1984 Eldorado Biarritz Project Thread
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The Classic Cadillac Forum Discussion, 1984 Eldorado Biarritz Project Thread in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; Here's something about a year in the making! I'm finally putting together a project thread for my '84 Eldo. I ...
  1. #1
    smokuspollutus's Avatar
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    1984 Eldorado Biarritz Project Thread

    Here's something about a year in the making!

    I'm finally putting together a project thread for my '84 Eldo. I took this account over from my dad a while ago and have been a long time listener, I guess this is my first time calling in. Anyway here goes...

    I was looking for a 79-85 Eldorado for a long time, and looked at and drove a lot of cars before my purchase. Once I got it through my head that there would be faults in whatever I found, I decided that I would have to pick the straightest, most rust free body I could find-I'd be willing to fix most anything mechanical but rust, body and interior work were out of the question. Being up in New York, rust was a big issue for a lot of cars I saw. One night I was browsing craigslist in nearby NJ and came across this

    With this super 80s communication device!

    A supposed rust-free, 1 owner, California car that had recently been shipped over to the east coast and hadn't seen a winter. I got in contact with the seller and my cousin who lived locally went to check out the car for me. His verdict was that it was an honest 46k mile car with everything working that looked good from 10 feet but needed a paint job.

    So I took a trip to NJ and met the seller. My cousin had told me it needed paint, and it did not disappoint in that regard. Lots of "qracluer" lacquer checking on the hood and trunk. No undercoating and it was plain to see the life the car lived. But, the service soon light was on and the HVAC was totally dead to the world. It needed a master cylinder too. All that turned me off immediately; I turned the seller down and went home.

    A few days passed and I had a case of nonbuyers remorse. The car did fit the bill as far as rust free, good interior, and no lipstick. Not to mention pretty well optioned. So I called the seller and asked if the car was still available, as he had taken the ad down. It was, and he had replaced the O2 sensor, the cause of the service light, and claimed the AC to have started working as soon as he got home. I made an offer was accepted, and the car was home a few days later.

    Some work was immediately in order, the 1990 whitewalls survived the ride home but were really in need of replacement. A new cap, rotor, plugs, wires, and belts were installed for some peace of mind. New shocks all the way around for a functional level ride and to stop the Uncle Buck bounce. The master and rear calipers too. Of course an oil and coolant change, and she was ready to hit the road!

    Little repairs and fixes followed, correcting a sloppy shift linkage with some kind of hard to find bushings was paramount. And some odds and ends I'm sure I'm forgetting. Appearance wise, 5he first thing that was getting to me was the faded out "chrome" on the tail light lenses. Nothing a little silver sharpie couldn't handle!
    Before

    After

    I also couldn't pass up the bumper sticker on ebay for 99 cents, see it in the after photo?
    Attached Images
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  3. #2
    smokuspollutus's Avatar
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    Re: 1984 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Project Thread

    I continued to drive the car putting on nearly 3000 miles over a few months until old man winter caught up to me (My 4.1 couldn't out run him) So into the garage the car went. This gave me a good opportunity to work on some stuff that came up that I didn't want to have to have the car inop to fix over the driving season.

    The first thing was this PITA. The blend door that controls the flow of hot/cold air out of the vents. Somehow (likely during the heater core replacement prior to my ownership) a loose hose got caught in that metal rod and plastic arm, stripping the gears inside. With the ignition on, the motor would spin infinitely trying to move the arm to get whatever temperature out of the vents the programmer was calling for. When I purchased the car, I moved the rod to the max cold position, as it was summertime. As it got cooler out, I moved it to max heat. To do that I had to remove the glove box liner, and I left it unscrewed to make adjustments to the temp when the seasons were changing-not fit for a Cadillac! After a whole lot of contortionist training, my feet sticking out of sunroof and head under the passenger side dash, I got the programmer out and replaced the motor. Works like a charm now, and it is "cool" to feel it cycle the temp with the climate control set to AUTO.


    Next came heater hoses. I had been struggling with phantom leaks from the very old hoses, and just before I parked it the hot water valve started weeping coolant~down the AIR hoses and into the exhaust! Scary stuff when your exhaust starts smelling like coolant, but fortunately no engine problem.


    Valve cover gaskets followed. The '84 4100 still used sheetmetal valve covers with cork gaskets that honestly kinda suck. The '85 used cast aluminum covers with rubber gaskets that I wanted to upgrade to, but no luck. I was very pleased at the condition of the inside of the engine. This car was definitely maintained well. I had run the carfax and gotten nervous because the car had accumulated a little less than 15k miles from 1990 till the time I bought it. I was worried it might have only seen a few oil changes in that time, but fortunately that was not the case! The original covers are back on the engine now and are holding oil ok...but when I have to do them again I will definitely update to the cast aluminum version.

