View Full Version : The Fleetwood Needs Work....

DopeStar 156
05-10-06, 07:28 PM
I've a nice list of things that need to be fixed on my car. My shop totalled me $975 estimated to fix all this crap.

-Rear springs worn out
-Water pump leaking
-Freeze out plug leaking
-Lower radiator hose wet
-Upper radiator hose needs replacing
-All belts cracked, need replacing
-Coolant flush

Out of these items I am not changing the upper radiator hose or any of the belts because none of them are over two years old and should still be fine. I'll still inspect them and change them myself if needed. If the lower radiator hose is shitty then I'll have them replace that but I seriously think it's just a clamp or something. The water pump I know I can do myself but the leaking freeze out plug has to also be replaced and I dunno how to dot hat. Both jobs I'm sure require a full drain of the coolant. Also the coolant was changed in September so it should still be fine. I'm wondering if i should have the shop do the water pump too because then the coolant will have to be drained twice. Really the onyl things on that list I'm gonna have done is take care of the coolant leaks and the rear springs. They said my level shocks look new so they're fine. The belts are what really get me! How can the belts dry rot over a span of two years?! It not like I live in the south west or anything like that.

05-10-06, 09:40 PM
I just got hit with a $740 repair bill for my car. F***ing 4100. Old cars are great, but everything always seems to break at the same time.

If the belts are only two years old I'd leave them alone. The hoses, well since you're doing the water pump, coolant flush and freeze out plug I would just change them. Then you know the whole cooling system is right and tight. $975 sounds a little steep for that work, unless that freeze out flug is a big job. I've never had to deal with a freeze out plug so I don't know what that job entails. But like you said, a lot of that stuff is DIY, so just have the shop do the springs and freeze out plug and you have fun with the rest.

Night Wolf
05-10-06, 10:09 PM
Most expensive thing I've spent on the '79 at any one time was $260 to have the rear door repainted.... I did all the work myself, but that thing didn't even need anything... what a beast it was....

Anyway, rear springs are bad? Thats strange... well, get cargo springs, don't get OEM stuff.

Night Wolf
05-10-06, 10:11 PM
BTW, of the things listed, I see about $150 in parts, if that....

thats $825 in labor!?!? gosh....

most all of that you can do yourself. The freeze plugs can be tricky, so even if you had a shop do that, it wouldn't be bad.

05-10-06, 10:31 PM
I agree, not much at all in parts. These shops these days charge a lot for the work. Probably can be a good business....

I personally haven't ever had to mess with freeze plugs on any of my cars. They shouldn't be too bad, IF you can get a clean shot at them. A lot of the Olds powered cars were so good at leaks (remember, they didn't use many gaskets on these engines, they used gasket maker goo) and things were so dry from lack of oil they rusted oil pans and freeze plugs.

It took me seeing the $40-$50/hr labor rate at Weber Chevy in St. Louis to decide that I needed to learn how to do it myself. Dad even had the FSM and Fisher Body manual (get one if you can, the Fisher Body Manual is a great book to have), so I started to read and found I sorta liked it, and I read and read and read..... Dreamed about the options I wanted (like 455's and 3.23's w/posi....) and such.

BTW, of the things listed, I see about $150 in parts, if that....

thats $825 in labor!?!? gosh....

most all of that you can do yourself. The freeze plugs can be tricky, so even if you had a shop do that, it wouldn't be bad.

05-11-06, 09:29 AM
If you're willing to get a little dirty and wet, the freeze plugs are actually quite easy, all you need is a hammer, a big flat punch, and a few hours to do all of them. I would guess a good chunk of that labor cost would be for the shop to do the plugs, because while they're definately not hard to do, they take a little time.

05-12-06, 09:35 PM
The reason they told you to replace the belts is because they already have them off . I just put a water pump on my Fleetwood last week . It sucked , not what I wanted to do on my day off .

05-12-06, 10:43 PM
I have replaced many freeze plugs in the past, and it is a job that I never liked doing. Sometimes they go easy and the work is minimal, and other times, they can be downright impossible to get out and to get the new one installed correctly. I have seen freeze out plugs in places that required the exhaust manifolds to be removed, or the whole engine lifted out to get at them. Freeze plugs don't usually go bad unless the cooling system hasn't been serviced regularly and the corrosion inhibiting qualities of the anti freeze have been used up. After they get the first one out, don't be surprised if they suggest that you do the rest of them along with a complete engine flush. If one is leaking, there is the strong possibility that the rest are not far behind. Also consider replacing the heater hoses at the same time. The price quoted does sound high, but I have no idea of the local labor rate, or which plug is leaking. If it is easy to get to, then it is a 45 minute job at best. If not, then it could be hours. By the way, the reason that the water pump is also leaking is the lubrication part of the anti freeze was worn out also. Much of this could have happened long before you purchased the car and only now, are the effects of neglect beginning to show. For this reason, you should change anti freeze every two years and completely flush out the old anti freeze. Also, when adding water, you should only use distilled water. Don't be afraid to ask other shops for a competitive bid on the work. Just make sure that you specify that you want a new, not rebuilt water pump. Same with belts, there are some belts that are far superior in quality than others.