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I've browsed this whole topic because Bruce's recent acquisition of a used STS-V and a recent survey of what's out there and what it costs has got me the hots for a CTS-V or STS-V. I've done some looking at quality surveys from owner data and the CTS-V and STS-V score just about as well as anything out there in terms of reliability and cost of ownership, which to me is not a little surprising for a lot of 6.0 l V8 cars with manual transmissions for the CTS, and superchargers for the STS-V and recent CTS-V models. Apparently, these cars are cost about the same to operate and are about as reliable as their V6 cousins and far better than a lot of imported ultra-high-performance cars - if you don't abuse them or race them beyond an occasional quarter-mile at the local drag strip, or sanctioned off-road performance test now and then.

But, I came here to see what typical owners do to solve problems. I don't see any here. My budget will likely lead me to a 2005-2007 CTS-V unless I wait until the 2012's are out, so I'm interested in what people do for maintenance with out-of-warranty cars, and what typical maintenance issues are and how they are dealt with, just to get a feel for extended ownership of a daily driver.

Hey, CTS-V and STS-V owners, we have Bruce's blog to tell us how he is tuning his STS-V and we will hear about tire replacements and maintenance, but that's just one ultra-knowledgeable owner. Please tell us about how you keep your cars going great, particularly the out-of-warranty maintenance. What tires work best for you on which models? What are your thoughts on the 1st-4th gear gate on the manual six-speed? What oil do you use, and why? How does your car ride, brake and handle on old, rough pavement? If your car is in warranty, which dealers are best to service and maintain your car, and how do you identify them?

On another tack, I've only been looking at used V-series prices for a couple of weeks. Is this a really good time to buy a used V-series, or should I wait until September for the model change for better prices?

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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I agree I would love to hear more V-Series discussion here.

One dealer claimed that because the V-Series are fun cars they will tend to be more expensive in the summer. Generally I think they have a certain value and are not seasonal.

Lots of guys moved into the new V2 CTS-V adding a steady stream of V1's to the market, and keeping the used 09's in the mid- to high-40s in my experience.

I might have considered the V1 CTS-V more strongly, but it was so similar to my 04 then 05 CTS 3.6L in interior/exterior design that I really wanted to move to something different for the next 5 yrs.

Since you are coming from something different anyway then no problem there.

Although the 400hp LS2 engine is a nice modern iteration it is still a small block chevy when it comes to needing work, or modifications, so that is a feature in my mind.

The CTS-V uses 'regular' Sachs Nivomat shocks/struts, so no $1K/shock replacement. My STS-V has the same suspension.

Tires are expensive, but not exotic. The rear differential is improved in 06+ but still considered a weak point. Aftermarket axles of different diameters left to right are available that change the side-to-side wind-up/resonance and eliminate wheelhop. Technically this approach was the solution Cadillac used for the 09+ also.

People often replace the shifter to shorten the movement and use a gadget to eliminate the mpg-aiding slip shift. Then exhaust, CAI, cam-and-heads or supercharger are frequent mod approaches.

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

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I generally ignore salespeople advice because I find it too often self-serving, so I agree with your assessment that the season probably doesn't affect CTS-V or STS-V prices. I was thinking of the model year rollover, but you pointed out that introduction of the supercharged V-series resulted in lots of trade-ins, glutting the used market with the older cars, which will eventually dry up. So, to buy soon is the best strategy. But, waiting for a car that really suits me is an option, and I have months to do that, going by the number of STS-Vs that I see out there.

The V series doesn't use the active suspension. Well, I tend to buy high-performance tires that don't ride like the sticky-but-soft Goodyear RS-As that came on the car and I don't care. My wife's car is a 1999 Grand Am GT that corners like a rollerskate and rides a lot like one too, but better. That ride is more than acceptable for us and our Chihuahuas and it has passive suspension. It has under 50,000 miles on it and we definitely plan to keep it. In fact, simply becoming a one-car family is on the table if the ETC indeed has a wiring harness problem. I think that active suspension is a way to give a luxury ride while providing high performance in an instant when needed or wanted. If you have a high performance suspension all the time, you don't need active suspension.

