1976 Superior 54XL Restoration Log

Jean-Marc Dugas

PCS Member
I will post the progress of the restoration of my 1976 Superior 54XL here so that others can follow along. She spent the winter at the body shop for minor repair work and got a new coat of orange paint as well as the white below the orange.

Before sending her to the body shop, I removed as much as I could from the interior to allow the shop easy access to the inside of the panels, doors, etc.

Now that she is back home, the process of putting her back together starts.
 

Jean-Marc Dugas

PCS Member
Today I started to work on the belt trim and front fender arrow trim. The plan is to secure each end of each piece of trim using the NAPA 665-1141 Universal Moulding clip and the Auveco 13189 Moulding Clips in between.

The first hurdle was that the holes for the Auveco Moulding Clips were too small. I had to drill all of the holes where these clips are going to be used to 1/4" so that they can be inserted properly. In order to prevent rust, I used a small wood dowel dipped into rust paint to coat the metal exposed by the drilling process. I will let everything dry thoroughly and get back to it another day. This was done on the side doors and rear quarter panels. The front fenders where the arrow trim goes did not need to be modified.

After scraping some old paint off the arrow trim, they were put back in place with the NAPA clips at each end and the Auveco clips in the middle.Arrow Trim.jpgAuveco Clip - Good Size Hole.jpgAuveco Clip - Small Size Hole.jpgAuveco Moulding Clip 13189 (1).jpgAuveco Moulding Clip 13189 (2).jpgNAPA Moulding Clip 665-141 (1).jpgNAPA Moulding Clip 665-141 (2).jpg
 

Jean-Marc Dugas

PCS Member
Today was a rainy day so I decided to tackle The Great Superior Electrical Puzzle. I started last year, but now that the cabinets and the squad bench have been removed I have greater access to the wiring of the patient's compartment. The goal is to identify every wire, check the grounds, replace what is loose or corroded and clean the connections. As you will see in one of the pictures, one of the wires that go through one of the driver's side ribs is a little frayed.

One issue I fixed was the inoperable loading light. The cause was simple, the hot wire was only about 2 inches long. It was cit and never replaced.

For some reason, the Status Panel Switches are lit up all the time and the Status Lights in the cab area are always dimly lit. THere must be an issue with a ground somewhere. One more thing on the to-do list.

Also in order to test the door ajar circuit and all of the lights that turn on when the doors are open, I will have to go and purchase new plunger-type door switches to replace the Superior ones. I still plan on repairing the Superior switches thanks to Ed's tutorial, but that will have to wait a little later.

Things always get worse before they get better, so do not mind the mess in the photos. Oh yes, I also found a mouse nest in the headliner and a dead occupant. This is dead mouse #2 in this car.Day 2 - Frayed Wire.jpgDay 2 - Rear Loading Light.jpgDay 2 - Status Panel Issue.jpgDay 2 - Wire Tag.jpgDay 2 - Wires Rear Loading Door Driver Side.jpgDay 2 - Wires Rear Loading Door Passenger Side.jpgDay 2 - Wires Rear Passenger Side Wheel Well.jpgDay 2 - Wires Squad Bench Area.jpgDay 2 - Messy Work Area.jpg
 

Jean-Marc Dugas

PCS Member
Today the plan was to replace the trim on the hood. Anything else was a bonus.

The order in which the center and the back trim pieces go is important. The reason I know is that I installed them backward at first. The back trim goes first. It just slides in and then I tapped it in place with a rubber mallet. Next, the two-part center trim goes on loosely. The front pointed center trim slides into the longer rear center trim. You got to give yourself enough room to slide one into the other. The trick is not to install the speed nut until everything is aligned properly.

The Cadillac emblem is a reproduction. The original was getting all discolored. When I installed the reproduction, it was crooked. The alignment pin on the reproduction is dead center on the emblem. The original emblem alignment pin was slightly off to the side, therefore the holes on the hood matched the original emblem. The question then becomes do I drill the centering hole to fit the reproduction centering pin or do I cut the centering pin. I opted for option 2. If the emblem moves, I’ll add 2-sided automotive tape to secure it in place.

The vines are also reproductions and were a perfect fit, but the speed nut shafts are smaller than any other speed nut shafts I have seen so far on the car. Thankfully I have a good system to bag and box everything I removed, so I found the original vines, removed the smaller speed nuts and everything is now solidly in place.

