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Everything posted by oldmangrimes

  1. I see a ton of w-bodys here in suburban/rural Oregon. We don't salt our roads in the winter, so even though there's a lot of moisture from the rain cars don't rust that bad. I rarely see any Cutlass convertibles, they weren't that popular in Oregon, but I do see a lot of other 90's w-bodys. Most are Grand Prixs (coupes and sedans) and Cutlass Supreme sedans, they are common enough still. I'm on the road for a couple hours a day, and see many thousands of cars each week, and I probably see a w-body Cutlass Supreme coupe once a week at the most. This last year I think I saw maybe four or five w-body Cutlass convertibles, but I wasn't driving mine at the time otherwise I honk and wave and usually get a wave back.
  2. For parts, I like to use to search junkyards. While they may not list the exact part you need, you can find a nearby yard with a Lumina and then directly contact them to ask about the parts you want. I don't have the time to go to junkyards myself, but for a few dollars they will pull and ship the parts to you. Shipping a hood isn't cheap so hopefully you get lucky and the place is close enough for you to pick it up yourself. I'm looking forward to seeing your before and after painting pics. And I agree about not getting newer rides, I keep shopping for newer cars but the parts are so cheap for w-bodies that I always end up just deciding to keep mine a little longer. My daily driver 95 costs me about $100 a month in repairs+maintenance+depreciation (hint, the $100 is all parts, I do almost all my own work and my car is fully depreciated lol) and the math just doesn't work out for getting a newer car.
  3. No I didn't try my impact first, it might have helped loosen the rust. But I couldn't get to the nut to soak it in penetrating oil, so I think I still might have broken the rusty nut cage. Oh well, I hope nobody else ends up having to deal with the problems I did in the way I did.
  4. What happened with my old top was that the rod wore a hole through the canvas "pocket" (or "bag" as GabsOlds calls it) at the top corner of the window curtain, so the rod slipped over to one side. This caused the OTHER side of the rod to come out of its' pocket, so that end strap slid off the rod and the window slouched down on that side and opened up a gap. The way I fixed it was to lower the top halfway, which takes all the tension off the rear curtain. Then, I was able to slide the rod back through the loop on the outer top strap, and back into both pockets properly. I taped off the hole to prevent it from happening again and it stayed in place (for about a year or so, until I replaced the whole top).
  5. Is the whole rear window panel loose, or has the glass come loose from the surrounding canvas that it is glued to? Because the rear window curtain (the glass and the surrounding canvas that is parallel to the glass) does hang from a metal rod in the top mechanism and it can slide off. Maybe post a picture of what the problem is and we can give you better advice, many of us have replaced convertible tops.
  6. Yes, there's a thin metal "cage" around the nut/plate combo to keep it from spinning, but the welds on that cage had broken off so my nut/plate was just spinning. My guess is that the nut is not just simply welded to the floorboard because the cage design allows the nut to move around slightly before tightening, allowing subframe alignment. I did not align my subframe, I just compensated with tie-rod adjustment afterwards. I bent what was left of the cage up out of the way (you can see the rusted remains to the left of the nut) before the pic was taken, so I could get a wrench on the nut to hold it in place. I'm sure there was a much more elegant way to do this. I could have cut a much smaller hole in the floorboard but I didn't really know what I was getting into and couldn't find other pictures. Hopefully your welds hold while you break loose the old bolts. There's another small hole in the bottom of the hidden cavity (maybe for subframe alignment?) that is open to the elements under the car (you can see the edge of it in the shadow to the right of the nut), thus the cavity could fill with moisture and rust as you can see. I tried squirting WD-40 inside that hole when I first started the project, to loosen up the nut but it wasn't enough. Another issue I ran into was how to compress the two halves of the new subframe mounts together. I tried using a jack to compress them together but couldn't, although hopefully that method works for you. The stock bolt was just barely too short to reach the nut until the new mount is compressed. Since I had access inside the hidden cavity, I used a longer bolt and a different nut (because the threads didn't match) and was able to draw up and compress the new rubber mounts that way.
  7. I would double-check your battery. How old is it? A map light should take a very long time to kill a healthy battery to the point that you couldn't quickly start it with the charger plugged in. I know from experience that a low battery voltage can make many car electrical systems behave strangely. Removing the battery is a bit of a hassle, but I think it would be worth it to have it tested. Or if it's more than 3 years old and questionable I would just replace it. How do the hazards behave with the charger plugged in? Or with the engine running? Any faster? A low battery voltage (from a bad battery, bad alternator, or voltage regulator, etc) can affect the flasher speed I think.
