stereorob

Help! just picked up a 1950 Caddy and im clueless!!

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over the weekend i picked up a 1950 Cadillac, i think its a series 62 but could be wrong. 

 

back in high school 20 years ago i had a 1955 Pontiac Starchief that i DDed for almost two years and never really had any issues with it. always wanted another classic car and after months of searching i ran across this 1950 caddy. its in really good shape for its age and it runs/drives. unrestored survivor car that used to be a show car back in the 80s and 90s. i have a pile of old trophies and stuff that it won over the years. had been looking for a clean classic for awhile that didnt need a ton of work as i work 60+ hours a week and really dont have enough time to spend weekends wrenching on it, so i took a chance on this one. heres what ive found so far... 

 

it overheats after about 15 mins but drives great. maybe a stuck thermostat or something? 

 

tranny shifts in all gears fine but shifts hard, 

 

brakes are manual drums and lock up easy. -they seem worse then normal

 

engine has a lifter tick 

 

column shifter broke on me last night and now its stuck in drive.  - no idea how to fix this... 

 

im absolutley clueless on how to fix this thing but i really want to get it running and driving enough to daily. this is a learning experience for me and im hear to learn. any advice would be seriously appreciated as i dont really know anyone that works on these old cars or knows thier way around them. i have basic mechanical knowledge and did some work on my 55 Pontiac as a kid years ago, but ive forgot alot of it. 

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I would suggest getting a FACTORY shop manual before trying any repairs.

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6 minutes ago, keiser31 said:

I would suggest getting a FACTORY shop manual before trying any repairs.

And a MoTors repair manual while your at it.  The MoTors were written for repair shops that did not have access to all the factory supplied tools that the dealerships had.  Together both books are great to have.

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I'm neither a mechanic or a Cadillac expert, but was a parts guy at a dealership for years (one of the lucky few that didn't end up in a padded room). If you could send in a photo of the serial number plate it would identify the model.

You could well be right about the thermostat sticking.That's a cheap simple fix and a good place to start.

.The brakes could just need adjusting.

The lifter tick can sometimes be cured by adding a can of E.O.S.,available at your GM dealer, to the crankcase. I had numerous customers that swore by the stuff.

That's a nice looking old car. Almost all of them need sorting out,especially if they've sitting for a while.

You're on the right forum.

Good luck.

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Posted (edited)

That is a beautiful car -- very MAJESTIC indeed...

I can help you with all of the mechanical parts for this car --- brand new!!

   Enjoy your new toy, I will help you make it road worthy......

 

Always best to simply call me --- Craig --- 516 - 485 - 1935....

(I am a fellow Caddy Man -- I have a '66, '67, '68, & a '69 !!!!!)

Edited by mobileparts (see edit history)

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beauty of a car. over heat can be a variety of things, but it usually boils down to the radiator if it truly is completely unrestored. brakes grabbing is likely rust in the system as in wheel cylinders,master cylinder.if you are considering driving it very much a complete brake job is needed. if you don't have the time or knowledge it can be done by any competent brake shop. find a car club in your area and they will be a great resource for a good shop. if the engine is hydraulic lifters, the tick may disappear after some driving, including an oil change. terry b is so right about having the motors manual and the factory manual. craig at mobile parts is a great resource for good parts. use him. the Cadillac site here is also a good place to start. I think you have a great car to start with, and you can get it driving without it being a money pit.   good luck,    skyler

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Posted (edited)

Join  club, any, all Caddy forums you can find, plan to attack one little project every time you get a chance so you see steady progress and do not lose interest or get overwhelmed.  If you plan to drive it a fair amount plan to spend some money and time on it.  Keeping current on repairs and preventive maintenance will only make it more reliable.  Ask and take advantage of help offers like Mobileparts.  If you buy from someone like that regularly, they may also be good resources for advice and even local shops who can handle what you don't want to deal with.

