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Hey y'all. Fresh meat here.

I’m looking for some advice on a 1998 Cadillac Eldorado that is for sale near me for $3500. The vehicle has just over 71000 miles on it, has one of the Northstar V8 engines in it, and actually looks in fairly good shape (see linked image). But, as a poor college student that needs his ramen noodle funds, I’ve done my research to see if there’s a reason for the low price tag on such a neat looking vehicle. And I found it, maybe, and I’ve had some second thoughts.

I’ve been reading around on a couple different sites and forums about the vehicle, and a concern of mine has been consistent on nearly each place I’ve gone; oil consumption/burning. In my travels, I have read that the NSV8 engine likes to burn about a quart or so of oil every 1000-1500 miles, and some owners have experienced more than that. However, I have also read that the engine is a High Performance Engine, which would explain why the sexy beast likes to drink. I’ve also spoken to some friends, one of which who works for GM and another who has a brother who owned two Northstar engines, and they both warned me pretty strongly to avoid the car. But, while I appreciate their advice, I’d like some more, if possible.

I’d like y’alls advice as to whether or not, based on my situation, if this car will light my pretty much already empty wallet ablaze, or if it’ll be a good life decision. I really like Cadillacs since they look pretty sleek, and I really like the big motor in the car, so I’m more than happy with buying it and dealing with the minor headaches if I have to.


With that said, here’s some background info;

  • The vehicle is being sold for $3500. For me, this isn’t bad. Technically, I won’t even be paying for it. If I were to go through with the vehicle, I’d essentially be trading my current car for it. The only thing I’d have to buy would be oil for an oil change and any other little things for the basic check-up I give all of my new cars (brakes, anti-freeze, wipers, tires, washer fluid, etc).

  • As mentioned, I’m a college kiddo. I also don’t particularly have a steady job, but I can work if need be so money isn’t exactly a fleeting dream. Everything right now is going to gas for transport, food, and living expenses. So an expensive car will likely be resold in about a week of me getting it.

  • I already have a safe, reliable, and fully-paid off vehicle. The car I have is a 2002 Monte Carlo that I purchased actually just a few months ago when my tank of a Buick finally decided to start giving me issues. The Monte runs well and the only problems I’ve had so far is some anti-freeze leaking, a little bodywork needing to be fastened back down, and hard shifting if I don’t work the throttle correctly. The Monte also only has around 120k miles on it and looks decent. My Buick had 185k on it when we got it four-five years ago and I just switched cars with it at 210k.

  • From what I read, the Northstar is a high performance engine, so it’s oil consumption is much higher and the beast under the hood has some punch to it. However, while some of you might use it to its full potential, I have an idea that I may not. I don’t really beat on my cars and if I do punch it, by god it’s for only about a quarter mile or so because I’ve already got my share of tickets. But, my commute is fairly short, and I have one other advantage; a motorcycle. So the engine might actually just fall right out from under my foot because of me not using it fully.

  • My commute to and from school is about 20 miles of pretty much cruising at 50, so the distance I travel is pretty low. Even more, I only drive my car in bad and cold weather, as every other day I’m on the bike. Because of this, it actually takes quite a while for me to get any where near 1k miles on my car. I bought the Monte about two or three months ago and it’s only got about 200 miles more on the odometer.

  • During the year, I travel about two to three times; once a year to Rochester, and once or twice out to Boston. From where I am, both places are about 150-200 miles out. And I only take the car if the weather looks potentially too rough for the motorcycle.

So, TLDR; the Eldorado is going to be a bad weather/winter backup vehicle to my motorcycle. I won’t be putting a lot of miles onto it throughout the year and would be lucky to put 5k on it per year. I already have a reliable vehicle, so it’s not a ride-or-die situation for me, the vehicle is more of a “I WANT IT” sort of deal. However, if I get it and it guzzles oil on me, I don’t exactly have the funds to keep it in 100% good shape. 1 Quart every 1k miles should be manageable, but beyond that and HAHA there goes my ramen fund.

I do have some mechanical know-how, so if there are big issues, I can generally figure it out. If I can’t, I’m not stubborn enough not to ask. With good instructions, I can figure most things out.

SO THERE IT IS… I’m really hoping y’all can lend me your brains and advice with this. You guys are a lot more into Caddies than I am and I definitely think your advice will help me make the correct life decision. If you have any tips, hints, or advice, definitely let me know.

Thanks everyone, I look forward to your responses. o7


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welcome to Caddyinfo.

do not worry about the oil consumption. It was not a real issue til the 2000s.  My 97s use no oil. 

I preach to driving them like they are designed to be driven. I dont run full synthetic, rather rotella 10w30.

Test drive this car, hard and on the highway. Keep an eye on the coolant gauge. If it stays normal and does not overheat on hard acceleration then likely the Headbolt issue is not present. 

I would say do a bi products test of the coolant but I have had bad ones still pass, until they were blowing exhaust out of the tank.

Use your nose to check the smell of the coolant. If it smells like exhaust, pass on it.

The crankcase may seep a little oil but  I have dealt with that also and it is a very minor tolerable issue.

A well maintained Cadillac is actually very affordable to maintain. But one that has been neglected can add up with some issues.

Very common problem is the rear knuckle bushings (upper and lowers) I have changed them on numerous caddys, every one of mine, (6)

the door panels suck. they are very commonly broken and not holding on by much.

I have had 2 eldos. I am a Big Sedan kind of guy so I favor my Deville over the Eldo.

Other than those issues they are wonderful cars that are extremely addicting, otherwise I would not keep buying them.

If the last change of the coolant is unknown get it changed ASAP. Trust me it is commonly overlooked.

If you are looking for a car to drive short distances in the city I dont necessarily recommend one of these, but if you travel and drive on the highway commonly then they are perfect.

I get 20 mpg all day long with both of my 97s and I like to move:hatsoff:. I dont drive a v8 to move at a snails pace.



Nice, clean, luxury= fine automobile

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  • 2 weeks later...

Oil consumption can be an issue on the older Northstars.  The oil consumption dropped when they redesigned the pistons and rings for the 2000 model year.  My '04 and '05 Devilles use minimal oil between changes (the message never comes on) but the '96 and '97 Sevilles I used to own used a quart every 1500 miles and 1000 miles respectively.  It was not a big deal to add a quart now and then when the message popped up on the information center.

If you are serious on the car, have a combustion gas test done on the coolant to make sure you're not buying one with a bad headgasket. 

'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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