: Restoration 1979 Coupe DeVille

08-03-11, 04:15 PM
Hi everyone, I am doing a feasibility report in my technical writing class on whether or not i should restore my 1979 Cadillac Coupe DeVille. I was hoping i could get some good information about what all i should expect when doing the restore: how much it will cost (roughly), how much time its going to take, what projects i can attempt myself, which projects i should have a mechanic do, and finally where can i find good quality cheap parts. here is a web album of some pictures of the car https://picasaweb.google.com/103338126136152992086/CadillacPhotos?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCLf7pcWXosu92QE&feat=directlink I will add some more pictures soon. The real body issues i can tell you of now are: Typical rust patches under the vinyl top, rear right quarter panel is almost completely rotted off, and the overall paint is getting pretty rough. Some mechanical issues that i know of (so says a mechanic i went to, to check it out) the pinion seal needs replaced, the rear axle seals need to be replaced, front and rear shocks, rear drum overhaul, the motor mounts need to be replaced, the A/C doesn't work. I just finished doing some maintenance i.e. trans flush radiator flush new thermostat new water pump and all new coolant hoses. So i guess what im asking here is, what you think, based on what i've said, should it cost to get all these repairs done, and what you think about whole process. I plan on doing all this one day but for now im just trying to get a detailed report together to present to my class. Any help would great thanks in advance for all the help, I've posted a couple times before and I've gotten help right away, this is the first forum I've been a part of where people truly care about what they're talking about and have genuine interest in helping people.

08-03-11, 04:22 PM
your link doesn't work, it's not a complete link.

Anyways, the body work can be done by yourself if you know how to do body work and paint...

the vinyl top, i would remove and repair the rust then have a pro replace the top...

I guess it depends on your skill level and ability as far as what you should or should not attempt.

08-03-11, 04:29 PM
The link should be working now, Well I have a moderate skill level with this stuff and my neighbor has restored cars in the past, I'm really looking for good tips and information i can use in my report. I will eventually attempt this restoration but for now im just trying to gather as much information about the whole process as i can.

08-03-11, 04:39 PM
Here are the pictures (in case the link goes down again):





I agree with Outsider... If you want it to look professional, you need to have a professional do the repaint and rust repair. If you don't care if the paint doesn't quite match or if the fender is smooth, then you can do it for really cheap.

The best thing to do is get an actual estimate from a body repair shop (and combine that with the repair estimate for the mechanical stuff). Then have your neighbor write you up a list of all of the things you would need to do the work yourself and find the prices for all those supplies. That would at least give you an estimate on the low and high ends of the overall cost spectrum.

08-03-11, 05:03 PM
The car seems in a relatively good shape. If interior is ok, that will save you money too. Most expensive repairs could be those referred to body. As outsider says, if you do it by yourself, you can save a lot of money but you´ll need a good sanding machine, spray gun, compressor, some other cheap tools... And a place to work. You can see many help pages on Internet: http://www.ehow.com/how_4741248_paint-car-stepbystep.html The rest is practice. It´s best making first some trials on some panel you can take from a junkyard, for example, but if you want a professional finish, you´ll have to take the car to a good body shop.

The rest of repairs are not expensive. You can try to do it by yourself with someone helping you and a '79 Factory Service Manual. Of course, you will need an appropriate tool set. It´s always worth it, as it´s an investment that may save you money in the future. I would take the car to a mechanic for the pinion seal at least as it´s difficult installing a new one without damaging it unless you have some skill due to experience. As for the axle seals, I could not say if they´re as difficult as the pinion one.

You can get most parts from Rockauto; the rest on e-bay. You can check in those websites to see prices.

As for the A/C, is the compressor clutch engaging when you turn it on? Does blower works at all speeds? Does air exit change when you move the panel selector? If your answer to these questions is "Yes" maybe the system is discharged so you only need to refill it with gas. If you could find R12, that would be great; else you will have to get a substitute (I have heard many opinions against it) or adapt the system for the R134. Maybe when you recharge your system you find a leak. Then, you should change the system part causing that leak. In this point, you´ll need professional help. A recharge costs about $90 in Spain. Probably it´s cheaper in US.

08-03-11, 08:32 PM
Thanks for the info, i think i have a good amount to go on to find prices for parts and figure out what tools i might need

cadillac kevin
08-03-11, 09:56 PM
wheres the quarter panel rot and bad paint? car looks good to me. you do need new fillers though.
looks like most of your issues are mechanical in nature. a 1979 factory service manual (about $15 from ebay) will help quite a bit.
whenever possible, get AC Delco parts. cheap junky parts (like what autozone sells) will come back to haunt you later on (when they fail early and possibly cause vehicle damage)

08-05-11, 09:42 AM
You have a good solid appearing vehicle to start with. Be careful with any dissembly you do as the parts you remove are designed for assembly so that the retainers aren't neccessarily visable. Save any retainers you remove. You have to have patience while dissassembly so as not to damage any parts you remove. These cars have miles of wiring and vacuum lines operating their systems. A Service manual will help you understand a lot of the systems, but if your going to get into the body at all, you should also get the Fisher Body maual, which has more info on optional parts and body alignment. These cars restorations aren't like doing a Chevy, they are highly optioned with sophisticated systems.