 

That is a great looking car.  A little more bulbous than my new Caddy!! 😁😁😁

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)

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Love your bravery, jumping right in to the hobby.  That’s awesome...congrats and best to you getting it running great!

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okay i know some but not all the history of the car. the guy i got it from had it 3 years and it just sat in his yard the whole time he had it. drove it about 15 minutes one day and that was about it.  he got it from someone that had it for a few years but dont know what happened to it in that time. before that it was owned by the same couple for decades that took it to car shows. its an old show car and it was very loved when they had it. not sure how or what happened to them. it is not in show condition anymore and has deteriorated being in the weather a little but still really nice.

it has about 75k miles on it that are original (magazine it was featured in says that from 1999, hasn't been driven much since.

fuel is unknown. it was running when i looked at it so its good enough to drive with, and i put $20 worth of high test in it so its got fresh gas. coolant is doo doo brown so ill be flushing it. cant seem to find the tranny dipstick, where is it located?? is this one of those cars that had a hidden dipstick like some modern cars have now? oil looks okay actually.

this car is kinda alien to me. im used to working on Lexus Ls400s from the 90s. this car is twice my age and older then anything ive had before. (im 35) all of this is a learning curve for me but i absolutely love it and want to be able to daily drive it. not wanting this to be a garage or trailer queen, but a legit daily car.

it has the original 331 V8 in it which sounds glorious!

radio is all there but not working

gauges all work but clock dosent.   

honestly the more i drive it the better it feels. shifted terribly at first but its coming back, was very hard to start but now it turns first crank

was told i cant jump a 6v car with a 12v car cause it could cause damage. this true?

im not a total a newbie with this but its been ages. this is the oldest car ive ever had ! 

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Welcome to the hobby and the AACA Forums.  You can scroll down to the car specific forums below and find Cadillac Forum where you will find lots of interesting Caddy talk and information.  You can also go up to the home page and find Regions and Chapters of AACA

and hopefully find one near you.   There you will find local interest in old cars and the nicest people you'll ever find.  There is safety in numbers when you are out driving your antique car with others.   Welcome and ENJOY the hobby.  

I too admire your newest old car.

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The Hydramatic transmission fluid level can be checked from inside the car. Pull back the passenger side floor mat and you will find an access cover on the side of the transmission hump that looks like this. Lift the dipstick out and check the fluid level. If you got an owner's manual with the car the checking procedure will be explained in there.

IMG_2530.JPG

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24 minutes ago, George Albright said:

I have seen that car for sale in the driveway for several months here in Ocala Florida. Congrats’

 

yep that would be the one lol ! i was looking at a few others and found it on fb marketplace. he wanted $10k for it which was way out of my range. offered 5 never expecting to get a positive response or thinking id end up with it. apparently hes had it for awhile and really just wanted the room. i still cant believe i got it for 5!!! im about 80 miles away from ocala and planned to try and drive it home to Orlando but the tires are super old and dry rotted so a buddy of mine came and picked it up for me and towed it back. it was already turning heads like crazy and several people around Ocala recognized it and talked to me about it while i was on my way out of town with it. apparently its a known car in those parts!

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Posted (edited)

I've had a several early 1950s cadillacs, including 2 1950s.      Here are answers to your questions.  

 

1.  it overheats after about 15 mins but drives great. maybe a stuck thermostat or something? 

 

- take the radiator out & have it boiled out.  Very simple.   Just undo the upper & lower radiator hoses & it comes out with 6 bolts - 3 on each side.   Should cost around $150.   Don't take it to RadAir, find an old, dirty, inner city radiator shop that looks like it has numerous EPA violations.   They do the best work.   While that is out, take the threaded plugs out of the block on each side and flush the whole thing out with water.    Don't be surprised if when you do this nothing comes out.   You'll have to take a coat hanger or screw driver to unplug the crap in the holes.  If you want to check the thermostat, it's under the water outlet on top of the waterpump.   4 bolts hold it on.   You'll need to cut a new gasket when reinstalling it.  

