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Dusterbd13 HalfDork
2/5/13 10:01 p.m.

so, i figure ill get the introductio to the project out of the way, and share my score with everybody. im really excited. ive been wanting to build a 64/65 for myself sice i built a 65 with 4 wheel discs and hotchkis suspension for a customer. it just worked for me, and i loved that truck for the little bit of time it was in my care.

since then ive been on again/off again looking for a solid example of one to build. after my health troubles last year, i decided if i was ever going to actually do it, i needed to get around to doing it now. so i put my daily driven truck up for sale, and started digging. this past saturday, i did right at 400 miles looking at various examples of 64-72 el caminos. one really caught my eye, but it was a big block 72 that just didnt really do it for me. on the way home, at a mcdonalds, i was looking through craigslist. came upon a text only ad, on the way home (ish), that had been posted about an hour prior. so i called the guy, and went to see it that night. it was dark, cold, and windy. truck hadnt been started for about 6 months, or moved in that time period. the egntleman i had bought it from was laid out of work, and was selling it to pay bills. i didnt even beat hhim up on his asking price....

anyway, we tinkered with it for about 2 hours till we gt it to fire. between bad batteries, bad batter cables, bad gas, etc, took siome doing. but when she lit, no noises, no smells, no nothing. just ran like a top. the previous owner said when he bout the truck 10 years ago, the guy he bought it from claimed he had just put a new engine in it. i dont knnow, but the tops of the heads are pretty clean, so ill go with it for now.

i told the guy i had to get final approval from my wife, and id be back after church on sunday with some tools and grubby clothes. when i went back, i really pored over the truck. found some rot in it on the quartes and floor pans, but nothing serious. truck had new exhaust, somewhat fresh motor, all the trim, good glass, ran and drove. 350 4bbl, 3 speed on the floor with a hurst shift box. manual drums, manual steering. seemed to be pretty origonal and unmolested, all things considered. previous owner told me he was told that it was a belmont NC fire marshalls truck before the guy he got it from bought it. no way of knowing for certain, but its kind of a groovy story.

anyway, the truck was an origonal powerglide truck that had been swapped. seems like almost all the auto trans column shft stuff is still there. heater and all electrics work, except dome light and radio. brakes are horrid, and there was no fluid in the resivoir. radiator was pretty low as well. factory clock in the dash no longer wrks, either, but all the idiot lights do. someone also put wat appears to be early 70's american racing t70's on it. theyre in almost mint shape. also, it had had a spotlight on the drivers a-pillar, which did not come with the truck.

i drove it around a good bit on sunday, put all the cash from my sock drawer down as a deposit, and went back today to sign title, pay the balance, and trailer it home. my dad went with me, and we had a very good time. really enjoyed it. giot it home, and started to just get the grease, griome, dirt, and debris off. today was just the first layer.

i figure i ought to give the broad brushtrokes of my plan as well, since this is the first post.... a few years ago, i built a track oriented, daily driven s10. called it the drivabeater.


that truck was low budget, but quality. looked good from 5 foot, handled well, stopped well, ran out well, still carried a payload well. sold it to get my bigger truck. sold m bigger truck to get this one.

anyway, the general plan: have a 64 elcaino that looks good from 5-10 foot. bench seat, column shift. 4 wheel discs, chassis upgrades for stance and handling. AC, overdrive, EFI, and various other creature comforts. i want to keep the period look as much as possible on the exterior and interior, but the engine bay will be a different story. that will sprout serpentine accessories, electric fans, TBI, hidden wiring, etc. the plan is to complete this truck for under 10k, and habe it run next to my duster at the pro-touring events. ill have to find someone else to drive it there, though. the exterior will still have all thr trim, and im hoping to find a cheaply priced correct spotlight to replace the missing one.

so we will start the budget counting now: purchase price: 3800 battery, battery terminals, and castrol superclean: 115 total curent investment: 3915

on to the pics!!

origonal color:

first step will be much, much more cleaning. underneath, underhood, inside, everywhere. this thing is just FILTHY. im expecting to go through a lot more superclean before im done. then on to battery relocation/cable repair, and figuring out where ll the brake fluid went. after i know what im working with, ill start tweaking it for what i want. last thing will be finish paint and body. will probably get bare metal sanded and eoxy primed in teh near future to weatherproof it some. it will, after all, be my shop truck.....


Ranger50 UberDork
2/5/13 10:35 p.m.

I heart 64-66 Chevy A-bodies, but don't let anyone else know.....

SyntheticBlinkerFluid UberDork
2/5/13 10:39 p.m.

My first car was a '65 Malibu 4-Door. I miss that car.

Disappointed you want to swap it to an auto, but I understand why.

