Author Topic: 1956 Cadillac Coupe De Ville Restoration  (Read 680 times)

Offline CadillacRob

  • Posts: 240
  • Name: Rob Basile
1956 Cadillac Coupe De Ville Restoration
« on: May 21, 2016, 07:24:03 AM »
Hey guys,

Ive been meaning to join this forum for a while.  I have two cadillacs, a 1950 series 61 sedan and, a 1956 coupe deville which is the main focus of this thread.

The 56 has been an uphill battle from day 1.  I rebuilt the carbureator (which was off the car for seemingly some time).  The key wouldnt fit in the ignition, so I hot wired it with a screw driver.  It turned over and coughed for days with nothing.  Tried new spark plugs, wires, and points.  Still nothing.  Come to find there was no compression.  Out came the spark plugs and I pumped in a 50:50 mix of ATF and brake fluid.  Let it sit for a few days.  Manually turned the engine to get rid of the fluid, put the plugs back in and after a bit, the engine caught and fired.  Ive only run it a maximum of 10 seconds (I was just putting gas in the carb fuel inlet - no fuel pump.)

Ive installed a new fuel pump and a nicopp line to the carb, as well as a nicopp vacuum line to the advance on the distributor.   I also installed new brake hoses up front, and all new wheel cylinders.  The car is missing its bendix master cylinder/booster unit. (More on that later.)

Since then, I soaked the fan pulley, and water pump and their bolts in vinegar for a couple days, followed by wire brushing and a soak of liquid wrench to prevent flash rust.

I reinstalled the water pump with new gaskets.  The radiator and radiator core support were in the trunk.  I cleaned up the support and primed and painted it.  3 of the 4 solder joints on the radiator bracket were busted.  I cleaned it with muriatic acid and resoldered with flux, good lead solder and a propane torch.  That was a challenge but it holds now.

I reinstalled the radiator and radiator support (what a  that was!  Had to remove both fenders).

Hooked everything up, new rad hoses, started to fill with a hose and the water pump immediately leaked out of the weep hole. 

Back off came the water pump which was really glued on there with the gasket sealer I used.  I welded and built a shop press.  Pressed out the bearing and resoaked the whole unit in vinegar to allow me to scrub the now exposed internals.  I ordered a rebuild kit ($100 after shipping!).  Unpacked it and first thing I read "no returns if opened".....followed by - impeller and housing must be machined for proper fitment.  I tried reasoning with vendor and no luck.

So, my father in law suggested it shouldnt be too hard to cut down the impeller with the right grinding stone bit on his drill press.  I figured what the hell I have nothing to lose.  I pressed in the new bearing and will grind down the new impeller today for proper clearance.

From there I hope to reinstall the water pump and let the engine idle off an external gas tank.

I bought a generator on ebay (also was missing from car) only to have the terminals bent in shipping.  Took 3 weeks of headaches but I finally got my money back.  I bent the terminals back and hope to use it....but these terminals are oriented on the bottom, not the top like the correct ones.  I was told it was a lester 9005 and would work on a 56 caddy.....it might but Im glad I ended up getting it for "free".

As for the brakes - I want to run a new dual master and booster for safety.  Ive heard frequently that the original bendix treadle vac units were known for unexpected failure, and being that I dont even have a core, itd be a very expensive endeavor - to the tune of 6-800 bucks.  Hence, Id like to run something different.  Will take a bracket modification, but also, more concerning to me, Im told my pedal ratio is different and will need to be changed or modified to adequately engage the newer master cylinder.

Thats all for now folks!
1950 series 61 sedan
1956 coupe de ville

Offline CadillacRob

  • Posts: 240
  • Name: Rob Basile
Re: 1956 Cadillac Coupe De Ville Restoration
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2016, 08:18:26 AM »
Some more pictures....

1950 series 61 sedan
1956 coupe de ville

Offline Rob Leech

  • Posts: 29
  • Name: Rob Leech
Re: 1956 Cadillac Coupe De Ville Restoration
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2017, 08:40:09 PM »
So how is the 56 shaping up? If your like me each new job on mine leads to 3 others. I'm pretty sure I have a PhD in 1956 Cadillac. It's a beautiful car, be patient, your restoring an art piece.
Rob Leech 1956 Eldorado Convertible

Offline CadillacRob

  • Posts: 240
  • Name: Rob Basile
Re: 1956 Cadillac Coupe De Ville Restoration
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2017, 12:40:59 AM »
I wrote a long post with pics on my phone and low and behold it didn't post   >:(

Anyway, she's in pieces.  Transmission getting full rebuild, engine to follow.  Radiator recored.  I remade almost the entire lower passenger side.   Fender, rocker, rear fender.  Small collision and bondo'd out.  Surprise.  Floors are toast.  Just got done installing the passenger floor board I made.  All kinds of metal work.  She won't be a museum piece or Barret Jackson, but it'll be a reliable driver to keep for many years to come ;D
1950 series 61 sedan
1956 coupe de ville