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This is my 1952 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 75. I traveled 575 miles to get it. It was taken off the road somewhere around 1975 due to an “excessive oil leak.” The engine was removed, the heads were rebuilt. That’s as far as the engine was rebuilt. It sat outside of the car uncovered. I found a couple rebuilt stickers in the car. The brakes were rebuilt, they still have the Made in USA stamping on the pads. The sticker is dated 1976. The regulator was rebuilt. As for that there was nothing else rebuilt from what I saw. The transmission and engine came outside of the car. I’m not sure it’s the same engine as the number starts 5360, which should indicate a 1953 Series 60 engine, but my 1952 parts car has the same beginning numbers. I have rebuilt the engine by myself looking at the shop manual and hoping for the best, and believe it or not it runs very well. I have put about 100 miles on the engine so far. Unfortunately the transmission won’t shift past 2nd so it is at the shop as we speak. I generally don’t like to let mechanics touch my classic cars but this is out of my league. The seats have a professional seatcover on top of them which is hiding perfect broadcloth seats. I am at the very beginning stages of working on the car so the brakes have to be pumped every time you get in it and the lights need to be replaced. The windows don’t work due to the broken hydraulic lines and the pump doesn’t work yet. When you move the switches you do hear clicks at the doors so that’s a plus. I’m hoping to get the car back in about a week so I can actually take it out on it’s first real test drive. I bought it in December 2016. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Your engine is not original to the car.   The original engine number would start with 5275.  That's the only difference in the engines, so it will work.  However, there is a difference in the transmissions between 52 and 53.  Both are 4 speed hydromatics but in 52 there are 5 positions, PNDLR.  On the 53 transmission there are 6 positions PN'D'LR.  There are two drive positions.  One it shifts 1,2,3 and holds third gear.  In the other it shifts 1,2,3,4.  Click the shit leaver and see how many positions you have.  If you have a 53 transmission, I may be interested in swapping you a 51 or 52 transmission for yours.  I have a 53 Series 75 that a PO dropped a Chevy 305 with a turbo 350 transmission.  Unfortunately, it was a factory AC car and all the underhood AC components were lost.  It still has the trunk unit.

 

They are wonderfully smooth cars, but have a low (I think 4.11) rear end which limits top ends speed.  Driving mine home when I first bought it, it would run 65 on the flat interstate, but when I hit rolling hills, it would drop to 45 before I hit the top of the hill.  This was with the 305 2bbl in it.  Was a 100 degree day and all the windows were stuck up and the vent windows would open.  It was an interesting 2 hour drive home!

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Based on my knowledge, I have no knowledge. The guy that I got the car from did not say what happened to the engine, except that it was taken apart due to an excessive oil leak. What I don’t understand is why both of my 75s have a 5360 engine number on it. Did the 5275 have a bad engine that needed to be replaced a year later? Unfortunately I had to send the car off to a mechanic. I don’t do that with the old cars because normally I can learn as I go and get it fixed. But this transmission has gotten the best of me. Sadly, it’s been 3 weeks to the day and I have no information on the progress. The woman at the desk has nothing to tell me so I’m in the dark. 

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Yet another restoration I'm looking forward to seeing.  Now if I only had the time to read about all the cars and posts here.  Good luck on another great car.

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On 7/30/2018 at 8:47 PM, 61polara said:

Your engine is not original to the car.   The original engine number would start with 5275.  That's the only difference in the engines, so it will work.  However, there is a difference in the transmissions between 52 and 53.  Both are 4 speed hydromatics but in 52 there are 5 positions, PNDLR.  On the 53 transmission there are 6 positions PN'D'LR.  There are two drive positions.  One it shifts 1,2,3 and holds third gear.  In the other it shifts 1,2,3,4.  Click the shit leaver and see how many positions you have.  If you have a 53 transmission, I may be interested in swapping you a 51 or 52 transmission for yours.  I have a 53 Series 75 that a PO dropped a Chevy 305 with a turbo 350 transmission.  Unfortunately, it was a factory AC car and all the underhood AC components were lost.  It still has the trunk unit.

