Gonna check out an 88 tonight
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Cadillac Allante Forum Discussion, Gonna check out an 88 tonight in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; To alleviate my lust for an XLR, I'm considering an Allante I found a red 88 in my area with ...
  1. #1
    OffThaHorseCEO is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Gonna check out an 88 tonight

    To alleviate my lust for an XLR, I'm considering an Allante

    I found a red 88 in my area with my favorite tone of interior leather. I call it peanut butter. The craigslist ad doesnt mention mileage

    What should i look out for? I know it has the 4.1 and i think I'm relieved that it isnt the northstar. I know the brake system had to be properly maintained on these vehicles. how can i tell if its ready to go or if it has been patched up.

    Also, im not particularly fond of the steering wheel. is it sacrilegious to change it out? is it tied in to any electronics the way the new ones all are?

    also, i know ill find this out tomorrow when i check it out but, is the top supposed to open and close automatically? Is the whole process automatic or do i have to move something or adjust something other than just hitting a switch.

    Do these cars ever end up having overheating issues or transmission issues? (my 2 most hated types of car failure)


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  3. #2
    prospyder is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Gonna check out an 88 tonight

    Besides the usual engine, brake and transmission items, check the top pulldown mechanism: the top is a manual one that requires you to open the hard boot, raise the top manually, latch the header, then push or GENTLY slam the rear bow down into the top pulldown mechanism that is supposed to latch mechanically, then lower to pull the cloth top taut. There is also a pulldown mechanism for the trunk latch. Both pulldowns consist of electric motors with "clear plastic housings" that have plastic gears in them and are prone to breakage.
    You know about the brakes: they are both antilock and antiskid and are expensive to repair so check to see if the brake fluid is clean.
    The transmission fluid should be relatively clean and not smell burnt, too.
    The Bose sound systems usually fail speaker by speaker. Replacement is expensive unless you want to do some serious soldering yourself, and repairing the speakers (that each has an amplifier built-in) is also costly.
    Window switches should be checked along with the lock switches.
    Hope this helps.

  4. #3
    OffThaHorseCEO is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Gonna check out an 88 tonight

    so let me get this right? you have to grab the top and manually lift it and latch it and or manually lower it? hmmm...

    is it pretty easy operation? i noticed theres a space behin the seats...does the top tuck in there or does anything tuck in there or is that space always available?

  5. #4
    billc83's Avatar
    billc83 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Gonna check out an 88 tonight

    OfftheHorse! You're looking at Allantes now?

    Here's the lowdown on '88:

    1) The top is manual. Also, the first years had the Phase I top, which is known to leak water. If you don't plan to drive it during rain and have a garage (or even a good car cover) it won't be an issue, but it's a need to know. The latches near the windshield are manual, and the pull-down mechanism is often troublesome. If not adjusted correctly, the mechanism can either not work or go up and down endlessly and will leave your battery dead. You can hear recycling as a slight continuous click after putting the top up.

    The top tucks into the boot (as most convertibles do), a space dedicated solely to storage of the top. Everything else is storage space (at the time, the Allante was advertised as having the most storage capacity of any roadster). Check the soft top to make sure that where the boot rubs up against the top; often this area can become worn. The previous owner of mine placed some bubble wrap so they wouldn't rub and wear as easily.

    The manual top operation really isn't that difficult, unless you lack strength. You can have the thing up and ready to go in less than a minute if you really hustle.

    2) The 4.1 engine gets a lot of hate, but by '88 they had gotten most of the bugs out. Regular coolant flushes and adding the Stop Leak pellets are essential, but that's just the nature of the beast.

    3) The Bosch III ABS can be expensive if something goes wrong. Allantesource has a good write-up of the system. Annual brake fluid flushes are recommended! As I wrote in gary88's thread, the parts are EXPENSIVE! BTW, if you check the brake fluid, be aware the system is under pressure and opening it will SPEW BRAKE FLUID ALL OVER THE PLACE unless you depressurize the system by stepping on the brake pedal 25 times (you will feel the brakes lose power after about the 20th step, it's very noticable). If the ABS light does anything more than come on for approx. 10 seconds at startup, be advised there could be a major (READ: EXPENSIVE) problem with the brake system.

    Above all else, BUY THE SELLER! Ask questions: if he beats around the bush it's a good indication something could be wrong! if the guy seems shady, he probably is.

    Be aware of problems that could pop up, but don't let them steer you away from an Allante if you are set on one. But I'd avoid it if there is a major problem right now. Remember, the cheapest part about buying a car is searching for the right one. Sort of like a woman, if you think about it...

  6. #5
    OffThaHorseCEO is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Gonna check out an 88 tonight

    yea haha. i didnt really know much about them until i started yearning for an xlr.

    we're in the process of hopefully buying a house so my plans to buy an xlr have become much longer term.

    in the mean time, I have the SRX which is technically my gf's car, and the Saturn SW which is my daily driver. I LOVE our Saturn for its reliability and economy but i cant bring myself to feel pride in owning it.

    I want something that i can call mine and feel proud to own. Something that might need just a small bit of TLC. I had an Eldo which needed alot of TLC, which would have been ok,but it was my daily driver so it got annoying quick.

