GERALD´S CADILLACS


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FIXING A LEAKING VALVE COVER ON MY 1967 DEVILLE

The right valve cover on my 1967 Cadillac DeVille always had a small leak and eventually some oil would seep down on the exhaust manifold and cause some smoke when it burnt.
The gasket was replaced a couple of times since I own the car, but it never was very successful in stoping the leakage.
After my last attempt it leaked even more than before…

The valve cover design of the 429 engine is not exactly the best from a technical standpoint. It's only held in place by 4 screws.

I did some research and tried a different approach this time to seal it.

First I used a different valve cover from a spare engine I have in my garage which did not show any signs of leakage.
I had to fully detail it first to make it look perfect. I repainted it with Bill Hirsch Engine enamel in the correct color.
I made sure that everything was flat as these cover often get warped at the bolt holes by over tightening them.
They checked out flat. I then glued the new cork gasket (I used a Fel-Pro gasket) to the valve cover with high temp gasket sealer. To make sure that it stayed where it belongs to I used a lot of cloth pins to keep the gasket in place.
I let it dry over night.
The next day I put some wheel bearing grease to the other side of the gasket and put it back on the heads. The grease helps to make sure that you can remove the gasket any time again.

I then tightened the four bolts to 28 INCH/Pounds of torque as specified by the shop manual. (thats 3,1 NM) I had to buy a small torque wrench for such a small torque rating first… I could have never guessed how much torque it is.

I then ran the engine and let it cool down and re-torqued the bolts afterwards.

After the first 25 miles test drive it seems that the valve cover is 100% leak free for the first time since I own this car.
I´m not sure what fixed it this time, but during my research I read multiple times, that for cork gaskets one should not use gasket sealer on the head side of the gasket, and one should only use grease instead. Some recommend that gasket adhesive (spray) should be used to keep the gasket in place in the valve cover.

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I know it looks very strange, but I used cloth pins to make sure that the gasket is glued to the valve cover properly…

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THE 1967 WATERPUMP PROJECT IS COMING TO AN END - DETAILING THE AC COMPRESSOR AND A LEAKING VALVE COVER

The engine in my 67 Deville is back together after the water pump replacement and engine bay detailing.
The project had a major delay as the reproduction radiator hoses were held by customs for 5 weeks. Its unbelievable…

I could now finally refill the cooling system and start the car again with the new water pump in place.
The car fired right up although I had also removed the distributor and forgot to mark how it was in. So I had to find TDC (top dead center) before I could install the distributor back into the car.
I also bought a cheap timing light and set the timing to 5 degrees.
You have to set idling to 480 rpm, disconnect the vacuum hose to the distributor and the parking brake and plug the hoses to set timing correctly

After the first few miles I am quite satisfied with my work. I hope that everything will stay like this and that no leaks will show up.
Only the right valve cover where I had replaced the gasket seemed to have a slight leak with oil dropping on the exhaust manifold... Looks like I will have to take the compressor out again to be able to take the valve cover off again and install another new gasket… But first I will have to find out why it is actually leaking. I hope that the cover itself is not warped as it was already leaking before on exactly the same spot. Often these covers get tightened down too much. All it needs is 28 INCH pounds of torque (3,1 NM) I will also make sure the screw holes have not become dished (usually due to over-tightening of the screws).  Use a small block of wood as an anvil and a small hammer to flatten the screw holes back out.

The engine somehow runs and idles better than before and has more power. It seems like the ignition was off before. I had the car tuned by a professional years ago - another thing they did not get right...

The new reproduction hoses I got from Fusik are also in place with the correct tower hose clamps. The hoses have the correct numbers stamped on, but compared to my original hoses the stamping looks different where the numbers are much smaller. The hoses fit very well, only the lower radiator hose had to be cut a little to fit.

I also detailed the replacement AC compressor I installed years ago. I bought a new reproduction decal which is a very good match to the original decal. In general I found out that all the reproduction decals available out there are not a 100% match. They look very similar but they all differ in size, spacing of the numbers, and most of the time the font used is very similar, but not exactly the same. I have no idea why the manufactures did not get it 100% right. Maybe I will have to produce my own decals in the future… Most of the AC compressor labels you can buy are incorrect for the year or model they are offered. If you want to get the correct one for the 67 Deville you will have to buy the one for the 67 Eldorado. Often these reproduction decals have the wrong colors, numbers and R12 capacity on them. So do your research to get the correct one.

