Price of maintaining exceeding ability to pay

Started by billyoung, May 19, 2022, 09:29:49 AM

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billyoung

Allow me to explain that I am neither crying poormouth nor unfair rather just a personal observation that is also specific to my situation. The point has recently been reached where The price of replacement components for old Cadillac's and the labor costs along with the increasing scarcity of a mechanic's at a relative local level who can actually effectively work on a car of a certain age that does not have a computer port to diagnose it's malady has exceeded my ability to pay. Example, I recently have replaced the entire brake system on my 1969 Eldorado to find the only component that I had not purchased is a now defective Proportioning Valve, I have found only one NOS replacement and the price is $350.00. Again GM, Cadillac I believe was at the time 50 years ago only required to stockpile parts for approx. 10 years past production and that was reasonable. When I first joined the Cadillac LaSalle Club in 1971 at age 17 the Club only recognized cars that were 25 years old and were just recognizing 1946 models and I remember an article in the self starter { at that time a paper black and white publication stapled in the upper left corner ) of a member towing a mid 1930's Cadillac home and his tow car was a 1954 Eldorado Convertible that I was more interested in than the 1930's car. The problem is now that the cost of paint, Chroming and non junk replacement parts has exceeded my ability on Social Security and a small pension to afford along with Non Ethinol gas and additives to feed the monster I Love. So I find myself in at age 67 needing to get used to the bloody stump as I amputate my self from what is to be my last Cadillac. I suspect I am not the only person who is finding myself at this crossroads.

fishnjim

Like I tell all, the current conditions are the same for everyone.
It's basically a "sport" or "hobby" and you spend what you can on what you like.   If not your car, you'd be out at the race track or gambling parlor, pro games, etc.   It's like paying for a new car one part at a time.   Very expensive way to buy one.   It just happens to be 55 years since new.   This is one reason so many sit unattended for long periods.
If you don't think who you vote for is important, then we get into messes like this periodically, when we forget that.   You're old enough, like me, to lived through the Carter era.   Not much difference now.   

Cape Cod Fleetwood

Do NOT sell the car Bill.
Reach out to John Abend, he might not have that part new, but he may have one, or know where there's one, that's
been reconditioned for a lot less. Reach out to Mark Demyan here, he knows some mechs in the Tampa area.
Things WILL get better. #Faith
There are 2 kinds of cars in the world, Cadillac and everything else....

The Present -1970 Fleetwood Brougham

The Past -
1996 Deville Concours
1987 Sedan De Ville "Commonwealth Edition"
1981 Coupe De Ville (8-6-4)
1976 Sedan De Ville
1975 Sedan De Ville

The Daily Driver and work slave -
2008 GMC Acadia SLT *options/all

"Cadillac Kid" Greg Surfas 15364

Speaking for myself if I did not do most of my own work and hadn't laid in a good stock of parts over the years it wouldn't make sense for me to use my 75, 76, and 79 as daily drivers. An additional factor many of us may face is the fact that there are a lot of "one year only" parts and devices that the aftermarket producers did not find economically worth making.
Just like a lot of hobbies, if they start to be more trouble, one way or another, that the enjoyment they generate, it may be time to move on. Life is too short.
Greg Surfas
Cadillac Kid-Greg Surfas
Director Modified Chapter CLC
CLC #15364
66 Coupe deVille (now gone to the UK)
72 Eldo Cpe  (now cruising the sands in Quatar)
73 Coupe deVille
75 Coupe deElegance
76 Coupe deVille
79 Coupe de ville with "Paris" (pick up) option and 472 motor
514 inch motor now in '73-

dn010

#4
Personally, I find with some serious periodic searching or posting in parts wanted sections along with a good bit of patience, I will find what I need eventually at a price I can live with. Sometimes it takes seeking out a parts car on ebay and contacting the seller for other parts to the car. Tough these days as most everyone seems to think they have a gold mine but there are some good guys out there who just want to get rid of the part and make a few bucks. The chrome on my car is not perfect, nor is it's new paint job. But it is sitting at my house and I still periodically get people from the neighborhood who walk up and chat to me about it, or even the mailman who is delivering a part will stop for 45 minutes to exchange car stories (no wonder the mail on my road is always late!). Even cars in a less than ideal state still seem to turn heads and give others enjoyment to see. For me, I enjoy having an imperfect car more than an empty driveway spot and regret, as with it will go all the memories slowly.

