I do not not have the privilege of owning an Allante yet but I am seriously looking. I will be looking , most likely for a '93. Can anyone give me some pointers on what to look for when shopping for an Allante ? Maybe some of the weaknesses in particular to Allantes apart rom the overall condition of the car. any help would be appreciated...I am looking to join the "Allante faithful"....
I have a 93 and thats all I have ever wanted because I love the Northstar motor, IMO they finally put a motor that does the beautiful lines of these cars justice.
I have an early 93 which many have recommended against, it has its quirks and problems but I chalk those up to the car being almost 20 years old and has almost 160,000 miles on it. I told my wife I will be buried in this car
I purchased my first Allante' at the beginning of this year, I must say it was quite a project. I have been researching this car since 2000 and finally found one in my *relatively broke* price range. Now that I've gone through that, here are a few things I personally think, as a mechanic, you should look for:
1) Is the first thing you notice: underneath it a puddle of fluid???
Ok, so any 20+ year old car is going to leak something. I purchased my '93 at a dealership. After test driving it, I noticed it was dripping something... engine oil. It was leaking EVERYWHERE it could possibly be leaking. I recommend checking to make sure the car isn't leaking ridiculous amounts of any fluid, as this could be a sign of poor maintenance. Northstar engines don't do so hot when they haven't been properly maintained.
2) Anything funny floating in the coolant resovoir?
If the car you are looking at is still equipped with Dexcool, you'll notice it may have reddish brown coolant. Any strange, oily muck floating in it? Chunks? Could be signs of a compromised cooling system, excessive electrolysis, or failed head gaskets.
3) Any foamy "chocolate milk gunk" on the upper end of the dipstick or bottom of oil cap? STAY AWAY. HEAD/GASKET ISSUES.
4) Vacuum Lines and Belts, and Hoses
Belts should be worn evenly without any odd slick spots or major cracks/frays. Examine the vacuum line array at the top of the throttle body and make sure the vacuum boot that fastens all of the plastic lines to the throttle body is intact. These often times deteriorate, crack, or get ingested into the motor due to dry rot. Examine the coolant hoses to make sure they aren't cracked. If you notice a dry "droplet stain", chances are the car has been leaking coolant.
Is it easy to start? Does it sputter starting or miss until the car warms up? Could be a head gasket or compression issue. Any smoke? White smoke signals coolant ingestion, black smoke is running too rich, and blue/purple smoke is burning oil. A puff of purple smoke on cold start, then no more, generally just means that the valve stem seals leak slightly, and this is considered normal wear for the most part, especially with more than 150k miles. Does the engine take a while to start when cranking? Check the fuel pressure.
When the engine is cold what is the oil pressure? How about when it's warm? It is my understanding that low oil pressure is an issue with this particular model of the Northstar. My car came with a new crate motor installed and it STILL runs less than a quarter of the gauge on oil pressure at idle when the engine is good and warm. This should increase to roughly halfway up the gage when the engine RPMS are increased. Temp shouldn't ever really have a reason to get more than one bar above the halfway mark on the temp gage. Smooth idle? Any misfires?
1) Any major leaks?
2) Shifts smooth and on time when driving? I have known a few Allante's to be somewhat hesitant to shift from first to second, sometimes triggering the SES light when this happens. This is usually an electrical issue. In the case of my car, it's a 290k miles issue.
3) Anything in the service history that indicates regular transmission services or a possible replacement?
1) Hopefully your taillight assembly is in good shape. These are expensive and somewhat hard to come by.
2) Make sure there are no major chips or chunks out of the bumper covers. These are also hard to come by and quite expensive.
3) Are all the wheel covers (center caps) intact?
4) Check the headlight lenses for cracks. This is common over the foglight portion, or so I have been told. Mine had to be replaced to pass safety inspection.
5) Check front turn signals and side markers to make sure lenses are intact and not spider cracked.
6) Actuate fuel door (button in console) and make sure actuator operates smoothly and door swings open by itself.
1) Open and close trunk. Does the pull down motor work? If not, these are easy to get.
2) Check power windows and locks. Wiring in the door jambs fails easily and causes these not to work.