    In the time that I had driven the car, it hadn't set not one code and had been really trouble free, but my only complaint was a horrible ping when running regular gas, forcing me to run 93 octane~ok a 4100 is good on gas but 93 is no fun for your wallet no matter what the car! And it should run regular 87 gas no problem. After verifying timing was OK, I suspected the EGR passages. Removed the valve (fun to get at those bolts!) and found nothing really impeding flow, just some light carbon deposits by the valve which I drowned in carb cleaner and rodded out the passages under the throttle body. No improvement. So I suspected the valve, but it checked out and held vacuum, so the problem wasn't there.

    After replacing all vacuum hoses (and fixing some butchers handiwork in the hose routing) there was still no change in the pinging. Notice the screw in the hose near the EGR valve!

    The solenoid functioned properly, so no problem there, as did the parking brake release , brake booster and vacuum climate controls, so the vacuum pump was in all likelihood OK. So I was left scratching my head. Then it dawned on me to actually check if the solenoid had vacuum~it didn't! So I traced the supply line to a thermal vacuum switch which was stuck between hot and cold engine mode. No EGR when the engine is cold, so vacuum wasn't getting through the switch and never made it to the EGR system. Fortunately the switch was readily available. I replaced it was very happy on 87.




    ----------

    With winter behind me, it was time to take it out to play again.

    Fortunately the replacement vacuum switch worked in eliminating the ping. Except for that now the engine had a bad stumble when the valve opened up, usually like pulling away from a stop, it would buck. I checked base timing and found that it had been retarded to 8 BTDC, likely to try to reduce the ping. After purchasing the right distributor wrench for a 4.1 Cadillac (Snap On S6134 in case you need one) I set the timing slightly advanced to 13 BTDC. No pinging, no stumble, and it will actually chirp the tires pulling away from a stop if you stand up on it (not that I do that ) Since the timing reset, MPG has improved by about 1 both city and highway.

    Added some other features to improve functionality
    Garage door opener


    Carmine mats out of a RWD to preserve the original


    The car hit a "milestone"


    Sent the original antenna out to be rebuilt with steel components inside~the new antennas for these cars are not correct at all and leave you with a big teet sticking out of the fender that looks terrible. And the new ones are still plastic inside like the originals. With this thing being such an adventure to get to, I wanted to do it once! On a side note Barney Eaton's rebuild of the antenna is cheaper than an incorrect replacement and has a warranty for as long as you own the car. I recommend it to all 80s Cadillac owners.


    Blower modules are a weak spot on all Cadillacs from this time. The one I got the car with had a loose internal connection that would lose contact over bumps cutting out the blower motor and compressor sporadically (was the reason the AC didn't work when I looked at the car). The 2nd one was a junkyard unit that blew on a 90 degree, 90% humidity day about 3 months after the install, leaving me with a compressor that would not disengage and a blower that would not operate. Not cool in a black car with a stainless steel top and moonroof. I scored this NOS replacement on ebay for a good price.

    But went searching on why the car kept blowing modules before I wasted a perfectly good one. The answer was in the blower motor. I suspected it because it was old and removed it. It was very "gritty" feeling when spun and was tough to turn. On the meter drew over 30 amps when running on high! No wonder it had a bad case of the munchies for modules! An el cheapo new blower came and I swapped the old wheel on. Much smoother rotation, so we will see if the module lasts longer now.

    E/K cars with the 55/45 split bench (pretty much all of them except 1981 Cadillacs and some special edition Eldos/Sevilles/Rivs/Toros) have a teeny tiny center armrest about the width of 1 armrest on the RWD cars with 50/50 seats that have 2. It should should look like its "floating" when pushed all the way down, like this

    But many of them suffer from armrestus droopinitus caused by too much gangsta leaning on it~the bolts break and the armrest drops too low to be useful. I found this out the hard way over the winter when I tried to repair my armrest; 1 of the studs was completely gone off the mounting bracket and the whole assembly was fractured, and I couldn't see a way to fix it. Defeated, I decided to live with it. Imagine my surprise when someone listed this NOS E body armrest support on ebay!