This is just my view, I know a lot of guys who sell their cars and regret it later, only to have to get another in order to make it their own all over again. You'll have to make your own determination especially if your car no longer gives you enjoyment or if it gives you stress thinking about it and how to go about it financially.

If you do decide you'll hang on to it longer, I am over in Pinellas County. I have a great machine shop I use and I can ask who they would recommend for a mechanic next time I bring them some work, if you're over in or near Tampa (not sure where you are, just going by Laurie's post).

Edit to add:
I'm not sure what you're paying now for insurance, but if your carrier gives you the option, perhaps put it in "storage" status for a few months, use the difference in premium to get the parts you need and then put it back to normal status when ready.
-----Dan Benedek
'57 Cadillac Sedan Deville 6239DX
'81 DMC DeLorean

Lexi

Great post and responses. If I did not do a lot of my own work and have a ton of spare parts, (plus help from this fantastic Forum), I might have considered opting out myself. Had to do it once before, many years ago when I just could not justify it as Jim pointed out; marriage, wanted to save for a house and nowhere to park my land yacht. So I fell on my sword... But I got back in as this affliction tends to be chronic! My biggest concern right now is starting to be the price of fuel. Up here it peaked at $2.10 a litre for regular 87 octane yesterday. As one Canadian imperial gallon is defined as being comprised of 4.54609 litres, that would put fuel cost here at about $9.55 a gallon. For premium the cost jumps to about $10.73 a gallon which is what most of our Cadillacs run best on and what I use (and no corn juice). Perhaps add to that a lead substitute per tank? Price just continues to jump. So for me that will have an impact on the amount of driving I do. First time for that consideration. So yes, I hear yeah. Clay/Lexi

35-709

Bill, have you tried the folks at In Line Tube?  They sell new proportioning valves (less than $100), whether they have one for your Eldo I don't know.    (800) 385-9452
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

wrench

I have found that the cost of machine ownership and maintenance is a cyclical relationship. The cycle being the ups and downs of the technical issues vs available budget.

If the high phase of the cycle of technical issues AND the low phase of the budget cycle coincide, a decision must be made.

This is a natural cycle of a machine and it's owner.

You are not alone. As a matter of fact 90% of machines and owners deal with this cycle.

Because this cycle is a physical relationship, the decision must be rational not emotional.

1951 Series 62 Sedan
1969 Eldorado
1970 Eldorado (Triple Black w/power roof)
1958 Apache 3/4 ton 4x4
2005 F250
2014 FLHP
2014 SRX

Cape Cod Fleetwood

Quote from: Lexi on May 19, 2022, 07:33:05 PM
Great post and responses. If I did not do a lot of my own work and have a ton of spare parts, (plus help from this fantastic Forum), I might have considered opting out myself. Had to do it once before, many years ago when I just could not justify it as Jim pointed out; marriage, wanted to save for a house and nowhere to park my land yacht. So I fell on my sword... But I got back in as this affliction tends to be chronic! My biggest concern right now is starting to be the price of fuel. Up here it peaked at $2.10 a litre for regular 87 octane yesterday. As one Canadian imperial gallon is defined as being comprised of 4.54609 litres, that would put fuel cost here at about $9.55 a gallon. For premium the cost jumps to about $10.73 a gallon which is what most of our Cadillacs run best on and what I use (and no corn juice). Perhaps add to that a lead substitute per tank? Price just continues to jump. So for me that will have an impact on the amount of driving I do. First time for that consideration. So yes, I hear yeah. Clay/Lexi

Lead substitutes are snake oil. Get the fuel she wants.
And DRIVE your car, otherwise 'they' win. Drive the car, stick it up their maple leaf babe. Make a statement.
There are 2 kinds of cars in the world, Cadillac and everything else....