  8. Update on the car: After driving it a month or two, it developed a unsafe "shimmy" or weird steering shift in the steering when making a hard left at speed. I did some online research and identified a few possible causes. Like usual, I didn't take it to a professional and tried to fix it myself. I thought it was probably related to something I'd replaced over the winter. Did I mention I've not a very good mechanic? But I am persistent. Anyway . . . So, I guessed it was the subframe mounts, as the car had 240k miles and the visible sides of the mounts looked bad. When the car was up on jackstands nothing felt loose, but of course I couldn't recreate the side-loads experienced on 45-mph sweepers. So I ordered a set of four subframe mounts, watched a couple youtube videos (there aren't many for this repair on first gen w-bodys) and got to work. First, I supported the engine with a jack and a block of wood and cracked loose the four mounting bolts for the subframe mounts. But I had to use a breaker bar to break loose the rear two mounts, and in doing so I broke the weld on the cage holding the hidden nut that is trapped inside two layers of the unibody by the drivers footwell. I did NOT realize this at the time. I spent a few hours removing the rusted, disintegrated remains of the original mounts. Initially I just used a hammer and chisel to remove most of the metal and rubber. But the metal parts of the mounts were wedged into the subframe and I couldn't pry them out. After awkwardly fighting it for hours, laying on my back with limited clearance, I ended up using my angle grinder and cutting at the stuck metal pieces. Finally I got it all removed, put the new pieces in place and tried to reassemble them. I couldn't get the parts to compress together, I fought it a while before realizing I hadn't removed all of the metal from the old mount, I thought it was metal from the subframe (I'm an idiot). I tried again to compress the mounts in place but I realized that the nut was spinning and I couldn't get to it to hold it in place! I was many many hours into the project at this point, spread out over weeks of time (vacations and other projects like my 1991 speedboat kept interrupting ) so I dejectedly gave up for a few weeks and left the car in the garage. Eventually I found a thread somewhere here describing how a guy had to cut through the floor to get to the nut. So, without knowing really what I was doing I cut through the carpet and insulation, cut and pried back a few-inch-square piece of floorboard (wow it was thin metal! I've never cut a floorboard before, I just assumed it would be thicker metal), and saw the busted cage around the nut. (see pic of floorboard hole, with broken nut cage removed) Even though the passenger side cage hadn't broken, I still cut through the floor on that side just to see for myself, I figured what the heck I'm already a bajillion hours into this project. It gets worse. (Did I mention I can make an easy project into a nightmare?). Since I still couldn't get the two subframe mount halves to compress together, I found out from a Youtube video that I needed a longer bolt. But the longer bolts I bought weren't threaded all the way like the bolts that came with the mounts, and when I finally got everything back together (yay?) I didn't realize that I had just tightened the nut down to the end of the threads and it wasn't compressing the rubber mount fully. So I drove it for a few days, but the steering was even worse because the whole subframe was shifting around. I didn't realize why and thought that I'd screwed up the steering rack when I lowered the subframe. Back in the garage it went. Also I didn't realize that when you replace subframe mounts then the alignment gets screwed up so my steering was off center even worse. And with the variable assist steering on my Oldsmobile it feels weird driving with the wheel a few degrees off because the progressive assist doesn't match the on-center steering. Anyway . . . I eventually realized that maybe I should check if the subframe was tightened properly. When I checked, I could tell the bolts didn't feel tight (because the rubber had compressed more) so I tried to tighten them, couldn't (because the nut was at the end of the threads), and then FINALLY realized what was up, added more washers to allow the bolt to draw up the subframe mounts properly, adjusted my tie-rods again to center the steering wheel, and now four months later it's fixed! I've driven for a couple hundred miles and it's driving better than it has in years. I need to patch up the holes in the floorboards, currently I just bent the metal flaps I cut back into place and loosely covered with the carpet and insulation I cut out. It's all hidden under my floormats for now, but I need to spray primer on the cut metal to slow the rusting and seal it up better for water and fire protection. Looking back on the project, I can see many places where I wasted time with the wrong tools, misdiagnosed issues, stupid decisions, and other things I didn't put into this already too-long post. I spent 50+ hours of my life, lost a summer of top-down cruising, and saved . . .a few hundred dollars of mechanic charges maybe? A smart mechanic could have done the whole project much more simply, in a couple hours on a lift with the right tools and expertise. I know that doesn't seem like it's worth it, but it's the principal of fixing it all myself and keeping the car forever. Anyway, that's my story of the summer of 2019 with my vert, on my back in the garage instead of out in the sunshine. Oh well, she's back on daily driver duty, just in time for the fall rainy season. I wonder what will break next. . .
