1983 Fleetwood Brougham d'Elegance Project
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RWD 19xx-1984 DeVille and Fleetwood,
1985-1996 Fleetwood and Brougham Forum Discussion, 1983 Fleetwood Brougham d'Elegance Project in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; Hi, first of all i want to introduce myself. I am Felix from germany and i just bought an '83 ...
  1. #1
    grauhst's Avatar
    grauhst is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    1983 Fleetwood Brougham d'Elegance Project

    Hi,
    first of all i want to introduce myself. I am Felix from germany and i just bought an '83 FB d'Elegance Sedan, loaded and in beautiful "woodland haze" paint.
    I want to say sorry to you if i make mistakes writing english. It is not perfect, but i will try as good as possible.

    4 Years ago (when i was 18) i bought my first car: a rusty and worse custom '74 Continental Mark IV. You can see my Lincoln restoration here: Link
    I restored it and now it is like new but as a daily driver (it was still my only car) it is too expensive on gas. (In germany it is something about 8$/gal)

    I always loved 70s and 80s american cars. 80s Fleetwood Brougham always was one of my favourites.
    So i looked for one. I had exact criteria:

    - Year 80-83 (in germany there is a huge financial advantage for cars older then 30 Years, called historical license plate)
    - Sedan (it is hard with these small parking spots and those huuuuge doors. I always have problems with the doors of my Lincoln.)
    - Fleetwood Brougham, no Deville
    - d'Elegance package with cloth seats (very important, i love these seats)
    - paint shouldn't be silver or black (i don't like common colors.... today every car is silver or black)

    It is hard to find a car that fits. I searched a lot worldwide but found almost nothing (and if, way too expensive)
    In germany those cars are between 1.500 and 10.000€ Compared to the US-prices, they are expensive. Shipping from the US to germany is something about 2.000$.

    One day i drove through a city 70 mls away and saw a '80s FB at the street side.
    - Sedan
    - Fleetwood Brougham
    - d'Elegance
    - cloth seats
    - 80-83: yes, '83
    - color

    Holy! A car like out of my dream.
    Ok, it is needs TLC, but no problem.
    I contact the owner, yes the car is for sale. It was inserted a while ago for 4.300€
    I negotiate "a bit" and at the end i bought the car for 800€ (about 1.000$), which is a very good price here in germany for such a car.

    And this is it:
    (Cadillac next to my Mark IV)


    rear:










    Ok, and that is the condition:
    - front bumper is bent, but chrome is ok
    - rear bumper is straight, but chrome is worn
    - broken bumper filler
    - worn vinyl top
    - worn tires
    - missing emblems
    - engine (HT4100) runs perfect
    - transmission needs rebuilt. no movement in reverse
    - brakes, suspension like new
    - seats like new
    - headliner hangs down locally
    - some electrical things aren't working
    - almost no rust (only surface. undercarriage is like new)
    - car is 100% original (exept for stupid german conversions to the turn signals, parking lights, cornering lights, sidemarkers....)

    I have a Carfax report and it seems that 30.000 Miles are original.

    So far... in february i took the car with me. It drives like a cloud. Awesome!
    It only is difficult to remember the missing reverse.... sometimes i had to push the car back on road.

    Cadillac at arriving.




    Ok. I only can put 15 images in one post so i will distribute the progress to the next posts.

    Regards
    Felix
    CadillacLuke24 likes this.

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  3. #2
    grauhst's Avatar
    grauhst is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 1983 Fleetwood Brougham d'Elegance Project

    This is a cold start video of it a day after i got it.



    The squeaky bearing is silent meanwhile.


    and a warm start...


    I cleaned the engine, put some new plugs in it...


    took out the trunk carpets and cleaned everything.... it is like new... not even surface rust...


    look at those beautiful seats...




