: Back to the drawing board. - 96fleetwood should look inside



Benzilla
03-13-07, 06:40 PM
Okay, so I'm sure you all remember my crazed ramblings a few months back about lowering the rear of my '79 Coupe. I finally got some Gabriel hijackers and had them installed today. But that didn't lower it. I had thought that the reason it was high was because of the old coilover shocks in the back, but that wasn't all of it apparently. I took the hijackers down to six pounds of pressure, and the rear was still on the high side. So it's the springs. Their not the original ones.


So, I could get a set of brand new '79 de Ville springs, but I think that could be what's in there now, and they just haven't started to sag yet. I know this sounds backwards, but I actually want them to sag like originals to match the front ones and level the car out. I'd rather have it a little low than high.

Here's what I'm thinking, I could get a set of Caprice springs, being that they were designed for a lighter car they would sag from the start, in effect lowering the rear. Then as they sag more over the years, I can just add a few more p.s.i to the air shocks. My mechanic thought it sounded just fine.



Any problems with that? Advise? I thought 96fleetwood should read this because he did something like this with his if I remember right.

Phantom&RedGoat2004
03-13-07, 07:26 PM
I'm not really sure if that would be a good idea or not (safety?). I'm uncertain about what the long term effects of the lighter springs would be on that heavy DeVille. Might they eventually sag too low after time? It may very well be safe to do, but my 2-cents says: Engineers designed those springs the way they did for a reson I'm not qualified to answer myself just why, but: My '76 had coil-overs on the rear, and I loved the "sagging Caddy" look, but still drug frame over every speed bump. I know there's a significant wieght difference between a '76 Fleetwood and a '79 DeVille and how well they settle, but I think you would be pleased with a set of "well broken-in" springs and some good comfy shocks (may be even an inch or so shorter?). I'd imagine that you could grab a pair of springs from a Cadillac parts car that are already "settled" for pretty cheap.
I may be wrong, but just thought I'd pitch-in. :)

Benzilla
03-13-07, 07:39 PM
Well, I had thought about them eventually sagging too low, but as long as they last about five years, I'm fine with that. Plus, as I said, when they start to get a little to low I could just put more air in the adjustable shocks.

I don't know how your '76 bottomed out, but the level I'm trying to get is only about 2 inches lower than stock, so there's still plenty of room under there.

I thought about getting some broken in springs too, but their harder to find, right now I just want springs asap. And I could get a set of new 1979 Caprice springs and have them on by next week. Although I might look into that. Like I said about the shocks, right now I have the hijackers in there and even with no air pressure at all, the springs alone held the car about 1/2 inch higher even above old stock photos I've seen.

425 Dual Quad
03-13-07, 07:59 PM
:) Hi - my 2 cents! :

Weaker springs especially at the rear would make it handle like a drunken pig that had lost control of it's rear legs. Not good! Especially f the front wasn't matched.
There is a GM car that takes the same springs as a '77-'79 which is 1.5 inches lower and the same poundage. I can't for the life remember which one it is but maybe this will steer you in the right direction.
This is what you need - same spring rates but shorter!

good luck my firend!

best regards
nick

Benzilla
03-13-07, 08:03 PM
Thanks, I don't think caprie springs would be that much of a problem, but what do I know.

1.5 isn't enough, it needs to be about 2.5 inches lower than it is now...

Benzilla
03-13-07, 08:12 PM
Would it be better to use 1994-1996 Impala SS springs? They'd be stiffer yet still shorter right?

Phantom&RedGoat2004
03-13-07, 08:18 PM
Would it be better to use 1994-1996 Impala SS springs? They'd be stiffer yet still shorter right?

Only if you are sure that those would seat right.

96Fleetwood
03-13-07, 08:21 PM
Caprice springs will not make your car sit lower.. not even the civilian caprice.

The 9C1 and B4U Caprice springs will actually make your car sit higher.

If you want to lower, you need to use a lower spring. The SS spring is the mildest drop application we have for our vehicles. However.. you might have to use a 9C1 spring in the rear like I did. I found that the rear of my car was dragging with SS springs.

It is all trial and error with our cars since there is no "direct" aftermarket support.

HTH, and goodluck!
-Elias

Benzilla
03-13-07, 09:00 PM
Really? I was thinking like a '79 Caprice if that makes any difference.

I've heard that stock Impala SS springs will lower it about 1.5". I guess that's the closest to what I'm looking for.

How come first you say 9C1 springs will raise my car, then say to use them in the back?

96Fleetwood
03-13-07, 09:13 PM
I should have clarified.. 9C1/B4U springs will raise the front of most RWD Cadillacs... not sure what those springs will do to the rear of yours.

The '93-96 Fleetwood is ~300 lbs heavier than the Caprice in the rear, which is why the SS springs make the 'reverse rake effect' on my car.

codewize
03-14-07, 08:25 PM
I'm not sure if this was actually said or not BUT shocks have nothing or very little to do with ride height. Springs provide the stance of the car while shocks absorb shock from the road.

