Thread Number: 79249  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
test drove '82 El Camino :)
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Post# 1031798   5/4/2019 at 16:13 by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        

Noticed this at a local specialty car lot and gave it a look to see if I wanted to add to the fleet: "Grandpa special"base model:Chevy 3.8 v6(3/4s of a 305),TH250,2.73 rear,non AC,idiot lights,slippery vinyl bench seat :) Looked good under the hood-all original and no replaced parts evident.Test drive did not go well:started right up and ran decent but had the worse piston slap I have ever heard from a Chevy engine,along with possibly a hint of rod knock... suspension Felt very "boaty" for a downsized "midsize" car of~3400 LB.Brought the car back,advized them major engine repair was needed,and offered $2000 vs the asking of 3995.I did kinda like the car and if they accept offer,I have a spare 305 that could be dropped in or a 350 built up for it.

Post# 1031874 , Reply# 1   5/5/2019 at 14:14 by CorvairGeek (Gem State)        
Engine noises

I will assume the Chevy 229 V6 is probably rough on timing chains like Buick 231 that was also available as the standard engine for B and G bodies with Cali emissions from '80 to '84. The Chevy 229 V6 was an odd-even fire, so it had plenty of roughness. Never really heard of ones with super high mileage. At least they didn't stick the nylon coated, pot metal camshaft timing gear in it, like the V8s. Buick tried that with the FWD 3.8 and 3.0 (1985 -1988) and many of those met untimely deaths. Even the 4.3L V6 needed a counter balance shaft, and it was even fire.
The standard suspension on the downsized B and G bodies was way too soft for me too. An F41 suspension equipped vehicle was like night and day, but some claimed they were too choppy.

Post# 1031875 , Reply# 2   5/5/2019 at 14:28 by 2packs4sure (houston)        
If you have to have an El Camino a 76'-77' is the wa

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Post# 1031884 , Reply# 3   5/5/2019 at 15:32 by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        

Qne of those was almost my first car:a nice 1974-in metallc green,priced at $1500 in the summer of '85 :)"colonnade"era is still built heavy enough to accept big block 454 with no problems-actually I think those could be had with a 454 up through '75 :)My faves are 1959,followed by 1971-72.Looking over the 229 in the '82,did notice the timing cover was undisturbed-65,000 showing on the odo,but it may have been over once...I was wondering if it did have the nylon tooth timing gear-chevy used those in most SBC from ~1965 to at least 1984-i had a N.O.S. one on hand and the nylon cracked as it aged and shrank around the aluminum hub-old Ford Capri v6 had this nylon problem too.I don't know why the 229 in subject vehicle has such bad piston slap-guess i'll find out if I buy the car.

Post# 1031960 , Reply# 4   5/6/2019 at 15:31 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
Oddly though,

that in 1978, the A body cars got smaller, and lighter, but the wheelbase on the El Camino and Cabalero grew to 117 inches from 115. Coupes were 113 until '78. Sedans and wagons were 115 as well. In '78, shrank to 108 inches. Same as an AMC Concord compact then.
The colonade era cars are my fav's. namely Monte Carlo, Grand Prix, Cutlass and Regals. They were good drivers too, with a higher caster angle on the from end than some other cars. My '77 GP LJ with radial tuned suspension rode better than a '77 T Bird.
In '78, the rear side windows don't even open. only sedans and wagons had vent windows for the rear seats.

Post# 1031979 , Reply# 5   5/6/2019 at 20:40 by warmsecondrinse (Fort Lee, NJ)        

I fought against it but lost. My parents bought an '81 Olds Cutlass 4-door, 231 V6. I could write a book about how awful that car was and how it lived in the shop. But I'll put it this way:

My grandparents' '71 Dart 2-door hardtop w/225 1-bbl Slant Six at 10 years old accelerated better, stopped better, was quieter, rode WAY more smoothly, had a roomier back seat, handled miles better, and GOT BETTER GAS MILEAGE than that Cutlass.

