Welcome to our database for 1978-1987 Chevy El Caminos and GMC Caballeros.

This is our attempt to consolidate a collection of thoroughly correct and possibly useless technical information about these vehicles since the internet contains a lot of incorrect or misleading or repetetive, useless information. Almost all information is collected from GM documentation or reliable sources. For those of you who ask "Why? Are we stupid and crazy?"... the answers are "See next two answers, yes, and yes".
 5th Generation El Camino Overview
 5th Generation El Camino General specifications
 5th Generation El Camino Cargo box
 5th Generation El Camino Paint and body
 5th Generation El Camino Year cosmetic differences
 5th Generation El Camino Year style differences
 5th Generation El Camino Engine by year and rating
 5th Generation El Camino Engine ID by RPO
 5th Generation El Camino Diesel engines
 5th Generation El Camino Rear axle ID by RPO
 5th Generation El Camino Transmission ID by RPO
 5th Generation El Camino Transmission type by year
 5th Generation El Camino Wheel and tire ID by RPO
 5th Generation El Camino Radio ID by RPO
 5th Generation El Camino Emissions ID by RPO
 5th Generation El Camino Emissions by year and engine
 5th Generation El Camino Interior ID by RPO
 5th Generation El Camino General ID by RPO
 5th Generation El Camino Convenience and power ID by RPO
 5th Generation El Camino Exterior ID by RPO
 5th Generation El Camino Suspension ID by RPO
 5th Generation El Camino Powertrain combinations
 5th Generation El Camino Trim levels
 5th Generation El Camino Choo Choo Customs
 5th Generation El Camino Emissions labels by label code
 5th Generation El Camino Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN)
 5th Generation El Camino Production plants
 5th Generation El Camino Production numbers
 5th Generation El Camino Our daily driving impressions on our 1978
 5th Generation El Camino References



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Overview


The fifth generation El Camino started production in 1978, adopting the new Malibu styling, suspension parts, and a one-inch longer wheelbase of 117 in. The front end sheet metal and doors (two door Malibus) were shared with the Malibu, although the window glass was different. The rear bumper was shared with the Malibu station wagon, although the tailgate was not, contrary to popular reporting. The station wagon tailgate is roughly the same but has differences like an exterior latch, and no upper indented character line. For the first time, though, the El Camino had a unique chassis shared with no other Chevrolet. The floorboard design is mostly shared with the wagon, up to the end of the cargo location. Rear air shocks were standard equipment so that the car-like ride would be preserved until hauling capability was needed, when the shocks could be aired up. The frame of the El Camino is not the same one used in the station wagon.
El Camino

The Malibu sedan and station wagon ceased production after the 1983 model year, as well as their cousins in the other GM lines; Buick, Pontiac, and Oldsmobile. In 1985 GM shifted El Camino production to Mexico.
El Camino

El Camino production ended in late 1987. Some model year 1987's (420 El Caminos and 325 GMC Caballeros) are listed as new car retail deliveries in calendar year 1988 based on their date of first retail sale. GM chose not to continue the El Camino platform for several reasons: a suitable rear-drive platform was not available at the time with GM's switch to mainly front-drive platforms, and GM claimed waning interest in the El Camino although sales charts do not back this up as sales were steady until GM announced the discontinuation of the platform.
El Camino

The GMC version of the El Camino was virtually identical, except for a few small cosmetic and naming differences to rebadge the product as a GMC.

The El Camino was produced in plants located in: Baltimore, MD; Doraville, GA; Leeds, MO; Arlington, TX; Fremont, CA; Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, and Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.
1983-1984 El Camino print ad

From 1978 through 1981, The El Camino was technically still called an 'A' body by GM. It wasn't until 1982 that the 'G' body designation took effect officially. From 1978 to 1982, the model designation for the El Camino was AW80, and from 1982 to 1987 the model designation was GW80.
1978 El Camino silver with red interior

In the articles that follow, please note that any RPO (Regular Production Option) codes we list are confirmed to be appropriate by either GM paperwork or by individual build sheets. Obviously there may be some holes in this information but we are always updating this site and endeavoring to make our lists more complete.

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Specifications


All years 1978-1987:
-Angle of approach: 20 degrees, .06 min.
-Angle of departure: 15 degrees, 15 min.
-Axle shaft: integral shaft and drive flange
-Body mounting: 7 each side of frame, 10 double cushion and 4 single cushion
-Brakes: Hydraulic, self-adjusting, power assisted, 10.5in. X 1.03in. front cast-iron vented disc, 9.5 in. x 2 in. rear cast-iron finned drum
-Brake master cylinder: dual resevoir (front/rear split)
-Brake booster: Delco two-diaphragm, 7.9in. X 7.9in. nominal diameter, vacuum/hydraulic
-Control arms: reinforced stamped steel with pre-loaded steel-encased rubber bushings at pivot
-Driveline type: tubular exposed, single, 2 Cardan universal joints with pre-packed anti-friction bearings
-Door beams: saftey guard
-Effective head room: 37.6 in.
-Electrical: 12v negative ground
-Exhuast: single aluminized
-Exterior paint type: acrylic lacquer
-Frame: Carbon steel, perimeter type, sigma-section rails, welded front and rear crossmembers with bolt-in tubular transmission support
-Front overhang: 36.0 in.
-Front shock absorbers: direct, double-acting hydraulic
-Front spindle: 3/4-20 UNEF 3-A modified
-Front suspension: independant; coil springs and 1" shock absorbers
-Front wheel bearings: taper roller, two per spindle, inner 1.25in, outer .8437-.8445in
-Fuel fill: left-hand fill, rectangular
-General suspension provisions, leveling: front stabilizer bar
-General suspension provisions, anti-dive control: front suspension geometry
-General suspension provisions, anti-squat control: rear suspension geometry
-Generator: 37 amp
-Height: 53.8 in.
-Height rocker panel front to ground: 8.9 in.
-Height rocker panel rear to ground: 9.9 in.
-Inner fenders: plastic
-Length: 201.6 in.
-Lowest ground clearance: rear shock absorber bracket
-Lugs: 7/16-20 UNF 2B on 4.75in. bolt circle diameter
-Minimum base weight: 3155 lb.
-Minimum running ground clearance: 5.8 in.
-Parking brake: pedal-operated, cable to rear wheels, 63.73 sq. in. facing contact per axle
-Ramp breakover angle: 13 degrees, 45 min.
-Rear axle: Salisbury-type, hypoid gearing
-Rear axle differential to ground: 6.3 in.
-Rear axle gearing: positraction available on all ratios (2.29, 2.41, 2.56, 2.73, 3.08), 7.5" ring gear pitch diameter
-Rear axle housing: 2.53 in. X 0.18 in. section diameter and thickness at spring seat
-Rear bumper to ground: 13.7 in.
-Rear overhang: 48.5 in.
-Rear suspension: hypoid; coil springs, 1 in. air boosted shock absorbers
-Rocker panels: open channel
-Roof: halo construction
-Seat cushions and backrests: formed polyfoam
-Shoulder room: 56.8 in
-Spare tire: full size standard
-Steering: manual recirculating ball, parallelogram linkage
-Steering knuckles: nodular iron with integral steering knuckle arm
-Tread width front: 58.5 in.
-Tread width rear: 57.8 in.
-Turning diameter outside front, curb to curb: 42.66 ft.
-Turning diameter outside front, wall to wall: 39.89 ft.
-Wheelbase: 117.1 in.
-Wheels: 5 lug, 14"x6"
-Width with doors closed: 71.9 in.
-Width with doors open: 157.6 in.
-Windshield pillars: energy absorbing air-gap construction

1978:
-Fuel tank: 17.5 gallon
-Battery: 2500w @ 0 deg F

1979:
-Fuel tank: 17.7 gallon
-Battery: 3200w @ 0 deg F

1980:
-Battery: 2500w @ 0 deg F
-Fuel tank: 17.7 gallon

1981:
-Fuel tank: 17.7 gallon

1982:
-Automatic transmissions had optional 3rd gear lock-up torque converter clutch
-Fuel tank: 17.7 gallon

1983:
-Diesel versions: Dual batteries, 63 amp alternator, TH350 transmission with ratios: 2.52/1.52/1/Rev 1.93 with 27 spline yoke
-Battery: (now rated in CCA), 355 Cold Cranking Amps at 0 degrees F.
-Fuel tank: 17.7 gallon, 22 gallon (not available with Diesel engine)

1984:
-Battery: 355 Cold Cranking Amps at 0 degrees F.
-Fuel tank: 17.7 gallon

1985:
-Battery: 630 Cold Cranking Amps at 0 degrees F.
-Fuel tank: 17.7 gallon

1986:
-Battery: 630 Cold Cranking Amps at 0 degrees F.
-Fuel tank: 17.4 gallon

1987:
-Battery: 630 Cold Cranking Amps at 0 degrees F.
-Fuel tank: 17.7 gallon

Notes: Although the nominal fuel tank size seems to vary somewhat from year to year, this is probably due to measuring error taken each year for production and EPA specifications. In reality the same base fuel tank was most likely used throughout production.

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Cargo box


Cargo box specifications:
-Cargo weight rating: 800 lbs.
-Cargo box area: 35.5 cubic feet
-Maximum width: 59.1in.
-Maximum length: 79.1 in.
-Width between wheel wells: 45 in.
-Tailgate loading width: 53.1 in.
-Construction: double-walled, ribbed steel
-Liftover height: 25.2 in.

El Camino cargo box dimensions

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Paint and body


Paint and body process (from GM documentation):
1. RUSTPROOFING. Assembled car bodies are chemically sprayed to clean and etch the metal surfaces for corrossion resistance and paint adhesion. Unassembled sheet metal parts follow the same process.
2. BODY PRIMERS. Four corrosion resistant primers, specially formulated, are hand sprayed on the body in areas where rust might develop. Lower areas considered especially vulnerable are coated with another rust inhibiting compound.
3. SHEET METAL PRIMER is applied to all outside and inside surfaces of front fenders and hoods. The parts are mechanically dipped or flow-coated to insure coating in all seams and secluded areas, and baked at 390 degrees F. for 30 minutes. A coat of sealer is then applied by hand spray to all surfaces requiring lacquer.
4. FLASH PRIMER AND PRIMER SURFACER COATS. An air-dry flash primer caot is hand sprayed on surfaces below the body belt line. Then a gray primer-surfacer coat is hand sprayed on all outside surfaces of the body and ove baked for 45 minutes at 285 degrees F.
5. INITIAL SANDING. Power wet sanding, followed by hand sanding is done on all body surfaces requiring lacquering. This insures a smooth surface for the lacquer finish. To remove the water, the body is wiped and run through an infrared oven.
6. LACQUERING. Three coats of acrylic lacquer are applied on the exterior surfaces of the body and sheet metal parts to build up a finish of the required thickness and color.
7. INITIAL BAKING. To harden the paint for two tones, the body and sheet metal parts are baked for approximately 10 minutes at 200 degrees F.
8. FINAL BAKING. To assure a durable, hard, high luster finish the lacquer is baked for 30 minutes at 325 degrees F. Reheating the lacquer permits paint film to soften, allowing surface blemishes to disappear during the thermo-flow process.
9. UNDERCOATING. To block out road noise, an asbestos fiber sound deadener with asphalt base is sprayed inside the wheel housings and on the bottom of the underbody at designated areas.
10. PAINT REPAIR AND PROTECTION. Mars, nicks, or scratches that occur during final assembly are corrected at the factory before shipment. When required, light "slush" polishing brings painted surfaces to a high luster finish. Wax is applied to all horizontal surfaces of each vehicle and polished out for protection during shipment. The wax contains no silicones, thus eliminating any paint contamination problem.