  4. #3
    smokuspollutus's Avatar
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    Re: 1984 Eldorado Biarritz Project Thread

    Not too much else for right now, I think I'm pretty much current. Still a whole lot more to do though. I'm going to try to keep this thread updated as much as I can as I do stuff to "Gloria" as she has named herself. In the meantime, here are some shots of relatives and rivals we've come across along the way
    My dad's 87 Coupe really is the reason I fell for 80s Cadillacs. This 88 was in decent condition


    This '83 Sedan deVille had some rust but an absolutely mint interior~lots of potential


    Reminds you the Eldo was a mid-size car back in the day


    Hot rod Lincoln


    Smart and not-so-smart


    And apologies in advance for the photo sizings. Haven't quite got that figured out yet but I'm getting the hang of it. Here is a link to more photos (if you haven't had enough already)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/smokus...57653569446155

  5. #4
    Faded Crest's Avatar
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    Re: 1984 Eldorado Biarritz Project Thread

    Beautiful car! Not a big fan of the 4100, but even I might have been tempted to pop on that beauty!

  6. #5
    Bradrock is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 1984 Eldorado Biarritz Project Thread

    Fun thread! Thank you! Nice work. I'd like to know more about Barney Eaton. Does he work on older power antennas? I have a spare for my 77 Coupe I might like to get working. I had to pay nearly $500.00 for a NOS one. My car has the AM/FM/CB radio & those antenna's are priced like Gold.
    I really like your phone. Lucky it's still in there.
    Sure are a lot of people around your place. Gives me the creeps just looking at the pictures.Big city not for me! Heh..Heh

  7. #6
    smokuspollutus's Avatar
    smokuspollutus is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 1984 Eldorado Biarritz Project Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Faded Crest View Post
    Beautiful car! Not a big fan of the 4100, but even I might have been tempted to pop on that beauty!
    Thank you! As I posted in a previous thread, we had almost nothing but good experiences with 4.1s. It is definitely a lightweight motor but I think I'll be able to keep it alive. For now it fits the bill as far as good MPG and decent city power, and should be helped out a lot in both regards when the bead cat converter is optimized! If the weather isn't too stifling this weekend I might do it.

    ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Bradrock View Post
    Fun thread! Thank you! Nice work. I'd like to know more about Barney Eaton. Does he work on older power antennas? I have a spare for my 77 Coupe I might like to get working. I had to pay nearly $500.00 for a NOS one. My car has the AM/FM/CB radio & those antenna's are priced like Gold.
    I really like your phone. Lucky it's still in there.
    Sure are a lot of people around your place. Gives me the creeps just looking at the pictures.Big city not for me! Heh..Heh
    I read about Barney Eaton on the AACA website forum. He was highly regarded over there and the fix that he offered made sense to me. Rather than just a plastic cable to raise and lower the mast, he uses a plastic cable impregnated with a steel wire. And for 50 dollars plus the trip both ways it wasn't a huge gamble. My antenna was rebuilt at the beginning of the month and has been working perfectly for about 3 weeks so far. My friend with an 85 Eldo had his done over the winter and it continues to work well. BUT he did mention in an email that what he's able to fix on a pre 1980 antenna is more limited and costly due to a lack of parts. I guess if it just needs the cable inside its probably fixable, but I'd definitely contact him with the exact situation. I'll PM you his contact info, don't want to make this into a blatant advertisement LOL.

    The CB is such a cool option. I wish my car had one, but the CB and the Bose radio that my car has were mutually exclusive. Probably to limit interference. Cadillac made a lot of little tweaks to the wiring and relays on Bose cars to prevent EMI. Probably wasn't worth it to re-engineer the CB equipment as it got less popular in the 80s to work with the new sound systems.

    And big city? Ha, this is the boondocks of the 5 boroughs, compared to where I used to live this is rural life!

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    Re: 1984 Eldorado Biarritz Project Thread

    Damn those seats look downright yummy! I'll have to watch Craigs list for one of these to add to my fleet!
    Thanks for the PM !
    And no offence intended about your city living. We now live in a city of 700 people and we are the county seat! Around here a 'small' town has less than 100 people. Probably more than that on your block! I've just gotten used to two or three people in front of me at the grocery being a 'long' line! Heh..Heh

    Are you going to get your car phone operational? That just screams 'executive'!

  9. #8
    smokuspollutus's Avatar
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    Re: 1984 Eldorado Biarritz Project Thread

    These are really fun cars. A little bit more cozy inside and in trunk storage compared to a RWD, but the styling gets a lot of attention. And not even in an old car way, even when they were just hoopties in the 90s, people still commented on how good looking the Eldorado was.

    And no offense taken! Believe me, I get tired of it, there's I love doing more than taking off to the Catskills for a week to get away from it all.

