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May trade in the Caddy


mhinchley

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Well, I have had nothing but problems, and expensive ones at that, the 3 months I have owned this car. So I am seriously thinking of trading it in on either a newer GTO or a Lexus 400. Nothing too bad against Caddy, as the maintenance may not have been upkept, as I don't really know. But with all that has went wrong already, and it lis now ooking like the start of a bad headgasket, I may get out while I can. I love the look of the car, the comfort, and the power for a big car, but definately not the repair costs............or how much has went wrong in a short period of time. I also am not loving the dependability issues as a whole, as I scan through this site alone............not to mention others. So, we will see. I am gonna start shopping tomorrow, and see what I can find. I may change my mind..............but the idea of another $4k on an engine swap is not appealing to me right now. I may just throw another 15k into the pot, although when I bought this, I was hoping to avoid a car payment, just to have a dependable car. I bought a Mark VIII at the same time (my 2nd) and have had 0 problems with it.................which is turning me off on the Caddy even more. A guy offered me $5k today, not knowing about the possible headgasket..................but I could not sell it to him. I felt too guilty, since I know. I will either fix it, or trade it to a dealer (whom I do not at all mind screwing). Update soon on what I find price wise, and what I decide. I know it is just one car............but very disappointed in what has happended with a car with under 80k, regardless of it's past.

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Good Luck with your decision

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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Don't conclude anything about reliability by reading web sites - that will lead to false conclusions as people rarely seek out websites to brag how well their car is running. For every problem car you read about on the website, there are thousands and thousands of trouble free cars running around.

You mentioned your car looks like it is starting to show symptoms of a bad headgasket - have you done any investigation to positively determine that or are you concluding that overheating on a Northstar = bad headgaskets? Many times, overheating is the result of a stuck waterpump belt tensioner or a plugged purge line to the surge tank. The easiest and most reliable way to test the headgaskets is to take an old spark plug and remove the porcelain. Drill and tap for 1/8" pipe and then use pipe nipples and an air hose fitting to adapt shop air to the cylinder. Remove all 8 plugs and remove the surge tank cap. Insert a wood dowel through the sparkplug hole and then rotate the balancer until the cylinder is at top dead center. Then install the air adaptor and hook up the air hose. If you hear air rushing out the intake or exhaust, rotate the balancer until all the valves for that cylinder are closed. You may need to hold the crankshaft in position using a wrench on the balancer. There should not be any bubbling in the surge tank - it should be quiet. Repeat this test for the other 7 cylinders.

When I tested my '97 STS in this manner, #5 made a gurgling sound and #7 made the surge tank erupt like a geyser....but I knew the car had bad headgaskets when I bought it. You can read the whole story on the other thread...

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

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You know I have been here a long time, so I have lost much of my fight unless I am directly attacked. My attitude lately is to turn away from mal-contents, moaners and gloom and doomers as it's not worth the effort, its tiring and I am too busy with my own mechanical work. I have learned the hard way that forcing my opinions is tiring and I sometimes end up with mud on my face. When I read what Kevin wrote, I realized that he is STILL focused on the facts and on reality. Kevin is one of the most level headed members if not the MOST level headed member here (he, Bruce and Logan are neck in neck in my opinion, :lol:) and I have the utmost respect for him. His words here and on other posts are always right on and I am very lucky to benefit from his presence here.

Here is a Ford Mark VIII forum. Please go and read all about the Mark VIII. Personally I think it has beautiful styling, I liked the styling of the Mark VII also. The problem with the Mark's however is that they have that built in, Ford "feeling" that I hate. Just like Cadillac has retained its "feeling" from the first Cadillac I drove as a kid, that I love! Kevin is right, forums are places where DIY's and people with problems come to share their problems and experiences both good and bad, but mostly bad..and to get help. They have Mark VIII lovers just like we have Cadillac lovers. The following threads give you a flavor of the kinds of problems the Mark VIII has and is prone to. Finding these threads only took me about 5 minutes (WOW), but feel free to do some digging, I am sure there are some DUZZIES.... Over time all cars need renovation and rebuilding, PERIOD (especially complex vehicles)... If you don't like problems or issues buy a new car. If you are handy, like many members here on our hallowed site, you will benefit from this site from its excellent members, you will save money, and you will be able to drive the best darn cars in the world, Cadillacs!

