: Problem with my 1978 deville lecabriolet

09-21-07, 03:12 PM
I recently took my 78' lecab to have the top fixed as well as some other small issues, and the mechanic said the frame was badly rusted, and it was dangerous to drive. Is there anything i can do to make my car safe to drive? my dads had it since 78 and i just got it as an heirloom. i love that car and would do anything to keep it. any suggestions??

09-21-07, 04:01 PM
And has anyone used por15 or kbs 3 step system? some recommendations would be appreciated.

09-21-07, 06:05 PM
swap frames maybe?

09-21-07, 06:14 PM
send it my way lol jk. snatch the body off and have the frame blasted then deal with the rust. im doing this to my 77 for the fact the frame has surface rust as well as front floor pans. could swap the frame as well like big pop said. theres a lecab in sc for around 3k no rear floor pans though. needs A LOT of tlc.

09-21-07, 06:23 PM
Get another opinion ASAP. There are three possibilities:

1. The mechanic is right, and your frame is toast.
2. The frame is rusty, but can be repaired.
3. The frame is rusty, and doesn't need repair.

#1 requires a frame swap (or frame section swaps). 2 means grinding and welding. 3 means cleaning and rust prevention.

Get under there, and get us some good pics. We'll tell you what to do.

I personally think you should give me that car. You don't want to take the chance of driving a dangerous car:thumbsup:

09-21-07, 07:29 PM
Did he say where exactly it was shot? Did he even show you? Beware of know-it-all mechanics. The usual place that actually hurts the structure of the car is above the rear axle. I'd definitely get a second opinion...

The car looks so clean in the pictures, usually a car with a shot frame has many other rust issues.

09-21-07, 08:26 PM
where are the pics!!!!

09-21-07, 10:44 PM
Without pics of the problen areas, it's hard to tell. Put your car up on stands and go under on a creeper. bring a screwdriver with you. Poke the frame with your screwdriver to locate any weak spots.
These frames are pretty strong but, there are some places where you don't want to see them rot. They have a tendency to rot in front of the rear wheel hump. If your C channel has rotted, I have seen some people weld angle iron down the rail. If there is any metal on the ends It will help hold it together for normal driving. If your planning on ripping the tires, use some caution.

09-21-07, 11:59 PM
ok well i havent gotten the car back from the mechanic but ill definately get a 2nd opinion... and all of your opinions. when i get it back ill take some pictures because my parents want to sell the car but i want to keep it. ill get pics underneath up asap. as for pics of the actual car, they're here: http://picasaweb.google.com/L.Stopak/1978CadillacDevilleLeCabriolet

09-22-07, 12:23 AM
Yeah watch yourself, get another oppinion right away especially if this is not your usual guy. I once had some ass-hat of a mechanic tell me the frame was rusted on a monocoque car. I never took a car back there for anything. (FYI this is the North Billerica VIP -you locals keep your cars outta there! It's not good enough for my girlfriend's $500 MR2 it's definitely not good enough for anybody's Caddy!!!) Not to mention that I had been under the same car when it was up on another garage's lift not two weeks prior when it was having a new wiggle pipe put in and there was no rust... nevermind that there's no friggin' frame to have rust on on a friggin' unibody car!

09-22-07, 10:43 AM
I find it very hard to belive that the frame of a car that is in that good shape would be fully rusted through. I think he wants you to sell him that fine car for next to nothing...

09-22-07, 11:39 AM
yeah well when we asked for the price of how much it would cost for him to repair it he said 21k so im not fully confident in this guy. im getting the car back either monday or tuesday so ill get some pictures up around then.

09-24-07, 04:31 PM
ok i just picked the car up about an hour ago and im about to go underneath to see if i can see anything noticeable.

09-24-07, 05:00 PM
yeah well when we asked for the price of how much it would cost for him to repair it he said 21k so im not fully confident in this guy. im getting the car back either monday or tuesday so ill get some pictures up around then.

something is definately up. Check around for a candid camera crew, what a joke! Run away, quickly, from that shop.

09-26-07, 11:22 PM
i went under the car to see if i could see anything substantial but seeing as i know nothing about cars i didnt know what to look for. Sometime this weekend im gonna take the car up to the gas station so they can lift it up. Can u guys tell me what i should look for when i take some pictures?

09-27-07, 02:17 PM
Can u guys tell me what i should look for when i take some pictures?

Yeah... the frame.:thumbsup:

lol... I couldn't resist.

The frame is the part that goes around the perimeter. It looks like a 2x4 made out of metal, and it bends up over the axle at the rear. Just find the frame on one side, and start following it around the whole car. Take a screwdriver and poke rusty parts. If it goes through, you have problems. Take pics for us.

Here's a pic of your frame without the body. Yours probably won't be black, but you get the idea...


09-28-07, 11:17 PM
What is that? A Chevy on your rails? Shame!!

11-18-07, 11:37 AM
i finally had time to go up to the gas station to get some pictures taken of the rust. however, the pictures didnt turn out as well as i would have hoped. im currently looking for a second mechanic to check the rust out also. here are the pictures, let me know what you guys think. thanks.

11-18-07, 02:49 PM
From the pictures that you have posted, I don't see any frame rust that would concern me. Other pictures of the frame might reveal other problems. The only thing that I could see in the pictures is that you need new front shock absorbers, and that there is a rear main seal, or a front transmission seal leaking. Can't tell exactly which it is from the pictures. I wish that the frame of my 1978 looked as good as yours, and mine, even though it has some surface rust it is still solid.

