: my 89 cadillac brougham. your thoughts

03-20-05, 04:30 PM
I am the proud owner of an 89 Brougham! I have been driving this car for two years now, putting a solid 25000 miles on the 68000 when I bought it (making 93000 total). Ive driven this car up mountains for skiing and down long gravel roads for camping. The olds 307 has always performed well, even after I over heated it. Ive had to replace the water pump, radiator, and the heater core. Id like to keep driving this car, keep her around as long as i don't have to do any heavy commuting. So i have a few questions.

The paint on my caddy is blue, the paint on the hood is dull and tarnished. Does anyone know any good techniques for bringing back that show rooms shine??

I have a two small dents on one door from kids throwing rocks. One has since rusted over. Is there anyway to work on this while preserving the original paint?

Is it usually nessasary to adjust the stock 4 barrel to actually get all those barrels opening right up?

Where do you think you get bang for your buck fixing these things up:
wire weels, dual exuast, 403 transplant, paint job, white walls? Is my car worth any of these things?

03-20-05, 07:33 PM
A fellow '89 owner here, nice to "meet" you. Well, I can't say much about restoring the paint or working with the dings in your door...as for the 403 transplant, I doubt it is worth it, unelss you want to keep this as a show car down the road. I've priced out a Chev 350 and with pro-flow fuel injection it's about $3000 plus some parts. If you can do the work yourself, great. If not, it's about 25 - 30 hours of labor. Labor runs around 65 - 70 an hour these days. Let's say it's $3500 for the engine/parts and 27 hours labor @ $65/hr (conservative). $5225. Now let's talk about your tranny. To put a 403 in you'll either want to SERIOUSLY beef up the one you have (which may not be worthwhile) or put in a new/rebuilt one capable of the job. That's another $1000 or so. Figure anywhere from $6000 to $7000 for a car that Blue Books at less than $3000.

The advantage to the 350 is that, while less powerful, it works with your existing tranny. A rebuild is advised, though, because they use heavy-duty parts these days. You could get away without a rebuild as long as the transmission is in good shape now and you don't plan on flooring it often. That could save you as much as $1000 or more.

Wire wheels are very nice, I think. Are they worth it? If it's worth it to you, yes! =) They have a tendancy to leak so I wouldn't put them on an everyday driver; but you say this is for light driving. You can find used wire wheels, too, but I'm not sure of your area. A paint job, a GOOD one, will be from $2500 up. Don't even think of going to Maco or Earl Sheib or anyplace like that. Look for a true automotive paint shop. I was going to have some paint/body work done on my '83 Seville and it was cheaper to buy a newer Caddy (a la the '89 Brougham). It depends on if you're going to repaint it the same or similar color. If you're changing the color, they'll want to "blow apart" the vehicle: remove the doors, paint inside the doorjamb, remove the seals, all that. If you use a similar color, you can get away without having to paint all that, because who will really pay that much attention? Remember that the most expensive work of a paint job is removing all the trim, chrome, etc. Don't ever paint a car like yours without removing all of those pieces...masking is a lousy way to paint such nice machines. You can always tell. I'd ballpark around $3500 for a good quality, professional job that will look factory, including some minor body work. I think that's probably more worthwhile than replacing the engine. (Just my opinion.)

White walls are a must, aren't they? I mean, not the solid ones where the entire sidewall is white; just that small to medium stripe. Any tire place will have them - often the tire is manufactured with one side black, the other with a whitewall.

If you go with a larger engine, a dual exhaust is probably the route you'll take. Any normal muffler shop will do this for anywhere between $300 to $500 depending on what kind of muffler you want. I have the 307 but put on a FlowMaster to add a little rumble to the engine. In retrospect I might have been happier the way it was before. A Caddy like this should be quiet, at least inside. So I'd go with a quiet muffler if you put in the larger engine. (Again, it depends on your own taste.)

The trick to all of this is finding a reputable shop you can trust. It takes time. If you're not sure of a place, take the car in for some minor work, like an oil change or something. Chew the fat with the mechanic, gauge his reactions, see what kind of experience he/she has. Rinse and repeat until you become comfortable; word of mouth is a big deal, too, so ask everyone you know who is moderately aware of automobiles. Beware of mechanics who don't want to get pinned down with quotes or guesstimates. A good mechanic isn't afraid to ballpark theoretical work. "If it's my heater core, how much would it be?" If he replies, "Gee, well, I don't know. I'd have to get in there and really see, because it could be this or that, or it sounds like maybe you need a new Thingamajig and a Power Control Module." <BUZZ> The correct response is, "If it's just the heater core, it should be around $XXX."

I know I've written a lot here, I hope it's been at least mildly helpful. Good luck with everything and let me know if you make any decisions. These are very cool cars to own, I think...although my mom, from the passenger seat, said at a stop sign, "Gee, maybe they're all waiting for you, thinking a little ol' lady is driving." =P

03-22-05, 12:50 AM
Swapping the 307 is a good idea. I turned down the 403 for my engine swap. If you find a 403 chances are that you'll have to rebuild. The problem with that is that opening the already big bores will give you cooling problems when you get it going. Now, if you find one that doesn't need rebuilding I would still be cautious because the bottom end tends to be weak on those engines. I went with an olds 350 on my caddy. It's the same block as the 403 but without the problems. The olds 350 will give you good power and it's a direct swap for your 307. A chevy 350 will require some modifications to the engine mounts and maybe a transmission swap as well.

03-25-05, 06:37 AM
Hey, Cadidreamin, where'd u get the Olds 350 and how much did the swap end up costing u? There's nothing wrong with my 307 but, ya know. I've found a '77 Olds with high mileage for $100 and I'm wondering if I should buy it for parts.