The Gray Lady

Owner Diary

CLC Member  Card 55 

Cad   Certified 


This page presents an ongoing account of the joys/travails of maintaining stewardship over The Gray Lady


2 Mar 2009 - The Gray Lady is spotted for the first time online, and the pursuit begins

3-5 Mar 2009 - Several email and telephone conversations with seller

6 Mar 2009 - Review 106 photos of car

7 Mar 2009 - Decide to "do the deal," on condition seller end online auction (he agrees)

8 Mar 2009 - BUY 2 sets of AC NOS spark plugs

10 Mar 2009 - Book enclosed transport.  BUY factory 1954 Shop Manual/1955 Supplement (Reprints), Motor's Repair Manual.

15 Mar 2009 - BUY Chilton's 1955 Repair Manual

17 Mar 2009 - Broker fired as never found carrier.  Went to 2d choice.

19 Mar 2009 - Transport confirmed

22 Mar 2009 - BUY 2 sets of GM key blanks

23 Mar 2009 - Carrier picks up car

25 Mar 2009 - Carrier delivers car in Milwaukee and she is driven to her new abode (She fits into garage with absolutely no room to spare!   In fact, had to decrease workbench depth to squeeze her in!

1 Apr 2009 - BUY 6 Cadillac crests (small) for possible use on seat belt buckles 

4 Apr 2009 - WI Weather finally breaks for a day, permitting detailed inspection

Findings  Not working:  Headlights, windshield wipers, fog lamps, up/down power seat function, heat riser, passenger door interior handle.  Small oil leak on rt. side of engine.  Carburetor still has oil bath air cleaner.

5 Apr 2009 - BUY NOS sun visor mirror

7 Apr 2009 - BUY spare autronic eye amplifier unit, 5 sets of gray seat belts, 6 Cadillac crests (large) for seat belt buckles, Cadillac Heritage of Ownership Grille Medallion (#I), print color ad showing The Gray Lady

8 Apr 2009 - BUY 1955 Cadillac digital manuals, 3 x 5 Cadillac flag, hood pad, original factory 1955 Cadillac shop manual supplement

9 Apr 2009 - BUY Repro NOS Day/Night Rear View Mirror

11 Apr 2009 - BUY original Fisher Body 1955 Cadillac Service Manual, tail light lenses, backup lenses, battery post felts, Cadillac Service decal, pair of bottomdoor drain seals, owner ID card holder, door bumper set, glove box decal, paper air filter conversion kit. 

18 Apr 2009 - Attend first meeting of local Cadillac-LaSalle Club.  Take The Gray Lady.  Solicit advice after meeting on problems.  Member gives wipers a helping hand (manual assist) after being turned on, and they operate.  Problem is, now they do not shut off! 

Diagnose/Repair headlight problem.  Turns out it was corroded connections on the power relay between foot switch and Autronic Eye amplifier box.  Disconnect vacuum line to wipers to get them to stop.  Find it more than strange that factory manuals have no reference whatsoever to windshield wipers?  Post message on Cad-LaSalle fourm for wiper help.  Install Cadillac Heritage of Ownership Grille Badge.  Install sun visor mirror.  BUY - original factory 1954 Cadillac shop manual.

19 Apr 2009 (0300 Hrs.) - Go live with The Gray Lady web site

20 Apr 2009 - Reduce original size of pics on web site to shorten download times 

21 Apr 2009 - Post question on CLC Forum re wonder bar radio foot switch plug availability, as found switch

26 Apr 2009 - ADD  web site page on the Cadillac sabre-spoke wheel option

29 Apr 2009 - Post a query on the CLC Forum on 27 Apr about a source for a factory front license plate holder.  Today, I get an email from a fellow member the same is on its way to me, for free!  Can there be any doubt there are benefits to belonging to a car club supporting your favorite marque?  There are none, in my mind!

ADD Kelsey-Hayes pages to web site.
ADD web site page discussing mysterious factory codes

3 May 2009 - Finally got a combination of good weather and the time to tend to The Gray Lady a bit.  I had boxes of items awaiting installation.  Some routine items also received attention:

Checked/Filled radiator (it was 1/2 g. low)
Tightened loose heater hose clamp (in hopes of addressing the coolant loss)  It did!
Checked battery levels; posts cleaned and felts installed
Installed plastic cover for underhood Owner ID Card
Retrofit oil bath air cleaner with paper element
Tightened valve cover screws
Treated heat riser with Power Blaster
Installed new tail light and back up light lenses on driver side
Installed new rear view mirror
Installed missing door bumper pad on driver door
Hung 3 x 5 Cadillac flag in car barn
Placed Cadillac Certified Craftsman sign in lift bay
Mounted Cadillac Authorized Service decal on lift bay wall

9 May 2009 - Add web site pages on Autronic Eye

16-17 May 2009 - Install Rear Window Quarter Seals  (See:  Installation Tip on "Honey Do" List page)
                              Fabricate/Sand/Paint/Install Front License Plate Bracket
                              Cleaned, waxed, installed full disk hupcap on spare tire
                              (Fired up the Olds after a long winter nap)
                              (Brought the Corvair home from winter storage)
                              The 3-stall car barn now has 4 vehicles in it
                              The Olds is up on the lift, and the Vair parked underneath it

