GERALD´S CADILLACS


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FIXING OUR OLD 1996 BUICK ROADMASTER

In August 2017 our Roadmaster was due for its annual technical inspection and unfortunately it did not pass… It needed brake work and there is some corrosion in the rear wheel well. To make things even more fun it also decided to develop a leak in the heater core…
So we decided that we wanted to restore our beloved car this winter to get it back onto the road for next summer. Then we accidentally ran into our brand new low mileage 1996 Roadmaster…

I now had to decide what to do with the "old" one.
I had already bought all the spare parts before we found the new one and my dear friend Lucky was so kind to offer me his help and let me do all the work in his fantastic workshop…
The plan now is to sell the old one, but of course nobody wants a car with all these things that need to be fixed. And to be honest I do not want to sell any car in this condition.

My friend Lucky helped me for a full day to fix the Roadmaster.

First we started to replace the heater core which is a huge pain in the a** to replace on these cars. Everything is hidden away and access to the heater hoses and the heater core itself is very limited and tight.
The heater core is hidden behind the glove box and the two hoses going to the heater core can only be untightened with a special hose clamp plier I had to buy. We then did not get the hose off the heater core… Several hours later, after lot of cursing, twisted fingers and a sore back the heater core was finally out and the new one in. We prefilled it with fresh coolant and it works perfectly again. No more fogged up windshield.

At the technical inspection the inspector noticed that the front brake rotors needed to be replaced as they were slightly vibrating during hard stops. So I ordered new one from AC Delco. We replaced those as well and cleaned up everything and re-greased the wheel bearings as well.
In the front wheel housing we cleaned up some corrosion.
So we managed to fix a lot of things during this long day at the shop.

Next time we will rebuild the rear brakes, replace the wheel cylinder and a brake hose. Then the car is back in perfectly working order again technical wise. We will then fix the corrosion the rear wheel well and then I can do the technical inspection again and it should then pass it without a problem.

I will then offer the car for sale and drive it until a new owner takes over… If I would not need the money I would just keep this car as it drives beautifully and I like it verrry much…

Unfortunately I did not take many pictures of the heater core removal process, but there are a few videos on youtube showing how to replace the heater core on the 96 Roadmaster.

Thanks again for a great day in your shop Lucky!

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The old heater core is out - it had a small leak. Luckily the coolant did not drain into the car but escaped through the drain hose on the firewall.edge
My friend Lucky working in the wheel housing…

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I BOUGHT A NEW 1996 BUICK ROADMASTER LIMITED ESTATE WAGON WITH 23K MILES!

Almost exactly on this day 10 years ago my wife and I bought our first 1996 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon. We really love these cars dearly and we think that they are some of the best cars ever produced from a practical point.

In August 2017 our Roadmaster was due for its annual technical inspection and unfortunately it did not pass… It needs brake work and there is some corrosion in the rear wheel well. To make things even more fun it also decided to develop a leak in the heater core…
So we decided that we wanted to restore our beloved car this winter to get it back onto the road for next summer.

The other plan we had in mind was to find a really good one in the USA and import it to Austria. As we soon found out there are some extremely high taxes involved doing this.
A $ 5000.- car in the USA would cost at least $ 15.000.- until its on the road in Austria, and its very complicated to have it registered… While we were looking, we also could not find any other Roadmaster for sale in Europe as they are very rare over here and were never sold in Europe when new.

So we were ready for the restoration and I ordered all the necessary parts.
Short after everything arrived we found an ad for a Roadmaster for sale here in Austria.
I immediately called and got in contact with the owner.

The car has only has 23k miles and was collector owned from day one. The first owner bought the car and never drove it during the 9 years he owned it and stored it in his climate controlled garage. In 2005 a new owner bought it and only drove it in summer on dry days and maintained it carefully. It also was always garaged.
Thats why the car is still in fantastic condition and looks and drives like a new car. It has zero rust and the woodgrain is in perfect condition. It's a "Limited" version with all available options ordered for it except the CD radio. Everything works as it should. It´s in beautiful "Adriatic Blue Metallic"

After a couple of weeks of negotiating we bought the car almost on the same day in December as we bought our first 96 Roadmaster 10 years ago. Coincidence has it that we also found this one in the same district in Vienna (Wien) as the last one. I know of 5 Roadmaster Wagons in existence in Austria - so they are pretty rare here.

The previous owner had a very special taste, and he glued a couple of decals, emblems and other things onto the exterior and interior of the Roadmaster which I could not live with as they were absolutely not my style.
With the help of a heat gun and some WD 40, I luckily could remove everything without leaving a trace. I just warmed the decals and emblems with a heat gun on the lower setting and applied some WD 40 and it came right off. The remaining residue could also be removed with the help of a paper towel and WD40.
Works great!
Our new car will now get a full detail and I will change all fluids and it will then be ready for the road next spring. I also plan to install white wall tires instead of the blackwalls it came with. They are a "must have" for the Roadmaster IMHO.

Our old Roadmaster will be for sale, I will fix it up during the next few winter months and it will be available around May 2018…edge

10 years ago and now.
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Strange items were glued onto the car…edge
… but everything came off easily.
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While I can agree with what is written here: "Life is too short for small ugly cars" I wanted to remove the decal…edgeedge
The previous owner had an eclectic taste…edge
Thanks for your help WD40edge
A few of the things I had to removeedgeedge
In my garage now.