I expected expensive tires. I use them on my ETC. A dealer put a less expensive set of tires on my car for the first tire replacement because the OEM RS-As were so expensive; I left them at a tire dealer in about 80 miles. The tire dealer didn't know what an ETC was and gave me some Michelin tires that were OEM on BMW sedans, saying that those were a big upgrade to whatever came on my car new. They weren't, not by a long shot. Later I got some Michelin Pilots and they were indeed excellent tires. I have leaned to get my tires from The Tire Rack, using their excellent reviews and ratings to select high-performance A/S tires for my car, and not ask at the tire store. Some tire stores, like NTB, may be an exception, depending on the knowledgeability of the staff, but you are always advised to come in to the tire store prepared with a tire make, type, size, and load range.

I think that I will likely leave the shifter alone, but I haven't driven one yet so I can't say. I have yet to hear about how one would override the 1st-to-4th shift gate if one simply wants to retain better control at light throttle; if that isn't possible I will disable the gate and simply shift that way when appropriate.

I think that a custom exhaust is almost a no-brainer. There is no simpler, cheaper way to unleash available horsepower and fuel economy than allowing a bit of exhaust sound out of the bag, and this is a necessary first step to enable gains by any other tuning or mods. I expected a factory cold-air-intake like my ETC but of the V-series doesn't have one, that again is a no-brainer. Internal engine mods and a blower will await a little experience with the car, and probably a new rear end would need to come first.

I'm not hard on cars, and I suspect that most rear-end failures follow a lot of wheel-hop experiences. Wheel hop is best cured by a choice of tires, spring rates, and shock rates, but if the handling-tuned suspension makes it inevitable, I'll just watch it off the line. But if I do internal engine mods, then a tougher ring-and-pinion/spider are necessary. I once tricked out a 1964 Chevrolet wagon and found that the factory Borg-Warner three speed would no longer hold my 327 cid engine. I replaced bearings and perhaps a gear or two every few weeks until I wised up and got a Muncie heavy-duty three speed, which never gave a lick of trouble and had synchronized low gear. Outside appearance of that transmission was identical to that of the Muncie 4-speed used in the big block Corvettes of the time, except for the extension housing (which had the reverse gears in the 4-speed, and was shortened in the 3-speed).

So, what makes sense is to browse every few days to find the best CTS-V that I can but not be hasty. And, if the wiring harness never acts up on the ETC, that bogie goes away, adding a few thousand to my car position. My original plan was to keep it four more years, but a glut of STS-Vs in the used car market may not be there then.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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Jim,

Just thought I would throw out a couple of ideas...

If you are thinking of working on the engine in the car you buy and maybe adding a supercharger to it...

After factoring in the "SEVERAL THOUSAND DOLLARS" that the upgrades are going to cost you...

Would it be possible that the newer model that already has a supercharger, the better rear end and MAG RIDE suspension, wouldn't be any more expensive than the cost of an older one plus what you are going to put into it.

And they can be had in either 6 speed or auto.

And the newer ones will almost all still be under warranty and have a lot less miles on them.

Just a thought...

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Jim I just found out something the other day about the cts-v that you might not be aware of-they use a 6 bolt wheel! I don't know about the sts-v but that definitely raises the cost of aftermarket wheels. I believe no v cars have spares either. My simplified assessment of these cars would be:

If you want the most power get 08 or newer cts-most luxury sts-most heads turned your way the xlr. If you are going to do your own go fast improvements it wouldn't matter-you spend enough money and any of them will go very fast, of course you can end up spending more to get the same place the factory gets you without the warranty, but you get your personal satisfaction. I think the northstars are going to have less upgrades available, than the LS engines. Personally I love the attention the xlr gets and when I see a cts or sts I have to LOOK to see if its a v. That is a plus if you want to the sleeper element. In the end get the one that will make YOU excited every time you get in, because its not gonna be a logical "investment".

