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.
IMG_1618.JPG

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.

IMG_0910.JPG

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.

IMG_1625.JPG
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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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.

IMG_1674.JPG

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.
 

Caddylackn

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Part II of front suspension rebuild:

Previously done:
new Ball joints, front springs, control arm bushings on driver's side.

I ordered new front strut bushings, sway bar bushings, and front brake shoes. I remember replacing the front brake shoes in the 90s but the trailing shoe is showing 1/2 wear left and the leading shoe looks about 1/8 wear gone.

I removed the front strut bar from the front frame crossmember. This was not easy to get the big 1-1/4" nut loose on the strut bar and removed. The end of the strut bar goes through the crossmember and the nut is behind the bumper but in front of the cross member with no bottom access. So only small turns with a crescent wrench.

I removed it and the bushings were completely shot and the strut rod wore an eccentric hole in the front cross member pretty bad from rubbing for years. I expected this from watching youtube videos on replacing these. IMG_1717.JPG

I had to fix this or the strut rod would move around and cause caster and handling issues. I looked in my factory service manual and the caster angle is set using the strut rod by turning the nuts by the bushings. If the strut rod is moving around under suspension changes, the caster changes and you have bump steer issues. I searched online for new rubber strut bushings, and they run around $100 on cad vendor sites and the only polyurethane ones I found were like $140 o_O.
Luckily, by searching through the Napa website I found a set with the same strut bar diameter but just different shapes in polyurethane. Turns out it is 89-97 t-bird is the right size but it takes a 1-1/2" opening in the crossmember. Only $24 and in stock locally, sold.
That is good news since my stock 1" opening in the crossmember is egg shaped to 1 -1/2". I could redrill it out at 1-1/2" and make it round again.
Here is a comparison of the stock wasted bushings versus t-bird bushings. I could easily cut the t-bird bushings down to a thickness I need.
IMG_1719.JPG

First step was to make the 1-1/2" hole I needed in the crossmember in the correct original location. I decided to take one of the large bushing washers, and open the hole up to 1 -1/2" then tack weld it to wear it was centered over the original factory 1" hole. Then use a 1-1/2" hole saw to cut the crossmember. I could remove the washer if I needed to later. So I opened up the hole in the washer to 1-1/2" and tack welded it in there centered, then used a hole saw to cut the cross member.

IMG_1721.JPG

excuse the welding, it's hard to weld under a car and see anything. I ground the welds down since I decided to leave the washer in there for strength and there was still a little of the wear hole left in the crossmember.

Here is the clean 1-1/2" hole from the front side, it will work nice, you can see there is still some of the wear circle left, but the washer will keep it from moving. The strut rod had slowly moved almost an inch from wear from factory. Since this length and position is what adjust wheel caster, it explains some of the reason why the car was difficult to keep on the road.
IMG_1723.JPG

The new bushings I left thicker than stock and I backed the inner strut rod nut all the way in to be able to get this installed. I will figure out if the bushings will work without additional trimming when I do the front end alignment measuring.

Next, the new front shocks went in nice.
I ordered new polyurethane sway bar bushings for the sway bar, but they were way off and too large in diameter. I whittled them down, then split one of the old control arm bushings in half to put over the sway bar to get it to the right thickness and installed it. This will work until I can find the proper bushing.

I took a snap shot of the factory brake system. It was a little unusual to the others I have seen. Then installed the front shoes after replacing the seals in the wheel cylinder. This was a waste of time, the "old" seals and wheel cylinder still looked brand new and no wear at all in the cylinder walls.

IMG_1728.JPG Then I looked at the wheel bearings and races. When cleaned of decent looking grease, they looked new, although I don't remember if I ever replaced them. I removed and replaced the outside bearing and the inner bearing seal. The inner bearing looked like a beast to get out and since it looked good, I left it.

I replaced the drum, adjusted the bearing play, then adjusted the brake. Then new brake line, and 95% bled.

Now on to the other side.

I have decided I am going to do the front alignment and measuring myself and buy the proper tools to do so. I will start a new thread to get advice on tools and tips.
 

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48Austin

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Set the "WAYBACK" machine Sherman. In the old days. We just welded a new washer to the frame. And there is, was, were a special socket for the front strut rod nut. I have one. Will get back to you on manufacture and part #. Yes, I still do use it. Also special wrenches to make camber adjustments to turn upper ball joint ecentrics.. Still use them also.
 

Monzallac 425

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Dangerous old-timer trick on compressing coil springs: use the cars weight to compressed the spring, and tie with a strong wire on the middle of the spring in multiple spots so it be cut when installed.

