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Discuss 1979 Cadillac Fleetwood: good idea for restoration? in the alt.autos.gm forum at Car Dealer Forums; I am considering purchasing and restoring a 1979 Cadillac Fleetwood with the 425 CI motor ...
  1. #1
    F. Baker
    Guest

    Default 1979 Cadillac Fleetwood: good idea for restoration?

    I am considering purchasing and restoring a 1979 Cadillac
    Fleetwood with the 425 CI motor [fuel injected].

    Some questions:

    Was this a good year for the Fleetwood? I'm told by various sources
    that the '79 Fleetwood is a good one.

    The motor only puts out 195 HP. What would you do to tune it
    for greater HP? I assume the car has only comes with one exhaust and
    the thought occurs to me to put in another one. I'm
    also considering going to a high-performance air filter
    (K&N) and injection kit, though I doubt the latter exists.
    What other recommendations can anyone offer?

    What grade of motor oil would be best? I'm thinking 10W40
    in MobilOne Extended Performance synthetic. Maybe 10W30?
    For an engine that size and age, I'd think 5W30 and 5W20 are
    too thin. (Assume car has circa 100k miles).

    The car originally took HR78-15 tires.
    Would this correspond to P225/75R15 now? Or P235/70R15?
    What did the "H" stand for -- was it a width and if so,
    what would that be in millimeters?

    I assume this car took UNleaded gas in 1979. Would it
    need 93 octane? Does anyone have a manual or know right
    off what kind of gasoline grade it required?
    I plan to run Techron (2 of the big bottles) to clean out
    the fuel system before the first oil change.

    Lastly, what does it typically cost to reupholster all the
    seating in a big car like this (all new leather)?

    Thanks in advance to anyone who can offer suggestions.

    BTW: This was Lefty's car in the movie 'Donnie Brasco'
    Not that that's importatnt.




    › See More: 1979 Cadillac Fleetwood: good idea for restoration?

  2. #2
    Steve B.
    Guest

    Default Re: 1979 Cadillac Fleetwood: good idea for restoration?

    On Wed, 19 Jul 2006 18:32:35 -0400, "F. Baker" <baker@deslab.mit.edu>
    wrote:

    >I am considering purchasing and restoring a 1979 Cadillac
    >Fleetwood with the 425 CI motor [fuel injected].


    Replace the word "restore" with the phrase "dump a lot of money in
    to". While the '79 was and is a decent car it has almost no collector
    interest. You will buy it as a $900 car and spend $5k on it so that
    in the end you will have a $900 car. Not that this is a bad thing,
    just don't fool yourself in to believing it will be worth something
    when you get done. If you want something that will give at least some
    of your money back to you look for a 50's or 60's version.

    >
    >Some questions:
    >
    >Was this a good year for the Fleetwood? I'm told by various sources
    >that the '79 Fleetwood is a good one.


    Other than the miserable 425 it was ok. Mid to late 70's up to the
    mid 80's is a pretty sad time for engines in all American cars due to
    emissions standards.

    >
    >The motor only puts out 195 HP. What would you do to tune it
    >for greater HP? I assume the car has only comes with one exhaust and
    >the thought occurs to me to put in another one. I'm
    >also considering going to a high-performance air filter
    >(K&N) and injection kit, though I doubt the latter exists.
    >What other recommendations can anyone offer?

    /
    I would remove said motor and sit it to the curb for the trash
    collector. Replace motor with a nice pre '72 472... Bolts right in
    and gives you some actual power.

    >What grade of motor oil would be best? I'm thinking 10W40
    >in MobilOne Extended Performance synthetic. Maybe 10W30?
    >For an engine that size and age, I'd think 5W30 and 5W20 are
    >too thin. (Assume car has circa 100k miles).
    >

    I always used 10w40 in them. They aren't that picky... Just use what
    ever the owners manual suggests.

    >The car originally took HR78-15 tires.
    >Would this correspond to P225/75R15 now? Or P235/70R15?
    >What did the "H" stand for -- was it a width and if so,
    >what would that be in millimeters?


    No idea what it translates to. The 225's work well.


    >
    >I assume this car took UNleaded gas in 1979. Would it
    >need 93 octane? Does anyone have a manual or know right
    >off what kind of gasoline grade it required?
    >I plan to run Techron (2 of the big bottles) to clean out
    >the fuel system before the first oil change.


    Regular ol' unleaded.

    ..

  3. #3
    John Horner
    Guest

    Default Re: 1979 Cadillac Fleetwood: good idea for restoration?