 

They are wonderfully smooth cars, but have a low (I think 4.11) rear end which limits top ends speed.  Driving mine home when I first bought it, it would run 65 on the flat interstate, but when I hit rolling hills, it would drop to 45 before I hit the top of the hill.  This was with the 305 2bbl in it.  Was a 100 degree day and all the windows were stuck up and the vent windows would open.  It was an interesting 2 hour drive home!

there is no P for park in either the pre-1952 single range hydra-matic, or the new for 1952 dual range hydra-matic, reverse with the engine turned off is the "park" position. also drive right position will hold in third gear until the speed reaches 70 mph, then it will upshift into 4th gear.

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That trans looks notoriously similar to the early 50’s GMC military truck trans I used to rebuild minus the 4 to 1 reduction unit at the tail end. I had always heard stories that the military trucks just took caddy/Olds 4 spd autos, added the reduction unit for low range, then installed them in the M135-211 series trucks. If they are indeed the same (worth researching), Memphis Equipment should have a ton of parts and probably a military rebuild manual. Those trans were a two band, two drum/clutch plate trans with a main shaft governor in the valve body that used the speed of the main shaft to centrifically force the weights out in the governor causing an upshift. We used to put a manual valve body in those trans which got rid of the governor and resulted in no more burnt clutch plates. Reverse was also the weak link as the cone was very small and would fail if high range reverse was used. The quality of the rubber lip seals back then was terrible and many times it was just a bad seal that had crumbled or pushed by its recess. A new seal kit from ME fixed them right up. We mechanically locked out the high range reverse slot in the shift tower with a through bolt. Man, I forgot about doing all these army trucks ( got them with low mileage and bad trannys from the surplus yard and rebuilt them to sell to the guys cutting wood here in New England) when I was young for extra money until I read this thread and saw that picture of the trans! Memories!!

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I have always liked Cadillac based on what the ownership of one of their cars meant. They were status cars showing you had “made it.” I don’t know how much of the story is true but the guy I bought the car from had bought it in the early ‘90s from the son of a Vietnam immigrant. The father had the belief that when he came over he wanted to be as “American” as he could be. That meant buying a house, having children, and owning a Cadillac. So the first car he bought as this one. He named his children, I believe he said 5, after presidents. The guy that the person I bought this car from was named Lincoln. Like I said, I don’t know how much of that story is true but I liked it. 

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I’m getting ansty waiting for the car to come back. I hated seeing it leave on a stretcher to go to the hospital but I have taken the valve body of that transmission apart 5 times and freed everything up and cleaned it and it still keeps sticking. I hate waiting for updates too, especially since they have none to give. I don’t have a heated garage so I only have about 2 and a half months of warm weather and I know I need to drive the car when I get it back to make sure it stays working. Once the snow starts I’m done until about March when it starts to go away. I still have to work on the brakes. They work after you pump them for about 3 minutes. I think the brake booster has a leak in it because I see no wet spots on any lines or tires. I also have to figure out how to get the window hydraulic pump out from under the fender well because it won’t spin. Then I have to replace the metal lines going to the doors for the windows. I also have about 15 light bulbs to replace. This car has 2 on the dashboard, 1 on the roof, 2 behind the rear passenger, and 1 under each rear door, not to mention the gauges and clocks bulbs. There are pin holes and some larger holes in the rear doors that I have to repair as well. 

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So I finally got to talk to the mechanic that is working on the car. He said it’s up on the lift and they have the valve body out of it. Looking at it, nothing is jumping out at him but he thinks he will have it straightened out sometime near the end of the week. I asked him to do an oil change while he has it and he said he is going to use Amsoil synthetic 10W-30 because of it zinc content. 

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  • 1 month later...

A month later and sadly haven’t gotten the car back. He got very busy. But he feels very confident that he found the problem. The 3-2 detent plug was reversed and there was a spring missing on the side. He took the leaking freeze plug out before testing the car so he has been waiting for the right freeze plug to come in. This week it rained pretty hard Monday and Tuesday. Since the windows are hydraulic, and I haven’t gotten to getting that working, he can’t take it out when it’s raining. Monday I will go back up and see what he has done this week. In the mean time I got the back clock that I had taken out working. It’s running a little fast but that’s alright for the time being. 

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Oups! I found the number you wrote...For 1952,  3200 cars from the Serie 75 have been built and "only" 2200 for 1953 for both versions Seventy-Five Sedans and Seventy-Five Limousines. When an engine went bad, it was more easy to find  an engine from the other series; in '52 there were 16'110 Sixty Special (Serie 60) and 20'000 for 1953. There were much more cars from the Serie 62: more than 60'000 units for '52 and more than 75'000 for '53.