11-18-07, 02:52 PM
How could you tell he needs new front shocks?

And yeah, that frame looks solid as a rock from the pics.

11-18-07, 03:01 PM
How could you tell he needs new front shocks?

And yeah, that frame looks solid as a rock from the pics.

I have downloaded the picture that he has posted on his picture site. If you look at the upper control arm, you will see the "shiny" spot where the rubber bumper on the lower control arm has been hitting the upper control arm when going over bumps. You will also note that this has been happening for a long time, because the rubber bumper, known as a "rebound bumper" has rubber missing from its top surface. It is also possible that the front coil springs have also failed, but there is no way to know that until you put in the new shocks, or remove the springs and measure the height and compare that measurement with the replacement. I don't know if replacement springs are even available for that model since it is already 29 years old.

11-18-07, 04:51 PM
could the spring problem possibly cause a rattling in the corner? every time i start the car up for the first time, when i drive it there is a light rattling from 0-15 mph then it gets really heavy from 15-30 mph. over 30 it seems to stop rattling. Also, when the car bounces or goes over rough patches in the road, it rattles and im not sure of the reason.
The leak you are talking about is from the motor for the top. There is a crack in the fluid tank and im in the process of getting it fixed.

11-18-07, 08:22 PM
I have no way to know what is causing the rattling that you are hearing, however, you should find yourself a honest mechanic, and have him give the car a complete "physical" examination and write down exactly what is wrong with it, along with an estimate of what it will cost to have each issue resolved. You are dealing with a 30 year old car, that could need a lot of service items replaced. Based on what I can see with the bad shocks, I wouldn't doubt that there are also other worn parts in the front suspension. Suspension items, like brakes are very important to the safety of the driver and passengers, along with others on the road, so they should be attended to first. Ask the mechanic to give you a list and to prioritize each items, so you fix the most serious problems first. Leaks from the engine I don't see as critical, but leaks in a braking system are. If an engine fails, all it will do is leave you stranded at the side of the road. If the brakes or steering fail, then you run the risk of getting killed if you go off the road, etc. Don't be surprised that bringing the car back to a safe level can cost you a thousand dollars or more. With the high cost of parts today for older cars, along with the high labor costs to install the parts, a complete front suspension rebuild can cost you over a thousand dollars, assuming that it will need everything done. This is where learning how to work on your own car can become very important cost savings. If there is a community college that has a evening class in auto mechanics, it will be a worthwhile investment in your future.

11-18-07, 08:32 PM
ok thanks a lot. i appreciate it. once i get it checked out ill update the issues

11-18-07, 08:45 PM
You know, now that I go back and look at the exterior pics of your car, the front end is a little low. You might want to throw on a set of springs & shocks while you're reconditioning her.

11-21-07, 05:59 PM
ok thanks ill definitely look into that.

425 Dual Quad
11-23-07, 12:20 PM
Hi there,

Just been idly looking at this thread.

Firstly congratuations on suchh a clean car. From the pics I can only see mild surface rust and the floor pans look super clean. Overall it looks in very good order. You should be very proud of your car and the way your family kept it.

There's no reason to sell it unless you just want to. I hope it gives you and your famiuily and friends many hours of driving pleasure now and in the future.

[Oh and if you want to sell it an export to to Ireland so I can enjoy it be my guest! No seriously, it's yours, enjoy to the full!]

regards, Nick

11-23-07, 01:53 PM
i think the springs are original, but ive recently gotten new shocks put in. im taking the car up within the next 2 weeks to get another opinion on the rust (just incase there is something we cant see) and to see if he can find out what is causing the rattling. also, there are some minor visual flaws which are annoying me so im going to get those fixed also. the car also needs new brake pads and there is a little kink in the steering. i think there is a small leak underneath the car because there is a small pool of oil in my garage and there is a crack in the motor for the convertible top. Once i get an update on its condition, ill give you guys an update on it too.

p.s. thanks for the compliments Nick

11-25-07, 09:43 PM
I was looking at my engine this weekend and noticed a couple things. first of all, the tube that brings in cold air was unplugged so i hooked it back up. Also, there is this thing in the front lefthand corner of the engine bay which was completely disconnected. There is a thin black tube coming out of it and im not sure where it goes. Could somebody tell me the purpose of this thing and the seriousness of it being unplugged? Here's a picture so you guys can see what it is: http://picasaweb.google.com/L.Stopak/EngineBay

11-25-07, 10:44 PM
That is a compressor for the rear air shocks. It must have gone bad at some time in the past, and the rear shocks were changed over to standard shocks. I have never seen a factory compressor that looked like yours before, but it might have been replaced once before. On my 1978, the compressor was mounted in the left rear near the hood hinge. It might have something to do with how the car was originally optioned. I have no way of telling. Junk..

11-25-07, 11:16 PM
My red '79 (Denice) has a compressor in the same place... but it diesn't look like that. Like junkman said, maybe it was replaced at some point. Mine wasn't hooked up either, the previous owner installed Gabriel Hijackers. It still has the lines running back there, and I think it would work if I plugged it in, here's a picture of mine.


11-25-07, 11:21 PM
o ok thanks just wanted to know what it was. and the rear shocks were replaced so thats probably when it was unplugged