BUILD THREAD '78 Cutlass Supreme Lichen Edition

doood

Amateur Mechanic
Sep 24, 2020
591
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So I finally talked "I KNOW WHAT I GOT" down to a price, which I could almost justify, after about 6 months of "did it sell yet?" Laugh at him, cry for me: 26,000 mile estate car was listed in Whitehall PAfor $17,000 in 03/2023. With the $510 85-mile tow (hasn't run since Lord knows when), I'm in $3,700. I like the car. Wise decision? No. Last inspected 1991.

Plan is to purge the fuel system, new filters, wires, distributor cap, battery, oil change, then get it to start wheels chocked. I might go straight into blazer brake upgrade rather than buy new loaded gbody calipers, but brakes, hoses are next. I'm gonna get all the chrome trim off, vinyl landau off and locate all rot. I looked this car over and the floors are good, rust minimal, body mounts good, frame good. Good bones.

Get it running, encapsulate rust, keep covered, and redo the brakes. List it for $5,000 just in case someone wants to save me from this negative investment... because as soon as it runs and drives, I'll budget $5K for bodywork and then it'll be mine for good. Prolly eventually swap out the 260 and metric trans for a 4.8L/4L60e, unless someone talks me into fuel injecting a rocket 350.

I already pressure washed the lichen off... It shined up like the pretty penny I knew it was. I love these big goofy chrome bumpers.
 

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doood

Amateur Mechanic
Sep 24, 2020
591
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93
First question: does this window trim come out with a heat gun? I don't see fasteners.

So far a couple rot spots in the body that don't look like show-stoppers. I put phosphoric acid on the rust I found to try to slow it down.

I'll try to get the car up on blocks this week and give proper look under it to see if I'm a fool, or if I can spot a garnet in the rough.
 

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Houston78

Apprentice
May 13, 2008
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Houston, TX
First question: does this window trim come out with a heat gun? I don't see fasteners.

So far a couple rot spots in the body that don't look like show-stoppers. I put phosphoric acid on the rust I found to try to slow it down.

I'll try to get the car up on blocks this week and give proper look under it to see if I'm a fool, or if I can spot a garnet in the rough.
It does not. You will need to take the interior panel around the window and remove the nuts and some small brackets to remove it. There is some sticky window sealant that is hard to get off and extremely sticky when taking the glass out, so make sure you don't get it on anything.
 
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doood

Amateur Mechanic
Sep 24, 2020
591
809
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It does not. You will need to take the interior panel around the window and remove the nuts and some small brackets to remove it. There is some sticky window sealant that is hard to get off and extremely sticky when taking the glass out, so make sure you don't get it on anything.
Fantastic advice. Thank you
 
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Rktpwrd

Builder of Cool Shjt
Supporting Member
Feb 2, 2015
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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
I think you’ll find this is exactly what you’re looking for. It’s a write-up I did a couple years ago on this exact topic. Just gotta look around on here, you’ll usually find somebody has already asked the question.

 
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doood

Amateur Mechanic
Sep 24, 2020
591
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93
I think you’ll find this is exactly what you’re looking for. It’s a write-up I did a couple years ago on this exact topic. Just gotta look around on here, you’ll usually find somebody has already asked the question.

Thanks much. I apologize for being lazy. Threw that up there knowing somebody would bite. So far the only spot with an
almost a hole in the sheet metal is a single < 2 sq-inch spot from under the vinyl landau that will get wire wheel and bondo. I removed lower driver rear trim that terminates in the wheel well trim because there was crunchy stuff under it. It was like winning the lottery when I cleaned it up and metal was still there.
 
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doood

Amateur Mechanic
Sep 24, 2020
591
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Got under the car today. This is gonna be easy; car was well undercoated. The entire brake system needs replacing though.... all the hard lines, master cylinder, wheel cylinders, etc.. reservoir must have not been air tight... bad corrosion. No other components are corroded like the brake system.

Besides being dirty and damp, the entire interior is as nice as this door. Dash isn't cracked and upholstery is cleaning up nicely, is firm, etc. All doubts about the wisdom of this purchase are vanishing.
 

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doood

Amateur Mechanic
Sep 24, 2020
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Rear seat steam cleaned-up beautifully and smells 1000% less moldy. The one spot they used cotton in this seat cover, is the one part that deteriorated, the rest of it is preserved better than Lenin. I'm going to sew in a heavy duty vinyl patch or maybe denim to reinforce the seat cover in that area, because the rest of the upholstery is just so nice... I literally love this upholstery option.

I was not expecting to find all of these option codes under the seat. Nice Easter egg.

Still working on that 8.5" rear - got parts - need to aquire a press and can get started on that (3.42 trutrack w/30-spline axels). Not sure which car will get the rear. Whichever car gets it will see at least a cam and 4L80 w/new driveshaft. I might wind up with two cars I never sell because unable to recoup investment.

It is in my mind that the government will eventually make my cars illegal. Then they'll be worth even less. Fun for me though...
 

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mclellan83

Comic Book Super Hero
Jun 27, 2017
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Glad to see something from almost my backyard get a new life and be so well preserved, since you are going to be posting a lot you may want to insert the photos into the post after you attach them. It is super easy even with a bunch of pics because it lets you choose all at once makes it a ton easier to see the pics because they are larger
 
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doood

Amateur Mechanic
Sep 24, 2020
591
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93
I kind of wanted to salvage the carpet, but I couldn't resist picking the scab, seeing that the bolted connections, bench seat to the floor, were rotten... front right passenger seat mount was actually rotted through. Apparently, the polyethylene backing of the carpet kept the oxygen content low beneath it, and since rainwater is distilled water, corrosion was proceeding very slowly; the floors are perfect. I will find new rails for the split bench and reuse it after steamcleaning. I think a new carpet can be had for a few hundred bucks. Of course, it would be better to have a car that didn't need all this sh*t ripped out, but they're getting scarce. Jackwads want $10k for bench seat regals these days.

I think i'm gonna cut out the big insulated catalytic converter and see if I can get a couple hundred bucks cash for it. That will pay for the tow. I will straight pipe the cat.... Last time I started one of these decade-neglected smog motors, it backfired and blew the catalyst into the muffler. Avoid that this time.
 

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