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The (new) Cadillac Database©

The Fabulous
Cadillac Eldorado Brougham

1957 - 1960

Part 16
Breaking down in a Brougham

Being tips on what to do if...

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Yes, a breakdown could occur even in a luxury sedan like the Eldorado Brougham, which cost more than $13,000 in 1957 [that's about $87,000 in today's (2004) dollars], at a time when the average family sedan cost ten times less.

One of the weak points of the Eldorado Brougham is its capricious air-suspension system [photo]. When fully functional it offers a magnificent ride, on the roughest of roads and under any load condition. But if one of those air domes (or "diaphragms") bursts or develops a major leak, the car becomes immediately undriveable. Indeed, the Brougham uses air pressure to cushion the ride. A constantly soft, smooth ride is the result ...provided that nothing goes wrong !


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Bird's eye view of the 1957-58 Eldorado Brougham chassis
equipped with the problematic air suspension



An automatic leveling system comes into operation whenever the ignition key is turned right - and - whenever either front door is opened, warning the system that someone is about to enter or alight.

The Brougham may be leveled - only with ALL wheels on the ground - by starting the engine and opening a front door. Leveling should not be attempted with a wheel off the ground (e.g. while changing a wheel).

A warning light in the speedometer, behind the speed indication "60" glows red in the event the air pressure in the suspension system becomes too low, resulting in a lower-than-normal road clearance and, therefore, a possibly hazardous ride. In such an emergency, air may be added to the system with a conventional tire inflator hose; the valve for this purpose is located near the top LH side of the radiator [in the 1959-60 Broughams - as also in other Cadillac models equipped with the optional air suspension - the valve is located at the bottom of the air reserve tank, forward of the radiator, on the LH side]. Normal pressure should be about 120 lbs. A safety valve prevents excessive pressure building up.


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The 1957-58 owner’s manual includes (on pp. 54 and 55) instructions for emergency wheel changing [photo]. Instruction #6 says Remove the right wheel mounting nuts by turning to the left [I guess they meant to say ‘anti-clockwise’]. Remove the left wheel mounting nuts by turning to the right [I guess they meant to say ‘clockwise’]. Now I’ve never had to change a wheel on a Eldorado Brougham; however, in my opinion, you need to turn the mounting bolts anti-clockwise on both sides of the car to remove the wheels. Am I right. or did the Eldorado Brougham have special left-hand threads on the left-hand wheel nuts?  Just curious...


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© 1996, Yann Saunders and the Cadillac-LaSalle Club, Inc.
[ Background image: excerpt from 1957-58 Eldorado Brougham jacking instruction card ]