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the elcamino project continued


  Monday, October 22, 2007



yesterday i decided to take a day off, and work on my el Camino.  just to review i got it about 8 months ago with no engine or transmission...then about a month ago put in a engine from a truck and transmission from a camaro...then 27 days ago ruined the engine. the main pulley came off on the highway...which caused a whole bunch of overheating and blowing of gaskets and warping of engine heads...when i got it home the engine sounded like a coffee can full of rocks.  for you non-car types, that is bad. 

I was pretty disgusted and hadn't touched it since.  but my buddy Al found a nice deal on a remanufactured engine.  200 dollars, not bad for a chevy v-8...the catch-it is in a 1982 van and the owner wanted the front and rear bumpers the transmission and the rear doors.   the plan-pick up the van bring it to my garage use a torch to cut off all the crap the guy wanted...cut a giant hole in the front of the van, yank out the engine, roll the van into the alley and call the scrap yard to pick it up.

The guy was originally asking 800.00...but Al, the master of wheeling and dealing, got him down to 200.00 and as many parts as he wanted back that he could then sell to make up the 600.00 difference....apparently he felt that two doors, two bumpers and a 15 year old transmission would bring him must be a nice world he lives any case i pictured in my minds eye what a 800.00 van would look would look crappy, rusty, drive fine but have an exhaust that sounded like a crop duster.  i overestimated...a lot.  the man who shall remain nameless was asking 800.00 for a 15 year old van with the following features

ONE  functional door

one windshiled with enough cracks to pass it off as a mosaic.

three spare tires (all flat)

a self adjusting steering colume( meaning everytime you hit a bump it moves)

custom paint look just like a pepperoni pizza! wait that's just 4 dozen golf ball sized rust holes.

a fully functional brake warning light...i know it works because it never went off...because the breaks were almost non existant.

this was a death trap. 4000 pounds of steel with no working seat belts.(which is okay because the windshield was so cracked i'm sure i could go through it uninjured.) questionable brakes, a hole in the floor and four tires with no tread, and belts that squawked loud enough and at a high enough pitch to shatter glass.  i get home with out much of a problem because i've driven worse, the key is not to panic.  one day i'll tell you about the time my brakes went out in my 62 chevy bel air while going downhill at 40 mph into a four way stop.  or maybe i'll let my editor tell you, he tells it better and was in the passenger seat, sleeping soundly when i nudged him and said calmly..."we don't have any brakes...hold onto something"

once the van is home we begin the process of gutting it with a torch, some air tools and the will to get the job done that only true cheapskates have.  FYI here are the following things the EXPERTS tell you to do for safety that we proved were unnecessary.

disconnect the battery

block the back tire

remove the gas tank

make sure you do not use the torch near trans fluid, brake fluid, oil.

do not use one jack stand placed in the middle of the front crossmemebr to support the ENTIRE VAN.

do not lie underneath the van while it is supported by a single jack stand.

do not lie under the van while it is supported by a single jack stand and a 250 pound man is inside moving around.

do not do all that while the two of you yank back and forth on a transmission that may or may not be completely disconnected.  hey the only way you're ever gonna know if you disconnected everything is to try to yank it out and see if the whole vehicle come with it.

aside from Al getting shocked and burned and me getting cut up a bit the chopping went fine.  got it all done in time to pull the ruined engine out of the el camino.  the next step clean off the engine paint it all pretty put it in the el camino and be more careful with it this time.







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