Here is a BAD overheating problem: (I thought that Caddy only dropped their carriages, :lol: ) Why is the whole NOSE off?

http://www.markviii.org/htdocs/dc/dcboard....id=63246&page=2

My New Mark Maintenance $$$, Suspension Bags

http://www.markviii.org/htdocs/dc/dcboard...._id=63765&page=

"I Paid ... Oh How I Paid!"

http://www.markviii.org/htdocs/dc/dcboard....&topic_id=30271

Here is a good quote from a Mark VIII owner :lol:

Mark ownership is not for the faint of heart. You own a 13 year old luxury car with high mileage. You should be prepared to invest signifigant money into maintenance, review it here

http://www.markviii.org/htdocs/dc/dcboard....727&page=#63730

"Knocks-What could it be?" :lol:

http://www.markviii.org/htdocs/dc/dcboard....&topic_id=57162

"What bugs you most about your Mark VIII ?" Bevis >> Uhhh, it feels like a FORD? :blink:

http://www.markviii.org/htdocs/dc/dcboard....id=61979&page=2

Bahaaaa, squeaking windshields:

http://www.markviii.org/htdocs/dc/dcboard....id=63152&page=3

Here is a good one showing what has been replaced on their Mark VIII's: Oh wait let me get my EXCEL speadsheet :lol: )

http://www.markviii.org/htdocs/dc/dcboard....id=62370&page=3

Here is a guy that is "thinking" he has a head gasket problem with his 4.6 32 valve engine, some of the advice is similar to what is given here, dont panic, many things cause that.....symptom, :lol:

http://www.markviii.org/htdocs/dc/dcboard....id=62972&page=3

Here is a guy buying a 97, same year the moaner has above, look at the "what to watch out for" and warnings about how "expensive" they are to FIX, if you don't do your own work, :lol: (I think I have said that a few HUNDRED times myself)

http://www.markviii.org/htdocs/dc/dcboard....18&page=4#62719

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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I can totally relate to how you feel ! I bought mine 2 years ago with problems and its always been a problem.. I paid 7 grand for the car with 60k miles on it... I put 3 grand into mine for a head gasket ordeal and prolley another 2k in just replacing minor things Suspension issue. And from the over heating it seemed to have caused a torque converter issue that will run me another 1,500. It really doesnt matter what you have they all require some pricey work at some point or another, but with yours like mine the coolant prolley went to long before being serviced and the was an issue for the 97-99 years. I havent really seen out of any other range and Im always looking at these cars on Autotrader.com I have a friend that owns a carlot and he see's them in that range also. Someday, I will have the time and space to fix one like Kevin did that way it allows me to have an understanding of just what I have. I would trade it for a 02 or newer Deville myself. Best to sell it but your gonna have to be honest with whom ever you sell this car to. With the head gasket issue its not gonna be worth alot as you already know...

Dont let one bad car stear you away from a Cadillac product!

I too have always liked the Ls 400 and I too have had 2 town cars with very little to no issues. However its nothing more than a dressed up cop car, but that doesnt mean I wouldnt have another... Theres always been something about a Cadillac !! Its by far one of the best American made products on the road, and the quatily of the new ones is far better than in past years.

Michael -

post-3268-1148144352_thumb.jpg

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You should do what you think is best, however, bearing in mind that making decisions, especially if they're based on inconclusive information, can lead to regret. I think you should first verify whether there is a head gasket problem. Once you do that, think about what you want to do. If the head gasket is good and you still want to sell the car then do it.