Body glass:
-Windshield visibility area: 1253.0 sq. in.
-Front door window visibility area: 898.0 sq. in.
-Rear quarter window visibility area: 122.0 sq. in.
-Back window visibility area: 513.8 sq. in.
-Total sq area: 2787.0 sq. in.
-Backlight slope angle: 20.0 degrees
-Windshield slope angle: 58.5 degrees
-Tumble-home: 23.5 degrees
-Windshield type: curved laminated plate
-Side glass type: curved tempered plate
-Rear glass type: curved tempered plate

Vinyl roofs:
Dealer documentation specifies that at least for several years, vinyl roofs in various colors were available. For fifth generation El Caminos this seems to have been a rarely-ordered option as we have encountered exactly zero of these up to this date. If you have any verified photographs of 1978-1987 vinyl roofs, please send them to us so we can provide evidence of actual production cars!

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Year cosmetic differences


1978:
-One headlamp each side introduced. Chevrolet nameplate on chrome grille on upper driver's side, "Chevrolet" block letters outlined against a black background. One-year-only tail lamps with backup lights in outboard side.
1978 El Camino print ad

1979:
-Restyled grille with finely graduated rectangular openings and a more pronounced vertical center bar, Chevrolet nameplate relocated to lower left portion of grille opening. New colors offered. Tail lamps redesigned by moving backup light to inboard position. 231 cubic inch Buick V6 eith "closed loop" emissions for California introduced. 267 cubic inch V8 RPO L39 introducted except in California. 305 cubic inch 4bbl RPO LG4 replaces 305 cubic inch 2bbl RPO LG3. RPO UN3 introduced, AM/FM radio with cassette. RPO UP5 introduced, CB AM/FM monoaural radio. RPO UP6 introduced, CB AM/FM stereo radio. RPO UY8 introduced, AM/FM stereo radio with clock and digital display. Instrument cluster bezel now color keyed. Light smoke gray beads used on instrument cluster face. Bright finish beads used on the radio/HVAC panel and optional floor console.
1979 El Camino print ad

1980:
-Hood ornament introduced, emblem moved from upper grille center to ornament on grille header panel. Grille changed to vertical bar style. Front fenders received marker lights starting this year.
1980 El Camino print ad

1981:
-Restyled grille with horizontal bars. All gas engines get Computer Command Control (CCC). Restyled Instrument panel pad, international symbols on controls, model nameplates on dash pad. Doors now get pull straps. Standard full wheelcovers have new diamond pattern.
1981 El Camino print ad

1982:
-Restyled grille with 'crosshatch' design. Headlights changed to quad style. "Silver Gray" interior color available for first time.
1982 El Camino print ad

1983:
-Diesel engine from Oldsmobile first offered in El Caminos.
1983 El Camino print ad

1984:
-Last year for Diesel engine from Oldsmobile in El Caminos.
1984 El Camino print ad

1985:
-New full wheelcover design for base models. New 4.3 Fuel Injection engine and nameplate on tailgate. New halogen high and low beam headlamps. 305 cubic inch engines now receive Electronic Spark Control (ESC). 4-speed automatic transmission available.
1985 El Camino print ad

1986:
-Steering wheel change to 'flat' spoke design with outboard horn buttons.
1986 El Camino print ad

1987:
-1986 and 1987 vehicles were virtually the same design, even according to documentation GM sent to dealers.
1987 El Camino print ad

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Year style differences


Style differences in bench seat designs. Note that of course colors and materials always varied:
El Camino bench seat options 1978 to 1981

El Camino bench seat options 1981 to 1987

Style differences in steering wheel designs. Note that color always varied, and 78-85 wheels had a trim ring around the wheel perimeter as well as a different horn button:
El Camino steering wheel options 1978 to 1981

El Camino steering wheel options 1978 to 1981



Style differences in shifter designs:
El Camino steering column shift
El Camino center console shift
El Camino floor manual shift



Style differences in gauge clusters:
-1978, 1979, 1980, 1981 had base linear speedometers, fuel guage, and dummy lights. The UF7 option gave round guages with a clock. The Z53 option gave all guages with tachometer, but no clock. The U14 option gave round gauges with a tachometer and nested clock. Note that from 1980 onward the '55' in MPH was red-highlighted.
1978-1981 El Camino gauge cluster


-1982, 1983, 1984, 1985 clusters had a base cluster with round guages, however only speedometer and fuel; the rest were dummy lights. The upgraded options were the same as previous years.
1982-1985 El Camino gauge cluster


-1986, 1987 clusters had a newer font. The base cluster had speedometer and fuel guage. U39 added temperature, voltage, and oil pressure guages, U35 placed a clock on the right (with the clock font unchanged), U16 placed a tachometer there. In '86 and '87 both clock and tachometer could NOT be ordered simultaneously.
1986-1987 El Camino gauge cluster

El Camino front end style differences

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Engine by year and rating


1978:
-200 cubic inch 2bbl Chevrolet V6 rated at 95 hp @ 3800 RPM and 160 lb-ft @ 2000 RPM (base engine)
-231 cubic inch 2bbl Buick V6 rated at 105 hp @ 3400 RPM and 185 lb-ft @ 2000 RPM(California base engine)
-305 cubic inch 2bbl V8 rated at 145 hp @ 3800 RPM and 245 lb-ft @ 2400 RPM
-305 cubic inch 2bbl V8 rated at 135 hp @ 3800 RPM and 240 lb-ft @ 2000 RPM (California only)
-350 cubic inch 4bbl V8 rated at 170 hp @ 3800 RPM and 270 lb-ft @ 2400 RPM (El camino, station wagons, and 9C1 package only)
-350 cubic inch 4bbl V8 rated at 160 hp @ 3800 RPM and 260 lb-ft @ 2400 RPM (California only, El camino, station wagons, and 9C1 package only)

1979:
-200 cubic inch 2bbl Chevrolet V6 rated at 94 hp @ 4000 RPM and 154 lb-ft @ 2000 RPM (base engine)
-231 cubic inch 2bbl Buick V6 rated at 115 hp @ 3800 RPM and 190 lb-ft @ 2000 RPM (California base engine)
-267 cubic inch 2bbl V8 rated at 125 hp @ 3800 RPM and 215 lb-ft @ 2400 RPM
-305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 rated at 160 hp @ 4000 RPM and 235 lb-ft @ 2400 RPM
-305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 rated at 155 hp @ 4000 RPM and 225 lb-ft @ 2400 RPM (California only)
-350 cubic inch 4bbl V8 rated at 165 hp @ 3800 RPM and 260 lb-ft @ 2400 RPM (El camino, station wagons, and 9C1 package only)

1980:
-229 cubic inch 2bbl Chevrolet V6 rated at 115 hp @ 4000 RPM and 175 lb-ft @ 2000 RPM (base engine)
-231 cubic inch 2bbl Buick V6 rated at 110 hp @ 3800 RPM and 190 lb-ft @ 1600 RPM (California base engine)
-267 cubic inch 2bbl V8 rated at 120 hp @ 3600 RPM and 215 lb-ft @ 2000 RPM
-305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 rated at 155 hp @ 4000 RPM and 240 lb-ft @ 1600 RPM
-305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 rated at 155 hp @ 4000 RPM and 230 lb-ft @ 2400 RPM (California only)
-Note: this is the last year for a different 305 for California. After this all 305's were configured for the same output.

1981:
-229 cubic inch 2bbl Chevrolet V6 rated at 110 hp @ 4200 RPM and 170 lb-ft @ 2000 RPM (base engine)
-231 cubic inch 2bbl Buick V6 rated at 110 hp @ 3800 RPM and 190 lb-ft @ 1600 RPM (California base engine)
-267 cubic inch 2bbl V8 rated at 115 hp @ 4000 RPM and 200 lb-ft @ 2400 RPM
-305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 rated at 145 hp @ 3800 RPM and 240 lb-ft @ 2400 RPM (California AND non-California the same)

1982:
-229 cubic inch 2bbl Chevrolet V6 rated at 110 hp @ 4200 RPM and 170 lb-ft @ 2000 RPM (base engine)
-231 cubic inch 2bbl Buick V6 rated at 110 hp @ 3800 RPM and 190 lb-ft @ 1600 RPM (California base engine)
-267 cubic inch 2bbl V8 rated at 115 hp @ 4000 RPM and 205 lb-ft @ 2400 RPM
-305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 rated at 150 hp @ 3800 RPM and 240 lb-ft @ 2400 RPM (California AND non-California the same)

1983:
-229 cubic inch 2bbl Chevrolet V6 rated at 110 hp @ 4200 RPM and 190 lb-ft @ 1600 RPM (base engine)
-231 cubic inch 2bbl Buick V6 rated at 110 hp @ 3800 RPM and 190 lb-ft @ 1600 RPM (California base engine)
-305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 rated at 145 hp @ 4000 RPM and 240 lb-ft @ 1600 RPM (California AND non-California the same)
-350 cubic inch fuel injection Diesel V8 rated at 105 hp @3200 RPM and 200 lb-ft @ 1600 RPM (California AND non-California the same)
-Note: the 5.7-liter Diesel V8 was made by Oldsmobile, which was also offered in Chevrolet's full-size cars. The Diesel was an attempt at better fuel mileage with higher torque than a small engine, but developed a bad reliability record because GM released it too quickly with insufficient testing and too much cost-cutting. Unfortunately by the time latent issues were worked out, it had developed a bad reputation and it was too late.