Another challenge was to reproduce the O.K. inspection stamp. Years ago I found the stamp on ebay and experimented with different kinds of paint and never got any useable results.
Eventually I found a stamp kit set for Corvettes which included the correct yellow paint and a stamp felt and the Corvette stamp. I could not use the Corvette stamp of course, but the rest of the kit is perfect and finally I could apply the stamp to my AC compressor which now looks factory new again.

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The engine is back together
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The detailed AC compressor
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The O.K: final test stamp

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A NEW WATER PUMP FOR THE 67 DEVILLE AND DETAILING THE ENGINE

I woke the 67 from its winter hibernation recently. Everything was fine at first... I changed the oil, flushed the coolant and brake fluid and checked everything through. After I finished the annual service work, I started the car again and suddenly the water pump started to make terrible noises. It looked like the bearing of the water pump was shot... It seems to have also started leaking at the shaft...
So I ordered a new, high quality rebuilt water pump from one of my favorite sources.
When I got it, I found out that it was one for a 64/65 Cadillac with an additional water outlet. This seems to be the type everybody is selling nowadays and it is much more common. It will fit the 1967 429 engine and it even has the additional water outlet pre-plugged with a rubber plug. The problem I had with it, is that it looks completely incorrect on the 1967 Cadillac, and so it was not acceptable for me.
I then found
a very good source for Cadillac parts. They are priced higher than other outlets (if you can even find this parts anywhere else..), but David - the owner - offers only 100% correct and high quality parts. He also has a huge collection of NOS parts. I found some parts through him that I did not find anywhere else. His customer service is excellent as well - I can highly recommend him.

Until around 2009 I had most work on my cars performed by a restoration shop specialized in American Cars. Then I decided to no longer go there for a lot of reasons. With the growing numbers of cars I collected, I could no longer afford to pay somebody to have all the work done, and I no longer accepted to pay good money for lousy work and bear the shop owners terrible attitude against his clients.
Now that I´m trying to do everything by myself,
I found a lot of bad work the professionals did, and sometimes I´m really shocked to see what I wasted my money for, but I had no idea about cars and they could have told me everything and I would have believed them…. Lots of work they did leaves a lot to be desired, and you can see some examples in the pictures below…
When they repainted parts of my 67 Deville´s engine,
they used the completely incorrect Cadillac blue, which was used from 1977 on. I always hated it, and now that I had to disassemble so much to replace the water pump they did in 2001, I decided to paint everything correctly.

I detailed all the parts I took off and had them media blasted. After they were cleaned, I painted them with the correct shade of Cadillac Blue. Bill Hirsch engine enamel is the best and most correct engine enamel for Cadillacs. You can see lots of pictures below which document what I did. Besides the incorrect paint I found out that fuel lines were damaged, bolts were missing or broken off and many other small flaws which I corrected now.
I´m now waiting for
the correct upper and lower radiator hoses to arrive, which are reproduced by Fusick, to replace the still original hoses from 1967! The originals still look great and would probably last for a long time, but I do not want to take any chances… I am now hoping that nothing is leaking and that I wont have to re-do any of the work.

When I took the r
adiator out, the overflow tube came loose. I already had the same problem years ago, and it was not fixed properly by the restoration shop… Luckily I found an old gentleman locally, who could brace it back together the old school way. I will of course detail the radiator as well before installing it back into the car.


