Back on the road again or Troubleshooting!

Looking good, but looks aren't everything! I have a ton of problems which are normal after a big restoration project. The drive shaft had a terrible vibration because I didn't know what I was doing when I installed the new U Joints, and the Center Carrier Bearing was shot! So the car goes up on Jacks and I pull the drive shaft out and take it to a professional. One week and $350 later its much better, not perfect but better. Now it only vibrates between 45 and 50 MPH. This is because the splines on the joint between the carrier bearing and the rear half of the drive shaft are worn out and the shaft shimmies at 2K RPM. The only fix is to find a new old stock drive shaft which is near impossible, or to have a new rear section machined at a very high cost. Another option is to make a new rear drive shaft which is 1 inch longer and pushes the splines into the bearing further, beyond the wear point. This is on my TODO list.
But the drive shaft was just the start. I also had to take it to a professional for a steering and suspension fine tuning. Brake drums need turning and new shoes were added which would wear evenly on the newly turned drums. The exhaust had some leaks which were better handled by a professional. I replaced the midas resonators with correct looking Stainless ones. I Opted to go with modern mounting for them as the old Rubber strap system wasn't really that great.
I had to do several rounds of transmission linkage adjustments which were pretty easy but took a good bit of trial and error tuning. The Engine is blackening up plugs so I installed a new coil and electronic ignition. This improved things, but I still had some problems in the Carbs. After a couple reads of the carb tuning section in the shop manual I adjusted the idle mixture down to get a much cleaner burn. Also added an extra fuel filter to get any rust out that may be in the tank. So far it has picked up a fair amount of rust, and so I will want to pull the tank and get it professionally cleaned and sealed.
She runs and drives pretty well, I did get stranded a couple of times, one because the gas tank float arm was out of adjustment and showed a quarter tank when it was really empty. Another time the newly rebuilt fuel pump failed. When I took it apart I found that whomever installed the new valves had done a poor job and not seated the valves correctly in the socket. I am surprised it ever worked like this, but as usual with these things it chose to fail at a bad time. I have had a few suspension problems which caused a scare. I was driving home and started hearing a really nasty scraping sound when I went around turns. I pulled over and looked under the car to find that the center ball joint on the on the rear end yoke had vibrated loose. This allowed the rear end sway from side to side and the wheels pushed into the wheel wells. Fortunately no major damage and I hobbled home. The root cause was that I forgot to put a cotter pin in the nut on the ball joint.
Now there is a happy Cadillac! Ready for a spin. I have put about 1800 miles on it so far since its been back on the road. Most of the time I just take it out around town on errands and to shows etc. A real Sunday driver. Its also fun to take it to work and take my team out for lunch.
Getting all of the grill chrome trued up and prefect was a bit of a project. It doesn't just fit together perfectly. Some muscling is needed to get all of it true.
Not much to say here. Just a bunch of hard work which has finally paid off.
I've tried to present as much info as I could which would help the would be restorer learn from my mistakes, and improve. I can not stress enough that restoring cars isn't cheap, and isn't profitable. Only start on it if you are able to dump lots of money the problem. Don't ever think that you'll be saving money by restoring a project car vs buying one already restored. I find that most of the time you can buy a car whom someone else restored for half or less than what it cost to do it yourself. It is a true labor of love. Counting tools and mistakes. I have probably 3-4 times what the car is worth invested.
I'd like to thank the hundreds of people who have helped me out with this project so far both online and in person. I intend to go back and update some of the previous pages with contact info for the various places I have gotten help. If I have time I want to make a FAQ page for the common questions I've gotten from people who have checked out the page over the last couple of years.
If I don't get around to the FAQ page. I recommend that everyone with Cadillac questions should join the Cadillac Lasalle Club. (CLC) If you need to really get ongoing advice for all aspects Cadillac car ownership and fandom etc. checkout the Cadillac Mail List run by Rik Gruwez. Ric has been running this list for years now and it has at least 100 Cadillac lovers on board. Another great Cadillac resource is Hemmings Motor News This is pretty much the bible of the old car hobby!

Next up Doing the Interior

Author: Bill McKenna