    I replaced all fuses, greased everything and cleaned electical contacts.
    So some of the electical stuff worked again:
    - interior lighting
    - illuminated entry
    - outside mirrors
    - level ride

    I cleaned the car and polished the chrome.


    the ECC Control Head is broken, so i ordered a new one (still on the way to germany...)


    repaired the back wiring harness (redone the stupid modifications)


    put new tires on it



    Regards
    Felix
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  4. #3
    grauhst's Avatar
    grauhst is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 1983 Fleetwood Brougham d'Elegance Project

    Ok and now it is time for the Transmission.
    I bought 2 overhaul kits (it needs weeks until the parts are here in germany, so if i destroy a bearing or o-ring, i dont want to wait for new parts), the 82-83 Cadillac Shop Manual and a THM 200 4R transmission overhaul manual. (Haynes)

    The overhaul kits:


    before removing the transmission




















    Check balls:


    empty transmission:




    the reason for the reverse problem: totally worn reverse clutches


    Regards
    Felix
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  5. #4
    drmenard is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: 1983 Fleetwood Brougham d'Elegance Project

    These motors are aluminum and had problems with head gaskets.. It is good advice to flush and change anti freeze every two years. That would be the first thing I would do.. These motors always developed a rumble because of engine main bearings.. Years back when these sold used , I have a friend, used car dealer, who bought a lot of cars with this motor.. The first thing he did was put in new main bearings that were .001 undersize.. This tightened up the slop and they run like new ... He did not change the rod bearings... I am sorry to say that losing reverse in the transmission is one of the first signs it needs a rebuild. There were a few weak spots that were change through the years.. I would search the web on some upgrades and hard parts that should be changed.. The transmission you have is a TH200 4R ...

  6. #5
    grauhst's Avatar
    grauhst is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 1983 Fleetwood Brougham d'Elegance Project

    broken reverse piston seal ring


    all parts of the transmission:


    new clutch rings in fresh atf:


    new reverse clutch package installed:


    everything installed... new valve body sealing


    completed:


    I installed the transmission to the Cadillac and.... it works!!! I haven't done something like that before.
    Now it shifts smooth, makes no noises and the car rides backwards too. Awesome.

    I drove the car 1.200 miles direct after the transmission-rebuild. No problems! Everything works fine.

    And here are some pics of the ride on the german Autobahn:







    It rides like a cloud. I am totally satisfied. I got 24.43 MPG on the Autobahn.

    This is, how it looks right now.
    I am still waiting for the ECC Control Head. If it arrives, i will post actual news.

    There is one little problem. The german regulations says, i can apply for the german historical license, when the car hits (exactly) 30 years.
    It was registered the first time on the 1st of July 1983....
    So i have to wait until July this year to register the car.

    What i have planned for the future:
    - new exhaust pipe (some rust holes)
    - new bumper filler set

    After the registration i want to use the car as my daily driver.

    That's it for now.

    Best regards from germany
    Felix

  7. #6
    jayoldschool's Avatar
    jayoldschool is offline GM RWD V8 addict
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    Re: 1983 Fleetwood Brougham d'Elegance Project

    Congratulations, and great work!

    Germany won't let you register it on the build date? It was probably built before July.

  8. #7
    drmenard is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: 1983 Fleetwood Brougham d'Elegance Project

    Wow you work fast.. You must have been posting those pictures when I was writing... It has been a long time , but if I remember right a problem area was the shaft came out of the pump that the torque convertor goes on, now this is the one on the outside, had a problem with the spline getting worn and damaged..

  9. #8
    grauhst's Avatar
    grauhst is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 1983 Fleetwood Brougham d'Elegance Project

    Quote Originally Posted by drmenard View Post
    These motors are aluminum and had problems with head gaskets.. It is good advice to flush and change anti freeze every two years. That would be the first thing I would do.. These motors always developed a rumble because of engine main bearings.. Years back when these sold used , I have a friend, used car dealer, who bought a lot of cars with this motor.. The first thing he did was put in new main bearings that were .001 undersize.. This tightened up the slop and they run like new ... He did not change the rod bearings... I am sorry to say that losing reverse in the transmission is one of the first signs it needs a rebuild. There were a few weak spots that were change through the years.. I would search the web on some upgrades and hard parts that should be changed.. The transmission you have is a TH200 4R ...
    Thanks.
    Yes, i know the HT's are very sensitive to false care.
    I directly changed all fluids on that car. There were no coolant in the oil and no oil in the coolant. (first thing i checked before i bought it)
    The engine runs great, haven't had any problem with it yet. It is really not very powerful (ok, i think it is not correct to connect the words "power" and "HT4100" ), but it is good on mpg and it runs very smooth. I like the fuel display gimmicks.

    The front oil pump shaft was good. I measured the end-play of the shafts and after the rebuild everything was good.
    Btw. it took 3 days to rebuild the transmission. First day disassembling, second day rebuild and third day installing and test drive.