    These are hugely expensive cars to restore and maintain in top
    condition, yet they have relatively poor resale value due to low
    collector interest. If you get into it, double any good initial cost
    estimate and you might be close.

    John

  4. #4
    Ed.Toronto@gmail.com
    Guest

    Default Re: 1979 Cadillac Fleetwood: good idea for restoration?


    F. Baker wrote:

    > The motor only puts out 195 HP. What would you do to tune it
    > for greater HP? I assume the car has only comes with one exhaust and
    > the thought occurs to me to put in another one. I'm
    > also considering going to a high-performance air filter
    > (K&N) and injection kit, though I doubt the latter exists.
    > What other recommendations can anyone offer?


    It probably has restrictive intake, exhaust, and a very low-duration
    camshaft. I expect that the most worthwhile change would be to change
    the cam. I bet the engine's maximum output is somewhere short of 4000
    RPM--its breathing is so restrictive, it's maxed out at low speeds.

    I have no idea how well the EFI system would cope with a
    better-breathing motor. I can tell you that the dual exhaust might
    gain you a bit, and the filter will make no difference whatsoever.

    > What grade of motor oil would be best? I'm thinking 10W40
    > in MobilOne Extended Performance synthetic. Maybe 10W30?
    > For an engine that size and age, I'd think 5W30 and 5W20 are
    > too thin. (Assume car has circa 100k miles).


    Look in the manual. I'd expect 10W30 would be the recommended oil.

    > The car originally took HR78-15 tires.
    > Would this correspond to P225/75R15 now? Or P235/70R15?
    > What did the "H" stand for -- was it a width and if so,
    > what would that be in millimeters?


    The "H" was a load rating. The alphanumeric system indirectly implied a
    width based on the load rating and profile. (My '78 Trans Am originally
    came with GR70-15 tires: one load rating lower; a 225/70-15 is
    basically the same size so that's what I run.)

    See http://www.tireguides.com/tip5.html for the equivalent sizes. A
    225/70-15 would be a bit too small for your car; the site recommends
    225/75, 235/70, etc.

    > I assume this car took UNleaded gas in 1979. Would it
    > need 93 octane? Does anyone have a manual or know right
    > off what kind of gasoline grade it required?


    It should take 87 octane because that was about the only version of
    unleaded available back then. (My "performance" engine, including
    higher compression, still takes 87.) Note that the way octane was
    rated changed some time I think in the early '80s (from RON to
    [RON+MON]/2 ). If I recall, my owner's manual calls for 91-octane
    unleaded; this is called 87-octane these days.


  5. #5
    John S.
    Guest

    Default Re: 1979 Cadillac Fleetwood: good idea for restoration?


    F. Baker wrote:
    > I am considering purchasing and restoring a 1979 Cadillac
    > Fleetwood with the 425 CI motor [fuel injected].
    >
    > Some questions:
    >
    > Was this a good year for the Fleetwood? I'm told by various sources
    > that the '79 Fleetwood is a good one.
    >
    > The motor only puts out 195 HP. What would you do to tune it
    > for greater HP? I assume the car has only comes with one exhaust and
    > the thought occurs to me to put in another one. I'm
    > also considering going to a high-performance air filter
    > (K&N) and injection kit, though I doubt the latter exists.
    > What other recommendations can anyone offer?


    I thought this was a restoration. If you want a fast car then get
    something else.


    >
    > What grade of motor oil would be best? I'm thinking 10W40
    > in MobilOne Extended Performance synthetic. Maybe 10W30?
    > For an engine that size and age, I'd think 5W30 and 5W20 are
    > too thin. (Assume car has circa 100k miles).



    Read the owners manual and resist the temptation to use synthetic at
    this late date.
    >
    > The car originally took HR78-15 tires.
    > Would this correspond to P225/75R15 now? Or P235/70R15?
    > What did the "H" stand for -- was it a width and if so,
    > what would that be in millimeters?
    >
    > I assume this car took UNleaded gas in 1979. Would it
    > need 93 octane? Does anyone have a manual or know right
    > off what kind of gasoline grade it required?


    Call caddy.


    > I plan to run Techron (2 of the big bottles) to clean out
    > the fuel system before the first oil change.


    Is there a problem that you are trying to fix with this elixir? If so
    I would have a mechanic look at it.

    >
    > Lastly, what does it typically cost to reupholster all the
    > seating in a big car like this (all new leather)?


    Leather,,,lotsa bucks.

    >
    > Thanks in advance to anyone who can offer suggestions.


