HELP New G-Body owner with questions.

SIC

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Oct 3, 2022
33
8
Murder City
Good Afternoon everyone. I need some assistance. I just recently purchased my first G-Body. Actually this is my first GM. The vehicle is a 1987 El Camino. I have a list of items I want to tackle on this G body. I’m hoping I can throw this list out and ya’ll G-Body Gods could help an old man and his dream…

  • Upgrade Rear Axle and suspension. Ladder Bars and Coil overs. Ford 9".
  • T400 Trans built for kill, With a Brake.
  • Front Suspension Upgrade with All lightweight parts. Uppers, Lower, Coil overs.
  • All Wheel Discs
  • X275's Tires on ????? Wheels.
  • Correct looking wheels and tires to match rear.
  • Fiberglass Hood, W/ or W/O Cowl
  • Fiberglass Front Bumper
  • Fuel Cell In Rear (Tactfully done)
  • Battery Box in Rear.
  • Add Manual Steering Gearbox
  • Figure out that big *ss HVAC system in the Engine Compartment. NOT Needed.
  • Interior is MINT. New Bench seat stays, with Harnesses.
  • Arrange instrument cluster with all new goodies..
  • Mount Floor Shifter.
  • Heater core Delete plate
What I am looking to do with this vehicle is to drive it all over and hit the track whenever I can. I would appreciate it greatly if people would input the info that you are familiar with and point me in the correct direction.

Thank you all !
 

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Ugly1

G-Body Guru
Oct 26, 2021
745
63
Lost in the woods of NH
Depending on state requirements is heater delete or A/C removal and have just a heater. If you are doing a heater delete Correctly then plan on removal of your dashboard.
If only racing occasionally stay with stock gas tank. If going fuel injection you can get a in tank pump or external.
Hood option is ( and I’m not sure personally) aluminum hood. I don’t think Chevy did that though(Olds did). Look up a F41 brace system and also see the braces on the Buick GN/GNX’s lower control arms.
There are a number of threads on here that we talk about different rear ends, wiring, front suspensions. Also upgrading of brakes , boxing the rear frame rails for wider tires.changing out the rag joint steering setup.
Also look at the items the sponsors have. Many Malibu parts fit ElCamino but there are year limitations as to what matches.
ElCamino frames are a little different from just a g body. Braces sometimes have to fit a wagon or ElCamino only. And to shed some extra pounds with an ElCo, rear roll pan. Just put a rear frame brace across the rails for gas tank protection and frame stiffer.
The rear wheels you can have axles that come with two different stud placements to fit matching setups.
G Body Tech Forum is where you can get most of your good info.
 
Last edited:

mclellan83

Comic Book Super Hero
Jun 27, 2017
3,167
113
Pgh, PA
Welcome, good looking car. I'm not good for much
 
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Reactions: 1 user

SIC

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Thread starter
Oct 3, 2022
33
8
Murder City
Depending on state requirements is heater delete or A/C removal and have just a heater. If you are doing a heater delete Correctly then plan on removal of your dashboard.
If only racing occasionally stay with stock gas tank. If going fuel injection you can get a in tank pump or external.
Hood option is ( and I’m not sure personally) aluminum hood. I don’t think Chevy did that though(Olds did). Look up a F41 brace system and also see the braces on the Buick GN/GNX’s lower control arms.
There are a number of threads on here that we talk about different rear ends, wiring, front suspensions. Also upgrading of brakes , boxing the rear frame rails for wider tires.changing out the rag joint steering setup.
Also look at the items the sponsors have. Many Malibu parts fit ElCamino but there are year limitations as to what matches.
ElCamino frames are a little different from just a g body. Braces sometimes have to fit a wagon or ElCamino only. And to shed some extra pounds with an ElCo, rear roll pan. Just put a rear frame brace across the rails for gas tank protection and frame stiffer.
The rear wheels you can have axles that come with two different stud placements to fit matching setups.
G Body Tech Forum is where you can get most of your good info.
Thank you So much.. Your opening my eyes. I appreciate that.
 
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Ugly1

G-Body Guru
Oct 26, 2021
745
63
Lost in the woods of NH
Thank you So much.. Your opening my eyes. I appreciate that.
What you see on them tv shows is what a guy started to do to my ElCamino. DIY rip tear and oh gee this is expensive.
I started literally from the bottom up fixing and repair. Many of the guys on here do some serious HP and racing.
 
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565bbchevy

Geezer
Aug 8, 2011
9,196
113
Michigan
So what is going to be the power plant for this Gbody?
 
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Rt Jam

Master Mechanic
Mar 30, 2020
306
63
Ontario Canada
I'm going to play devil's advocate here and tell you the cons of some of the ideas.

Ladder bars suck, why, they do not allow for articulation. Think of a door of your house. Move the top, the bottom moves the same amount. On a car the rear axle housing is doing the same thing. Now you will understand why the heims and mounts take a beating with this set up.

If you are going to drive to the track. Consider a 4L60E or 4L80E. A TH400 is one of the best transmissions for the track, absolutely the best GM option 20 years ago but with no overdrive. High rpm cruising gets old fast.

Lightweight front end parts. This is for rainbow chasers. A car that is already fast, now you throw $5000 to save 80lbs. Big trade off for a street car. You make it super fragile just to save a few pounds. Same with drag racing brakes.

Manual steering, sure it saves weight and you do not have to drive a pump but the ratio is brutal for a car that might need some steering as the rear is swing between the cement walls.
 
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SIC

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Thread starter
Oct 3, 2022
33
8
Murder City
This is what I'm talking about.. Great info here for a NOOB. Thank you so much.
 
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mikester

Comic Book Super Hero
Mar 10, 2010
2,646
113
Small town NY
Unless youre never driving the car on hot or cold days you just might miss the AC. I feel the same way as JT Jam about the money spent on the front end. Lots of $$ for not a great return. Keep the power steering. Manual is a pain on the street. Last but not least, are you tall ? Im 5'8. I had a 79 coupe with a B&M floor shifter and bench seat. Couldnt reach the pedals with the seat back to clear the shifter. I pulled the bench out of my 81 and put in a set of Monte buckets. I sit close to the wheel.
 
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