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1985 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible, Sable Black, HT4100
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Discussion Starter #21 (Edited)
Roy, thanks for the advice. Very glad to hear your wife has recovered. That sounds like a very tough period for your family. Your Garage Majal is appropriately named and awesome. I'm jealous, particularly now.

FTSS, thanks for the advice. Saved me the trouble of looking around for loaded arms.

I've been poking around in the FSM... my knowledge of torsion bars, which fit into the lower arms, is basically theoretical. As in, I've heard of them and I know what they do and that's it. Messing with those seems like a real PITA, even if I knew what I was doing. So I'm leaning toward giving the bushings a very close look and unless awful, leaving the control arms alone.

Parts are in the mail. In the meantime, I'm gonna jack up the car and take the wheels off and do some looking around and pushing/pulling myself. And I will size up those rivets. By the way, I have no torch, no grinder, and no air chisel.

What I do have: a 5 amp Milwaukee corded hammer drill that has a drill setting; some good big bits for steel; a fancy new cordless drill kit (regular and impact); a dremel with many metal cutting discs; a crappy hand chisel; a very strong desire to drop the car off at that same garage and say "Hi, I did that work myself. Please do the alignment."
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Update on the update: I got the car and read the paper estimate. There's a line item on the estimate for Left and Right "Front Upper Suspension Co..." (the template apparently ran out of words). I'm assuming those are control arm bushings. Guy didn't mention that to me when we talked on the phone, so I'll call back and inquire.
Other items to replace on estimate: Lower ball joints right and left (no upper ball joints listed); one shock. That's it.

I was in a hurry yesterday, but floor jacked the car up on one side (left) at front frame, then lifted the left lower control arm with the jack a couple inches. Wiggled wheel up down, left right. No play felt, either way. Possible I lifted the lower arm wrong.

Will call shop and ask for details.
 

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Good that you're calling to uncover the unnecessarily vague description. 'UCA bushings' would have been more descriptive, unless they claim to have a machine that generates only holistic fault codes. Upper bushings do tend to wear before lowers, though I had a lower disintegrate on a Grand Marquis once while the rest remained fine.

You already know to replace shocks as a pair, and heartening to find another still willing (almost enthused) to do his own work.

And you made me remember I had to mess with at least one torsion arm once on the Riv. I can't remember why I had to unload/reload one or both of them, but the FSM (checked out of the library) made the potentially dangerous steps easy to follow.


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a dremel with many metal cutting discs; a crappy hand chisel; a very strong desire to drop the car off at that same garage and say "Hi, I did that work myself. Please do the alignment."
The dremel will be pretty much a David to those Goliath rivets, so mayhaps a good business case for a HF 4" grinder and metal discs. As they're coming completely off it would be little concern just zipping off the whole top of the joint.
 
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1985 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible, Sable Black, HT4100
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Discussion Starter #24
Good tips. Thanks for those and for the encouragement, FTSS. If the drill can't do it, I can borrow or buy a cheap grinder.

I was busy yesterday. Will call shop later today for details.

I've been studying. Shop estimate says my lower ball joints (though shop guy said lower and upper...) are bad on both sides and my upper control arm bushings are bad on both sides. I can do the upper CA bushings without involving the torsion bars. If I remove the whole upper arm, that would seem to make the ball joint rivet removal much easier. For the uppers, anyway.
Apparently I need spacers to protect the thin CA metal when pressing in/out. I found the spacers on eBay and ordered them. $20 total. The official bushing cup/receiver doesn't seem worth the cost at $200. Standard kit cups don't match the OEM cup, which has a cutout for the CA metal lip. I think I'll make something with a long bolt and wing it, since I'll have the spacer.
 

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Master of the Dark Art of Diagnostics
2003 DHS - two-2002 DHS, 2003 SLS, 1995 Sedan DeVille, 1989 Coupe DeVille
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Good tips. Thanks for those and for the encouragement, FTSS. If the drill can't do it, I can borrow or buy a cheap grinder.

I was busy yesterday. Will call shop later today for details.

