Author Topic: 1965 Eldorado 429 engine  (Read 2628 times)

deanjb

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1965 Eldorado 429 engine
« on: August 03, 2010, 11:04:57 PM »
I'm close to a deal on a restored 65 Eldo. Triple red. I've read where the 429 engine was a real pain. This one was re-built. I've read where the engine gave difficulties in rebuilding leading to distorted cylinder walls. Should I be avoiding this car because of the known engine problems? Are the said problems overblown? Does this look and sound like the car has been restored to original condition, or have some things been done incorrectly? Here is a link to the photos and description etc.
Thanks in advance.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=190419903418&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT
« Last Edit: August 11, 2010, 12:30:53 AM by deanjb »

Offline 35-709

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  • The most valuable antique is an old friend.
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  • Name: G. Newcombe
Re: 1965 Eldorado 429 engine
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2010, 09:48:35 AM »
My opinion.  The 429 is an OK engine, not one of Cadillac's best but for the amount of use you are going to give it it should last and give good service for a very long time.  I wouldn't be afraid of it.  Valve guide seals were a problem early on but the overhaul would have taken care of that.  The oil pump housing at the front of the engine is aluminum and once worn beyond limits and unable to maintain proper oil pressure there is no fixing them as far as I know, replacement is the only answer.  The only replacements available anymore are from a used engine and good ones not always easy to find.  The 429 was a thin wall engine and won't take a whole lot of overbore, I have always been told 30 thousandths was the max. but have heard of those going larger. Longevity and cylinder distortion would become a factor with a large overbore.  I would want to know how much, if any, overbore it had at overhaul.  In my somewhat limited experience a 429 fares worse than some other engines if overheated, again probably because of the relatively thin cylinder walls.  If it still has a heat riser valve make it a practice to check that it is operating freely and keep it lubed as necessary, a valve frozen in the closed position will cause exhaust gases to continually pass through the intake manifold passage to the other side causing intake cracking and leaks where it meets the block, carb. problems, etc., this problem is not limited to 429s.
The 429 is a redesign and bored out version of the 390, which is a bored out version of the 365, etc.  The redesign was first introduced in 1963 and was still a 390, it became the 429 in 1964.  Cadillac used it for 5 years (if you count the '63 390) and there are many of them still out there giving good service.  The main thing is to be aware of its limitations and other than I would want to know more about the overhaul, I would not, as I said, be afraid of it.
As to the  restoration of the car, it looks beautiful to me but I will let others comment on its correctness.
Geoff N.   
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 Chris Conklin

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  • Name: Chris Conklin
Re: 1965 Eldorado 429 engine
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2010, 04:36:12 PM »
I'm with Geoff on all accounts. Especially that darn heat riser valve! As he stated, it's a good serviceable engine. The 429 with the THM performs very well. The car will definitely get out of it's own way!

I am very happy with my '66, pretty much the same car. This one looks beautiful, all cosmetic items appear correct; badging in the correct spots, seat patterns appear correct, very well appointed, even has the tilt/tele steering wheel (start looking for a directional switch now to keep on the shelf). I'm assuming the rear window is just un-zippped in all the pics? It appears to be missing the Cadillac script on the grill. Use those custom floor mats for daily driving and order the correct rubber mats from USA Parts. And after you wear out those tires you can order the correct triple white walls (I'm in the same boat there). But looks excellent over all. I really like the color-on-color cars for this era. I would be curious to see the cowl tag to be sure it came that way.

Some other mechanical items; Check for the auto level ride (ALR) system to be operable - highly unlikely. And if it's not operable, check to see that the compressor is still there. Look straight down behind the grill on the frame cross member. If you want to resurrect the system you will need that. Also, if the ALR has been disabled, plan on replacing the rear springs. Most people didn't bother replacing springs, they would just change to regular shocks. Put a couple people in the back seat, you'll know right away if the system is working (the car will raise after about 14 seconds) or if the springs have not been replaced (you'll be scraping your tail going out the driveway).

