CAR This is not a milk thread. I have owned my '74 Eldorado convertible for 2 years now but it's time for a build thread

Claydus

Well-Known Member
Jul 2, 2001
9,096
Alpharetta, GA
@jelloslug did you work on the wood trim on the dash at all? was is faded or have any cracks?

trying to restore some wood trim in a car that has some significant UV damage over the years... almost impossible to find replacement parts for the type of wood that was used. One of my options is to sand down and re-apply a lacquer to the trim... know of anyone that has done this?
 
TS
TS
jelloslug

jelloslug

OT Supporter
Jul 1, 2003
65,947
Greenville, SC
@jelloslug did you work on the wood trim on the dash at all? was is faded or have any cracks?

trying to restore some wood trim in a car that has some significant UV damage over the years... almost impossible to find replacement parts for the type of wood that was used. One of my options is to sand down and re-apply a lacquer to the trim... know of anyone that has done this?
It's all fake plastic wood. I have done some veneering before though on car trim. Send me a PM and I'll go into more detail and maybe that could help.
 
TS
TS
jelloslug

jelloslug

OT Supporter
Jul 1, 2003
65,947
Greenville, SC
The trunk was fairly untouched. It still had the rubber mat and all of the carboard trim with the carpet was still there.

IMG_6240.JPG

IMG_6241.JPG




I pulled out all the carpet and there was more of the carboard/asphalt sound deadener. It was musty and slightly damp like the stuff that was under the carpet in the cabin. I kept the carpet to make patterns with but I tossed the sound deadener.

IMG_6243.JPG

IMG_6244.JPG



The seam sealer was just as bad in the trunk as it was in the rest of the car. I basically just scooped it out and vacuumed up the smaller pieces. The trunk floor itself was in even better shape than the cabin floor pan.

IMG_6245.JPG

IMG_6247.JPG


Once I get a little further along with the top disassembly, I'll treat the trunk floor like I did the cabin floor and then recarpet it. I have not decided if I will use trunk carpet or real carpet. If I use real carpet, I could use the cabin color or a dark grey/black.
 
TS
TS
jelloslug

jelloslug

OT Supporter
Jul 1, 2003
65,947
Greenville, SC
To go along with the work I did in the trunk, I also cleaned up the tail light and license plate area at the rear of the car. I started with the license plate holder. This car has the fuel filler under the license plate and the whole assembly had surface rust on it.

IMG_7580.JPG

IMG_7585.JPG



I soaked the assembly in evaporust and it did a great job taking it down to bare metal.

IMG_7598.JPG

IMG_7599.JPG




I gave it a light scuff with some sandpaper and painted it black again.

IMG_7607.JPG




The little grab handle is made out of the same material that the body fillers are made out of. I have a few good used ones and I took a serviceable handle and use it for now. I have actually already a 3D model and printed my first run of this part, I just have not painted they yet.

IMG_7608.JPG

IMG_7610.JPG

IMG_7611.JPG
 
TS
TS
jelloslug

jelloslug

OT Supporter
Jul 1, 2003
65,947
Greenville, SC
I cleaned up the back up light housing and polished the lenses. On the left is the hosing/lens as pulled from the car, on the right is after polishing.

IMG_7593.JPG

IMG_7596.JPG



I also pulled the tail light housings. Even after cleaning them up, they still look bad because the chrome is all flaking off. I'm going to sandblast them to bare metal and then powder coat them with a chrome powder coat. There are two different styles of tail lights for these models and I have a set of both. I just need to decide which one to use.

IMG_7625.JPG
 
TS
TS
jelloslug

jelloslug

OT Supporter
Jul 1, 2003
65,947
Greenville, SC
I have a crappy ABS license plate filler that I got out of a junk yard for $5. I already knew that it was not going to fit very well but it was better than nothing. At that point in time, I had not even seen a real factory one, let alone gotten one to model. I have one now and I'm working on printing it. In the mean time though, I decided to "fix" the crappy ABS part so it could at least be mounted. Here is the part as it ships:

IMG_7612.JPG

IMG_7784.JPG



The way it is supposed to mount is that the recessed area on the edge fits into a slot in the bumper. The legs on the rear mount to holes on the inside of the bumper. There are also two metal "T" shaped pieces that sandwich the rear legs and fit through slots in the legs. The top of the "T" is pushed up against a bracket on the under side of the filler to keep the front lip in the slot. This is where the fitment issue is. There is no lip on the underside of the filler, the recessed area is too thin and the shape of the recess is wrong. Because of this, you can bolt the filler in but it will just pop out of the slot all the time and drop down into the bumper. Here are the "T" brackets and also how the filler should fit:

IMG_7613.JPG

IMG_7614.JPG



To make it actually mountable, I made ABS brackets and stiffeners and glued them to the back of the filler with ABS pipe glue.