    @ jayoldschool,
    thank you.
    no, i only can register it at the 30th register date. It would be more senseful, if it would be the build date, but it isn't....
    I could now register it with a standart registration, but in germany car taxes are calculated by the emissions and displacement. And 4.1 Liter is a huge engine here in germany. I would probably pay ~2000€/year + insurance. Insurance would be maybe the same. With the historical license i will pay 190€/year + 120€/year insurance.
    So you see, it is way better to wait 2 months and register it as a historical vehicle. (It is called "antique" in the US?)

    Regards
    Felix

  10. #9
    cadillac_al is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 1983 Fleetwood Brougham d'Elegance Project

    Nice work. I have always been scared of automatic trannys and you jump right in like nothing and it works. I'm impressed. So do you think the Caddy rides better than the Lincoln? The Lincoln looks sharp too. Cheers.
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  11. #10
    talismandave's Avatar
    talismandave is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: 1983 Fleetwood Brougham d'Elegance Project

    Wow....you should get along fine around here!
    Great work and what a great match you found to your dream car. Talk about destiny!
    You have two of my favorite cars. You must have a lot of fun driving those land yachts in Germany.
    Welcome and keep posting as the project continues.
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  12. #11
    lacville78 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 1983 Fleetwood Brougham d'Elegance Project

    Impressive work!
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  13. #12
    85 FLEETWOOD COUPE's Avatar
    85 FLEETWOOD COUPE is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 1983 Fleetwood Brougham d'Elegance Project

    WOW AWSOME KEEP US UPDATED WITH YOU BUILD AND PICTURES
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  14. #13
    1980coupe's Avatar
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    Re: 1983 Fleetwood Brougham d'Elegance Project

    Nice...
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  15. #14
    outsider is online now Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 1983 Fleetwood Brougham d'Elegance Project

    that transmission rebuild was amazing. For a first timer to just jump right in...I was afraid to even do my filter and fluid swap for the first time!

    Great work and I love the pics.
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  16. #15
    grauhst's Avatar
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    Re: 1983 Fleetwood Brougham d'Elegance Project

    Thanks a lot to you guys.

    Quote Originally Posted by cadillac_al View Post
    Nice work. I have always been scared of automatic trannys and you jump right in like nothing and it works. I'm impressed. So do you think the Caddy rides better than the Lincoln? The Lincoln looks sharp too. Cheers.
    Me too. It was the same with the Lincoln vinyl top. Everyone told me, i shouldnt do that myself. But hey, if i never do that myself, i wont learn how to do that. So i ever wanted to do a vinyl top to learn it. And on what car i should do it if not on my own Lincoln? I bought a top, some padding and glue and go for it. It worked well and now it looks beautiful.

    With automatic transmissions i had exactly none experience when i bought the Cadillac.
    I bought the service manual, the overhaul manual, 2 overhaul kits and took out the tranny without any idea whats wrong with it.

    I was yelling, when it shifted into reverse the first time. That was absolutley unspectacular, but gorgeous. It just went backwards out of the garage, Haha.

    Yes, the Caddy rides as smooth as the Lincoln. The Mark IV is way heavier and more powerful. The 460 engine is great.
    But the Cadillac is better as a daily driver: 4 dr, huge trunk, most comfortable seats i ever sat in, loaded, and a great fuel mileage (compared to the Lincoln)

    ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by talismandave View Post
    Wow....you should get along fine around here!
    Great work and what a great match you found to your dream car. Talk about destiny!
    You have two of my favorite cars. You must have a lot of fun driving those land yachts in Germany.
    Welcome and keep posting as the project continues.
    Thanks, yes it is a huge fortune with this car.
    Yes, it is great to drive cars like these here in germany. On the other hand it is very expensive because of the gas prices.
    But i will ever own those american cars. I love them. I love the comfortable seats and suspension. Modern cars are rough with tough seats, strong steering and ugly design. Old american luxury cars are luxurious, elegant and smooth. The have a soft suspension and comfortable seats, better then any sofa.

    I will post the updates soon. At the moment i am waiting for the ECC Control Head, a Hood Emblem (very important on a Cadillac ) and a trunk lock emblem. I will renew the vinyl top, the bumper fillers, the exhaust and i will repair the paint. It has some chips and dents. But it shouldn't get a full repaint.
    I want to keep the car 100% original.

    Regards
    Felix

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