  9. Thanks for the tip, I will definitely check on mine.
  10. I replaced my drivers side hub last weekend, it seemed to help quite a bit for the noise. The previous hub last less than 20k miles, it was a Timken, I used a Moog this time, but I think that maybe driving for a little while with bad alignment after my repairs killed the bearings. This hub replacement is at least the 6th wheel bearing I've replaced on this car, but from what I've read that isn't very unusual for a high-mileage first-gen. (A few years ago I used one of my old hubs to make a swivel seat on my children's backyard play structure. I've saved a few of the other bad hubs, I have crazy dreams of using them for barstool swivels or for a super-strong Lazy Susan kitchen cabinet, etc.) Next step is to get the tie-rods adjusted to perfectly center the steering wheel. And run a couple tanks of gas through it to check the mpg.
  11. I re-used my headliner. It wasn't torn, it was just a little faded which I didn't care about. My headliner has also slightly shrunk so the side velcro pieces don't quite mate with the velcro pieces on my latches, but it's only mildly annoying and could be rectified without buying a new headliner.
  12. Age is relative. When I was in high school in 1992, I was driving a 1972 Chevelle and I thought it was an "old" car because it was 20 years old and older than most of my friends' cars. Now my '95 vert is 24 years old, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that young people think it's old and don't know what it is. Unfortunately my vert is back in my garage, even though I changed the wheel bearing it still sounds bad. There are multiple sounds going on, I need to do some investigating before driving it again. I'm suspicious of (in no particular order): 1. The transmission mount (slight clunk when shifting from Park, the bottom motor mount is new last year but I've never changed the transmission mount) 2. The other three wheel bearings (I've changed them all in the last few years, but the new humming wasn't eliminated when I rotated the tires and changed the front passenger side wheel bearing this year). 3. The transmission itself (assuming #1 and #2 don't fix all the sounds). Having the driver's axle yanked out while at speed last fall couldn't have been good for it. The axle seal doesn't leak with the new axle and it shifts fine, but if it's not the the wheel bearing or the tires humming/whirring, then maybe it's the transmission? I've had wheel bearings go bad on me a few times before, but this time it sounds a little different and doesn't change as much while cornering. 4. The alignment is still off, the steering wheel wasn't straight after that kid aligned it the first time, I adjusted both tie rod ends at home afterwards to straighten the wheel but it's still not perfect and it seems to pull to the right a little. I should just pay the money for a good shop to align it instead of the cheap place. 5. The brakes (there's a periodic sound with each wheel rotation, a dragging brake might be combining with the bad alignment to cause the drift, but the wheels aren't warm after driving). 6. The steering rack. The steering wheel hasn't "felt" right since I replaced everything over the winter. I thought that the new tie rods would make the steering feel tighter, and it does a little, but it just feels "off" now. The steering "weight" feels inconsistent now, to the point it makes me worried while cornering sometimes. I don't have the time or money to replace the steering rack this summer, maybe next winter I will. Power steering fluid level is ok, pump is quiet. Of course all of these could be diagnosed by a professional, and if I can't figure it out myself I may have to do that. I just have a hard time paying someone else to do stuff that I think (key word, "think") I should be able to do myself. I figure a mechanic would check out my car and basically just say "yeah everything is worn out on this old thing, plus what the hell did you do to it!?", lol. I'm honestly embarrassed to bring my 'vert to a mechanic, but that's a me problem not a car problem. Did I mention the mpg are down about 5%? That could be related, or could be something else. I'm not too worried about it, I'm guessing that whatever is making the sounds is probably affecting the mpg. Or it could be the bad EGR, but that's another discussion for another day . . .
  13. I've got a build thread on here from when I replaced the top on my 95, you might have already seen it. I would also recommend focusing on the rear tack strip. When the top is up, there is a lot of tension on that strip. When I first assembled my new top, it started to pull out of the tack strip and I had to pull out the staples, reposition the top, and add more staples. There's a section on each rear corner where the top and rear curtain overlap and you need to make sure that is stapled very well. Don't skimp on the staples, they're cheap! For a stapler, I used an electric stapler that I got from It's an Arrow T50ACD stapler. Make sure to use stainless staples. The electric stapler worked well, but for the rear corner overlap sections you have to push in hard to make sure the staple gets seated into the tack strip. Maybe you could use longer staples for the sections where the top material is folded or overlaps, and the staples have to go through multiple layers of canvas. I did NOT replace my rear tack strip, even though it came in the kit I bought. I probably should have replaced it, though, it probably would have reduced the problems I had getting my top to attach at the rear. I still have a bunch of pictures I took during my project, if you have any questions or problems post on here and I might have some advice. I should admit thought that my new top still leaks at the A-pillar corners, I need to do something about the rubber seal there, my initial fix has not worked well. Did you get installation instructions with your top? If not I could send you some relevant pages from the installation manual I have.