Bonus install today include the fiber optic status lights at either end of the front fenders and the long whip antennae at the rear of the car.

Overall, a productive day.Day 3 - Antenae Mount Inside.jpgDay 3 - Antenae Mount Outside.jpgDay 3 - Fiber Op Status Lights.jpgDay 3 - Front No Trim.jpgDay 3 - Hood With Trim.jpgDay 3 - Rear Hood Trim.jpgDay 3 - Trim 2.jpgDay 3 - Trim.jpg
 

Jean-Marc Dugas

PCS Member
Odds and ends kinda day.

First, I decided to clean up the Superior switches to see if that would resolve the connectivity issues. A little bit of WD40, worked the switches on/of many times, and then like magic they now all work. Go figure. Start with the simple solution before you take them all apart or go purchase a whole new set. So, I installed the switches that control the footwell light on the side loading door and the one that controls the rear ceiling light and exterior loading light when you open the rear loading door. Just a reminder, the GM (I assume) rectangular ceiling lights have tabs at the end of each long side, so to remove them, just insert a small flat screwdriver in those areas, apply light pressure and they come off easily.

Then I installed the locks in the driver and passenger side doors. This went without a hitch.

The door ajar light has not been working since I got the car, so I thought this would be a good time to tackle this problem now that I have working door switches. I identified the door ajar wires from each of the 3 Superior doors (Side and rear-loading doors and the spare tire compartment door) up to the bulkhead and then it started to rain, so that is where this project stopped since I would have to be ½ in the car and ½ out of the car to trace the wires under the dash to the door ajar light and relay.

The next little project was to reinstall the belt trim around the car. I got the driver side done, but man, my bright idea of having the NAPA Universal Moulding Clips at the end of each moulding section resulted in a lot of swearing. First, the mounting hole for the moulding clip at the far rear of the car is in one of those inaccessible places where you need 2 extra joints in your forearm to reach. My fat arm looks as if it was in a battle with a rabid cat from all the scratches from the booby trap pieces of Superior metal that were in the way. In total, I lost 2 speed nuts, one socket, and one wrench in the bowels of the driver-side rear quarter panel. I finally fixed the problem of losing tools by tying a string to the wrench I was using. This solved the losing tools problem. Almost 45 minutes later the speed nut was finally tight.

The rest of the trim went on without major issues until I stepped back to admire my work and noticed that the trim at the back of the driver’s door does not line up with the trim in the front of the spare tire door. The problem is that the Universal Moulding Clips are not centered on the trim and more than likely the moulding clip at the end of one piece of trim is on one side of the trim and the one at the other end of the other piece of trim is on the other end, accentuating the misalignment. I cringe thinking of having to remove the trim that fits so tightly in place without bending it to fix this stupid problem. Will be going for a trip to NAPA tomorrow to find a clip that centers properly on the moulding.

Finally, I tested the emergency lights only to find out that one of the side red seal beams is cracked and burned out. Time to go hunting for one of those.
Day 4 - Burned out red seal beam.jpgDay 4 - Ceiling Light.jpgDay 4 - Misaligned Trim 02.jpgDay 4 - Misaligned Trim 03.jpgDay 4 - Misaligned Trim Stud 01.jpgDay 4 - Misaligned Trim.jpgDay 4 - Moulding Bracket Stud Behine there Somewhere.jpgDay 4 - String on a Tool.jpgDay 4 - Superior Door Switch.jpgDay 4 - Trim Moulding Bracket Stud 01.jpg
That’s all for today!
 

Jean-Marc Dugas

PCS Member
Today's weather is cold, wet, and just overall miserable. No actual work was done on the car, but I spent time starting a wiring diagram for the main panel based on a little bit of work tracing wires yesterday. Not as fancy as the fancy stuff, but it will work for me.Main Panel 02.jpgMain Panel 01.jpg
 

Attachments

  • Control Panel Diagram Draft 3.pdf
    19.4 KB · Views: 6
  • Control Panel Diagram Draft 3A.pdf
    19.4 KB · Views: 3

Tim Prieur

PCS Member
I recognize that back panel. Well done J-M on sorting all those wires out. Now, just need to find a siren brake switch that will fit in the panel. I was not able to accomplish that task.
 

