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Hey guys,

I've decided to start a build thread for my Fleetwood project. I recently totaled my Roadmaster wagon, and subsequently picked up a 1995 Fleetwood that has been sitting outdoors for 10 years.

The Fleetwood was parked when the trans went out, and at the time, it was in excellent condition. After sitting for a decade, it has obviously acquired some rust and some mouse debris, but it has really held up well considering the circumstances.

My plans are to build a street toy that will also see time at the drag strip and at road courses.

Here is a basic outline:

ENGINE
*Original LT1 with 180k miles
*1.6 stamped steel rocker arms
*Edelbrock 5703 valve springs
*LT4 hot cam

DRIVETRAIN
*Edge 2600 stall converter
*4L60E built by Atomic Transmission in Villa Park, IL (Z-Pak clutches, full Transgo kit, Beast sunshell, etc.)
*Fully rebuilt 9c1 rear axle with poly bushings
*Brand new Auburn Pro Series posi
*Brand new rear disc brakes
*3.73 gear ratio

EXHAUST
*Clear Image First Gen Tri-Y headers with fresh ceramic coating
*Full 2.5" exhaust with no cats

SUSPENSION/STEERING
*Brand new complete front end
*Fresh reman tight ratio steering box
*Monroe SS shocks front & rear
*9c1 sway bars front and rear with poly bushings up front
*Impala SS front coil springs
*9c1 rear coil springs
*Brand new rear upper control arms
*Newer rear lower control arms

WHEELS/EXTERIOR
*Impala SS rims with 275/40 rubber
*All black and only getting blacker
*V badges

My original plan was to use the LT1 from my wagon, but at this point I intend to get the existing LT1 running. It turns over fine. I will keep the engine from my wagon as a spare, just in case I need it.

Stay tuned for much more, including PICS! I'm also going to need lots of help from you guys, because this is my first real project.
 
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1995 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I am currently in the process of replacing the fuel pump and sending unit, as I have no fuel getting to the engine. We will see what happens. If the engine still doesn't start, the next step will be to start replacing all the electronics (opti, coil, ICM, pugs & wires, etc.).
 

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1995 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just an update:

I have been screwing around with the gas tank on the Fleetwood (and the wagon). I have no idea what I'm doing, so... I'm certainly learning quite a bit.

I verified that I have 12v at the harness attached to the rear bumper. I just have no power getting to the pump itself. This tells me that the wiring inside the tank is bad. I have a newer sending unit that I pulled out of the wagon, but unfortunately the wagon unit is slightly different. For one, the metal tubes coming out of the tank are way longer on the wagon. Also, the Fleetwood has a 4-wire harness, whereas all the other b-bodies have a 3-wire harness. I plan to basically take both units apart and make one good sender. Wish me luck. I will document the process, at least lazily.

This morning I was itching for a boost of motivation, and I decided to spray a bunch of starting fluid in the throttle body of the Fleetwood and see if it would fire. Sure as ****, it fired right up and even idled for about 5 seconds. This is after sitting for over a decade. I am now pretty confident that the car will run as soon as I get fuel pressure.

I will post pics ASAP, as well as an update on my frankenstein sender.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Mein Gott In Himmel! Just when I'm convinced I have to be the absolute cheepest ass "repair-never-buy", along you come rebuilding 20-year old GM stuff that was marginal performance to start with when new.
Thanks for the compliment! :smile2:

I can appreciate the gratification in re-rolling your own, but this junk is really just regular PM and seems low value to effort reusing old parts.
Just to be completely clear, I won't really be using any old parts. The sending unit in my wagon is a Delco unit that is basically brand new. I paid like $250 for it or whatever. I'm not going to throw it in the garbage. After a little bit of inspection, I believe the entire top of the sending unit comes right off. That means that I can just transfer the metal tubes from the Fleetwood unit onto the wagon unit. This allows me to use all of my new internals. The Fleetwood does have an extra wire in the harness for the digital gauge, but the wagon uses the same 4-pin connector with one spot open. Effectively, I think I will be able use my entire wagon sending unit if I just swap the top piece. I am assuming I will lose my fuel gauge, but for right now I simply don't care.

But good news it fires on ether and you know the trouble is the ass end and not the motor. But both FPR and 12v jumper tests could have told you that too.
Oh, I guess I forgot to mention that I already went through the troubleshooting process awhile back. I applied 12v to the jumper wire and such. My schrader valve is bone dry. I knew the pump was completely dead, I just wasn't sure if there was anything else wrong with the car. While I am sure there will be some maintenance to take care of, I now know that the car will at least start and run once I get fuel pressure.

