Brian's 1973 Saturn Bronze Firemist Eldorado Convertible

Started by Rahtok, November 28, 2021, 02:26:27 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

Rahtok

Hello Everyone! 

My name is Brian, and I just purchased my very first Cadillac yesterday.  I'm the third owner, and I'm just starting to peel this onion.  The car appears to be a very original car.  Currently showing 47k on the odometer, it spent most of its life in Spokane, where it was first delivered.  A friend of a friend bought it back in 2017 or so, but left it at my friends house due to its size... and the fact he had a lot of extra space in his garage.  However, said friend moved and the car went to sit outside for the last 18 months or so, much to its own sadness.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to take on the project, and kept kicking the can down the road (My friend has been bugging me about it for 6 months) - but when I went to finally went to look at it, I was pretty impressed at the overall condition.  As far as I can tell, the car is almost entirely original.  Front shocks and a few suspension bits have been changed out.  It had a brake job just after it changed hands the first time.  But outside of that, I don't have a lot of info on it.

The good:  Almost everything works.  Front fiber optics are dim, but functional.  Rear fiber optics are nice.  Cruise works, 8 track works. No broken interior bits or even trim.  Leather has some creasing, but no cracks.  Starts easily, and runs strong.

The bad:
- Needs a new top.  It's split on the right, just behind the quarter passenger window
- HVAC is... broken?  The directions all seem to work - defrost, floor, fascia all work.  But the temp dial seems to have no effect.  The AC is functional and gets cold FAST.  It frosts over in the engine bay within a few minutes.  I don't even know where to start yet with this, but either the blend door is straight up broken, or the auto-brain is broken somewhere, yes?
- Rust at the lower part of the front right fender, just behind the wheel.  It's just now starting to rear it's head, so I think it's still salvageable.
- Several of the bumper fillers are broken.
- ALS is present, but non-functional.  Nor a surprise there, but... I've not seen anyone with a good solution yet in my short time searching.
- BIG leak in trunk.  This, I think, is the most urgent problem.  It had standing water in the rear fender wells inside the trunk.  Seems odd that there aren't drains or they're clogged, but I've not been able to find out which yet.  The water hasn't been there long though.  All the cardboard bits are ruined, but the only rust is surface rust right now.  No holes or bubbling...  should clean up nicely.

I most certainly welcome help and advice.  I still have to work a day job, as retirement is still a couple decades away.  But I'm relatively handy, and have a fairly eclectic collection of old cars from the 70s and 80s.  Forums like this are one of the great things the Internet has done.  I'm very excited to fix the few things wrong with this amazing survivor and enjoy it.


hornetball

THANK YOU for rescuing it.  I can't believe that got left outside :(

'73 is a great year.  Engine has lots of torque, but will run well on today's gasoline.  Pace car year.

Here's a couple of good build threads for you (both 1974s, but nearly the same car):

https://forums.cadillaclasalleclub.org/index.php?topic=153157.0

https://forums.cadillaclasalleclub.org/index.php?topic=154660.0

There really aren't any great solutions to get ALS working again.  I just installed modern gas-charged shocks and moved on with life.  Some install air shocks and hide the fill valve in the back in case they need to adjust it.

The Tassie Devil(le)

G'day Brian, and welcome to the world of Eldorado ownership.

The first thing you need to do is get inside the trunk of your car, and look up under the back of the convertible top and see if the drain is cracked, broken or split.

These tops use a canvas drain that hardens up over time, and if touched can become less waterproof, and leak.   Mine did that once when I was filling the trunk with stuff, and accidentally hit it.

The picture from the Fisher Body Shop Manual shows the location of the gutter, so check to see that yours is good, all the way to the front.   This drain ends up feeding the base of the rear quarter window.

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

Rahtok

Quote from: The Tassie Devil(le) on November 28, 2021, 06:03:02 PM
G'day Brian, and welcome to the world of Eldorado ownership.

The first thing you need to do is get inside the trunk of your car, and look up under the back of the convertible top and see if the drain is cracked, broken or split.

These tops use a canvas drain that hardens up over time, and if touched can become less waterproof, and leak.   Mine did that once when I was filling the trunk with stuff, and accidentally hit it.

The picture from the Fisher Body Shop Manual shows the location of the gutter, so check to see that yours is good, all the way to the front.   This drain ends up feeding the base of the rear quarter window.

Bruce. >:D

<nods> I've taken a peek at it - but seeing as I need to put a new top on it, I figured that'd get replaced at that point in time.

Do you know if the trunk itself has any drains though?  Specifically, it's filling with water to either side - like in my last picture.  I can't seem to see in the body manual or via internet sleuthing if it has drains in those wells by the rear fenders.

The Tassie Devil(le)

There are no drain points in the trunk, unlike the holes in the bottom of the spare wheel container in cars where the tyre is held vertically in the '50's.

These Trunks were well sealed with the trunk weather-stripping and the use of carpet in trunks made sure that there was no possibility of water getting in.