    This is a car with 28 years under it's belt. Chances are you will have
    lots of other issues besides getting the engine to run right. How's
    the rest of the drivetrain, brakes, suspension, electrical. And a
    biggie, how's the body. Chances are you have some rust so have someone
    give it a good going over.


    >
    > BTW: This was Lefty's car in the movie 'Donnie Brasco'
    > Not that that's importatnt.



  6. #6
    George Patterson
    Guest

    Default Re: 1979 Cadillac Fleetwood: good idea for restoration?

    Ed.Toronto@gmail.com wrote:

    > It should take 87 octane because that was about the only version of
    > unleaded available back then.


    Amoco had 95 octane in the mid-70s. By 1979, both 89 and 93 octane were common
    at nearly all stations. It was the high octane leaded fuel that was becoming
    impossible to find. IIRC, unleaded fuel was just beginning to drop to 87 octane.

    At that time, I had an Opel GT that would only run on the Amoco high test and a
    motorcycle that ran on 89 octane but not 87. I can remember having to start
    checking the rating about that time when I filled up the bike. The Opel was a
    '72 model, so Amoco had been selling this grade for at least that long.

    George Patterson
    Coffee is only a way of stealing time that should by rights belong to
    your slightly older self.

  7. #7
    ray
    Guest

    Default Re: 1979 Cadillac Fleetwood: good idea for restoration?

    F. Baker wrote:
    > I am considering purchasing and restoring a 1979 Cadillac
    > Fleetwood with the 425 CI motor [fuel injected].
    >


    Do you mean restore as in restore to brand new stock condition?
    Or are you planning on modifying it?

    Driving it? Showing it?

    Building it and selling it?

    I'd say do it if you want to unless you're going to build it and sell
    it, because you'll never get your money back on a 79 Cadillac.

    If you're "rebuilding" it for fun, you can get 500 cubic inch Caddys
    that should fit and provide a lot more power.

    And whatever your budget is... double it.

    Ray

  8. #8
    midlant@earthlink.net
    Guest

    Default Re: 1979 Cadillac Fleetwood: good idea for restoration?

    You might get some of your money back from wedding rentals,but is it
    worth the waiting time.

    Midlant
    ray wrote:
    > F. Baker wrote:
    > > I am considering purchasing and restoring a 1979 Cadillac
    > > Fleetwood with the 425 CI motor [fuel injected].
    > >

    >
    > Do you mean restore as in restore to brand new stock condition?
    > Or are you planning on modifying it?
    >
    > Driving it? Showing it?
    >
    > Building it and selling it?
    >
    > I'd say do it if you want to unless you're going to build it and sell
    > it, because you'll never get your money back on a 79 Cadillac.
    >
    > If you're "rebuilding" it for fun, you can get 500 cubic inch Caddys
    > that should fit and provide a lot more power.
    >
    > And whatever your budget is... double it.
    >
    > Ray



  9. #9
    midlant@earthlink.net
    Guest

    Default Re: 1979 Cadillac Fleetwood: good idea for restoration?

    You might get some of your money back from wedding rentals,but is it
    worth the waiting time.

    Midlant
    ray wrote:
    > F. Baker wrote:
    > > I am considering purchasing and restoring a 1979 Cadillac
    > > Fleetwood with the 425 CI motor [fuel injected].
    > >

    >
    > Do you mean restore as in restore to brand new stock condition?
    > Or are you planning on modifying it?
    >
    > Driving it? Showing it?
    >
    > Building it and selling it?
    >
    > I'd say do it if you want to unless you're going to build it and sell
    > it, because you'll never get your money back on a 79 Cadillac.
    >
    > If you're "rebuilding" it for fun, you can get 500 cubic inch Caddys
    > that should fit and provide a lot more power.
    >
    > And whatever your budget is... double it.
    >
    > Ray



  10. #10
    The Derfer
    Guest

    Default Re: 1979 Cadillac Fleetwood: good idea for restoration?

    ray <rollingviolation@example.com> wrote in news:JYRvg.1634$Xc7.1095
    @newsfe22.lga:

    >
    > If you're "rebuilding" it for fun, you can get 500 cubic inch Caddys
    > that should fit and provide a lot more power.
    >
    >



    Could a 500 CI engine from a '70 or '71 Eldorado
    literally fit under the '79 Fleetwood's hood and
    bolt in perfectly? Without complications?
    You'd be going from EFI to a carb -- don't tell me there's
    no dead ends involved in that.

    -The Derfer

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