Author Topic: 1984 Cadillac Eldorado St. Claire California Edition  (Read 3233 times)

Jason

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1984 Cadillac Eldorado St. Claire California Edition
« on: January 21, 2008, 08:59:03 PM »
Last week I purchased a 1984 Cadillac Eldorado St. Claire California edition from the little old lady down the street.  It belonged to her husband who past away a few years ago.  The car is flawless with 42k original miles, faux convertible top, white paint and white leather.  It has the gold package and chrome everywhere.  As far as the lady knows the wire spoke wheels are original.  Does anyone know where I could find information on this particular model?  Was it a factory or aftermarket conversion, how many were made, so on.  Any information would be greatly appreciated. 
Thanks.

Offline homeonprunehill

  • JIM CLC #15000 THOMAS 1938 La Salle 5027
  • Posts: 655
Re: 1984 Cadillac Eldorado St. Claire California Edition
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2008, 10:50:28 PM »
Last week I purchased a 1984 Cadillac Eldorado St. Claire California edition from the little old lady down the street.  It belonged to her husband who past away a few years ago.  The car is flawless with 42k original miles, faux convertible top, white paint and white leather.  It has the gold package and chrome everywhere.  As far as the lady knows the wire spoke wheels are original.  Does anyone know where I could find information on this particular model?  Was it a factory or aftermarket conversion, how many were made, so on.  Any information would be greatly appreciated. 
Thanks.
[/quote


01-21-08
JASON, go to the CLC HOME PAGE. On the RIGHT SIDE there should be a :WHO do I contact,list. there is one (NEAR THE BOTTOM) how to authenticate your car. SORRY I JUST notice that 1970 is the cut-off. But, won't hurt to write and see if they have expanded to '85 or something.
Good Luck,JIM
P.S. I bet it is a real good looker. Join the CLC, it'll be the best $35.00 that you will spend.
USED,ABUSED AND MISUSED CADILLACS AND LA SALLES

Johnny F #662

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Re: 1984 Cadillac Eldorado St. Claire California Edition
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2008, 09:13:04 AM »
Last week I purchased a 1984 Cadillac Eldorado St. Claire California edition from the little old lady down the street.  It belonged to her husband who past away a few years ago.  The car is flawless with 42k original miles, faux convertible top, white paint and white leather.  It has the gold package and chrome everywhere.  As far as the lady knows the wire spoke wheels are original.  Does anyone know where I could find information on this particular model?  Was it a factory or aftermarket conversion, how many were made, so on.  Any information would be greatly appreciated. 
Thanks.

My best guess is that the car is the result of an aftermarket conversion.  More important to me, would be the maintenance that was done or worse yet not done, on the engine, as you are entering the "danger zone" with HT4100 engines with 42k miles.  It has been my undocumented, unscientific observation, that if the engine fails, it will usually be in the 40k-60k range.

Re: 1984 Cadillac Eldorado St. Claire California Edition
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2008, 09:35:18 AM »
Last week I purchased a 1984 Cadillac Eldorado St. Claire California edition from the little old lady down the street.  It belonged to her husband who past away a few years ago.  The car is flawless with 42k original miles, faux convertible top, white paint and white leather.  It has the gold package and chrome everywhere.  As far as the lady knows the wire spoke wheels are original.  Does anyone know where I could find information on this particular model?  Was it a factory or aftermarket conversion, how many were made, so on.  Any information would be greatly appreciated. 
Thanks.

My best guess is that the car is the result of an aftermarket conversion.  More important to me, would be the maintenance that was done or worse yet not done, on the engine, as you are entering the "danger zone" with HT4100 engines with 42k miles.  It has been my undocumented, unscientific observation, that if the engine fails, it will usually be in the 40k-60k range.
I think your mileage/failed HT4100 ratio is about right.  I was checking on some minor warranty work that was being done to my '92 shortly after I bought it. There was an '83 SDV that looked brand new in the next work space. I looked at the work order and it said: 1983 Cadillac Sedan de Ville Med. Blue 48,XXX miles 1. Customer states knock in engine.
2. Replace engine. I guess by that time HT4100itis was such a common thing that there wasn't any point in tearing them down to determine the cause(s); they just put them on the stack and uncrated a new one. Since this new owner didn't ask anything about the engine, I'm guessing he doesn't know about them.  That will change when he takes it to any mechanic in North America.