Why both cars you have had a replacement engine from a 1953 Serie 60? I suppose people at that time used what they found...

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  • 2 weeks later...

I got a call today that the Cadillac is shifting through all 4 gears and is ready to be picked up. Luckily for me, Hurricane Michael is going to dump 4 days of rain on us. With a car that has no way to raise the windows it means the car is likely to be stuck at the mechanic’s until Monday or Tuesday. I will then attempt to drive it home the 20 minutes. I’ve never taken it for a ride that long. My only fear is overheating. I didn’t really get much of a chance to test things out for very long before I sent it out to get the transmission fixed. 

As for the transmission, the valve body was the problem. After he fixed what he thought was the problem, which was the reversed piston and missing spring, it still didn’t work. He knew someone with a properly functioning valve body and put it on. It immediately shifted 1-4. Then he adjusted the T.V. Rod and road tested it several times. And after all this he kept to the original price he quoted me at. 

Edited by Meadowfleet
Corrected a spelling typo (see edit history)
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Good news on the tranny! 

 

Take the trip home kinda slow, and stop to let the car cool off if needed. I know what it's like driving a car that you don't have many miles on.......watching the gauges like a hawk. ?

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The Cadillac is finally home! No overheating, no stalling. Now that it shifts I can see that I need to adjust the carburetor a little more. The shifting needs some fine tuning too. It shifts first to second alright but holds second while it’s revving a little too long before clunking into third. Then you have to let up on the gas for it to shift into fourth. That’s just a linkage adjustment so I’m not overly worried. But it made it the 17 miles home with no problems at all. Next thing on the agenda is to figure out why I keep losing brake pressure. It’s not leaking anywhere and we bled them for at least half an hour. Then it’s on to the window pump, lines, and switches. Then the heating assemblies. 

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I got the radio to turn on. It buzzes from the vibrator then about 5 seconds later I hear static through the front and rear speaker. It gets louder as you turn up the volume so I’m taking that as a good sign. Now I just need to find a station for it to lock onto. I’m not certain the antenna is attached. I haven’t gone under the dashboard to look that much but I know that there are 2 vacuum tubes coming off of the radio that are not attached. 

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We do but they are very limited around me. The radio is pretty far down on my things to fix. When I’m comfortable enough with the car I’ll take it 30 minutes to a radio station I know of. Last night I took out the window pump and freed it. It spins with power connected to it but the lines are all gone because of the brake fluid they used in them so I will have to replace them. It’s getting cold and my garage doesn’t have heat so working time is limited. 

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Well I wanted to include some videos but it won’t let me do it. I got the wipers working today. I used an old trick of putting brake fluid into the wiper motor and moving it back and forth to lubricate and soften the rubber inside. They say ATF is better but I didn’t have any. I got the rear defroster motor and underwear heater working but not the two motors under the rear seat. I also added some fluid to the window motor which GM creatively named MOTOVATOR and bench tested it. The fluid shot out of the open line I had attached. It appears to be ready to go back in, except one of the rubber mounts is broken. I’m going to try to get one from the parts car I have. My intention was to get some lights working but I have no power going to the rear half of the cabin. The book wiring diagram says it shows for all Cadillacs but must only show stuff that all of the cars share so I will have to either try to trace wires or find a diagram that shows the schematics. 

Edited by Fleet Meadow
Misspelled name of pump (see edit history)
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The windows all go up and down now. I believe the motor needs to be rebuilt though because once one window goes up I have to wait about 3-5 minutes before putting another one up. If I don’t the motor cuts out. I found my short that was plaguing me. When the rear doors would open the power to the rear controls would stop working. All of the wires seemed to be intact. I couldn’t turn on the dome light by the switches at the B pillar and at the rear seats. After some testing I found that the current was backfeeding into the dashboard. I replaced all of the wires leading under the carpet from the rear to the dashboard. One of the wires was snapped inside the harness. Once I replaced those the rear had power whether the door was opened or closed. The passenger side door light turned on when the door was opened. The driver’s side door doesn’t turn on but I am thinking that it is a bulb that needs to be replaced. And I can turn the dome light on by the B pillar switch. I broke the rear seat switch so I can’t test that. I started working on the underseat heaters. The front heater works great, the rear blower turns on. The rear underseat heaters are frozen so I need to take them out and clean them. I killed the battery so I had to call it a day. The car looks like a mess right now with the wires and tools everywhere and the seats out. ?