Post# 1032028 , Reply# 6   5/7/2019 at 14:13 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
Buick 231 V6

from 1975 through the series 1 were bad. Stalled on left turns, spun main crank bearings, even after the firing order was changed to even. Economy was fair at best.
Fuel injection helped a lot, and the balance shafts the series II got also. Then the flaw was the plastic intake manifold, and non metal sleeved EGR port which melted it. By the series III which got an aluminum intake in 2004, the engine was discontinued by 2007.

Post# 1032391 , Reply# 7   5/11/2019 at 15:22 by JustJunque (Western MA)        

I have to agree.
I've owned two cars with the Buick 231 V6.
One was bad, the other one was awful.
We also have the turbo version in an '87 Regal Turbo T.
Fuel injection and a turbo make a huge difference!

The big Monte Carlos used to be my favorite!
I've owned a '75, '76, and '77.
The '76 had the most factory options, but was in the roughest condition of the three.
It was one-year-only Lime Green Metallic!
The '75 was dark blue metallic, with a white landau top and white Strato bucket seat interior.
The '77 was metallic orange, with chamois landau top and cloth reclining bench seats.
That one was the only one with a 305 as opposed to the 350.
It was almost as underpowered as the 231 V6!


Post# 1032396 , Reply# 8   5/11/2019 at 17:12 by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        
From a Buick 6

daveamkrayoguy's profile picture
How did 231 CID of six-cylinder really power a full sized Buick? We're rtalking '77, onward... Did such a big car really get offered with such a small engine, and be able to handle air conditioning, etc.?

-- Dave

Post# 1032403 , Reply# 9   5/11/2019 at 18:41 by CorvairGeek (Gem State)        

Normally aspirated 3.8 rear drives were dogs.
The fuel injected,large front drives (86-88) with a 3.8 actually performed quite well and got good fuel economy. The durability was poor due to the timing gear. When GM designated them as 3800, the durability was much improved and the last remnants of them being derived from a V8 was removed. Oddly, some of these changes never made it into the turbo charged, 3.8L rear drive version.
The second and third generation 3800s continued improvement in power. There were intake manifold issues with some of these, and the silly plastic heater hose elbows.

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Post# 1032405 , Reply# 10   5/11/2019 at 19:51 by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        
EL Camino...

...was sold,so that will not join my fleet. I did like that it was simple and "old skool" under the hood-even still had a 1950s style rigid 4-blade fan that could be heard when the engine revved.Sealing for the bed leaked,so when backed onto a slight slope,rainwater collected and seeped into the spare tire area behind the seat to pool up in the footwells...The steering and handling was the part I most disliked about the car-but like the engine situation, quite east to correct by digging into my Camaro z28 spare parts stash:) Re.reply 9:that radio conversion looks pretty good with the turned aluminum covers attached to the knobs for a bit of "period correct"appearnce to a~2004(?) GM radio :)

Post# 1032408 , Reply# 11   5/11/2019 at 20:09 by CorvairGeek (Gem State)        

It was a fun project. That is a Buick only variant, 2003-2005, that I found cool.

Post# 1032566 , Reply# 12   5/13/2019 at 14:28 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
That was one reason why the 80's

are called the malaise era. Heavy cars with small engines for fuel economy, not power. Buick did bring the turbo option for power, but for a hefty price. Then the 231 got milled out to 4.1 litres, or 252 cubic inches, and yes, it even went into the Electra for a few years.

Post# 1032591 , Reply# 13   5/13/2019 at 19:40 by CorvairGeek (Gem State)        
Buick 252 V6

I was hoping I had pictures of an '83 or '84 Electra with a 4.1L V6, but I recall the hood struts not working, so I gave up before it slammed on me. Not very well equipped, but it was maroon inside, so I grabbed some pieces for my baby.
It was a credit option on DeVilles over the 4100 V8, so that might have been a toss up as to which was worse. Sadly, the 4.1L V6 had head gasket failures that were unique to that displacement. The 4.1L V6 was also available in non-Chevrolet G bodies.

Post# 1032594 , Reply# 14   5/13/2019 at 21:51 by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        
diesel v6 too :)

I once found a g-body,1982-forget what model,and it had a 4.3 v6 diesel-I think v8 diesel was also avalible.Noticed that 4.3 v6 had a serpentine belt which was state of the art in 1982 :)RWD 4.3 diesel quite rare VS FWD transverse version.

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