Author Topic: Belgian 1955 Cadillac restoration  (Read 860 times)

Offline LayEmLow

  • Posts: 13
  • Name: Maarten
Belgian 1955 Cadillac restoration
« on: June 19, 2017, 12:49:12 PM »
Hello everyone,

I am from Belguim and about two years ago i bought my American dream... A 1955 Cadillac.
The previous owner used her for a wedding in 1974 and since then she just stood in a barn.
And the 40 years of neglect really show on this American beauty.
She needs a serious restoration but i just want to get her running for now.

The car is originally a metallic blue with green/blue interior.
Original 331 is there but in unknown condition.










Greetings

« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 12:58:45 PM by LayEmLow »
Maarten Robaert

1955 Cadillac Fleetwood
1964 Chevrolet Impala
1962 Vw Beetle
1968 Vw Bus T2A

Offline LayEmLow

  • Posts: 13
  • Name: Maarten
Re: Belgian 1955 Cadillac restoration
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2017, 10:50:07 AM »
Hello everyone ,

Got some time to work on the Caddy today.
Did some cleaning and hooked up a battery.
AAAAAAAND nothing...... only one headlight working and radio light. not good..
Removed the taillight lenses and everything was corroded very badly.
Some sandpaper and elbowgrease and voila rear lights work !



Tomorrow we try to crank engine... wish me luck.

Greetings from your Belgian friend.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 12:59:27 PM by LayEmLow »
Maarten Robaert

1955 Cadillac Fleetwood
1964 Chevrolet Impala
1962 Vw Beetle
1968 Vw Bus T2A

Offline Jeff Rose CLC #28373

  • Posts: 1278
  • Name: Jeff Rose
Re: Belgian 1955 Cadillac restoration
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2017, 11:36:37 AM »
Congrats!!
We have had our 55 for only 10 days. You are ahead of me as I have not hooked a battery up to it yet. Good luck. I am sure we will be seeing each other on the forums.
Jeff
Jeff
CLC #28373
1970 Coupe DeVille
1955 Series 62

Offline LayEmLow

  • Posts: 13
  • Name: Maarten
Re: Belgian 1955 Cadillac restoration
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2017, 11:47:08 AM »
Congrats!!
We have had our 55 for only 10 days. You are ahead of me as I have not hooked a battery up to it yet. Good luck. I am sure we will be seeing each other on the forums.
Jeff

Very nice Cadillac you have there! looks like yours is in alot better shape than mine.

Greetings from your Belgian Friend.
Maarten Robaert

1955 Cadillac Fleetwood
1964 Chevrolet Impala
1962 Vw Beetle
1968 Vw Bus T2A

Offline LayEmLow

  • Posts: 13
  • Name: Maarten
Re: Belgian 1955 Cadillac restoration
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2017, 10:13:49 AM »
Hello my Friends.

Sorry for the lack of posts ! i was on vacation  ;D

Soooooooo back on the caddy now.

I wanted to see if engine ran , so to check engine a little i removed valve covers.
Sadly there are two bent pushrods and one broken rocker.  :( :'(
Caused by two stuck valves.... i put oil down the valve shafts and voila they are lose...
Now the question is : should i remove the heads or would it be safe to run the engine now the valves are lose?

Greetings from your Belgian Friend.
Maarten Robaert

1955 Cadillac Fleetwood
1964 Chevrolet Impala
1962 Vw Beetle
1968 Vw Bus T2A

Offline V63

  • Posts: 227
  • Name: W Link
Re: Belgian 1955 Cadillac restoration
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2017, 11:42:09 AM »
Hello in Belgium!

Verify that you are ONLY using fresh fuel! Bad (stale) fuel is what sticks the valves. Very good practice to add 1 oz of automatic transmission fluid to 5 gallons fuel.

If the engine has not been run in a while, I like to remove the sparkplugs and put an oz of trans fluid in each cylinder. Let soak a min of 1/2 hour. Verify clean oil is in  the crank case  moreover, that it's FULL.

Disable ignition.

(Spark plugs removed) crank the engine past the oil pressure light is extinguished. This fills your lifters and pressure lubricates the bearings. Fills carburetor with fuel.

Excess trans fluid might mist from the cylinders holes.

You could verify valve action at this time

Assemble valve covers, clean plugs and ignition.

I like to mix a rich mixture of trans fluid and fuel for priming...

