Got My 76 Eldorado back Friday

Started by STS05lg, September 24, 2018, 01:11:38 PM

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STS05lg

Well it has been a long summer.
On May 3rd I took my Eldorado Convertible with 26,296 miles on the odometer in for its spring time oil change and ATF service because the pan gasket had dried out over its winter hibernation. I got her back Friday, September 21st four months and 18 days later. The bill was $10,690.68 and included an engine removal and rebuild, along with several other items. Long story short, when I went to pick her up on May 3rd after the oil had been changed and the trans pan gasket replaced, I had no oil pressure. We thought the oil pump had failed so we replaced that and still no oil pressure and the engine was making a lot of noise. Ends up the long metal clip that keeps the rockers in place had failed and the rockers on the right side had come off and the push rods had bent. I will never know if this was a result of metal fatigue or what but it was an expensive failure and time consuming.  I have owned approximately 20 Cadillacs with the 500ci engine and I have NEVER had a problems. Those engines are bullet proof. This was something new. However, as a group we have to remember we are dealing with 30-40-50-60 year old cars and metal in the parts breaks down over time. This was an expensive realization that even on the best maintained cars this can occur. I have the service records going back 30 years with regular service and no record of any major failures. That't the way it goes...

"Cadillac Kid" Greg Surfas 15364

#1
Lynn
The ONLY time I have seen the RA. clips come off is when the motors are revved past the 5000 RPM point. If the car ran well when you took it to have the oil changed I would suspect (happened to me) one of the “mechanics” did a “gas monkey” burn out and overspend the motor. That said, these clips are spring steel and if not abused outlast the rest of the motor. 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-

Eric DeVirgilis CLC# 8621

I doubt metal fatigue and/or age was the culprit here. Could also have been a weird manufacturing defect but impossible to know for certain at this point.
A Cadillac Motorcar is a Possession for which there is no Acceptable Substitute

Scot Minesinger

Lynn,

Thanks for this post, and while had heard some rumors it is nice to know the real deal.  Greg is right those clips are spring steel and one of the few parts I would never bother to stock (I keep of head bolts, rocker arms, gaskets, and etc. on hand just in case) because they are a part never to be considered as failing.

We can speculate, but seems hard to believe that if it was a faulty metalurgy that it would fail right after it got returned to you from a shop.  It would not surprise me if it was the shops fault.  And that is why I do anything possible myself such as and especially oil changes.

My 1970 red Caddy had an ominous tick in August 2013, but it ran fine and so during winter I took off valve covers to find out that the #7 intake valve wore thru the rocker arm and it was the result of a poor valve job.  (Had heads rebuilt by others).   The cost to me to repair was about $150 including machine shop (another machine shop this time) cost to install a new intake valve and gaskets, plus of course my labor. 

I wonder on your 76 Caddy if the valve cover had been removed before removing engine and they just replaced the push rods, lifters, rocker arms and clips this expense could have been minimized.  However to seal the trans and replace the timing chain, which should be done (including dropping oil pan) the engine had to be removed anyway.

I hope this 1976 Cadillac is running awesome now!
Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty

The Tassie Devil(le)

G'day Lynn,

Good to hear that the car is back home, as I sure missed not seeing her when I was there.

As for the cause?   Well, I have a story of my own, regarding poor mechanics, and the reason why I now do all my own mechanical, and other work.

I had the need, way back in 1971, to drop my car off to a garage because of a fuel problem.   I was on my way to work, and the car stopped, so I had to leave it at a nearby Service Station.   Remember when they had mechanics back in those days.

When I went back to pick up the car, the owner said there was a nasty knock when running, and suggested I leave it there for them to fix it, but, I decided to tow her home, as I didn't have that much money back then, what with a wife and 2 young children.

Off comes the cylinder head, and lo and behold, stuck under one of the valves was a half a spring washer, and the other half  on top of the piston.   Investigating further, there was a washer missing from the top cover of the Carburettor.

I immediately went back to the Garage and showed them the issue, and they admitted that they had removed the top of the Carby to clean it out, and it must have been then that the washer fell off the bolt, and into the throat of the carby.   After firing it up to tune it, the ingestation occurred, and the said offending noise began.

They said to bring the car back and they would fix it, but I declined their invitation, and they supplied me a replacement gasket set.

In my case, they couldn't hide the evidence of poor workmanship, and I consider myself lucky for it to have been a simple fix.

Bruce. >:D
'72 Eldorado Convertible (LHD)
'70 Ranchero Squire (RHD)
'74 Chris Craft Gull Wing (SH)
'02 VX Series II Holden Commodore SS Sedan
(Past President Modified Chapter)

Past Cars of significance - to me
1935 Ford 3 Window Coupe
1936 Ford 5 Window Coupe
1937 Chevrolet Sports Coupe
1955 Chevrolet Convertible
1959 Ford Fairlane Ranch Wagon
1960 Cadillac CDV
1972 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe

bcroe

Ruined a great low mileage engine, another example of why
I won't let anyone else touch my old, non replaceable cars. 

Bruce Roe

"Cadillac Kid" Greg Surfas 15364

Lynn,
I'm sorry but as the expression goes, something is stuck in my craw.  IF the rocker arm retaining clip had somehow failed, it would just allow the rocker arms to come free and essentially deactivate that cylinder.  Without beating a dead horse I will repeat m suspicion that someone definitely oversped that motor causing valve float and the damage.
A 26,000 mile 500 inch motor just doesn't fall apart like that without being abused.
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-

V63

#7
I have had these motors lose their prime in the oil pump when changing the oil?  The first time it was a 1969 472.