Jean-Marc Dugas

PCS Member
This weekend was definitely not as productive as I would have wanted in regards to working on the ambulance, but I got a few little things done.
In order to minimize water infiltration in the rear quarter panels, I put some flexible exterior caulking on the seam on top of the rear quarter panels Day 5 - Ambulance Sign Lightes 01.jpgDay 5 - Ambulance Sign Lightes 02.jpgDay 5 - Ambulance Sign New Gasket.jpgDay 5 - Ambulance Sign Reinstaled.jpgDay 5 - Driver Side Fender Skirt.jpgDay 5 - Quarter Panel Caucking 01.jpgDay 5 - Quarter Panel Caucking 02.jpgas well as in the rivet holes. All of this will be hidden once I reinstall the molding.

I also removed the front ambulance sign as I believe that my water problem may come from there. The gasket was brittle and many of the screws were loose. I went to the store and purchased some number 8 screws, I believe the screws that were there previously were number 6, and some foam gasket material. I reinstalled everything and there are still two screws that are not grabbing the fiberglass. I will be putting a new ambulance sign soon to replace this one as it is cracked so I will fix that problem at that time.

Finally, I reinstalled the fender skirts, or should I say one of them. The fender skirt on the passenger side does not fit at all anymore. This may be because I backed up the car on it while it was on the ground. There is no video evidence therefore I will deny this if anybody brings that up as a plausible cause of the somewhat flattened fender skirt.

Hopefully, the weather will warm up eventually so that it will be more pleasant to work on the car.
 

Jean-Marc Dugas

PCS Member
The rear bumper outer end assemblies need a little attention. There is some overspray on them from previous paint jobs and they are starting to rust from the inside, so before putting them back in place they will get a little makeover. After taking the assembly apart I used a degreaser and some detergent to clean them out. Tonight I worked on the base plate using a flat screwdriver and a small wire brush to clean off any loose rust and finally applied a couple of coats of rust converter. I'll apply some more rust converter in the morning and I will paint the underside with rust paint tomorrow evening in an effort to stop them from rusting out from the inside. Hopefully, by the end of the week, I will have done the two main outer end pieces so that I can reassemble everything on the weekend.


Rear Bumper Outer End Assembly 01.jpgRear Bumper Outer End Base Plate 01.jpgRear Bumper Outer End Base Plate 02.jpgRear Bumper Outer End Base Plate 03.jpgRear Bumper Outer End Base Plate 04.jpgRear Bumper Outer End Assembly 01.jpgRear Bumper Outer End Base Plate 01.jpgRear Bumper Outer End Base Plate 02.jpgRear Bumper Outer End Base Plate 03.jpgRear Bumper Outer End Base Plate 04.jpg
 

Jean-Marc Dugas

PCS Member
Painted the inside of the outer end base plate with antirust paint. Looks reasonably good.

I also finished cleaning the main outer end pieces and sprayed them with rust converter. It will be hard to make sure to coat the entire inside of these with rust paint. The upper half is like a labyrinth. I will not be able to reach all of the corners with the brush so I think spray paint will be the only solution. This means that I will have to mask the entire outside to avoid overspray. Not a big job, but a PIA non the less. So now the question is what do I do with the rest of the bumper. Since I am spending time with these outer end parts, might as well take the rear bumper off and do the same treatment.

Rear Bumper Outer End 02.jpgRear Bumper Outer End 03.jpgRear Bumper Outer End 04.jpgRear Bumper Outer End 05.jpgRear Bumper Outer End 06.jpgRear Bumper Outer End Base Plate 05.jpg Rear Bumper Outer End 01.jpg
 

Tim Prieur

PCS Member
J-M, hopefully the bumper will be in better shape. I replaced it about five years ago, as the original was badly rusted. The replacement came off a California car, and looked pretty clean at the time.
 

John ED Renstrom

PCS Member - Elected Director 2019-2022
Super Site Supporter
They get chemically striped in the plating process but not plated on the inside. So they would be clean on one from a dry climate but surface rust as soon ax it was moved to a damper one. First thing i do when i get them back is paint them on the inside.
 

Jean-Marc Dugas

PCS Member
Today we has sun, rain, hail, and snow, so I focused on things I can do in the garage. I installed the piece of cast aluminum trim on the driver-side door and removed the belt trim on the door as well so I can fix the issue of the misaligned moulding clips.