The 4th wire might have something to do with powering all the separate little lit bars v. just the single sweep dial on B-bodies. ?????
Bingo. That is my understanding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Have you ever driven a car with a spool? You should try a Detroit Locker instead. It will be a lot more friendly to drive on the street.
I have never driven a car with a spool, but I have friends with welded diffs. I'm also not quite right in the head.

I would love a Truetrac, but we are talking about the difference between $50 and $500. Have you guys ever even seen a Fleetwood with a spool? It would be unique, if nothing else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I would not be able to see if it had a spool, except for hearing the screeching of the slipping tire when going around a corner, be it left or right.
Oh, damn you! :grin2:

Interesting. Spreads load through 6 helical gears = strong. On the face of it all these sound better than LSDs using frictions. Numerous gear lockers out there, and I went did the No-Slip as it's "normally open" until tromping on it, or with even slightest less traction one side = very reassuring. I've learned to maintain steady pedal around sharp turns to avert lock-in - unless of course I decide I need to real bad "for strictly safety purposes dontchano"..... ;)
From what I have gathered, the "locker" style differentials such as the Truetrac are far superior than the clutch style as far as durability. In theory, they should pretty much last forever. The issue is that the clutch style differentials are king when it comes to road racing. If you like to take corners at speed, you probably don't want an "on/off" type of differential.

Guys... I will post some pics tonight when I get home from work, even if I don't actually make any progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm dreaming of a white Christmas. Just so Bob can shovel snow.>:)
Back on topic. So a clutch style is better for the road? No racing planned just thinking of an upgrade from my factory limited slip. Looking at the Eaton site showed how the locker worked. I thought that would be the way to go. I managed to confuse myself.

Mark: Snowman-33
Lockers are fine for the road. My Trailblazer has a locking differential from the factory.

However, if you want absolute maximum cornering performance, you want a clutch style differential.

The majority of people would probably never be able to tell the difference.
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Here are a few pics, finally.

One of my other projects lately has been removing the stupid security system that was installed on the car. All sorts of gizmos and gadgets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Now... A bit about sending units...

In the first pic, you can see the fully assembled sending unit from the wagon. In a matter of seconds, and with no tools, the unit can be disassembled to the extent that you see in the second pic. I will snap some pics of the old Fleetwood sender and button everything up tomorrow or Monday at the latest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Yesterday I attempted to finish the fuel pump swap, and ended up losing my patience screwing around with the quick disconnects. I can't get the tool to slide into the fitting, no matter what size I use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Just an update...

Obviously, the weather in the Midwest has been absolutely insane lately. Working on cars has been pretty low on my priority list. As soon as it warms up, I will get back to it.

Also, just to throw it out there: If any of you guys are looking for side work and you are within driving distance of northern Illinois, shoot me a PM. We can probably work something out. This car needs a whole bunch of labor hours thrown at it. Trans, rear end, suspension, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
There has been a slight change of plans. In a good way.

When I first made this thread, the Fleetwood was intended to be nothing more than a weekend toy. I was planning to essentially throw a car together using all of the random parts I have laying around. This is why I was okay with putting a spool in the rear, etc.

I recently managed to bend the frame in my Trailblazer (long story, don't ask). As a result, the Fleetwood is getting promoted from "weekend toy" to "my baby". This upcoming week, I will be acquiring some goodies from a forum member. These goodies include:


  • Tri-Y headers (ceramic coated)
  • LT4 hot cam
  • Auburn Pro Series posi
  • Monroe SS front shocks
  • Reman AC Delco steering box (quick ratio)
  • Fleetwood grille & headlight housing (the last cosmetic pieces that I need)

The punchline is that the Fleetwood is going to be my daily driver, and I am going to be making it a little bit nicer than I originally planned. Now can I get a little sunshine?
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
The only way you could possibly get that to work would be with a really high stall converter and a tune
Aren't you being a bit dramatic?

I understand that the hot cam lacks a bit off the line, but guys have been running this cam in b-bodies for, what, 20+ years? I will have 3.73's and a 2600 stall with low profile tires, so I think I will be fine. There is no way I would spend $400 on a nice cam to put in a 180k mile LT1. I can buy an LQ4 at the junkyard for $199.

