G-Body Tips and TricksHere are a few tips and tricks I've learned working on G-Body Cutlass'.They may save you some time, money, and aggravation, or may make your Cutlass just a little more liveable, so I wrote them down. The heterogenous nature of these defies sorting or indexing, so you'll have to read them all!
Rust normally begins at the bottom of the doors and at the rear frame rails. Here's a ritual you should perform with every "spring cleaning", and possibly periodically throughout the winter if you live in a nasty-weather area.
Blast off the car's underbody with a hose or pressure washer. Pay special attention to the wheel wells, inside the front and rear bumpers,and the frame around the rear wheels. There are holes in the frame back there, try to flush some water through the holes. When through,check that the drain holes at the bottom of the doors are all clear of debris, a pipe cleaner works good. Drive the car for a bit to dry it out, don't let it sit indefinitely or the water you just used could pool in the doors, frame, etc.
If your windows are creaking or having a tough time sealing, I've had the best luck softening the weatherstripping with either Meguiar's #40 Vinyl and Leather conditioner, or simply wiping them down with synthetic motor oil. Sounds weird, but the oil soaks in and isn't oily to the touch after a day.
If your doors are sagging (hard to close, not centered against the striker, gaps at the top of the windows), the ideal solution is new hinge pins, but you can also simply move the door. Loosen the bolts holding the hinges against the car and move the bottom one backwards a hair. Make sure you have a floor jack or something under the door,or a couple of big friends.
If you have a Hurst/Olds, WATCH YOUR WINGTIPS! The "tips" of the rear wing are just epoxied on. These commonly fall off. Replacements are NOT available, you have to buy the whole rear wing (if you can find one), or an aftermarket replacement. If yours are loose or the seam is cracked, I recommend re-epoxying them. Whether you break them off, saw them off, or just patch the crack without removing it will have to be your call based on their condition. When my car was repainted I cut the old epoxy out of the seam with a dremel tool heavy duty cutoff wheel and then just filled it in with new epoxy.
Removing the stripes for a restoration or repaint is best accomplished by warming them slightly (leave car in the sun, or use a hair dryer or a heat gun on low). You may need to get it started with a sharp razor blade (careful not to gouge the metal). Too cold and they break every inch of peeling, too warm and they stretch and break and leave too much adhesive residue behind. Go slowly! To removethe adhesive, use 3M adhesive remover either on a rag (easier on the finish)or on a fine scotch-brite pad (MUCH quicker, but don't do this unless you're repainting, it'll leave fine scratches).
If your dash is too dim, try replacing the #194 bulbswith #168 bulbs. They are a little brighter, but have a shorter average life (1500 hours, still a lot). #192 bulbs are between the #194 and#168 in both brightness and life span, but I haven't had luck finding any. (Thanks to Steve Ochs for this tip!)
If you added some aftermarket gauges and they don't look quite right when lit up as compared to the stock ones, that's because the inside of the stock gauges are painted a baby blue to create a more naturallight spectrum. As a fix, you can put a blue "mood" bulb (these are available at most chain parts stores) in your aftermarket gauge. Scrape off about half of the blue coating with a pocket knife until the gauge looks right.
I've found the best traction, handling and tire life with 32psi in the front and 28psi in the rear. This may vary with the size and brand of tire and your particular weight distribution.
Vinegar is the best thing for cleaning water spots from windows. Really, this isn't an old wives tale. Vinegar is acidic, water spots are basic (mostly calcium). Most soaps are also basic and don't do anything, but vinegar neutralizes it. That's why you clean coffee makers with vinegar.
When changing the oil filter on an Olds engine, you can fill the filter with oil before you screw it onto the engine. This saves a few seconds of the engine running with no oil pressure as it fills the filter.
If you look, there is a "Low Fuel" indicator in the dash already. It was never an option from the factory, but you can make your Low Fuel light work. I did with mine. Here's what you'll need to hook one up to your Rallye Gauge cluster:
Looking down on the bulb contained in the circuit board assembly, you'll see three terminals. One at 12:00, one at 6:00 and one at about 9:00.12:00 goes to +12v ignition switched. 6:00 goes to ground. 9:00 goes to the fuel sending unit. The hole in the back of the rallye gauge cluster already has the +12v supplied (the bottom of the socket), but the other end goes to a vacant pin. Follow the 6:00 and 9:00 terminals through to the bottom of the circuit board and note where they're soldered on. Solder your two 6" wires to these two points (one each).
- GM Part #6432974, Low Fuel circuit board from a Buick Rivera. About $35 from GM, cheaper from the junkyard, but sorry, I don't know what year of Buick it is. Mid 80's I'd guess. This is about a 1.5" square circuit board with a light socket on it.
- Two 6" small gauge wires (18 or 20 gauge should be plenty) with small ring terminals crimped on the ends.
- A soldering Iron
- And your gauge cluster, removed from the car. Click here if you need to know how to remove yours.
Now, plug it into the open socket on the back of the gauge cluster, making sure the terminal that was at 12:00 looking down on the circuit board goes to the bottom of the socket. Now look at the terminals onthe lower right of the back of the gauge cluster. From the bottom right they're numbered starting at 1 and going around clockwise. Pin 2 is ground and pin 3 is the fuel sending unit. Find pin 2 and follow the circuit trace until you come to a nut. Attach the ring terminal you soldered to the 6:00 lead to this nut. Find pin 3 and follow the trace until you come to a nut. Attach the ring terminal you soldered to the 9:00 lead to this nut.
Reinstall the rallye pack and you're set to go! My light goes on when the needle is about mid-way in the orange part. The good part about this is that you're not doing any modifications to the gauge cluster itself. Pop the circuit board out of the socket and unscrew the two terminals and it's as good as new, and you're free to move it to another car.
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