1984:
-229 cubic inch 2bbl Chevrolet V6 rated at 110 hp @ 4000 RPM and 190 lb-ft @ 1600 RPM (base engine)
-231 cubic inch 2bbl Buick V6 rated at 110 hp @ 3800 RPM and 190 lb-ft @ 1600 RPM (California base engine)
-305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 rated at 150 hp @ 4000 RPM and 240 lb-ft @ 2400 RPM (California AND non-California the same)
-350 cubic inch fuel injection Diesel V8 rated at 105 hp @3200 RPM and 200 lb-ft @ 1600 RPM (no longer offered in California)

1985 and 1986:
-262 cubic inch fuel injection (TBI) V6 rated at 130 hp @ 3600 RPM and 210 lb-ft @ 2000 RPM (California AND non-California the same)
-305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 rated at 150 hp @ 4000 RPM and 240 lb-ft @ 2000 RPM (California AND non-California the same)

1987:
-262 cubic inch fuel injection (TBI) V6 rated at 145 hp @ 4200 RPM and 225 lb-ft @ 2000 RPM (California AND non-California the same)
-305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 rated at 150 hp @ 4000 RPM and 240 lb-ft @ 2000 RPM (California AND non-California the same)

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Engine ID by RPO


-RPO -- Size and notes -- years observed
-L26 -- 3.3L (200 cubic inch) 2bbl V6 -- 1978, 1979
-L39 -- 4.4L (267 cubic inch) 2bbl V8 -- 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982
-LB4 -- 4.3L (262 cubic inch) TBI (Throttle Body Injection) V6 -- 1985, 1986, 1987
-LC3 -- 3.8L (229 cubic inch) 2bbl V6 -- 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984
-LC6 -- 3.8L (231 cubic inch) 2bbl V6 Buick -- 1979 (Note: engine rarely mentioned in docs, seems to be interim use for LD5)
-LD5 -- 3.8L (231 cubic inch) 2bbl V6 Buick -- 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984
-LF9 -- 5.7L (350 cubic inch) fuel injection V8 Diesel -- 1983, 1984 more information
-LG3 -- 5.0L (305 cubic inch) 2bbl V8 -- 1978
-LG4 -- 5.0L (305 cubic inch) 4bbl V8 -- 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-LM1 -- 5.7L (350 cubic inch) 4bbl V8 -- 1978, 1979

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Diesel engines


For two years, 1983 and 1984, the 350 cubic inch Oldsmobile Diesel was offered in the El Camino. According to Bernie Vascotto at GMHC (General Motors Heritage Center) using historical records in the archives, out of 22,429 El Caminos built in 1983, 571 were built with the LF9 Diesel option. In 1985 out of 22,244 El Caminos built, 98 were built with the LF9 Diesel.
El Camino Diesel engine

For those questioning whether the Diesel option could be ordered on the SS trim level, several owners have come forward with probable evidence that the Diesel could indeed be ordered on the SS package.

Oldsmobile was given the passenger car Diesel development project, possibly because GM often let Olds introduce new technologies such as the Hydramatic transmission and front-wheel drive.
El Camino Diesel engine

The Diesel had to be ordered with some very specific mechanical options, such as dual batteries and particular suspension. Since the SS was merely a trim option by those years, it is perfectly logical that the SS could be had easily with a Diesel.

Because of the very few of these built, and only being offered for two years, this is one of the rarer El Camino models available.

Much has been written about the history of these engines, but by the time these were put in El Caminos the engine was in its last years. These engines have a much better reputation than their earlier brethren with many, if not all, of the issues being resolved by that time.
El Camino Diesel engine

The LF9 Diesel engine was the only passenger-car V-8 diesel in the world at that time; engineered by Oldsmobile. Today it is remembered as a converted gas engine, but that is not the case. While manufacturing efficiencies dicated it share some things like head-bolt locations and other machining points with gas engines, the block was a unique high-nickel-content iron casting. It had larger bulkhead and main-bearing sections also.

The compression ratio was 22.5:1. The crankshaft was nodular iron, and although the connecting rods started as 403 gas-engine pieces, they had beefier ends and rods, and were a different length. Pistons were made from special high-strength cast aluminum by Bohn. The engine used glow plugs on a timer system, and a 10hp starter motor. 1981 added a roller cam and lifters, so all El Caminos would have had these.

The engine used mechanical fuel injection by the Roosamaster division of Stanadyne Corporation. The engines redline was 4,000 RPM. These engines were not NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) suitable for passenger vehicles even though GM added an extra layer of sound deadening on the firewall in many of these vehicles. They are not quiet like modern passenger car Diesels, and sound like a large truck engine.

Although very low horsepower, they had respectable torque numbers. Acceleration was not great, and the engine is always panned for this. They did get great fuel mileage though, reported to be on average in mid to high 20 MPG in some cases. The Diesel was pretty much dropped into the GM model line-up with very few transmission or gearing adjustments. Without these changes, the resulting performance could never match a gas engine.

One problem that developed were broken or stretched head bolts resulting in blown head gaskets. They had 10 TTY (torque-to-yield) head bolts on each side, shared with the gas engines. Being TTY, they could not be reused and it is reported that some mechanics did not know this, causing issues later. It is also generally accepted that these 10 bolts were not enough for the high compression ratio, resulting in a lack of longevity and premature failure.

Another issue was the chain on the mechanical fuel-injector pump stretching with normal use causing late fuel delivery. Since Diesel engines rely considerably on fuel delivery timing, this was a big issue and not necessarily easily diagnosed.

Additionally there was the problem of car owners not being familiar with Diesel engine requirements, and using the wrong engine oil. This resulted in bearing failures and other lubrication-related problems.

A larger issue was that a water separator was not included on the early fuel systems, causing corrosion issues inside the fuel system. To counteract this some owners added drygas (anhydrous alcohol) to the fuel, but the alcohol reacted with the governor rings inside the injection pump causing the rings to flake off in chunks and block the fuel lines.

Reportedly dealership mechanics were inadequately educated on these engines, compounding and amplifying all these issues.

The 1981-up engines with DX blocks were improved in many areas, including water filtration and a roller cam as well as other small details. All of the Diesel engines used in EL Caminos would have had the improved engines.

The Oldsmobile Diesel was discontinued in 1985 with more than a million units sold overall, but it was already discontinued in the El Camino line after 1984.

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Rear axle ID by RPO


-RPO -- ratio -- years observed
-GH2 -- 2.29
-GM8 -- 2.56 -- 1979, 1982
-GU1 -- 2.41 -- 1979
-GU2 -- 2.73
-GU4 -- 3.08

-RPO -- description
-G80 -- Positraction limited slip differential
-G84 -- High altitude ratio, only available with NA6 emissions and LC3 engine, 1982, 1983
-G92 -- Performance ratio option

Notes: The G92 and G84 options were only available in certain powertrain combinations, and only specified a numerically higher axle ratio that was already a stand-alone option. Most likely used for easier standard package specification by GM.

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Transmission ID by RPO


Note: specific 3-speed automatic transmission type for RPO MX1 assignment seems to have depended on axle ratio selected. In early years GM seems to have switched and swapped transmissions as necessary to obtain the total torque multiplication desired, rather than re-gear transmissions for individual applications.
Note: not all the RPO codes listed here may necessarily apply to the El Camino, but all apply to 'A' and 'G' bodies 1978-1987.

-RPO -- description
-D1A -- Speedometer Gear
-D1D -- Speedometer Gear
-E5Z -- No Speedometer Adapter
-E6E -- Speedometer Sleeve
-E9Z -- Less Speedometer Key
-M15 -- 3-speed manual, (1) 3.50, (2) 1.89, (3) 1, (R) 3.62
-M20 -- 4-speed manual, (1) 2.85, (2) 2.02, (3) 1.35, (4) 1, (R) 2.85 [most likely Saginaw]
-M20 -- 4-speed manual, (1) 3.11, (2) 2.20, (3) 1.47, (4) 1, (R) 3.11 (used with 3.08 axle and 4.4L engine)[most likely Saginaw]
-M24 -- 4-speed manual [most likely Borg-Warner]
-M29 -- THM200, 3-speed automatic, (1) 2.74, (2) 1.57, (3) 1, (R) 2.07
-M31 -- THM250C, 3-speed automatic, (1) 2.52, (2) 1.52, (3) 1, (R) 1.93
-M33 -- THM350, 3-speed automatic, (1) 2.52, (2) 1.52, (3) 1, (R) 1.93
-M38 -- THM350, 3-speed automatic, (1) 2.52, (2) 1.52, (3) 1, (R) 1.93
-M64 -- 3-speed manual, (1) 3.50, (2) 1.89, (3) 1, (R) 3.62 [most likely Saginaw]
-M67 -- 4-speed manual, (1) 2.85, (2) 2.02, (3) 1.35, (4) 1, (R) 2.85 [most likely Saginaw]
-MD8 -- THM700R4, 4-speed automatic with overdrive, (1) 3.06, (2) 1.63, (3) 1, (4) 0.70 (R) 2.90
-MM3 -- specifies 3-speed manual option, non-specific type
-MM4 -- specifies 4-speed manual option, non-specific type
-MV4 -- THM350C, 3-speed automatic, (1) 2.52, (2) 1.52, (3) 1, (R) 1.93
-MV9 -- THM200C, 3-speed automatic, (1) 2.74, (2) 1.57, (3) 1, (R) 2.07
-MW9 -- THM2004R, 4-speed automatic with overdrive, (1) 2.78, (2) 1.57, (3) 1, (4) 0.67, (R) ?.??
-MX1 -- specifies 3-speed automatic option, non-specific type
-MX0 -- specifies 4-speed automatic option, non-specific type
-MX2 -- THM350C, 3-speed automatic

Note: the 'C' behind GM transmission names designates 'computer communication' not necessarily a lock-up torque converter. Lock-up converters started as a option in 1981 (called by GM 'torque converter clutch').

El Camino manual transmission pedals

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Transmission type by year


Note: for an RPO cross-reference, see here

-RPO -- Engine uses -- Gear ratios

1978:
-M15 -- 200
-M20 -- 305
-M29 -- 200, 231, 305
-M33 -- 231
-M38 -- 200, 305, 350

1979:
-M15 -- 200
-M20 -- 267, 305
-M29 -- 200, 231, 305
-M38 -- 267, 350

1980:
-M15 -- 229
-M20 -- 305
-M31 -- 305
-M33 -- 231, 305
-M38 -- 267, 305
-MV4 -- 305
-MV9 -- 229

1981:
-M24 -- 305
-M31 -- 229, 231, 267, 305
-M33 -- 267, 305
-M38 -- 229
-M64 -- 229
-M67 -- 305
-MV4 -- 267, 305
-MV9 -- 229, 231, 267, 305
-MW9 -- 305
-MX2 -- 231

1982:
-M31 -- 229, 267, 305
-MD8 -- 305
-MV4 -- 229, 267, 305
-MW9 -- 267, 305
-Note: No 231 V6 option listed, but was available in dealer paperwork. 1982 Buick 231 California emissions got MX2 or M31.
-Note: Overdrive transmissions listed here, although not shown as available in dealer paperwork.

1983:
-M31 -- 229, 231, 305
-MD8 -- 305
-MW9 -- 229, 305, 350 Diesel
-MX2 -- 231, 305, 350 Diesel
-Note: Overdrive transmissions listed here, although not shown as available in dealer paperwork.

1984:
-M31 -- 229, 305
-MD8 -- 305
-MV4 -- 305
-MV9 -- 231, 350 Diesel
-MW9 -- 229, 231, 305, 350 Diesel
-Note: Overdrive transmissions listed here, although not shown as available in dealer paperwork.

