: 1994 Fleetwood Brougham test-drive



HUF
08-11-09, 04:18 AM
Folks I am in the market for 1994-1996 Fleetwood Brougham and have some questions for you.

Today I test-drove a 1994 Fleetwood Broughham with 112*** miles on the odometer. The car had a few blemishes exterior -wise (door-dents, broken grill, bent antenna), but nothing major. The engine bay was clean and neat.
The bad... On a highway after some 50MPH I could clearly hear some muffled humming noise I could not place... Tires? There was also some light vibration during acceleration and decelleration I never experienced with my 1991 Seville. The car handled well but I really felt as if I were driving a truck! LOL All windows, seats etc, seemed to be fine. I tried onboard diagnostics and here what I had got.
As far as I could understand there were no 00 and 01 codes. There was 126 code for 02 (I guess it is a history 26 -Serial Data Communication error (shorted/open). There were a few 05 codes I cannot decifer... 09, 14, 12... What the hell is that?

My Seville seems to be faster or probably I just did not get used to Fleetwood. Throttle response of my Seville seems to be much better. Again, I might be subjective on that. I remember how uncomfortable I felt when I switched from company 2000 Ford Focus to my 1991 Seville ten years ago...

The wind noise was very noticeable as well.

Again, my main concern is that muffled humming noise. Could it be transmission, dufferential related? All the fluids looked and smelled good to me.

I really appreciate your input. Thanks in advance!

96Fleetwood
08-11-09, 09:21 AM
Did you try coasting in neutral to see if the noise went away? That would eliminate a possible tranny noise.

My 1996 had a humming noise, but that was the rear end. I ended up putting 3.73 gears and a Eaton posi to remedy the situation :lildevil:

HUF
08-11-09, 11:42 AM
Did you try coasting in neutral to see if the noise went away? That would eliminate a possible tranny noise.

My 1996 had a humming noise, but that was the rear end. I ended up putting 3.73 gears and a Eaton posi to remedy the situation :lildevil:
I have not tried to coast. It was a pretty busy highway and the owner was a bit worried my experiments could cause an accident. By the way, one of the rear tires has been replaced recently. Could it be an indication of an accident followed by a damage to the differential?

sven914
08-11-09, 06:44 PM
One of the rear tires has been replaced recently. Do you think there might be a connection between the noise and the accident which damaged the tire?

Is there anything on the body that makes you think there was an accident? Tires get replaced all the time; people run-over nails, or forget to check the tire pressures, or maybe the owner got a little lonely and started having evil thoughts about the tire. The main thing though is that the treads have to be close together in wear and design, especially on the drive axle. If the they're not, then it can hurt the differential. So if the other four tires are bald, and the one is brand new, then the humming could very well be the differential going.

HUF
08-11-09, 10:38 PM
Is there anything on the body that makes you think there was an accident? Tires get replaced all the time; people run-over nails, or forget to check the tire pressures, or maybe the owner got a little lonely and started having evil thoughts about the tire. The main thing though is that the treads have to be close together in wear and design, especially on the drive axle. If the they're not, then it can hurt the differential. So if the other four tires are bald, and the one is brand new, then the humming could very well be the differential going.

Sven914,

I did not see any damage, but I could not see much on the underbody without lifting the car. He seemed to use the spare tire for a while, then replaced with a new one. Do you think placing matching (thread-wise) tires will prevent further damage to the differential? Will changing the oil stop further damageor it will only get worse no matter what? Thanks, guys for th ereplies, I am new to the RWD world...

cooncat
08-11-09, 11:21 PM
My advice to you is, there are other Fleetwood Broughams out there that are in better condition. I would run away from this car if you have so many doubts and question. I would not buy trouble which this car sounds like it is. Just my opinion.

dirt_cheap_fleetwood
08-11-09, 11:35 PM
I don't believe these came with full size spares, so my guess is that he drove for too long with the doughnut on and screwed up the diff. As stated before, there are plenty of these geezer mobiles for sale in better condition.

Here is some inspiration. I bought my Brougham with 68k miles for $3500. It had a recent paint job (not the best, there is some orange peel if you look hard enough) and the rest of the car was near perfect. It drives like brand new. I looked around for a long time (its hard to find non-rusty cars in Chicago) but eventually I found the car I was hunting for. Just keep checking around (I like browsing through craigslist every few days) and good luck in your search.

HUF
08-12-09, 12:14 AM
I don't believe these came with full size spares, so my guess is that he drove for too long with the doughnut on and screwed up the diff. As stated before, there are plenty of these geezer mobiles for sale in better condition.

Here is some inspiration. I bought my Brougham with 68k miles for $3500. It had a recent paint job (not the best, there is some orange peel if you look hard enough) and the rest of the car was near perfect. It drives like brand new. I looked around for a long time (its hard to find non-rusty cars in Chicago) but eventually I found the car I was hunting for. Just keep checking around (I like browsing through craigslist every few days) and good luck in your search.

Gents, thanks for the replies. The main reason I ma so interested in that Fleetwood is that it was a CA car and is ABSOLUTELY rust-free. Even cars from FL do have some surface rust. I saw the spare tire and it was full-size one.

