Some progress on the '61 finally

Caddylackn

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I had ten days off at Christmas and was not able to travel to see family, so I spent some time on the Caddy to get as much done as I could. My goal was to get it running and driving. I got close. I realized that my car's 60th birthday was this week, then it gave me more incentive to get it done.

I can tell you, a heated garage makes all the difference.

1. First job: To re-align the passenger fender-. It took a bunch of tweeking and shims, but I got the most of it to line up with the door and hood. The bottom 1/4 of the fenders I fabbed up didn't quite have the save contour so lining up the stainless fender trim to the door trim, left the bottom of the fender hanging down about 1/2". That didn't look good, so I jacked up the bottom of the fender to pinch it some and add some contour, then drilled and bolted it securely to the bottom attachment points. When I had all bolts tightened I lowered the jack and it fit pretty good to the body lines. This 1/4 bottom fender repair was literally my first rust repair and welding job that I ever did, and I did it over 25 years ago. I am so glad it ended up be acceptable.
2. Installed the door stainless trim after making new trim fasteners by welding washers to size 10 screws.
3. Installed the key latches on both front doors. Then lubed up the latches. They work smooth and I can easily unlock or lock the doors with a key.
4. With the passenger fender fully aligned, bolted, and tightened, I could now re-install the battery tray behind the grill and the borrowed battery.
5. With the battery, I was able to jump wire all the windows and lower them and then clean the tracks and lube them up, and adjust the windows for gaps. I got all four windows to work well. I had to solder one pair of the wires directly to the window motor since the connection was broken. I got three of the four power wing windows to work. One of the wing motors is missing substantial pieces, so I left the motor off. I will get to that someday.
6. I was then able to install the two passenger interior door panels I previously fixed. I replaced the existing cabin door lights with LED, and they are pretty bright and pretty. Unfortunately, the rear doors, the lights stay on when the doors are shut, so there is a short somewhere. Both rear door lights are supposed to light if either door is open, so I have work cut out for me to find the short. I will work on that later. I pulled the bulbs for now.
7. I fixed the two driver's door interior panels. These interior panels were water damaged and the bottoms were curled from being wet. The hold down "nails" that clip it to the door had pulled through the panels on the bottom, so the door bottoms were permanently curled and dry rotted. I cleaned them up, then I made some sheet metal support panels, then glued these on the back with PL Adhesive. That PL stuff is polyurethane glue and is as tough as iron when dried. The metal panels once glued to the hardboard, allowed me to bend the existing hardboard panel to straight and also give me screw support for trim screws to bite into to keep them straight. I then used rubber cement to fix all the factory windlace that was falling off the door panel. I then sprayed flex-seal the whole inside panel when done, so it doesn't get soggy and warp again. The installed panel doesn't look bad. I used stainless screws with trim rings to screw the panels through the support metal to the bottom of the doors.
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here is the finished interior of the panel before installation:

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here is the panel before picture. You can see that the bottom steel strip with the attachment "nails" is completely rusted away.

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8. With the interior panels on, the interior looks finished. I installed the new top of door seals I was able to find. They fit with modifications.
9. I installed the top/body stainless trim. I was impressed that I was still able to find all the one-off type of trim retainers they took.
10. I installed the trunk seal. Then re-installed all the tail light wiring I removed to paint the trunk.

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11. I installed one of the door seals. I couldn't find reasonable priced '61 Cadillac door seals, so I bought two '61 chevy biscayne 4 door seals. The clip pattern on the rubber was the same, even though the seal ends were different. They fit with modifications.. I tried to install one on the driver's door, but the door would not shut without a hard slamming, so I took it off. I will put it on the other rear door. I will have to get something else to work for the front doors. The Cadillac parts vendors want $100 each for these door seals, so I have incentive to find something else that will work.
12. I took off the fender skirts and put the stainless trim on and adjusted the fender skirt to fit better. One of the skirts fell off while it was on the car and hit the ground and chipped some paint :(. I installed these skirts back on. I will touch up paint chips later.
13. I installed the rear fender trim and the Fleetwood 6 chrome "stripes" IMG_1626.JPG
14. The reproduction door bumpers I bought were too thick, I had to really slam the doors to get them to latch. I took them off and cut an 1/8" off each face, then sanded them, then put them back on.
That wraps up the external stuff :).