1985:
-MD8 -- 262, 305
-MV9 -- 231, 305, 262
-MW9 -- 262, 305

1986:
-MD8 -- 262, 305
-MV9 -- 231, 262, 305
-MW9 -- 262, 305

1987:
-MD8 -- 305
-MV9 -- 231
-MW9 -- 305
-Note: No 262 V6 option listed, but was available in dealer paperwork.

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Wheel and tire options ID by RPO


-RPO -- description -- years observed
-1AW -- Tire Pressure Label -- 1978, 1979
-55P -- Wheel trim: Wheel Covers, Sport (Gold) -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982
-N95 -- Wheel trim: Wheel Covers, Wire -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985
-N91 -- Wheel trim: Wheel Covers, Wire, With locks -- 1986, 1987
-N18 -- Wheel cover locking package, only with N95 wire wheels -- 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985
-P01 -- Wheel covers --
-PB2 -- Wheel trim: Wheel Covers, Sport (Silver, styled plastic) -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983
-QFK -- Tires: P205/75 R-14-B White Stripe (Radial) -- 1979
-QFT -- Tires: P205/75 R-14-B Blackwall (Radial) -- 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-QFV -- Tires: P205/75 R-14-B White Lettered (Radial) -- 1979
-QJR -- Tires: P205/75 R-14-B Whitewall (Radial) -- 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-QJY -- Tires: P205/75 R-14-B White Stripe (Radial) -- 1979, 1980
-QJZ -- Tires: P205/75 R-14-B Blackwall (Radial) -- 1979, 1980
-QKH -- Tires: P205/75 R-14-B Blackwall (Radial) -- 1978
-QKJ -- Tires: P205/75 R-14-B Whitewall (Radial) -- 1978
-QKK -- Tires: P205/75 R-14-B White Lettered (Radial) -- 1978
-QKL -- Tires: P205/75 R-14-B White Lettered (Radial) -- 1979, 1980
-QSA -- Tires: P205/75 R-14-B White Lettered (Radial) -- 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-QVT -- Tires: P205/75 R-14-B White Stripe (Radial) -- 1982, 1983
-QXX -- Tires: P205/75 R-14-B Blackwall (Radial) -- 1981, 1982, 1983
-QXY -- Tires: P205/75 R-14-B White Stripe (Radial) -- 1981
-QXZ -- Tires: P205/75 R-14-B White Lettered (Radial) -- 1981, 1982, 1983
-QYB -- Tires: P205/75 R-14-B Whitewall (Radial) -- 1981
-QYC -- Tires: P205/75 R-14-B White Lettered (Radial) -- 1981
-ZJ7 -- Wheels, Rally, 1978 and 1979 could be color-keyed (styled steel wheels, special hub caps and trim rings) -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987

Notes: Blackwall tires were the base option for El Caminos. Rally wheels were the 'rectangular' hole style in 1978 and 1979. 'Triangle' hole style rally wheels were used thereafter. Note that for all years, the El Camino received wider tires than the similar-bodied coupes, sedans, or wagons. Also the base El Camino tire is steel-belted whereas the base sedan, coupe, and wagon recieved glass-belted.

El Camino 1978 rally wheels

El Camino 1987 rally wheels

El Camino hup caps

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Radio ID by RPO


-RPO -- description -- years observed
-U58 -- AM/FM Stereo Radio -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985
-U63 -- AM Radio -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-U69 -- AM/FM Radio -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985
-U73 -- Fixed mast antenna -- 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-U75 -- Power antenna -- 1978, 1979, (1980 assumed), 1981, 1982
-U76 -- Windshield antenna -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981
-UK4 -- Electronically tuned AM/FM Stereo Radio with seek and scan -- 1986
-UL6 -- AM Radio with digital clock -- 1986, 1987
-UM1 -- AM Stereo Radio with stereo 8-track -- 1978, 1979, 1980
-UM2 -- AM/FM Stereo Radio with stereo 8-track -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982
-UM7 -- Electronically tuned AM/FM Stereo Radio with seek and scan and digital clock -- 1986, 1987
-UM6 -- Electronically tuned AM/FM Stereo Radio with seek and scan, stereo cassette tape and digital clock -- 1986, 1987
-UN3 -- AM/FM Stereo Radio with stereo cassette -- 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985
-UN9 -- Radio Supression -- 1978, 1980
-UP5 -- AM/FM/CB Radio with power antenna, only with UX6 -- 1979, 1980
-UP6 -- AM/FM/CB Radio with power antenna -- 1979, 1980, 1981
-UP7 -- Radio, provisions for monaural snstrumentation --
-UX1 -- Electronically tuned AM/FM Stereo Radio with seek and scan, stereo cassette tape with search and repeat, graphic equalizer and digital clock -- 1986, 1987
-UX6 -- Dual front speakers, incl. with U58, UM1, UM2, UN3, UY8 -- 1978, 1979, 1980
-UY8 -- AM/FM Stereo Radio with digital clock display -- 1979, 1980

Notes: Windshield antenna was not available from 1982 onward, fixed mast antennas were used instead. Power antennas were not available after 1982.

Question: did dual front speakers become standard from 1981 onward? Please let us know if you have any supporting documentation either way.

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Emissions ID by RPO



-Note that for emissions purposes, it seems the El Camino was classified as a 'passenger car' not a 'light truck' as GM usually calls it.
-RPO -- description -- years observed
-K19 -- Air System (air injection reaction system) -- 1982
-N23 -- Tank, Fuel: 22 gallons
-NA2 -- Emissions Systems: Standard Emission Equipment
-NA5 -- Emissions Systems: Standard Emission Equipment
-NA6 -- Emissions Systems: High Altitude Emission Equipment -- 1978(only available for MX1 and LM1 combination), 1983(only available for LC3 and LF9 engines), 1984(only available for LF9 engine)
-NB1 -- Emissions Systems: Closed Loop System (CCC - Computer Command Control) -- 1982
-NB2 -- Emissions Systems: California Requirements
-NM4 -- Emissions Systems: Export, Canada
-NM5 -- Emissions Systems: Export, Canada, non-closed loop
-NM6 -- Emissions Systems: Export, Canada, recalibration
-NM8 -- Emissions Systems: Export, Canada, leaded fuel
-VJ9 -- Emissions Systems: California emissions information label -- 1978
-YA7 -- California emissions test -- 1978
-YF5 -- Emissions Systems: California Requirements -- 1978
-YF6 -- California procopt -- 1978

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Emissions by year and engine



List of engine compartment emissions code labels VECI (Vehicle Emissions Control Information):
--Please let us know if you have an emissions label photo you can share that is not listed below or in the label list!
-For pictures and vacuum routing diagrams by label code, see here.
-Note that these codes will indicate the correct diagram to use for vacuum hose routing in each application.

-RPO code -- Emissions Label code -- Engine size and details -- GM label part #

1978 Emissions:
-NA2 -- CD -- 200 cubic inch 2bbl Chevrolet V6 -- 472881
-YF5 -- XK -- 231 cubic inch 2bbl Buick V6 (California) -- 476358
-NA2 -- CW -- 305 cubic inch 2bbl V8 -- 472882
-YF5 -- DN -- 305 cubic inch 2bbl V8 (California) -- 472885
-NA2 -- DT -- 350 cubic inch 4bbl V8 -- 472888
-NA6 -- LM -- 350 cubic inch 4bbl V8 (high altitude) -- 476338
-YF5 -- DZ -- 350 cubic inch 4bbl V8 (California) -- 472893

1979 Emissions:
-NA5 -- LC -- 200 cubic inch 2bbl Chevrolet V6 auto trans -- 14006774
-NA5 -- C4 -- 200 cubic inch 2bbl Chevrolet V6 manual trans -- 14010222
-YF5 -- BV -- 231 cubic inch 2bbl Buick V6 (California) -- 25505238
-NA5 -- Y7 -- 267 cubic inch 2bbl V8 -- 14017733
-NA5 -- X9 -- 305 cubic inch V8 4bbl -- 14015552
-YF5 -- CF -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 (California) -- 14006783

1980 Emissions:
-NA5 -- AB -- 229 cubic inch 2bbl auto trans -- 14020621
-NA5 -- ZR -- 229 cubic inch 2bbl manual trans -- 14021871
-YF5 -- KP -- 231 cubic inch 2bbl (California) auto trans -- 25506764
-NA5 -- AK -- 267 cubic inch 2bbl -- 14020622
-NA5 -- ZS -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl manual trans -- 14021872
-NA5 -- AM -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl auto trans -- 14020623
-YF5 -- 26 -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 (California) -- 14023197

1981 Emissions:
-NA5 -- AWS -- 229 cubic inch 2bbl Chevrolet V6 auto trans -- 14037722 or 14047073 or 14047077
-NA5 -- AWT -- 229 cubic inch 2bbl Chevrolet V6 manual trans -- 14037723 or 14047074
-YF5 -- BAB -- 231 cubic inch 2bbl Buick V6 (California) -- 25508923
-NM5 -- JTA -- 231 cubic inch 2bbl Buick V6 (Canada) -- 25508929
-NA5 -- ALJ -- 267 cubic inch 2bbl V8 -- 14031182
-NA5 -- ALM -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 auto trans -- 14031184
-NA5 -- ALR -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 manual trans -- 14031186
-YF5 -- ALU -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 (California) -- 14031189

1982 Emissions:
-NA5 -- CJZ -- 229 cubic inch 2bbl Chevrolet V6 -- 14049982
-NA5 -- LAW -- 229 cubic inch 2bbl Chevrolet V6 -- 14063728
-NA5 -- LAX -- 229 cubic inch 2bbl Chevrolet V6 -- 14063729
-YF5 -- GAH -- 231 cubic inch 2bbl Buick V6 (California) -- 25512989
-NM4 -- NAA -- 231 cubic inch 2bbl Buick V6 (Canada) -- 25511249
-NM5 -- NAB -- 231 cubic inch 2bbl Buick V6 (Canada) -- 25513365
-NA5 -- CVH -- 267 cubic inch 2bbl V8 -- 14055193
-NA5 -- CLA -- 267 cubic inch 2bbl V8 -- 14048893
-NA5 -- LBN -- 267 cubic inch 2bbl V8 -- 14065520
-NM5 -- CCH -- 267 cubic inch 2bbl V8 -- 14044689
-NM5 -- LBF -- 267 cubic inch 2bbl V8 -- 14063743
-NA5 -- LBR -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 -- 14065521
-NA5 -- LBS -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 -- 14065522
-YF5 -- LAN -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 (California) -- 14063721
-NM6 -- CCN -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 (Canada) -- 14044693
-NA5 -- OYD -- 350 cubic inch fuel injection Diesel V8 -- 22517335
-Note: 350 Diesel emissions label exists for all G bodies, not necessarily on El Caminos
-Note: GM part number 14048894 used on federal emissions 305 on 250 Dual Bed Beaded Converter