3) Turn ignition on, simultaneously press OFF and the red WARMER button on climate control and hold. Gage cluster should go nuts. Do any of the gages seem to be missing a pixel?
4) Check audio system. Does tape deck load and eject as it should? Does the "tape in" light illuminate and play when button pressed? Does CD load/eject and play when button pressed? If not, rebuilt units are available through AllanteSource in Florida.
5) Glove box door, lower console door, upper console lid, and cupholder intact?
6) Seat adjustment buttons all there? They're commonly broken or missing.
7) IF A HARDTOP, IS THE HARDTOP REMOVAL TOOL THERE???? It's a t-handle looking tool.
8) Is dimming mirror milky or clear?
9) Do soft top pull down motors (front and rear) work as they should? See bottom for instructions.
10) Check under dash sound insulator panels. Are they cracked or missing? They are quite brittle and tend to break.
11) Close car, roll up windows. Spray a garden hose with decent pressure on all top seals and door seals, and inspect interior for water.
Hope this little guide is helpful. I have given it to a couple of other guys who have purchased cars, and they've been glad they got it!
and ALWAYS see if the car comes with it's service documentation and owners manuals. Consider these your automotive BIBLE. My car was a one owner and even came with the original loan paperwork and the backs from the light bulb packages to every light bulb ever installed. The old man was a bit anal.
Bill S. - Last Chance Service.
CADILLAC ALLANTE' TOP PROCEDURE - FROM A COMBINATION OF OD5 TSB's and CADILLAC SERVICE DOCS
1) Drop sun visors and using a straight edged (but not sharp) tool, remove cover caps.
2) Insert top release tool, note that it only fits on one way. Turn tool about a quarter turn in the direction required (both sides are opposite,) and remove.
3) Near drivers side seat bolster, pull "Open Rear" lever.
4) If vehicle is on, turn off. Make sure antenna is down. Flip levers in right and left rear quarter windows down to release side hooks.
4a) If the rear window deicer is plugged in, unplug it from the socket.
5) With an assistant, lift top directly up from car, and walk toward the rear of vehicle. Place in padded rack.
1) Near drivers side seat bolster, pull "Cover Open" lever, and open rear cover. Remove end caps and stow in rear lower seat pockets. (End caps only applies if hard top wasn't on vehicle to begin with.)
2) Grasp top firmly and pull upwards, seating the alignment pins in the cups on windshield frame. Connect de-icer plug (male) to de-icer harness (female), mounted on the lower of the top stowage housing, drivers side. Lower cover.
3) Press down lightly on the front of the top to ensure pins and motor rollers are seated. Near drivers side seat bolster, press rocker switch to "close", and observe top operation. Top should seat firmly and evenly to windshield frame.
4) At drivers side hinge assembly, you will notice a small red lever with an arrow. Actuate lever to release rear of top.
4a) Lower rear of top into pulldown latch assembly. Press firmly in middle until it clicks. Observe pulldown motor to make sure top pulls down snug with body.
Installing Hard Top:
1) With assistant, place top on car. Make sure: a) rear pulldown pin seats first, then b) side alignment dowels seat second, and finally c) front alignment dowels seat in cups of windshield frame.
2) Using removal tool, lock front.
3) Locate rocker switch under top stowage housing, drivers side. Actuate switch and hold to pull down rear of top. Hold till assembly "clicks."
4) Lock the levers in the quarter windows. These have hooks attached, you will probably have to observe that hooks are around the pin before pulling them down.
Lowering soft top:
1) Pull "Open Rear" lever, pull rear of top upward from center until little red lever "clicks" and rear of top stays upright.
2) Push rocker switch to "OPEN", front should release evenly.
3) Pull "Open Cover" lever, raise cover, and pull top from front center. Top should fold easily into compartment. Install end caps stowed in rear lower seat pockets (if not installing hard top.) Lower cover.
FAILURE TO FOLLOW TOP PROCEDURE CAN DAMAGE THE TOP, MOTORS, and ALIGNMENT DOWELS!!
The advantage of buying used parts for your vehicle is they are already road tested and are guaranteed to fit. Across North America the scrap processing industry receives about 40% of their ferrous metal from recycling used parts.