I have been watching craigs list for months , but have not seen too many reasonably priced Fleetwoods in good condition.

sven914
08-12-09, 01:05 AM
Craigslist isn't alway the best for finding cars in good condition. Have your tried AutoTrader.com or eBay. Autotrader would at least give listing for dealerships in your area.

With cash for clunkers, don't hope to find '90's RWD for less than $4500 (thats how much they're worth to Obama).

jey
08-13-09, 01:15 PM
Full-sized spare was a factory option I believe.

Any service records on the car? Tranny should be flushed at 100k, etc. LT1 should move the car around nicely - I wonder if they have skipped some maintenance items and it needs a tuneup.

jayoldschool
08-13-09, 01:57 PM
I don't believe these came with full size spares, so my guess is that he drove for too long with the doughnut on and screwed up the diff.

That's impossible, because it doesn't have positraction.

sven914
08-13-09, 02:34 PM
That's impossible, because it doesn't have positraction.

Anytime there are mismatched tires, either in size or in tread patter, on the drive axle (LSD or not) you run the risk of damaging the internal components of the differential. The differential is only built to compensate for gears turning at different rates during turns, not for extended periods of driving. Because the spiders are constantly turning (because of the bad tire) they become over stressed and overheat, which leads to failure of the rear-end assembly.

Thats why I ditched my factory spare and have a fullsize one in the trunk (did you know that Ford's bolt pattern is the same as ours?).

jayoldschool
08-13-09, 03:06 PM
Anytime there are mismatched tires, either in size or in tread patter, on the drive axle (LSD or not) you run the risk of damaging the internal components of the differential. The differential is only built to compensate for gears turning at different rates during turns, not for extended periods of driving. Because the spiders are constantly turning (because of the bad tire) they become over stressed and overheat, which leads to failure of the rear-end assembly

I disagree, and so does GM. The only danger is if you have two different sized tires on a rear end that has LSD. If you check the owner's manual for cars that have optional LSD, GM specifies that you only have to move the compact spare to the front and the good tire to the rear if the car has LSD. There is no danger to an open carrier, certainly if you replace the tire in the short mileage specified for compact spare useage. Now, if we are talking about running a compact spare on one side of an open carrier rear end for a couple of years, then maybe you might overheat things.

sven914
08-13-09, 03:54 PM
There is no danger to an open carrier, certainly if you replace the tire in the short mileage specified for compact spare useage. Now, if we are talking about running a compact spare on one side of an open carrier rear end for a couple of years, then maybe you might overheat things.

I do believe that in essence that was what dirtcheapfleetwood was getting at when he said:


I don't believe these came with full size spares, so my guess is that he drove for too long with the doughnut on and screwed up the diff.

And that was the point that I was attempting to make. A spare tire is only supposed to get you 50miles at 50mph. Beyond those limitations, damage is imminent. I'm not implying that the differential will come apart in tiny pieces at 51, but if you took it apart and closely examined the gears, you would find small scars and blue marks; signs of the failure starting.

HUF
08-13-09, 04:08 PM
I do believe that in essence that was what dirtcheapfleetwood was getting at when he said:



And that was the point that I was attempting to make. A spare tire is only supposed to get you 50miles at 50mph. Beyond those limitations, damage is imminent. I'm not implying that the differential will come apart in tiny pieces at 51, but if you took it apart and closely examined the gears, you would find small scars and blue marks; signs of the failure starting.

Thanks for the opinions, gents. How much will it cost to replace the differential with new one? Is it a DIY job? Thanks.

96Fleetwood
08-13-09, 04:41 PM
Thanks for the opinions, gents. How much will it cost to replace the differential with new one? Is it a DIY job? Thanks.

I paid $900 to have my 3.73 gears and Eaton Posi installed. This was the second time I had it done due to a horrible shop install the first time. Find a good shop, it is not DIY in my opinion.

JTraik
08-13-09, 05:27 PM
Thanks for the opinions, gents. How much will it cost to replace the differential with new one? Is it a DIY job? Thanks.

How experienced of a gear head are you? Hardest part about it is having all the tools, pullers and presses and such. Definitely a feasible DIY task if you have the proper resources. Mainly just takes patience setting gear lash. I personally don't trust anyone but myself to do any work on my vehicles, and if something is wrong I will know what it is and only have myself to blame.

HUF
08-13-09, 05:48 PM
How experienced of a gear head are you? Hardest part about it is having all the tools, pullers and presses and such. Definitely a feasible DIY task if you have the proper resources. Mainly just takes patience setting gear lash. I personally don't trust anyone but myself to do any work on my vehicles, and if something is wrong I will know what it is and only have myself to blame.

