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Write up on my Cadillacs and a comparison to the V

Jan Olsson

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Hi all!

I thought I would do a write up on what "problems" I have encountered over the years so far. Being that I drive about 25 k miles a year I have to do regular services more frequently of course, I also encounter problems more frequently than the average car owner will do. Bear in mind that I have owned Cadillacs and relied upon them as daily drivers since 2002 and am quite familiar with them and always do what work needs to be done by myself except from lately. This is because I have access to a very small garage and my rule of thumb is “if I can’t close the garage door after me when I am done wrenching for today, then I leave it to a trusted shop instead”. I also have limited possibilities to raise my car because of the tight space.

My previous Cadillacs in order were:

  • 1988 Eldorado (about 150 k miles on it when sold after 50k miles of my usage)

  • 1993 STS (about 150k miles on it when sold after about 50k miles of my usage)

  • 2002 STS (about 200k miles on it when sold after about 180k miles of my usage)

  • Current daily driver 2012 CTS-V (almost 81 k miles on it and 53 k miles of my usage)

Trying to rank them in regards of dependability is hard. Propably the Eldo was the best. But I guess it is comparing apples to oranges because of how different I drove that car compared to the others. I never did anything above the ordinary to the Eldo more than regular service but on the other side that car was not exactly a car seeing very high speeds and aggressive driving very often. I drove it fast, just not STS or CTS-V fast J Just a very nice car that by the way still is running with 165k miles on it. Of course there were small things that needed to be repaired, sticking e-brakes, leaking valve cover gaskets etc, but just minor stuff.

Second best? I would say my 2002 STS. I drove that car HARD and the only regular thing I had to do was to change the front wheel hubs every 50k miles because they wore out. I also replaced catalytic converter, servo steering pump, crankshaft position sensors, rear brake calipers and the infamous intermediate shaft. Except from that just small things like fixing the driver side door lock. When I sold it it had the half case oil leak but it still ran like a champ. I recall that I have made several pages of notes on what I had done with it (the records followed the car when I sold it) but it was services and repairs for 180 k miles so I expect that list to be quite tall!

After that I would say the 1993 STS. I bought it with burned exhaust valves on the no 1 cylinder and fixed that. The dampers for the RSS (road sensing suspension) needed replacement, EGR-valve, alternator and mufflers was replaced but besides that it was great.

The “worst” car of them all is my 2012 CTS-V. Understand me right. This is a great car, probably the best of them all especially considered the usage it sees (seeing a lot of WOTs, hard cornering and hard braking)  but this one I really want everything to work perfectly on and therefore it equals more fixing. There were things with the other cars that I never bothered to fix. The AC on the Eldo that was out of service when I bought it, the seat heaters on my 1993 STS and interior leather on the passenger seat, the half case oil leak on my 2002 STS for example. Simply because these faults at the time seemed expensive to repair compared to the relative use I would have from the repairs. Now I got a thicker wallet and thus can be more picky about what I accept and not.



This list of what is done to the car is from my memory, I’ll have to double check with my notes later on to see if I have missed something. I bought the car with about 28 k miles on it and now it has done almost 81 k miles.

  • Oil and filter changes when the OLM tells me to (with recommended weight and type of oil) goes without saying

  • A new set of tires now and then, Studded winter tires lasts two seasons. Summer tires lasts one. (It is just as I expected. High speed rated tires wear faster than regular tires and my driving style doesn’t exactly prolong life expectancy J

  • Front brake pads lasts a year, rear about two. Front pads wear uneven at winter time because of the amount of dirt from the road quickly gathers on the brake caliper and inhibits brake action on the outer pads. I thought about using less expensive brake pads at winter time but am reluctant to use them because I am afraid they will crack the rotors more easily.

  • Exhange of coolant and rear axle fluid

  • Front discs, a set a year (blame my driving habits, because I do J)

And now a list of repairs/services out of the ordinary:

  • Supercharger replacement due to abnormal noise (free of charge)

  • Left catalytic converter replacement. Beats me what could have caused it to fail. Fuel trim values follows left and right cylinder bank very well which in turn does not point to vacuum leaks, exhaust leaks or injector problems. I did however change the plugs just after I bought it because there were a slight miss. I guess that this slight miss caused the problem to begin with. Time will tell.

  • Signal horn replacement

  • Trunk lid gas springs replacement

  • Multi-function lever replacement

  • Alarm modules failed (motion sensor and inclination sensor shortly after)

  • Front wheel hub replacement

I also have an annoying sound during warm up also. Can’t hear it when the car is cold or warm, it seems to manifest itself just above 70F or so and goes away when the engine gets warmer. My guess is either the alternator or servo steering pump.

Over all I am very happy with it. It has tremendous power and stopping power, excellent road holding abilities, is extremely easy to drive (though it can scare the crap out of you, for instance wheel spin at 100 mph on a rainy road is no problem to achieve)  and is fairly easy to work on when it comes to service at least.

I don’t trust garages however. I know that I could have done the work better if I only had the space and the right tools. Screws and nuts overtightened, parts mounted the wrong way, shortcuts and wrong parts and fluids is just what you can expect, even at the trusted garages sometimes if you aren’t watching them like a hawk.

I had to let the garage change the cat and the wheel hubs. Since we don’t have more than one car in the household I didn’t have time and space to do the converter. I really tried and tried the hubs but had to give up and it was a bit more shameful to me because I have always changed bearing hubs myself. L

The shop had to remove the steering knuckle in order to press them out. But I will be prepared the next time. Found a tool called the hub grappler on the internet that I think will do the trick.

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Nice summary.  I feel better about only needing new tires frequently, and still on my first set of brake pads but you have more miles covered so we'll see.


2023 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing

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