 

2.  tranny shifts in all gears fine but shifts hard,   -   

 

Several things at play here.   It's a delicate balance of engine RPM, how heavy a foot you drive with, and the adjustment of the linkage from the carb down to the transmission.  After you get  the brakes fixed & it running cool, you can drive it around with a 7/16 wrench and stop periodically to adjust the linkage one way or the other to find the sweet spot.  The shop manual talks about this.  Buy one on e bay.  They are plentiful and cheap.    

 

3.   brakes are manual drums and lock up easy. -they seem worse then normal.   

 

You can do a complete brake job on this car for under $500.   New master cylinder, 3 new brake hoses and 4 new wheel cylinders.   Just buy all new & do it.   The brakes are very simple on this car.    You probably have one or two sticking wheel cylinders from the car sitting and not being used.    Properly set up, the brakes on your car are safe.   

 

4.  engine has a lifter tick   

 

The car probably just needs driving.   Change the oil & put a can of Rislone in it.   It may cure itself.    

 

5.  column shifter broke on me last night and now its stuck in drive.  - no idea how to fix this...   

 

You're screwed.   You broke the potmetal piece on the steering column.  Its actually part of the steering column.    You'll have to buy one from a parts car.    To replace it you'll have to take the steering wheel off and then you'll have access to disassembling that part.   It's not a quick job.   You can shift the car by having someone sit in it with their foot on the brake (so the car doesn't move) while you open the hood and manually move the shift lever on the bottom of the steering column.  Make sure the person sitting in the car has their foot firmly on the brake when you do this.   ( I had this part break on a car I owned in college and I did this procedure myself using the emergency brake to hold the car.  Not smart, but hey, I was 21).       

 

One other thing.   How do you know it's overheating?    Does it just stop running & won't start for an hour?   it may not be vapor lock but instead crap in the gas tank floating around & plugging the pick up line.  I had this happen on one of my Cadillacs.   You may want to pull the gas tank andhave it boiled out as well.  The inner city radiator shop may be able to do this for you too.          

 

Your car looks like a nice original.    It's a 61 series sedan.    Your serial number should start 61 19  and then a 5 digit number for the car #.   61 is the series and 19 designates sedan.   You can drive this as an everyday car if you have the cooling & fuel systems functioning as new to deal with the heat & humidity you have down there.   You may need an electric fuel pump just as a back up in case it vapor locks on you.   You can buy 6 volt ones and there's plenty of room  on the frame just in front of the gas tank to locate it.   Get the kind the mechanical fuel pump can 'pull through."   You won't need to run it all the time, just when it's real hot or you're sitting in stop & go traffic on a hot day.    

 

Good Luck! 

   

Edited by K8096 (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

Rob, here are a couple of tips which some newcomers

ask about.  You'll find some different opinions, but many,

many will agree:

 

---Don't feel a need to convert from 6 volts to 12 volts.

   Doing so makes the electrical system more complex,

   since factory parts aren't there and old manuals are useless.

   Doing so will likely reduce your car's desirability if you sell.

   (This was discussed recently on a different thread.)

 

---Don't feel the need to convert from drum brakes to disk.

    The old systems were designed by experts, and when

    properly adjusted, they will work fine for normal driving needs.

 

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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What you have is a Model 61 sedan. This was Cadillac's smallest lowest priced car that year, and the only one that used the smaller B body usually seen on Oldsmobile and Buick. The other Cadillacs used the C body shared with Buick Roadmaster.

 

Suggest you find a good mechanic who is familiar with the older models. Start by joining a local antique auto club or attending a meet or show if they still have any, and ask some of the old timers for their recommendations. As you work 60 hours per week this is probably the best solution. The problems you mention are mostly relatively minor repairs and adjustments that take time and skill but probably will not require replacing many parts. It can seem like an endless task to put a car back in commission after it has been off the road for several years. But once you sort out these problems  it should be reliable as long as you keep up the scheduled maintenance like tuneups, oil changes, brake adjustments etc. The Cadillac was one of the best and most reliable cars of the time.