25 May 2009 - Clean/Gap spark plugs
                          Install chrome exhaust tips to extend beyond bumper ports 1"

30-31 May 2009 - Buy points/rotor/condenser/oil filter (3) at NAPA
                               Install power steering pump cover gasket
                               Install front seat belts and mount Cadillac crests on buckles

12 Jun 2009 - Purchase Kent-Moore Model 10 Autronic Eye Test Instrument

19 Jun 2009 - Begin online 1955 Cadillac Repair Library

3 Jul 2009 - Neighbor presents me with a Milw. Fire Dept. wheel chock; made for me after hearing "horror story" of car taking off on own!

14 Jul 2009 - Apply to DMV for title and plates via mail.  The efficiency of WI DMV is exhibited in all its glory, as title/plates finally received on 12 Sep 2009!

1 Aug 2009 - Inspect Kent-Moore Model 10 AE Tester.  Battery contacts corroded and no longer attached to case.  Will have to rehab unit.

11 Sep 2009 - Added Rochester Carburetor Manuals to 1955 Cadillac Repair Library

13 Sep 2009 - Install NORS hood pad (with vinyl covering), using 3M 77 Spray Adhesive.  SEE PIC

26 Sep 2009 - Drill drain ports in exhaust tail pipe extensions.

Diagnose/Repair cold start, rough idle problem:

PROBLEM - When cold engine is fired up it does not take gas.  Unable to accelerate without engine bogging down to point of dieing.  Once engine warms, idles and accelerates fine.  Is either getting too much, or not enough, gas.  Suggestions were to look at choke and carburetor accelerator pump.

Inspection of non-running cold engine (after having been shut off warm the day before) shows butterfly to be wide  open.  Depressing gas pedal once closes butterfly.  Activating accelerator pump results in a weak dribble of gas, instead of the squirting of a strong stream of fuel.  Throttle linkage exhibits slight obstruction/resistance?

Automatic choke disassembled, cleaned and adjusted.  It appeared to me to be set too tight.  Specs call for a .040 clearance between butterfly and carb body when plate is closed.  Choke (hot air) tube removed and blown out with compressed air.  Butterfly plate and shafts, and linkage cleaned.

Car now starts far easier, and runs much smoother when engine is cold.  Cold acceleration is much better, but still not 100%.  Appears next step is a rebuild of carb?  [May 2010 rebuild of carb did the trick!]

30 Sep 2009 - Rochester Carb Rebuild Kit ordered from Daytona Parts Co. (Rec'd. on 5 Oct).  It sure has a lot of small parts in it!

20 Mar 2010 - The spare tire now sports a sabre rim, instead of a red steel wheel.  In remounting the spare tire it was learned the bias ply tires have tubes in them.

28 Mar 2010 - Believe it or not a year after being purchased, the gas tank of The Gray Lady was filled for the first time.  It cost a mere $50.54!  Unfortunately, filling the tank reveals it has a leak, somewhere in the top half.  I have yet to investigate it and am hopeful it may be something as simple as a rubber hose or line?

15 May 2010 - Begin, finally, rebuild of carb.  Once completed, I still have a part (check ball) left unused?  Add glass bowl type fuel filter as part of rebuild.  Car does run after rebuild even though check ball not used?  Very next day, car will not start?  Daytona Parts (maker of rebuild kit) answers email re:  location of check ball not installed.  Carb removed and missing check ball installed in accelerator pump well.  Car still will not start?  Inspection of distributor reveals cap not installed properly, rotor destroyed and cap munged up.  New points, condenser, rotor, cap and plugs installed.  Car fires and runs like it should!

31 May 2010 - Gas tank leak located.  It is leaking from the gasket on the sending unit.  Sending unit screws tightened.  Oil/filter change and lube job performed.  14 months after acquisition, The Gray Lady is finally ready for the road and to be insured!

13 June 2010 - The Gray Lady gets her first bath.  Washing the car makes one appreciate how really big she is.  I am not able to reach to the middle of the roof while standing on the ground, and the rear quarter panels/fenders seem to go on and on!.

17 June 2013 - The Gray Lady goes into the shop for repairs.  Brake system redone with new wheel cylinders, rebuild of master cylinder, rebuild of heater control valve, replacement of heater control cables and resolution of engine stutter from takeoff.  Car returned to car barn on 8 Oct 2013.

26 March 2015 - The Gray Lady is listed for sale online at multiple sites.

17 May 2015 - The Gray Lady is sold to Bill's Backyard Classics.

7 July 2015 - The Gray Lady departs the Yaros Car Barn for the final time, enroute to Bill's Backyard Classics in Amarillo, TX.


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Created 19 Apr 2009 - 00:16:08 Hrs. / Updated 20 Feb 2016 13:38:16 Hrs. 

Copyright 2009-2016, G. David Yaros.  All rights reserved.