I drained the oil and changed the filter. When I restarted the car it had no oil pressure??? Thinking it must be the sender, i ran the motor until The engine started making noise. Then I KNEW it had no oil pressure and shut it down. Years later it happened to a 76 eldo.

The fix was to remove the oil pump and pack with Vaseline, that worked.

Now, I don’t remove the filter unless oil is full in the pan. I also pour the new oil filter with oil before installing.

I have had others that confirm this problem exists.

So, my ‘guess’ is this happened to your car and they tried too hard to get the pump to ‘prime’ by revving the engine instead...until damage was done?

76eldo

I agree with Mr. Link.
Either that or they forgot to put oil back in it and ran it dry.

Something is very wrong with this picture. Don't take any more cars to these guys.
Brian Rachlin
Huntingdon Valley, Pa
CLC # 22443
I prefer email's not PM's rachlin@comcast.net

1960 62 Series Conv with Factory Tri Power
1970 DeVille Conv
1970 Eldo
1970 Caribu (?) "The Cadmino"
1973 Eldorado Conv Pace Car
1976 Eldorado Conv
1980 Eldorado H & E Conv
1993 Allante with Hardtop (X2)
2008 DTS
2012 CTS Coupe
2017 XT
1956 Thunderbird
1966 Olds Toronado

"Cadillac Kid" Greg Surfas 15364

What ever the reason the rocker arm clip came off and the pushrods were bent it would lead to the lifters coming out of the bores and when that happens oil pressure will go to zero.
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-

STS05lg

Greg, Eric, Scot, Bruce, Brian, and Mr. Link, Thank you all for your input and knowledgeable comments.

V63 is correct, when it initially did not have oil pressure and we thought it was the oil pump, I got a brand new OEM pump and packed it with Vaseline and installed and still no oil pressure. We then knew we had bigger issues. I will never know if one of the lot guys tired to red lined her, or if it was just a freak accident. However where the retainer broke off the break was really jagged, almost looked like broken pot metal. That is why some of the more knowledgeable mechanics proposed it might have been metal fatigue.

We have had rain sense I picked her up but it is suppose to be nice in the Washington area this weekend and I am going to take her on a 100 mile shake down cruse. She has been parked in the garage sense Friday and I really want to make sure everything was put back together. My biggest worry is the EFI, I must have reminded the mechanics 10 time to double check for leaks when they did the 30 minute break in run to constantly check for fuel leaks. Assured me there were none but when I take her out  for a long cruse I am going to take all three of my fire extinguishers.

Again thanks for the input.

Lynn

Scot Minesinger

Lynn,

Did you save the broken retainer clip?  It would certainly be uncomplicated to determine if it was metalurgy or abuse.  However, even if it as abuse, speaking as someone who has been to court a few times, I would put the ability to recover your losses from the shop at zero (he said, she said).  Hope your drive goes well.


V63,

I have changed the oil in my own 472 powered 1970 Cadillacs about 35 times over my course of ownership, and I have changed the oil in more than 15 other 472/500 powered Cadillacs, say 50 times in all.  Never suffered the oil pump not priming.  However, when I change the oil, I have always filled the filter up.  On other cars I have changed the oil and filter and have always filled the filter with oil, going on 40 years now.  If a shop had changed your oil in the 1969 Cadillac and oil pump did not prime, you probably probably would be writing a similar story as Lynn.  To prime the oil pump I remove distributor, and with a drill power the oil pump until she primes.  You can feel the drag on the drill when it happens, takes a few minutes.
Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty

V63

I’m going by recollection, as this was decades ago...but, I’m pretty SURE  I would have attempted priming the oil pump thru the distributor first.  But once bitten twice shy and I prime even new oil pumps with vaseline as SOP. Moreover, I would be surprised if I didn’t fill the new filter too at that time? Again this was decades ago.

This is not a common problem when you factor in the volume of units sold, it’s a suggestion that it has happenened in a sampling that I found others have also  acknowledged.

If might find explanation in this case.




bcroe

My 215 used the same pump arrangement, but I didn't have much
problem after the engine had been run.  Likely filling up the filter
helps, and the engine does a lot fewer turns before it has full oil
pressure. 

Ideal is pressurize the engine before turning it, I have seen racing
arrangements where oil is stored under pressure, then released
just before starting.  For priming I connect a high pressure hose
(trans pressure gauge) between the oil pressure ports, to another
operational engine.  I start that engine and let it idle some seconds
until a quart is pumped over to prime and fully pressurize the other
engine.  Then usually I turn the other engine about the same to get
the quart back.  No turning a dry engine, not even the pump, and I
would rather do that than remove a pump.  Bruce Roe

Dan LeBlanc

I feel your pain. I woke up another car sitting in my garage that I bought after it was inactive from 2002-2017. I had it running (poorly) when I got it home. Someone else tried starting it before I bought it. Found it turned over a bit hard at first then it started loosening up. It ran until we sold our house and I went to start it to drive it to the new house. Last month I did a compression test, zero compression. Took off the valve covers - two push rods I couldn't access are down in the valley. The other 6 (all of these are on the intake side) looked like this...

I'll throw some new pushrods in and see what happens.
Dan LeBlanc
1977 Lincoln Continental Town Car

V63

#15
Dan, i might suggest that you try and compress (open) your valves where the push rods are bent. If stale varnish gas was run thru the engine...it causes the valves to seize in the guides and then bends your push rods. Varnish gas has a distinctive odor.

Dan LeBlanc

That's the plan - give them all a good whack with a punch and ball peen hammer before cranking over and run the car from a remote can until I change the tank.
Dan LeBlanc
1977 Lincoln Continental Town Car