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oldmangrimes last won the day on November 5 2018

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  1. I had a similar problem with my 95 convertible. I thought I had a bulb burned out in one section of the dash, when I took out the cluster I realized that I had corroded/damaged contacts on many of the bulb sockets and multiple bulbs out. I cleaned up the bulb contact areas, applied fresh solder to a couple of them that were obviously pitted and not making contact with the bulb, and replaced with all new bulbs (not LEDs). HUGE difference, I realized that I'd probably had a couple bulbs out for all the years that I'd owned the car and never realized how bright the cluster should actually be. It was a pain to remove the cluster, I actually ended up cutting off some plastic in a couple places to make it come out and go back in easier. But before you go through through that hassle, do the quick voltage checks that Shurkey recommended above, it may be an alternator issue and often dim dash lights are your first clue. Oh, and don't be too embarrassed if you hadn't realized your dimmer switch was just not turned all the way up. I've had that happen to me before.
  2. oldmangrimes

    Front suspension fail

    I had a bad start to my day, but I'm very lucky it could have been much worse. Thank God nobody was hurt and I didn't cause an accident. I had just replaced my lower engine mount a couple days ago, which was causing the engine to move around a lot. Unfortunately it wasn't my only problem, and this morning when I tried to drive the Cutlass to work, I made it about 10 miles but after taking a 40mph sweeping curve to the left, on a two-lane road, my right front suspension failed. Luckily I had straightened out of the turn, otherwise I would have rolled the car down into a ditch, or worse. I tried to steer to the left into a driveway off the road, but my forward momentum wasn't enough to get there, obviously dragging the wheel sideways, jammed into the wheel well. I was blocking most of the road, but was able to get out of the car and flag down oncoming traffic. Luckily one of the first guys that stopped to help had some flares and set them up. Another guy with a truck and a tow rope hooked onto the A-arm and dragged me 20 feet off the road into the driveway. I was a few miles from town, so I had to wait a while for a tow-truck. The sheriff came, added a couple flares, wished me luck, and left. The first tow-truck was a flatbed, and the guy tried but couldn't get the car up onto the flatbed without causing more damage, so he called in another standard lift-truck to do the job. Eventually that guy got the car secured and towed it back to my house and he managed to place it in my garage, where it will sit while I decide what to do with it. I haven't had more than 2 minutes to look at it up close, I had to run to work. The ball joint popped out, the axle was destroyed, the transmission dumped a ton of fluid, (which while the car was being towed ran back along the entire undercarriage and coated everything back to the rear bumper), the tire is probably not safe to use, and I'm sure a ton of other parts would need to be replaced. The hub has less than 5k on it, but it took a big side-load so might be shot. The brake lines were stretched, the plastic trim on the wheel well was slightly damaged, the front strut/spring assembly was twisted out of place, the tie rod was damaged, etc. Of course I SHOULD scrap the car, it's got 235k miles and has some other problems that aren't related. But I really don't WANT to get rid of it, it's got a new top and I'd planned on keeping it forever. I'm going to take a few days to calm down and think about it, and I can leave it in my garage for awhile. But we only have one parking spot in my attached garage and my wife won't be happy about going out in the weather all winter. The good news is that the belly stayed off the pavement, the fender metal seems ok, and the car might be savable. I can manage the bolt-on stuff, but I'm mostly worried about the transmission/axle. And of course since this failure happened, I'll replace everything on the drivers side too, as I'm sure it all is due for replacement. Unfortunately I won't have time to dig into it and assess anything until after Christmas, so I'll post an update in a couple months. I don't have the money to take it to a shop now, although I may have to eventually if I can't do it myself. In the meantime, I'd appreciate any advice from you guys. This isn't a show car, just a driver, so I'm looking at ways to get it safely back on the road in time for next summer for less than $1000. I can take other pictures if you want to see different angles, but I won't have time for much disassembly as I've got another car to drive and other projects screaming for my time and money.
  3. oldmangrimes

    Possible Top Pin Cup Solution

    Update: The pin cups are still functioning well, but after less than two months the lip has started to slightly deform. I'm not sure if it is from the direct sunlight when parked outside with the top down, compression pressure from the top header when it's closed, or if it is from a side-load pressure from the pin when it's engaged causing the lip to bend. Anyway, it's not a big problem because they still fit, do their job, look good, and haven't broken. And I know that 3D-printed plastic isn't very strong so I'm not surprised. I don't regret my purchase and I still very strongly recommend that others also buy them. I'll give another update after a few months of below-freezing temps of winter, or if I notice any more changes. Note: I did not paint them with UV-protection yet. Has anyone else with these 3D-printed pin cups experienced any deformation?
  4. oldmangrimes

    Doubling Down on W-bodies

    Nice convertible! I also have a red 95 convertible with the 3100. Yes it's slow but you're right, that's not what this car is for. I improved my driving experience by firming up the suspension. Does yours have the original shocks/struts/bushings/sway bar? If so, either refreshing them or upgrading will make a noticeable difference without spending a lot of money. Otherwise, I'd focus on maintenance and cleaning. When mine is cleaned up, top down on a sunny day, I get compliments and nobody asks me how fast it is or if I have the LQ1.
  5. oldmangrimes

    Backup lens cover question

    Oops, I read that wrong I thought it was the taillight. For the backup lens, you could use to buy a used one. I don't know the part number, usually stuff like that is bought by description on Ebay or elsewhere. You could also post on the Wanted section here, I'm sure there are a couple guys that have extras
  6. My formula: Rockauto(and/or Ebay) + manual(and/or Youtube) + tools(Yay, new tools!) + course!) + elbow grease = running 1st gen (233k miles and counting) + personal satisfaction of doing it myself + tools (because I get to keep them, it's on this side of the equation too!).
  7. oldmangrimes

