This page shows the latest upgrades to the El Camino.
Jan 2014 to Present.

July 2006 the car got a name: 'Elkenstein'
There are so many parts on it now, from all sorts of different vehicles. Even though it dies once in a while, it keeps coming back to life.

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'Elkenstein' in Car Craft April 2008

See this page for a year in the life of Elkenstein.
January 2006 to February 2007
Blown head gaskets, blown engine, new engine, electrical melt downs, computer swaps, catastrophic failure of the new (rebuilt) engine at 1000 miles.
March 2007 to November 2008 The rebuilt engine, rebuilt again, small tweaks, new rear end, gear change after that.
January 2009-December 2010 Surgery slowed down progress for a couple years. Back at it now and making progress.
Projects in 2011 New lights for the turn signals, headlight upgrade, Serpentine system swap, New body Mount Bushings and Fuel pump.
Projects 2012 - 2013 New Overdrive Transmission. Human sub frame connectors.
Projects beginning 2014   (This Page) New Wheels and Tires, Big Brakes, Ignition Switch.
Projects for 2014 - 2015



Rehab from the last (4th) spinal surgery is done and I am feeling better all the time. Pain free for the most part, for the first time in 2 years....... Time for some WRENHCIN'

What I believe is an ignition switch that died, and has disabled Elkenstein for the time being. Parts are ordered, and I will put the rehab on here. 3/2014

This picture shows the broken return spring on the bottom side.

I attacked the steering column, and replaced the lock tumbler, and ignition switch, along with a broken return spring for the turn signals. My local dealer had both springs in stock, and they were about $0.69 each.

The second picture shows the new lock cylinder with black vs. chrome finish.

The intermittent dying problem turned out to be a loose allen screw on the fuse block that replaced the fuseable links. I had a melt down in 2006, and used a fuse block set up that is a lot easier to deal with.

I needed the resto of the switch and key cylinder anyway after 250K miles. The key would fly out of the column on a hard left turn.
New Wheels 4/2014 17" Torque Thrust M with General Tire Ultra High performance all season tires. I will not rule out having to drive in some snow with a load here in Chi-Beria.
 The wheels look great on the car. Now I can clean up the big brake conversion parts and look at getting them installed. The old 14" rims would not work with the brake conversion.
This one shows the H1 bulbs lit up, and the LED turn signal conversion.
 Father's Day 2014 automotive therapy.

I took off the Idler arm, center link, and tie rods off the car in one assembly. I put it on the bench and measured carefully, then re-installed the new parts. The idler arm joint was bad, as I suspected, as well as the other center link joint to the pitman arm.

If I recall, I had to replace a driver's side tie rod end a few years back. This whole assembly was also replaced shortly after purchasing the Elky at about 170K miles. There are over 250K miles on it now. Par for an old Chevy front end was 70-80K miles, and things started to wear out. So it was time.

This is a picture of the new brake parts I need to clean up and get ready to install.

Here we have time tested parts from Mike Huber's "MINO" that ran this race very well!

This is another link for details on Mike's performance:

Here we have Global West tubular upper A arms, boxed lower stock arms, all with Del-alum bushings, Caprice Police car Spindles, IROC Camaro 1LE calipers, and drilled and slotted rotors. Thanks for the great deal Mike!!


Day 1 of the project. Tear down and clean up. This is the before picture of the stock brakes.