    I fell in love with the allante body style and ive never had a convertible before. i understand its an up to 23 year old car but i dont mind. since i have the extremely reliable aturn as my daily driver, i can afford to have the cadillac down for extended periods of time

    The 88 i looked at had apparently been painted, and possibly poorly there was overspray on the rubber seals. also there was paint on the door handles, which was not there before. the paint almost looks too thick. the leather seats are torn unfortunately. also, the bottom trim which i notices is usually black and was originally black on this vehicle, has been painted red as well:


    (what do those latches on the back of the seats do? theyre broken on this car)

    i have been looking for a black one with the mocha (dark brown) and saddle tan interior but it seems that interior is only available with a red exterior. so then i thought about getting a red one and painting it black, but then the red grew on me haha.

    i want a project but not a money pit.

    im debating between getting the red one with the interior i want for less, but spending more time and money getting it in tip top shape. or spending more up front and getting one in better shape but possibly not the color combinations i want

  7. #6
    billc83's Avatar
    billc83 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Gonna check out an 88 tonight

    Those latches on the back of the seats allow them to tilt forward. If the passenger one is broken, it will be VERY difficult to access the battery should you need a replacement!

    Personally, I don't like the black beltline painted. Keeping it black makes the car appear longer and sleeker IMO.

    I think the stitching on the Recaro seats is suspect on these cars; I've seen more than a few examples (including my own!) where the seams have split. Getting them restitched isn't too expensive, and you can always throw on seat covers if it really bothers you. The center armrest looks a LOT better than mine, which is suncracked beyond belief.

    Again, it's worth saying: If you have settled on a particular brand/make/model: BUY THE BEST EXAMPLE YOU CAN FIND AND AFFORD! I wouldn't write off the other car, especially if the price difference is with negotiation range (unless you really can't stand the color combo). The economy is hurting a lot of people right now, shooting an offer might just find it accepted. If you don't buy now, there's always another car.

    What was your impression of the seller?

  8. #7
    OffThaHorseCEO is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Gonna check out an 88 tonight

    im ashamed to say i didnt meet the seller. i work alot of hours and i work out of town, so the only time im able to check cars is early in the morning on the drive to work or at night on the drive home.

    I thought spotted this one at two dealerships in town. then i saw it on a craigslist ad and saw the price. i stopped at the dealership to get a look at the body and for shits i yanked the door handle. guess what? it opened haha. So this one has the Saddle tan color i want but the interior isnt complete. something is definitely broken on the center console, and the seat backs and latches to the seat backs are broken and may be missing. Theyre asking $3995 for it

    Well, like i said i thought i had spotted it at two dealerships, and yesterday i decided to take the way home that took me by the other dealership. Come to find out, its a totally different allante!

    This one is a 91 with what seems to be original paint and 95000 miles. the door handles and "beltline" are still black. The interior is in much better shape than the first and seems to be more complete. It has a cd player and the analog gauges. Unfortunately the top is fading and peeling. also, UNFORTUNATELY it has the black interior. it looks nice but i really want the saddle tan. Its $8995

    Ok so weighing these two local options here are the pros and cons:

    Red 1988 Cadillac AllantÚ - $3995
    Pros:
    Fresh red paint
    Saddle tan leather
    Has 4.1 which by now was mature equipment
    Has the "cool" digital IPC
    MUCH lower price tag

    Cons:
    Interior needs alot of work.
    Has 4.1 with less power and torque
    Paint overspray on some of the seals
    Seals all look like they need to be replaced
    door handles were painted, "beltline" was painted, and headlight washer nozzles were painted, paint looks very thick as if it may clog the headlight washers.
    Phase I top which billc says leaks, combined with seals that look deteriorated...


    Red 1991 Cadillac AllantÚ - $8995
    Pros:
    Its newer, and mileage is listed at 95000 miles
    It has its original paint, not a maaco paint job
    The interior is in much better shape
    being a 91, it has the Phase II top and traction control and a cd player
    it has analog gauges which are supposed to be less trouble prone

    Cons:
    its $9000!!!
    the leather is black
    the paint on the top is fading
    its $9000
    the analog gauges arent as nice as the digital ones, to me


    now granted, i havent driven either of these cars, so, something else could be wrong or right about each that would change the whole game up.

    not only that but, it kinda sounded like the guy was highballin knowing he'd be talked down. I think the most i can bring myself to pay for an AllantÚ right now is $5500. After all, they are 20 and 23 year old cars. I only paid a little over 10 for my SRX...

    what would you do?

    o yea, i think i might try to drive the cars this sunday if i can get off

  9. #8
    stoveguyy is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Gonna check out an 88 tonight

    saw a 89 on CL for 1500. gold ext/blk top. fugly aftermarket rims. the guy said it runs. would be fun to own just to look at. saw a 87 with both tops, rebuilt abs pump, new master cyl and brake work for 2k. silver ext. nice looking

  10. #9
    OffThaHorseCEO is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Gonna check out an 88 tonight

    found my originally desired color combo in arizona. its black exterior with brown/saddle interior. It looks VERY clean, has analog gauges, both tops. The price is right too.

    dowside is its in phoenix arizona

    http://phoenix.craigslist.org/evl/cto/1884582129.html





  11. #10
    CadillacSTS42005's Avatar
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    Re: Gonna check out an 88 tonight

    Road trip!

  12. #11
    OffThaHorseCEO is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Gonna check out an 88 tonight

    so how badly do the phase I's leak and is there a remedy/fix?

    is it like it was in my eldo with a bad sunroof?

    when i would hit the brakes water would drip all over my shirt badly enough that i started wearing a driving shirt and i would put my other shirt on when i got to work

  13. #12
    I~LUV~Caddys8792's Avatar
    I~LUV~Caddys8792 is offline Moderator
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    Re: Gonna check out an 88 tonight

    If it was me, I'd personally get the analog gauges. Those digital ones, while they look very cool, could get very expensive to repair/replace if they go bad. IF you can still find the parts..
    "They call Alabama the Crimson Tide, call me Deacon Blues."

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