My view about defective head gaskets remains the same. Try to seal it with one of the many sealer products on the market. Some have success while others do not. Some don't like the idea of sealer because they feel the only effective way to fix a head gasket is pulling the head. As for me, if I can fix it with minimal inconvenience then I'll give it a shot and use the money saved to buy a new High-Def. TV. ;)

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yes,

But if he uses that head gasket sealer make sure you follow the directions to a "T" !!! I didnt have a good time with mine. I almost needed a new rad after that experince. I did have to replace my surge tank.

Michael-

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yes,

But if he uses that head gasket sealer make sure you follow the directions to a "T" !!! I didnt have a good time with mine. I almost needed a new rad after that experince. I did have to replace my surge tank.

Michael-

You are right! Following instructions will prevent another headache and additional expense. That stuff will clog a radiator if it's not flushed. All the high-end head gasket sealers require flushing before and after using the product. These sealers are not like Prestone Super Sealer where you can just put it in and leave it.

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Good luck on the next car.

The GTO's seem nice, except they did not sell all that many, and the gas mileage. It is a surprisingly heavy car for its size. When they were unloading them off the lot you could really get some nice discounts on them, but not sure how the resale is. The local paper has NO GTOs right now.

Don't know that much about the Lexus. I have driven a 430 before at a car comparison, but back to back it was less impressive than a Deville. There is a Lexus forum here: http://us.lexusownersclub.com/forums/ and here: http://club.lextasy.com but I don't know that much about either.

http://www.lextreme.com/lsbuy.html has a buyer's guide of sorts.

2004 was when the new CTS's w/3.6L went into production at Lansing; you might shop those as well, although I think they are still expensive. So far mine have been great cars.

I have found that people often have a warranty in mind that is different from the warranty the car dealer offers. For example, you purchased a used car, and feel your car should be trouble free through 80K miles. I want none of my vehicles to ever break too. But Cadillac warranties the car out to 50K miles/4 years. An extended warranty is available in most cases through the dealer if that is desired. But if the car is not in warranty, it may break at your expense. That is frustrating, but that's one trade off in the buy used or buy new approach. I was excited and have had fun with buying the 2004 CTS, then a 2005 CTS, but it has been more expensive than repairing my 96 STS was, even with the repair list I had.

You know who is great at estimating statistically based on model what the repairs are? The warranty companies. So when they quote say $2,400 (or whatever it is, not a real number) to warranty a car from 50K to 100K miles, you can bet the average car of that year/model will have repair costs of under half that number.

It could be that you could sell your car, and buy a different identical car and have no problems whatsoever.

But if you want to be sure of no new repair expenses, but a car with a warranty. Then you have capped your outlay.

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

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Here is a Ford Mark VIII forum. Please go and read all about the Mark VIII. Personally I think it has beautiful styling, I liked the styling of the Mark VII also. The problem with the Mark's however is that they have that built in, Ford "feeling" that I hate. Just like Cadillac has retained its "feeling" from the first Cadillac I drove as a kid, that I love! Kevin is right, forums are places where DIY's and people with problems come to share their problems and experiences both good and bad, but mostly bad..and to get help. They have Mark VIII lovers just like we have Cadillac lovers. The following threads give you a flavor of the kinds of problems the Mark VIII has and is prone to. Finding these threads only took me about 5 minutes (WOW), but feel free to do some digging, I am sure there are some DUZZIES.... Over time all cars need renovation and rebuilding, PERIOD (especially complex vehicles)... If you don't like problems or issues buy a new car. If you are handy, like many members here on our hallowed site, you will benefit from this site from its excellent members, you will save money, and you will be able to drive the best darn cars in the world, Cadillacs!

I owned a 1998 LSC MKVII when it was 4 years old. Terrible clear coat issues, pitting BBS rims, oil consumption on the 5 litre motor, and finicky abs issues.

I was interested in a 98 LSC, and I monitor the MKVIII forums. Basically, be prepared to replace your early generation h.i.d. lights, air blend door buried in the dash, suspension air bags, and transmission.

Not a question of if, but rather, when these items go bad.