Seen this done in the 70's by my boss when I worked at a Exxon station, he used coat hangers at the time with a car on a roll on lift to compress the springs, not sure I would use today's coat hangers though..o_O

Doug in P.R.:cool:
 

Caddylackn

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Set the "WAYBACK" machine Sherman. In the old days. We just welded a new washer to the frame. And there is, was, were a special socket for the front strut rod nut. I have one. Will get back to you on manufacture and part #. Yes, I still do use it. Also special wrenches to make camber adjustments to turn upper ball joint ecentrics.. Still use them also.
Yes, I was thinking of making one of those ecentric wrenches. I have a picture of one in my factory manual. They let you adjust camber with the tire on and car loaded on the ground without a jack. I cleaned and greased up my ecentric good when I had it out, so it shouldn't take a forged wrench end to turn it now. I think I will build one out of mild steel.

I would have welded in a 1" washer and left it, but I needed to enlarge the hole to 1-1/2" in order to use the t-bird bushing. One of the t-bird bushings is female and the other male, so they fit together tightly but with a 1/8" gap between the bushings where it goes through the crossmember. If I cut off the male part in order to use the 1" hole, I thought there would be too much side to side slop in the bushing.
No way was I paying over $100 + shipping for 4 cad specific rubber bushings.
Dangerous old-timer trick on compressing coil springs: use the cars weight to compressed the spring, and tie with a strong wire on the middle of the spring in multiple spots so it be cut when installed.

Seen this done in the 70's by my boss when I worked at a Exxon station, he used coat hangers at the time with a car on a roll on lift to compress the springs, not sure I would use today's coat hangers though..o_O

Doug in P.R.:cool:
Those were the days... Now shops have no balls at all. A tire shop will not even mount a used tire on a car if it is not a matched set. They also won't patch about 80% of the tires you bring in.

I thought about making a 2" by 2" square tube steel internal spring compressor to keeping the spring compressed before removal so you can easily change the ball joints, but I needed to install new springs anyway.
 

48Austin

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Dangerous old-timer trick on compressing coil springs: use the cars weight to compressed the spring, and tie with a strong wire on the middle of the spring in multiple spots so it be cut when installed.

Seen this done in the 70's by my boss when I worked at a Exxon station, he used coat hangers at the time with a car on a roll on lift to compress the springs, not sure I would use today's coat hangers though..o_O

Doug in P.R.:cool:
Not so dangerous. With the cars weight that spring aint goin nowhere. Moog made two pairs of spring hooks to arch the springs for removal and install. Of course a compressor was needed to install the hooks for install. Made the job easy as pie. Also still have them and use them.
 

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Part III of suspension rebuild.

I started on the passenger side Friday. First order is to clean that side of the garage to get enough room to work on that side. I moved my welding equipment on the other side of the car, moved 2 turbo 400s, in order to get one of my caddy big blocks out of the way to have room to work.

I removed the brake drum, backing plate, and some of the suspension components Friday after work, nothing big to write about except I couldn't get the dam brake hose off the steel line and ended up twisting the steel brake line :mad: :mad: . The flex line has the bracket that is supposed to hold the brake line from turning, but that stripped. I hope I have enough extra slack in the steel line to make a new end. I lost about 2" of line.

Saturday, I dropped the front control arm and removed the spring. If I was going to reinstall the same coil spring, I would have tried the tying the spring up while it was compressed trick. I pressed out the old ball joints, and bushings and cleaned everything real good and degreased the parts, and painted them. I pulled out the strut rod. This one had strut rod bushings in much better shape and the factory hole was still round. I will replace the bushings anyway.

First order of assembly is to press in the control arm bushings. I used my support brace this time, but I still managed to mess up one end trying to press in the bushing. Turns out the bushings were too big :(. These were the same size bushings as the other side? Turns out my passenger control arm is slightly different. It must have been replaced. Caddys of this area either used 1-1/2" or 1-7/16" bushings. I tried pushing in a 1-1/2" bushing in a 1-7/16" control arm socket. The ends are tapered so it is was not obvious that the bushing was too big. The socket was distorted egg shaped. I was able to straighten the receiving socket by hammering a 1" socket through to round the receiving end and using a hammer to shape it around the socket to round it back to stock.

I ordered new 1-7/16" control arm bushings and I will try again.
 

Caddylackn

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The front suspension is done. I put the new smaller 1-7/16" control arm bushings in the upper control arm. The upper shaft didn't want to fit. The new bushings are longer but I believe the upper shaft I have is for the other larger diameter but shorter bushings. I was unable to install one bushing, then place in the shaft, then the other bushing over the shaft per the manual. No matter, its going frickin' back together. I pressed both bushings onto the unwilling control arm with the upper shaft in place. The ends of the bushings don't go all the way in (they hit the shaft shoulder), but these ends are held in with a bolt and 3/16" thick washer and that is torqued to 40 ft lbs. The shaft is not going anywhere. The rest of the suspension parts went on smoothly. The new brakes are on.

