1981 El Camino

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Basement Paul
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Re: 1981 El Camino

Postby Basement Paul » Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:16 pm

Looks really sweet!

-BP

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GMJohnny
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Re: 1981 El Camino

Postby GMJohnny » Sat Sep 02, 2017 6:35 am

I've been spending way too much time reading used car ads, so this came to mind while looking at your pics.
This El Camino comes nicely equipped with a custom sport gauge package by Jim's Carolina Dash Co., LLC.

Well Done!

GM

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Maverick
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Re: 1981 El Camino

Postby Maverick » Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:07 am

GMJohnny wrote:I've been spending way too much time reading used car ads, so this came to mind while looking at your pics.
This El Camino comes nicely equipped with a custom sport gauge package by Jim's Carolina Dash Co., LLC.

Well Done!

GM


Maybe missing a link?

Dakota Digital makes a really nice bolt in custom gauge set that I would have loved to have but it was upwards of $1000 but the time the necessary extras were added in. Just too much.
Maverick

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TireSmoker
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Re: 1981 El Camino

Postby TireSmoker » Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:16 am

Those gauges look real nice!

-Dave

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Maverick
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Re: 1981 El Camino

Postby Maverick » Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:57 pm

Turns out I was a little premature with the "everything else works" declaration. On a test run, the Temp gauge didn't move and there is a "clicking" noise from the speedometer and a little needle wiggle. Pulled the instrument panel AGAIN, raised the rear wheels off the ground and ran it in gear to see if the custom speedometer cable was smooth when detached from the head. It is. Connected the head and ran it again and got the small noise and needle wiggle. Now that I know the cable is OK, I'll run the speedometer and see what happens. If it gets worse I know Summit will replace it.

Then, this morning, I think I found the issue with the Temp gauge. One of the wires was part way out of the cluster connector. Next time its reassembled, I'll be sure the wires stay fully inserted. That cluster connector is a PITA.
Maverick

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Maverick
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Re: 1981 El Camino

Postby Maverick » Sun Sep 10, 2017 7:12 pm

Wire that wasn't fully inserted into the cluster connector isn't related to the Temp gauge, just a buzzer. The non-working temp gauge was caused by corrosion on the clip that connects to the printed circuit. Got that sorta fixed -- the temp gauge is working although it's reading somewhat low. Think there's still resistance there but it will have to be good enough.

High beam indicator bulb burned out sometime since I started the gauge work. :roll: That was replaced and I think everything is working now.

Today, work was started on the next non-working system -- the HVAC controls. The selector lever doesn't do much. Found a good vacuum diagram for a similar system that should help. I HOPE that work can be done by pulling the control out of the dash and I don't have to work on my back under the dash.
Maverick

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Maverick
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Re: 1981 El Camino

Postby Maverick » Mon Sep 11, 2017 2:17 pm

Ha!! An EASY one!!! HVAC control lever on the dash wasn't doing much and the valve on the heater hose wasn't operating. Replaced a nearly plugged, 1/8" OD plastic line from the vacuum tree to the reservoir and it's now operating. Vacuum motors are moving the doors and heater shut off valve operates. :) SO glad I didn't have to get into the vacuum controls in the dash.
Maverick

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Re: 1981 El Camino

Postby Maverick » Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:10 am

Along with WXO's success with his tractor carb yesterday, we wrapped up the El Camino tuning at least for the present. We took it out for a short drive after 1/4 turn in on the idle mixture screws and it ran fine. WXO's AFR gauge is coming off and going home.

On the way to pick up WXO before the tuning run, it wouldn't shift out of 1st gear. While fussing with the vacuum tree, I had apparently knocked the hose off the vacuum modulator. Hose was a little loose. Trans worked great again with a new hose installed. Now we suspect a small vacuum leak at the modulator was hurting the tune and making the idle mixture screws less effective than they should be.

It was a good day except the new speedometer wasn't working. :?: The cable connection to the speedo head can't be reached without removing the gauge cluster for the 39th (or so) time. Pulled the cable off the trans and turned the cable by hand will my wife watched for wiggle on the needle. None. Gave the cable a twist and push into the cable tube to make sure it was seated in the head, reconnected it to the trans, put the rear end up on jack stands and ran it in gear. Speedo works again. I suspect the custom cable is a bit short for the tube. If it quits working again, or maybe if it doesn't, someday I'll pull the gauge cluster and see if there's another turn or two to be had on the head connector.
Maverick

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Maverick
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Re: 1981 El Camino

Postby Maverick » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:50 pm

Washed the EC and cleaned the interior. May look for a show this weekend.