IMG_7781.JPG

IMG_7785.JPG

IMG_7788.JPG

IMG_7789.JPG



Here you can see how the "T" bracket is supposed to be mounted.

IMG_7791.JPG



And here it is bolted to the bumper.

IMG_7807.JPG
 
TS
TS
jelloslug

jelloslug

OT Supporter
Jul 1, 2003
65,947
Greenville, SC
With the crappy filler mounted, I put the license plate retainer and back up lights back in.

IMG_7621.JPG

IMG_7622.JPG




I also found the factory option license plate frame in a box in the trunk.

IMG_7620.JPG



It cleaned up nicely.

IMG_7623.JPG


I thought that I was going to have to repaint the gray bumper trim but going over it with some compound brought it back to its original color.

IMG_7633.JPG

IMG_7634.JPG



I popped the tail lights back in and that wrapped up the back end for now.

IMG_7643.JPG

IMG_7642.JPG
 
TS
TS
jelloslug

jelloslug

OT Supporter
Jul 1, 2003
65,947
Greenville, SC
Since we are talking about the tail lights, lets look at the tail light filler bezel. I have only ever seen screen shots from a video of a real one in good condition. I did manage to get a pair of complete units but they are far from usable. The are, however, good enough to use to make models from so they can be printed. Here is the pair of fillers that I have:

IMG_5891.JPG

IMG_5892.JPG



They certainly are not much to look at but they are complete. Lets go over the major differences between the real fillers and the aftermarket ones. The aftermarket fillers are just a shell, they don't have any of the tabs that are on the rear of the filler. Those tabs are stiffeners and they also lock the bottom edge of the filler to the lip of the tail light housing. Next is the bottom lip on filler. This lip sits on top of the bumper and stiffens the edge filler where it sits parallel to the top of the bumper. Next is the inner wall of of the tail light opening. Some of the aftermarket fillers either don't have the inner wall or it's not complete. If it's missing, there will be a big gap between the face of the filler and the tail light lens. The filler is supposed to have a piece of chrome trim on the bottom edge that runs to the license plate opening and up the side to the trunk lid. The area on the side of the filler at the license plate opening has a lip that holds the trim. None of the aftermarket fillers have the lip. There is also working embossed in the filler that say "REMOVE THIS BEZEL TO SERVICE TAIL LIGHTS" that is not on the aftermarket pieces. This is how the factory bezel should fit:

IMG_7683.JPG

IMG_7684.JPG

IMG_7686.JPG

IMG_7690.JPG



And here is a prototype printed bezel that I'm working on:

IMG_7927.JPG

IMG_7928.JPG

IMG_7933.JPG

IMG_7934.JPG




It need just a tad bit more work and then I can print it out of ABS or nylon so it can be painted.
 
TS
TS
jelloslug

jelloslug

OT Supporter
Jul 1, 2003
65,947
Greenville, SC
The back end was a bit saggy. All convertibles from this era came with rear air shocks and it's not the most reliable system. I had already replaced the failed air shocks with conventional shock and that helped a bit but it was still sagging in the rear and one side was noticeably lower than the other. I decided to change the springs and see if that would help. The rear suspension is very similar to the RWD Cadillacs with a triangulated four link rear axle, coil springs, and shocks. The difference is that it's just a beam rather than a live axle. Swapping the springs is straight forward: compress the spring, lower the axle, remove the old spring, compress the new spring, install the new spring, raise the axle and remove the spring compressor.

IMG_6269.JPG

IMG_6271.JPG

IMG_6273.JPG

IMG_6274.JPG




Here are the old springs. You can see that one of them is about 1-1/2" longer than the other.

IMG_6275.JPG
 
TS
TS
jelloslug

jelloslug

OT Supporter
Jul 1, 2003
65,947
Greenville, SC
When I did the exhaust resonator, I replaced the muffler also. The muffler that was on it was the stock muffler and it was rusted out. I was able to just peel the shell off of it.

IMG_6249.JPG

IMG_6248.JPG



New muffler and resonator. I cut a notch in the inlet for alignment lug on the exhaust pipe.