Now onto fix the 1/4" brake line I twisted off the end on when removing the old brake hose. I decided to replace the whole line rather than splice it. When looking this over, I realized when I installed a Buick master cylinder for drum brakes, I added a 3/16" line from the master to the front splitter then it goes to feed two 1/4" lines to each wheel cylinder. When I took the brakes apart, I noticed only the leading edge shoe on each side had wear and a lot of it. The trailing shoe showed hardly any wear, so obviously wasn't engaging. This would explain why both front brakes had serious wear on one brake shoe, but none on the other side. Apparently it was not getting enough fluid to engage and move the other shoe. Drum brakes take more fluid volume than disc brakes, this is why they require a 1/4" line. I was feeding two 1/4" lines with one 3/16" line. The car did stop alright though.....

I must have been high when I cobbled that together 30 years ago :rofl: . I wonder where I got the 3/16" line from? Obviously not from the donor car I took the master cylinder from.

So, every brake line is coming out and getting replaced. I made new 1/4" lines to both wheels, and a new 1/4" from the master to the splitter. I used that copper nickel stuff. Boy that sh.t is nice to work with. Nice tight bends and perfect double flares every time. You can just your your hands to contour it around frame rails and the crossmember.

new brake lines.jpg

It was at this time I noticed that the front master primary circuit (closest to the firewall) was hooked up to the back brakes, and the secondary circuit was going to the front brakes. It is supposed to be the other way around. I still have to swap the lines on the master cylinder, I hope there is enough slack.

I bought one of those reverse brake bleeders to use. I am looking forward to using it.
 

Darius

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Caddylackn,

Never heard of a reverse brake bleeder before. What does it do? Got pictures?

bro. d
 
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Caddylackn

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It is like having a little hand operated master cylinder at the brake bleeder valve, then you force fluid up to the master cylinder. Going up, it is much easier to move out bubbles stuck on bends, plus it is one man operation and I don't need to drag an unwilling teenager out to help me. It is actually pretty smart if you think about it, bubbles want to go up.

Here is a link:

Reverse Brake Bleeder

I don't like that the pump part is plastic, but it should last if you are careful. They sell an all metal one, but it is over $200.
 

48Austin

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Just water flush it and silicone spray it to keep it lubed.
 

Caddylackn

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I swapped the brake lines at the master this weekend. Time to try the reverse bleeder.

The quality of the system and connectors is good. This is a well thought out design. It uses clear hoses with special twist on connectors that keep the hoses from popping off, and a rubber cap that fits over the bleeder that stays on pretty good. The hand pump draws fluid from the new brake fluid container with a press on air tight plug. More on this later. There is a learning curve with this tool.

Here is my first time using this tool:
1. I went through all four brakes but didn't get much fluid into the master from the rear lines then went in the car and realized that i still had the brake pedal propped down with a stick from previously bleeding the brakes last weekend. Duh. Time to do it again.
2. Second time through, I was having problems when letting go of the pump handle, there was a small bubble in the line every time I could see that went back and forth by the bleeder nipple. I was getting air into the system from the threads of the bleeder nipples. The instructions said this might be a problem, so I used teflon tape around each bleeder. This seemed to solve this air intrusion at the end. Then, I noticed that when pumping fluid, I could see fluid going both ways in the line while pumping. I figured out that since the plug in the brake fluid container was letting no air in, that the bottle flexing under vacuum was trying to pull brake fluid back. So I had to do the brakes again after I figured this out.
3. Third time through I could tell that it was much harder to pump fluid and the reservoirs filled easily.

When I was done, I still had a half soft pedal, but I had some pressure, like one brake circuit was good one was bad. I think I have a leak, possibly a bad wheel cylinder. The passenger front wheel cylinder had some rust pitting I noticed when I changed the seals. The pitting was light, I hit it with some 400 grit, but I should have honed it. I will pull the drum and check.

I didn't see any fluid come out of any the new flares on the new brake lines I did, but then the hand pump is fairly low pressure.

So back to square one to try to find the leak in the system.

What I liked about this reverse bleeder unit.

