Author Topic: Another rusty top -- 1967 Eldorado  (Read 412 times)

Offline 67_Eldo

  • Posts: 148
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #30815
  • Name: sdownie
Another rusty top -- 1967 Eldorado
« on: October 04, 2017, 01:32:46 PM »
Now that my 67 Eldorado runs well, I've been preparing it for repainting. I thought the car had no rust but I was looking in the wrong place. The vinyl top was my Nemesis all along!

The previous owner had some rural-Kansas folks put on a new vinyl top about five years ago. It turns out that they didn't do anything to repair prior damage. So when I dug in with the grinder last night, what I thought were bubbles in the adhesive they'd slathered through the drip rails turned out to be holes in the top's metal skin.

It's tempting to go the cheap route, pack the existing rusty gaps with putty and calling it good. But I'm going to (foolishly?) go the cut-out-the-old-and-weld-in-new-metal route.

Behind the rear-quarter window is a tough spot because I can't get in right behind the top's outer skin, even after removing the window and its mechanism. So I'll probably use a Dremel to slowly and carefully cut out about an eight-square-inch chunk of bad metal, striving to not damage any metal beneath.

I'm a novice welder. We'll see if I improve quickly!

Ugh.

Offline Bill Young

  • Nothin's Lackin When Your Cadillac'n
  • Posts: 489
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #17476
  • Name: William W. Young
Re: Another rusty top -- 1967 Eldorado
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2017, 03:36:30 PM »
Looks like someone pop riveted a patch metal panel on before.
1972 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado Convertible in Coronation Red , White top , White seats with Oxblood dash and carpet

Offline The Tassie Devil(le)

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 7468
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #18992
  • Name: Bruce Reynolds
Re: Another rusty top -- 1967 Eldorado
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2017, 05:51:19 PM »
What is it like around the rest of the roof?   Especially the rear window area?

The area is repairable, but you will have to strip out the headlining to do it correctly, plus if you could find a donor car to take the good parts from, you could do a graft.

Bruce. >:D
'72 Eldorado Convertible (LHD)
'70 Ranchero Squire (RHD)
'74 Chris Craft Gull Wing (SH)
(Past President Modified Chapter)

Offline 67_Eldo

  • Posts: 148
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #30815
  • Name: sdownie
Re: Another rusty top -- 1967 Eldorado
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2017, 06:06:10 PM »
There are a few small holes behind the rear-quarter window on the other (passenger) side, but not out of control. There are spots of thick rust below parts of the rear window, but no holes.

I've already removed the headliner-covered sail panels so they're out of the way. I might go ahead and replace the whole headliner anyway, although this one is intact (but sort of dirty). Everything else behind the rear seats is out: The windows and all of their power-window mechanisms, the rear parcel shelf, the rear-window trim, and courtesy lights.

For peace of mind, I'm going to take the car to a name-brand glass place and have them pull the rear window. The irreplaceable rear window. Then I'll clean out the rear-window gunk, patch whatever needs to be patched, and have them reinstall the rear window properly. At the moment, the window is simply glued in with an astounding amount of gunk.

I know where I can find another running 1967 Eldorado for about $2000. But I have nowhere to put it. Very frustrating!

Offline 67_Eldo

  • Posts: 148
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #30815
  • Name: sdownie
Re: Another rusty top -- 1967 Eldorado
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2017, 02:34:19 PM »
The more I dig, the less metal I find.  :(

It looks like the top (and rear quarters under the vinyl) are pretty much rusty Swiss cheese. The more I grind to find "good" metal, the more bad metal I find. There's just a lot of thick Bondo.

Now the actions of the prior owner fall into place. I wondered why the "new" vinyl top he said he had recently installed contained some odd imperfections. Also, when I bought it, every nook and cranny in the back of the car was saturated with fine sand, even filling the rear speakers and accumulating in the rear-sail-panel courtesy lights.

I'll bet that the prior owner went to replace the vinyl top, had it sandblasted (filling the back of the car with fine sand), found out that the top's metal skin had rusted away, and told his body guy to cheaply slap it back together so it could be sold.

Does anybody have a diagram of the structure of the top underneath the external skin in a 1967 Eldorado? I'm tempted to cut the top skin off, clean up whatever structure is underneath, and fabricate a canvas top that would fit over the structure. It would be a "convertible" whose metal frame could never be retracted.

