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A little help with my 2000 STS northstar?


Schram

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I just bought my friends old STS with 160k miles on it for under 600 bucks. Seems like you guys all have CRAZY cadillacs, so don't laugh at my price tag. (My last car was a 2004 dodge intrepid that blew a head gasket because I don't know how to buy cars). Issues with it being that it burns oil and leaks most of its fluids, and the suspension he has put in them don't have sensors in them, so the car is governed at 90. (which I don't see an issue with)

My question being what can you guys recommend that I do as far as preventative maintenance is concerned, or is this car not worth sinking any money into? I don't have a lot of money because I'm in college, and my college is 70 miles away, so I'd just like it to be *a little* more reliable.

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600 is a good price for that car. IF nothing is wrong with it. Seller may know more than he lets on. Or maybe he figures, if it blows, ur not out much. Oem Sts struts are 500 each so it's not a crime to put in low priced, passive struts. Does it drive straight? Tires are wearing good?

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:welcomesmiley:

You don't give the model year. 160,000 miles is not a lot of miles for a Northstar Cadillac. But without the model year it's hard to say what is appropriate to spend beyond ordinary scheduled maintenance and tires.

In my opinion, the most important decision in how much money you want to spend, once you have decided to drive the car at least a couple of years, is what you want to drive. For example, if you don't want to put a muffler on it every two years, you stay with the factory stainless steel exhaust system when you have to do something with it. If you have an STS, an you bought it for the Touring package with it's 300+ hp Northstar with electronic suspension and ESC, you will want to use Monroe electronic shocks and struts when you replace them, not Arnotts, which disable the electronic suspension and affect ABS, TCS, and ESC in ways that are not clear.

But, to answer your question, the first thing I would do with a $600 STS is run the OBD codes and have the coolant checked for combustion by-products. Then, I would have the coolant flushed out and changed, and I would put OAT or modern antifreeze in it, not green (unless it's a 1993-1995, which used green from the factory). If it has green in it now, go ahead and use red or other "150,000 mile" antifreeze but change it every two years or 30,000 miles instead of every 4-5 years. Also, change the oil, using a good grade of 10W-30 (or, if your Cadillac dealer says OK for a premium option for your specific car, 5W-30, and ask their service department about Mobil 1 for yet another step up). You can have the oil/filter change anywhere, including in your driveway.

The belts, hoses, and wiring are neoprene and other long-lasting materials and don't need changing the way they did in older or cheaper cars. But look at the serpentine belt, which is supposed to be changed every 60,000 miles. The plugs are rated at 100,000 miles but my experience is that you maintain new-car performance if you change them at 60,000 miles. Change the air cleaner element, and use a genuine AC/Delco unit; you won't find one that works better or that does a better job, and the price is right. You will likely have to change that yourself or get it done at a dealer because it's hard to clamp the housing back over it, and most mechanics will just leave it loose, so that underhood air feeds right into the intake. I take mine out and sit on it to clamp it closed, or did until I sold the car recently (it is a 1997).

If you live in the salt belt, look at the suspension components. In particular, look at the front stabilizer links and the rear knuckle bushings. With the car up on a rack, you or a mechanic should look at the brake lines to the rear wheels for rust.

If there is any doubt about the battery at all, have it checked. If you need one, get the highest CCA battery you can find that will go in the car, and it *must* be a side-terminal to avoid the possibility of shorting the battery in a fender-bender. Anything less won't last you more than three months, but a 1,000 CCA battery will last as long as you take care of it.

If you need tires, buy high performance or ultra high performance tires on it. The Goodyear RS-A ultra high performance all-season tires that came on your car are still available and are excellent performers at a very moderate price. You would be amazed what you give up in feel, handling, and performance, including stopping distance, with "luxury" or standard "touring" tires.

There are people that say to run regular gas in your Northstar. Unless it's a 2000+ that recommends regular gas, I would run premium in it, at least occasionally, to keep the injectors and combustion chambers clean. Even with a 2000+, note that the 320 hp rating is for premium gas. A good 500-mile road trip with premium gas as soon as you have it sorted out will give you a clean engine to start out your ownership experience.

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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Ah, once in, I just looked at the avatar block. A 2000 STS with 160,000 miles on it is well worth keeping in good shape, if the body and interior are in good shape. The principal expensive things to watch out for are replacement of the electronic shocks and struts, and head gasket leakage.

One thing I forgot to mention is transmission service. The owner's manual for my 1997 said to service the transmission at 100,000 miles but many people don't ever service the transmission. So, a regular transmission service is a really good idea.

