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Projects 1949 Cadillac sedanette has not run since 1963

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by tookis, Jul 17, 2016.

  1. tookis
    Joined: Jun 18, 2008
    Posts: 67


    Need any help or advice with this car. Has 16,000 original miles has not run since 1963 when it was involved in a accident or a motorcycle broadsided the driver's side. If anyone could help let me know where to start with the engine how to make sure it is not Frozen or that the transmission is still in good shape. Would love to bring this car back and see it on the road instead of it being parted out.

    Attached Files:

    MyCrustyVW, oldsjoe, 49_Caddy and 3 others like this.
  2. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,277

    from texas

    Need to go ahead and soak the rings in the Att/acetone solution. Let is soak a few days the try to turn the old thing over. The trans is another animal. Just my opinions.
  3. tookis
    Joined: Jun 18, 2008
    Posts: 67


    Thank you 325w I also heard about putting diesel fuel inside have you ever used such a method?
  4. stuart in mn
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
    Posts: 1,746

    stuart in mn

    Before pouring any concoctions in the engine, I'd simply put a breaker bar and socket on the harmonic balancer bolt and see if it will turn over. If it is free you're that much further ahead.
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  5. tookis
    Joined: Jun 18, 2008
    Posts: 67


    Thank you stuart. I appreciate all of your advice on this subject.
  6. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,217


    If the motor does turn with a breaker, you still need some light oils in the bores, as it is way too dry.

    put light oil like 10/30 thinned with ATF or diesel so it spreads out more, then after sitting a bit, spin the starter motor with plugs out. An aerosol oil spray with the red straw tube could be aimed up to the tops of the angled pistons, for best results.

    If it was humid part of USA, I'd pull the valve covers and try to move each valve down with a prybar. If a valve is stuck really bad, you will damage something while cranking it over.

    Those Hydramatics are pretty good, but some parts can stick from sitting, and it may not move....but I doubt it will hurt anything if it has fluid in it.
  7. My guess would be that the transmission mechanical parts probably survived pretty well (assuming there wasn't moisture in the fluid) but all of the seals will be shot. Expect transmission fluid to flow all over even when you turn it over without starting. The engine and transmission were good units but are probably expensive to rebuild. Still rebuilding them might be cheaper than trying to change them. I go with putting a small amount of a mixture of ATF and acetone down the spark plug holes and letting it set a couple of days before turning it over with the spark plugs. Be careful with the acetone as it is VERY flamable.

    Charlie Stephens
  8. tookis
    Joined: Jun 18, 2008
    Posts: 67


    Thanks f&j. It's spent 25 years under a few tarps outside in Central Colorado and then the next 20+ years indoors in southern Colorado.
  9. What a beauty! On of the best American cars ever IMO.
    Hope you can get it to turn over - if not, it can be fixed. Surely you can find a door?
    What are your plans?
    Every time I see one of those I think of CADZILLA! Go man go!
    MyCrustyVW and 1934coupe like this.
  10. First thing I would do is drain the oil and make sure that no water was in it,change the filter then fill with new oil remove the plugs and put some oil or some kind of lube in the cylinders then with a bar try to run one way slow then back the other way if it turns you now know that it is not locked up. turn it over by hand 8 to 10 full revelations remember their has been on oil moving in that motor in a long time then connected a battery and try the started. Cool car good luck
    motoandy likes this.
  11. 1934coupe
    Joined: Feb 22, 2007
    Posts: 3,829


    Definitely the thing to do BEFORE trying to turn it if it was a sbc I would pull the distributer and prime the oil pump, I don't know how to do that on a caddy. Remember if there is nothing wrong with the motor now, doing these suggested things may save you a bunch of grief. If you rush thing and crack a ring that's it, game over.

    302GMC likes this.
  12. clunker
    Joined: Feb 23, 2011
    Posts: 1,569

    from Boston MA

    '49 Caddy motor is 1st year for OHV, definitely worth messing with, the 331 will be able to use all the goodies that fit those early Cad 331-390. If it's got a Hydramatic trans, the seals will definitely be shot, but they came with a 3 speed stock.
  13. dirt t
    Joined: Mar 20, 2007
    Posts: 4,591

    dirt t
    from Kingman,AZ
    1. HAMB Old Farts' Club

    What transmission does it have? automatic or stick? Let us know how it turns out.
    Don't part it out. Great car. Good luck.
  14. Those 49's had great lines. It's a cool car and definitely worth saving. Rodders in the early 50's would kill for one of those motors!
  15. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,106

    Rusty O'Toole

    I wouldn't put acetone in an engine I cared about. First thing I would do is generally inspect the engine for missing or worn parts, frayed wires etc. Hope that the air cleaner was never left off, check oil, remove valve covers and oil valves and rockers, remove plugs, inspect them for rust and deposits, squirt some oil down the cylinders then try to turn it by hand or by starter. Before you turn it over check that the valves are not sticking. Tap each one lightly with a hammer, if it bounces back it is ok if it goes thud the valve is stuck.

