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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm most likely going to take a look at a -73 eldorado tomorrow and I'm wondering about some important things to check before I make the decision to buy it. I already know the brakes need to be checked and new tires are required plus a regular service (oil, filters) but I want to know what to look out for since this could potentially be my first caddy. Rust isn't my biggest concern but I still want to know where to check for any bad rust. The things I want to check for are any mechanical or other important parts that could cost alot to replace. I'm only 18 so I don't have alot of money and I don't want to run into a pile of garbage if it can be avoided. I just need it to pass inspection and run somewhat ok so things like an ac pump or other non essential parts don't need to work. I'm very thankful for all the tips I get.
 

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1985 Eldorado ASC convertible, HT4100
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I have a 1985, so I don't know much about a 1973. And I don't know much in general. That said, the body would rust first and that would require attention. Check the wheel well areas and the floor pans from underneath. If any non-body frame parts etc. have more than surface rust you may have a serious problem that's possibly dangerous. With the car engine running, check for white smoke (possible head gasket failure, which is bad) or blue smoke (engine burning oil, also bad): White, Blue or Black: What Is My Exhaust Color Telling Me? | Firestone Complete Auto Care

Shocks leaking oily "goo" need to be replaced. Check if there are big puddles of coolant or oil under the car where it's parked. If passenger side area on floor in front of seat is wet, likely have leaking heater core.
Check if the brake lines are rotten. The parking brakes often fail, check them by driving very very slowly and pushing the parking brake pedal. If it doesn't slow/stop the car, rear brake calipers need to be adjusted or replaced.
Drive it and check the steering for bad "slop" or "play" (you turn the wheel but actual turning of wheels is late, indicates bad steering parts). Somewhat loose steering is likely even in a good old car, but be aware. Maybe seller would reduce price. Make sure it shifts through all gears, up and down. I don't think that transmission has overdrive so only three gears. I think...

Hmm, jack, spare tire, owners manual, ... all those things are going to be expensive and very hard for you to find. If that Swedish flag means you're actually in Sweden anyway. If in the US, most standard replacement parts should be relatively cheap.

Hopefully others will add more.

If you're actually in Sweden, see you in NATO, 4mpg :)
Scott
 

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You may also want to just search key terms to find older threads on the same topic. I would try searching with quotes on "what to look for" and then add Eldorado in the search terms. Since there are other years which are close I'd leave the year out of the search for now.

I know I've read a similar thread either here or on the CLC website (second Cadillac Forum which has a lot of traffic on older cars). Some of us are members of both.

Rust should always be near the top, if not on top, of your list of things to look for. Anything mechanical can be fixed with some effort. If you're 18 and this is the first car you're buying you may care in the future even if not now. Generally we're talking about rust on body panels, floor boards, trunk, anything which isn't easily bolted on/off is hard to deal with. Some rust on suspension parts and surface rust on a frame is normal. People sometimes hide things though. Some areas to check on almost any car would be bottoms of doors, inside the door jams low on the front fenders, the trunk "drop-offs", inside the rear wheel wells.

Another Scott
(Also an owner of the same generation of Eldorado as the Scott above)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The reason I said rust wasn't by biggest concern is that I have a welder plus quite some sheet metal and I know how to weld, so rust won't cost me alot of money. Here's the link to the advertisement, Blocket - Sveriges största marknadsplats, bilar, bostäder, möbler m.m.
The owner states that there's body rust but from what I can see there little to no visible rust other than some surface rust on the b-pillar. Do you guys see anything bad apart from the flat tire? Does the engine bay look untouched?
 

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For others who may go to the link:
Avbryt = Cancel
Spara Installningar = Save settings

The photos seem low resolution. Maybe someone had old photos which they scanned? So it's difficult to say because we may not be looking at current photos. In general the photo of the engine compartment I can see the radiator support doesn't appear to have much rust/corrosion. Why look at that area? Because the paint on a radiator support isn't always that great for protecting against corrosion and short of removing the entire part (difficult) and either masking the stickers or replacing them it's difficult to clean an area like that without it being obvious. I know you wrote you can weld etc but you still need to know what you're getting into.

Inspect the vinyl top well and especially the lower edges near the trim. Rust can start there and it can be really difficult to deal with. I don't know the 1973 well enough to say for certain but to me the vinyl top molding does not look like the original factory style I was expecting to see.

Was the car stored inside or outside in the weather? I would inspect the trunk for signs of water (under the rear window and in what are called the "drop-offs" (area which extends down into the rear fenders from the main surface of the trunk). If you can inspect under the back seat it would be good as well. The rear seats bottoms of these old cars is actually pretty easy to remove. There is normally 1 "catch" or "hook" welded to the floor of the car and the seat has a wire cross member which is a bit spring-like. If you push on the front bottom of the seat while lifting they will normally pop-up. If everything else seems ok I would see if the seller would be ok with quickly removing the seat bottom. The carpet won't go all of the way under the seat and if the rear window is leaking the water will either show an issue under the rear seat or in the trunk.

I would also see if the seller has a lift so you can inspect underneath. Look at the frame around the body mounts. A frame can look good on the bottom and the sides but if the car spent a lot of time in a corrosive environment salt can sit of the top of the frame and cause damage. The mount areas sometimes act like traps or areas where salt and water will sit. Also take a look at the brake and fuel lines especially near any clamps.

