: 80'coupe disaster after disaster... Stepdad wants to sell... Help please.

durrk johnson
05-14-09, 11:05 AM
I just got my 80'coupe out of the shop...

The brakes just got redone, new master cylinder, pads, hardware kit everything... Then yesterday the brakes start squealing...

I call back the shop and they tell me to bring it in today, and then this morning I go out there and my car wont start....

Now, let me tell you my car has went through 2 alternators and 4 batteries since I have had it, It has left me stranded plenty of times, and has spent most of its time in the shop for minor repairs. My car is known for having the generator light pop on all of the time for no reason.

It was doing this yesterday and then today it wont start and wouldnt even take a jump.... But still turns over once and electricity works in the car...

Now at this shop, we had the alternator replaced last fall....

Keep in mind that I am 23 years old and have very little money with rent, bills etc. so my stepdad and mother have been helping me everytime my cars breaks down. Well, they dont want to do it anymore and are telling me that they are going to sell the car... Its in their name so I know they have the right too... And I definately understand why they would want to do this but they are not gonna get much if they sell it.

I am telling them that its not the car, that its the stupid repair shop that we bring it too, It seems like everytime we bring it there it has to be brought back in. One time last year we had to bring it back in there 4-5 times until they got it right...

I love my car and dont want them to sell it... They said then they are gonna put it in my name then which means I will have this car and it will sit and most likely get towed... I dont know what to do right now. Im not gonna have even close to the amount of money it would take to get fixed until the end of summer.

Let me tell you a few things... My car was in great shape, it was almost mint until I got my hands on it... The rear quarter panel is dented from someone backing into me, one rear bumper guard and both front bumper guards are broken... Not to mention all of my clearcoat is basically chipped off on top... the gas guage doesnt work along with a few other things...

But these are all surface damage.. I know shes good in the inside... She runs good, The interior seats are almost flawless, leather that almost looks new... Its just my fault for not having money and not knowing how to fix any of this stuff myself... I let them bring it to these dumb ass mechanics knowing they have a history of messing things up not just with me but with others aswell.

But I love my car, it just seems like it is non-sensical for me to have it knowing I dont have anywhere close of what money it would take do what is needed. I posted a couple pics I just took of the car... Shes not what she used to be, but shes all I got.

Im so stressed out right now and really have had it with all of this and dont really know what to do at this point.

05-14-09, 11:57 AM
I know exactly how you feel, My family used to take their cars to mechanics and we had a nice 1992 Cadillac Seville that kept breaking down after taking it to the shop.(this shop did not last long) Eventually I decided to start tackling car issues myself and ever since I did I have had very little problems with my Cadillacs. It probably is the shop trying to rip you off. This actually has happened to us numerous times..We through about 5 different shops and even when we found one we thought we could trust, they even turned us down. This site is also a great help as well to help with car problems. Good Luck!

durrk johnson
05-14-09, 11:57 AM
Also my stepdad, seems to think its the cars fault, it basically said it was worthless.

Im beginning to think I should just give up.

05-14-09, 12:04 PM
I know exactly how you feel. My family has gone through so many cars from taking them to shops that were ripping them off. We had a nice 1992 Seville that kept breaking down. I told them it was the mechanics did not know how to fix the car. Same thing happened to a shop we thought we could trust with a 1990 Deville had a distributor problem. Car sat and sat with no progress, and he sad the parts were hard to find and he called numerous junkyards. This is when I decided it was time to start repairing my own cars. I had the car running faster than when it sat in the shop. Now that I do most of my own work our cars go a lot longer with no breakdowns. So It could just be the shop.

05-14-09, 12:09 PM
If you like cars you should read a few car magazines and buy a manual for your car. Why would you want to let dumbass mechanics work on it? Electricity is pretty simple and changing an alternator is about the easiest thing to replace on most old cars. Rebuilt alternators are junk 50% of the time so replacing them is a crap shoot. It's either charging or not charging. A $10 multi-meter will tell you that. If you don't know how to fix cars then that's what these forums are for. There is usually someone here that will help you with questions that may arise. Do you have some big stereo sywtem wreaking havoc with your electrical system? If you would rather sell it than work on it, what is you location?

durrk johnson
05-14-09, 12:49 PM
Thanks for the opinions guys, I really appreciate it!