I took pictures of the shims on both sides of the upper control arms, and replaced them with the new parts to have a starting point. Driver's side.
Passenger side shims.
I tried with no luck to get the Summit Racing Spring compressor to grab the springs, but found out it was hitting the upper perch. Cutting 3" off the threads did the trick.
This is the second spring out, still compressed.
This is the compressed spring next to the first one at rest. 3 or 4" of compression was needed to get them out. I put a safety chain around them during the process.
Passenger side is stripped down.
Driver's side is stripped.
Air suspension. Note the F-41 frame braces.
Somehow one of the Delrin washers didn't make it with the shipment. Probably stuck to the frame of the old Mino. Doug at Global West Suspension responded very promptly to my needs and shipped me the missing washer for a real fair price, and in time for me to get the project done when I needed to. Thanks Doug!
 End of day 1 included scrubbing and painting the spindles, dust shields, and lower arms.
 This is a picture of where the stock arms are boxed in. I drilled holes near the frame ends to allow for greasing, and it was a good thing, because I forgot to grease them until they were on the car. These holes made it a lot easier. I used a step bit.
 This is before I cleaned up the springs and upper A arms.
 New in the box rotors from Rock Auto.
 I greased the upper arms in the vise prior ton installing them. The cap comes off on this model to grease the upper ball joints.
 These are the 1LE calipers painted, and loaded, with new hardware. The pads were good from Mike so I am going to run with them for now. They look like copper flecks in the pads. I have used this type before.
 This shows the old springs next to the new ones. The new are Global West 1" lowering springs. I had already installed the rear springs when the 16 year old rear air bags blew, hauling landscape rocks.
 I have to thank my wife Cindy for this idea. I had told her I was worried that the new Caprice master cylinder would not clear the fiberglass hood. It looked really close when I was test fitting it. The lines all worked, and the fit to the booster was right. I said I needed to get some modeling clay to check the clearance. She said "Just use a hamburger bun, we have plenty of extra ones". Here you see a bun, squishy side down split to cover the top of the master cylinder.
 We have contact! but it looks like about a half inch of clearance. I think the wheat bun would not have compressed quite as much. LOL

 This was before the first shower of day 1 after getting all the old parts out. It's a dirty job, but I am saving a ton of money, and it's the rewards I am after.

Day 2

  Here are the uppers, lowers, and dust shield installed.
 The calipers are on, but not the brake lines yet.
 This shows the Billstein's through the new springs, and the poly sway bar links on the Turbo Regal 1.25" sway bar. (Monte SS are the same)
 Well, the G-body rubber brake lines are not going to work. They leak at the calipers, because they need to have an angle on the banjo fitting. they started leaking shortly after installing the Master and filling it.
 There was one hose on the calipers that Mike sent, and after studying them, the banjo end is clearly different. For $10, I am going to get new hoses. The ones on the Elky were recent, but just won't work.
 This is a shot at the angle. The 11.75" lines from a 1994 Caprice are what I ended up with after matching the supplied hose up at the parts store. I really de3pend on these guys with all the screwy changes I have made to this vehicle. Thompson's Auto Supply.

The new brake lines are installed. These are Dorman (Parts Master) part #BH380095. So far so good.

Changing to these lines, I broke one steel line at the fitting. Fortunately it was the driver's side and is only a few inches long. I had the Inline Tube new part in my stash in the rafters of the garage, from when I bought the whole set and have only replaced the rear lines.
 Bleeding the lines on 8/20/15 Final assembly, and test drive.
Left front, much lower than before with the spring change.
After the test drive. Not as much difference as I was hoping, but the pads have not bedded in. Also, I need to check the vacuum supply to the booster. There may have been an issue here before the switch.
Better looking, lower stance with the Global West Lowering springs.

The daily driver, and the work truck. I performed the operation without hurting myself!

Life is good.

Uh Oh...... The brake went to the floor a few days after getting it all together. I had a fountain at the brake bleeder repair kit on the Driver Caliper. Probably a crack in the cast iron. Not willing to fiddle with stock calipers, and my wife's comment that "You should get the red ones" pretty much sealed the deal. So I ordered Wilwood D52 style calipers.
The banjo fitting was for 10 mm bolts, and the new calipers used the 7/16" version. So I drilled out the banjo fittings a bit. If you have to do this, put it in a vice before putting it on the car... Don't do as I did. It was tough to get it to keep from weeping at the caliper even with the new copper washers.
They look GREAT!
Even better with the wheels on. The first test drive was great. Only about 12 blocks, but they were biting down hard by the end of that short drive. I'll break them in tomorrow. 9/15/15

Projects January 2006 to February 2007     March 2007 to November 2008  January 2009-December 2010  Projects 2011   Projects 2012 - 2013