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
Not much to say here. Just a bunch of hard work which has finally paid
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
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!
Author: Bill McKenna