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Cadillac & LaSalle Club Forums => Technical / Authenticity => Topic started by: www.eldorado-seville.com on May 21, 2015, 06:54:17 PM

Title: 1974 Low washer fluid indicator - sinking float. FIXED!
Post by: www.eldorado-seville.com on May 21, 2015, 06:54:17 PM
Hi,
the switch inside the washer fluid float unit in the cap unit of my 74 Coupe deVille is inoperative - so whenever I turn on the wipers I get a "low washing fluid" warning. The FSM says that the magnet actuated switch inside the cap is not repairable.
I just cant find the float unit with the switch anywhere.
Attached you can see a picture of how the unit looks like. On the one picture I took, the magnet is installed incorrectly - it has to be on the other side of the spring...

As the 1974 unit seems extremely hard to find - would one from maybe a later year work as well. The washer fluid canister has not changed for a couple of years? Or is there a way to repair it? It seems impossible as a special switch behind glass was used and you cant get the cap apart.
I have to fix this problem somehow - I cant stand to see the warning light in the dash although I never use the wipers - but still I know that there is a problem... I know I could just unplug the wires - but I want to have it fixed properly.
Title: Re: 1974 Low washer fluid indicator - float unit and switch
Post by: TJ Hopland on May 21, 2015, 10:48:47 PM
I don't remember what year it was that I fixed but I don't remember it being that difficult.    There was some rivets or something that had to be drilled out or broken off.  I think I used screws and nuts to put it back together.   The working bit is what is called a reed switch.  They are by today's standards old technology but since there is a fair amount of room in there you don't need to find the exact same one.    If you do a search for reed switch you should find em.   Its usually a greenish glass capsule with 2 leads coming off the ends. 
Title: Re: 1974 Low washer fluid indicator - float unit and switch
Post by: www.eldorado-seville.com on May 22, 2015, 08:22:54 AM
Tj,
that's a fantastic and very helpful tip! Highly appreciated!
I don't know how exactly, but I managed to make the switch work again. I exposed it to a stronger magnet and for some reason it is working again.

But I do have a second problem with the unit.
The black float itself is no longer floating and that's why the system always shows low fluid level. When I put it in water it sinks…
So I would need a good float, with enough buoyancy force to push the magnet to the switch.
I have no idea how a plastic part like this could stop floating...
When I got the car I found all the parts of the float unit sunk at the bottom of the washer bottle.

Title: Re: 1974 Low washer fluid indicator - float unit and switch
Post by: J. Skelly on May 26, 2015, 12:43:34 PM
I had a sinking float on my '71 Eldorado.  I put it in the oven at the lowest setting (125 degrees, as I recall) for 5 minutes.  After letting it cool, I put it back in the car and it worked fine ever after.  It looks like the same assembly on my '77 Eldorado.  I think all are interchangeable from 1971-1978 on the Eldorado, and 1971-1976 "C" & "D" body, and, possibly, the first generation Seville.
Title: Re: 1974 Low washer fluid indicator - float unit and switch
Post by: www.eldorado-seville.com on May 26, 2015, 05:57:29 PM
Jim,
Thanks for the tip with the oven. I will definitely try this. Would be great if this could solve my problem.
Still wondering why a plastic part could stop floating though?

The unit on my 78 looks completely different from the 74 unit. It's a different system.

Thanks again!

Title: Re: 1974 Low washer fluid indicator - sinking float.
Post by: TJ Hopland on May 26, 2015, 10:22:10 PM
Interesting that putting it in the oven worked.   What do you suppose the issue was and how did that fix it?   What made you think to try that?
Title: Re: 1974 Low washer fluid indicator - sinking float.
Post by: gmurph on May 27, 2015, 09:01:39 AM
My 72 has the same problem. I don't think they are really plastic. It looks like some kind of synthetic cork and it becomes waterlogged and won't float any longer. The oven dries it out so it works again.
Title: Re: 1974 Low washer fluid indicator - sinking float.
Post by: J. Skelly on May 27, 2015, 12:53:40 PM
All,

After inspecting the assembly and pulling up on the float, the warning light no longer displayed, so I knew the float was bad.   I took the float off and dropped it into the reservoir.  It sank like lead, so I knew it was a porous material.  I knew I had to remove the moisture somehow, so I thought the safest solution was to slowly heat it up so the fluid would evaporate.  I figured it was designed to tolerate extremely cold and extremely hot outside temperatures, so figured the lowest oven setting should work.  I got lucky in that there was no distortion.  I wouldn't recommend leaving it in longer than a few minutes, though.   
Title: Re: 1974 Low washer fluid indicator - sinking float.
Post by: www.eldorado-seville.com on May 27, 2015, 04:20:07 PM
I tried the oven drying method today.
I left in the oven like Jim recommended and afterwards the float did not sink any longer, but it still could not hold the magnet up to the switch.
I put it into the oven again for an hour and it got slightly better but it's still to weak.
I now put it in the oven again at a higher temperature (230) and it does not warp or melt at this temperature. I switched the oven off after another hour and  I'll leave it in there to cool down until tomorrow and will see if it will work again then.
It indeed seems to be a porous material.
Title: Re: 1974 Low washer fluid indicator - sinking float.
Post by: www.eldorado-seville.com on May 28, 2015, 07:51:48 AM
It seems like the higher temperature in the oven "fixed" the float for me.
It also felt completely different after the cure.
Its floating perfectly now - I hope it will stay like this for a long time.

Thanks again for the tip with the oven!
Title: Re: 1974 Low washer fluid indicator - sinking float. FIXED!
Post by: 76eldo on May 28, 2015, 08:07:09 AM
Maybe try a little butter and garlic...

Brian
Title: Re: 1974 Low washer fluid indicator - sinking float. FIXED!
Post by: www.eldorado-seville.com on May 28, 2015, 08:13:32 AM
Sounds like a great recipe Brian!  ;)
Title: Re: 1974 Low washer fluid indicator - sinking float.
Post by: J. Skelly on May 28, 2015, 12:25:19 PM
Quote from: www.eldorado-seville.com on May 28, 2015, 07:51:48 AM
It seems like the higher temperature in the oven "fixed" the float for me.
It also felt completely different after the cure.
Its floating perfectly now - I hope it will stay like this for a long time.

Thanks again for the tip with the oven!
Gerald,

You're welcome.  I'm glad it worked.  Maybe it will last another 41 years.

Jim
Title: Re: 1974 Low washer fluid indicator - sinking float. FIXED!
Post by: J. Skelly on May 28, 2015, 12:34:40 PM
I was just talking to a co-worker about this.  He asked how to prevent this from happening again.  I said to clearcoat the float with lacquer or enamel to permanently seal it.  I don't think it would be affected by the temperature, but the washer fluid might eat away the coating.  My car was only 7-10 years old when I did it.