Totally worn shocks may cause the car to sit a little lower than it should but ride height is NOT the purpose of the shocks.

caddycruiser
03-14-07, 09:29 PM
I'm not sure if this was actually said or not BUT shocks have nothing or very little to do with ride height. Springs provide the stance of the car while shocks absorb shock from the road.

Totally worn shocks may cause the car to sit a little lower than it should but ride height is NOT the purpose of the shocks.

Precisely, though on the Fleetwood, the rear springs are naturally a tad weak to hold up the rear fully themselves and it's designed so there always has to be some charge in the air shocks--without them, it's fine, but a bit low, like our '93. And as the springs themselves get weaker, there's more sag.

But springs are the main lift, and if you're done with the air shocks, you'll need to upgrade the springs in this car to something stronger like a heavier duty trim B body or aftermarket spring which can hold it up properly without needing any air assist.

cadillac_al
03-14-07, 09:41 PM
I don't understand why it is so high . Did you lower the front end or something? My 78 coupe is the only Caddy I have ever had without level-ride. Whatever spring they put in it makes it sit level though; granted it's 25 years old though.

Destroyer
03-14-07, 10:07 PM
I'm using stock Impala SS springs (purchased on ebay for $8) out back and KYB shocks on mine, rear sits only slightly lower than front. The front has Intrax lowering springs for an Impala SS though. What that means to you is that because you have stock springs in the front, the rear will look much lower than the front. You insalled air shocks if I read right so you can slight raise it a bit though. Anyway heres a couple more pics of mine in case you didn't catch it on another thread.

Benzilla
03-14-07, 10:08 PM
Wait, shocks totally have something to do with the ride height, if you fill up the air shocks the car gets higher.

That's what I was told back here too. PLEASE READ THE LINK.

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/rwd-19xx-1985-deville-fleetwood-1985/87181-1979-cdv-rear-end-lowering-whats.html

That's also where I got the idea for the Caprice springs.

The front hasn't been lowered, it's just original. But over 28 years the springs sag a couple inches, them the last owner had the rear suspension replaced and not the front, so the rear sits higher. I hate how that looks.

Everything you need to know is in that link, that's how I got to this situation.


EDIT: Destroyer and I posted at the same time.

Benzilla
03-14-07, 10:16 PM
Destroyer, I love how yours sits, laid back yet mean. I hate it when the rear is higher than the front.

Right now the rear of mine is about an inch higher than the front without sandbags in the trunk.

Destroyer
03-15-07, 05:55 AM
Wait, shocks totally have something to do with the ride height, if you fill up the air shocks the car gets higher.

That's what I was told back here too. PLEASE READ THE LINK.

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/rwd-19xx-1985-deville-fleetwood-1985/87181-1979-cdv-rear-end-lowering-whats.html

That's also where I got the idea for the Caprice springs.

The front hasn't been lowered, it's just original. But over 28 years the springs sag a couple inches, them the last owner had the rear suspension replaced and not the front, so the rear sits higher. I hate how that looks.

Everything you need to know is in that link, that's how I got to this situation.


EDIT: Destroyer and I posted at the same time.Normally shocks dont have much to do with the ride height but air shocks are an exception. Still, you dont want most of the load on the air shocks. I have used air shocks in the past and IMO they are not the best in the handling department. I think my setup works great, there is no rubbing, the car handles great. The floatiness of the stock suspension is gone (I know many like that though) but it still rides nice and feels much tighter.

Benzilla
03-15-07, 01:57 PM
When I drove it home after the install with 25 psi in the shocks it actually handled better than with the old coil-overs. I was surprised. I'm the kind that likes floating in an old caddy. My Brougham has the towing package, and that's stiff enough for me. I do love yours though.


So have I missed something? It doesn't seem like I'm getting a definite answer, would SS springs be best to lower the rear 1.5 - 2.0 inches? or should I wait for a set of broken in Cadillac springs?

Destroyer
03-15-07, 03:13 PM
When I drove it home after the install with 25 psi in the shocks it actually handled better than with the old coil-overs. I was surprised. I'm the kind that likes floating in an old caddy. My Brougham has the towing package, and that's stiff enough for me. I do love yours though.


So have I missed something? It doesn't seem like I'm getting a definite answer, would SS springs be best to lower the rear 1.5 - 2.0 inches? or should I wait for a set of broken in Cadillac springs?Yes you will get the drop you want with SS springs and adjust with the air shocks to get it just right.:thumbsup: I bought the rear ones used from ebay for $8 plus $10 for shipping.