Dusterbd13 HalfDork
2/5/13 10:46 p.m.

ive got the five speed ACR, the five speed duster, had the five speed long bed (well, still have it, buyer hasnt come through with th erest of the money yet), and the automatic subaru.

my left kee isnt getting any better. they tell me ill probably have it replace withing the next 10 years or so if i dont hurt it again. so im learning to enjoy autos when i can. with an auto in this, its easier and more convienient to drive, and my wife can drive it. it can also be my backup for the next time i hurt my knee.

still would love to do a t56 though, or a paddle shifted auto of some sort. just not in the budget at the moment.

Woody MegaDork
2/5/13 10:49 p.m.

Love this.

fasted58 UberDork
2/5/13 11:07 p.m.

I like where this project is goin'

Givin' up the third pedal ain't the end of the world... but it was still a fun part of it. I'm in the same boat too, gettin' scoped w/ in a week.

Javelin MegaDork
2/6/13 9:11 a.m.

Oh man, this is going to be a killer build! I love early A-bodies, El Caminos, and driver projects.

81cpcamaro HalfDork
2/6/13 9:17 a.m.

I love it, should be a fun project. Of course the fact I had a 67 El Camino has nothing to do with my liking this, no sir, not at all.

Dusterbd13 HalfDork
2/6/13 10:45 a.m.

i think i have officially hit WAY too many projects at once. duster should be back from the body shop this week, neon needs a little attention, elky needs a LOT of attention, the 68 firebird is still not done, and im ggoing to buy a 2000 neon rt for my brother in law tonight. at least ill get some 16's for mine out of the deal....

trhanks for showing interest in my auto-add. i know most my stuff is not normal GRM fare, but hopefully people learn stuff from me, or at least enjoy readiong different kinds of threads.

AngryCorvair PowerDork
2/6/13 3:33 p.m.

needs moar fan shroud

Dusterbd13 HalfDork
2/6/13 6:27 p.m.
AngryCorvair wrote: needs moar electricfan

fixed that.

the fan clutch freewheels easier than my last BMX bike with no chain. i have a pair of intrepid fans and a thermostat/relay combo up in storage from some forgotten project. anyone wanna guess the solution?

Dusterbd13 HalfDork
2/17/13 8:27 p.m.

previous total: 3915

for this update, i really havent done much. been too busy with other stuff. so this is mostly a post about parts gathering, spending money when/where the deals were right.

on to the parts pics!

front sway bar, with cooked bushings and all hardware: 1 5/8 from 78 trans am: 16.01

serpentine accessory drive, with pullies, hardware, 120 amp internally regulated alternator, junk power steering pump, AC compressor, and AC compressor bypass pully: 112.46

jeep grand cherokee 12:1 power steering box, code wk from a hit REALLY hard 82k truck: 35.25

spotlight replacements (boght 2, one 6 volt, one 12 volt. bothe need rebuilt/tweaked/etc. im going to have to figure out how to do that.....) bought from a guy in mooresboro, nc off craigslist. guy dailys a 71 porsche 911, and had an ITB bmw 2002 track car. neat guy. anyway, paid 20 bucks. for the pair.

also, went to lawndale to pick up some vette parts for my best friend. spotted an old spreadbore double pumper in one of the crates. i asked the guy how much. he said 40 bucks. as i was paying him, he told me that was 40 for the WHOLE BOX of carbs. 9 in all. anyone need a quadrajet, double pumper spreadbore, or 600 cfm vac secondary holly? ill make you a SCREAMING deal....

the next part i had in storage. i had gotten this from a mid 90's suburban 3/4 ton. this was for my last shop truck. new owner did not want it, and left it with me. so essentially, its free as the guy got all the spares in the purchase agreement. its 1 inch diameter. i may be able to use it, i may not. if i can, my front and rear swaybar swaps are done!!

next up is my screaming wheel deal. working on a customers c5 z06 vette today, we got to talking about his track wheels. turns out hes running scrubs now, and running 4 of the 18 inch wheels for cheaper slicks. a few years back, i had set him up with a nother vette customer who had gotten out of tracking, and he bought two complete sets opf staggered z06 motorsports wheels. he had the 17;s taking up room, as the stagger on these is 17 front/18 rear. i offered to clear his bill and give him 80 bucks. he said done. i have not recieved the other 2 yeat, as they still have the nt05 rain tires on them, but hes planning on finishing those off at VIR on the first weekend in march. these wheels measure 17X9.5 with 7.5 backspacing. bolt up with no spacers, but would not be runnable. per my research, this wheel needs a 6 inch backspacing to be proper fit with 275/40/17's. so, im ordering some hubcentric 1.5 inch spacers soon. these wheels will also allow me to run c5 vette brakes on the front, and anything i want out back.