The Present -1970 Fleetwood Brougham

The Past -
1996 Deville Concours
1987 Sedan De Ville "Commonwealth Edition"
1981 Coupe De Ville (8-6-4)
1976 Sedan De Ville
1975 Sedan De Ville

The Daily Driver and work slave -
2008 GMC Acadia SLT *options/all

Cape Cod Fleetwood

Bill, I think Dan's contact in Pinellas might be closer to you?
Reaching out to In Line Tube is a great idea too!
Jeff Burland recommended reaching out to the 1967-1978 Eldorado group on Facebook for that part.
I asked several folks and came up empty.  :(
There are 2 kinds of cars in the world, Cadillac and everything else....

The Present -1970 Fleetwood Brougham

The Past -
1996 Deville Concours
1987 Sedan De Ville "Commonwealth Edition"
1981 Coupe De Ville (8-6-4)
1976 Sedan De Ville
1975 Sedan De Ville

The Daily Driver and work slave -
2008 GMC Acadia SLT *options/all

Lexi

Quote from: Cape Cod Fleetwood on May 20, 2022, 02:22:31 AM
Lead substitutes are snake oil. Get the fuel she wants.
And DRIVE your car, otherwise 'they' win. Drive the car, stick it up their maple leaf babe. Make a statement.

LMAO Laurie. Yes, I would very much like to "stick it up their maple leaf", but there are too many fast moving targets! Lexi is morbidly slow and can't catch them. $215.00 to fill with premium at 10 mpg around town is crazy. If I add lead substitute add another $12.

As for lead substitute, it is a lubricant that is supposed to add some protection to non-hardened valve seats. Vehicles that have hardened seats are said not to require such. Years ago when I first added this product to a vehicle without hardened seats, there was a noticeable reduction in valve noise. Not that it was bad in the first place, but shortly after adding the lead substitute they quieted down. It was rather apparent. While I am no expert, I tentatively concluded that the product must have added a layer of protection, in short; "softened the blow" of the valves coming down into the seats. I believe the Ark would have hardened seats and therefore not require lead substitute. There are different opinions on this product just like there are on engine oil, but my experience is that there is probably a benefit when used in a vintage engine without hardened seats. Clay/Lexi

cadillac ken

Quote from: fishnjim on May 19, 2022, 10:23:53 AM
Like I tell all, the current conditions are the same for everyone.
It's basically a "sport" or "hobby" and you spend what you can on what you like.   If not your car, you'd be out at the race track or gambling parlor, pro games, etc.   It's like paying for a new car one part at a time.   Very expensive way to buy one.   It just happens to be 55 years since new.   This is one reason so many sit unattended for long periods.
If you don't think who you vote for is important, then we get into messes like this periodically, when we forget that.   You're old enough, like me, to lived through the Carter era.   Not much difference now.

I agree with you on the hobby thing.  But of all the factors affecting prices of parts and costs to maintain an old Cadillac (or any Marque you choose that is 50+ years old) Politics is simply not one of them.

A company that sells parts is a business. Selling old parts for our old cars is a very small field to play on for parts suppliers. Even reasonable costs to reproduce the more popular parts has to be weighed against the potential sales-- which in the case of our old Cadillacs is a shrinking market-- sadly as evidenced by good upholstery shops, good mechanics, good paint and bodymen, etc. leaving the business and retiring. This is in large part due to the lack of customers, but also the increased operating costs of rent, insurance, and "keeping the lights on".  It's easy to forget that the shop owner not only has to have enough work to keep the shop open but also like everyone else, he has his living expenses at home too.