Look at the dashboard near the base of the front window to see if you see any signs of corrosion because if you do the front glass may be leaking.

Inspect the CV joints on the axles for cracking. Also check the ball joint boots for the same. Keep in mind those things can be replaced but you need to know how much you will need to spend immediately. Someone should inspect the front steering components for you in general.

What are the white splotches on the trunk?

I don't understand your question about a flat tire. The tires are probably old and should be replaced for safety. A flat tire could simply be a troublesome valve stem schrader valve. It could also be a rim leak. It does look like one is flat and still being on the trailer I guess they filled it before they transported it so probably it's leaking to a point you could see it with a spray bottle of window cleaner (blue liquid). Just fill it and spray to find the leak. It could be someone ran over a nail or screw if the tires are new. Anyway tires should not stop you from buying a car.

It is easy to capture and place photos on this site. If you like the car though you need better photos and you need to see the car to inspect in-person.

Car Motor vehicle Hood Vehicle Automotive exterior
Tire Wheel Automotive parking light Land vehicle Car
Scott
 

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I'd definitely get a good look underneath it... If sat in damp garage it'd rust from underneath out. Frame rust and suspension would concern me more than body work since you're prepared to deal with that.
Those pics make it hard to actually see any real condition issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok, so I went to look at the car yesterday and it looked good at first glance. I started walking around it and immediatly saw that it was rotten around the back window and the vinyl top was also really bad. When I came to the drivers side I noticed a big big rusthole in the door. I could probably have gotten my head thru the hole. It was also rotted away inside at the bottom of the windscreen. The frame was in good condition from what I could see. I don't know what those white spots were. They didn't feel like bondo or anything similar, it sounded the same when I tapped the white spots and the clean area. Probably just some paint someone spilled. I ended up declining the deal because it would have been a little too much work to get it in nice shape.
 

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Unfortunate but it was a good choice to walk away. Something else will come-up. I haven't looked recently but have you checked the cars for sale on this site or on the CLC forum?

Are you looking for a summer only car? Have you thought about how you would store it in the winter? The FWD's 1978 and before are really big cars as you obviously know. Is that the first one you've inspected in person? What turned you on to that body style and year? I did like the color combination.

Scott
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My idea was that I was going to fix it and use it this summer or just a part of the summer and then sell it and hopefully make a small profit. Yeah this was the first one I've looked at in real life. I wouldn't say I'm just into this year and model. I find all 70's and late 60's eldorados and devilles quite cool but the main reason I find these interesting is because of the huge v8s they all have, so the first thing I was gonna do would have been straightpiping it lol. I haven't looked at the cars for sale here since I assume they're all in the US. Shipping it to Sweden wouldn't be affordable for me not to mention the 25% tax you're gonna have to pay
 

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The 25% is a killer. They should let you deduct the transport cost from the taxes :)

If the idea was to fix/sell it then replacing the exhaust with straight pipes is probably the fastest way to turn off 98% of your potential buyers if they're looking for a Cadillac. If you like a rumble of the v8 there are better alternatives but a lot of the people actually looking for a Cadillac will prefer something quiet or at least a subtle version of the sound.

Are there other countries in Europe with better tax alternatives if the car arrives in a different country within Europe? It may sound like a stupid question but I know that it's better, lower tax, if a car arrives in Germany as opposed to Poland. At least that's what a colleague in Poland found. Up to a few years ago he was bringing in cars from the US to repair/sell.

PS: I forgot my boots once when traveling back to Poland and before asking my brother shipped them to me. I had a notice from customs I needed to pay what I recall was 42% tax on my own boots. The real bad thing was my brother declared a value which was the "suggested retail" and that was more than I paid for them new. They were expensive leather EMT style boots. The worst thing was I came back to the USA again that year before I needed the boots... ugh!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I know the straightpipes would decrease the value of the car, I would only have them under my ownership and mount the mufflers back on when I put it for sale. I don't know about the difference in taxes between countries, all I know is that products from outside of the EU will be taxed which makes it to expensive for me since you also have to have someone transport the thing which I think is at least 1700-2000$ and then register it here in Sweden which also costs a few hundred dollars. The 25% tax is counted on the price of the car+shipping+custom. So if you have a car that costs 10000$ you first have the shipping costs which makes it 12000$ plus the customs which is 10% makes it 13200$ plus taxes makes it 16500$ and then fees for registration. I'm sure there are some cheaper ways to do it but you still pay alot of money that otherwise could be spent on parts etc.
 

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The early to mid 1970s were the beginning of significant emissions controls on U.S. vehicles and this meant a lot of rubber vacuum lines and plastic connectors that joined these lines together and to various sensors and controls.

On a vehicle of this age, count on the rubber lines being rotten and the plastic fittings being extremely brittle. It isn't difficult or expensive to replace them but be aware that leaks in these will create all sorts of engine operational issues so keep that in mind as you look at these era vehicles. Over the years, owners may have bypassed some of the emissions controls and depending upon how this was done it could create other interesting engine behavior.

Rodger
 
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