This is a short video which shows the problem I had with the water pump and the bad bearing. You can clearly see the wobbling of the shaft and hear the shot bearing.
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This is how the engine bay looked like before, with everything painted in the incorrect later Cadilllac Blue...
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The defective water pump is about to come out. I will also replace the painted fuel line with a correct one from a spare engine I have. The water pump made a loud bearing noise and the shaft was a little loose.edge
I will sandblast and repaint the hot water crossover passage.edge
Water pump, radiator and valve covers removed.edge
The water pump was removed - the front cover looks pretty good.edge
This is the incorrect 1965 water pump everybody is selling for the 429 engines. It will work with the 66 and 67 Cadillacs as well, but it has an additional water outlet which was not used from 1966 on. If you buy them for your 66 or 67 the no longer used outlet is often blocked like you can see on this picture. The correct 1966/67 pumps are much harder to find and way more expensive.edge
The original water pump on the left and the correct rebuilt 1966/67 Cadillac pump on the right in the correct color.edge
I will sandblast and repaint all this parts soon.edge
I do have two bigger projects in my garage at the moment and it looks like a mess in there.edge
The parts before they were media blasted.
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1967 Cadillac Water Pump torque specifications - make sure to follow them EXACTLY!edge
This is how a professional restoration shop damaged the original fuel line when it tightened it 15 years ago during a carburetor rebuild. i think I was lucky that it did not leak and still let fuel through...
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I detailed the fuel lines I have from my spare engine and installed these instead..
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Another construction the restoration shop made for the AC compressor bracket: - instead of rubber bushings they installed this nuts, bolts and washer construction ...edge
Another construction the restoration shop made for the AC compressor bracket: - instead of rubber bushings they installed this nuts, bolts and washer construction ...edge
I changed it back to original with the correct bolts and rubber bushings which I soaked in silicone lubricant for a couple of hours to make them soft again...
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When I removed the overflow hose from the radiator the neck came loose. Luckily I found an older gentleman locally, who could brace it back together the old school way. I will of course detail the radiator as well before installing it back into the car.edge
I did not want to remove the front cover so I had to repaint the oil filler tube inside the car... First I brought it back to bare metal.
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Oil filler tube - painted in the correct shade of Cadillac Engine Blue.
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I detailed everything I removed from the car.edge
I primered and fillered the valve covers and sanded them to perfection before painting.edge
The distributor after painting. This spray gray paint from Eastwood replicates cast steel very very well. I tricked a lot of people with this paint who insisted that it must be bare metal.
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I used Bill Hirsch engine enamel to paint all the engine parts.edge
The new water pump and the mediablasted and then repainted parts back in the car. Also painted the water pump pulley in the correct color now (black).edgeedge
Most things are back together. I am still waiting for the correct reproduction radiator hoses to arrive. I did not repaint the intake manifold in the correct color as I did not have the necessary gaskets to reinstall it. I will do this eventually later, in the case that I have to remove the carburetor...

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PAINTING VALVE COVERS

I´m still improving the appearance of my already fantastic 74 Cadillac. I want to keep it as much original as possible, but there are some things which I wanted to improve cosmetically.
The valve covers still wore their original factory applied Cadillac Blue paint which had suffered quite a bit over the last decades. Thats why I decided that I wanted to freshen them up.

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Thats how the engine bay looked like when I got the car.

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As you can see - the valve covers did not look too nice after all those years…

I bought "Bill Hirsch Engine Enamel" which is the perfect color match among all available engine enamels. Some others are good matches as well, but its said that Bill Hirsch is perfect. Also it seems to be the most durable engine enamel on the market.
The color match is really absolutely spot on. The only "issue" I had, was that the enamel is not exactly easy to work with. I have to admit that I´m not very good in spray painting, so I had to do the covers 4 times until I was happy with them.
I always had some paint runnings or dirt on the covers after spraying on the paint what is of course my fault.
Normally you can wet-sand imperfections out of the paint, but thats not possible with this enamel. You also cant spray over the paint to correct problems as the new paint will eat up the old one and damage it permanently. Its also drying extremely slowly and is extremely soft, so you can get scratches even with a microfiber cloth if you are trying to clean them.
It can take up to 4 months until the enamel is fully cured and hard.
These are things you have to be aware of if you are using this high temperature engine enamel.
I still highly recommend Bill Hirsch Enamel and I would not use anything else on my cars.

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Bill Hirsch Engine Enamel - the perfect color match for the original Cadillac dark blue that was used from 1949 to 1976. Make sure to read the instructions before using this enamel - its quite different to use than other paints…


When I took the covers off my car, I media blasted them, as there was some rust on them where the paint has come off. I then used several coats of filler primer and wet-sanded between coats to fill up the former rust pores. So I got a perfectly smooth surface again.
In the meantime I thoroughly cleaned the surfaces on the rocker arms where the gasket was, to make sure that I would get a good sealing once a new gasket was installed.

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My friend Richard trying to media blast the covers.
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Completely rust free after sandblasting - but one can see where the rust once was…
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I applied several coats of filler primer and sanded the covers to a perfectly smooth finish.
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After spraying them with Bill Hirsch Engine Enamel…


After the application of the engine enamel I let the covers dry for 2 weeks before I installed them back into the car. I made sure that the new cork seal was well seated and tightened the screws carefully. You only have to tighten them to 3nm - thats only hand tight. After the first test run they seem to seal perfectly.

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Back in the car.
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Back in the car
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Back in the car - as you can see there are some more areas which could use some fresh paint as well. I will do that later,

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