  14. "reasonably priced" and "quality work" is a difficult combo to find. When my top needed replacement a couple years ago, I shopped around but found that the "quality" shops focused on high-end cars and were far too much money, and the one place I found that was "reasonable" seemed sketchy. I ended up replacing it myself. It took me many long hours, and isn't perfect, but I don't regret it. A bunch of us here have done it ourselves and there are many posts about it, it's definitely doable even for an inexperienced person. The replacement tops come with decent instructions, and there are Oldsmobile service manuals out there that give additional details (I'll let you borrow mine). Whether you do it yourself or pay a shop thousands of dollars, tell us about it and post before-and-after pictures.
  15. That sucks! Post a picture if you can. If you can't fix it, then I'd recommend buying a replacement mirror off of a nationwide salvage yard website like I found one on the site from a black 1995 vert, they even have pictures of the car. I've done it before and the parts have been ok. You have to pay for shipping, but it's not too bad. With a painted part you have to expect some scratches or peeling clear coat, but on an older vert the side mirrors are probably due for a repaint anyway (I know mine are!).
  16. Got the alignment done today at a new alignment shop near me. It's a tiny place with a single bay. It's run by a young guy in his 20's, I think it's a spin-off of the tire shop next door. Anyway, when I pull in he looks at my vert and says "what kind of car IS that?". I tell him and he says "oh, I've never done an alignment on an Oldsmobile before". Wow. He said he'd been doing alignments for a year, so that's hundreds of cars. Here in Gresham Oregon, Oldsmobiles are not common and it's mostly Asian cars or pickup trucks. I still see Oldsmobiles running around, but I think they are mostly being driven into the ground by the fourth owners and they wouldn't bother getting them aligned. Side note: I noticed that sitting all winter caused my rear caliper to drag, and it sounds like a front wheel bearing is making noise, as I feared. Oh well, the battle continues. . .
  17. Yeah I've replaced all four hubs over the years already. The 12 and 6 method has never worked for me, I've never been able to feel any movement with the car jacked up, even on the hubs where I've heard the humming/roaring sound.
  18. She's back on the road! After a long winter of fighting rusty bolts, I finally got her back together yesterday. I carefully drove her around the block once, and she seemed to drive and shift fine. I haven't noticed any leaks from the transmission or the brake lines. I'll try a longer drive tonight after work and see how it goes. Parts replaced: Passenger side only: Axle. Both sides: Control arms, tie rods (inner and outer), ball joints, flex brake lines. Parts saved: Fender (I straightened the bent lip). Wheel well trim and lower cladding were slightly damaged but I reinstalled them. TBD: Passenger front tire and hub. The tire held air all winter, but I need to drive at higher speeds and go around corners to evaluate the hub and tire. Total cost: About $400 including tools. Time spent: I don't want to think about it, probably 50+ hours if you count watching videos and buying tools. It doesn't sound like much, but I found ways to make the project take forever. It was my first time doing any of these jobs on any car, so it was a slow learning curve to figure out what technique to use. I often would only have two or three hours a week to work on it, so it dragged on and on. I tried to save money by using the wrong tool for the job a few times, which just ended up with wasted time and frustration until I would give up and drive to the store and buy the right tool. Once I had the right tool and the right technique, each job wasn't bad. Moral of the story: Buy the right tool!
  19. I don't actually know if the A-arm bushings were worn out. I just figured that since I was taking everything apart that this was my chance to put new ones on. After 24 years and 225k miles, I figured that any rubber in the suspension would be due for replacement. But I've never done control arms before, and if I would have realized how much of a pain it was to replace I probably wouldn't have done it. I probably won't notice any difference in the handling, but if I DIDN'T replace the control arms, then I'd always wonder "what if". The steering has been a little sloppy, but that's probably due to the tie rods and the fact that it's a convertible w-body.
  20. I've got the passenger side done, but the control arm bolts were seized to the bushing sleeves on the driver's side. Penetrating oil and many swings of a sledgehammer worked on the passenger side bolts, but that wasn't enough for the drivers side so I gave up and had to cut the bolts. One problem I ran into was that was my Ryobi battery-powered sawzall has a long body and I couldn't get a very good angle for one of the cuts that's closest to the axle, I kept bending the saw blades. So I had to use my angle grinder and cut off chunks of the control arm until I had enough clearance to get all the way through the bolt. I had to make multiple cuts before it finally cut through (and I get a little nervous with showers of sparks from the angle grinder landing on an oil-covered engine) but I finally got it out of there. Now all I have left to do is the drivers side tie rod, install new brake lines, torque all the new bolts, refill the transmission, clean off the leaked transmission oil from the exhaust (because I don't want to smell that or start a fire) and hope it starts and runs. I'm guessing I'll get it done by early March.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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?
  24. 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.
  25. 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
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