But again, the car looks beautiful! Best of luck with your purchase, keep us posted. There aren't very many Eldorados of this vintage for sale.

Chris
Chris Conklin

Re: 1965 Eldorado 429 engine
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2010, 11:53:00 PM »
I respectfully suggest there’s some confusion here. The 429 displacement was achieved by boring the 1963 (390) engine. Although the ‘63 (390) has the same displacement as the ’62, derived from the original ’49 OHV engine, it is completely different. The ’63 block used the first thin wall casting technology and ran very reliably. In ’64 that block was bored out to 429. Early production 429’s had problems with casting inclusions and core shift that didn’t become apparent until the cars were run hot or overheated. Then the bores warped and suffered damage. The problem was corrected rather quickly, but the bad “rep” carried on. IMHO, the only reason the ’65-6 429 engine is not Cadillac’s best is that the later 472 was really bullet proof. My ’66 had 80M tough miles on it when I rebuilt it and the only worn part was the oil pump housing…..As Geoff said, the housing is a  weak point that I’d like to believe was caused by accounting, not engineering…. I probably could have used it but at that point I wasn’t going to chance it. Pump housings are getting scarce and expensive. The valve seals on my engine gave no indication of problems but they were changed also. Like most mid-60’s GM, the engine used a tube in the intake manifold crossover to act as a chimney for hot air to the choke. The tubes are prone to rot, from use and non-use, and are again hard to find. However that can be remedied by an electric choke. I also chose to change the carb from a Rochester to Carter. Both carbs were factory installation at random and gave the same performance. That was a personal, not performance issue. Carter’s are much simpler with less to go wrong.

The real issue here is the quality of the rebuild. I’d call the rebuilder and question him about what was done and what type of parts were used. If the engine was done by a reputable rebuilder it should run fine. If I couldn't talk with the rebuilder or get recommendations on his work, I'd have all the trepidations of buying a car that's been "restored-ed".

HTH,
Ralph
1966 Fleetwood Brougham-with a new caretaker http://bit.ly/1GCn8I4
1966 Eldorado-with a new caretaker  http://bit.ly/1OrxLoY
2018 GMC Yukon

Offline 35-709

  • Posts: 5361
  • The most valuable antique is an old friend.
  • CLC Number: 4719
  • Name: G. Newcombe
Re: 1965 Eldorado 429 engine
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2010, 10:03:57 AM »
Thank you for that correction, Ralph, and sage advice from the owner and restorer of the nicest 1966 Fleetwood I have seen since they were show room new.  
Geoff N.  
« Last Edit: August 05, 2010, 10:21:37 AM by Geoff Newcombe #4719 »
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

Re: 1965 Eldorado 429 engine
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2010, 10:53:13 AM »
Geoff,

Thanks. To quote Mark Twain: "I can go a month on a good compliment"

Ralph
1966 Fleetwood Brougham-with a new caretaker http://bit.ly/1GCn8I4
1966 Eldorado-with a new caretaker  http://bit.ly/1OrxLoY
2018 GMC Yukon

deanjb

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Re: 1965 Eldorado 429 engine
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2010, 11:27:23 PM »
Thanks for the help. It seems I haven't been able to get more than vague answers about the ''restoration". He says he doesn't know who rebuilt the engine. The car came from Butte Montana so "somebody" there probably  did it he tellls me. He doesn't know how much it was bored or anything about the engine rebuild. Didn't know what I was talking about when I mentioned the Cadillac script on the grill seemingly missing. The car is 3000 miles from me and I'm thnking I'll probably have to forget about it. I wouldn't want to buy it unless I saw it in person first anyway.

Bill S.

  • Guest
Re: 1965 Eldorado 429 engine
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2010, 08:40:32 AM »
Dean.   Unless you can inspect the car in person or have someone reliable do it for you, I wouldn't spend the money on a 429. 

 

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