Soon to be My 1968 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
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RWD 19xx-1984 DeVille and Fleetwood,
1985-1996 Fleetwood and Brougham Forum Discussion, Soon to be My 1968 Cadillac DeVille Convertible in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; I am purchasing this Cadillac within the next week. Its a 1968 with just under 42,000 miles. I've had it ...
  1. #1
    hermanpj is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Soon to be My 1968 Cadillac DeVille Convertible

    I am purchasing this Cadillac within the next week. Its a 1968 with just under 42,000 miles. I've had it inspected and know what I'm getting into- there is some rust in the rockers that has been cosmetically covered up, but otherwise its a beautiful car.

    front.jpg

    rear.jpg

    side.jpg

    Please point me to this post if it already exists, but I'm looking for the list of 'everything I should know, the major things I should pay attention to right away, etc.'

    My previous restoration experience is Range Rover where I replaced 5 body panels, fixed a rusty floor board, restored the interior, and did various off-road modifications. I also re-veneered all of the wood work. Apart from that I have rebuilt a GM smalblock. So I have some practical hands on experience, and overall think I'm ready for this, and also know where i'm going to enlist experts.

    If you could please also recommend the best manuals (CD or paper): Haynes, Chilton GM/Cadillac shop manuals, etc and where to get any that are uncommon.

    Thanks in advance, and I look forward to tapping into the considerable experience on this board.

    Pat Herman

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  3. #2
    creeker is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Soon to be My 1968 Cadillac DeVille Convertible

    Very nice, it looks like texas car.

  4. #3
    77CDV's Avatar
    77CDV is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Soon to be My 1968 Cadillac DeVille Convertible

    Well, you've already found the major rust issues on these cars, so no surprises there. 472 and THM400 are bullet-proof. The only hard part will be tracking down any missing trim, as no one reproduces it.

    Looks like you'll have a real beauty when you're done. Congrats!

    Craig

  5. #4
    sven914's Avatar
    sven914 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Soon to be My 1968 Cadillac DeVille Convertible

    The Factory Service Manual would be you best bet.

    If you need any miscellaneous parts, my local junkyard has a few '65-'68 Cadillacs; two of them were crushed but are relatively complete and the other one is in rough condition but has some good trim, a complete gauge set, and most of an engine.

  6. #5
    Ian6 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Soon to be My 1968 Cadillac DeVille Convertible

    Car is beautiful, best of luck to you

  7. #6
    greencadillacmatt's Avatar
    greencadillacmatt is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Soon to be My 1968 Cadillac DeVille Convertible

    Welcome, and VERY nice to-be purchase. I love the '68 models. So powerful and imposing looking. Best of luck with it!

  8. #7
    hermanpj is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Soon to be My 1968 Cadillac DeVille Convertible

    Creeker, its a Tennessee car. I guess that puts it in ambiguous territory for salt exposure. All, Are the rocker panels the same piece as the rear fenders? I'd like to be able to get patch panels from a parts car - Sven, do your 68's have good rocker panels or is that going to be impossible to find?

  9. #8
    outsider is online now Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Soon to be My 1968 Cadillac DeVille Convertible

    that's a nice looking car.

    Much nicer than the 69 calais i'm restoring so I'm sure you'll be all set. If you need any parts, the people here are great at helping you search.

  10. #9
    sven914's Avatar
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    Re: Soon to be My 1968 Cadillac DeVille Convertible

    The two crushed ones are mostly rust free, but they're both sedans. The un-crushed one is a Coupe de Ville and has a little body rot, plus it's been knocked around a little. I haven't paid attention to the rockers on any of them, but next time I'm there I'll check.

  11. #10
    hermanpj is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Soon to be My 1968 Cadillac DeVille Convertible

    thanks... once i get the car i'll get out a magnet and see how much filler I'm talking about. this might be the kind of thing where I ask you to be on the lookout for when something comes in. and then i'll drive the car for the spring and summer as is (it cosmetically looks fine), and do the repairs over the winter...

    great meeting you guys, and thanks for the welcomes and the congratulations.

