It's not enough to stuff a big-block in the engine bay of our project El Camino. No, we have to step it up a notch. To place such a work of reciprocating art into a dirty box just wouldn't be right. Under the hood is where the real showtakes place, where the engine will live. It just ain't right to open your hood and discover 40-plus years of dirt, road grime, oil residue, tar, and who knows what else-all cradling and enveloping superb muscle. It's like eating caviar with week-old pizza-the two just don't jibe.
The engine bay should be a shrine to all things powerful and fast-a Mecca and a foundation for making more power. It should embody the time and care you take with the rest of the car. People can tell a lot about a person by the way their engine bay looks. It expresses how serious you are about your project.
In our case, we spent the weekend with the Elco, washing, grinding, sanding, and finally painting the engine bay for this brute. We'll get you motivated to do the same and illustrate some of the pitfalls and tips that will make your endeavor a bit smoother.
Degrease, sand, and paint away 42 years of grime.
It's a cheap and easy weekend project.
There is a direct correlation between temperature and pressure. We placed the cans of paint in a bucket of very warm water for about 10 minutes. This allowed them to soak up the warmth of the water, which in turn builds more pressure. Think of it as a nitrous blanket for your paint can. No warm water? Just set them in the sun for a bit. Your quick warm-up will allow the paint to come out faster with more pressure, and it'll dry sooner.
We rolled the ol' Camino into...
We rolled the ol' Camino into the street, and it was there we got a cold, hard look at what 42 years of road buildup can do to the framerails and inner fenders. We wanted to not only dissolve all the grime, but also remove and pick away all the undercoating. It's ugly and gross-and it had to go.
We prepared a 1:1 (50/50)...
We prepared a 1:1 (50/50) mix of Oil Eater degreaser formula and water. It comes in a gallon jug, and we used nearly all of it. Tougher jobs could call for using straight degreaser to cut through the oil. Utilizing a spray bottle, we liberally soaked the entire engine bay. This included inner fenders, firewall, subframe, and steering components. Removing the front fenders and front suspension will net you even more admittance, especially to the outer framerails of the car. Degrease any areas that will be painted. Once it was sprayed, we let the formula do its job-waiting about 20 minutes-then resprayed.