The good news is that after I was done with all the trim, I was only missing two pieces of stainless trim when completed. I was missing one of the 6 stripes on the passenger side for the Fleetwood trim, and the passenger rear fender stainless. I know I was missing these before I took the car apart so that is good news that I don't have to spend countless hours looking for parts I took off almost 30 years ago. The bad news is that I have been looking for these "hen's teeth" on Ebay for months and months for these pieces so I will have to spend a $$$$ to buy them if these ever turn up at auction. The Fleetwood stripes only came on the '61 model 60 or 75 and the rear fender trim length I need only came on the Fleetwood or Sedan De Ville, so I will have to wait until I see somebody parting a '61 Fleetwood.

At this point, the car is physically put together, but now I got to get everything working and driving again.

I went and bought a battery at Walmart. Let's see. 390 cubic inches at 10.5 to 1 on a motor that has sat for 10 years unstarted with dry cylinders, my math says 1,000 CCA should do it. The Group 65 battery with 1,000 CCA was $30 cheaper than the Group 24 battery with the same rating so I bought that. It should fit, right? Seems like there is a ton of room.
Well, not exactly but it was close. I had to do some sheet metal "trimming" to make this fit. It was about 1/4" too wide, but I got it in there. by sliding it in sideways. I won't need a hold down now, at least.

I put a gallon of 92 octane in the tank. I couldn't find ethanol free around here, :(.
I hit it with a 3 second blast of Starter Fluid then turned the key.
It fired up after the 3rd crank and ran for about a second. It rattled bad as the lifters pumped up.
I hit it with a few more shots of starting fluid and it started again for a second each time.
I couldn't get any gas to the fuel filter from the fuel pump. I trickled some gas in the carb so it would start and run for at least a few seconds, but still no fuel pumpage. The rubber fuel line to the fuel pump from the hardline was pretty rock hard, so I replaced it with new 3/8" gas line. While it was off, I blew some compressed air through the line and I could hear it at the tank, so I knew the line wasn't plugged.

I will pull the fuel pump apart and see what I have for the diaphram. The fuel pump is "new", I replaced it about 30 years ago . It turns out, this $30 fuel pump I bought 30 years ago, is now like $200 if you can find one :(. If I can't fix it I will go with an electric fuel pump. I did see a rebuilt kit on Ebay for like $68 for this pump.
 

48Austin

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What vehicle(s) do you drive?
1964 Commercial, 1948 Austin, 58 Pan
I put a gallon of 92 octane in the tank. I couldn't find ethanol free around here, :(
You wont find ethanol free anywhere. Thank you government!
 

Caddylackn

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We only get the mandatory 10% ethanol crap here from October to April in Washington.
I go from getting over 300 miles to a tank of gas between April to October to about 260 miles to the tank right when they switch to using the ethanol crap for the winter. How is using up more than 2 extra gallons of gas per each 300 miles driven good for the environment?

Mr. government can you explain that one to me?

Yes, there are a few gas stations that sell ethanol free gas, just not any close to my house. Some of the commercial fleet type of gas stations sell it, you just have to apply for an account to get a gas card.
 

Caddylackn

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Update on progress:

On Friday I tried to start the car again, still having fuel pump issues. On Saturday, I pulled the fuel pump again and took it apart. I checked both of the one way valves. The inlet side wasn't acting as a one way. The pressure side was working correctly. If the inlet side one way isn't working the fuel can't pump (suck) uphill since it falls back between pulses when cranking. Once running it will usually work okay, since it can pump fast enough. It should still start as long as the carburetor fuel bowl has fuel in it. I have an airtex 713 replacement fuel pump on order, who knows when it will come in.