im also playing with colors as you can see on the rear quarter. im thinking of doing od green with a black out on the front area of the windshield and hood following the body line. also thinking of the green thats on the firebird arked next to it, and finally, just a clean black with red interior. havent decided yet, and need to get a photoshop or rendering done so i know what im working with.

so, the upcoming to do list:

swap to power steering

swap to electric cooling fans and serpentine accessories

rebuild spreadbore and install

relocate battery after fixing rust in smugglers compartment

convert to discs

convert to 17's

rebuild suspension

fix electrical and interior gremlins

enjoy for a little bit.

new total is:


anyone wanna buy extra stuff as i take it off so i can subtract from my budget instead of add? and i really need to start a sale thread.....


tuna55 UberDork
2/18/13 9:04 a.m.
Dusterbd13 wrote:
AngryCorvair wrote: needs moar electricfan
fixed that. the fan clutch freewheels easier than my last BMX bike with no chain. i have a pair of intrepid fans and a thermostat/relay combo up in storage from some forgotten project. anyone wanna guess the solution?

My opinion is GET RID OF THOSE WHEELS! OK, it's your call. I understand.

Anyway, data. I had a truck and I played. Being an engineer, I was very curious if there was any real gain from an electric fan. After all you turn the rotational energy into electricity and then back into rotational energy. Could it really be more efficient than a good thermal clutch?

No. At least in my testing. Gas mileage was IDENTICAL through several hundred miles with A) no fan, B) electric fan on a thermostat and C) good ole' GM clutch fan.

I like them, and the electric fans that are worth anything are very expensive, and the thermostats that are worth anything (that DON'T require you to jam the silly probe under a clamp or through the fins) are harder to find.

Your call, again, just my findings.

Sorry to be the voice of dissenting opinion this morning. How about this?

I've always wanted an elco like that. Pretty thing. Makes me wish I was working on something prettier.

bravenrace PowerDork
2/18/13 9:44 a.m.

In reply to tuna55:

Electric fans work better because they provide airflow when you need it (low speed, idling) and not when you don't need it (ie - freeway driving). Clutch fans will cut out when not needed, but just like a fixed fan, can only turn as fast as the engine lets them.

Gearheadotaku UltraDork
2/18/13 9:59 a.m.

I like electric fans for freeing up space and reducing noise.

Dusterbd13 HalfDork
2/18/13 10:24 a.m.
Gearheadotaku wrote: I like electric fans for freeing up space and reducing noise.

This. Exact reason I'm doin it.

I'm not crazy about the z06 wheels, but they'll do for now. And the price was right.

tuna55 UberDork
2/18/13 11:20 a.m.
Dusterbd13 wrote:
Gearheadotaku wrote: I like electric fans for freeing up space and reducing noise.
This. Exact reason I'm doin it.

And that is an excellent reason to do it. I should have known a guy like you already knew there wasn't really a performance gain.

tuna55 UberDork
2/18/13 11:26 a.m.

I am hotlink impaired, but the Hot Rod El Camino has a neat two-tone body line, although I might go with a lighter color rather than grey.


Dusterbd13 HalfDork
2/18/13 11:57 a.m.

i have seen that truck in person multiple times.

i expect no preformance gain whatsoever from the e-fans. the only time i have seen fuel economy gain is over fixed blade (really a locked up thermal clutch, making it a fixed blade). i will admit that butt dyno says that it accelerates a little better. best example was my 4.3 powered extended cab long bed. noticible difference in acceleration.

im really leaning towards the firebird green, myself.

Javelin MegaDork
2/18/13 12:05 p.m.

"600 cfm vac secondary holly"

Is it good? Can I have it? Pretty please? (Trade you a dead 73 AMC Motorcraft 4bbl!)

Dusterbd13 HalfDork
2/18/13 12:41 p.m.

ive got 5 at the moment. maybe more......

most need rebuilt. the good one is still powering the truck until i get to rebuilding the spreadbore.

ill make you a heck of a deal.


Dusterbd13 HalfDork
2/18/13 9:43 p.m.

my wife questioned my sanity while helping me bleed the brakes tonight. i feel special.

on a side note, she banned firebird green. said to pint it black.

Javelin MegaDork
2/19/13 9:14 a.m.

+1 to a Black with Red interior. Just don't paint it flat black!!!!

Dusterbd13 HalfDork
2/19/13 9:22 a.m.
Javelin wrote: +1 to a Black with Red interior. Just don't paint it flat black!!!!

unfortunately, it will go flat black for a while, javelin. like dp90 epoxy primer black. to stop the surface rust.

when i get the rest of the truck dialed in, it will go a nice gloss black. it wont be a black body, but will look good from 10 feet or so.

hell, im gonna daily this thing, and use it as a shop truck. 10 footer will be perfect for that.

AngryCorvair PowerDork
2/19/13 10:36 a.m.

you could two-tone it with black up top and firebird green down low.

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