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I. Exhaust and Front End Rebuild Before It Is Fired Up

posted Jul 21, 2015, 2:37 PM by Dane Belden   [ updated Jul 26, 2015, 6:19 PM ]
In keeping with the restoration, a stock exhaust system was put on the El Camino.  One of the challenges with the 67-72 El Caminos is finding an affordable stock exhaust system.  There are plenty that are correct for the Chevelle (where the exhaust exists under the rear bumper), but finding one that exits behind the rear tires can be a challenge.  The system shown was purchased from a seller on Ebay who produces exhaust systems and it really is a good system.  Priced right and fit with no issues.
Dane Belden
While not evident from the picture, the front end needed some attention.  There was a pronounced "thunk" coming from the front end when backing up with the wheel turned. As part of the restoration the front end was disassembled and components check and sure enough the passenger-side lower control arm had been deformed when someone pressed a bushing into it without proper support of the a-arm.  The result was an ovalized bushing hole that allowed the bushing to move freely in the control arm.  So a new control arm as well as new bushings, ball joints, sway bar links and bushings, idler arm, drag link  as well as tie rod ends were installed.

With all major components cleaned, blasted and painted the front end was re-assembled.  One thing to keep in mind when you are working on a front end - the springs can have a great deal of stored energy, so you must be careful when both removing and installing them.  The stock El Camino springs must be compressed a bit to take out and install as the lower control arm movement is not enough to fully relax the spring.  The trick is to use a lever in the sway bar link hole in the lower control arm as a way to force the spring into its perch.  One other point many people think that you use spring isolators in the front springs - you do not, they are only used at the rear for this vehicle.
Dane BeldenDane BeldenDane Belden

And the final result will bring the shop truck back to 1970's body roll but with no thunk!
Dane Belden