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Edited by Fleet Meadow
Added picture (see edit history)
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The next day, after I wrote that the motor might need to be rebuilt I remembered that I had alcohol in the line instead of brake fluid, per shop manual instructions to flush the lines. I drained it and put brake fluid in the reservior. Now the windows went up and down repeatedly with no problems. I hadn’t thought about how the alcohol was going to have no lubricity and was going to cause so much friction in the motor. So in my pleasure of having windows I all of a sudden heard this hissing when the motor was working. I looked around and found brake fluid all over passengers side floor. Apparently one of the lines split and sprayed fluid everywhere when the pump is running. Unfortunately for me it’s the line running from the back to the front and is hiding in the wood area on the side of the seat and i can’t see the pipe where it is leaking. 

 

On a good note, I installed 30’ of heater hose from the firewall to the front underseat heat to the rear underseat heater, to the other rear underseat heater to the firewall again and now have heat. The bad side is one of the rear underseat heaters is frozen and smoking. 

 

While on a roll I decided to finally open the 6 month old box of exhaust I had custom made from a company that advertises on eBay. I specified what car it was going on and they said they could do it. I got the big mufflers and the resonators like I wanted. I put the first pipe from the header on and went to install the muffler except the pipe doesn’t reach where the muffler has to sit. It’s about 8” short. So I went to the store and got a pipe and clamps since the box came without clamps and instructions. I put it on and tried to get the muffler on. It won’t go on because the first pipe is bent too much and angled out towards the frame. So I uncoupled everything and decided to try to dry fit things. Not one pipe is angled right. And nowhere is there a place for the resonators. The last pipe makes a sharp turn at the end towards the fender. Unfortunately it’s supposed to lead out the rear bumper. So now I have pipes that do nothing and no mufflers on the car. I don’t have any tube benders so I called a couple garages and they “don’t want to make an exhaust from scratch.” So that was $550 well spent.. At least I now have the mufflers and resonators, I just need to get someone to connect them to the car. One thing that puzzles me is, shouldn’t there be some sort of flexible pipe connecting the slightly moving engine to the rigid tail pipes connected to the non-moving body?

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Years ago, I ordered an exhaust system from a company in Florida (they may be out of business now) for a '48 or '49 Buick. By chance, I had access to a metal construction shop and I could correct the many bents which were wrong.

For what I heard, Waldron exhaust is more reliable You may ask them for the pipes.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So after finally getting in touch with the exhaust guy he explained some of the pipes so I could put them together. The bends aren’t 100% but I got them all in. It’s amaxing how quiet the car is now. If I could put a video here I would. But I’m sure everyone knows what a quiet car sounds like. Next on the agenda will be to adjust the engine with the new exhaust in, as well as a new pipe for the vacuum advance. I heard this ticking that got worse as I drove faster and I got terrified that the engine had a tick and I just hadn’t heard it before because the engine was so loud. Then it finally dawned on me when I stopped at a stop sign and the ticking stopped, it’s the speedometer cable spinning. The speedometer stopped working the last time I drove it and the cable must have broken just enough to not spin the speedometer but still tap the back of it. There is an interesting noise in the engine but I can’t determine what it is. And I have no idea how to describe it at the moment. It’s not a ticking, it’s more of a hissing but it’s not coming from the radiator and nothing is pouring out. It sounds like it’s inside the block. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I decided the other week to take out the wife and a friend of mine on a nice rainy night to show them how cool the car is. We are driving all over and then I take off and the car stumbles and stalls. I stop and it starts back up. At the end of the road it does it again. The next road it stalls and won’t start again. So in the rain we pushed the car to a parking lot. I opened the hood and looked in the fuel bowl and it’s empty. So even though my gauge was reading full it was empty. I had been playing with the sending unit because it was reading a quarter of a tank when it was empty. After i got gas it started right up and I went home. Upon further investigation I discovered that the sending unit had lost ground. In the parking lot I put 5 gallons in the tank. I then drove the 4-5 miles home. When I applied ground it showed empty. I put another 5 gallons and it went up to just above the empty line. I have no idea where it will show when it is full but at least I will know I have at least 5 gallons of gas when the tank is at empty. 

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