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The 6-bolt hub/wheel was originally a signature of the V-Series, the Gen1 CTS-V and the STS-V have 6-bolt wheels. The Gen2 CTS-V does not.

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

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I think I need to look at the Gen 2 CTS-V. The price trends on these will be down, while I expect that the prices on the Gen 1 will languish until the glut it gone, which will be some time as more Gen 1 owners trade up to used Gen 2 cars, but won't last forever. My thinking is that I will be happy with Gen 1 power until I completely master the car, which will be six months to a year, after which I will begin to lust for a Gen 2. Oh, my aching budget.

I just ordered a set of those aftermarket gold and painted Cadillac Crest hub covers for my car from CardioDoc for $95 plus shipping. My wife has been trying to get them since 1998, and she was willing to pay the Cadillac dealer price of $500 for the set.

I run across a lot of CTS models that are labeled "1SB" series. What is that?

What year does the Gen 2 start?

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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I could be mistaken, but I think Gen 2 starts at 2009...

Gen 1 runs thru 2007... they didn't make a CTS "V" in 2008... then the Gen 2 started in 2009.

Therefore, most all of the Gen2 will stiff be under factory warranty and if bought from a dealer... could also be CERTIFIED...

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The CTS option group codes were 1SA for a standard model and 1SB for an upmarket model with more options. Later in 10+ Cadillac developed a separate Premium model designation so when I was looking for a CTS 3.6L then I limited my search to Premium models. Usually if you specify a model with nav it also has all the other options as well, since that is the way Cadillac generally has packaged options.

You know my conclusion; the 09 CTS-V or the 08 STS-V and then pricing was the determinant for me, along with proximity, condition, etc. The 09 V lowest prices I found were ~$45K and only then from a dealer if there was a reason. Since you enjoy keeping and driving cars a larger initial investment makes more sense for you. When I finally got the numbers to work so that the STS-V was more than $10K less than the CTS-V then I was sold.

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

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Yes, it does appear that the STS-V used market shows lower prices, although there are a lot less of them out there in the used market. But, the budget has grown from an initial $22K price that I saw on one in Delaware (it wasn't there the next day) to $35K, somewhere above my contemplated ceiling. Finding the right car is going to take some patience.

I've seen some earlier STS-V cars, particularly some 2006 models that look very good. What is the word about the 200-2007 model years?

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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06/07 STS-V are almost identical. 08/09 a continuation except there was a minor interior refresh of the STS in 08, and the 08/09 have HUD, lane departure, and blind-spot detection. The HUD is what drew me to the 08, and warranty coverage.

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

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Horsepower is 556 for all years, I take it.

A breif perusal this afternoon shows that I wlll need a minimum of $30K to get an STS-V suitable for a long-term daily driver. $35K is better. Low miles is more but I don't think that low miles is a good investment for someone who is likely to exceed 10,000 miles a year for many years.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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Horsepower for the 2004-2005 LS6 5.7L V8 and 2006-2007 LS2 6L V8 CTS-V is 400 hp.

Horsepower for the 2006-2009 STS-V LC3 DOHC VVT Supercharged 4.4L V8 is 469 hp.

Horsepower for the 2009-Current CTS-V LSA Supercharged 6.2L V8 is 556 hp.

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

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Here's an 09 CTS-V in town for $44K but carfax says wrecked & repaired: [link]

and two 09s with 70k miles down to 40k-ish [one] [two]

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

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The black STS-V looks very interesting to me. At over 60K miles the last two are out-of-warranty. At ~$40K I will need another week or two to get the budget adjusted, but - it's a 2009, twelve model years newer than my car.

I originally intended to drive my car twelve years. That was up in 2009, when I decided to drive it four more years, or to about 2013. My wife is a little nervous about this car because she doesn't understand high-mileage cars and she observed the unreliability associated with the head gasket problem in 2006. Since then she has insisted that I carry an umbrella, two emergency blankets, a hand-crank-chargeable flashlight, and two one-use emergency strobes.

This is giving me thoughts of breaking the paradigm that I was thinking of when I started taking a trade-up seriously.

