Piston Slap: A kill switch will help keep your Eldorado safe

1971 Cadillac Eldorado convertible

Anonymous writes: 

Where is the best place to put a kill switch on a 1971 Cadillac Eldorado convertible?

Sajeev answers: 

A simple question with a simple answer: Put it in the hardest place to reach, possibly under the hood near the starter solenoid’s wiring harness. More on that later, but for now, here’s a delightful video explaining how the system works.

Let’s assume this is still a carbureted Caddy running the stock mechanical fuel pump. The kill switch must then go on the ignition side of the engine. The easiest place is in the circuit that runs from the ignition switch (in the steering column) to the starter solenoid (on the starter itself). If I’ve read my wiring diagrams correctly, the wire in question is a red, 10-gauge affair that lives in the second row, second position of the solenoid wiring harness. My wiring manual doesn’t give me the harness’ location, but I suspect it is tough to spot for your average thief.

Yes, the more common install puts the kill switch somewhere under the dashboard, but I’d prefer a place that only a Cadillac expert would know to check: a place that’s closer to the solenoid wiring harness under the hood. I’m guessing this is gonna be on the inside of the fender between the front wheel and the firewall.

No matter where it goes, just remember this is your special place, where the delights of top-down Cadillac motoring are available at the flick of a switch—a kill switch that’s known to you, and you alone.

Bonus! A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:

For those of us who park antique cars in public spaces very sparingly, removing the ignition rotor (under the distributor cap) accomplishes the same thing with less effort and no hacking of factory wiring. On a big-block Caddy, that distributor is pretty easy to reach, if only the engine wasn’t so far away from the fenders! If you need to park a vehicle for an extended period of time in an “unsafe” location, I’d implement multiple theft prevention tools: kill switch, remove rotor, steering wheel lock (like The Club) … and perhaps anything else you can creatively implement?

Have a question you’d like answered on Piston Slap? Send your queries to pistonslap@hagerty.com, give us as much detail as possible so we can help! If you need an expedited resolution, make a post on the Hagerty Community!

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