I really dont want to sell it... Its a very rare automobile indeed... And I love it.

I keep trying to tell my stepdad how valuable this car really is. He doesnt understand and probably never will, He called it a fundamental waste or something to that effect... Im not sure what the second word was, but I know he said fundamental something and it pissed me off.

I would like to be able to tackle things like this myself, but Im a pretty big guy (6'2' 275) and I dont fit under the car as easily and am afraid Id mess something up if I tried to fix it myself... Another thing is that I dont have a place to work on it even if I did know how to fix it, I live in the city of Milwaukee and its not legal to work on your car in the street.

I have a chilton manual but when i read it it seems like jibberish to me. I concentrate my time on my music and art and dont know if Id be able to learn mechanics...

I wish I knew a reputable shop or just someone that knew their stuff and would do the repairs for reasonable prices.. Friends like these are hard to find.

Cadillac Al: No I dont have a big stereo system in it, I just have an older aftermarket deck, and 6x9s and 4x6's...

I used to have a bogus amp and subs in there which caused the electrical problems in the first place... The electrical is a huge hit or miss thing, it has beeen since I got it. I think its just because people fixing the wrong things... Im sure if I got a powerful battery, upgraded alternator and new wires, everything would be okay... But im afraid that when the those things got replaced in the past that it wasnt done right or done half assed... maybe some things not done at all..

DopeStar 156
05-14-09, 12:56 PM
Tell him he's not your real dad and storm outta the room.....

durrk johnson
05-14-09, 01:34 PM
^^ haha yeah...

I supposse Im going to have to learn how to fix some of it. I really have no other choice...
II just dont have any tools or somewhere to fix it.

05-14-09, 03:18 PM
i feel your pain, dude. my car is registerd in my parents name cuz i bought it when i was 17 and they really dont want anything to do with the beast. they know its a good car but when something breaks the usual response is "you know where the tools are, have fun!"

a good set of craftsman tools arent all that expensive and are an excelent investment. old cars arent very difficult to work on and once youve got it back to road-worthy-ness, its just a matter of maintence and stopping the problems you can before they get to where you need to do serious work.

im only 18 and everyone else on here has advice astronomically better than mine, but heres my 2 cents anyway.... your car is already not running great, if you can find a place to work on it and have us on the forum walk you thru fixing your electrical system, you simply cannot make it worse.

good luck, your car is beautiful and just needs a lil love!

05-14-09, 03:53 PM
When I bought my first Cadillac - a '90 Brougham a few years back - I didn't know much of anything about how to work on cars. Now I can just about tackle anything with the help of the forum folks here. I also had to learn the hard way about shops. I had an Oldsmobile that a shop took 5 times to try and get working right. After $1200 and several angry phone calls, it still didn't run right. So I learned how to get everything right, and it's the best running car I've had in a while.

If there's anything to be learned from this, it's that there's very very few shops that will honestly not screw you. I mean it's in their interest to do a half-a$$ job so they can get your business again. And they know you'll come back b/c other shops won't mess with someone else's work, and the shop will threaten to pull out any warranty they give if you do go anywhere else. In your case they are probably taking the batteries and alternators and reselling them. Some of the largest criminals and ripoffs are at car shops. Even when you find an honest shop, it's hard to find someone who knows these old GM tanks very well. Otherwise you get folks who just tinker under the hood of your car and charge you all the labor hours. I'd say there's more knowledge on this forum about 20th century GM cars than any shop in the nation, including dealers.

Simply put, I have vowed to do my own car work and it's cost me about 1/10th the cost as it would be at a shop, and I've learned alot. And I know the work is good. If you do go to a shop, be sure to know what they are doing - every detail. And you can play hardball with them, and they can know that they can't screw you like everyone else. Basically you need to be able to tell a shop what you want done; don't say "find the problem" because they'll waste time and not find the problem. Plus they may even "overlook" problems that they find, knowing you'll have to come back and pay for more labor - whereas doing your own work you can find problems and actually fix them.