Pre lubricated...The engine should start without injury. white smoke probable initially because of rich trans fluid and gasoline used for priming and excess from cylinder lubrication.

Offline dochawk

  • Posts: 352
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #29642
  • Name: Richard Hawkins
Re: Belgian 1955 Cadillac restoration
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2017, 04:36:44 PM »
Hello everyone ,
Got some time to work on the Caddy today.
Did some cleaning and hooked up a battery.
AAAAAAAND nothing...... only one headlight working and radio light. not good..
Removed the taillight lenses and everything was corroded very badly.
Some sandpaper and elbowgrease and voila rear lights work !

Wow, we have *got* to get you a copy of "One Piece at a Time'  :)

Enjoy this wonderful car.

hawk
1972 Eldorado convertible, 2001 Deville DHS (daughter), 1997 Eldorado ETC (and now my wife wants an Eldorado!)

Offline LayEmLow

  • Posts: 13
  • Name: Maarten
Re: Belgian 1955 Cadillac restoration
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2017, 11:24:56 AM »
Hello in Belgium!

Verify that you are ONLY using fresh fuel! Bad (stale) fuel is what sticks the valves. Very good practice to add 1 oz of automatic transmission fluid to 5 gallons fuel.

If the engine has not been run in a while, I like to remove the sparkplugs and put an oz of trans fluid in each cylinder. Let soak a min of 1/2 hour. Verify clean oil is in  the crank case  moreover, that it's FULL.

Disable ignition.

(Spark plugs removed) crank the engine past the oil pressure light is extinguished. This fills your lifters and pressure lubricates the bearings. Fills carburetor with fuel.

Excess trans fluid might mist from the cylinders holes.

You could verify valve action at this time

Assemble valve covers, clean plugs and ignition.

I like to mix a rich mixture of trans fluid and fuel for priming...

Pre lubricated...The engine should start without injury. white smoke probable initially because of rich trans fluid and gasoline used for priming and excess from cylinder lubrication.

Thank you very much for the info my friend! i'm waiting on the new rocker and then i'll see if the engine wants to live.  >:D
i really want to hear the 8 cilinders go BANG.

Wow, we have *got* to get you a copy of "One Piece at a Time'  :)

Enjoy this wonderful car.

hawk

What is that copy you speak of?

I have a few european classic cars and they are nothing compared to this car.
The quality of these cars is amazing! i'm in love with Cadillacs now.  ;D


Sorry my friends , sadly no new updates...
I have not found the time to work on the Caddy

i'll keep you guys updated!

Greetings from your Belgian friend!
Maarten Robaert

1955 Cadillac Fleetwood
1964 Chevrolet Impala
1962 Vw Beetle
1968 Vw Bus T2A

Offline dochawk

  • Posts: 352
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #29642
  • Name: Richard Hawkins
Re: Belgian 1955 Cadillac restoration
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2017, 11:59:33 AM »

What is that copy you speak of?


Ideally a vinyl record, but I suppose a CD could do.

It's a 1976 Johny Cash song, in which he goes to work for GM and steals a Cadillac one piece at a time over decades.

Quote
Now the headlight' was another sight
We had two on the left and one on the right
But when we pulled out the switch all three of 'em come on.

:)
1972 Eldorado convertible, 2001 Deville DHS (daughter), 1997 Eldorado ETC (and now my wife wants an Eldorado!)

Offline Jeff Rose CLC #28373

  • Posts: 1278
  • Name: Jeff Rose
Re: Belgian 1955 Cadillac restoration
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2017, 03:10:48 PM »
i really want to hear the 8 cilinders go BANG.


Let's not use the word BANG, OK???
Jeff
CLC #28373
1970 Coupe DeVille
1955 Series 62

Offline LayEmLow

  • Posts: 13
  • Name: Maarten
Re: Belgian 1955 Cadillac restoration
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2017, 11:57:04 AM »
Let's not use the word BANG, OK???

Haha i don't mean "BANG" in a exploding kinda way  :P hehehe
More like " waking the horses of their 40 years of sleep".

So friends , i found a little time to work on the Caddy today...
Last time i hooked up a battery i found out the NONE of the 4 eletric windows work.
Also i hear a ticking sound about every minute coming from the driver door.
So i tought "Let's quickly pull of the door card and look at the motor and the switches..."
NOT! I just can't get the door handles off  >:(
I removed the clips and nothing happens... Probably rusted on?



