: 1987 Brougham rear supsension questions



shrike77
06-13-10, 12:32 PM
Hello,
I just got a 1987 Brougham yesterday, I am not familiar with the cars yet.
So I would like to know, what is the proper height for the rear suspension. I am suspecting there might be a leak or the shocks worn out.
The car has 77k miles, I would doubt it has 177k miles since it is in very good shape and the previous owner was an older gentleman who bought it from an older lady.

How do I know if the system works well?
The light comes on when I turn it on for just a bit. But yesterday I had 3 friends in the back and it was coming also while driving or stopped at a light. I think once it even stayed about 30 seconds or more on which seems a long time compared to the other times the light comes on.

Also how do I measure the height?

Thanks!

sven914
06-13-10, 01:58 PM
The light should only come on once, regardless of load. The rear fender should be above the top of the hubcaps.

http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/3/2503/2881/31256440090_medium.jpg

http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/3/2503/2881/31256440102_large.jpg

The top picture is from my shocks were blown, the bottom is with them fixed.

Your shocks probably are leaking air, but if the light isn't coming on more often, I would say it isn't a major leak.

shrike77
06-13-10, 02:15 PM
Thank you!
The car is in front of the house, I am not sure how flat that surface is but the fenders is just above the hubcap[s but not above the white line. I will check again when I am at a gas station on a flat surface. I dread being at the gas station:)

So even with the engine off the car should stay leveled right?

shrike77
06-13-10, 02:15 PM
By the way can I put armor all on the top?

Stingroo
06-13-10, 02:19 PM
Yes, it should stay leveled even when stopped.

And that's a big bold NO to Armor All. It's rubbish. There's a thread about vinyl top conditioners. I think it's in the RWD FAQ.

shrike77
06-13-10, 11:03 PM
Thanks again. Now I think I have some electrical problems too but I will start a new thread about that.
I found something on that 303 product for the top.
I'll check if I can get it here in Canada

brougham
06-14-10, 09:03 PM
It's normal for them to sit just over the hubcap like you said yours does. It is also normal for the leveling light to come on on occasion when there are a lot of people or a big load in the car but not too often. If it was coming on pretty regularely it probably has a leak somewhere but could be as simple as the end of the air lines where they connect to the shocks or the compressor.

shrike77
06-14-10, 09:08 PM
Thanks, I will hhave to check everything but first I got to take care of my electrical troubles in the dash.
By the way how do I check if the compressor functions? I think I can jump the ground or something from what I read in the book.
I don't even know yet where that compressor is under the hood, I just got the car Saturday and did not have time to play with it! I will have to check it after I fix my fusebox.

By the way brougham, where are you from exactly in Canada?
I am from MOntreal

brougham
06-14-10, 09:32 PM
If it works you will hear a noise when you turn the key on when the level ride light comes on. The compressor is on the drivers side on the wheel well right by the brake fluid.
I'm near Ottawa. Have fun with the new Brougham :)

MudAnt
06-14-10, 09:52 PM
I found something on that 303 product for the top.
I'll check if I can get it here in Canada

It's available in Canada (in Alberta at least).

If your top is in good shape, use 303 about once a month, it will keep it looking good and give it a nice shine. However, if your top has already faded from the sun, 303 will only prevent it from getting worse. You'll need some sort of conditioner or a new top to make it shine again.

When I first got my '86, the top wasn't damaged by the sun, but it was quite dusty. I cleaned it with Murphy's oil soap and a stiff brush, then applied 303. I've been applying 303 every month during the summer and my top still looks great, even though I don't have a garage.

