hard on my back just to reach it. Besides that, if I forgot to shut it off, it was a waste of gas. This way, it pretty much takes care of itself. Worth every penny of the $60. This is an Edelbrock 1405 carb.

That sure is a sweet looking washable air filter! Thanks to Chris Lindh at for a great deal.

Ready for Winter now!

November 2009

I bought about $200 in brake parts, pads, rotors, bearings, seals, rear shoes, wheel cylinders, and hardware, and turned the Monte over to the Saint Charles East High School auto shop. My friend Tom Straiker is the teacher there, and my neighbor. They did a great job, for what they had to work with. They were unable to get one of the front calipers cracked open to bleed, and the master cylinder was full of sludge. It's much better than it was, with warped and cracked front rotors, and leaking wheel cylinders, but it's a little spongy.

This prompted me to spend another $100 for Calipers, front hoses, and a master Cylinder. This project I hope to tackle Thanksgiving Weekend.

Thanksgiving Weekend 2009

I only broke one brake line taking off the Calipers and front rubber hoses. It was the short one from the left front to the brake proportioning valve. Only problem was, the valve body cast iron broke at the fitting when I tightened it with very little effort. It must have been cracked for a long time, or from day 1. I still got both calipers on and the new master cylinder. As you can see to the left, the calipers were tired.
The new calipers look great! Don't have time or money to paint them though.
This is where the doughnut of cast iron came from that was on my brake line.
Original cast, and aftermarket brass proportioning valve.

It was on a Monte Carlo SS the same year. If someone knows how to run the numbers, it may be handy for finding a replacement if it is ever needed one day.

All the lines came off, and went back on the valve without incident. The system is buttoned up, and ready to bleed with Tom's help after work 12/2/09. It might take a few beers, but I think it will be operational after that.


Just picked up the wheels from powder coating. We went with all silver, even though the high spots on the originals were lacquer over the turned aluminum look. These look great for the shape they were in before. The price and turn around time was really right from Shane at here in Saint Charles.

Closer look
Even the back sides that were really nasty are clean and ready to be mounted and balanced. The weights should stick great to the nice clean surface.
I put winter tires on all 4 of the freshly powder coated wheels, and it looks great.

Unfortunately, the transmission gave up the ghost in September. It now only starts out in 3rd gear, and goes in to overdrive unless manual low is selected.

Fortunately, I have a spare 2004R under the workbench in the garage from the parts car. I was hoping to donate it to the El Camino in order to get overdrive, but at least it's there to get the winter car back on the road.

This is October 12th, when i visited the Auto shop class at Saint Charles East High school. Tom Straiker is preparing for the in room portion of class before going out to work.

Preparation and study before much happens.
A couple of the guys getting the distributor cap loose and marking wires, also taking the radiator shroud loose.
This is a 91 pickup with TBI. I have experience with this system on the El Camino, and I was trying to help nail down a wiring problem. There may be more to it on this one. They followed my lead though, and found out that the wire that burned all the insulation off goes directly to the ECM. Now what could have caused that? The only code was the ESC, but if the ECM is bad, it won't throw a code.
The Monte is back up on the lift. They have the drive shaft loose, and they are loosening up the pan to get the fluid drained out. They are taking their time, and being careful and systematic. Good pit crew!

November 2010 The Monte is back home with no leaks and a working transmission. I added a B&M Lock-up controller kit to make it lock without a computer. At first, it was sticking and I had to drop the pan, and change the lockup solenoid and valve for the lockup, with a nrew teflon seal.

Works like a charm now. There is a switch on the unit for racing that you can turn it off. About the only time I use it is an on-ramp. I can count on the lockup dropping the RPM's drastically at about 35 mph.

March 2011

The heads on the Monte Carlo have smoked a little on start up since we got it. Lately, it's gertting rediculous, and embarassing. So I got some castings from the machine shop all freshened up, they had been cleaned and checked for cracks, and they used parts from a set of cores I had that were cracked. Thanks to Auto Machine in Saint Charles, IL. These are all painted now.

My brother Jim and his family came up from Des Moines to help out, anks keep me from doing too much with my back. Here you see Jim's son Zach swapping bolts, rockers and nuts to the new heads
The bare engine compartment scraped and ready for the replacement heads.
John and Jim working on all the little stuff.
Closer examination
Zach cleaning parts, Mon and Brant in the drive getting sun.
Here you see my son Nate on the right working on his Volvo C70, swapping the winter wheels to summer rubber.
4 dudes in the Man Cave.

All 4 wheels were fused to the rotors and require force to get loose. I smashed a thumb pretty bad in this process, between a board and the jack. You always get battle scars. No matter what the project.

OK back to the Monte..........

Here is Zach doing the first round on the head bolts. I did one side, and let him take over, pointing out the order, and douuble checking after. He did a great job.

The car started right up, and runs like a champ. Mission complete. 3/20/11

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