: Update and Questions on my 68 DeVille Convertible Restoration

01-16-11, 09:31 PM
It has been about 9 months since I bought the car, and 6 months since I started the restoration. To see progress photos, send a facebook friend request to Pat Herman, I'll add you and you can see the photos.

Major updates:
- I have finished cutting out all of the floor and trunk rust. Raedy to go to work on the body panel sheet metal rust spots. I have just acquired a sheet metal brake and roller, and am practicing my MIG welding.
- Adding up the costs on rebuilding my engine, given what I was planning and what HP and torque I wanted to get, I have decided to replace the engine with a 500+ CID Cadillac crate motor from Potter Automotive. They have spec'ed and engine out for me that will develop 550 HP and 600+ foot pounds of torque. It will come with a performance alternator and starter, a new AC compressor, a and new Power Steering pump, and all the proper pullys. Its 6-8 weeks away when I say go. Now I need to get the frame cleaned and repainted, the firewall mounted items refurbished and reinstalled, and the transmission rebuilt and beefed up.
-I am in process of removing the dash and the firewall mounted HVAC box
-Front suspension is out and I've selected the air ride kit I will utilize for both front and rear
-today I discovered rust under the windshield trim. the windshield has to come out and i'll have to spot repair some of the channel. Good excuse I guess to get the windshield professionally polished and reinstalled.

-1. Are the large drain holes in the floor necessary to replicate? I'm not going for a concours restoration, and in my opinion, all these seemed to have done on my car is the seam sealer was a magnet for moisture. All the floor pan rust is centered around these body drains. Are body drains really necessary, or were they just put there at the factory to allow a coating to drain out of the body as it moved down the line?

2. Has anyone replaced the guts of the HVAC on one these cars with modern components while keeping the same control panel in the interior? The HVAC box is just gigantic. I'm confident it would easily fit an after market heater core, AC evaporator, and fan. All electronically controlled instead of vacuum actuated. My question is has anyone retrofitted one of these aftermarket systems into this body style while keeping the controls stock. I.e. disconnecting the vaccuum linkages and having the control levers move more moder AC control rods to control face/foot/bi-level flaps, temperature, and fan speed???

3. A locking dif (made by Eaton) was available as a factory option for $53 on all cars, standard on commercial chassis cars. Does anyone know of a yard that has one or a parts car that has one of these difs? Eaton does not manufacture it any more.

4. I will be converting from front full bench to front buckets with headrests and a center console. Does anyone know of a yard that has these seats and center console? Or a parts car that has them? Anyone have a pic of this? They will be in bad shape since all buckets were leather, so I'm not expecting usable seats - just hopefully complete with motors and switches, metal frame and springs in decent shape, and not missing any major pieces. I will replace all the foam and re-upholster.

5. Anyone replace their wiper motor and washer pump unit? Any recommendations?

6. Who makes the best wiring harnesses for these cars? I'd like to get a harness with a more modern fuse box/panel. Is there a good vendor to go to where I could give them a wiring diagram, tell them what connectors I am changing as i modernize certain components, and get a customized harness built?

7. Disc brakes - I saw a guy had a front disc brake conversion kit pulled together he was selling for $1000. This seems hight as I dont think it included the booster, or master cylinder, and only included the front. It was basically for new spindles, rotors, calipers, pads, brake lines and bearings. If anyone else has worked out what parts to get to convert to disc brakes on all four wheels please advise. Else I will have to figure this out piece by piece. My intention is to re-use my front spindles, replace bearings, mount new disc calipers, adapt a bracket from another car or fabricate brackets, install a new booster and master cylinder, a front-rear proportioning valve, and then run stainless steel lines to braded steel flex hoses front, and steel all the way to the rear calipers. Planning on spending 1000 for all of it. Don't need calipers that look cool as I will be running wheels that mimic the look of the sombrero hubcaps.

I'm sure I'll have more questions, but I'd be thrilled if I get even half the above answered. Happy to trade knowledge about interior wood veneering, plastic repair, vynil re-coloring - so if you are in the know about my questions above, maybe those topics would be some enticement to respond.