79 Eldorado Minor Restoration

Started by Al Kohler, May 26, 2017, 10:38:36 PM

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Al Kohler

I have a very nice original 79 Eldorado Coupe that I bought at a yard sale in 1997.  I bought it from the original owner, who bought this car new at Coulter Cadillac in Scottsdale, AZ.  Im currently correcting a short in the steering column, likely will have to replace the turn signal/dimmer switch and perhaps replace some chafed wiring.  Last summer the fuse that controls the headlights melted, so the fuse block will need to be repaired/replaced.  Of course it needs hood and decklid struts. Finally, I need to replace the front and rear fillers.  I would welcome anyone's insight that could ease the electrical diagnostics and repair.  I'm told the fillers will have to be aftermarket products, and that they have fit and quality issues.  If anyone could recommend a source of good quality fillers, that would be a big help.  If there's a good, reliable source of general parts, please share your preferences.  As you can see from the attached photo, my car is in pretty good shape.  I've been attending the Hershey Fall Meet for most of the last 55 years, and I'd like to show my Cadillac there in HPOF class this fall, if I can get the work done.  Thanks in advance for any guidance you might share.  AL
AL Kohler, Aldorado79

TJ Hopland

I don't remember which was which but one end of the car the support struts must have been used on many possibly even newer cars so parts stores often had them or worst case the local warehouse has them in stock.    The other end must have only been that car so its more of a special order item and be ready for a dusty package and to have them not work much better than the 30+ year old ones you are replacing.  Don't make the mistake of ordering the same brand from the same place when you return em, 90% chance the replacements will be the same batch and you will be wasting more time.  If the place has a different brand or grade try that otherwise just get your money back and try somewhere else.     I have not had issues with them not working if they worked when I first installed them and the ones on my 80 are 6? years old now.    No idea if there is such a thing as a 'correct' support strut available when it comes to show quality or judging.

I believe there was a 1979 Eldorado Electrical Troubleshooting and Service Manual.   I got one for my 1980 and it was very helpful.   It has a lot more detail and is easier to follow than the regular factory service manual.     The headlight dimmer switch is on the left side of the steering column down under the dash.   The ignition switch is on the right.  Both are operated by a mechanical linkage.   Most of the wiring inside the column is related to the turn signals.   Just a couple other wires for the cruise button and horn.   The other odd thing is I don't think the headlight circuit ever goes through the fuse box.   I have not looked at the diagram for a 79 Eldo specifically but typical GM for the era was a 3 fusible links from fairly near the battery itself or the fat battery cable were the basic power distribution.    One link wire fed the half of the fuse box for things that were always live.   One link wire fed the key and that in turn fed the rest of the fuse box for things that were on with the key.  The 3rd link wire directly fed the headlight switch which contained its own breaker for the headlights.   I never got deep into a car with a Guidomatic (auto dimming) lights but I would think systems like that would be built on top of the basic headlight system so to speak rather than run off the regular fuse box.   I kind of wonder if at some point maybe something went wrong and someone got creative rather than fixed the original issue and now you have an even bigger mess?

I suspect that there are not many places making the body fillers, possibly only one so I don't think it matters where you buy them from as far as how well they fit.   A good body person doesn't seem to have any problems making them fit and look right.    It seems to be the people that paint them first then expect them to just bolt on and line up that have issues.   
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

smokuspollutus

Nice! I look forward to your experience fitting the fillers to your E-car as I will be replacing mine in the near future. I ordered them sometime last year and they've sat in the box for the day that I would need them. I forget exactly where I purchased, but a buddy who has done this job a few times on these cars said to buy the cheapest ones because they fit best, and none of them fit well...so that's what I did. There seems to be precious little online advice as to refitting them onto these particular cars, lots of stuff regarding the Fleetwood and unfortunately what I have seen there is not good, lots of poor fitment unless a lot of work is put in. Fortunately for us the tail lights don't have to mate squarely with the fillers so we can probably get away with a bit more.