  12. #11
    DeadEd is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Soon to be My 1968 Cadillac DeVille Convertible

    Herman,
    If your new ride still has its original top switch, you may want to bypass it to a heavier capacity switch mounted somewhere inconspicuous (mine's at the bottom of the lower dash panel and is not really visible). If the '68 is anywhere like the '69 and '70 (which have the same top system), the top switches have a tendency to burn up when they wear, and you don't need a dash fire. Top switches that still work regularly command upwards of $150 on e-bay. The factory shop manual is the one to get, but also consider the separate Fisher body manual. It contains info on the top assembly, instructions on how to replace the top, power seat diagnostics, detailed trim removal instructions, and additional chassis electrical circuit diagrams among other things.

  13. #12
    hermanpj is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Soon to be My 1968 Cadillac DeVille Convertible

    great stuff.

    Does anyone have opinion on the quality of the 1968 Cadillac Shop Manual available on CD? It is supposed to be the very same manual, just converted. I have been very pleased in the past with the quality of the Land Rover shop and overhaul manuals on CD, and find it very conducive to search, find the right page and print it if necessary. Please let me know if anyone has an opinion. I will buy the Fisher body manual as well - I have a known issue with one of the wing windows. Thanks for the great advice.

    What is the general opinion on wiring in these cars? Other than the obvious fact its 40 years old, and I'll probably rewire it eventually as I upgrade it, am I in imminent danger of a wiring related fire? I come from the world of British Leyland/Rover/Lucas wiring harnesses which we believe were designed by the devil himself ... so that comment about the top switch makes me paranoid. :-)

  14. #13
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    cooncat is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Soon to be My 1968 Cadillac DeVille Convertible

    Very nice car! Once you have it all restored, you should consider doing some shows with it. You should have a great time at shows and have a lot of interest. Enjoy it!

  15. #14
    hermanpj is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Soon to be My 1968 Cadillac DeVille Convertible

    I finally have the car! It arrived while I was in Manila for 2 weeks. My wife took delivery and out went my old rover, in went the 19 foot beast. I got home this morning at 5 AM, and after a reunion with my wife, went to see her. There are a few more rust problems, the paint job looks better in pics than it does in real life, the dashboard is in rougher shape than i could see from pics (veneer, chromed plastic trim that is painted black and is peeling off, radio glass is broken...) but I'm just to be honest so thrilled with the car.

    Battery was dead, would not crank at all. Could not get the hood open - found the alignment is off. Had to tug the hood a little toward the left while pulling the 1st hood release. then got it open. pulled the battery - yikes rusted out battery tray. no problem. headed to autozone. battery was a bit under powered and pretty old, core traded it on a new 750 CCA Duralast Gold battery. Have a Duralast in my rover I'm really pleased with... anyway, new battery, battery hold downs, and some rust converter, head back home.

    wire brush and shop vac'ed the old tray, pliered out some really bad metal. Had a roughly 7 inch by 6 inch sheet of steel lying around the garage, so while the rust converter was brushed on the existing remaining battery tray, i made a new piece of tray, folded up some edges... primed and painted that and set it down in the tray. it aint perfect, and i will replace with a more correct job later, but it did the trick. got the batter in next, sized the hold downs, cut then down with my hacksaw, wired up the battery... and...

    IT's Alive! 472 Cubic Inches of madness. Got state inspection - safety only is required in TX for a car of this vintage. thank goodness bc i dont think she'll pass an emissions test any time soon. Ran back to autozone for engine flush, oil fiter, 5 quarts of oil. checked transmission - no burnt smell in the ATF fluid. Air filter is new. belts look pretty much as new. completely out of PS Fluid. Topped that off.