The starter gear has not failed to engage the ring gear since the relay was installed to take the ignition switch out of the circuit for the solenoid. I'm hoping that's fixed.

I'm starting to think about/work up to going at the rust in the floor. That means borrowing WXO's MIG welder again. Didn't expect to have to do that but I guess that California EC spent too much time in upstate NY. If it get to the floor, sound insulation will be added to the rear of the cab and floor to eliminate more of the drone. The drone is no where near as annoying as it was but there's still some there.

New body mount bushings would be a good idea too. I'm sure they're compressed. Could be the drone is aggravated by contact between the floor and the trans X-member. Might stick some header wrap in the gap as a test.
Maverick

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Maverick
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Re: 1981 El Camino

Postby Maverick » Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:32 pm

Haven't done much lately except, I think all the missing parts for the cruise control are now on the way. Getting them from two sources for a total of $72 with shipping. I'll be very happy with that if it all works. There's an open question about support for "Resume". The '81 turn signal/cruise lever has resume but not sure the stuff that's coming supports it.

Had someone who's looking for an El Camino drop by yesterday asking about mine. Took him for a tire-smoking ride and told him to make an offer. He took pictures to show his wife. Doubt it will come to anything. I'm not eager to sell it but, we'll see if he makes an offer and how tempting it is.
Maverick

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Basement Paul
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Re: 1981 El Camino

Postby Basement Paul » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:36 pm

Wife's don't typically like El Camino's. I think you'll be pretty safe. It would be a shame to sell it before it's done and raced...

-BP

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Maverick
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Re: 1981 El Camino

Postby Maverick » Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:27 pm

The guy said his wife likes El Caminos, but not the F150 he has for his business. If he makes an offer, I doubt it'll be one I'll accept. They have a history with ECs. He worked for Terminex before he went into the pest control business on his own. At Terminex, the top guys all got El Caminos.

The first of two batches of cruise parts arrived today. First hurdle is cleared. The transducer DOES have the resume feature.

I have a 1980 shop manual (didn't see a 1981 at the time) and a 1981 Advance Information Shop Manual that describes all the changes for 1981. Pretty handy since they both have nice info on the cruise control devices, vacuum hoses, etc., with pictures of the 1980 transducer w/o cruise and the 1981 with.
Maverick

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Maverick
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Re: 1981 El Camino

Postby Maverick » Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:26 am

The prospective buyer's wife likes El Caminos but, not enough for hubby to own one. :lol: Fine by me. My head said sell but my heart said don't.

The second batch of cruise control parts arrived, incl the vacuum servo. Tested the servo with a vacuum pump and found it leaked down in about 5 seconds. Found a TINY hole in the diaphragm. A dab of sealer and it holds vacuum.

Still need to test the coils in the transducer for proper resistance.

Looks like some fab work will be required to mount the servo. A bracket came with it but it appears an additional one is required. The speedometer cable from the transmission to the transducer is included in the parts and should work fine. A custom cable will be required from the transducer to the speedometer head because it screws on to the Autometer head rather than the original, slip-on attachment.
Maverick

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Maverick
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Re: 1981 El Camino

Postby Maverick » Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:22 pm

This picture shows how the cruise transducer and servo mount on a '79 which Is probably the same on my '81.

jwxUh1.jpg


I have one bracket for the servo but apparently another is needed. I think this bracket bolts to the back side of the head and another bracket bolts to the 1/4-20 welded-on nuts.

1021171207.jpg


In the first picture it looks like a second bracket bolts to the first one and also to the area of the brake booster but that makes no sense since the engine needs to move.

Any of you G body guys familiar with the carbed cruise servo mounting?
Maverick

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GMJohnny
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Re: 1981 El Camino

Postby GMJohnny » Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:31 am

I'm no help to you on this one. My G bodies were all Oldsmobiles and they had a
different set up. It also has been forever since I owned one, and we mostly looked
at cruise control as extra weight back then, so these parts were always scrapped.
I'd guess it bolts to the back of the cylinder head. I'd bet you end up fabricating
a bracket for it.

GM


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