I used some more carb spray on the rubber valve and tried to clean the one way valve better. I got the seal to turn a little using a pick to try to seat the valve and was able to clean it better. Once there is pressure in the fuel pump it should get it to seal. I then filled both sides of the fuel pump with fuel and put it back together on the car. It started up with about 5 cranks and then revved up to around 3,000 rpms and stayed there. I couldn't get it to idle down. I shut it down. There was a ton of smoke from the engine exhaust manifolds and a small fuel leak by the fuel filter.

After verifying I didn't have a fire through all the smoke on the engine from it burning off old oil and dust, I checked the throttle linkage over. The linkage rod was too long, from when I fabbed up the new gas pedal arm. The arm must have been off a few degrees. I adjusted the linkage rod as far as it would go, and it still wasn't enough so I had to make a few bends in the rod to get it shorter. I fired it up and was new able to touch the throttle arm to the idle adjustment stop to adjust the idle and fast idle. Ran pretty good after sitting for ten years. I now have a fresh new set of oil stains on the garage floor :) , and burned up 10 years of dirt, bondo dust, and cat hair that accumulated on the motor. The tranny still leaks from the fluid coupler, and the power steering gear is leaking.
 

Darius

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Update on progress:
After verifying I didn't have a fire through all the smoke on the engine from it burning off old oil and dust, I checked the throttle linkage over. The linkage rod was too long, from when I fabbed up the new gas pedal arm. The arm must have been off a few degrees. I adjusted the linkage rod as far as it would go, and it still wasn't enough so I had to make a few bends in the rod to get it shorter. I fired it up and was new able to touch the throttle arm to the idle adjustment stop to adjust the idle and fast idle. Ran pretty good after sitting for ten years. I now have a fresh new set of oil stains on the garage floor :) , and burned up 10 years of dirt, bondo dust, and cat hair that accumulated on the motor. The tranny still leaks from the fluid coupler, and the power steering gear is leaking.
Yep, that sounds like progress to me .... minus the burning cat hair.

Enjoy!

bro. d
 

Caddylackn

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So on Saturday, did I get on the road and take a drive?

Nope, time to take the car apart again. I put the car on my Haggerty insurance, but it doesn't get added until Feb 1, so now is the time to finish the required road worthy maintenance.

The original upper control arm bushings are dust and a few ball joints are done. The front springs are compressed. The front brake hoses are old and showing cracks. I remember the last few times I drove the car 20 years ago it was a chore to keep it on the road. The existing old tires are showing bad camber wear. I have new tires, but I don't want to ruin them with the horrible front geometry I have. I did the front brakes 30 years ago.

I ordered:
New front wheel bearings (inner and outer)
New bearing seals
New wheel cylinder rebuild kits (front only)
New front brake shoes
New brake hoses
Upper control arm bushings
lower control arm bushings
New upper ball joints
New lower ball joints
new sway bar end links
new front shocks
New sway bar bushings (polyurethane)
New fan belts
New upper molded radiator hose
New lower molded radiator hose
Power Steering gear rebuild kit

I got most of this at Rock Auto.
I have brand new front coil springs I bought at auction for $5 a few years ago.

I wasn't planning on a full front end build, but just to replace the upper control arm bushings pretty much makes you remove the front springs, shocks, drums, end links, and gives you easy access to replace all these other components above (except hoses and belts)

So on Saturday I got started on the driver's side only. I left the passenger side alone for reference. First I always wire brush all the nuts that are going to come off, then hit them with the Kroil.
Three hours in, I got all the components off. Removing the coils spring by jacking down the lower control arm wasn't fun. Even with the control arm hitting the ground the spring was still compressed an inch or so. Going to be fun getting the new spring back in.