    So... the list (after a couple hours)
    -obviously PS leak somewhere
    -she leeks oil. quickly. so i'm going to need to find that pretty fast.
    -really all of the rubber gaskets - doors, windows, vent windows, hood, trunk, top.. they all need replacing. will post some pics...
    -engine runs a little rough esp at idle. going to edumacate myself on timing. would appreciate opinions on benefit of converting to a pertronix or msd electronic igniton and coil.
    -will be checking the spark plugs as well.
    -fuel leak somewhere
    -vacuum supply and return for the heater core vacuum valve under the hood is missing
    -ps pump is a little wobbly - pulley seems not to spin uniformly on axis. am going to investigate if bracket or literally the pump is to blame
    -hood hinge alignment is going to be in the near future - will search this forum but anyone who has learned the tricks here please let me know what you already know
    -comments on whether i should use ZDDP at time of oil change?
    -steering wheel is toast. i'd like to replace it with original or upgrade to keep the center /horn pad but replace the wheel itself with a wooden one. right now i have a pimp-ish steering wheel cover on it. any recommendations?
    -radio has power but is a lost cause - the glass is broken, the station identifier wire is gone, it wont tune, the antenna is stuck up. so anyone who has a working antenna they'd like to sell or knows an appropriate OEM replacement please advise. as for radio i'm going to be looking to put in some kind of classic radio look alike that will interface with ipod. not going for huge sounds and i dont want amplifiers visible in the trunk... i just want to replace the speakers in the dash and footwells, in the rear and have a working radio. so anyone with good recommendation which after market radio to get please advise - i definitely want to preserve the function of the two separate side by side radio control knobs
    -missing passenger side speaker for the kick panel - anyone got one to sell?
    -clock is not working - looks like i will be digging into the dash. i have restored an old car clock before, my first suspicion is it may not be getting power. are these notorious for breaking?
    -dont seem to have any dashboard lighting, so again... thinking theres a problem with power to the dash in general
    -missing trip odometer reset pin/button - assuming one from any GM car of the period would probably work, please advise if mistaken
    -cruise control - missing the selector lever. if anyone has one to sell
    -fuse block was just hanging under dash. can anyone take a pic how this is supposed to be mounted and post here? i have tucked it up in the dash now but it not screwed into anything
    -speedometer surrounding trim is black painted. looks like chromed metal underneath. trim ring around the wood veneer is also painted black and the paint is peeling off revealing chromed surface undneath. which is original/correct? chromed? black painted?
    - im going to eventually re-veneer this panel, but if anyone knows where i can get the veneer pre-cut with adhesive, that saves hours, please advise
    -rust in rear right quarter, looks like i will need a patch panel there. trunk lid and other areas show obvious bondo... i'll save the body work list for another time.


    Most of that above is just an awesome list of little projects. Not really concerned - its all consistent with what Carchex found when they went to check the car out for me. Got my Shop Manual and Body by Fisher manuals on CD... one step at a time, and with your help (all you experts out there) this will be fun!

    BTW: drives like a magic carpet on steroids. Brakes supprisingly well in a hurry. :-)

  16. #15
    77CDV's Avatar
    77CDV is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Soon to be My 1968 Cadillac DeVille Convertible

    Whew! First, congrats on your new arrival! Can't answer all your questions, but for a few. ZDDP additive is highly advisable for these cars, especially if you plan to drive it any distance at any speed. Steering wheels can be restored, and there are many people who do it. Usually costs a few hundred, or you can do a little research and try to do it yourself (in which case you're a braver man than I). I highly recommend ditching the old-style distributor and going HEI. The car starts much easier and mileage improves, plus it's one less thing to maintain. The clocks tend to burn out quite easily. Given the amount of electrical gremlins you seem to have noted, you'd have to remove and inspect the clock to see what's what. If it's getting power, odds are the electromagnet is fried. Replacing that (and a thorough cleaning and lubrication) usually brings them back to life (or you could always do a quartz conversion).

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