Offline 35-709

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  • CLC Number: 4719
  • Name: G. Newcombe
Re: 1984 Cadillac Eldorado St. Claire California Edition
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2008, 11:29:08 AM »
Jason,
My best guess too is that it is an aftermarket conversion.  We don't know much about you, your mechanical abilities, your knowledge about cars, but know that we are all going to be pulling for you and hoping for the best with that 4100 engine.  Too bad you didn't ask about that car (and its engine) BEFORE you bought it.  But, maybe you are a 4100 expert or are good friends with one.
Best of luck with your car.
Geoff 
1935 Cadillac Sedan resto-mod "Big Red"
1973 Cadillac Caribou - Sold - but still in the family
1950 Jaguar Mark V Saloon resto-mod - Sold
1942 Cadillac 6269 - Sold
1968 Pontiac Bonneville Convertible
1935 Glenn Pray - Auburn Boattail Speedster, Gen. 2

Jason

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Re: 1984 Cadillac Eldorado St. Claire California Edition
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2008, 12:48:10 PM »
Hey guys,
Thanks for all of the help.  While taking my girlfriend out last night so she and the caddy could "get to know each other" (she is less than pleased with my purchase) we ended up on the back of my friends tow truck after an engine mishap on the main drag in town.  I will confess now that the engine was the least of my concerns.  I certainly am mechanically inclined, but I've been a BMW nut all my life.  After building/re building several 318IS cars for myself and friends (these little 4 banger beasts are slowing catching on in the underground racing circuits here in california) I thought I would be up to the challenge of some caddy engine work.  Boy was I wrong.  At 27 years of age you have to understand that this was "the car to have" when I was growing up.  In the back of my mind I knew that one day I would have one, just like the lawyer down the street, the doctor next door, and my childhood dentist.  Now that I think about it, they didn't keep their early 80's caddys all that long!  Lesson learned for sure!  I guess I should have practiced what I preached when it comes to early 90's BMW's before I made my impulse buy on an 84 Eldorado.
I also own a 93 Eldorado and was perfectly prepared to deal with any Northstar issue that was going to come up.  Knock on wood, she's been trouble free this far (I just hit 60k on it so I'm sure she'll start spewing oil onto my newly poured driveway any day.)
I guess for now my eldo will go in the garage, next to my girlfriends grandmothers 88 seville (22k original miles with a rod knock.)  Untill I have the time to look into some type of engine conversion.  My uncle owns an auto dismantling yard and laughed at me when I called him in regards to finding me another 4100 engine.  Shame on me.  Oh well, she's still pretty to look at!
Jason
91 BMW 918IS
91 BMW 325 convertible.
95 BMW 525I
93 Eldorado
88 Seville <--Dead
84 Eldorado <--R.I.P.

Offline 35-709

  • Posts: 5360
  • The most valuable antique is an old friend.
  • CLC Number: 4719
  • Name: G. Newcombe
Re: 1984 Cadillac Eldorado St. Claire California Edition
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2008, 01:40:51 PM »
You might find the guys at the 4100 chapter of the Cadillac & LaSalle Club helpful ---- http://www.ht4100.com/
Haven't heard of any conversions for the front drive HT 4100 cars.
 :(       
1935 Cadillac Sedan resto-mod "Big Red"
1973 Cadillac Caribou - Sold - but still in the family
1950 Jaguar Mark V Saloon resto-mod - Sold
1942 Cadillac 6269 - Sold
1968 Pontiac Bonneville Convertible
1935 Glenn Pray - Auburn Boattail Speedster, Gen. 2

Offline homeonprunehill

  • JIM CLC #15000 THOMAS 1938 La Salle 5027
  • Posts: 655
Re: 1984 Cadillac Eldorado St. Claire California Edition
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2008, 02:36:06 PM »
01-22-08
JASON, Does the motor in the '88 SEVILLE look almost identically to the one in the ELDO? If it does. Better look for two (2)engines. I understand that the 350CID GM engine will fit, but, read about the 4100 engines posts first. Use the SEARCH feature at the top of each post. You didn't say any thing about the engine mishap that you had with the '84 ELDO. The Northstar, I understand, is a better engine then the HT4100. I had an '86 sdv, at about 91000, I had the intake manifold gasket go and had to replace four (4) lifters. The mechanic "said" I should plan on treading it in-in about two-three months. The car had 220075 miles on the Speedometer when I treaded it in.
Good Luck,JIM
USED,ABUSED AND MISUSED CADILLACS AND LA SALLES

Re: 1984 Cadillac Eldorado St. Claire California Edition
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2008, 03:31:01 PM »
Jason,
Rod knock is unusual in a 4.5. The engine looks like the HT4100 and it is still aluminum block and cast iron head, but there the similarities (and the vasty majority of the problems) end. Cadillac completely re-engineered the HT4100 to come up with the 4.5 for 1988.  Virtually everything about it is improved: the block is much less susceptible to leaking, the camshaft and distributor drive are much stronger, it has roller valve lifters and on and on go the things they fixed.  The 4.5 was very thoroughly tested before the 1988 Cadillacs came out and that was not true of the HT4100 which was rushed into production for 1982 to replace the V8-6-4. The one thing to remember about any aluminum block engine (Northstars and BMW's included) is that they are not nearly as likely to survive an overheating situation (and this especially true with the HT4100). Since the 1988 has so few miles over 20 years, I would guess that one of the major occurences with the HT4100, pin holes in block=coolant+engine oil=knocking has occurred. Even though the 4.5's and 4.9's have much better blocks and are much less susceptible to coolant leakage, Cadillac still recommended regular coolant changes (time, not mileage) and the addition of GM Engine Coolant Supplement (aka Cadillac StopLeak) and this may not have been done regularly on that low-mileage car.BTW, I'm also curious as to what your "engine mishap" was and if there was any indication that it was going to occur.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2008, 04:01:26 PM by Rusty Shepherd CLC 6397 »