The general consensus is that for a handy guy who does his research, these cars can be kept on the

road for a minimal investment.

If you need to rely on your Lincoln dealership to fix your Mk, you're screwed financially.

Ask Sandy on the other caddy site about his Torreador Red LSC ... he had a litany of issues, considers

the MK VIII to be one of the most under engineered cars on the road. Great ideas, but poor execution.

I believe that vehicle maintenance is 90% of the issue when discussing used vehicle reliability.

A 10 year old LS400 Lexus can cripple you with repairs. The engine and tranny are solid.

The alternators, front ends, power steering pumps, and LCD displays are very weak, and

cost thousands to repair from the dealer. Oh, and don't forget, the engines require timing belt

changes at 100k, something a Northstar doesn't require.

Changing your brand of vehicle doesn't guarantee reliability unless you purchase nearly new with a corporate sponsored warranty.

Many members of this site had to lay out significant $$$ in the first year of ownership, and then they

experienced years of modest maintenance costs.

It would be a shame to dump your Deville if the headgaskets were actually ok, just so the next guy

can drive for another 100k.

Having said that, I know there is also a time to cut your losses and invest in a vehicle with solid

maintenance records.

Good luck.

1989 FWD Fleetwood, Silver

1995 STS Crimson Pearl on Black leather

1997 STS Diamond White

1999 STS Crimson Pearl

2001 STS Silver

2003 STS, Crimson Pearl

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Maybe I've been fortunate, but outside of the (expected) struts I haven't gone for much more than a radiator and water pump. So far. You'll understand I'm not considering maintainence items like brakes, tires etc.

I will tell you this, however: In my experience as both a multiple Cadillac and multiple Lincoln owner, the Cadillac is just slightly superior in every way.

The radio: just a little more sensitive. The transmission: just a little smoother. The climate control: a might more comfortable. The engine: better behaved. And on and on . . . .

More importantly, Ford electronics simply can't hold a candle to Cadillac electronics.

In the end, I suppose, nothing beats doing your homework properly and choosing the *right* used vehicle.

Regards,

Warren

Posted Image

There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved. - Ludwig von Mises

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The radio: just a little more sensitive. The transmission: just a little smoother. The climate control: a might more comfortable. The engine: better behaved. And on and on . . . .

Hey Warren, I agree with what you're saying EXCEPT for the radio. Ford has the best reception of any car I've driven. I have a '79 Continental that can pick up twice as many stations as the Cadillac or either of the Nissans. Mute point, but it had to be said :D

Good luck to you, mhinchley, on whatever you decide to do, and props to ya for not selling to the guy offering you $5k.

-Chris

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Heck, check out a CTS-V. But you have to remember if its used, ITS USED no matter what you buy. I love people that say I got a car cheap and it's costing a fortune to keep it going! I liked my fathers advice, " You can get a new car and have a payment or get a used car and spend the monthly payment on service.......eventually. as for quality ever seen a high mileage Ferrari? The only thing that matters is that you enjoy what you get! Life's to short and most of us spend to much time driving anyway :blink:

Good Luck in your search, I love car shopping!

Joe

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In rereading the original post I was surprised to find I'd missed this:

............but very disappointed in what has happended with a car with under 80k, regardless of it's past.

WOW! "Regardless of its past" has no place in the purchase of a used vehicle! Quite the opposite.

Few of us are presented with a service history before purchasing a used vehicle and are therefore left to infer its service based on careful and not entirely reliable observations.

Sure it's something of a crapshoot, but a buyer must do the absolute best to satisfy him/herself that the purchase is a wise one.

Entire books are written about this.

Regards,

Warren

Posted Image

There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved. - Ludwig von Mises

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My view about defective head gaskets remains the same. Try to seal it with one of the many sealer products on the market. Some have success while others do not. Some don't like the idea of sealer because they feel the only effective way to fix a head gasket is pulling the head. As for me, if I can fix it with minimal inconvenience then I'll give it a shot and use the money saved to buy a new High-Def. TV. ;)

I would not expect any "headgasket in a bottle" to effectively seal a leaking head gasket long term. Especially is head bolts have pulled and lost their retention power. I would also be concerned about that stuff getting into the oil.