Benzilla
03-15-07, 03:37 PM
Thank you very much. I hope this resolves it once and for all. :)

Cadillacboy
03-15-07, 05:10 PM
I have a question and you are true source for my answer.When you lower your FWBs let's say a '93-96 FBW ,does your car handle better than an STS ? Another is you know FWB has the more comfortable suspension to STS but whwn you lower it does it hurt the comfort level of FWB ?
I am asking these questions because when I get a FWB I will do the same as well :)

Destroyer
03-15-07, 06:42 PM
I have a question and you are true source for my answer.When you lower your FWBs let's say a '93-96 FBW ,does your car handle better than an STS ? Another is you know FWB has the more comfortable suspension to STS but whwn you lower it does it hurt the comfort level of FWB ?
I am asking these questions because when I get a FWB I will do the same as well :)
Framewise the 93-96 are the same as the older ones so you would get similar results. Does it handle better than an STS?. I will tell you that it handles much better than my wifes '98 Deville. I dont know how a '98 Deville compares to an STS but I would think they are similar with a nod to the STS. The car is much firmer than before and it sits real low. I was parked next to an older (94-95) Corolla the other day and my roof was actually lower than his. The ride IMO is much better, not too harsh and not too soft. I would say the car handles almost as good as a stock newer fbody but does not ride as harsh as one.

96Fleetwood
03-16-07, 07:28 AM
My 1996 Fleetwood handles better than my brothers STS.

Impala SS springs front with Bilstein Sport shocks
9C1 springs rear with Bilstein HD shocks
Hotchkis front and rear sway bars
UMI control arms
Rebuilt front suspension with Moog parts
etc etc

The car is so firm and stable, even at high speed. No more float or bounce! It is still comfortable, but it does get jarring over bad roads.

Cadillacboy
03-16-07, 01:20 PM
Thank you guys for your inputs, I really appreciate that :)

Benzilla
04-25-07, 10:27 PM
Okay, I got the Impala springs on finally, with the Gabriel Hijackers. It sits much lower now, right where I wanted it, the best part is that I can adjust it. I might put in just a little more air, but right now the back is actually 1/4" higher than the front, when measuring in front of the rear wheel well, and behind the front one, even though it doesn't look that way. So here's a few pics. Before the rear was about 1 1/4" higher.


http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c40/Cadillac_guy/100_1095.jpg
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c40/Cadillac_guy/100_1083.jpg


Before, with the old tires too. And before I polished the paint. I think it looks much better now. More 'Cadillac'.


http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c40/Cadillac_guy/100_0754-1.jpg


So, opinions?

Old Fleetwood
04-25-07, 10:45 PM
Don't change a f*****g THING! :thehand:
To do so would be pure rape of a gorgeous car.
Somehow you have hit on what IMNSHO is PERFECT.
Your photos ain't too shabby, either.
Now don't run off and get a big fat head.:tisk:

Benzilla
04-25-07, 10:53 PM
Thank you, and don't worry, I agree with you haha :D I mean, don't worry at all. All I have planned is just a new paint job in the original color, just to refresh every spec of newness. She's staying stock down to the original 8-track/CB combo.

Old Fleetwood
04-25-07, 11:01 PM
I hope the guy who paints the car does it justice.
Personally, I'd be as nervous as a whore in church unless the painter really knew his stuff to let him anywhere NEAR that car.
And even then, I'd STRIP IT rather than MASK it for the paint job which is what I did for my old Cordoba.
It made one helluva difference and came out like a 100 pointer when all was said and done, but it cost and arm and a leg.

Benzilla
04-25-07, 11:07 PM
Yes, I'm being very selective about who I let near it. I'm willing to pay for a top quality job, and I expect to get it. I'll have most of the trim taken off rather than masked. Actually I'll probably take half the trim off myself because I know how to do it, lol. I'm still looking around for the cleanest, most conscientious looking shop. I want it to come out like glass.

Also, do you think I should keep the "Classic Cadillac" grille or get a standard one?

Old Fleetwood
04-25-07, 11:11 PM
I'd go PURE CADILLAC.
She looks so perfect in profile, now, why disturb the head-on view?
Hell, if nobody knew about the repaint, she'd be assumed to be cherry.

Benzilla
04-25-07, 11:16 PM
I'm torn. I like the custom grille, but I like the stock one too. I'll probably put a stock one on for a while, just to see how it looks. Because once I put the custom one back on, it will scar the header panel.

Jonas McFeely
04-26-07, 03:12 PM
First off: You have one of the most beautiful Coupes ive ever seen. I think i hate you now. Second, i think you should keep the grille. I believe they look better.Plus you have the Phaeton, it helps it stand out a a little more.

96Fleetwood
04-26-07, 03:55 PM
:thumbsup: Great work!

N0DIH
04-26-07, 08:40 PM
I'm pulling out my stock 94 FE2 (ride and handling package, these are the "TR" springs IIRC) springs on my Fleetwood for some wagon springs. Without air they sit fairly low (not as bad as FE1 springs). With the air shocks they are rated for 840 lbs tongue weight with the tow package I have.

I can show the before/after if anyone is interested.