What did i expect from a car that sat for 40 years?
ah well always another day tomorrow...

Greetings from your Belgian friend.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 01:00:17 PM by LayEmLow »
Maarten Robaert

1955 Cadillac Fleetwood
1964 Chevrolet Impala
1962 Vw Beetle
1968 Vw Bus T2A

Offline Jeff Rose CLC #28373

  • Posts: 1278
  • Name: Jeff Rose
Re: Belgian 1955 Cadillac restoration
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2017, 01:34:50 PM »
You probably just have to work them off. Wiggle them for a bit. Probably too tight to get any lube back there.
Nice with the power windows. Mine are manual.
Jeff
Jeff
CLC #28373
1970 Coupe DeVille
1955 Series 62

Offline The Tassie Devil(le)

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  • Posts: 7183
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #18992
  • Name: Bruce Reynolds
Re: Belgian 1955 Cadillac restoration
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2017, 07:59:21 PM »
G'day Maarten,

The problem with electricals after being standing for a long time in your case shouldn't be that bad.

But, whoa-betide the poor fellas in the future, having to deal with the current vehicles when they want to restore theme after a similar time of "rest"

Bruce. >:D
« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 05:35:44 AM by The Tassie Devil(le) »
'72 Eldorado Convertible (LHD)
'70 Ranchero Squire (RHD)
'55 Buick Special Post Coupe (LHD)
'74 Chris Craft Gull Wing RHH
(Past President Modified Chapter)

Offline dochawk

  • Posts: 352
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #29642
  • Name: Richard Hawkins
Re: Belgian 1955 Cadillac restoration
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2017, 01:30:42 PM »
You probably just have to work them off. Wiggle them for a bit. Probably too tight to get any lube back there.
Nice with the power windows. Mine are manual.

In addition to the regular WD-40, there is a variant for rust.

After years of attempting to get a lugnut off of my 72, I sprayed it with this, waited 48 hours, and it was merely a "hard" lugnut.

But be sure it isn't going to get on something else that it will dissolve, etc.
1972 Eldorado convertible, 2001 Deville DHS (daughter), 1997 Eldorado ETC (and now my wife wants an Eldorado!)

Offline LayEmLow

  • Posts: 13
  • Name: Maarten
Re: Belgian 1955 Cadillac restoration
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2017, 01:09:35 PM »
G'day Maarten,

The problem with electricals after being standing for a long time in your case shouldn't be that bad.

But, whoa-betide the poor fellas in the future, having to deal with the current vehicles when they want to restore theme after a similar time of "rest"

Bruce. >:D

The eletricals are not really the problem, it's that eveything is rusted stuck... So i can't even reach the electricals... :'(
I would'nt even attempt to restore a post 1990 car....

In addition to the regular WD-40, there is a variant for rust.

After years of attempting to get a lugnut off of my 72, I sprayed it with this, waited 48 hours, and it was merely a "hard" lugnut.

But be sure it isn't going to get on something else that it will dissolve, etc.

The problem is that i can't reach the shaft where the crank is rusted on...
But i'll look into that stuff , thanks !!

Greetings from your Belgian friend
Maarten Robaert

1955 Cadillac Fleetwood
1964 Chevrolet Impala
1962 Vw Beetle
1968 Vw Bus T2A

Offline LayEmLow

  • Posts: 13
  • Name: Maarten
Re: Belgian 1955 Cadillac restoration
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2017, 01:29:52 PM »
Hello my friends !

The progress on the Caddy is very slow due to house restoration work...
BUT we have some updates ... (well more like 1 step forward and two steps back)

The good : I GOT THE ENGINE RUNNING.... well kinda... the two valves are stuck again  >:(

I'll go into more details now

Last tuesday i finally received my "new" rocker...
so i could assemble the rocker assembly.

i assembled the motor , and with some trail and error the engine started up.
in a matter of seconds the two valves got stuck again , and my mood sank miles deep.
Lucky no damage...

So this is the bad : - the valves that i got loose are stuck again
                            - the oil pressure light didn't go off whilst she was running


debating why she wouldn't have oil pressure , i disassembled the rocker shaft assembly again.
so i could free the valves up. but no luck... they are very stuck.



