: Looking For Help In Restoration of Caddy

06-09-06, 09:19 AM
I'm just returning to the board after a year, due to my 85 D'Elegance being stolen. But I'm going to do things bigger and better, thanks to my recent purchase of a 1991 Fleetwood Brougham. I had a computerized test done and the mechanic said the motor is in great shape, but other "minimal" things need to be taken care of, which I'm working on now (new radiator, exhaust, etc.).

Most of the things on here are cosmetic, so with pictures provided, I'm asking for help, advice on what things should be done in order to make the Caddy the best in the city. Also, and more importantly, when I go to some businesses, I want to approach them like I have a little knowledge on what needs to be done. If I come in there like "boo-boo the fool," my pocket-book may get depleted even more. Whatever advice you can provide would be greatful. My questions will be supported with pics, to give you a better idea of what I'm talking about.

1. On the bumper, I noticed the paint (if it's chrome) is chipping. I have heard that you can get pieces "dipped" in chrome? Anyone have that done? Is there a better or economical way to take care of this?

2. This is what the car looks like now. It needs a real paint job, this current paint job seems like a Maaco version. The original color is white, but with the chrome sides I was thinking of getting a metallic silver, something to really set off the car. What are your ideas on color concepts? I'm also seriously thinking of re-dying the vinyl top a dark blue color (the same as the interior), only because the white top attracts to much dirt. I've read many topics about vinyl tops, but I also read that many people tend to stay with the original color of the top, any thoughts?

3. I bought the car from a used car dealership, and they only had it on the lot for a few days, before I bought it, but they "claim" not to know why in the hell a rope is holding the brake. Just thinking why is a piece of twine holding the brake? I have test-driven the car and there was no problem with the car, but this just baffles me, lol.

4. The molding is loose on the driver-side seat. The screw is out of place, what can be done to repair this? In fact where can I go to have this repaired. I'm afraid the dealership, may really over-charge if it's something real simple.

5. The one thing I hate about this car (and it's the only thing) is the position of the seatbelt, which is attached right above the window. But the cover that is attached to the door is loose as well. Again, what can be done to repair this or where can I go besides the dealership?

6. This wire is located in the front passenger seat and I don't know what it is and where it comes from. Any ideas?

7. Back to the bumper issue. There are a few small rust spots forming on the bumper, what can I do to repair this?

8. Back to the rust issue, the seat belt buckle is rusty and worn, what can I do to repair or replace this?

9. The only damage on the vinyl top is two rips, what can be done to repair it, before I re-condition the top?

10. And lastly the leather from the front seats are worn, do I have to replace the entire front seats or can the worn areas be repaired?

Again, thanks for all the help. I plan on showing the improvements made as I go.

06-09-06, 11:49 AM
It looks like it's in prett good shape from those pictures and all of that stuff is easy to fix. Maybe some of this will help you.

1. That part of the bumper isn't chrome it's just paint so all you have to do is repaint it.
2. Wait that's not your car? What's yours look like then? I think white is a better colour then silver. Silver looks too plain. I don't like white cars with blue roofs either. If you just want to do that to make it easier to clean why don't you just leave it white for a while and see how bad it really is? One of my cars has a white vinyl roof and it's easy to keep it clean.
3. Take it off and see what happens. That's the only way to know why someone did that.
4.Put the screw back in.
5.It shouldn't be that hard to see why that cover is loose. If it's broken you need a new one.
6. Pull it out and see where it goes to.
7. Use some chrome polish and clean it off. Rust on the bumper is normal for these cars.
8. What seatbelt is that thing on? I don't recognize it. It looks like someone just stuck it on there.
9. There's a company that will come to your house and fix stuff like that.
10. Your seat looks new compared to some of the cars you see pictures of. Leather seats don't last as long as cloth ones do.

06-09-06, 12:18 PM
Congrats on the Brougham - once the mechanicals are sorted out, you'll have a dependable, comfortable ride.

Your list:
1. The bumper pad is a painted piece, not chrome. The front is the most vulnerable to stone chips, and I don't think the plastic-chrome-plating would hold-up (even if you could find a place that does it).

