Is there a Youtube about this? From what I can learn for other lesser cars, such as they may be, the drill is: remove rear seat bottom and back, remove the plug from the top motor reservoir, use a syringe to squirt fluid in until it overflows, seal it up.

Should I drain whatever is in there first? For all I know it could be the original factory fill.

Do I use ATF?

Anyone have a top switch? My car came with a simple toggle, not pretty, if effective.




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There is a little more to it than that, LOL.  With the seat cshion and backrest out, you want to check for leaks. If the fluid is low, it had to go someplace. The hoses, and their fittings at the motor and at the top and bottom of each cylinder are the usual culprits.

There is also likely to be air in the system, that will need to be bled out. If not bled, the system will not contain the full amount of fluid, and top operation will be jerky. Bleed the system by raising and lowering the top, while checking the fluid level at each cycle, adding when the level drops. In order not to overheat the electrical and the motor, this should be done with the top lifts disengaged from the top frame. Cycle the lifts until both lifts are raising and lowering smoothly, and at the same speed.

These cars originally used brake fluid in the top system. Brake fluid absorbs moisture, which  is bad for the system. Brake fluid also crystalizes, and removes paint.. Most have been already converted to use ATF.  The color will tell you what's in it. If your car still has brake fluid, this would be the time to renew the whole system.

If you need a convertible top switch, send me an e-mail at


Thanks, a bigger job than I had hoped.

To start with, the top is now "down" or "open" or whatever one would say. From the looks at first glance of the bunched top material, that would make it difficult or impossible to remove the backrest. Using three persons, is it possible to close the top manually? Like one person on the switch, one on each side of the top? What does one do in a rainy season?

Does the chrome trim and speaker grille on the top of the backrest come out with the backrest, or does that somehow have to be removed first? You can see than I am in way over my depth here.

In an unrelated area, if I may, my taillights are dim. I have had them apart once, experimenting with LEDs. My question is, is the reflective interior supposed to be reflective as in a chrome mirror?  Mine are clean, no corrosion or rust, but what I would call a matte finish, such as one would get after using a spray can of "flat" finish aluminum paint. Should I send these out to be chromed?

Lastly, whew, is there a specialist in the Northeast that knows these cars? I have had good luck with Classic Cars up in Winthrop, Maine (I am in Brunswick, Maine), but that is a long ways from me and I hate to pay in case they need a particular learning curve. Costs there run quickly into the thousands, not helped, image wise, by the Duesenburgs waiting for work. I have heard from a friend that there is a traveling person who goes around the country fixing the complicated Lincoln Continental tops. Any such for us?


1.  The top can be raised manually, with one person  operating the switch, and two persons lifting the top from the header. Pull evenly on both sides to prevent stress or breakage. It is often helpful for the two persons to start lifting the header while standing in the rear footwells facing rearward. And then, after raising the top part-way, going outside the car, grabbing the front corners and moving forward.  I completly re-did all of the top system in a '64 convertible in the fall of 2018, and managed to raise the retracted top single-handedly, which is quite a challenge!

2.  The seatback, its bright stainless trim, and the speaker grille are removed as an assembly.  The seat back hangs on two hooks near the top, and is retained to the body by two bolts and washers near the floor, one on the right side, one on the left.Once these fasteners are removed, lift the seat back upward and free it from the hooks.

3.  From the factory, the tail lamps were finished in a silvery color.  Nowhere near the mirror-like brilliance of chrome, but a little bit glossier than the rattle-can stuff. Check your bulbs, and replace them if necessary. Over the decades, some brilliance is lost.  I personally dislike LEDs, and the modifications that are usually required for these, and can offer no suggestions on this.

4.  You are perhaps thinking of John Cashman, who travels the country servicing the unique top mechanisms on the so-called "slabside" Lincolns. I don't know of anyone who does the same for Cadillacs.

5.  On the CLC forum, a restoration shop in, I believe, Yarmouth, Mass. or vicinity, is highly regarded in their work on '60s and '70s Cadillac. I'll look up their information and post here again.


Were you successful in raising the top?

Yes! A friend, Younger and stronger than I, did it single-handedly while I worked the switch, so the top is now closed/up and locked. We also got the bottom of the backseat out and today I will start working on the back of the backseat and see where that puts us. I also plan to use my little vacuum fluid remover to pull all the fluid out of the reservoir that I can and replace it with new ATF. Thanks.

Well, someone has modified my car. I got the seat back out enough to see no pump. Someone has moved the pump to a new location, resting LOOSE just under the so called top bag. I removed the forward edge of the bag, and voila, there she blows. Lacking a syringe, now on order, I managed to sloppily fill the pump reservoir and the top now at least jerkily works. With the new syringe, I will do the remove trapped air drill. Also, the shop manual shows a bolt closure for the fill hole, and what I have is a rubber plug. 

No leaks seen in the vicinity of the pump. I will check the cylinders, but I am suspecting for now just normal seepage over time. 

The question, is there any reason to put the pump back in its factory location?

I don't think the pump has been moved, It's just not fastened down. The pump is supposed to sit underneath the front of the well the top folds into. Originally there was a removable piece of formed sheet metal that covered it. I suspect your cover is missing and the pump is just not fastened down. Check for mounting holes in the area where it now sits.

The convertible top motor/pump was mounted to the body sheet metal  with black rubber grommets, to reduce noise transmission while in operation. Some had four, some had three. When the motor was replaced, it apparently had a different mounting bracket from the factory installed unit, and did not have the same number or configuration of mountings, so it was left loose.  Earlier motors had a bolt for the fill port, later motors used a rubber plug. 

How good this thread would be with a few pictures! 

Got it done, using a syringe with a fill tube from Amazon. It took a lot, about four full big syringes. I think the syringe was 300 whatever's. I took this forum's advice and cycled the top, with rest periods, maybe just three times, to get the air out. Now the top starts moving instantly, both directions, and fast. A huge change. Thanks to all contributors! 

The ATF still stinks to high heaven, and my parts place, Advance, says they all do. All these bad smells are required by federal law to keep kids from drinking such fluids. I do notice that Advance's power steering fluid for GM cars is clear and does not stink. Could I use that in future? The stink is pervasive. It gets in your nose and I can smell it for days. It must bind to mucous membranes. This time I used an N 95 mask, rubber gloves and was very careful about drops, paper towels at the ready, and I am much less stinky. 

I also think that the rear seats Do not have to come out, just unscrew the top catch bag. 

I see see no leaks anywhere. I think the reservoir is as big as it is just to accommodate normal usage by the hydraulic cylinders and I'm sure their seals are not as perfect as when new. 

Nice work and thank for sharing your experience on this sight so others can benefit as all posts here go into an on going library of info— of all subjects asked 

Sure you are glad to have your convertible top working again as it should  ( easy to like ) 

Some have to —saw there tops off —-in the good weather— so get out the saws -all boys  — LOL !!!

Take her out for a spin if possible—- so non - owning Classic Antique Cadillac owners ( and new Cadillac owners ) will— loose there mind seeing — your — Pride and Joy - and know you are a Classic car NUT Gear head were ever you go 

These cars are just a —bunch of Fun to own for all the joy they bring when out and about which is why all the restoration time and expense is worth every penny invested to me and many others who own them 

Enjoy and Stay Safe 

Not fully sure yet, but it may be that Clorox will get the ATF stink out of fabrics. assuming that you can stand any bleaching. 



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