As you can see, when I bought the Deville it lacked a lock cylinder for opening the trunk! Yesterday I set out to try to get it open, and possibly rig something up to be able to continue to do so until I can do a proper repair.
Though I do now have a factory service manual, I couldn’t find any detail on the trunk latch anywhere. I’m sure it’s in there, but I was too impatient to keep leafing through the PDF, and just went to work at it.
In my ignorance to the operation of the latch, I assumed I would have to remove the rear seat and either crawl through the space into the trunk, or poke at the mechanism with a stick. After getting the rear seat out, I discovered a few interesting things.
First, there is a bit of a dried puddle of rusty water on the passenger side. I didn’t shoot a picture of it, but I’ll be sure to capture it next time. The rust doesn’t come as a huge surprise to me as I was aware of some small holes around the bottom of the rear window where rust has completely consumed the metal. However, I didn’t expect the volume of water that has apparently entered the vehicle. I suspect there is a good chance that there is more serious damage to the roof, and window opening in the back. We’ll discover more as we go along.
The next realization was that there is NO WAY I was going to crawl into the trunk from the back seat. In fact, I’m not sure any adult, or even a child old enough to understand the task could fit. Worse still, my assumption that there would be some failsafe lever or latch in the trunk was faulty. I know in more modern vehicles this was added due to some legislation or similar relating to people being locked in trunks.
So, I got my flashlight, and started peering into the keyhole to see if I could figure it out. Lo and behold! It appears as though I can just stick a nice flat head screwdriver in there to open it up.
I had hoped to find something interesting in the trunk, but it was the usual. Some “spare” parts for the car and a cardboard box, probably used to lay on while working on the car. Pretty typical, nothing really exciting that might give some hint of the glamorous history of the car.
What I did find however is something that surprised me. I knew that Cadillac has had a mechanism for their trunks which gracefully pull it closed, so you aren’t required to slam the hood, but had no idea that this was standard or optional equipment on a car this old! I noticed that the latch was kinda strange, and seemed to “float”, and had a small contact for a switch. Further investigation showed some sort of hydraulic cylinder which probably does most of the work, which is pictured below. I’ll have to do some research on this to see if it was standard or optional. The best part, it even still works!
More interestingly still, there appeared to be some sort of solenoid attached to the latch, which you can sorta see on the right in the picture above where the screwdriver is in the lock. It has wires going to it and everything. This leads me to believe that there may be some electronic release for the trunk, but I have no clue where the switch for it is!
All in all, a successful hunting expedition, and rather informative, and my helper seemed to approve!