There are all kinds of air-conditioning sealer products out there - they rarely work and screw up a system, not to mention the filter on a recovery machine...

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

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Definately a head gasket, I pulled the plugs one at a time...........started after a few hours each time. Got some coolant mist out of #6 & #2 (injector wire for pulled spark plug was unplugged). Bubbles in resivore. 2 blown radiator hoses and 4 O2 sensors with white crud, rough idle at start up for 30 seconds to 5 minutes, occasional white smoke til warmed up too.

I mentioned regardless of maintenance a headgasket should not blow at 76k and I meant it. It should not. I myself have put 100k on cars and never changed the coolant, in my younger days.............and for a $40k car I would expect it to be built well enough for that not to happen. Oil not changed.............I can see major problems for obvious reasons.....not coolant.

Also the Mark VIII's.....as I mentioned............I am on my 2nd one. I have a 96 LSC previously. But even if the air suspesion goes out...........with the aftermarket parts..........you can replace it for around $1000, or even use the coil conversion for less than $500. ( a far cry from a $3000 head gasket replacement or $4000 engine swap). Outside of that there is very few major problems that happen to them. I know the forums on them.....have participated there for years. And I have seen far many more serious and expensive problems with the Caddys in the little time I have been here. Sure not all of them............but the head gasket problem should have been addressed by GM imo, and not just in post year fixes.........but in the ones they already put on the road. It was obviously a very popular and common problem........not to mention extremely expensive repair. But that just turned my off of Caddy.

Infact I looked at an 03 Caddy DTS............thought hard about it............but the headgasket deal just replayed over and over in my head..............and I opted against it (even though I know it was supposed to have been rectified since 02). I just could not do it.

I did buy another GM though. The same lot had a 2001 Grand Prix GTP Special Edition (Unique body/interior

additions/options/badging= Special Edition above the base GTP) fully loaded, with 50,xxx in excellent condition. I checked out the GTP forums and did some web searching for major repeat problems...........and did not find much......................so I went back today and traded in my Caddy for it, and bought it.

Hopefully I have better luck with it.

Sorry............I know I am biased cuz of my bad Caddy experience this time around...........so I had to do it.

Maybe when my grudge is gone I will think about another caddy in the future. Unfortunately............I left the rims I just bought on the car. I did take the IPOD interface adapter I just purchased, the stainless Front Plate and the Rear Plate trim, off the car. I will list them all together in the parts section of this forum for sale for a reasonable offer.

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This is a shame I looked at your photos and it's a good looking car. Understand that owners have made mistakes in maintaining their Northstars not understanding that the Dexcool must be changed every 5 years. Many think that it needs to be changed at 100,000 miles and overlook the 5 year cycle. Now some may say, SO WHAT, that should not matter! Well, at either 5 years or 100,000 miles whichever comes first the corrosion protection is gone and corrosion begins, worse yet, the coolant can become and it probably becomes an ACID, and it eats the head gasket and leaches into the head bolts corroding their threads.

The northstar head/piston design creates incredible compression, that is how they manage to get 275/300 horsepower out of 279 cu in and the bolts are under extreme forces, if they corrode, the compromised threads pull out from the forces. This doesnt happen in lesser engines as frequently as the forces are not as great. It is therefore paramount to keep the coolant and cooling system to spec and to avoid having coolant that had turned to an ACID or ALKALINE PH.

Do you know if the coolant was changed on time? Me....I would have a difficult time buying a used NS that I did not know the history on. There are a LOT of clueless people out there

Early on sailors navigated by the stars at night and the North star became the symbol for finding ones way home. Once you know where the Northstar is you can point your ship in the right direction to get home. So the star became a symbol for finding ones way home or more symbolically even finding ones path in life.