You say that there is a cut in the roof.   That will let water in for sure, but most probably only below the actual cut.

The other thing that will let water in is any rust-through, and driving in the wet, but water getting in whilst standing, is best located by getting in the trunk, with a lamp, closing the lid, and having a reliable friend with a hose, spraying water on the car in differing spots, and simply looking.   Don't forget to leave the trunk key in the lock so you can be let out.   That is how I found where my roof gutter was leaking.

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

Rahtok

Well, I got about half a gallon of water out of the rear fenders today.  I'm gonna add some little drains in there so this doesn't happen again.  Made an appointment to get the top replaced, but... my place of choice is backlogged by about 6 months, so it'll be a while. 

Next up will be addressing the minor rust in the front right fender (right at the bottom) and getting the trunk all cleaned up.  While they're mixing up a batch of paint, I'll get the bumper fillers replaced.

Does anyone have favorite brands of said bumper fillers? Is their only one supplier of aftermarket with several places to buy them? Just looking for personal experiences of anyone who've bought any recently.

The Tassie Devil(le)

Brian,

Before you go cutting drain holes in the car, I would advise some detective work to find out just how the water is getting in.

It isn't supposed to be there in the first place.

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

Big Fins

I really have to add to this by looking at one of your pictures. NEVER raise or lower the top with the windows in the closed position. There is a strong possibility of breaking one or more of the windows should the top frame twist while in motion or simply bind up on one side.

Not sure on the '73, but my '76 has drain holes in the trunk  between the outer fender sheet metal and the trunk floor sheet metal. They were all plugged up with the rustproofing that was injected into the car. The doors were the same. I dug out the rustproofing and dirt and water started flowing.

I wondered why it still dripped for days after washing and I found out. All along the bottom body pinch welds are little drain holes. The water flowing in between the door panels and the glass has to go somewhere.
Current:
1976 Eldorado Convertible in Crystal Blue FireMist with white interior and top.
1969 Fleetwood Brougham in Chalice Gold FireMist with matching interior and top.

Past and much missed:
1977 Brougham de Elegance
1976 Eldorado Convertible
1972 Fleetwood Brougham
1971 Sedan de Ville
1970 de Ville Convertible
1969 Sedan de Ville
1959 Sedan deVille

Rahtok

I've got it all dried out in there now, and I can't find any drain holes back there at all.  Seems weird that there isn't, and I don't think this has some goofy aftermarket undercoating on it. Every other convertible that I've owned has multiple ways for water to find it's way back out of the car.  We'll double check one more time here soon...  I'm taking him to my body guy to have the rust at the bottom of the front right fender fixed, and we'll also media blast portions of the trunk.  Maybe use some POR15 in the wells so that if water DOES get in there, it won't rust it again.

And thanks for advice on the raising/lowering top  / windows bit.  I'm aware, and that pic was one where I was examining the roof and mechanism after the test drive.  But I promise the windows were down for actual lowering/raising.

Thanks all!

79 Eldorado

Brian,
If it's the lower rear corner of the front fender GM normally designs that area with an inside brace. Great for adding structure but also great for trapping debris which can hold moisture. The body person will very likely be familiar with it but while they're in there if there's anything you can do to stop it from ever happening again it's a good idea.

I don't know the 73 Eldo but I've seen trunk "drop-offs" with a triangular shaped stamped into the drop off. It gets welded to a flat area and creates a drain.

I was using POR a lot and still do sometimes but I started favoring Rust Bullet silver.
1) Rust Bullet publishes some test reports (I recall a study done by a bridge authority)
2) RB Does not require UV top coat
3) RB is higher temp resistant than the standard POR-15 (has worked great for me on rear drums)

And yes I know POR-15 makes high temp paints like their engine paint but not all of the POR-15 products are their rust preventative formula. It's never really obvious in their documentation in my opinion. To be fair I haven't read their info recently but it always gave me a feeling of encouraging a person to think something by association where they never actually made the claim. I like their POR putty but it never says it protects against rust like their signature product.

One thing I do like a lot more about POR-15 is how it wets-out to a perfect finish even after being applied by a brush. With anything more than one coat is normally good. Rust Bullet specifically suggests it due to gassing which can cause bubbles to create porosity in the surface. I normally coat and then coat again after 4 hours. I then top coat but normally in 3 hours with something like VHT Epoxy primer. The window for top coat is around 2 to 4 hours for decent adhesion of another paint. I've had particularly bad luck with RB Black. I've had several of the small cans arrive dried as solid as a rock from Amazon; never an issue with their silver. According to one of the test documents the silver was a little better though.

Scott

jwwseville60

1960 Eldorado Seville in Copper
1964 Eldorado Turquoise
1963 De Ville Station Wagon Vista roof, silver blue
1959 Sedan Deville flat top, tan
1947 Caddy Sedanette Series 62
1959 Lincoln Continental MKIV
1956 Lincoln Premiere coupe
1948 Packard Woody wagon
1949 Buick Woody Roadmaster
1953 Hudson Super Wasp