Dealers will flush the transmission with Dexron VI. There are a lot of people here who recommend against flushing, and I'm a little nervous about that within 10,000 miles of a regular service with he pan off. But, Dexron VI gives 230% the clutch life of Dexron III and consistent shifting for cold and hot transmissions, and just topping it off after a regular service with the pan off won't replace enough of the fluid to get much benefit over Dexron III. I over-maintained my 1997, having the transmission serviced every 30,000 to 40,000 miles, and the last time I had it done at the dealer. The PCM is adaptive to transmission shifting, and with Dexron VI's consistent viscosity over temperature, every shift became a perfect shift, hot or cold; it made an amazing difference. The last service before that, with the pan off, used Dexron VI to top off the transmission, and there was no noticeable change in the shifting.

What 230% of the clutch life means, roughly, that if 70% of the clutch life is used at 160,000 miles, 30% is left, but with Dexron VI that is extended to 70% the life of the same transmission with Dexron III in it.

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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Thank you Jim, that's more help than I was expecting and I really appreciate it. I was kind of iffy about it, but reading these posts, I'm quite a bit more confident in the car.

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600 is a good price for that car. IF nothing is wrong with it. Seller may know more than he lets on. Or maybe he figures, if it blows, ur not out much. Oem Sts struts are 500 each so it's not a crime to put in low priced, passive struts. Does it drive straight? Tires are wearing good?

It drives great, two rear tires are cracking, so I'm replacing them. If those struts are only 500 each, I might go for it. I wasn't because someone told me a grand each, which is quite a difference.

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It depends on the struts. Most people get passive struts and disable the electronic suspension. I think that keeping the electronic suspension is part of the Touring package, the T in STS, but if that's not why you want to drive the car, you have that option.

Be sure and shop around. Rock Auto, my usual go-to place for parts, doesn't list the electronic Monroe struts, which are part numbers 40021 and 40022 for your car (please check this yourself). I just checked online and found that the right and left are different prices, with the right strut being more expensive. I found a price of $392.50 at The Frugal Mechanic, citing AutoPartsExpress.com as the source; it turned up "temporarily unavailable" but I found one for $422.92 at AutoPartsWholesale.com (CLICK HERE). The same outfit offers the left one at the same price.

You can get passive struts cheaper, of course. It just depends on whether you want your car to have electronic suspension or not. The principal difference is a better ride while still maintaining the stopping distance with ABS, traction control on rough roads, and stability in extreme handling situations that was designed into your car. If you just want a car to drive, that may not be worth the extra cost to you.

I would seriously consider replacing the rear shocks at the same time. If you do that, and the rest of your suspension is in good shape, and you get good new tires, your car will ride and handle like a new car. AutoPartsWholesale.com offers the rear shocks, Monroe part numbers 40029 and 40030, for $433.70 each.

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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600 is a steal for a cadillac in any shape today.

How is the coolant? That would be my number 1 concern. If it is bright orange thats good. if it looks like mud it is probably overdue.

welcome to Caddyinfo.

GM FAN FOREVER

Nice, clean, luxury= fine automobile

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Some of the newer cars (maybe 1998 Seville...2000 Deville)...the ride control option can be added or deleted using a Tech 2.

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OP made it sound like seller already replaced 4 struts. Paying 600 for car and than dropping 1600 for oem struts is pricey for a budget constrained college student. Do u drive 70 miles one way each day?

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OP made it sound like seller already replaced 4 struts. Paying 600 for car and than dropping 1600 for oem struts is pricey for a budget constrained college student. Do u drive 70 miles one way each day?

I don't drive that everyday, just monday through friday's, its 70 miles there and 70 back. Yeah those are seeming to be unnecessary after reading what you guys have to say. All 4 of the struts are replaced, with no computer sensors. The only adverse effects that I believe it has on the car is my ABS isn't functioning (maybe why the engine light is on?) and it's governed at 90.

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You can add resistors to the wiring harness and get rid of the messages and the governor at 90 mph. Unless the shocks and struts are stiff enough for the tough stuff, I would still keep it under 90 mph, of course. Others here have done this and can tell you how to get the resistors and put them on the wiring harness connectors for the shocks and struts.

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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You drive to school on Monday and than come home on Friday so it's 140miles each week? Or back and forth daily for 140 miles each day or 700 each week?

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You drive to school on Monday and than come home on Friday so it's 140miles each week? Or back and forth daily for 140 miles each day or 700 each week?

Haha, 700 each week, sorry for the misclarification. Adding the resistors would be something I'd be very interested in. Are these electronic resistors we're talking about? I have over 9000 resistors lying around...

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....Adding the resistors would be something I'd be very interested in.

A resistor within plus or minus one standard value of 4.7K ohm. I used 1/2 Watt resistors in my experiments but I always err on the side of caution. 1/4 Watt will probably be fine.

The resistor is a substitute for the inductive reactance of the solenoid coil that is no longer present.

Jim

Drive your car.

Use your cell phone.

CHOOSE ONE !

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Radio Shack or any electronics store will have them. Be sure and make the connections weatherproof when you put them in.

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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