Also if you do get 303, make sure you apply it to your dashboard and vinyl armrests on the doors. It makes them look nice and shiny and protects them from cracking up in the sun.

shrike77
06-14-10, 10:57 PM
I looked today for that stuff on the 303 site. Apparently there are a few retailers around Montreal. I might go tomorrow try to pick up some.
Bu I will eventually need a new top. I did not see when I bought the car, but there are a few places where the top is cracked. It looks like round spots about 1/4-3/8 inch in diameter. I will take a picture and post them so you guys can tell me how bad it is. Anyways, for now I am planning to use the car just when the weather is nice. It is really clean and would like to keep it that way.

shrike77
06-14-10, 11:00 PM
Now onto suspension stuff.
How do I check for leaks? I mean I know I can spray with water but is it with the engine on, key on or should I play with that level sensor (which I got to find by the way). I did not find a procedure. Do you guys know of a link to that? By looking at the shocks the rubber looks cracked. The frame is all greased up with rustproofing but you can see where it bottoms out on the bump stops. The grease is gone there.
Is there also a procedure to change the shocks?
I fixed my electrical troubles in the dash. It was only a fuse.
I did not use the car since that yet but I started in the garage. The compressor does not come on every time, or at least not every time I turn the key to on without starting the engine.
Should it come on every single time the key is at the on position?

sven914
06-15-10, 12:58 AM
It's normal for them to sit just over the hubcap like you said yours does. It is also normal for the leveling light to come on on occasion when there are a lot of people or a big load in the car but not too often. If it was coming on pretty regularely it probably has a leak somewhere but could be as simple as the end of the air lines where they connect to the shocks or the compressor.

It is not normal for the rear fenders to sit over the hubcaps. Look at this page from a dealership brochure; the correct ride height has the fender inline or above the whitewall.

http://www.lov2xlr8.no/brochures/cadillac/bilder/87_23.jpg

Here is another dealer brochure photo (http://www.lov2xlr8.no/brochures/cadillac/85cadl/bilder/2.jpg) (too big to post). Click here (http://www.lov2xlr8.no/cadillac.html) for more Cadillac brochures, which range from 1903-2010.

And speaking from experience, the level ride is not supposed to engage more than once per drive cycle. I collect scrap metal as a hobby and on several occasions have piled 300-400 lbs of scrap into the trunk and backseat of the Cadillac, and though I had to drive around all day loaded until I had time to get to the scrap yard, I never noticed the ELC engage. The level ride will come on only as the weight changes, to adjust the shocks and ride height, so it should not come on unless someone got out.


Now to the problem at hand...

The compress should come on every time the key is turned on; about 30 seconds afterward. If the compressor is not working, the shocks are not being pumped up. The shocks not being pumped up will cause the Level Ride indicator lamp to come on periodically.

There is a leak test procedure for the ELC system. You need a Tee Pressure Gage and compressed air. The procedure is as follows:

1. Connect a Tee Pressure Gage into ELC system between the drier assembly and the system air line with the shut-off valve on compressor side of gage. The direr is the smaller cylinder (diameter wise) on the compressor.

2. With the shut off valve in the open position, apply compressed air pressure through the service valve on the gage, until it reads 100-120psi.

3. If you see the pressure drop, a leak is indicated. Close the shut-off valve to isolate the compressor from the test. If pressure continues to drop, the leak is in the lines or shocks; use soap and water to find the leak. if the pressure hold once the valve is closed, then the leak is internal to the compressor.

4. If the pressure holds with the valve open, but the car does not raise, check for pinched air tubes or seized shocks.

brougham
06-15-10, 01:53 AM
It is not normal for the rear fenders to sit over the hubcaps. Look at this page from a dealership brochure; the correct ride height has the fender inline or above the whitewall.

http://www.lov2xlr8.no/brochures/cadillac/bilder/87_23.jpg

Here is another dealer brochure photo (http://www.lov2xlr8.no/brochures/cadillac/85cadl/bilder/2.jpg) (too big to post). Click here (http://www.lov2xlr8.no/cadillac.html) for more Cadillac brochures, which range from 1903-2010.

And speaking from experience, the level ride is not supposed to engage more than once per drive cycle. I collect scrap metal as a hobby and on several occasions have piled 300-400 lbs of scrap into the trunk and backseat of the Cadillac, and though I had to drive around all day loaded until I had time to get to the scrap yard, I never noticed the ELC engage. The level ride will come on only as the weight changes, to adjust the shocks and ride height, so it should not come on unless someone got out.


Now to the problem at hand...

The compress should come on every time the key is turned on; about 30 seconds afterward. If the compressor is not working, the shocks are not being pumped up. The shocks not being pumped up will cause the Level Ride indicator lamp to come on periodically.