1. Easy to use under the car. The rear of my car is not jacked up and clearance is low. I barely fit under the rear of the car to crack the bleeder. It is easy to set up the bottle under the car, hook up the line, and pump while partially under the car. You can do it all in one shot in under 5 minutes per wheel, so no more getting down, under, then up, then down again..... If I can find my leak, I bet I can bleed all four brakes in 15 minutes by myself.
2. The clear lines let you know if you are introducing air into the brake system. Since you are adding fluid in large quantities it should be purging out all the air out of the lines. The system holds fluid after removing the cap from the bleeder without introducing air between each wheel. I noticed that once I hooked up to the next bleeder, there was still no air bubbles in the line in between moving it from wheel to wheel, except what little dripped out of the bleeder cap when it was set down.
3. Step one is to use the tool and pump to suck and empty the master cylinder of all old fluid to get room for new fluid. Since you don't have to worry about removing all of the fluid and letting air in, so now is the chance to clean all the gunk out the bottom of the reservoir. I had a lot of sediment that I would never have found or removed using the standard bleeding procedure with the brake pedal.
4. The system's clear lines, connectors, and bleeder attachment can also make it much easier to bleed the lines by gravity or by using the pedal.

What I don't like:

1. I had trouble with air getting around the bleeder screws. All four bleeders had to be removed and taped with teflon tape. Removing the bleeders makes a drippy brake fluid mess on the back of every backing plate and suspension that makes it hard to spot leaks later.
2. You can easily force dirt/rust into the brake lines via the bleeder screws if they didn't have rubber caps on them or have rust, so the bleeders need to come out anyway, or at least use the brake pedal to flush stuff out before starting.
3. The system works under low pressure (10 - 30 psi), so small brake fluid leaks in the system will not be apparent until you use the brake pedal and build up real pressure.
4. You still have to baby sit the master cylinder while doing this. Instead of running out of fluid, you can easily overflow it and create a mess. So it still needs checked after each wheel.
5. You need to pop the cap on the brake fluid container every few pumps or so to let air in for the amount of fluid removed. You could poke a hole in the plug, or container, but then every time you knock container over under the car it spills. I wish they had a one way air valve, like a sippy cup that lets air into the brake fluid container.
 

Caddylackn

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Well, I have been working on this project but just haven't posted. Not a lot else going on the forum so I will post something.

I have installed four seat belts. That was a bit of work and required me to put the entire car up on jack stands to get under it to secure the mounting bolt nuts and giant washers. The car has an X frame which is real pain in the but, since much of the area I need to get the nuts for the seat belt bolts in is inaccessible since it is close to the x in the frame, what isn't is mostly blocked by the driveshaft. This car never came with seat belts so I had to guess where to mount the bolts. The giant seat did not have any provisions to run seat belts through the back between the bottom seat and top seat back. I had to make some cuts where they wouldn't be noticeable to run the mounting end of the seat belt through the seat to hit the floor. It is done, and looks alright, not factree but presentable. I ordered 60" belts for the front, when I should have had 72" belts. Fine with me, but that will limit the car to skinny people in the front.

I have been unable to get a really firm brake pedal and I am pretty sure that I have all the air out and I have found no leaks anywhere in the stuff already replaced so:

1. It is either something to do with the rear brakes
2. It is the master cylinder and the seals are worn

I bought new rear brake hoses and rear wheel cylinder rebuild kits and one of those brake cylinder hone tools. I got the rear brake hoses off by heating the connection first with a torch and cooling it by hitting it with PB Blaster. The problem with these is the brake line wants to turn with the nut, and I didn't want to have to replace the brake line again, like I did for the front. I pulled the rear drums off and the old brake hose. I pulled out the passenger wheel cylinder and this what I found. Both pistons on each wheel cylinder looked like this. Same for both wheels. It looks like tis is corrosion from the pistons.

IMG_2147.JPG

I was able to get the pistons out, and the bores cleaned up remarkably well with the honing tool. The pistons cleaned up pretty good as well. I put in the rebuilt kits and new brake hoses, then buttoned up the brakes and put on the brake drums. All this corrosion looks like something reacted with the piston surface on the outside. There was very little rust on the bore near the outside, but these pistons weren't moving.
 

Caddylackn

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So, after bleeding again, I still had a brake pedal that was only about 50% firm, but seemed to hold pressure. I decided to pull the master cylinder. I took it apart and the bore was not pitted and very clean and smooth but there was a lot of black residue in the bottom of the reservoir and the back of the master cylinder. I am guessing the seals were partially eaten up by the 30 year old fluid and I am not building enough pressure in the master. None of the seals looked bad, but all that black gunk came from somewhere.

I ordered a '68 Buick Skylark master cylinder for power brakes but all 4 drums. This is what I have been running since the 90s and it has the same 1" bore as the stock caddy but it is dual circuit and not single circuit like the original Caddy. Unfortunately I could not find a master cylinder rebuild kit anywhere. I don't think they sell those anymore?
 

Darius

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Thanks for the update. That picture of the wheel cylinder sure offered some ‘yuck’ factor.
Glad to see that progress continues on your project.

Best,

bro. d
 
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