Let us walk you through the problems if you can.

Best of luck! :thumbsup:


durrk johnson
05-14-09, 04:43 PM
I really appreciate it guys! I definately feel better now.. :thumbsup: :worship: :highfive:

My mom just took me and bought me a new battery because the oone that was in there was at a low voltage and wouldnt take a jump... Man I do love my mom even though she can be a biatch sometimes! But I understand why, shes got alot of kids to worry about.

Hopefully it was just the battery for now and I can go a couple weeks without having any problems...

I really dont want to take it back to that shop but my brakes are squealing on stopping sometimes... You think its the new pads and theyre lack of care on the rotors or what? I need the car for work tomorrow and am afraid I might do damage with the brakes squeaking...

DopeStar 156
05-14-09, 07:44 PM
Parts tend to last much, much longer when you put them in yourself.....

05-14-09, 07:59 PM
Hang in there! Based on your automotive knowledge, you may want to sign up for some auto-shop classes at your local community college that will help you learn and understand more about your car. Some of these classes will actually let you work on your own car! Older cars are always going to require patience and attention. The more patience and love you have for this car, the more you parents will see and understand your wanting to keep it and maintain it. Read up more and more on these old Cadillac's on this forum and think about those classes during free time in your schedule(nights and weekends). There is more knowledge on the internet these days then most people ever realize. Hey, it's all up to you my friend. Good luck!

05-14-09, 08:11 PM
Unless you are wealthy, you need to be able to fix your own car. Simple as that. I have old cars only because I learned how to fix them myself. When I was young, the car didn't move unless I fixed it.

05-14-09, 09:15 PM
Now that you have a new battery and a meter, test the voltage with the car off then with the car running. It should be around 12 when off and 13.5 when running. Good luck.

durrk johnson
05-14-09, 09:15 PM
Thanks alot guys! :)

This time if they get these brakes right... I would like to try to buy a upgraded alternator and put that in... How hard would that be? (The most Ive ever done is change an air filter and fix a few electrical issues...)

^^I didnt see that post before, i didnt get a meter... how much are they?

DopeStar 156
05-14-09, 11:58 PM
Thanks alot guys! :)

This time if they get these brakes right... I would like to try to buy a upgraded alternator and put that in... How hard would that be? (The most Ive ever done is change an air filter and fix a few electrical issues...)

^^I didnt see that post before, i didnt get a meter... how much are they?

Some brands of new brakes tend to squeek for a while until they wear down a little, some kinda coating on some of the brands that makes noise. Pick up a can of brake cleaner at an autoparts store, jack up the car and pull off the front wheels then douse everything to maybe quiet them down. Eeeeeeeasy shit. If you wanna get a little more complex, take the pins off the calipers and cover them in white lithium grease to ensure they slide easy.

With the battery/alternator, make sure the automotive geniuses who were working on your car are putting the right alternator in. Different ones will fit but could have the wrong output and therefore could be putting out insufficient power setting off your GENERATOR light. If your battery's not getting sufficient charge your starter will slaughter it after some time. Could you also have a short at the starter? I had a problem with my 76 DeVille where it wouldn't start and no boosts or jumping was helping at all. Turns out my starter's groundwire was disconnected through my own negligence.

Here, got $20? I'm gonna help you out immensely right now.....
Buy This.... (http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1980-CADILLAC-ELDORADO-DEVILLE-SERVICE-MANUAL-SHOP-BOOK_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp3286Q2em20Q2el1116 QQhashZitem19a732129fQQitemZ110179259039QQptZMotor sQ5fManualsQ5fLiterature)

The way I learned about working on cars was from my dad teaching me simple stuff like oil changes and all that. Then on here about all the technical stuff and the inner workings of my car(s), the factory (not Chilton or Haynes) service manuals which are outlined by the guys who built the car, not some dude who took one apart, and I worked in a couple tire shops for a couple years makin' money, learning some stuff, and getting access to a free lift depending how cool your boss is. Lotsa luck.....

05-15-09, 12:18 AM
When the going gets tough, seek advise. You're in the right place.