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Good luck with your new purchase.  It reminds me of my own experience buying a '56 Caddy in 2004.  I suggest you consider joining the Cadillac LaSalle Club.  There may be an active local chapter in your area.  AllCads can probably help you with the broken shifter part.  I have also found USA Parts Supply a useful supplier of new parts.  Kanter can also provide a number of the things that you need.  For tires, I put Diamondbacks on mine and like them a lot.  I think you have a beautiful car, and hope you get many years of enjoyment with it.  

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I have had 6 volt cars for years. jumped them many times with a 12 volt car.the 6 volt car will turn over very fast and will start quickly, assuming it is just a dead battery. I had an old wood boat from the 50's and I converted it to 12 volt. I could not locate a 12 volt starter. the mechanic at the marina told me to leave the 6 volt starter in, and as long as I did not have to crank the engine excessively, the 6 volt starter would be fine. 10years later and he was right. and that boat started real fast. I do not think you can jump a 12 volt car with your 6 volt car. remember to keep the polarity correct.      skyler 

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I am reading this with interest as I always like to read advice about waking up long dormant cars. You have a real beauty there and I really like your spirit of just jumping in with both feet. 

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Looks nice! My Rambler also sat for many years before I got it, though your Cadillac is in much better shape! I jumped straight in as well and found that most car projects can be figured out with a manual and forums. Drum brakes look scary but they're easy enough once you get one wheel done, if you can find the time to DIY them.

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I can recall rebuilding master, 4 wheel cylinders, replacing hard and rubber lines, shoes on my 41 Plymouth in one Saturday afternoon at age 14.  Dad helped but he is a shadetree mechanic as well.  5 years later I did my 56 Chevy solo with no problems. You can definately, and should address those soon.  Your biggest brake challenge will be finding a shop to turn drums.  A no brainer in 1978, may be tougher now.  Be sure to address any e brake issues as well, your safety net on the older single master cylinder cars.

 

Address tires soon also, those cars look fantastic with big Firestone WWW!!

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, stereorob said:

 tranny shifts in all gears fine but shifts hard, 

 

 

 

 

I was thinking that the hydramatics of this era were known for their hard shifting.  I remember driving a '47 Series 62 that had been restored - a very nice driving car - the tranny did shift somewhat hard, especially from low to second.  

 

I'm certainly no expert, but, I'm wondering if the hard shifting may be inherent to this era of GM hydramatic transmissions.

Edited by Dosmo (see edit history)
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Only fix one broken thing a a time. You are very close to the point where it will only take 4 or 5 days to have it all torn apart and it may never be driven again.

 

Just keep saying "component restoration" over and over. There are 300 $100 jobs to do everything on the easiest of cars. Restrain yourself and do 30 of them. That should get you a decent driver. And you can parse the rest out from there.

 

Bernie

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8 hours ago, Dosmo said:

I was thinking that the hydramatics of this era were known for their hard shifting.  I remember driving a '47 Series 62 that had been restored - a very nice driving car - the tranny did shift somewhat hard, especially from low to second.  

 

I'm certainly no expert, but, I'm wondering if the hard shifting may be inherent to this era of GM hydramatic transmissions.

 

The harder shift is actually from 2nd to 3rd, at least in my excellent-driving 1954 Cadillac convertible's Hydra-Matic. It seems to have been the same with our prior '52 Caddy, and even back in the day on my Dad's 1951 Pontiac Tin-Woodie wagon (and his '52 Nash, as well). The 1-2 shift, and the 3-4 shift on our '54 are almost imperceptible, and the kickdown  4-3 downshift is also extremely smooth. Sometimes the 2-1 downshift seems abrupt when coming to a stop, but that may have been when we had her idling a bit too fast, and the points and timing were a bit out of adjustment. 

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