Greed has also taken it's toll.  "if you want it, or worse, need it, then most companies are going to price the part in the stratosphere.  All of us here have experienced that. Profit is to be expected but some of the prices I see for parts I need or want to buy simply seem unjustified.  As costs for everything escalate most customers cannot justify the expense.

Same applies for the maintenance issues/costs.  Excepting that there are even fewer folks who know how to fix these old Cadillacs.  And if you do, you also realize, that the fix is usually very time consuming.  Disassembling old parts to get to what you need to fix and dealing with finding the parts once a mechanic uncovers the issue can result in a wild goose chase all over the internet. Many times with no guarantee the part has been listed correctly or is even ready to be shipped-- or even worse, not available. Mechanics charge by the hour.  This kind of time spent is totally unproductive when the mechanic can do simpler repairs on newer vehicles with readily available parts.

Everything is from China: Most shops know that even if they navigate the near impossible task of finding a replacement part, the part is usually so poorly made that it fails nearly immediately.  Most of you here know that I have owned and operated a Custom Car Restoration Shop for over 30 years now.  I can tell you that the quality of almost every part I order is so substandard that I cannot in good conscience install the part on a customer's car.  So if possible I repair the OEM one.  But of course time is money, so we have come full circle to the original point of this topic.

Shipping costs:  When purchasing '"larger" items I know myself, I often pay more to get it shipped to my shop than what I pay for the part itself.  I recently had to order a windshield for a customer's vehicle.  The glass itself was about $300.  The shipping cost= $349.00--AND with a 14 day shipping window!  How am I to install a windshield that cost $649.00 sitting on my shop floor unpacked and charge a mere $250 for an installation that will take me over 3 hours to do.  That's a tough "sell" and frankly with the risk of handling a Chinese windshield for that kind of labor cost it's hardly worth the effort to earn $250.  It's not hard to see who's making all the money here--- and pretty easy to see why shops have been declining working on old cars and at worst, been closing their doors.

Sadly I have no answers for all of this. I get excuses from suppliers, shippers, insurance companies, and virtually everyone as to why their prices keep escalating by double digits but I sure don't get any good reasons. And it's taking the wind out of the sails of this hobby little by little.

CadillacFanBob

billyoung,

I agree with you 100%, BUT cars are in our blood and in the oxygen we need to breathe so I just move on because that is what I do.

Bob
Frankfort, Illinois

Barry M Wheeler #2189

#13
Paid $75 USD to fill up the '91 Seville yesterday. But, I think the car is running pretty well at present and it's just ready to turn 33K. Beats paying the $500 lease payments and heavy insurance costs.
Barry M. Wheeler #2189


1981 Cadillac Seville
1991 Cadillac Seville

bcroe

Quote from: "Cadillac Kid"  Greg Surfas 15364
Speaking for myself if I did not do most of my own work and hadn't laid in a good stock of parts over the years it wouldn't make sense for me to use my 75, 76, and 79 as daily drivers.  Greg Surfas.

Same for me.  Except, it is not a hobby.  I liked the late
70s cars more than anything preceeding them, and now
better than what followed them.  They will directly compete
with what is on the road.  I own nothing else. 

But to keep a car on the road, you either need to learn to
fix it yourself, or have a lot of $ for an old time mechanic
who probably no longer has any teeth.  One thing making
this far easier for us old timers, is car lift, only cost me
$3500 a couple decades ago and paid for itself on the first
trans job.  It is actually more convenient to do stuff at home
on your own schedule, than hiring it out.  Every decade I
pocket the cost of a new car I did not need to buy. 
good luck, Bruce Roe

Carfreak

Car parts expensive? 

I paid almost $1000/hr this morning for a little more 2 hours labor for 2 guys and $100 in parts. 

Well repair = gotta have water


harry s

"Well repair = gotta have water"... and they know it.    Harry
Harry Scott 4195
1941 6733
1948 6267X
2011 DTS Platinum