Offline Barry M Wheeler #2189

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 2011
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #2189
  • Name: Barry Wheeler
Re: Another rusty top -- 1967 Eldorado
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2017, 04:20:11 PM »
Of course I know nothing of your personal life, whether you can keep a car in the driveway, etc. But I was thinking that if you go throw $1500 at the guy with the other car, you will have any part you need for the car close at hand. Of course, you have to also respect the wishes of your spouse who could quickly succumb to "I'm sick of looking of that piece of junk!!!" But you might also have a friend who knows of someone who has some space to store the second car.

Do you have any farmer friends. They sometimes have sheds with a spare space. If you can afford the second car, I'd look pretty hard for a place to stash it. Having a second car with parts readily at hand would be a big plus. In any case, best of luck.
Barry M. Wheeler #2189

1979 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham
1981 Cadillac Seville
1991 Cadillac Seville
2016 Cadillac ATS

Offline The Tassie Devil(le)

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 7468
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #18992
  • Name: Bruce Reynolds
Re: Another rusty top -- 1967 Eldorado
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2017, 06:10:19 PM »
I am with Barry.

It could be that the second car is in better condition that your initial one, and it might be cheaper to transfer all the good bits from the first one over to the second one and end up with a very nice car.

The rust in the roof is horrible, and as you found out, the previous owner didn't car what it looked like, so long as he could get rid of it.

Bruce. >:D
'72 Eldorado Convertible (LHD)
'70 Ranchero Squire (RHD)
'74 Chris Craft Gull Wing (SH)
(Past President Modified Chapter)

Offline 67_Eldo

  • Posts: 148
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #30815
  • Name: sdownie
Re: Another rusty top -- 1967 Eldorado
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2017, 08:33:36 PM »
Thanks guys. I'm feeling sort of sick at my stomach.  :'(

It is so frustrating. It is, mechanically, a practically new car now: Suspension, transmission, axles, brakes, electrical system, all new engine seals. And the body had no rust ... except under the vinyl top.

If anyone hears of a 67 Eldorado that has a nice, vinyl-top-free body but is shot mechanically, please let me know!  ;D

Offline The Tassie Devil(le)

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 7468
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #18992
  • Name: Bruce Reynolds
Re: Another rusty top -- 1967 Eldorado
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2017, 08:46:46 PM »
I am sure that the factories install;ed the vinyl tops to ensure that the cars would have a use-by date that was well short of the capacity of the mechanicals.

The padded tops really ensured that vehicle body life would be short.

Bruce. >:D
'72 Eldorado Convertible (LHD)
'70 Ranchero Squire (RHD)
'74 Chris Craft Gull Wing (SH)
(Past President Modified Chapter)

Offline Barry M Wheeler #2189

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 2011
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #2189
  • Name: Barry Wheeler
Re: Another rusty top -- 1967 Eldorado
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2017, 07:28:51 AM »
Remember that if you are looking only for the metal top, you have four years to look for. 1967-1970.
Barry M. Wheeler #2189

1979 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham
1981 Cadillac Seville
1991 Cadillac Seville
2016 Cadillac ATS

Offline Mike Josephic CLC #3877

  • Posts: 1507
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #3877
Re: Another rusty top -- 1967 Eldorado
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2017, 10:51:06 PM »
Don't feel bad or get discouraged.  Many of us have see this before you.

In my case, my '55 Caddy Eldorado I bought (1981) I thought was pretty
solid.  I poked around with a pencil and found a small hole in the driver's
side floor and some areas of the trunk felt a bit thin.  So I  went ahead
and bought it.

Rust has an insidious way of "hiding" and looking much better that it really
is.  Once you start grinding, you find damage you never dreamed was there.
With my car, 90% of the rust was covered by a thickly applied undercoat.

In my case, I needed a parts car.  When I removed the interior and started
grinding / cutting away the rust I was left with the transmission tunnel and
not much else.  The trunk floor and rear valance was a total loss -- too bad
to be salvaged.

To make a long story short, I got through all of this (with some help) and
I'm glad I did.

So forget that "sick feeling" in your stomach, kick back and have a beer
and plan your next steps.  You'll be glad you did.  I certainly was.

