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1936 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 75 Major drivetrain Rebuild


Guest Revved AC
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Guest Revved AC

Hey there all...   Our latest project is a major drivetrain rebuild on a 1936 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 75.   The collection we help maintain recently purchased this vehicle and after talking to the previous owner it has been suffering through an overheating problem for the last several owners.  Our diag came up with combustion gas in the cooling system so out the engine came.   It didn't take long to find several cracks in the block along cooling jackets.  This car still has the original engine block so we are working on a few leads for someone that can repair the engine block but are open to referrals if someone else has been down this road.    

 

During the dissasembly it became obvious that the engine and transmission had been underwater at some point and both were heavily rusted internally.   Several cylinders show pitting where water had puddled and in the transmission nearly every gear and bearing has heavy pitting.   The tailshaft and rear mainshaft bearing retainer were filled with the thick gooey pudding like muck you see below. 

 

This is the first pre-war Cadillac we've tackled so I'm looking for a good source for internal engine and internal transmission parts and/or someone that would have good used components.

 

Thanks for your time

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Edited by Revved AC (see edit history)
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It will be much easier,faster, and most likely less expensive to buy a parts car/barn find/or old poor restoration/driver. Currently the market on these cars are very soft. You could spend a lot of time and effort chasing the last few parts you need. Try the Cadillac club.

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1936 was a unique beast. Pack a lunch. Consider later flathead implant. Close enough for 99% plus car guys. The only ones who notice the small differences , will also understand why it was reasonable to do so within one man's lifetime. If you must consider OHV conversion , PLEASE REPLACE WITH BIG BLOCK CADILLAC . At least the car's soul will be preserved.  - Carl

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Guest Revved AC

We've located someone in Houston who specializes in repairing cast items including engine blocks and has repaired a good number of antique engine blocks in their 40+ years of being in business.   We are going to do what we can to repair this engine block and keep it with the car.   With regards to the transmission, since we essentially need all of the internal components, we would love to find a good used transmission to go through and install. 

 

And Carl, with regards to your BBCaddy comment I've got a buddy who is a die hard 502 Caddy fan that would wholeheartedly agree with you... 

 

The thought was actually suggested around the collection to pull the drivetrain from one of the other "not as special" 36 Cadillacs and put it into this Series 75 if the block is not repairable.

 

If anyone has a lead on a Series 75 Transmission please let me know!

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On 6/28/2017 at 5:46 AM, edinmass said:

It will be much easier,faster, and most likely less expensive to buy a parts car/barn find/or old poor restoration/driver. Currently the market on these cars are very soft. You could spend a lot of time and effort chasing the last few parts you need. Try the Cadillac club.

I agree with Ed.  Flathead Cadillacs are pretty common to have engine swaps - they tend to crack in the valve area on the drivers side rear most cylinder and .... - I would just go ahead and find a better engine.  Basically, this is not a Duesenberg and you will be happier with an engine block that has not had the repair work you are about to undertake.  I had an engine swap (a whole driveline swap for that matter) on my 1936 Cadillac 75 Series Town Cabriolet and it was an AACA, CCCA, and Cadillac Club Senior Winner.

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John is correct! It makes no sense to repair that block, and certainly never weld it. Only stiching  is the correct repair. On a common type closed car an engine swap is no issue. Start with a good block. A parts car is the best avenue of approach. Ed

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Guest Revved AC

We've had the conversation with the collection manager and owner about swapping the drivetrain with another vehicle and he has decided to move forward with investigating whether the block is repairable or not.  We've found American Castings down in Houston that claims to have several methods for repairing vintage engine blocks including stitching as you've mentioned.  American Castings has stated that it really comes down to the quality of the casting, severity and location of the cracks on whether he can repair it or not so we are sending it down to be magnafluxed and allow them to do their inspection to determine if it is repairable.   The vehicle is a 1936 Cadillac Fleetwood personal Limosouine that is in immaculate condition other than these drivetrain issues and since the engine has the original block the owner would like to save it if possible.   I know you all say that an engine swap is a standard thing with these vehicles but there will never be another point in history where the vehicle will be as original as it is right now if we do swap the engine. It may not be that big of a deal today but in another 20 years it may be a different story.

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Hat's off , and a very respectful deep bow , my brother ! Sounds like a very fine original car. I admire the owner for his dedication to originality. Sounds like he has the proper pockets , I sincerely hope you find the proper know how. I am sure we all here would love to see pics , inside and out. Thanks , and the very best successful outcome to you. Please let us know as your project advances. - Carl

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I respect you want to keep the original engine. I would rather see it than in the car also. There are many shops that say "yes, we can fix that." Most can't. I am not familiar with anyone in your area that I would have 100 percent faith in fixing it. There is a person near me, 45 years in business, who ONLY DOES METAL STICHING. No rebuilds, not overhauls, he makes his own screws, pins, butterfly's, ect..... I wouldn't use anyone else reguardless of cost or convenience. He stitched a V-16 Cadillac block for a friend of mine, it had more than 60 inches of cracks, car is fine twenty years later. Many people and shops do it part time, I wouldn't use them. Having a conversation with the guy I use last year, I asked how long it took him to get to the point where he felt he could repair anything with confidence. He replied about twenty years. I have learned a lot about casting and metallurgy from him. If you want his contact info, PM me. Good luck. Ed

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Guest Revved AC

American Castings been in business for 40+ years and specialize just in castings and casting repair.  The guy I'm taking to has been running the shop for 30 years.  From what I understand the majority of their work is repairing castings and valving for the oil field industry.  He obviously doesn't want to commit to anything until he sees the block but he has said if they can't fix it, no one can.  They are very experienced in casting repair and says they deal with vintage blocks on a semi-regular basis.

 

With regards to us rebuilding the car... I will humbly say with confidence that can handle it..   We've been in business building pro-touring Custom American Muscle cars and servicing classics for over 10 years and I've been in the business nearing 24 years.   This is the first pre-war car we've done though with most of our experience being in 50-60-70s American cars.   We build complete cars from the ground up handling everything short of paint work in house.  We do all of our own metal fabrication, plumbing, wiring... we can rebuild engines but with everything else we've got going on its easier to sublet that.   We build cars that don't exist out of aftermarket parts and spools of wire, so rebuilding a car with parts that are obsolete doesn't scare me much either... we'll find a solution to get it back on the road.

 

With regards to the pockets of the client,  this client is willing to spend an appropriate amount of money to take care of these cars for future generations.   I do scratch my head sometimes at his choice of cars but he feels like he has the opportunity to preserve vehicles that would otherwise be overlooked by "collectors."   Certain cars like this one are special to him and he is willing to spend more to make sure the car solidly drivable; and while he isn't into "paint dot restorations" he makes sure the cars are done right and doesn't cut corners.   All of the cars in the collection are able to be driven at a moments notice... shuffling to get them out of the building takes a bit longer!  ;-) 

Edited by Revved AC (see edit history)
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  • 4 years later...

I know it’s been awhile since you restored your car may be you can help me with my restoration I have A 36 - 4 door 75 series 

question I”m looking for a passenger exhaust manifold that discharge to the rear of the engine I believe only on the 75 series did it come this way , and do you know if A later clutch system from  37 to 39 are the same thank you for any help you can give me 

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