The hot cam is basically free, and I feel like it's better than nothing. At the very least, it will make my car sound really cool at idle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
schlicky13 said:
It sounds like you've got every supporting mod in place or going in place, minus a tune.
I can't imagine building a car like this without tuning it. Yes, the car will be road-tuned on 93 octane as soon as I get it put together.

schlicky13 said:
I do love me a nice sleeper Fleetwood. :grin2:
My Fleetwood is going to be murdered out with a choppy idle... I don't think the word "sleeper" will apply. :grin2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Hey guys. I picked up all of those parts that I mentioned before. Just waiting for the weather to cooperate a little bit.

In the meantime, I am pondering converting to rear discs. It looks like all of the parts are available cheap on Rock Auto except for the backing plates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
I think you can reuse your backplates, possibly with a modification to them. You need them anyways for the ABS sensors, Fleetwoods have the 4-channel system with a sensor at each wheel, while the rest of the b-bodies have a 3-channel system with a single sensor in the rear carrier. I believe supplies of new backplates is nearly if not completely dried up. Navy Lifer still had a couple last I checked with him, but I still haven't gotten to that since I'm still working on the motor and plan to swap the entire rear axle (long story, there are different carriers depending on what gear ratio you have and I can't put better gears in without doing that, or running a ring gear spacer which I don't want to do). I don't believe you switch to the Impala backplates for that swap, unless you can add the hole for the ABS sensor to them. I know all the info is on here, just haven't looked at any of it in a couple years.
I will be deleting the ABS system and launching it into outer space.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
The caliper bracket bolts to the backing plate, and I don't think the drum brake backing plates are capable of that.

Can somebody verify?
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
Hey guys.

Thankfully, it has warmed up and I have actually been able to get a few things done. Special thanks to my buddy Chris96Coprice for helping me pull the engine and trans out of my wagon the other day. That trans will be going into the Fleetwood.

I had fun sourcing new tank straps. I first ordered the Spectra set from Rockauto, and they only sent me 1 out of 2 pieces. The description says there are 2 straps included, and the picture clearly shows both pieces as well. After a quick googling, I learned that others have had the same problem, and that the problem appears to be on Spectra's end, not RockAuto's. With this in mind, I opted to return instead of exchange. I contacted a local buddy, who you guys know as Vautsmeier, and luckily he had a nice used set for me. While I was waiting on straps, I decided to prime and paint my new sending unit, as well as the tank ring thingy. Anything I can do to fight off rust.

When I was disconnecting the supply line from the sending unit, the fitting crumbled apart in my hand. After reviewing my options, I am going to try to clamp the line directly to the sender tube using a fuel line hose clamp. I may double up and use 2 clamps if possible. Eventually I will replace my fuel lines entirely, but right now I need this car on the road.

Most recently, I have been playing around with the front clip, which had some minor collision damage. The hood had already been replaced by the previous owner, but the Fleetwood still needed a bumper, a grille, and a headlight housing, at the very least. Down below you can see a "before" picture, as well as a few pics of what it looks like now. As you can see, the big plastic bumper trim piece is a bit warped from sitting in the sun for 11 years while it was crunched. I will have to tack it in place somehow and apply some heat to get it to soften up and fit back into it's original position. For the record, I do have a new headlight and housing for the driver's side, I just haven't put it in yet. On the new bumper, I deleted the bumperettes and the plate holder. I think it looks a little bit cleaner and more modern.

So, my next move will be to finally finish up my fuel tank overhaul. I will also do the rear suspension while I have the tank out. After that, once the car is running, I will have to assess any maintenance issues that there may be. I have a spare of just about every part, so I will be fine. Next, I will tackle the front suspension and steering components. Of course, ultimately this car will be waiting on the trans swap before I can actually drive it.

Side note: Would it be possible for a moderator to assist me in editing my original post? I just want to change some of the details, since the plans for the car have changed so much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
I did more stuff.

I finally got the front clip put together. It is not perfect, but it will work for now. I will tweak it later.

I also put in my rear shocks and springs. Unfortunately, though, the new shocks did not come with lower bolts, and the factory bolts were absolutely not coming off the factory shocks (they don't even look like they are supposed to, honestly). So, I have not been able to set the car down on the ground to check stance since the shocks are not bolted to the axle yet. I ordered a pair of bolts online and they will be here this week.

Maybe soon I will finally get my fuel tank put back together. I finally have every single part that I need, so I'm not waiting on anything except myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
I've been a mess lately and haven't been very productive. Hopefully I can find some energy soon.
 
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