Good luck to you!

Mike
« Last Edit: October 08, 2017, 11:09:30 PM by Mike Josephic CLC #3877 »
1955 Cadillac Eldorado
1973 Cadillac Eldorado
1995 Cadillac Seville
2004 Escalade
1997 GMC Suburban 4X4, 454 engine, 3/4 ton
custom built by Santa Fe in Evansville, IN
2011 Buick Lucerne CX
-------------------------------------
CLCMRC Museum Benefactor #38
Past: VP International Affiliates, Museum Board Director, President / Director Pittsburgh Region

Offline 60eldo

  • Posts: 787
  • EVERYDAY ABOVE GROUND IS A GOOD DAY
  • Name: Johnny.K. CLC MEMBER #27762
Re: Another rusty top -- 1967 Eldorado
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2017, 08:06:16 AM »
     Ive got a 67 Im parting out. The roof could be cut, nice clean roof. Let me know if you need anything or just call me  905-706-2747 John
J. Kluczynski

Offline 67_Eldo

  • Posts: 148
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #30815
  • Name: sdownie
Re: Another rusty top -- 1967 Eldorado
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2017, 09:54:58 AM »
Thanks for the encouragement and info, everyone! There are lots of options, none of which are appealing. :-)

I can either fix it properly, fix it poorly, or simply stop and take the loss. It's a sunny day here today so I'll go out and gather more info.

One additional problem is that I live in a neighborhood where you aren't supposed to work on your car in the driveway. Grrr. I get suspicious glances when I raise the hood to check the oil. Everyone would completely freak out if I bought another old Eldo, parked the cars side by side, and started swapping parts. So I need to find a space for my newly expanded project.

Thanks again!

Offline wrefakis

  • Posts: 494
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #3171
Re: Another rusty top -- 1967 Eldorado
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2017, 10:54:00 AM »
these cars were never designed to last 50 years
the original owners  traded them when they were one and 2 years old
I loved these tops when the cars were new
back then a 10 year old car with 100k miles was junk

Offline 67_Eldo

  • Posts: 148
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #30815
  • Name: sdownie
Re: Another rusty top -- 1967 Eldorado
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2017, 01:27:11 PM »
The body shops I hit this morning won't touch it. The only one to give me a very rough estimate said to swap in a replacement top would take one guy, full time, a week. That's a (conservative) $4000 in labor. And they didn't want to dedicate a week's worth of one guy's time to a 50-year-old car, even if I was willing to pay.

I think I'll just patch it up, sans vinyl top, and keep driving it as it is. "Patchy," the Eldorado. :-)

Offline Barry M Wheeler #2189

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 2011
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #2189
  • Name: Barry Wheeler
Re: Another rusty top -- 1967 Eldorado
« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2017, 03:13:03 PM »
Before you give up, do you have in your city a community college? (Our state run one is called Ivy Tech.) Many times they have an auto repair shop as part of their curriculum. This might be a semester long project for an auto/body shop course.
Barry M. Wheeler #2189

1979 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham
1981 Cadillac Seville
1991 Cadillac Seville
2016 Cadillac ATS

Offline 67_Eldo

  • Posts: 148
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #30815
  • Name: sdownie
Re: Another rusty top -- 1967 Eldorado
« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2017, 03:22:30 PM »
I'm taking an auto body course at the local community college. That's how I was able to dig myself into a hole this effectively! :-)

The instructor hasn't yet seen the full picture of the rust damage. Last week (Tuesday) I had cleared enough Bondo away to see about 12 square inches of metal. We thought there was good metal beyond that. But when I began grinding away on Saturday morning, I found no "good" metal to make a patch.

We'll see what he says tomorrow night. I think it will be buckets-o-putty time. :-)

Offline 67_Eldo

  • Posts: 148
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #30815
  • Name: sdownie
Re: Another rusty top -- 1967 Eldorado
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2017, 03:34:44 PM »
BTW, the school won't let me do any work that involves moving (or removing) the rear window.

They're afraid that if anything happens to that priceless, unobtainable Eldorado rear window on the school's watch, their insurance folks will flip out!

 

Get the CLCMRC 2018 Calendar - AVAILABLE NOW!