These cars are too far away for me to drive over and offer a trade. If it's more than about 500 miles, I'm stuck if they say no, or effectively offer me ~$0, and that would be a deal-breaker, leaving me with several days on the road with no prize to bring home. A Dallas car is a plane-trip car. But, I asked you to "hook me up." Now, I gotta work out the realities of how to do this.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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Most places if you talk to the Dealer they will arrange pickup at the airport etc. Obviously, here in Dallas area I can pick you up or perhaps TexasJim and visit, help you get around to the Dealer.

I agree on the trade-in issue; I didn't drive my CTS down to Houston to trade on the V for this issue, and just kept it home and posted it locally to cars.com, craig's list, and signs in the windows. It sold in a few days luckily.

When I was shopping before cars at the lowest fringe of the price range appear and disappear in days, so may not be able to grab that specific one but good to get ready to pounce.

The next ones on my search today are 32K miles for $45K in Wisconsin or 19K miles for $46K in another part of WI.

Who knew Wisconsin was prime V-Series country?

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

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I like the sun belt for used cars for obvious reasons. One of the cars that Bruce found was a corporate car in Michigan for a year and a half and was wholesaled in Texas with high mileage - and two salty winters tucked away in its undercarriage. CarFAX!

If we escalate to the 2009 STS-V, I will need a couple more weeks to get my financing together. I'm just not ready to move on a $40K purchase without a little more preparation.

In the meantime, late last night I woke up and was researching the codes that came back momentarily in the day or so after my TC/ABS work and the subsequent car wash. I was looking at my original EBTCM and trying to discern the pin numbering, then I happened to look at the macrophotographs I took of the existing EBTCM and its plug just before I took it in to the dealer - and I discovered that the EBTCM plug was backed out a few mm. I'll have more pictures, posted, and a new post on that thread later today. As of right now, the 1997 ETC is a no-codes car.

The Goodwrench tech did apparently did reprogram most or all of my modules, possibly including my PCM. If so, he probably replaced my original dealer's performance programming from my PCM and replaced all values with the factory defaults. I haven't been in a position to do a good performance check in a safe, prudent, and legal manner yet because I'm really busy with multiple matters, but I don't feel the idle hum i the steering wheel anymore (a sign of a little extra spark advance) and the snap off-throttle doesn't seem as crisp. I may want to buy one of those laptop-based OBD II interfaces that can read *all* the module data from *all* the modules, and write it, too, unless one of those Tech II people that does performance programming can be accessed from the Mid Atlantic area. This is a slight but sigificant improvement in the overall car-finance picture, since a good-excellent 1997 ETC is worth about 10% of the price of a 2009 STS-V, up from about 2%.

When the time comes, I will probably want to take one or both of you up on your offer for the airport, or even to inspect and test-drive the car so that the deal can be all-but-closed before I buy the plane ticket - and I will get to meet one or both of you. But give me a couple of weeks to adjust to the change of agenda from a $22K CTS-V to a $40K STS-V. The rehabilitation of the ETC, as yet incomplete, is only a scratch in the budget escalation.

As another matter, the black STS-V, the one that most piques my interest, has been on the market for a few months now. I notice that high-end V series cars don't move in a day or a week. Maybe that black one will be *the* one when I am ready to move.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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Good news on the harness then.

So you are thinking a 2008/09 Cadillac STS-V for under $40K? Albany NY California

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

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I am considering the possiblity of going to a 2008-2009 STS-V. I need a few days to count my pennies. It will take more time, perhaps a few weeks, to get the pennies together. There are a lot of ducks out there, and none of them are in any semblance of a row right now.

The harness news adds about $3K to the value of the deal in my favor.

My wife suggested that I drive the car down to trade it instead of taking a plane trip to get the car. If the dealer is willing to consider a 1997 model year Cadillac, he will like my car. The worst thing about it is that most of the paint is off the front cam cover. It needs a under-hood detailing cleanup to be presentable on a Cadillac dealer's lot, should they decide to sell it themselves. More likely they will auction it and won't care about routine dealer cleanup.