1983 Emissions:
-NA5 -- ??? -- 229 cubic inch 2bbl Chevrolet V6 --
-YF5 -- BBB -- 231 cubic inch 2bbl Buick V6 (California) -- 25514319
-NM4 -- JBA -- 231 cubic inch 2bbl Buick V6 (Canada) -- 25514320
-NA5 -- DYT -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 -- 14071149
-NA5 -- DTN -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 -- 14065565
-YF5 -- DTR -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 (California) -- 14065566
-YF5 -- DYU -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 (California) -- 14071150
-NM5 -- DCB -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 (Canada) -- 14065507
-NM5 or NM8 -- DCD -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 (Canada) -- 14065509
-NA5 or YF5 or NA6 -- SAY -- 350 cubic inch fuel injection Diesel V8 -- 22518536
-YF5 -- DXC -- With VJ9 (California) El Camino specific, probably Diesel -- 14063736

1984 Emissions:
-NA5 -- -- 229 cubic inch 2bbl Chevrolet V6
-NB2 -- NDM -- 231 cubic inch 2bbl Buick V6 (California) -- 25518312
-NM4 or NM8 -- NXL -- 231 cubic inch 2bbl Buick V6 (California) -- 25518314
-NA5 -- XJT -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 -- 1407530
-NA5 -- XSF -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 -- 1407579
-YF5 -- XSK -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 (California)
-YF5 -- XJU -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 (California)
-NA5 -- ??? -- 350 cubic inch fuel injection Diesel V8
-NA6 -- ??? -- 350 cubic inch fuel injection Diesel V8 (high altitude)
-YF5 -- DXC -- With VJ9 (California) El Camino specific, probably Diesel -- 14063736

1985 Emissions:
-NA5 -- UBC -- 262 cubic inch fuel injection (TBI) V6 -- 14086523
-NB2 -- ??? -- 262 cubic inch fuel injection (TBI) V6 (California)
-NB2 -- UBH -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 (California) -- 14086526
-NA5 -- UNP -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 -- 14086594

1986 Emissions:
-NA5 -- YKH -- 262 cubic inch fuel injection (TBI) V6 -- 14100955
-NB2 -- YKJ -- 262 cubic inch fuel injection (TBI) V6 (California) -- 14100956
-NA5 -- YCL -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 -- 14100932
-NM8 -- YCT -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 (Canada) -- 14100938
-NB2 -- YCP -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 (California) -- 14100935
-NB2 -- YCY -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 (California) -- 14100942
-NM5 -- ??? -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 (Canada) -- 14086573

1987 Emissions:
-NA5 -- ZCP -- 262 cubic inch fuel injection (TBI) V6 -- 10051426
-NB2 -- ZCS -- 262 cubic inch fuel injection (TBI) V6 (California) -- 10051428
-NA5 -- ZDB -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 -- 10051436
-NA5 -- ZCT -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 -- 10051429
-NB2 -- ZCW -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 (California) -- 10051431
-NB2 -- ZDD -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 (California) -- 10051438
-NM5 -- ZCY -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 (Canada) -- 10051433
-NM5 or NM8 -- ZDA -- 305 cubic inch 4bbl V8 (Canada) -- 10051435

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Interior ID by RPO


-RPO -- description -- years observed
-199 -- Seat Belt, Black
-249 -- Seat Belt, Light Blue -- 1978
-24I -- Interior, Light Blue -- 1978
-24V -- Vinyl, Light Blue -- 1978
-24X -- Big 4, Light Blue
-27B -- CDD2 Blue Cloth Bucket -- 1985
-621 -- Interior, Camel
-629 -- Seat Belt, Camel
-62V -- Vinyl, Camel
-A01 -- Glass, Soft-Ray Tinted: all windows -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-A31 -- Windows, Power -- 1978, (1979 assumed), 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-A42 -- Seat, Power: Six-way -- 1978
-A51 -- Bucket Seats
-A52 -- Bench Seat -- 1980
-A65 -- Split Front Seat -- 1982
-AG9 -- Seat, Power: Six-way only with 50/50 seat -- 1979, 1980, 1981
-AK1 -- Belts, Deluxe: color-keyed seat and shoulder -- 1978, 1979
-AU3 -- Door Lock System, Power -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-BS1 -- Body Insulation 'Acoustic' Package -- 1980
-B32 -- Floor Covering: Mats, Color-keyed Floor (front only) -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-D24 -- Container, Litter (passenger kick panel) -- 1978, 1979
-D34 -- Mirror: Visor Vanity -- 1978, 1979
-D55 -- Console (center console) -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-D64 -- Mirror: Visor Vanity, Illuminated -- 1978, 1979
-N33 -- Steering Wheel: Comfortilt (tilt wheel) -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-TR9 -- Lighting, Auxilliary (incl. headlamp buzzer T63, courtey and underhood lights) -- 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-UF7 -- Gage Package (incl. voltmeter, temperature, oil pressure guages and U35 clock) -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985
-U14 -- Instrumentation: Special (upgraded guage cluster, incl. Z53 guages, incl. U35 clock) -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985
-U16 -- Tachometer -- 1986, 1987
-U35 -- Clock: Electric (in guage cluster) -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985
-U39 -- Gage Package with trip odometer (incl. voltmeter, temperature and oil pressure guages) -- 1986, 1987
-Z53 -- Tachometer, Voltmeter, Temperature, and Oil Pressure guages (incl. in U14)
-ZJ9 -- Lighting, Auxilliary -- 1978

These options usually included with other packages and not necessary noted on build sheets individually:
-C94 -- Dome/Courtesy Lamp - Electronic Delay Switch -- 1980
-T63 -- Headlight warning buzzer
-U26 -- Underhood lamp
-U27 -- Glove compartment light
-U28 -- Ash tray light
-U29 -- Instrument Panel Courtesy Lamp

Notes: The standard guage cluster for early years with linear speedometer is not listed as an RPO. The UF7 option would give round guages with clock, and U14 would give round guages with clock and tachometer. There is some confusion on which guage packages of which years included a trip odometer.
For 1981+, UF7 included standard trip odometer.

El Camino litter container option D24

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General ID by RPO


-RPO -- description -- years observed
-B3W -- Preliminary price information -- 1981, 1985
-FRM -- Fremont Plant -- 1978
-V94 -- Export Tax
-W84 -- Add Fuel, Gas -- 1979, 1980
-YH6 -- Bonus value option package -- 1985
-Z49 -- Canada Package -- 1980

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Convenience and power ID by RPO


-RPO -- description -- years observed
-C60 -- Air Conditioning -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-CD4 -- Windshield Wiper Equipment: Intermittent System -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-J50 -- Vacuum Power Brakes -- 1979
-JM5 -- Power HD Brakes, Tandem Booster -- 1979, 1980, 1982
-K05 -- Block Heater, 600w, 120v -- 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-K30 -- Speed Control: Cruise-Master -- 1978, 1979, 1980
-K34 -- Speed Control, Electronic: with resume speed -- 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-K35 -- Speed Control With Resume Speed: Automatic -- 1981, 1982, 1983
-K76 -- Generator: 61 Amp Delcotron -- 1978
-K77 -- Alternator: 55 Amp -- 1980
-K81 -- Generator: 63 Amp Delcotron -- 1979, 1980, 1981
-N41 -- Steering: Power -- 1978, 1979, 1980
-NY8 -- Steering: Power #800 -- 1979
-TT4 -- Headlamps, Halogen -- 1981, 1985, 1986, 1987
-TT5 -- Headlamps, Halogen -- 1982, 1983, 1984
-U05 -- Horns, Dual -- 1980, 1981
-UA1 -- Battery: Heavy Duty -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-V01 -- Radiator, Heavy Duty -- 1978, 1979
-V08 -- Cooling, Heavy Duty -- 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-V10 -- Cold Climate Package (only on Diesel, incl. UA1 and K05) -- 1983

Notea: For 1981 and later, power steering became standard (N41). Cruise contol did not get 'resume' until 1981.

El Camino delay wipers option CD4

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Exterior ID by RPO


-RPO -- description -- years observed
-AV3 -- Tie-Downs, Cargo Box (inside the box) -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-BW2 -- Moldings: Body Side, Deluxe -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-BX8 -- Moldings: Front Fender, Body Side and Tailgate -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-B81 -- Moldings: No Body Side Moldings
-B93 -- Moldings: Door Edge Guard -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-B96 -- Moldings: Wheel Openings -- 1982
-D33 -- Mirror: Outside Rearview, LH Remote -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983
-D35 -- Mirrors: Sport, LH Remote and RH Manual -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-D60 -- Non Recommended Color Combination
-D68 -- Mirrors: Sport, Twin Remote -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1987
-D73 -- Rails, Cargo Box Side -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-D84 -- Paint, custom two-tone -- 1981, 1982
-D85 -- Body pin striping -- 1982
-VE5 -- Bumper Equipment: Bumper Rub Strips -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-V30 -- Bumper Equipment: Bumper and guards, front and rear -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-Y07 -- Side window molding
-VK3 -- Front License Plate Holder -- 1978
-YT9 -- FI/Body Parts -- 1978
-ZK9 -- Roof Cover, Conquista Vinyl -- 1978, 1979, 1980
-ZP2 -- Exterior/Interior override -- 1978
-11K -- Cover, Cargo Box Tonneau: White -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982
-19K -- Cover, Cargo Box Tonneau: Black -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982
-19Q -- Moldings: Black -- 1978, 1982
-22Q -- Moldings: Light Blue -- 1978
-44Q -- Moldings: Light Green -- 1978
-61Q -- Moldings: Light Camel -- 1978
-79Q -- Moldings: Dark Carmine -- 1978
-94A -- Stripe Gold

