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Old 03-31-2012, 05:36 AM
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390 pros & cons

Hey guys, just joined, I have a 1962 Limo, can anyone tell me about the goods the bads and the uglies of this engine on that car? I've owned it fir over 3 years and yet to drive it once, I drove it only from the tow truck to park it in my garage, after that been in the shop for restoration, its almost back in my house again looking like a new car , I am very excited, its my first Cadillac, so my information is very limited, was just wondering if the 390 engine (at least that's what I think its got) strong enough to pull this car with passengers (my family of 4) and air conditioning on? is this car reliable enough for hot weather and in traffic or shall I swap the engine with bigger more powerful fuel injected engine with new a/c R134? someone mentioned that. I just don't know much about Cadillac's and especially this limo.
I will try to post a picture if I could.
Thanks a lot
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Old 03-31-2012, 08:38 AM
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In '62, the 390 was considered "enough" for the car. The 429 is of the same "family" and will fit. It offers a bit more power. I know of no real "performance parts" available for it. Comp or Lunati could be tapped to grind a modern "torque" cam for it, which would enhance low-speed power.

If your cooling system is "restored" like the rest of the car, it should not present any problems. "Old" cars overheat because the systems are neglected, not because they're inadequate (in most cases).

FWIW

Jim
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:09 AM
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390

One of Fords best and durable engines with power. I had many and never lost one. They are gas guzzlers though
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Old 03-31-2012, 05:30 PM
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He's talking about the Caddy 390, not the Ford. It's okay. AMC (Rambler) also made a 390. And I was talking about the 429 Caddy, too, not the Ford. But you're right, the FEs are excellent engines!

Jim
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Old 03-31-2012, 07:05 PM
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Hahhaah

I never look at cars I cant afford, heheheeh
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:41 AM
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Thanks

Great Information, thanks a lot


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. P-Body
In '62, the 390 was considered "enough" for the car. The 429 is of the same "family" and will fit. It offers a bit more power. I know of no real "performance parts" available for it. Comp or Lunati could be tapped to grind a modern "torque" cam for it, which would enhance low-speed power.

If your cooling system is "restored" like the rest of the car, it should not present any problems. "Old" cars overheat because the systems are neglected, not because they're inadequate (in most cases).

FWIW

Jim
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:22 AM
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Sounds like it would be worth your while to check out the CLC web site (cadillaclasalleclub.org). You can search the archives of the Discussion Forums under 390 engine and get all sorts of valuable info and trivia, some of which might be of great help, and you don't have to be a member to ask questions.
I rebuilt a 390 back in the late 70s, and have used itin several applications-currently it's in a 1940 Cad sedan. It has been great so far.
Olwillie, CA
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:59 PM
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I'm not sure if this is mentioned as I didn't read all of the posts but don't be fooled by the c.i. displacements. The 59 and 60 390 are completely different than the 63 390.

I can't remember what year they changed (I think '62, but it's been a couple years since I looked into this) but the cubic inches remained the same but the engine is completely different.

I have a 60 Cadillac convertible.


Brandon
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Old 04-11-2012, 02:45 AM
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As far as the A/C goes I would keep it R-12 it cools better than R-134a,If you are going to put some miles on it you should put in hardened valve seats,I lost a good Caddy motor because of unleaded gas.
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Old 04-16-2012, 11:47 PM
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62 Limo

Thanks Buddy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffB
As far as the A/C goes I would keep it R-12 it cools better than R-134a,If you are going to put some miles on it you should put in hardened valve seats,I lost a good Caddy motor because of unleaded gas.
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Old 04-17-2012, 12:36 AM
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There are some older performance parts around for the older Cad engines, just have to do some searching. If you wanted to upgrade to a 472/500 Cad go to www.500cid.com, I'm building a 507" Cadillac for my '32 Ford with a lot of the MTS parts, here's a few pics.......
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Old 04-17-2012, 05:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkystrk1116
Hey guys, just joined, I have a 1962 Limo, can anyone tell me about the goods the bads and the uglies of this engine on that car? I've owned it fir over 3 years and yet to drive it once, I drove it only from the tow truck to park it in my garage, after that been in the shop for restoration, its almost back in my house again looking like a new car , I am very excited, its my first Cadillac, so my information is very limited, was just wondering if the 390 engine (at least that's what I think its got) strong enough to pull this car with passengers (my family of 4) and air conditioning on? is this car reliable enough for hot weather and in traffic or shall I swap the engine with bigger more powerful fuel injected engine with new a/c R134? someone mentioned that. I just don't know much about Cadillac's and especially this limo.
I will try to post a picture if I could.
Thanks a lot
The '62-back 390 ci Cad engines and 63-up 390 ci Cad engines are quite a bit different. Heads are similar but blocks not; the later blocks were narrower. Distributors are in the rear on older 390s, distributors up front on '63-up and distributor rotation is opposite, pretty sure the intakes are different- I'm going by memory here, we had a 390 ci Cad engine in a '56 Ford. Used a Cad/LaSalle 3-speed and a '57 Pontiac rear end. Was supposed to be a gas class drag car but it was bought from us before it was finished by a guy who drove it for years around my hometown. Could hear him coming (or going) from a mile away- he ran it w/a pair of rusted out Smithys. I never rode inside the car but I can imagine what it must have been like, noise-wise.

Last edited by cobalt327; 04-17-2012 at 05:51 AM.
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:22 AM
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I guess I would consider keeping that engine in there for a while and giving it a try. This will never be a stop light grand prix car as far as acceleration but open road if I recall it was a great runner with even acceptable gas mileage for the weight being hauled around. Parts are getting scarcer, but most are available for the engine and driveline, through Rock Auto Parts (http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/raframecatalog.php) while performance parts were never super available.

That a/c - unfortunately R12 refrigerant is for all intents, outlawed in the US since the mid '90s though still somewhat available but is reclaimed and about 20-25 bucks a 12 oz can. R409A can be used in place of it and added to an R12 system. R134A - that's more tricky and lots more expensive for success.

After your 'trial' period, and if things don't work out, lots of other big GM engines like the Northstar complete with today's electronics.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:28 AM
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You have one of the Caddy engines that was a mix of old and new... a one year deal. not sure why GM did that... it's got some older parts and some newer 429-style parts on it. But still a good engine.

They did this Franenstein deal again when they switched from the 429 engine to the 472-500 design...
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Old 04-24-2012, 12:24 AM
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The reliability part

Thanks for the info, my next question would be, is the powertrain reliable, any history of over all reliability? I would really like to keep this car in original condition, but I am wondering, shall I be concerned about the A/C if I do the right thing, new compressors and the restore the whole system to original the right way? I love this car, I tried to sell it on ebay since I am moving out of the country (the job) but I decided to take it with me, I think its such a great car.
thanks a lot

Quote:
Originally Posted by Irelands child
I guess I would consider keeping that engine in there for a while and giving it a try. This will never be a stop light grand prix car as far as acceleration but open road if I recall it was a great runner with even acceptable gas mileage for the weight being hauled around. Parts are getting scarcer, but most are available for the engine and driveline, through Rock Auto Parts (http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/raframecatalog.php) while performance parts were never super available.

That a/c - unfortunately R12 refrigerant is for all intents, outlawed in the US since the mid '90s though still somewhat available but is reclaimed and about 20-25 bucks a 12 oz can. R409A can be used in place of it and added to an R12 system. R134A - that's more tricky and lots more expensive for success.

After your 'trial' period, and if things don't work out, lots of other big GM engines like the Northstar complete with today's electronics.
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