My gold Cadillac crest hub covers should arrive tomorrow. I always intended that as a mid-life upgrade but never sprung for the $500 ($125 each) the dealer wanted, even on closeout. CardioDoc sells them in sets of four for $95 plus shipping, total $105.70.

If the TX dealer doesn't want that old a car, it's not a deal-breaker. I will simply wholesale it here.:wipetears

My wife is starting to resist the spectre of the expense. I need to show her any 2009 Seville to give her some idea of what's up. I can do that locally.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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  • 6 months later...

I've browsed this whole topic because Bruce's recent acquisition of a used STS-V and a recent survey of what's out there and what it costs has got me the hots for a CTS-V or STS-V. I've done some looking at quality surveys from owner data and the CTS-V and STS-V score just about as well as anything out there in terms of reliability and cost of ownership, which to me is not a little surprising for a lot of 6.0 l V8 cars with manual transmissions for the CTS, and superchargers for the STS-V and recent CTS-V models. Apparently, these cars are cost about the same to operate and are about as reliable as their V6 cousins and far better than a lot of imported ultra-high-performance cars - if you don't abuse them or race them beyond an occasional quarter-mile at the local drag strip, or sanctioned off-road performance test now and then.

But, I came here to see what typical owners do to solve problems. I don't see any here. My budget will likely lead me to a 2005-2007 CTS-V unless I wait until the 2012's are out, so I'm interested in what people do for maintenance with out-of-warranty cars, and what typical maintenance issues are and how they are dealt with, just to get a feel for extended ownership of a daily driver.

Hey, CTS-V and STS-V owners, we have Bruce's blog to tell us how he is tuning his STS-V and we will hear about tire replacements and maintenance, but that's just one ultra-knowledgeable owner. Please tell us about how you keep your cars going great, particularly the out-of-warranty maintenance. What tires work best for you on which models? What are your thoughts on the 1st-4th gear gate on the manual six-speed? What oil do you use, and why? How does your car ride, brake and handle on old, rough pavement? If your car is in warranty, which dealers are best to service and maintain your car, and how do you identify them?

On another tack, I've only been looking at used V-series prices for a couple of weeks. Is this a really good time to buy a used V-series, or should I wait until September for the model change for better prices?

This will fall under FYI, not a real problem but some may find it interesting. I am in the Detroit area and do not take my ride (the REDROCKET) out in the salt so I disconnected the battery to eliminate the drain (or need for a smart charger). I recently started it and found the windows don't have the auto-up feature or automatically slightly lower and raise when you open/close the doors. I found that disconnecting the battery causes the computer to "forget" these features. To correct you turn the ignition on (or start the car), lower the window all the way, then raise and hold the window "up button" for 2 seconds after the window reaches the full up position. You must do this for each window in the car.

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  • 3 months later...

A lot to read, I hope I can remember some points.

On the LS2 powered CTS-V with normal aspiration tuning will eliminate uglies like the first to fourth PITA, you can eliminate launch control and torque management and optimize A/F ratio and timing as well as 'tip in' response via reprogramming timing drop at tip in. The Caddy's Jeremy has done with the LS2 make 370 to 395rwhp on a Dynojet 248. The over 370rwhp units have long tubes and ported intake manifolds. This translates into about 490 to 500 at the flywheel if you divide by .84 to account for the 16% drivetrain parasitic loss in the Tremec and differential. Pretty good if you ask me.

I think the Tremec is more fun to drive but the auto is faster in the quarter mile for sure.

Don't know spit about the tire situation but I do know that wheel hop exist in about any IRS setup. My 05&08 Vettes did it even with double adjustable Strange shocks on them. My friend's tuned, 2012 CTS-V does it too (it didn't until it was tuned) and I don't think the axle difference helps when you let a lot more torque go through the trannie.

Oh, as you may know I am a big fan of the Mobil 1 in 0W-40 for the extra film strength and extra phos and zinc.

The supercharged V's are very nice and, if like other forced induction units, they should be fine for reliability. Forged parts etc. are used to allow for the extra cylinder pressure etc.

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