Same here. Nobody ever touched my 1991 Seville in 10 years. I prefer to do everything (a lot) myself and rather buy tools than pay someone I do not have control over.
Is there a way to test the rear differential as a potential culprit causing that muffled humming noise at higher speeds without opening it up?
I have never owned a RWD vehicle, so sorry if I ask dumb questions. Learning curve! lol

JTraik
08-13-09, 07:41 PM
Same here. Nobody ever touched my 1991 Seville in 10 years. I prefer to do everything (a lot) myself and rather buy tools than pay someone I do not have control over.
Is there a way to test the rear differential as a potential culprit causing that muffled humming noise at higher speeds without opening it up?
I have never owned a RWD vehicle, so sorry if I ask dumb questions. Learning curve! lol

From the sounds of it I would just pass on the vehicle and keep looking. If it were a vehicle that I owned the first thing I would do is open that differential up and look around. A factory issue with these rearends is that an improper cover gasket was installed blocking the oil inlet ports to the axle tubes, while this doesnt directly kill the gears it does kill the outer axle bearing surfaces.

Next I would inspect and probably replace all the u-joints as they would give the symptoms you describe... I am guessing thats probably the culprit but since you can only guess, I dont think I would mess around unless the price was an offer you couldnt refuse.

Also you mention alot of wind noise... definitely shouldnt be like that, you should have to struggle to hear windnoise, these cars are extremely isolated from outside noise.

jey
08-13-09, 08:30 PM
Also you mention alot of wind noise... definitely shouldnt be like that, you should have to struggle to hear windnoise, these cars are extremely isolated from outside noise.

Yeah, another sign of poor maintenance. The owner's manual calls for lubrication of the weather stripping every year. Without treatment, they crack and the seals start to get noisy.

HUF
08-13-09, 11:01 PM
Door seals must be some $150 for all four, differential is about $1,000, new grille is like $125, new antenna, dash cover...hmmm It is still doable and bearable, but what if after all that work the tranny craps out? lol How long does a 4L60E last?

Stingroo
08-13-09, 11:10 PM
In all honesty, I think you're better off looking for another car.

My suggestion to you, if you really truly think ~$1300 in car maintenance is doable after purchase, is to come on down here to Florida and buy a FWB from one of our old folks. Rust free examples of nearly any car you can imagine are here.

If you like, I can help you a bit in searching, and I'm sure Bro-Ham would help too, since he's a transplant to my state too. (Yes, that's right, NATIVE Floridian speaking. lol)

HUF
08-13-09, 11:28 PM
In all honesty, I think you're better off looking for another car.

My suggestion to you, if you really truly think ~$1300 in car maintenance is doable after purchase, is to come on down here to Florida and buy a FWB from one of our old folks. Rust free examples of nearly any car you can imagine are here.

If you like, I can help you a bit in searching, and I'm sure Bro-Ham would help too, since he's a transplant to my state too. (Yes, that's right, NATIVE Floridian speaking. lol)

That's what I've been considering - buying a FWB from a eBay dealer with great history/feedback when I came across with this absolutely rust-free one (from CA) ALREADY here in New England.

Stingroo
08-14-09, 12:40 AM
That's true, but I think a one time travel expense might be better than many problems down the road. No disrespect meant or anything, but I think that's what I would do.

sven914
08-14-09, 01:06 AM
Is your heart completely set on a last generation Fleetwood? I'm sure if you expanded your parameters a little, you could find everything you're looking for in an '80-'92 (Fleetwood) Brougham. You could probably find one that was garage kept, never seen snow, and only has 65,000 miles on the clock.

HUF
08-15-09, 01:34 AM
Is your heart completely set on a last generation Fleetwood? I'm sure if you expanded your parameters a little, you could find everything you're looking for in an '80-'92 (Fleetwood) Brougham. You could probably find one that was garage kept, never seen snow, and only has 65,000 miles on the clock.

Sven914,
I like the styling of some earlier models as well and keep looking. Thanks for the advice.

HUF
08-15-09, 01:37 AM
That's true, but I think a one time travel expense might be better than many problems down the road. No disrespect meant or anything, but I think that's what I would do.
Stingroo,

A car may look great in the pictures, but you never know until you actually drive it. What if I fly to FL and do not like the car? When you buy from a reputable eBay seller you will most likely get what you expected. Well, buying a used car is not really fun since you have to deal with people...

I~LUV~Caddys8792
08-15-09, 02:40 PM
I know I'm late, but it's really weird that it didn't seem as quick as your Seville. When I went from my LT-1 Roadmaster to my 4.9 deVille, I noticed a definite decrease in power, especially above 4000 rpm.

HUF
08-15-09, 07:42 PM
I know I'm late, but it's really weird that it didn't seem as quick as your Seville. When I went from my LT-1 Roadmaster to my 4.9 deVille, I noticed a definite decrease in power, especially above 4000 rpm.

It was my impression 4.9 was faster off line. LT-1 would likely wax 4.9 as soon as it gets some momentum.

Stingroo
08-15-09, 10:38 PM
LT-1 has more torque than the 4.9 (65 lb/ft more), but I'd imagine the DeVille was much lighter than the Roadmaster too.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
08-16-09, 02:01 AM
They seemed very equal out of the hole, but above 40mph, the Roadmaster was definitely faster. The 4.9 excels in 1st gear, but once it shifts into second, the acceleration rate drops off. Not so with the LT-1....it carries through the shift and into the next gear without any noticeable drop.