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Do you know if the coolant was changed on time? Me....I would have a difficult time buying a used NS that I did not know the history on. There are a LOT of clueless people out there

That's right! People usually know 3.000 miles/3 months "rule" for motor oil, but thousands if not millions do not care about coolant. Probably 50% of all cars go to junk yard with coolant filled in by the manufacturers. For most of cars it probably was not fatal. Unfortunately, that is not the case with Northstars. Will proper maintenance guaranty that the headgaskets of your NS will never fail? I am not sure of that, but neglecting coolant will increase the probability of that event drastically.

Why won't GM put a big sticker right on the steering wheel saying something like "change it, or trade it!"? Honesty is the best policy.

The saddest thing in life is wasted talent

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Definately a head gasket, I pulled the plugs one at a time...........started after a few hours each time. Got some coolant mist out of #6 & #2 (injector wire for pulled spark plug was unplugged). Bubbles in resivore. 2 blown radiator hoses and 4 O2 sensors with white crud, rough idle at start up for 30 seconds to 5 minutes, occasional white smoke til warmed up too.

I mentioned regardless of maintenance a headgasket should not blow at 76k and I meant it. It should not. I myself have put 100k on cars and never changed the coolant, in my younger days.............and for a $40k car I would expect it to be built well enough for that not to happen. Oil not changed.............I can see major problems for obvious reasons.....not coolant.

Also the Mark VIII's.....as I mentioned............I am on my 2nd one. I have a 96 LSC previously. But even if the air suspesion goes out...........with the aftermarket parts..........you can replace it for around $1000, or even use the coil conversion for less than $500. ( a far cry from a $3000 head gasket replacement or $4000 engine swap). Outside of that there is very few major problems that happen to them. I know the forums on them.....have participated there for years. And I have seen far many more serious and expensive problems with the Caddys in the little time I have been here. Sure not all of them............but the head gasket problem should have been addressed by GM imo, and not just in post year fixes.........but in the ones they already put on the road. It was obviously a very popular and common problem........not to mention extremely expensive repair. But that just turned my off of Caddy.

Infact I looked at an 03 Caddy DTS............thought hard about it............but the headgasket deal just replayed over and over in my head..............and I opted against it (even though I know it was supposed to have been rectified since 02). I just could not do it.

I did buy another GM though. The same lot had a 2001 Grand Prix GTP Special Edition (Unique body/interior

additions/options/badging= Special Edition above the base GTP) fully loaded, with 50,xxx in excellent condition. I checked out the GTP forums and did some web searching for major repeat problems...........and did not find much......................so I went back today and traded in my Caddy for it, and bought it.

Hopefully I have better luck with it.

Sorry............I know I am biased cuz of my bad Caddy experience this time around...........so I had to do it.

Maybe when my grudge is gone I will think about another caddy in the future. Unfortunately............I left the rims I just bought on the car. I did take the IPOD interface adapter I just purchased, the stainless Front Plate and the Rear Plate trim, off the car. I will list them all together in the parts section of this forum for sale for a reasonable offer.

Good luck with your new car. Don't be soured on Cadillac though - you need to remember that you did not have a $40,000 car....you had a nine year old car that you got cheap with an unknown maintenance history. If the car is not maintained properly, it won't last - regardless of the brand/manufacturer.

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

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I have a 97 eldorado I did the time certs myself with help from B-Bob and many others on this site. The overheating started cause the it was burning the antifreeze, you will know because you will leave a white cloud in ou wake, also remove the radiator cap when the car is cold then start the car if the antifreeze is seen bubbling in the expansion tank then the head gasket is probably bad.

If you decide to do it yourself I have a time cert kit for sale with certs, the engine comes out the top and as long as you take your time you'll be fine, I've put over 30K on mine after the work and so far so good.

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There was just a early time frame with these Nothstars that the head gaskets went bad and that was in the 1997-1999 years . I havent seen it in the newer body style the engine had several mods even the compression was changed but if the dexcool is serviced you'll be fine.

Michael-

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