    The phone is unfortunately a paperweight since they converted antenna TV's to digital signal; the old analog cells (early onstar too) was phased out in the conversion. Still powers on and has speed dial set up for SoCal. I am going to look into an iphone to telephone jack adapter to use the corded handset with my cell, we'll see how the highway patrol feel about it!

  10. #9
    smokuspollutus's Avatar
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    Re: 1984 Eldorado Biarritz Project Thread

    Well, no exhaust work today, and the weather looks like its not going to cooperate tomorrow either. But before the rain I was able to install this,

    an X brace off an '85 Eldo. Strange, before '85 the only E body cars to get these were the convertibles and Sevilles, though all have the holes drilled for it. Similar to the '79, those don't have all the under hood braces as later E cars but are ready to accept them. Probably a placebo, but the car seems to be more precise going down the road. With the grille off, I also decided to clean the condenser with some foaming spray.

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    Maximln is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: 1984 Eldorado Biarritz Project Thread

    Wow!! Your Biarritz is absolutely beautiful!! Thank you so much for taking the time to post all of your pics! It is so much fun to watch your journey! I have always wanted one of those cars. I love that body style! What a find! It is in such perfect shape! Congratulations!!

    Max

    Quote Originally Posted by smokuspollutus View Post
    Not too much else for right now, I think I'm pretty much current. Still a whole lot more to do though. I'm going to try to keep this thread updated as much as I can as I do stuff to "Gloria" as she has named herself. In the meantime, here are some shots of relatives and rivals we've come across along the way
    My dad's 87 Coupe really is the reason I fell for 80s Cadillacs. This 88 was in decent condition


    This '83 Sedan deVille had some rust but an absolutely mint interior~lots of potential


    Reminds you the Eldo was a mid-size car back in the day


    Hot rod Lincoln


    Smart and not-so-smart


    And apologies in advance for the photo sizings. Haven't quite got that figured out yet but I'm getting the hang of it. Here is a link to more photos (if you haven't had enough already)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/smokus...57653569446155

  12. #11
    Paul London's Avatar
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    Re: 1984 Eldorado Biarritz Project Thread

    Amen to that

  13. #12
    smokuspollutus's Avatar
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    Re: 1984 Eldorado Biarritz Project Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Maximln View Post
    Wow!! Your Biarritz is absolutely beautiful!! Thank you so much for taking the time to post all of your pics! It is so much fun to watch your journey! I have always wanted one of those cars. I love that body style! What a find! It is in such perfect shape! Congratulations!!

    Max

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul London View Post
    Amen to that
    Thanks guys! I will update again this weekend with some odds and ends I've been taking care of for the past few weeks.

  14. #13
    smokuspollutus's Avatar
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    Re: 1984 Eldorado Biarritz Project Thread

    Not to much work as of late. The EGR valve started causing a stumble on prolonged deceleration, like rolling on an off ramp or downhill coasting. Replaced it and the stumble seems to be gone. Will the problems with this damned system ever go away? Anyway it has a shiny new valve now! Fun to get at those bolts, to anyone that has to remove an EGR valve on a 4.x engine, I recommend a cheapo bendable wrench like the type that comes with a furniture set. I was able to reach the bolts without touching the throttle body or TPS.
    28748039653_43039cccbd_z.jpg

  15. #14
    smokuspollutus's Avatar
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    Re: 1984 Eldorado Biarritz Project Thread

    Wow, over a month since my last post. No news is good news I guess! Here's an attempt to keep this thread on the 1st page of this forum

    Made this little tag that would have been on the car when it was new...can you spot my typo? Only found it after I had it properly formatted and cut out. d'oh!

    "Reefed the sails" so to speak


    The sail panel fabric had become loose. While removing them for an unrelated reason, I noticed that the material was not the typical craptastic GM headliner variety. Red fabric was layered over a high quality sponge-like foam that was bonded to the chipboard. The fabric was then pulled around and glued/stapled to the reverse side. The glue had failed and was causing slack, so I was able to staple it taught again.

    Cooler weather is here, and more is on its way. Lots of stuff planned for the winter, but I hope I don't have to put it away for awhile. Here is a link to the source of all these photos on Flickr
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/smokus...57653569446155
    where you can see the full size images without the sizing restrictions, and some others that I didn't have the head to link on here.

  16. #15
    Maximln is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: 1984 Eldorado Biarritz Project Thread

    <<Made this little tag that would have been on the car when it was new...can you spot my typo? Only found it after I had it properly formatted and cut out. d'oh!>>

    I love that card! You should add one for each accessory!! I'm guessing the typo is about the buzzer? There is no buzzer on that car. It is chimes.

    Max

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