    Would probably drain the oil and check for water and dirt, refill with 10W30 before trying to turn it over.

    Disconnect gas tank at the fuel pump before turning it over and plug the gas line. The old gas has probably gone bad by now and bad gas can freeze up your motor so bad a safe cracker couldn't free it up.

    If it turns over check for spark at all plugs. If no spark check the distributor, clean points, make sure it is getting juice. While doing all this work I change things as little as possible and never replace a part without a reason. If you go ripping and tearing and changing parts pretty soon you have no idea why it won't start and have to go right back to the beginning and start over. This adds many hours work to the job.

    If it turns over and has compression and spark it is time to put the plugs back in, connect a motorboat gas tank or gas can to the fuel pump, pour a little gas down the carb and see if it will start. If it starts let it run at a fast idle, watching that the oil pressure comes up, if it has oil pressure run it at a fast idle for 10 minutes and warm it up then see if it will idle down. You want to burn the oil out of the cylinders and get oil circulating around. O ya be sure the rad is full if you are going to run it.

    Most of the time they will start and run half decent, and run better the more they run. Then you can do a tuneup and change the oil and filter when the oil is hot.
    Stogy likes this.
  16. tookis
    Joined: Jun 18, 2008
    Posts: 67


    Thank you everyone for all your suggestions. I will try to change the oil and oil up the spark plugs and try to turn the motor. It is a automatic transmission. It would be great to upgrade with 4 Barrel or dual two-barrel intake.

    also I'm trying to formulate a plan of fixing the driver side damage to the a-pillar I will try to include pictures on this post of the damage. The door was in no way salvageable so I bought a new driver side door Defender seems that it will be able to come back to shape but if need be I can cut out a firewall from a parts car for a couple hundred bucks. But I am just trying to get the engine going first thing

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  17. ...or you could take it to @squirrel. Considering his accomplishments lately, he would probably have this one flying down the freeway with a few minutes work and $20 in parts! :)
  18. BTW...good luck with this and continue to keep us posted. A '49 Cadillac is one of my dream cars. My folks had two of them when I was a kid in the 60s.
  19. tookis
    Joined: Jun 18, 2008
    Posts: 67


    I will keep you posted on how it is coming along. There is so little rust on this whole car it's unbelievable. I can't believe I bought it for $1,500 with the last known title included from 1959

    Attached Files:

    oldsjoe and clunker like this.
  20. tookis
    Joined: Jun 18, 2008
    Posts: 67


    Thanks grandparents also had one of these and i have been thru 4 of them trying to get one that was good enuff to restore sonce i was 21
    MyCrustyVW likes this.
  21. draggin'GTO
    Joined: Jul 7, 2003
    Posts: 1,754


    I would highly suggest getting an experienced body man to fix or replace that A-pillar. It will be well-worth it in this end, considering how little you paid for the car you should consider the services of a true body professional to be affordable.

    Great car, best of luck with it. :cool:
    Torkwrench and Stogy like this.
  22. Stogy
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 16,085


    That is a beautiful machine...t bone with a motorcycle (no doubt a Harley) that must have been bad for someone...looking forward to see whats under the dust.
  23. I bought a 51 Hudson in 2005. It had sat for 30+ years. Filled cylinders with Marvel mystery oil and let it "soak". Turned it over by hand a few times everyday for a week. Then cranked with starter to blow oil out of plug holes. Fired it up after that and it's still running good today.

    Sent from my A520L using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    oldsjoe and Bruce Fischer like this.
  24. tookis
    Joined: Jun 18, 2008
    Posts: 67


    Thanks racer29 that was inspirational story. It is a very good-looking Engine with all the wires intacted and everything is only covered in dust, which is amazing for all the rats that had lived inside.
  25. 53 stude
    Joined: Nov 20, 2010
    Posts: 9

    53 stude
    1. Studebakers

    Beautiful find! Was that a one owner? Studebaker has a tri-power manifold that fits early Caddys. Good luck with your build, keep us posted. Jim
  26. tookis
    Joined: Jun 18, 2008
    Posts: 67


    Thanks Jim
    As far as i know it was technically a 2 owner car (if you only count people who operated it) acorrding to the title. The third person bought it in 1992 for a parts car to use on his hearse.
  27. That's a dream car!
    So ya found a new door?
    Keep us posted................
  28. You can clown around, trying to cobble a Stude manifold onto a Cad, or you can just buy the proper manifold designed for your engine. There are plenty of them out there and they can be had for a fair price
  29. 1946caddy
    Joined: Dec 18, 2013
    Posts: 1,652

    from washington

    All Cadillacs in Las Vegas claims to have every part for Every Cadillac 40-59.
    I was there a few years ago and they had lots of complete cars plus 1000's of parts.
    Expensive though 702-454-1147
  30. Caddy-O
    Joined: Aug 8, 2006
    Posts: 1,645


    Looks like the A pillar and cowl damage will be a pretty significant repair. Hopefully you can find a cheap donor car to pull parts from .

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