When test fitting the trim pieces at the rear of the car, the long arrow-like peak molding was a good fit, but the rear quarter casting was not. After looking at it from all angles I determined that the issue was most likely the caulking I placed last week. It was just too thick. I removed it all plus the old Superior caulking. The plan is now to reapply the caulking just before I install the rear quarter castings so that it can sink in the wet caulking and set in correctly.

Looking at the caulking in the general area revealed that it has dried and shrunk. That will have to be dealt with at a later date.

07 - Driver's door trim 01.jpg07 - Driver's door trim 02.jpg07 - Driver's rear trim 01.jpg07 - Driver's rear trim 02.jpg07 - Potential cause for wqter leak 01.jpg
 

Jean-Marc Dugas

PCS Member
Today was trim polishing and repair day.

I started with the easy stuff which was to do a little buffing on the door and rear quarter panel trim pieces. Next was to fix a bid dent and two smaller ones on the passenger side rear door lower window trim. That took about 4 hours!

I hammered the dents out using a small trim repair hammer and anvil as well as a flat and a Robertson screwdriver to get the dents pushed out so I could file them down. From there I used 400 grit sandpaper up to 1000 grit sandpaper to work the scuff marks out of the metal.

I finished by buffing the trim with the 3 buffing wheels and compound.

Now that that piece of trim is done, I may have to redo the other ones because all of the sanding and extra buffing make this piece look better than the others!!!

08 - Trim Damage 01.jpg08 - Trim Damage 02.jpg08 - Trim Damage Repair 01.jpg08 - Trim Damage Repair 02.jpg08 - Trim Damage Repair 03.jpg08 - Trim Repair and Polish Set-Up 01.jpg
 

Jean-Marc Dugas

PCS Member
A little bit of this, a little bit of that kinda day.

Following Ed's recommendations, I taped up the bumper ends and sprayed a generous coat of silver rust paint. I'll wipe down the exterior with paint thinner tomorrow. Hopefully, this will be the end of this part of the project.

I also received a sample of the rubberized pyramid flooring material. I am happy to say that it is a perfect match. I figure that I should have enough of 15 feet x 3 feet to replace the material currently in place. I'll order a little more just in case.

Lastly, I removed the Motorola radio that was in the car. The plan is to replace it with a GE radio and add a CB like the original car. If anyone is looking for one of these radios, let me know, I do not need it.

As you can see from the picture of where the Motorola was, the status lights used to be in a vertical position. the hole to the bottom right of the original status lights is for the tachometer that was moved to the left of the steering wheel just beside the fast idle handle. My guess is that the tachometer was used to set the high idle to a specific RPM. More things to move around when I get there.

If anyone knows where I can get a clean piece of dash to replace the one where the status lights are that would be appreciated. It would be nice to have a clean piece there without all of the holes.

09 - Bumper Ends Silver Paint 01.jpg09 - Bumper Ends Silver Paint 02.jpg09 - Bumper Ends Silver Paint 03.jpg09 - Bumper Ends Silver Paint 04.jpg09 - Motorola 01.jpg09 - Motorola 02.jpg09 - Tachometer 01.jpg09 - Rubberized Pyramid Flooring Material 01.jpg
 
A little bit of this, a little bit of that kinda day.

Following Ed's recommendations, I taped up the bumper ends and sprayed a generous coat of silver rust paint. I'll wipe down the exterior with paint thinner tomorrow. Hopefully, this will be the end of this part of the project.

I also received a sample of the rubberized pyramid flooring material. I am happy to say that it is a perfect match. I figure that I should have enough of 15 feet x 3 feet to replace the material currently in place. I'll order a little more just in case.

Lastly, I removed the Motorola radio that was in the car. The plan is to replace it with a GE radio and add a CB like the original car. If anyone is looking for one of these radios, let me know, I do not need it.

As you can see from the picture of where the Motorola was, the status lights used to be in a vertical position. the hole to the bottom right of the original status lights is for the tachometer that was moved to the left of the steering wheel just beside the fast idle handle. My guess is that the tachometer was used to set the high idle to a specific RPM. More things to move around when I get there.

If anyone knows where I can get a clean piece of dash to replace the one where the status lights are that would be appreciated. It would be nice to have a clean piece there without all of the holes.

View attachment 47909View attachment 47910View attachment 47911View attachment 47912View attachment 47913View attachment 47914View attachment 47916View attachment 47915
That Cole Hersee switch must have been fun to get at with the Motorola radio in place.
 
Top