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Project El Camino Part III, Panels ON

     A couple of months have passed since he last time you've seen the CJY 67 Elcamino. The Last time you saw it, we slammed it and spent some money are parts. Since then, CJY staffer Tommy Zerbe has been hard at work disassembling the old girl and cutting off the putty riddled old panels. 

     The lower patch panel for the right front fender which we got from www.restoreclassics.com fit well. This was a lot cheaper that buying a reproduction front fender and I know the fender fits because it's the fender from my car. All the other panels we got fit well also.

     While preparing to install the new door skin & tailgate skin, we discovered some tools from www.eastwood.com that would make the job a lot easier. First we used the "Eastwood Pro Spot Weld Cutters" which is I'd describe as special drill bit for drilling out spot welds. Tommy felt this tool did a clean job and made quick work of the factory spot welds.

     After drilling the spot-welds out, Tommy needed to pry the old panel off the door. We found another handy tool from Eastwood, their "Door Skin Remover". One part of this tool slid along the edge of the door and acted as something to pry against while the other part of the tool was like a screwdriver with a hook on the end. Tommy used the tool by sliding the hook under the lip of old panel and pried against the other part of the tool.

     The drilled out spot-welds broke feel easily. We also used the tool for removing our old tailgate skin. 

     After the old door skin was removed, it was time to put the new one on. At first it didn't seem to fit but after some "finagling", we got it on and it actually fit very well. Using yet another tool from Eastwood, the "Door Skin Installer" which simply crimped the panel around the door, the new door skin was installed and the door was ready to go back on the Elcamino.

     While Tommy was doing all the body panel repairs & replacement, I pulled the motor & trans out for detailing. I was pleasantly surprised to find an 11" #621 bell housing between the 1978 dated 350 truck motor and the M21 Muncie 4 speed. The heads were 78 truck 1.94/1.5. I also discovered it was 4 bolt main with "X" rods. Eureka.

     Everything looked fine internally, but I wanted to do something to boost performance and the Elcamino's image without spending tons of money. A cam swap was just the ticket. Since my 350 did have an old Edelbrock Torker II intake, I went to Summit Racing and chose an Edelbrock Torker II Cam package to match my intake. The cam in this package has a 292/300 duration at .006" lift, .488" lift and a 108 lobe separation. This should give the old girl some rumpity rump. I also installed a new double roller timing chain, Holley fuel pump and used Comp Cams roller tip rockers, all of which I found at a local swap meet. See, I'm cheap, just like you.

     Because I originally pulled the motor out for detailing purposes, I needed to get cleaning & painting. I don't know about you but I never seem to get the motor clean enough. When I buy engine paint at my local auto parts store, it always takes more than one can and the paint job always turns out crappy because some dirt or oil bleeds through the new paint in the form of fish eyes. This time, I decided to try paint from somewhere else. I checked the www.eastwood.com site and found their "Fast Dry Engine Paints". Since everyone and their uncle paints a small block Chevy orange, I though I'd be different. Eastwood had plenty of colors to choose from. I know you going to puke when you hear what I chose. I chose Ford Gray to work with the silver paint I chose for the car. Getting my paint from Eastwood paid off. I had it in 2 days and the paint job came out perfect. No fish eyes and one can did the entire motor and the bell housing.

     Now that I got a nice, pretty motor, I could hardly bolt those old pulleys and rusted headers back up so I ran everything through my sand blast cabinet. Since the engine paint from Eastwood worked so well, I got some of their "Under Hood Black" semi gloss spray paint and Eastwood's "Silver High Temp Coating" for my headers. The "Under Hood Black" smelled a little funny but put a tough finish on my parts in one coat and the parts looked factory new again.

The "Silver High Temp Coating" was just that, a coating. You could tell as you strayed it. It laid on thick in one coat. One can could probably do 10 sets of headers.

     Till I got the engine stuff done, Tommy had one new Qt. Panel on. The Elcamino is now starting to go back together. Insert  

     Now I got to get the engine bay cleaned & painted, the engine & trans re-installed and the front clip back on. By then, Tommy will have the rest of the panel work done and I can start block sanding. I saw that Eastwood had tools and materials for polishing my old stainless & chrome. Because I'm too cheap to buy new stuff and not afraid to get dirty, I think I try some of this stuff and let you know how it worked in part 4.

   [  Part I  ] [ Part II ]


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