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Thread: Made a bunch of improvements recently...

  1. #1
    ls6junkie is offline Cadillac Owners Member
    Automobile(s): 2005 CTS-V
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    SE WI

    Made a bunch of improvements recently...

    I picked up my Stealth Gray CTS-v in March with 70000 on it. Cosmetically and mechanically it needed some love. I bought it from a Cadillac dealer and feel like I paid a reasonable price for it if it had HALF the issues that it did. More on that later though.

    So when I bought it, the following things were wrong:

    Radio buttons chipped
    Scratches on body
    Wheels have curb rash
    Armrest floppy/broken
    Oxidized headlights

    Motor mounts shot
    Transmission mount shot
    Diff bushing shot
    flex disc partially torn
    Front end clunk from unknown source
    Sloppy shifter
    Warped brake rotors

    So far I've made a great deal of progress fixing issues with the car. First I'll cover the more boring cosmetic details, then moving to the mechanical goodies.

    The first thing that I took care of was the radio buttons. I emailed Luke a Lindsay Cadillac and ordered a bunch of new buttons. I followed a guide that I found online and pulled the radio and replaced the buttons. All went well!

    Then I took care of the oxidized headlights. I used a mothers headlight restore kit and it worked really good! I was worried when I was using the wet sand paper on it that I would never get the fine scratches out all the way. Following the directions I was able to make them look essentially like new again. If you do this, don't forget some masking tape to protect your paint from the buffing ball.

    Next I was going to replace the armrest entirely but when I went to purchase a replacement I ran into a lot of trouble with the scrap yards. I decided to try and see if I could "fix" it. I pried the cover apart just using my hands and shimmed the mechanism with sticky felt pads that you would use on the bottom of a chair leg. I was able to stop any noises the armrest made from the broken plastic inside it, but I still had some work to do about it making noises when it was in the lowered position by hitting other parts of the center counsel. I just used two more felt pads at the hinge point so the they create a kind of bump stop when the armrest is lowered. I'm not super proud of this but it is functional and will work until I buy a suitable replacement. You can't see any of the pads unless the armrest is raised.

    I've tried using elbow grease to remove scratches unsuccessfully and still have yet to deal with the curbed rims. I'll have to purchase another power buffer since mine died years ago. As for the wheels, I'm on the fence as far as what to do with them. I do like the looks of the stock wheels on this car, but there are also some aftermarket alternatives that would add character. If I lived in a problem free world with no financial boundaries I would just buy some aftermarket wheels and be done with it. I guess I need to know what you guys have done to refinish wheels that have received curb rash.

    Now, for mechanical tidbits:

    I did a lot of this in one big step. I replaced my motor mounts, trans mount, fixed the shifter slop (for the most part), and replaced my front flex disk all at the same time. The reasoning for doing those things all at once was that I decided while I installed my headers and took the exhaust and all of that off it was the best time to get it all done. I went with rev-shift motor mounts and their flex disc coupler. I bought the trans mount from creative steel. Installing the motor mounts while doing headers was an awesome idea because you have so much more room to work on the mounts with the exhaust manifolds off.

    Rev-shift's flex coupler is much more rigid than the rubber one from the factory. This can cause vibrations from misalignment of the transmission to the center joint in the drive shaft. I was hoping that I wouldn't have to shim since all of my mounts were going to be fresh but that wasn't the case. I chose to shim the center mount for the drive shaft down instead of the transmission mount up. The reasoning for this was because the studs on the creative steel transmission mount are not long enough for the mount to be shimmed and still have enough thread sticking out of the crossmemeber to hold a nut in place securely. The center mount bolts can just be replaced with longer ones however, making that much safer.

    The rear diff bushing I thought was surprisingly easy to replace. I rented creative steels tool to do the work which worked beautifully. I did this at a separate time, though afterwards I wished I had done it at the same time as everything else. The reason being is that I ended up dropping the exhaust again to do this.

    As far as modifications go, here is my current (and short) list:
    Pacesetter ceramic coated headers
    Magnecor spark plug wires
    NGK TR55 spark plugs
    Home made cold air intake
    CAGS skip shift eliminator
    tinted reverse lights and top of third brake light
    tinted windows

    I think that is about it so far. The car has made quite a transformation with these mods and fixes. I'm excited to see what it's like in the future. I'll touch on my future plans and my dealings with the stealership another day.

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  3. #2
    philistine's Avatar
    philistine is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
    Automobile(s): Black 2004 CTS-V
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Birmingham, Alabama, United St

    Re: Made a bunch of improvements recently...

    I used a mothers headlight restore kit and it worked really good!
    Do you have any before/after pics?

  4. #3
    soulja's Avatar
    soulja is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
    Automobile(s): 2009 CTS-V Sedan 6MT, (Sold) 05 Maggie & 8.8 V1.
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Belleville, Mi.

    Re: Made a bunch of improvements recently...

    Yeah, a detailed post like that and no pics? Come on!

  5. #4
    carlson_mn is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
    Automobile(s): Platinum 06 CTS-V, kooks, magnaflow
    Join Date
    Jul 2012

    Re: Made a bunch of improvements recently...

    how much are those radio buttons these days? $4 of paint might be more attractive to me at this point.

  6. #5
    ls6junkie is offline Cadillac Owners Member
    Automobile(s): 2005 CTS-V
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    SE WI

    Re: Made a bunch of improvements recently...

    Pictures are coming. Unfortunately I don't believe I have any good before pictures of the headlights. All I have are the dealer pictures which of course hide the problems. I haven't taken any after shots of the car. Maybe It's about time that I do that...

    As far as the radio buttons, I believe I spent in the neighborhood of 75 dollars on both knobs, the radio button, the nav button and all the "softkey" or preset buttons on the right hand side. It was a little steep, and I was considering going the paint route too but my concerns were that it wouldn't match the finish of the rest of the trim. Please let us know if you decide to go that route and like the results!

  7. #6
    PISNUOFF Guest

    Re: Made a bunch of improvements recently...

    Keep an eye on those Magnecors. I could not get three of the eight to stay on the plugs.

  8. #7
    Twitch's Avatar
    Twitch is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
    Automobile(s): '05 CTS-V, '00 SLS, 98 SLS, 89 Eldo, '80 Eldo
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Re: Made a bunch of improvements recently...

    She must have felt soooo much nicer with all new mounts.

    My rims aslo came with a bit of rash. Got them powdercoated and you really need to look hard to find the damage. The coater said no prep work was needed. The coating fills in and smooths out any marks.



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