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I spent a few hours getting the ball joints and control arm bushings out, then another two hours cleaning the parts and then painting them. I used Jegs Chassis Black, and I am impressed with the results. The paint is pretty tough and easy to cover with only two light coats IMG_1676.JPG .

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Yes, I have three jack stands under the car and use the jack as a fourth. It still makes me nervous to get under the car. The stupid x frame doesn't have good spots for jack stands since there is no perimeter frame.

I pressed in the upper ball joint no problem on Sunday night, didn't have the lower yet.

Monday, new day, I hoped to get the driver's side done. I went to press in the control arm bushings using my homemade press. First, press in one side, then put in the shaft, now got to press in the last bushing into the control arm over the shaft. This is where things went bad. As you can see in the photo below; I used a receiving cup on the bottom end trying to press in the last bushing on the top. What I needed to do is not use the receiving cup so the control arm shaft or bolt is hitting the press to give it something to press against. Pressing it like I did, the shaft moves into the receiving cup through the bottom bushing and I bent the control arm about an inch :mad:.

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So, now I got to remove both bushings and try to straighten the Control Arm.
I carefully measured the bent one against the passenger side, and it was a full inch narrower at the bushing cups. Both ends appeared to be bent in. So I tried different techniques. The vise, the jack. The hydraulic bottle jack fit in between the cups and by trial and error was able to spread them back the inch I needed. The bushing cups were no longer aligned to the shaft though. I was able to put in a tight fitting socket through the the cup, then clamp the socket to the vice then manhandle the control arm and get them mostly to align toward each other. I thought I had them pretty good. One was perfect, the ended up being off about 5 - 10 degrees. There is a lot of rubber in the bushing to take care of that.

I pressed the control bushings in the correct way this time, and put the upper control assembly on the car. You could see that one side was a little off, but there is a lot of rubber that can make up for that. I installed the spindle to the upper ball joint and the offset adjustment cone and proper washer.

I pressed in the lower ball joint, about 5 minutes after Fed Ex dropped it at the door stop.

Now for the fun part: Installing the new coil spring. Measuring the new spring to the old, the dimensions were pretty close. The coils were the same diameter, as well as the steel thickness.

The new spring, although not much longer, was stiffer. just to get it to bite on the lower control arm when the arm was hitting the floor required compressing the spring over an inch. I used a 4' piece of steel square tubing and welded a tab to fit inside the coil so the coil wouldn't slip off it. Luckily there is a hole in the control arm that looks like it was there for prying. I was able to get the spring in when the control arm was touching the floor, but now I had to get the control arm off the floor at least 3" to get the floor jack under it.

I used the 4' steel bar and a fulcrum to pry up the control arm enough to get the jack under there. Took about an hour just to get to the point below, and a lot of sweating. IMG_1680.JPG

Now, the nerve wracking job of jacking up the lower control arm to compress the spring enough to get the lower ball joint through the spindle. I had to do it twice. The first time, the spring was bending in an arch and hitting the upper coil housing making the coils get stuck on the sides and then releasing with a minor bang. I lowered it and tried again. Unfortunately, no way to use a spring compressor IMG_1681.JPG unless you have one that fits inside the spring.

The scary part is, when the jack is lowered there is good contact with the control arm but, when near the top the rounded bottom of the control arm isn't getting much of a bite on the jack. I just did it very slowly then paused, then more, then paused. Near the end the entire front end of the car was off the stands every slow pump of the jack to compress the spring. By the time I saw threads poking through the spindle I was a nervous wreck. I let it sit for five minutes before I attempted to thread the nut on. It went on and tightened without drama. I could then lower it and call it a day.

I still need to put on sway bar bushings, shock, and the sway bar end link but those haven't arrived yet. Then wheel bearings, wheel cylinder, brake assembly, and new shoes but that should be easy.

After that,

I still have the passenger side to do.
 
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