I've been studying. Shop estimate says my lower ball joints (though shop guy said lower and upper...) are bad on both sides and my upper control arm bushings are bad on both sides. I can do the upper CA bushings without involving the torsion bars. If I remove the whole upper arm, that would seem to make the ball joint rivet removal much easier. For the uppers, anyway.
Apparently I need spacers to protect the thin CA metal when pressing in/out. I found the spacers on eBay and ordered them. $20 total. The official bushing cup/receiver doesn't seem worth the cost at $200. Standard kit cups don't match the OEM cup, which has a cutout for the CA metal lip. I think I'll make something with a long bolt and wing it, since I'll have the spacer.
=======================
keep in mind that autozone has a loaner tool program - you "rent" the tools for free -
actually - you buy the tool then return it -
 

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1985 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible, Sable Black, HT4100
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Discussion Starter #26
Thanks Basscatt. I was confused by the prices on the auto store sites.
 

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I had a noise like that at one point and thought similar that half what's had issues. When inspecting the front end, everything checked. I had someone else move the car around while I watched. Turned out a tire had the belts break internally and was rolling over creating a shock load (popping) while turning sharp.
 

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1985 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible, Sable Black, HT4100
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Discussion Starter #28
Thanks Jack. I just put four new tires on the car so if that was it, should be fixed now.

Talked to the shop. Guy who worked up the estimate had left for the day, so another dude was reviewing his notes and trying to figure it out. Estimator guy is going to call me tomorrow.
But on the computer there's no character limit like on the printed paper estimate. Turns out "Left/Right Front Upper Suspension Co..." is actually the Co..."ntrol Arm Ball Joint." So the parts and labor are for all four ball joints, not the upper CA bushings. They also want to replace both shocks. According to them, the two shocks and four ball joints are the cause of both the clunk and the slop.

$630 for parts ($260 for two $30 KYB Gas-a-Just shocks); $800 total labor. Not counting $100 alignment after.

No clarity on just how bad the ball joints are. But apparently he told my brother at car pickup it wasn't dangerous yet.
 

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Master of the Dark Art of Diagnostics
2003 DHS - two-2002 DHS, 2003 SLS, 1995 Sedan DeVille, 1989 Coupe DeVille
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Thanks Jack. I just put four new tires on the car so if that was it, should be fixed now.

Talked to the shop. Guy who worked up the estimate had left for the day, so another dude was reviewing his notes and trying to figure it out. Estimator guy is going to call me tomorrow.
But on the computer there's no character limit like on the printed paper estimate. Turns out "Left/Right Front Upper Suspension Co..." is actually the Co..."ntrol Arm Ball Joint." So the parts and labor are for all four ball joints, not the upper CA bushings. They also want to replace both shocks. According to them, the two shocks and four ball joints are the cause of both the clunk and the slop.

$630 for parts ($260 for two $30 KYB Gas-a-Just shocks); $800 total labor. Not counting $100 alignment after.

No clarity on just how bad the ball joints are. But apparently he told my brother at car pickup it wasn't dangerous yet.
=================
take the car somewhere else -
those numbers seem REALLY high
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Rest assured, zero percent chance I'd hire them to do anything other than the alignment. Those shocks are in stock at the AutoZone a mile away for $31 each...
I'm gonna give it a shot. I need to do the brake pads and rotors anyway. Won't go past any points of no return I can't handle. That way I can always abort and go to my regular guys, who are very reasonable and good.
 

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Master of the Dark Art of Diagnostics
2003 DHS - two-2002 DHS, 2003 SLS, 1995 Sedan DeVille, 1989 Coupe DeVille
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Rest assured, zero percent chance I'd hire them to do anything other than the alignment. Those shocks are in stock at the AutoZone a mile away for $31 each...
I'm gonna give it a shot. I need to do the brake pads and rotors anyway. Won't go past any points of no return I can't handle. That way I can always abort and go to my regular guys, who are very reasonable and good.
=====================
KYB are a hard riding shock -
MONROE 5843 would be a MUCH better choice -
 

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Discussion Starter #32
Thanks. Wilco next time. I already got the ACDelco Pros from Rock Auto for like $20 per last year. Shocks have been a known issue.
 

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Have you jacked up the car like I suggested and grab the top and bottom of the tire to see if there is much movement to indicate bad ball joints?

Roy
 

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Discussion Starter #34
I did indeed. No movement detected up/down or right/left. Only did the left side because I was in a rush. Put a stand at frame front on the left side at the jack point, then jacked the lower control arm a bit. I thought I jacked the arm in the right place close to the wheel and high enough. But maybe not.

FSM says to put a prybar right at the ball joint. I'll do that with the wheel off. I'll be skeptical of the diagnosis until I see it myself.
 
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