IMG_6196.JPG

IMG_6214.JPG

IMG_6257.JPG



Side note: I hate this muffler; it sounds like a crappy old pickup truck. I think I'm going to just replace the entire exhaust system.
 
TS
TS
jelloslug

jelloslug

OT Supporter
Jul 1, 2003
65,947
Greenville, SC
There were three radio options (plus a radio delete) for the Eldorado in '74: AM/FM radio, AM/FM stereo with auto signal seeking radio and finally, AM/FM stereo with (8-track) tape player. My car came with the AM/FM stereo with auto signal seeking radio. The radio itself is rather cool, it was the pinnacle of analog mechanical radio tech. When you push the signal seek button, a motorized tuner turns the tuning dial up and down the band until it hits a station that it can tune in. Also, when you switch from AM to FM, the indicator display flips over to show the proper frequencies for that band.

IMG_6808.JPG




BUT... This is a car from the '70s. It MUST have an 8-Track player in it. Long ago, I had a '74 Coupe deVille and in that Coupe deVille, there was an 8-Track player. I took that 8-Track player out, stuck it in a box and put that box in the attic of my parents house where it sat until just recently.

IMG_6809.JPG



While I'm sure the this old 8-Track player "ran when parked", it certainly did not work now. It's common for the mode switch to get corroded and make the entire unit not work. It's the white plunger just under the belts in the middle of the pic below.

IMG_7014.JPG



On top of that, the belts for the 8-Track were shot, the capstan had old tape wrapped around it, the head position actuator was stuck, the volume pots were scratchy, and the radio preset buttons were frozen. Repairing this was just a "one thing at a time" kind of thing. First up were the belts. Just order new belts and that was it. They are cheap and easy to fine.

IMG_7077.JPG




Next up was the capstan. It's the post in the middle of the big flywheel and it's supposed to be clean and slightly rough. It presses against the rubber wheel in the 8-Track tape and it's what pulls the tape over the tape head during playback. It was neither clean or slightly rough anymore. I pulled off the old tape, masked it off, and sandblasted the area where it should be gripping the tape.

IMG_7073.JPG

IMG_7071.JPG



Next up was the head position actuator. For those who don't know much about 8-Track tapes, the tape has 8 individual tracks (duh) on a 1/4" wide tape. They are divided into pairs for left and right stereo so you have four pairs of track on a tape. The tape itself is about 12 minutes long and you have 4 of these 12 minute long tracks per tape. To switch tracks, you push a button and the tape head moves down two tracks to the next pair. Keep pushing the button and it will cycle all the way to the bottom and then back up to the first pair. The tape will also automatically switch tracks at the end of the 12 minute recording. This is possible because 8-Tracks are a continuous loop. When you play the tape, the tape is pulled from the center of the spool, over the tape head, and then wound back on the outside of the spool. The splice between the beginning and the end of the tape loop has a conductive tab and that tab bridges a circuit during playback which switches the track selector. As a side note: it's impossible to rewind an 8-Track tape. Some machines could fast forward but it was really hard on the tapes themselves. Here is the actuator. It's a cam system and the problem was the old grease had hardened and was gumming up everything.

IMG_7069.JPG

IMG_7075.JPG



Now for the volume pots. I just used Deoxit spray on the pots and that cleaned them up.

IMG_7064.JPG



I cleaned the mode selector switch the same way.

IMG_7059.JPG
 
TS
TS
jelloslug

jelloslug

OT Supporter
Jul 1, 2003
65,947
Greenville, SC
Now for the fun part. The radio presets are all mechanical and they are gummed up with the same old grease that was gumming up the track selector. I had to take this out to get to the mechanism.

IMG_7066.JPG



Layer after layer of mechanical parts had to be removed to get it apart enough to clean it out. This radio is by far the most complex part in the entire car.

IMG_7081.JPG

IMG_7094.JPG

IMG_7095.JPG

IMG_7099.JPG

IMG_7100.JPG

IMG_7101.JPG

IMG_7102.JPG

IMG_7103.JPG

IMG_7107.JPG
 

Users who are viewing this thread

About Us

  • Please do not post anything that violates any Local, State, Federal or International Laws. Your privacy is protected. You have the right to be forgotten. Site funded by advertising, link monetization and member support.
OT v15.8.1 Copyright © 2000-2022 Offtopic.com
Served by fu.offtopic.com

Online statistics

Members online
272
Guests online
57
Total visitors
329

Forum statistics

Threads
369,742
Messages
16,916,158
Members
86,875
Latest member
ddunn9448