Accent colors: [Note that not all year availability may be correct for all colors]
-Note: The color code numbers below are generally similar for the L codes (Secondary Colors), and U (Primary Colors)
-11M -- Accent Color: White -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983
-12M -- Accent Color: Silver Metallic -- 1985, 1986, 1987
-15M -- Accent Color: Silver Metallic -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985(called Medium Gray Metallic), 1986(called Medium Gray Metallic), 1987(called Medium Gray Metallic)
-16M -- Accent Color: Gray Metallic -- 1978, 1981(called Siler Metallic), 1982(called Siler Metallic)
-17M -- Accent Color: Bright Silver Metallic -- 1984
-19M -- Accent Color: Black -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
-21M -- Accent Color: Light Blue Metallic -- 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982
-22M -- Accent Color: Medium Blue Metallic -- 1978(called Light Blue Metallic), 1979(called Light Blue Metallic), 1981, 1983(called Light Blue Metallic), 1984(called Light Blue Metallic)
-25M -- Accent Color: Light Blue Metallic -- 1985, 1986, 1987
-27M -- Accent Color: Dark Blue Metallic -- 1983, 1984
-29M -- Accent Color: Dark Blue Metallic -- 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982
-31M -- Accent Color: Dark Blue Metallic -- 1985, 1986, 1987
-35M -- Accent Color: Cream -- 1981
-36M -- Accent Color: Champagne Metallic -- 1981
-42M -- Accent Color: Light Fern Metallic -- 1983, 1984
-43M -- Accent Color: Light Green Metallic -- 1985, 1986
-44M -- Accent Color: Dark Green Metallic -- 1978(called Light Green Metallic), 1979(called Medium Green Metallic), 1980
-45M -- Accent Color: Light Jade Metallic -- 1978(called Medium Green Metallic), 1981(called Light Jade Green Metallic), 1982
-46M -- Accent Color: Medium Green Metallic -- 1985
-47M -- Accent Color: Jade Green Metallic -- 1981
-48M -- Accent Color: Dark Fern Metallic -- 1983, 1984
-49M -- Accent Color: Dark Jade Metallic -- 1982
-50M -- Accent Color: Yellow -- 1980
-54M -- Accent Color: Yellow Beige -- 1979(called Light Yellow), 1986
-56M -- Accent Color: Gold Metallic -- 1978
-58M -- Accent Color: Light Brown Metallic -- 1985, 1986, 1987
-59M -- Accent Color: Cream Beige -- 1980(called Beige), 1983(called Beige), 1984(called Beige), 1985
-61M -- Accent Color: Beige -- 1978(called Light Camel), 1979
-62M -- Accent Color: Medium Brown Metallic -- 1983(called Light Brown Metallic), 1984(called Light Brown Metallic), 1985, 1986, 1987
-63M -- Accent Color: Beige -- 1978(called Camel Metallic), 1979(called Camel Metallic), 1980(called Light Camel Metallic), 1981, 1982
-67M -- Accent Color: Dark Brown Metallic -- 1978(called Saffron Metallic), 1979(called Saffron Metallic), 1983, 1984
-68M -- Accent Color: Light Brown Metallic -- 1981, 1982
-69M -- Accent Color: Medium Brown Metallic -- 1978(called Dark Camel Metallic), 1979(called Dark Brown Metallic), 1980(called Medium Camel Metallic), 1981
-71M -- Accent Color: Maroon Metallic -- 1987
-72M -- Accent Color: Light Maroon Metallic -- 1981, 1982(called Light Redwood Metallic)
-73M -- Accent Color: Light Maroon Metallic -- 1983, 1984
-75M -- Accent Color: Claret Metallic -- 1980
-76M -- Accent Color: Dark Claret Metallic -- 1980
-77M -- Accent Color: Carmine Metallic -- 1978, 1979, 1980(called Cinnabar), 1981(called Maroon Metallic), 1982(called Redwood Metallic)
-78M -- Accent Color: Dark Maroon Metallic -- 1983(called Maroon Metallic), 1984
-79M -- Accent Color: Dark Carmine Metallic -- 1978, 1979, 1985(called Dark Maroon Metallic), 1986(called Dark Maroon Metallic), 1987(called Dark Maroon Metallic)
-80M -- Accent Color: Silver Gray -- 1982
-84M -- Accent Color: Charcoal Metallic -- 1982
-85M -- Accent Color: Gray -- 1980

Note: After 1980 the vinyl roof options seems to have been no longer offered, although we have not yet encountered a production fifth generation El Camino with a vinyl roof. Vinyl roof color codes: CC=Light Camel Metallic, BB=Black, DD=Light Blue Metallic, RR=Dark Claret Metallic, GG=Dark Green Metallic, QQ=Gray, WW=White.

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Suspension ID by RPO


-RPO -- description -- years observed
-6CX -- Front Spring LH
-7CX -- Front Spring RH
-6FC -- Front Spring LH -- 1978
-7FC -- Front Spring RH -- 1978
-8HK -- Rear Spring LH -- 1978
-9HK -- Rear Spring RH -- 1978
-F40 -- Suspension Equipment: Heavy duty front and rear -- 1978, (1979 assumed), 1980
-F41 -- Suspension Equipment: Sport -- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983(not available on Diesel), 1984(not available on Diesel), 1985, 1986

Chassis:
El camino chassis measurement reference

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Powertrain combinations


1978 (2750 lb capacity all powertrain combinations, positraction rear available in all ratios):
-3-speed manual (200 V6), 2.73 rear axle ratio only, floor shift
-4-speed manual (305 V8), 2.73 rear axle ratio only, floor shift
-3-speed automatic (200 V6), 2.73 rear axle ratio only
-3-speed automatic (305 V8, 305 V8 California, 350 V8, 350 V8 California), 2.41 axle std., 2.73 optional
-3-speed automatic (231 V6 California), 2.73 rear axle ratio only

1979 (2750 lb capacity all powertrain combinations, positraction rear available in all ratios):
-3-speed manual (200 V6), 2.73 rear axle ratio only, floor shift
-4-speed manual (267 V8, 305 V8), 3.08 rear axle ratio only, floor shift
-3-speed automatic (200 V6), 2.73 rear axle ratio only
-3-speed automatic (267 V8), 2.56 rear axle ratio only
-3-speed automatic (305 V8, 305 V8 California, 350 V8), 2.41 axle std., 2.73 optional
-3-speed automatic (231 V6 California), 2.73 rear axle ratio only

1980 (2750 lb capacity all powertrain combinations, positraction rear available in all ratios only on non-California):
-3-speed manual (229 V6), 2.73 rear axle ratio only, floor shift
-4-speed manual (305 V8), 3.08 rear axle ratio only, floor shift
-3-speed automatic 200c (229 V6), 2.73 rear axle ratio only
-3-speed automatic th350 (267 V8), 2.56 rear axle ratio only
-3-speed automatic th250 OR 200c (305 V8), 2.41 axle std. [trans type dependent on production line choice]
-3-speed automatic th350 (305 V8), 2.73 optional axle
-3-speed automatic th350 (305 V8 California), 2.41 axle std., 2.73 optional
-3-speed automatic th350 (231 V6 California), 2.73 rear axle ratio only

1981 (2750 lb capacity all powertrain combinations, positraction rear available in all ratios EXCEPT where noted):
-3-speed manual (229 V6), 2.73 rear axle ratio only, floor shift
-4-speed manual (305 V8), 3.08 rear axle ratio only, floor shift, positraction NOT available
-3-speed automatic (229 V6), 2.73 rear axle ratio only
-3-speed automatic (267 V8), 2.56 rear axle ratio only
-3-speed automatic (305 V8, 305 V8 California), 2.41 axle std., 2.73 optional
-3-speed automatic (231 V6 California), 2.73 rear axle ratio only

1982: (2750 lb capacity all powertrain combinations, positraction rear available in all ratios):
-3-speed automatic (229 V6), 2.73 rear axle ratio only
-3-speed automatic (267 V8), 2.56 rear axle ratio only
-3-speed automatic (305 V8), 2.41 axle std., 2.73 optional
-3-speed automatic (231 V6 California), 2.73 rear axle ratio only

1983: (positraction rear available in all ratios):
-3-speed automatic (229 V6 NA5 emissions), 2.41 rear axle ratio only
-3-speed automatic (229 V6 NA6 emissions), 2.73 rear axle ratio only
-3-speed automatic (305 V8), 2.41 axle std., 3.08 optional
-3-speed automatic (350 V8 Diesel), 2.29 axle std,. 2.73 optional
-3-speed automatic (231 V6 California), 2.73 rear axle ratio only

1984: (positraction rear available in all ratios):
-3-speed automatic (229 V6), 2.41 axle std., 2.73 optional
-3-speed automatic (305 V8), 2.41 axle std., 3.08 optional
-3-speed automatic (350 V8 Diesel), 2.29 axle std,. 2.73 optional
-3-speed automatic (231 V6 California), 2.73 rear axle ratio only

1985: (positraction rear available in all ratios):
-3-speed automatic OR 4-speed automatic (262 V6), 2.41 axle std., 2.73 optional
-3-speed automatic OR 4-speed automatic (305 V8), 2.41 axle std., 2.73 optional

1986 and 1987: (positraction rear available in all ratios):
-3-speed automatic (262 V6), 2.41 axle std., 2.73 optional
-3-speed automatic (305 V8), 2.41 axle std., 2.73 optional
-4-speed automatic (262 V6), 2.56 axle std., 3.08 optional
-4-speed automatic (305 V8), 2.56 axle std., 3.08 optional

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Trim levels


Trim levels Offered By Year:
1978:
-Chevrolet (1AW80): Classic, Conquista, Super Sport, Black Knight
-GMC (5AA00): Caballero, Laredo, Diablo

1979:
-Chevrolet (1AW80): El Camino, Conquista, El Camino SS, Royal Knight
-GMC (1AW80): Caballero, Laredo, Diablo

1980:
-Chevrolet (1AW80): Standard El Camino, Conquista, Super Sport, Royal Knight
-GMC (1AW80): Caballero, Laredo, Diablo

1981:
-Chevrolet (1AW80): Standard El Camino, Conquista, Super Sport, Royal Knight
-GMC (1AW80): Caballero, Amarillo, Diablo

1982-1983:
-Chevrolet (1GW80): El Camino, Conquista, Super Sport, Royal Knight
-GMC (1GW80): Caballero, Amarillo, Diablo

1984-1987:
-Chevrolet (1GW80): El Camino, Conquista, SS Sport Decor
-GMC (1GW80): Caballero, Amarillo, Diablo

Trim Level Details:
El Camino/El Camino Classic/Classic/Standard El Camino:
-Base trim level, one color paint.
El Camino base trim

Conquista/El Camino Conquista/RPO D91:
-Up-level trim with two-tone paint and more chrome, specifically a shoulder-line of chrome dividing the upper/lower colors.
El Camino Conquista

El Camino Super Sport/Super Sport/El Camino SS/SS Sport Decor/RPO Z15:
-Up-level trim with SS badging and rally wheels. RPO (Regular Production Option) Z15.
El Camino 1978 Super Sport

Choo-Choo Customs conversion:
-El Camino SS was dealer-offered as a conversion from mid-1983 to end of production, completed by Choo-Choo Customs Inc., of Chattanooga, Tennessee to include the aerodynamic front end similar to the Monte Carlo SS (although a different molding since the El Camino is slighly narrower in the front), as well as other cosmetic customizations. For more details see here.
El Camino Choo Choo Customs

Black Knight/RPO Z16:
-RPO (Regular Production Option) Z16, also requires SS Z15. Special edition inspired package with a code 19 black painted car and caramel interior and added gold hood decal displaying two dragons flanking a Knight facing head on. The fenders had Black Knight done in florid Olde English script and repeated on the tailgate. Sport mirrors, rally wheels, and a front air dam. Production of the 1978 Black Knight was low; about 1,200 cars were made. A bulliton to dealers from Truck Merchandising Manager L.P. Schinzing specifies that both the Z16 Super Sport package and the Z15 Black Knight package must be specified on orders. Solid black paint, tri-tone gold pin striping on sides and tailgate, "Black Knight" lettered decals on lower front fender and lower right hand portion of tailgate. All exterior SS designation is eliminated (EL Camino SS nameplate on instrument panel is retained). Black side window reveal moldings, and gold graphic decal on hood. Gold rally wheels. Options not available on Black Knight: Body side moldings (BW2), Conquista decor eqip (D91), Wire wheel trim covers (N95), Silver sport wheel covers (PB2).
El Camino 1978 Black Knight