There is a leak test procedure for the ELC system. You need a Tee Pressure Gage and compressed air. The procedure is as follows:

1. Connect a Tee Pressure Gage into ELC system between the drier assembly and the system air line with the shut-off valve on compressor side of gage. The direr is the smaller cylinder (diameter wise) on the compressor.

2. With the shut off valve in the open position, apply compressed air pressure through the service valve on the gage, until it reads 100-120psi.

3. If you see the pressure drop, a leak is indicated. Close the shut-off valve to isolate the compressor from the test. If pressure continues to drop, the leak is in the lines or shocks; use soap and water to find the leak. if the pressure hold once the valve is closed, then the leak is internal to the compressor.

4. If the pressure holds with the valve open, but the car does not raise, check for pinched air tubes or seized shocks.

That picture shows it just over the hubcap, as I said. I didn't mean blocking it off. Higher then the whitewall is typically just cars with the heavier duty suspension or level ride that has been adjusted a bit but you can't go much by that because not all tires have the whitewall in the same spot.

The level ride will come on any time it has to adjust ride height. It's not supposed to go on every couple minutes but it will on occasion as you're driving if it has to to maintain proper ride height. It's just the way it works. Maybe you just never noticed the light because you were driving. And maybe because you have new shocks it won't come on as often as shrike77's does that probably has it's original parts.

brougham
06-15-10, 02:06 AM
Now onto suspension stuff.
How do I check for leaks? I mean I know I can spray with water but is it with the engine on, key on or should I play with that level sensor (which I got to find by the way). I did not find a procedure. Do you guys know of a link to that? By looking at the shocks the rubber looks cracked. The frame is all greased up with rustproofing but you can see where it bottoms out on the bump stops. The grease is gone there.
Is there also a procedure to change the shocks?
I fixed my electrical troubles in the dash. It was only a fuse.
I did not use the car since that yet but I started in the garage. The compressor does not come on every time, or at least not every time I turn the key to on without starting the engine.
Should it come on every single time the key is at the on position?

Every time you turn the key on the compressor should come on but it takes maybe half a minute or more before it does it's not immediate. If it acts like it's leaking the best way to find leaks is probably to go after it with soapy water. At least then you will also know where it's leaking. If the light hardly ever comes on while you're driving don't worry about it. Don't mess with the level sensor unless it's not adjusted right or needs to be replaced. Since you just got the car 2 days ago actually drive it for a while before worrying about it. It won't take long to notice if something isn't working right.

sven914
06-15-10, 10:57 AM
^When you said over the hubcaps, I thought you meant over as in covering, as opposed to over as in above.

shrike77
06-15-10, 01:18 PM
Mine looks like it is tilted in the back so I am pretty sure the shocks are finished. They must be the original ones (23 years old) . But I still want to check for leaks.
So is that gage a special tool? I tried to find on on the net but did not find it.
I might have to find just the gage and then add a shut off valve

sven914
06-15-10, 02:41 PM
My service manual lists it as a J-tool #22124-A. You can still get from Kent Moore for $400; J-22124-B (http://gmspecialservicetools.spx.com/Search.aspx?sid=1).

You might be able to make one out of an air pressure regulator. This regulator for paint guns (http://www.autopartsdealer.com/devilbiss_air_pressure_regulators_with_pressure_ga uge-p405321-p.html?utm_source=froogle&utm_medium=cse&utm_campaign=froogle&utm_content=APD405321)might work, but I don't think it has a service valve, so you would have test the lines and compressor separately. Otherwise, you might have better luck at a dealership or a garage that might have the right tool (especially if you don't a 150 psi air compressor).

shrike77
06-15-10, 04:03 PM
Wow,
I better have it checked somewhere else than.
I thought it would be less expensive than that, much less.
And I do not have a compressor either.

Thanks guys for all the info!

brougham
06-15-10, 06:50 PM
^When you said over the hubcaps, I thought you meant over as in covering, as opposed to over as in above.

I figured you were thinking that- I started thinking the same thing when I was reading over and ontop of and all that in the different posts. Too confusing.