2. The color is totally up to you - it's your car, who cares what someone else thinks - you're the one who has to live with it - choose what YOU like. If you want it stand out from the crowd, consider a non-Caddy color, something besides white (1/2 the Broughams made left the factory in white), but if you change the color, you'll have to paint the jambs if you want a first-class ride. Look around at other cars on the road or go to a car show, and see what floats your boat.

3. Couple of thoughts on the parking brake - could be that the auto-release is inop (check the vaccuum line), or more likely the cables are seized and the rope is there as a "DO-NOT-USE" reminder (a stuck cable will still let the brake set, but not release).

4. Re-install the screw. If the hole is enlarged, get a thicker screw.

5. The seatbelt trim needs to be re-installed, might be easier to pull the panel to get at it from behind.

6. Trace the wire, see where it goes.

7. Some chrome polish will remove any rust stains on the bumper, but if it's rusted-through, it needs to be replaced (for aesthetics sake).

8. That buckle is not original equipment - it's an add-on thing to take up slack , throw it away - my guess is the belt isn't retracting all the way. Probably related to #5. If the belt twists or bunches, it won't retract fully.

9. If you change the color of the paint, get a new top to match (or contrast). Look in the phone book for "mobile vinyl and leather repair" to have the cracks fixed until then.

10. The seat looks more dirty than worn. Leather will develop "beauty creases" ;) with normal use. Get some leather cleaner and see how it looks - if it still offends you, or has holes - see #9, or visit an auto upholstery shop to get it replaced.

Between new paint, top and leather, prepare to drop $3-$5K if you're looking for everything to be like new.

Good luck and keep us posted,

06-09-06, 12:21 PM
Doh! - Brougham beat me to it! (with some very good advice) ;)

06-09-06, 04:22 PM

Being the paranoid type, as I was about my recent purchase, I'd check it out to make sure it wasn't a flooder from New Orleans. Since mine came from Texas, it was more likely than yours, of course, but you never know.

However, that Caddy looks awful good.

The sniff test - with your nose tight to most cloth surfaces - can often give you a hint about a flooder. That's what the claims guys did when I was with an insurance company as a safety engineer.

The other check which dealers often never do, is to pull a door panel and look up WAY UP INSIDE. If there's caked mud or dust, she's been under water.

Most motors, both gas and electric can survive flooding, but wiring will soon give out as will upholstery which will grow mold and eventually the wiring, especially varnish insulation, will short out in some cases, according to what the claim guys told me. The latter depends on the vendor of the electrical equipment and if you've been snooping inside the Caddy already and haven't detected anything funky, you're likely okay.

Good luck with that pretty car.

06-09-06, 08:15 PM
Thanks alot Brougham, Drosis, and Rick. I'm taking all your advice. Again thanks for the advice. A newbie appreciates it.

06-10-06, 04:03 PM
Doh! - Brougham beat me to it! (with some very good advice) ;)

It looks like both of our lists are almost the same. I guess 216caddypimp knows for sure what to do now :) And you're welcome! Show us pictures of your car when you get it fixed up.

07-05-06, 06:28 PM
Just a small brief update, I had my new radiator installed only cost $140.00 and $75.00 for labor.
My mechanic said that the engine runs smooth and so quiet (and so did the mechanics at Lube Stop), that he was a li' bit jealous, cause I fond so many good conditioned Caddies.

I had a complete oil change, a new exhaust put in, but the dude didn't extend my chrome tip so it sticks out, so I'll wait until everything is done and get a new one installed.

I wanted to make sure the heart of the car was up-to-par, before I start investing in the exterior and interior.

I found out that the wire sticking from the passenger side is from the power antenna that doesn't work, so once I find another antenna, it's all good.

I also still don't know where I can get the moldings from the seat and seatbelt (attached to the door fixed). My mechanic couldn't do it, because the screw-head is inside the molding, so it's not like I can just get a tool and tighten it up myself.

I'm going to get the car detailed, because it really needs one and then I'm currently looking for a place to restore the front seats, because they are worn (then I'm going to get them piped as soon as I figure out what color I'm going to paint the car, I want a candy paint or with something with some flakes added to it, but that will be done late winter/early spring).