Royal Knight/RPO Z16:
-RPO (Regular Production Option) Z16, also requires SS Z15. Continuation of the Black Knight package but renamed due to litigation issues. GM ran the Black Knight for only one year because a lawsuit was launched against them for using the name. Sources do not mention who launched the suit but Marvel Comics had a Black Knight character with that script from 1955 and kept it going afterwards. In 1979 and onward, Chevrolet issued the package as Royal Knight. The Royal Knight was essentially an add on to the El Camino SS trim so all Royal Knights are, in effect, SS cars as well. They have two RPO codes on the build sheet and sales document. RPO Z15 for the SS package and Z16 for the Royal Knight package. 1979 had 2,815 Royal Knights produced. This package was released in paint colors besides black. A print ad shows a Royal Knight depicted in metallic silver with red hood logo. Decal details: large hood decal (dragons on shield), "Royal Knight" fender decals, one each side, "Royal Knight" tailgate decal, upper and lower body side stripes including: front fender, door, rear quarter panel and tailgate.
El Camino 1979 Black Knight

1979 Royal Knight color options:
-Exterior -- Decal -- Interior
-Beige -- Gold -- Camel
-Black -- Gold -- Black or Camel
-Black -- Blue -- Blue
-Black -- Red -- Carmine
-Blue, dark metallic -- Blue -- Black or Blue
-Blue, light metallic -- Blue -- Black or Blue
-Brown, dark metallic -- Gold -- Camel
-Camel, metallic -- Gold -- Black or Camel
-Carmine, dark metallic -- Red -- Black or Carmine
-Carmine, dark metallic -- Gold -- Camel
-Carmine, metallic -- Red -- Black or Carmine
-Silver, metallic -- Red -- Black or Carmine
-White -- Red -- Black or Carmine
-White -- Blue -- Blue
-White -- Gold -- Camel

1979 Royal Knight print ads:
El Camino 1979 Royal Knight

1980 Royal Knight color options:
-Exterior -- Decal -- Interior
-Black -- Gold -- Black or Camel
-Black -- Blue -- Blue
-Black -- Red -- Claret
-Blue, dark metallic -- Blue -- Blue
-Blue, light metallic -- Blue -- Black or Blue
-Camel, light metallic -- Gold -- Camel
-Camel, medium metallic -- Gold -- Camel
-Cinnabar -- Red -- Black or Camel
-Claret, metallic -- Red -- Camel
-Claret, dark metallic -- Red -- Claret
-Claret, dark metallic -- Gold -- Camel
-Silver, metallic -- Red -- Black or Claret
-White -- Red -- Black or Claret
-White -- Blue -- Blue
-White -- Gold -- Camel

1980 Royal Knight print ads:
El Camino 1980 Royal Knight

1981 Royal Knight color options:
-Exterior -- Decal -- Interior
-Black -- Gold -- Camel
-Black -- Red -- Maroon
-Blue, dark metallic -- Blue -- Dark Blue
-Blue, light metallic -- Blue -- Dark Blue
-Brown, light metallic -- Gold -- Camel
-Brown, medium metallic -- Gold -- Camel
-Maroon, metallic -- Gold -- Camel
-Maroon, metallic -- Red -- Maroon
-Maroon, light metallic -- Red -- Maroon
-Maroon, light metallic -- Gold -- Camel
-Silver, metallic -- Blue -- Dark Blue
-Silver, metallic -- Red -- Maroon
-White -- Red -- Maroon
-White -- Blue -- Dark Blue
-White -- Gold -- Camel

1982 Royal Knight color options:
-Exterior -- Decal -- Interior
-Blue, dark metallic -- Blue -- Dark Blue
-Blue, light metallic -- Blue -- Dark Blue
-Brown, light metallic -- Gold -- Camel
-Redwood, metallic -- Gold -- Camel or Redwood
-Silver Gray -- Red -- Silver Gray
-Silver, metallic -- Blue -- Dark Blue
-Silver, metallic -- Red -- Silver Gray
-White -- Red -- Redwood
-White -- Blue -- Dark Blue
-White -- Gold -- Camel

GMC Caballero:
-Base package, similar to El Camino/Classic package.

GMC Laredo/Amarillo/RPO D91:
-Similar to Conquista.

GMC Diablo/Diablo Decor/RPO YE7:
-Similar to both the Royal Knight package and SS package, GMC offered the Diablo package for the Caballero. This continued even after the Royal Knight package was discontinued, making it more akin to the SS package overall.

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Choo Choo Customs


Choo-Choo Customs conversions (dealer docs show pics in 1986 catalog under "SS Sport trim"). It appears to have officially been called the "El Camino SS".

El Camino Choo Choo Customs

The following is from GM approved Choo Choo Customs print ad (ad when shown in most sources in black and white is not very readable, so we have translated it here in text):

"The Original El Camino SS was produced by Choo Choo Customs for GM from mid-1983 until the El Camino series was discontinued at the end of 1987.

In addition to the aerodynamic nose treatment that was the primary styling feature of all El Camino SS, all vehicles received graphics on the fascia, doors, and tailgate, and a small chrome train logo above the glove compartment door.

Vehicles manufactured in 1987 also have the Choo Choo Customs logo with train on the front fascia and tailgate. A limited number of El Camino SS had aerodynamic ground effect style side exhausts with rectangular chrome exits.

Early El Camino SS until mid-1985 used aluminum body side molding with machine-turned center and two vinyl inserts running full length of the molding. Later El Camino SS used a more rounded style body side molding. Some vehicles used factory side molding and fender well trim.

Many El Camino SS were equipped with aluminum wheels. Early vehicles had center caps with styling holes. Later vehicles featured solid center caps.

Aluminum cargo rails were also installed in numerous vehicles.In 1986, Chevrolet was the offical truck of the Indianapolis 500 and a specially developed El Camino SS was one of the featured vehicles that performed on-track services before and throughout the race. This one only El Camino SS featured an aluminum 350 CID Chevy engine and functioning strobe headlights and tail lights, plus a roll bar mounted strobe light system.

A special El Camino SS was the only truck to ever pace an IROC race, This IROC-S also featured the trademark aerodynamic front end design, IROC urethane paint in custom candy colors, and 16" aluminum wheels. Approximately fifteen IROC-S were built between '85 and '86.

The same high quality GM approved components that made the original El Camino SS unique are available for restoration, customizing, and crash replacement.

These components are now available for enthusiasts who want to create an El Camino SS of their own. All of the El Camino SS products in this catalog are made on original tooling to exacting specifications and ...

The nose assembly and other components fit all El Caminos '78 through '87 and the popular Chevrolet Malibu '78 through '83.

Let us show you how to make your "Heartbeat" a little faster with genuine El Camino SS componets only from Choo Choo Customs.

Choo Choo Customs, Specialty Parts Division, 7801 Lee Highway, Chattanooga, TN 37421, 1-615-899-4473"

IROC-S print ad:
El Camino IROC-S

IROC-S, #15: El Camino IROC-S
El Camino IROC-S
El Camino IROC-S
El Camino IROC-S

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Emissions labels by label code


Where is the VECI label (Vehicle Emissions Control Information)?
GM emissions label location

These are hard to come by in even a semi-readable form... thanks to all the sources that these pictures and photos come from.
--Please let us know if you have an emissions label photo you can share that is not listed below!

-For a reference of applications where each VECI (Vehicle Emissions Control Information) label applies, see here.
GM emissions label AB GM emissions label CD GM emissions label CW GM emissions label DT GM emissions label DYT GM emissions label LM GM emissions label X9 GM emissions label XJT GM emissions label XJU GM emissions label XSF GM emissions label XSK GM emissions label YCL GM emissions label ZCT GM emissions label ZDB

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Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN)


Along with the A to G body name changeover in 1981, the VIN format changed as well. So there are two main VIN formats as described below.

1978-1980 El Camino VIN Breakdown:
Location – The VIN number is stamped on a plate located on top of the instrument panel and visible through the windshield on the drivers side. It is composed of 13 numbers and letters.
A sample 1978 El Camino VIN would look like this: 1W80L8R100001
 1st digit – This is the manufacturers identity number
  1 = Chevrolet
  5 = GMC
 2nd digit - This is the Model Series (A-Body)
  W = El Camino
 3rd and 4th and digits - This is the Body Style
  80 = 2dr Sedan Pick-up
 5th digit - This identifies the engine
  A = V-6, 231cid
  H = V-8, 305cid
  J = V-8, 267cid
  K = V-6, 229cid
  L = V-8, 350cid
  M = V-6, 200cid
  U = V-8, 305cid
 6th digit - This is the last digit of the model year
  8 = 1978
  9 = 1979
  A = 1980
 7th digit - This is the Assembly Plant code
  B = Baltimore, MD
  D = Doraville, GA
  K = Leeds, MO
  R = Arlington, TX
  Z = Fremont, CA
  1 = Oshawa, Canada
 8th through 13th digits – Sequential Production Number
  100001 – Sequential Production Number

1981-1987 El Camino VIN Breakdown:
Location – The VIN number is stamped on a plate located on top of the instrument panel and visible through the windshield on the drivers side. It is composed of 17 numbers and letters.
A sample 1981 El Camino VIN would look like this: 1GCCW80HXBR100001
 1st digit - This is the Country of origin
  1 = U.S.A
  2 = Canada
  3 = Mexico
 2nd digit – This is the manufacturers identity
  G = General Motors
 3rd digit - This is the Make
  C = Chevrolet Truck
  T = GMC Truck
 4th digit - This is the GVWR Brake System
  C = Hydraulic brake system - GVW 4001-5000
 5th digit - This is the Series
  W = El Camino/Caballero
 6th and 7th digits - This is the Body Style
  80 = 2dr Sedan Pick-up
 8th digit - This identifies the engine
  9 = V-6, 229cid
  A = V-6, 231cid
  H = V-8, 305cid
  J = V-8, 267cid
  K = V-6, 229cid
  N = V-8, 350cid diesel
  Z = V-6, 262cid
 9th digit -Check Digit
 10th digit - This is the Model Year
  B = 1981
  C = 1982
  D = 1983
  E = 1984
  F = 1985
  G = 1986
  H = 1987
 11th digit - This is the Assembly Plant code
  B = Baltimore, MD
  D = Doraville, GA
  K = Leeds, MO
  R = Arlington, TX
  Z = Fremont, CA (closed 1980????)
  1 = Oshawa, Canada
  S = Ramos Arizpe, Mexico
 12th through 17th digits – Sequential Production Number
  100001 – Sequential Production Number

Check digit info:
The 9th digit in the 17 digit VIN is called the check digit. The check digit is used to validate the VIN number. The check digit is calculated based on the other 16 alphanumeric values in the vehicle VIN.
The possible values for the check digit range from 1 through 9 and also include the letter X. Each position in the 17 digit VIN has a numerical value assigned to it. The 9th digit's position (check digit) has a value of 0, so it does not affect the calculation. Each alphanumeric character also has a numeric value. See the tables below for the numeric values for each character and position.
This is the formula used to calculate the check digit:
 1. Multiply the numeric value of the first VIN position by the numeric value of the alphanumeric character present at that position and write the sum down on a piece of paper.
 2. Repeat step 1 for all 17 VIN positions.
 3. Add all 16 values obtained in steps 1 and 2 to get a total number value.
 4. Divide the total number value obtained in step 3 by 11. Do not use a calculator; use long division. If the remainder of the division in step 4 is 10, use X as the check digit. Otherwise, use the remainder of the division (0 - 9) as the check digit.