    New Olds convertible member

    Welcome! I've got a 232k mile daily driver 1995 convertible, and learned a lot from this site over the years. As for the pictures, please post some BEFORE you clean it up, it is interesting to see the before and after pictures. Also, please tell us more about your 'vert. What engine, miles, wheels/tires, modifications, etc. I think white/white/tan is somewhat rare.
  8. oldmangrimes

    Possible Top Pin Cup Solution

    I bought a pair of the 3D printed pin cups, they look and fit great! I thought about painting them to protect the plastic from UV damage, but I'll do it later when I paint my windshield frame and sideview mirrors. The first picture is comparing my broken original with the new one, using my calibrated finger gauges The second picture is the pin cup in place. I don't have time to disassemble the header for something like this, so I just dropped them in from the top. My old snap rings had fallen off a few years ago, so my pin cups have been held in place with some double-sided tape as a temporary solution. Now that I have a replacement part, I will use some adhesive to hold them in place. Thanks again, Kzwxlf! I'll post an update here in a year or two (or sooner if they break).
  9. oldmangrimes

    Replacing original top on 95 convertible

    1 year update: After putting the top up and down a number of times earlier this summer, most of the staples in the rear corners pulled out. I think I had too much tension originally, and/or not enough staples. I also had NOT replaced the rear tack strip, which is probably the root cause of the problem. (I did replace the front tack strips, though). To quickly fix it, I pulled the back trim off, realigned the top canvas, pulled the original staples out, and restapled the top about 1/4 inch lower on the canvas than before. This gives a little more slack in the canvas, it's not as tight and straight when the top is up but not really noticably different. The old staple holes are still covered by the butyl and the painted trim. There isn't as much tension on the rear staples and hopefully they stay in place now. It's been a month and they are still holding ok. I would recommend to others that they replace all tack strips when replacing the top. And don't skimp on staples.
  10. oldmangrimes

    96 GP shakes when AC is on

    Last weekend I recharged the A/C in my 1995 after a couple years of not using the A/C. I was happy that it still works, but it does increase the idle speed by at least 200 rpm. Like yours, it now makes a bad vibration sound at idle, and the vibration also causes an annoying buzz in my dash somewhere. Everything smooths out above 1500rpm once I start driving, it's just noisy at idle. It's bad enough that my 9-year-old son asked me yesterday "dad what's that weird sound?" at the first red light. My motor mounts are probably pretty bad after 231k miles, I'm getting a little "clunk" when shifting out of Park.
  11. oldmangrimes

    That moment when...

    I had one of those moments yesterday with my Cutlass convertible. I was coming home from work, top down, 75 degree perfect Oregon evening, with a large box in the backseat that wouldn't have fit in any other convertible. I had to pick up two of my kids at the in-laws on the way home, and I wasn't worried because there's plenty of room in the Olds. There wasn't a single other car I saw in the thousands around me on my 45-minute commute that could accomplish that task, while still having the large box in the back seat, top down to enjoy the sun, rare enough to not see myself, and bright red to turn a few heads in the process. My only brief moment of jealously was when I pulled up next to a Audi V10 sedan and heard that exhaust note and made eye contact with the driver. But then I realized he was stuck in a black car on a beautiful sunny day, with hundreds of horsepower he can't use in that traffic anyway, in a car that's depreciating a dollar a mile (or he's leasing for a dollar a mile), while I got to feel the sun and breeze on my bald head in a fun car that's super cheap to operate. W-body's forever!
  12. oldmangrimes

    Addco 7/8" rear sway bars

    You found one? I looked for a long, long time for one that was one actually in stock somewhere (and not $200+), and couldn't find one to put on my 95 vert. So last year I ended up buying a Monte Carlo Z34 rear bar from a junkyard (including the mounting brackets) and ordered new rubber bushings for it. Total cost including shipping was around $80 for the bar, brackets, and new bushings. The Z34 bar was a very noticeable upgrade, I enjoy it on every corner every day. Please let us know if you actually get the 474 bar (is it NOS or used?) and post pictures of it installed. I'll be jealous. I also put poly bushings on my front bar, as my vert already had the larger front bar. I did that first, and it was a little bit of an upgrade over the worn-out original rubber bushings, but the rear bar was the big upgrade.
  13. Always, always do the discount code in the "How did you hear about us?" field for Rockauto. If you don't have a code from your last email from RockAuto, just google "Rockauto discount code", click on one of the first few sites ( works for me), click the "show coupon code" button for the code, copy and paste it onto your rockauto ordering page, and you get 5% off. It's not much for the stuff you're ordering, but for 30 seconds of your time it's worth it. If you're rich enough to turn down free money, you're probably not driving a w-body.
  14. oldmangrimes

    Best 1-1.5 gen struts/shocks?

    I also have had a great experience with KYB struts on my convertible. Before I replaced them, the rear tires would actually bounce over bumps, maybe that's what you're feeling? I also replaced my trailing arms and rear leaf spring isolator pads. Your original rubber leaf spring isolator pads may be gone. (Rockauto calls them "leaf spring bushings" and "leaf spring insulators" depending on whether you use plastic or rubber). Front shocks helped, too, but not as much as the rear. I also replaced by front sway bar bushings with poly, and upgraded my rear sway bar to a thicker one (cheap used one from a Z34), that's made a big difference cornering and gave it a sharper, more "sporty feel".
  15. Update: Last weekend I finally got around to replacing both front wheel bearings, so I can finally evaluate the tire noise from the Coopers. The tires are quiet. Quieter than the constant wind noise in my convertible, that's all I can really evaluate. I think my wheel bearings had been getting bad for awhile and I thought it was just tire noise from my old worn out tires last summer and my studless snow tires last winter.