Re: 1984 Cadillac Eldorado engine transplant candidates
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2008, 03:54:16 PM »
Jason,
Since the engine in your Eldorado is a longitudinal rather than a transverse installation, the improved 4.5 and 4.9 Cadillac engines will not work as they were never longitudinal installation versions of them produced. Oldsmobile 307/350/403 engines have been done (the 307 and 350 engines were originally in '79-'85 Olds Toronados and Buick Rivieras built at the same plant on the same chassis and the 403 is identical externally to the 307 and 350).
However, since those engines were all carbureted, not fuel injected, it's not an easy replacement.

Length of HT4100 ownership prior to engine failure
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2008, 03:59:44 PM »
I'm thinking that our friend Jason's tough experience with his '84 may be a record for the shortest length of time (a little over a week) after purchase before HT4100 failure.  Please post if you can top his record.

Jason

  • Guest
Re: 1984 Cadillac Eldorado St. Claire California Edition
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2008, 05:03:09 PM »
Thanks again for all of the help and support.  My guess with the eldo was that it had been overheated before.  I foolishly checked the fluid instead of changing it before I went for a drive.  When it started blowing smoke I knew I was done, and haven't really had the heart to go take another look.  As far as the seville goes, the engines look about the same to me, I really haven't had time to go look, I certainly will this evening.  I'm afraid that I wont have the know how to make the swaps, I have a few friends that are hot rodders that seem to be optimistic about the situation, and have found the 4100 message board extremely helpful, and am grateful for all of the help and support.  I guess this answers my question as to why there are so many low mile "grandma" eldorados floating around at such a "great" price.  I'm looking at buick and olds engines, but am wondering if the 88 engine is better and will work without having to get into all of the electric headache.

Re: 1984 Cadillac Eldorado St. Claire California Edition
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2008, 06:24:34 PM »
Thanks again for all of the help and support.  My guess with the eldo was that it had been overheated before.  I foolishly checked the fluid instead of changing it before I went for a drive.  When it started blowing smoke I knew I was done, and haven't really had the heart to go take another look.  As far as the seville goes, the engines look about the same to me, I really haven't had time to go look, I certainly will this evening.  I'm afraid that I wont have the know how to make the swaps, I have a few friends that are hot rodders that seem to be optimistic about the situation, and have found the 4100 message board extremely helpful, and am grateful for all of the help and support.  I guess this answers my question as to why there are so many low mile "grandma" eldorados floating around at such a "great" price.  I'm looking at buick and olds engines, but am wondering if the 88 engine is better and will work without having to get into all of the electric headache.
Jason,
The '88 engine definitely will not work because it was manufactured only for transverse applications; your Eldorado has a longitudinal engine (see my post beginning with "since the engine in your Eldorado").
« Last Edit: January 22, 2008, 06:29:16 PM by Rusty Shepherd CLC 6397 »

Jason

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Re: 1984 Cadillac Eldorado St. Claire California Edition
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2008, 06:41:01 PM »
Thanks Rusty, I totally missed that part.  The more digging I do, the more I realize that I may be S O L on any "easy'' Conversion.

Offline Tom Hall 7485

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  • historian; collector of dealer, zone, factory data
Re: 1984 Cadillac Eldorado St. Claire California Edition
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2008, 08:19:12 PM »
Saint Claire Motor Company is the Cadillac dealer in Santa Clara, California and has been since before your Eldorado was made.  They are most likely the ones responsible for a Saint Claire special edition.  It's probably that dealer who customized your car.  They are still in business and may be able to tell you more about it.
Tom Hall, CLC Member 7485, Lifetime member since the mid-1990s.

Johnny F #662

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Re: 1984 Cadillac Eldorado St. Claire California Edition
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2008, 11:42:55 PM »
Thanks Rusty, I totally missed that part.  The more digging I do, the more I realize that I may be S O L on any "easy'' Conversion.

Jason, don't give up hope so quickly.  Check out this website for some really great information.

http://www.eldocountry.com/eldo/swap.html

Re: 1984 Cadillac Eldorado St. Claire California Edition
« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2008, 09:49:02 AM »
Thanks Rusty, I totally missed that part.  The more digging I do, the more I realize that I may be S O L on any "easy'' Conversion.

Jason, don't give up hope so quickly.  Check out this website for some really great information.

http://www.eldocountry.com/eldo/swap.html
I think the website that Johnny provided above proves that transplanting an Oldsmobile engine is possible, but very far from easy.

 

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