Alphanumeric Character - Numeric Values
 A-1
 B-2
 C-3
 D-4
 E-5
 F-6
 G-7
 H-8
 J-1
 K-2
 L-3
 M-4
 N-5
 P-7
 R-9
 S-2
 T-3
 U-4
 V-5
 W-6
 X-7
 Y-8
 Z-9
 1-1
 2-2
 3-3
 4-4
 5-5
 6-6
 7-7
 8-8
 9-9
 0-0


VIN Position - Numeric Values
 1-8
 2-7
 3-6
 4-5
 5-4
 6-3
 7-2
 8-10
 9-0
 10-9
 11-8
 12-7
 13-6
 14-5
 15-4
 16-3
 17-2

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Production plants


Baltimore, MD -- Baltimore Assembly (properly named Broening Highway General Motors Plant) was a General Motors factory in Baltimore, Maryland. The plant opened in 1935 to produce Chevrolets and closed on May 13, 2005. It was a two-level plant located near the harbor and railroad lines in Baltimore.

Doraville, GA -- Doraville Assembly was a General Motors automobile factory in Doraville, Georgia. The plant opened in 1947 and closed on 26 September 2008 as part of the company's cost-cutting measures.

Leeds, MO -- Leeds Assembly was a General Motors automobile factory in Leeds, Missouri (Kansas City). It was closed in 1988. The factory produced the A-bodies and J-bodies.

Arlington, TX -- Made El Caminos 1979-1984, according to plant literature. Plant production began January 6, 1954.

Fremont, CA -- Fremont Assembly started making the new-bodied El Caminos in 1978. Fremont Assembly was a General Motors automobile factory in Fremont,California. It was the new site for production in the San Francisco area in 1962 with production moved from the older Oakland Assembly. Production continued through 1980 when the plant was closed.

Oshawa, Ontario, Canada -- Opened in 1953. Although some sources say El Caminos were made here, factory records only show Malibus from 1978-1980. No El Caminos are shown. If anyone has any records or El Caminos or Caballeros from this plant, please let us know.

Ramos Arizpe, Mexico -- Opened in 1981. In 1983, the GM Ramos Arizpe plant became the automaker’s first Mexican factory to export vehicles to the U.S. market, debuting with the Chevy El Camino. Some sources say 1985 was the first export date, but the data from GM specifying 1983 makes sense because they would have needed preperation and ramp-up time before all El Camino production moved here in 1985.
Here, El Caminos await rail transport loading at the Ramos Arizpe Mexico Production Plant:
Ramos Arizpe Mexico Production Plant

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Production numbers


El Camino production numbers by year:
 1978: 54,236
 1979: 58,008
 1980: 40,932
 1981: 36,711
 1982: 22,732
 1983: 24,010
 1984: 22,997
 1985: 21,816
 1986: 21,508
 1987: 13,743
 1988: 420*
 *Some model year 1987's (420 El Caminos and 325 GMC Caballeros) are listed as new car retail deliveries in calendar year 1988 based on their date of first retail sale.

SS (sub-breakdown of El Caminos):
 1978: 12,027
 1979: ?
 1980: ?
 1981: ?
 1982: ?
 1983: 587
 1984: 1,309
 1985: 1,198
 1986: 996
 1987: 861

Caballeros:
 1978: **
 1979: 6,412
 1980: 4,463
 1981: 3,994
 1982: 2,573
 1983: 2,160
 1984: 2,702
 1985: 3,057
 1986: 2,795
 1987: ?
 **The [5AA00] designation of the GMC models in 1978 rather than 1AW80 probably accounts for confusion in data-gathering and lack of known numbers. See trim levels.

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Our daily driving impressions on our 1978


Our 1978 El Camino was born in Fremont, CA and lived in Florida for a good portion of its life. It has an all-original drivetrain down to the carburetor, albeit with maintenance done properly over the years, including a recent suspension rebuild to put it back to factory specification. It is probably the closest thing for a driving impression we can get for a true 1978 version in every-day use. We operate it, like all our vehicles, in all weather conditions and seasons. It has seen rain, snow, sun; pretty much most driving conditions. It has traveled up and down the eastern seaboard and lived for a year in the northeast with studded snow tires.

1978 Chevrolet El Camino and snow tires

We have owned, currently own, and driven a LOT of 1970's and 1980's GM vehicles, as well as other domestic cars and trucks, in both restored and bad condition. We aren't specifically experts, but since not many people today have the opportunity to actually drive one of these in good condition we thought we should include this as a reference for anyone thinking of buying one in any condition.

1978 Chevrolet El Camino with snow tires on S-10 wheels

First thing first: this is a GM vehicle from 1978. No, it is not as perfect as you remember it, memory being mostly fond reminiscince of things past and desired to be reclaimed. It drives and handles like a 1978 GM product. It cannot be compared to today's vehicles fairly. So keeping this in proper context, consider the other vehicles of 1978.

To be fair there has been one concession to power urges by a previous owner of this vehicle, that being the headers and custom dual exhaust. To also be fair, we doubt it adds little to any horsepower at all since this vehicle had minimal to no emissions equipment from the factory.

We own and daily-drive a lot of vehicles from this period, so given the general reviews on the internet we thought it best to write this honest review because this is frankly one of the favorites in our stable. It handles smoothly, drives nicely, and has the major convieniences like air conditioning and 6-way electic driver's seat. All factory.

Comfort: Our version has factory air conditioning, power driver's seat, and the roomy Malibu interior with dual center armrests and split bench seat. The optional full gauge cluster is still modern looking, accurate, and clear by today's standards. The interior is smooth and cleanly designed. Compare this to the GM truck line of the time with the blocky and upright interior. Sitting in a Suburban or GM truck from this time period for any length of time results in a numbness and uncomfortable experience. Sitting in our El Camino for long periods is no problem at all.

Styling: For the time period it was a very modern, sleek design. It is smooth and simple. We love the simplicity of it, and the overall balance of the style matches the nice even weight balance of the machine itself. The interior is as smoothly designed as the outside, and gives a roomy feeling that many other vehicles of this size lack even today.

Power: Our version is one of the rare factory 350 cubic inch V8 models with a three speed automatic. Contrary to what most say, these engines are not too smog-smothered being only available in 1978 and 1979. They do not compare well to today's powerhouses obviously, but they are smooth, strong, and durable. It was a fantastic engine for its time, and still holds up well today in everyday driving. It won't win any drag races, but after all these years it is still going strong unlike many over-complicated modern engines with too many moving parts. Our factory-issue Qaudrajet carburetor is well maintained and finely tuned, actually starting quicker and more reliably than our similar fuel-injected engines.

Hauling: With a rated bed load of 800 lbs and a tow rating of 5,000 lbs (as equipped), the El Camino in this format is comparable to the C-10 pickup of the same period. The stance and mirrors are actually well-suited to towing small trailers with good visibility. However the brakes show their limits quickly. For small loads this truck is actually preferred by our drivers over other trucks of the time period. Our version has the 350 LM1 engine, so it does tend to tow and haul better than most factory El Caminos of the period with its better low grunt power and torque.

1978 Chevrolet El Camino towing trailer

Handling: The steering, although described by some modern reviewers looking back as 'numb' and 'horrible' is nothing of the sort. A properly maintained and adjusted steering box will not degrade to that point unless abused. We suspect that most reviewers drive worn out vehicles and attempt to compare them to factory vehicles. Our little truck handles cleanly and smoothly, especially given the comparable products of the time. Although some body roll exists, it corners and handles with very good weight balance.

Braking: This is one area that GM could have easily upgraded. Although suitable for many situations, the front discs and rear drums are just not well fitted for daily driving in today's world. When fully loaded or towing, the brakes especially show their limits. Brake fade happens quickly under load on hot days. This is fairly standard for all GM products of the day however.

Overall impressions: In the context of 1978, it is a very sleek, modern vehicle with good power and handling. Even in the context of today it holds its own and is quite acceptable for everyday driving in a modern world. As time goes on these are becoming more rare and recognizable by the general public, so if you drive one be prepared for comments and occasional admiration from other drivers. In addition to being a unique sector of the automotive market then and now, the practicality of these vehicles endures. It has the comfort of a car and the hauling capability of a small pickup. It has none of the disadvantages of huge, unmanuverable, over-powered modern pickups. It is easy and simple to maintain. Visibility is fantastic with the wrap-around glass everywhere. Perhaps one disadvantage would be its low ride height, with traffic views often obscured by modern behemoths on the road. To make it truly a well-hauling pickup, better brakes than the factory offered would be in order, however we prefer to keep this ride as factory as possible. If we need to move heavy loads we have other more suitable large trucks in our stable, as GM intended in 1978.

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References


Related magazine reviews:
     1978 GMC Diablo Magazine Review
     1978 Malibu Magazine Review -- Car And Driver

Documents for model differences:
     Chevrolet El Camino Model Charts
     Chevrolet El Camino Emissions Designations
     Chevrolet El Camino Powertrain Combinations
     Chevrolet El Camino Body Information

General information:
     Vehicle production numbers

These brochures and sales dealer specifications are useful for determining model year details:
     1978 Chevrolet El Camino Sales Brochure
     1978 Chevrolet El Camino Dealer Information
     1978 GMC Caballero Dealer Information
     1978 Chevrolet El Camino Wiring Schematics
     1979 Chevrolet El Camino Dealer Information
     1980 Chevrolet El Camino Dealer Information
     1981 Chevrolet El Camino Dealer Information
     1982 Chevrolet El Camino Dealer Information
     1983 Chevrolet El Camino Dealer Information
     1984 Chevrolet El Camino Dealer Information
     1985 Chevrolet El Camino Dealer Information
     1986 Chevrolet El Camino Dealer Information
     1987 Chevrolet El Camino Dealer Information

Lock/Ignition Cylinder reference:
El Camino lock cylinder reference

More print ads not shown on the rest of the page:
1978 El Camino print ad
1978 El Camino print ad
1978 El Camino print ad
1981 El Camino print ad
1981 El Camino print ad

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