Not wanting to mess any more with the valves , i turned my attention to the oil pressure.

removed the plugs and cranked the engine.
whitin seconds oil gusses out of the passenger side cilinder head...
Hence that the battery was almost dead so really slow rotations.

How can my oil pressure be low when oil gusses out the cilinderhead within seconds?
Or is it because i removed the rocker assembly that eases the flow? Or dead oil pressure switch? :o

Mixed feelings right now , kinda happy she runs (not that great but still) but even more problems now...

One step forward and two steps back my friends...

Greetings from your Belgian friend

PS : That piece of **** window crank still doesn't want to come loose. >:( >:( >:(
« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 01:07:22 PM by LayEmLow »
Maarten Robaert

1955 Cadillac Fleetwood
1964 Chevrolet Impala
1962 Vw Beetle
1968 Vw Bus T2A

Offline LayEmLow

  • Posts: 13
  • Name: Maarten
Re: Belgian 1955 Cadillac restoration
« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2017, 02:40:39 PM »
Hello my friends !

After alot of cursing and throwing tools , i did what i should have done in the first place... :-[
i pulled the heads....

Well it was not as easy as it sounds...
EVERYTHING and i mean EVERYTHING was stuck or rusted on...
Loosen the exhaust manifold bolts? nope not possible...
Loosen the exhaust flange bolts? nope not possible...
Loosen the intake manifold bolts? nope not possible...

Which made pulling the heads 1000x harder.
But after 6 hours of messing around , i did it...



With a little oil i got the valves loose.
except for a bent valve , everything looks pretty good.

Cylinder walls are not that bad , no edges on the top of the walls.
no rust or major scratches except for 1 cylinder :



Would this be a problem?

i would hate to rebuilt a pretty decent engine just because of 1 " little" scratch.
it's not really that deep , just looks bad.
I only plan on driving the Cadillac to a few meetings in the summer and little cruises.

Hope to hear you guys opinions...

Thank you and greetings from your Belgian friend.


« Last Edit: August 03, 2017, 02:59:03 PM by LayEmLow »
Maarten Robaert

1955 Cadillac Fleetwood
1964 Chevrolet Impala
1962 Vw Beetle
1968 Vw Bus T2A

Offline The Tassie Devil(le)

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  • Posts: 7183
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      CLC Member #18992
  • Name: Bruce Reynolds
Re: Belgian 1955 Cadillac restoration
« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2017, 07:19:17 PM »
That scrape is not good.

Looks like the piston will have to come out, and see what damage there is deeper down.

Bruce. >:D
'72 Eldorado Convertible (LHD)
'70 Ranchero Squire (RHD)
'55 Buick Special Post Coupe (LHD)
'74 Chris Craft Gull Wing RHH
(Past President Modified Chapter)

Offline LayEmLow

  • Posts: 13
  • Name: Maarten
Re: Belgian 1955 Cadillac restoration
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2017, 10:45:54 AM »
That scrape is not good.

Looks like the piston will have to come out, and see what damage there is deeper down.

Bruce. >:D

The scrape stops just above the piston in the picture.
Top of the scrape ( at TDC) is bad , the rest is just minor.
The rest of the cylinder walls are mint...
Do i need a rebuilt for that one cylinder?

Greetings from your Belgian friend.
Maarten Robaert

1955 Cadillac Fleetwood
1964 Chevrolet Impala
1962 Vw Beetle
1968 Vw Bus T2A

Offline goofyhb

  • Posts: 73
  • Name: Axel Joehnke
Re: Belgian 1955 Cadillac restoration
« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2017, 11:19:56 AM »
Hello,
I agree with Bruce. From my experience the cylinder gives a bit too much room for the piston. The bore is no longer perfectly round.  The dark part at the top of the cylinder is burned oil which got past the piston rings or valve stem seals. So you need to check what made the marks. At this time it would be good to measure piston and cylinder for wear. My cylinders were so used you could have installed 1. oversize pistons without machining.

After you assembled the engine:
Best is to take off the valve covers and turn the engine by hand with plugs out. See that all valves are moving. You can also check if the push rods of a cylinder in firing position (valves closed) are moving freely.
When you try to start the engine, take off the power from the coil and crank the engine on the starter until the oil pressure is okay. Then see how long it takes until it comes on again. If this takes 5-10 seconds you crank it again until the light comes off, connect the power to the coil and start the engine.

Axel


1955 Series 62 Sedan http://bit.ly/1Ri914p