I'm low on budget, a mechanic by trade, and have basically learned everything i know by working on my own car on my own. Buy yourself a manual, a mastercraft or craftsmen socket set and you will be amazed what you can do. I'll ignore a previous posters comment about all mechanics being stupid.

Need advise on your car? I've literally replaced almost every single part on the car. Shoot me a PM, or Just post away, if i cant help i know someone here will.
Buy yourself a multimetre. Doesn't have to be too fancey just a basic one will do.

05-15-09, 09:45 AM
I agree with Dcarlson. We can talk you through any problem with your car. One at a time! Brakes are very easy to do. You need one specialized tool to to the fronts (not really that special, actually). If you have new brakes, the squeaking is just the pads vibrating against the caliper body. Caused by lazy mechanics (there are two techniques to prevent this: one is swedging the pads, and the other is applying anti-squeal to the back of the pad where it contacts the caliper).

Number one rule of being a successful shade-tree mechanic? Don't throw parts at a problem. Do not replace that alternator unless it is bad. You don't need a higher rated unit unless you have added equipment to your car that draws more power. All the parts stores will check both batteries and alternators for you and be able to tell you if they are good.

05-17-09, 12:00 AM
It takes a certain amount of money to own and operate a car. Some people pay a ton for a newer car and insurance and do nothing but put gas in it and change the oil at quick lube places. This is a very expensive route.

Other people buy an old car find a trusted mechanic. This is difficult to do and is also expensive.

Lastly, many people learn to turn their own wrenches and cut their maintenance and repair bills by about 2/3.

Don't think I'm slamming you because I'm not. What I am saying is that if you do not have the money to buy a newer car under warranty or pay a mechanic, you must turn you own wrenches if there is no way to increase your income. Look man, you are 23. Stop asking Mommy and Step-daddy to foot your bills. You either need to step up your income or reduce your expenses if you don't want to mechanic. I hate turning wrenches on cars, but I have 6 V-8 powered vehicles and if I didn't do my own repairs, I could afford only one. I am self taught.

You need to study, learn and effectively troubleshoot your problems. Shotgunning parts at it or allowing others to do so will quickly make driving too expensive for your financial condition. Stop making excuses. Buy that manual someone linked and learn your car. You can do it. Take another job. Buy and sell stuff on ebay or craigslist. There's a million legal ways to make more money. You just need to decide to do it. I bet if you gave me 20 minutes to shave your budget, I'd find a coouple hundred per month.

Get rid of cable, netflix, internet (use your neighbor's wifi), booze, smoke and any other non-essentials until you've got a couple grand in you bank account.Being broke is a temporary financial condition. Living broke is a lifestyle choice.

05-17-09, 01:11 PM
Post deleted.

You asked for advice, be prepared to hear things you don't like. If this gets off-topic, it will be deleted.

People around here are glad to help, but if you are going to work on your car, you need to have some basic knowledge. Start by buying a manual (either the Chiltons (crappy), or the one from the factory (the best choice, find it on ebay). Time to educate yourself about your old car. If you can't afford it, then sell it.

durrk johnson
05-17-09, 01:18 PM
Post deleted.

You asked for advice, be prepared to hear things you don't like. If this gets off-topic, it will be deleted.

People around here are glad to help, but if you are going to work on your car, you need to have some basic knowledge. Start by buying a manual (either the Chiltons (crappy), or the one from the factory (the best choice, find it on ebay). Time to educate yourself about your old car. If you can't afford it, then sell it.

Well said... Thread ended. :)

But yeah, thanks for the tips guys... Im gonna buy a factory manual and learn how to fix some of this stuff... There will definately be posts on here asking how to do some stuff so thanks for the help.

05-17-09, 01:28 PM
Just a little tough love for you, durk. If I can help you solve problems, I will.

05-17-09, 03:10 PM
Group hug time :D

Don't feel down, we've all been there.

You can check your library, too, for manuals. Free is good! Remember, it doesn't have to be specific to the car. GM stuff is the same for anything. For example, your brakes are pretty much the same as anything RWD GM made from 71 to 96 (not the parts, but how they work).

Once you start reading, you will be amazed how it all makes sense...