I have a project thread going for my E car on the other Cadillac forum. Not sure how much of it will help your 79, but it might be worth it to check out.
http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/classic-cadillac-forum/885466-1984-eldorado-biarritz-project-thread.html
1984 Eldorado Biarritz Coupe
1983 Sedan deVille

bcroe

Quote from: Al KohlerI have a very nice original 79 Eldorado Coupe that
I bought at a yard sale in 1997.  I bought it from the original owner, who bought
this car new at Coulter Cadillac in Scottsdale, AZ.  Im currently correcting a short
in the steering column, likely will have to replace the turn signal/dimmer switch
and perhaps replace some chafed wiring.  Last summer the fuse that controls the
headlights melted, so the fuse block will need to be repaired/replaced.  I would
welcome anyone's insight that could ease the electrical diagnostics and repair. 

I've been attending the Hershey Fall Meet for most of the last 55 years, and I'd like
to show my Cadillac there in HPOF class this fall, if I can get the work done. 
AL 

Nice car, hope it serves you well.  I bought my 79 plain jane Eldo (is there such a
thing?) from the original owner in 1995.  Only put on 45,000 miles so far, planning
many more.  Get all the books recommended above, you most likely will need them. 

Do you have the 5.7L fuel injected engine?  If so I recommend having the blue &
white book: CADILLAC ELECTRONIC FUEL INJECTION DIAGNOSIS Manual
1099984 / S-1453.  Its usually available on Eb*y, i have some extra copies.
Get a paper book, not a CD. 

There is so much maintenance to one of these, it took me working 2 months
straight to be ready for 2015 shows including GN at Milwaukee.  That after
letting it sit too long after my move.  You might want to look over the first
album of my PHOTOBUCKET that describes issues & fixes for the EFI on
these.  I esp recommend installing the fuel pump relay, to avoid a future
failure in this circuit.  Bruce Roe   CLC # 14630

     http://s93.photobucket.com/albums/L71/bcroe/

  click on an Album
  click on a picture to enlarge + description

Al Kohler

To all -
Thanks for all the replies and guidance.  We've been traveling so I apologize for the slow acknowledgments and reply.  I found front and rear hood and deck lid struts at the local Napa store.  Not OE, but this car is a driver.  The fillers are ordered, cheapest I could find, per forum advice.  I have a good body guy who knows the fit up problem and will deal with it.  The electrical issues are a different story.  I'll see if I can find the detailed wiring diagram book one of you mentioned.  I also have a very good mechanic helping me with the car, and with the schematics he'll be able to get it back in order.  Then we'll tackle the fuel injection and ignition system, and then it'll be winter here in Pennsylvania and I'll put the car in storage.  :-).  Seriously I'd like to show the car at Hershey this year, either in HPOF or in the driver class.  I appreciate all the guidance and will follow up as the project evolves.  Happy Independence Day!!! 🇺🇸
AL Kohler, Aldorado79

Al Kohler

My car is  5.7 fuel injected and it has some "Driveability issues", but we'll get it all straightened out. 
AL Kohler, Aldorado79

bcroe

Quote from: Al KohlerMy car is  5.7 fuel injected and it has some "Driveability
issues", but we'll get it all straightened out.

You'd best go through my first PHOTOBUCKET album to understand some of the
EFI issues of these cars.  Shown is how you can check for a failing MAP sensor
(common), I have replacements for these.  In general I have started recommending
using a Wide Band OX sensor gauge to keep an eye on the EFI operation. 

APSX V2 Anti-Glare D2 Digital Wideband O2 AFR Gauge & Sensor Kit

This unit has a moving electronic pointer around the outside, which is better for
changes too fast for mechanical parts or digital meters.  I built this one for my
79 Eldo in 2000, before they were available to consumers.  Bruce Roe

Al Kohler

Thanks for the info, Bruce.  I'm finding that the hardest part of this project is being patient until it's finished.  I want to go for a Drive!   :-\
AL Kohler, Aldorado79