View Full Version : 1978 Cadillac Sedan Deville info wanted

08-29-09, 03:34 AM
Hey guys im from Melbourne in australia and im currently looking to buy a cadillac sedan deville.

Pretty much cadillacs of any shape and form are rare as over here so im a bit short on information about them.

what should i look out for when buying the car in terms of rust and the options fitted to the car. how can i identify what has been installed is there a way to track vehicle information if it has been imported from the U.S

any help would be great ill post a link up for the caddy im looking at getting


09-07-09, 09:05 PM
Rust is uncommon on 1977+ cars, although if the car has been in an area of the US where it snows, the risk increases. Rocker panels, the margin of the vinyl top, and trunk and floor pan are the usual areas where rot would be found. These cars had lots of options available, so you need to decide what you must have and what doesn't matter so much. Here's a link to the 1978 catalogue to help you decide what you want to look for in a car:


Happy hunting!


09-10-09, 10:48 AM
Craig, That is a great link! What is the main web page? I collected car brochures for 30+ years, sold 99% of the collection a couple years ago, and kept only my favorites including Cadillac, big Olds and Buick, and RR. Seeing some of these online is fantastic and so much nicer than hauling around the physical catalogs.

Aus Caddy, I have spent most of my life with the 1977 through 1979 Cadillac full size models. They can and do rust if they have lived in and have been driven in the snowy and salty areas of the U.S., as Craig mentioned. Don't be afraid of a car from the northern U.S. if it has been carefully owned and stored. My current 1979 Cadillac was owned by the classic little old lady and the car was driven 61,000 miles when I purchased it in 2005. It came from Wisconsin and there are no signs of rust.

Do your homework, have the car you are considering inspected and evaluated by a professional, and buy the very best example you can find. If you buy a car that needs considerable work you will likely spend more to bring it back to life than if you buy a car that has always been well maintained and kept running right. If you have the $$$, the tools, and the time plus some mechanical inclination then tackling a project may not be so overwhelming.

Post some pictures of the car and many folks on the forum will be able to help identify the options the car is fitted with and what it is missing.

Good luck and have fun!!! :)


09-10-09, 12:14 PM
Dave, just use the same link, but stop before "cadillac". That will show you the main page with all the rest of the makes he has on file.

09-13-09, 10:59 PM
Hey THANKS Craig! :) :)

09-14-09, 02:58 PM
This site usually has plenty of info that goes year-by-year. List of options as well. http://www.100megsfree4.com/cadillac/cad1970/cad78d.htm

09-15-09, 09:47 AM
I picked up a '77 parts car from Saratoga NY. They really pour on the salt in the winter up there. The floor pans for the front seat and were rotted through, especially the passenger side over the catalytic converter. The cat generates a lot of heat which causes sweating under the pan. GM used to put a heat shield above the cat, but by '77, the shield was gone.
The frame on this car was badly compromised from the rear axle area back. This is not the norm for these cars in any way.
Last year I picked up a low mileage '77 coupe, which had it's origins in eastern Connetticutt and New Hampshire. Had this car up on a lift last month to replace the tailpipe. There was no eveidence of major rust problems anywhere under this car.
What to look for is puckering under the vinyl top, especially on the sides above the beltline, and below the beltline there may be minor staining from water draining, to rust build, which will show as bubbling under the paint. This is just above the rear wheel opening.
Another area where rust shows up is the lower front fender in back of the wheel opening. This happens in the snow belt regions, when the car is driven through the winter and the State the car is driven in uses chlorinated salt.
If the window seals of the doors are damaged and the drains at the bottom of the door become plugged, the bottom of the door will be rusted. Ask for pics of this area.
Ask for pics of the driver's door hinges. If the roller on the hinge has a sloppy fit, the door has been opened and closed a lot. The upper hinge also has a tendency to wear at the pin and will show as an elongated pin hole.
Ask for pics of the driver's seat and door panel. Most people show you pics of the driver's seat from over the back of the seat from the door opening. Ask for a pic from the front of the door opening to get a better idea of the front seat wear. Check for wear on the outer edge of the seat. Check the seat piping.
I personally don't like to see aftermarket radios in a car, because most of these installations, although an upgrade to later technology, are inferior.
The rear bumper is a problem area, as the area between the bumper support and the bumper seem to collect moisture and because there are two different metals used in the construction of the bumper and the supports they react against one another. Look closely at the bumper for fading or staining.
I hope what I've posted doesn't deter you from purchasing one of these fine cars. If you find one with less than 100,000 mi., you don't have to be concerned with problems with the drive train. I have only bought one with an engine problem. The TH400 should be serviced if you are over 100,000, as it probably hasn't been serviced since the original owner serviced it at 30,000. When you get out to 150,000 mi. pay close attention to the shifting and condition of the transmission fluid. Look for stains around the front seal and axle seals of the rear axle.
Your looking at a thirty year old car, and there are several with low milage. Don't be so concerned about gas mileage, because with proper tuning these cars can get better than 15 mpg. I have one that gets 18 mpg highway. These car give you dependability and comfort that is hard to match. Go for it. Ask a lot of questions about vehicle maintainence and ask for pics. the more pics you have, the better you can judge the condition of the car. If the seller dosen't want to comply, pass it up.

Good Luck