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WEBSITE UPDATE

As its too cold in my garage to work on my 1974 Coupe deVille at the moment, I spent some time to update my website.
I added a couple of images to the "Best Of" image gallery on my website and put a couple more of my videos online in the video gallery.
Check them out - here are a few previews of the new pictures you can find in the "Best Of" gallery.edge

I had the pleasure to photograph my friend Lucky´s 1958 Eldorado Biarritz in August 2016.
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I shot a couple of pictures of my 58 Seville at a mountain at sunset last summer
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My wife and I crossed the Swiss Alps during a road trip with our 1996 Buick Roadmaster Estate in August 2016.
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The Cadillac BIG Meet 2016 was one of my personal highlights in 2016. We took lots of great pictures there like this 1964 Cadillac Fleetwood.

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1978 CADILLAC ELDORADO CB ANTENNA

I just recently found out that the power antenna in my 78 Eldorado is not the factory correct one anymore.
My Eldo comes with a radio with the CB option, so it should have the according tri-band antenna for the 78 Eldorado.
One of the previous owners had replaced the original antenna with a replacement antenna, which worked, but it had very poor CB reception and of course it does not look correctly.

What I have found out is that #22010515 was the original part number for the antenna.
This antenna was also used in the 1977 to 1982 Corvette and is extremely rare...
Replacement antennas had the part number #22010661 on the sticker with a date code below.
When these replacement antennas were no longer available, it seems they switched to a different antenna design as a replacement #12355706 (which I had in my car). This last design came with a special antenna splitter. I do not know if this splitter is essential or of it would also work with the original splitter which is still in my car.

It took me quite a while to find the correct antenna for my car as it seems to be made out of "unobtainium". I did search the net for days and somebody sent me an incorrect antenna which was for a Buick… Suddenly during my daily search, a correct, working antenna showed up on ebay, and I immediately hit the "Buy it now" button. It was not exactly cheap, but I was happy to have finally found it. When it arrived I cleaned it up properly.

I then found out that I would also need the correct antenna bezel on the fender. Various sellers sent me incorrect ones which they claimed would be the correct ones, and eventually I found a good used one from the seller of my antenna and a NOS one from a parts vendor (it has not arrived yet as once again USPS sent it to Australia instead of Austria - don't ask what this little bezel has cost… :-( )

I then also had to replace the thinner replacement antenna lead with an original one going from the antenna splitter behind the glove box to the antenna. I got this one from Arizona Vintage Parts.
I can say now that my car is 100% correct again. Unfortunately this project was an extremely expensive project and I will now try to sell all the not needed parts on ebay. They will fit Eldorados with non CB antennas and the other wrong CB antenna I got will be for Buicks, but could also be installed into the 78 Cadillacs, as the mast itself is exactly the same as on the original antenna and from the outside it would look completely stock. But purist as I am, I just needed the 100% correct antenna ;-)

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The later style replacement CB antenna which I wanted to replace with an original one.
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The later replacement style fender bezel looks completely different from the original one.
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On the left you can see the official later style replacement CB antenna which looks very different. It does not have a load coil and no additional stub antenna. This is part #12355706. On the right you can see the original 1978 CB power antenna with the load coil on the mast and two antenna leads and the additional FM stub antenna. This antenna is nearly impossible to find…
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Thats the CB - load coil, which can be adjusted. The plastic unfortunately got very brittle over the years on all antennas of this vintage.
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This are the instructions which came with the car, if you ordered the very expensive CB option…
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The antenna trim bezels for the 1978 Cadillacs. On the left the one for the regular antenna - on the right the one for the CB antenna with a larger diameter in the plastic part. The chrome ring is exactly the same for both. These two are used ones I found.
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I cant believe that I was lucky enough to find this super rare antenna bezel as a NOS part - still wrapped in its original plastic bag. Not exactly a bargain, but its 100% perfect.
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The new, correct antenna installed into the car.
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This is the incorrect CB antenna I got. It could be installed into a 78 Eldorado without any problem and would look 100% correct from the outside. It works perfectly smooth, and the chrome mast is in excellent condition. The load coil and the FM stub antenna are all there. The previous owner of this antenna removed it from a 78 Eldorado, but it would normally be correct for Buicks. If you are not such a purist as I am, you can buy it from me for what I paid for it. ($250 + shipping) It comes with all the necessary hardware to install it.

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The cars are in winter storage :-(

With winter approaching rapidly, today I returned the license plates of my cars and put them into winter hibernation. I did not drive my cars very much this summer due to a mostly very rainy summer. So I did not rack up too many miles on my cars this season. I just made about 200 - 400 miles on most of them...
The cars are now in their cosy garages and will all get a new wax-, lubrication- and thorough cleaning job during the next few weeks. I usually also disconnect all the batteries, give the weatherstripping and rubber a good coat of silicone spray and treat all leather areas with leather conditioner. I also clean the interior carefully and over-inflate the tires to make sure that they do not get any flat spots. I will also park the tires on styrofoam. I really hate winter and snow and I am already looking forward to next spring... Over the winter I will rebuild the starter motor of my 1967 Eldorado and detail the undercarriage. The Lincolns undercarriage will get a very good cleaning as well. The 67 DeVille will get some new front wheel bearings and probably a new wheel cylinder and power booster. The 58 Eldorado will also need new front wheel bearings. So there will be a lot of minor things that will keep me busy over the winter...

Below are some pictures of our very last cruising tour this week with the Mark III

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Cruising through the scenic landscape of Austria looking down at a lake
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The Mark III enjoying the last sun rays...
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The whole family in the Lincoln - little Elliot is taking a nap as usual - nothing beats the soothing sound of the V8...

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Changing the Roadmasters Oil

The Roadmaster today got fresh 5W30 oil. It needs 5 liters for a complete oilchange.
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