: 1999 Concours
07-26-10, 10:51 PM
I would like to get some input from those of you with North Star engines.
Our Car has had regular maintence from the Dealership. We don't hot rod the car. My wife loves the car and does not want to give it up. The car has 117K miles no leaks no noise. My question is what is normal motor and transmission life for this car? How can I tell when the Struts are on the way out?
Regards to all,
07-27-10, 09:08 AM
Front struts and rear shocks signal the end of their life by gradually losing control of the suspension: excess body roll, "floaty" feeling on the road, and excess nosedive or lift during braking and hard acceleration. With the engine OFF place both hands flat on the forward section of a front fender and begin to bounce the car down and up. After a couple of bounces remove your hands. If the bounce continues for more that one rapidly decreasing cycle, the struts are suspect. Same for the rear, but the rear level control will mask the suspension action.
As far as the rest of the car, normal maintenance is your best bet - yes, unless you are a dedicated gearhead it can get expensive, BUT the number of members who will tell you to DIY represent only 1/10 of 1% of the entire Cadillac owning population. That's why dealers and small shops are in business..........
Just like any other electromechanical device, your car can easily go to 200,000+ OR it could blow up tomorrow. Drive it, maintain it, and when it does go, find a mid-00s model.
(I see you're pushing my age - for whatever reason we're not crawling around on concrete floors under cars like we used to............)
In my opinion, based on my experiences, a '99 Northstar with 117K is overdue for the cylinder head bolts/head gaskets to go. When that happens, you can always opt to fix the car if you like it enough...like I did!
Transmissions are pretty good - you may have trouble with the lock up torque converter someday, but you can choose to fix that or drive the car as-is with almost no perceptible change.
Your struts are probably borderline OK, or maybe already on their way out - I'm at 160K on my '97 ETC, and the struts are not "blown" but the ride is somewhat floaty; they're expensive to replace - plan on $500+ per corner.
07-27-10, 09:29 PM
Thanks for your input. Can you advise me if complete new motor and transmission are available for the car. Can the car be fitted with a regular gas burning motor? We have one other concern, out traction control light comes on along with the abs light. We took the car to the Dealer and they found a loose ground wire. Fixed problem no more lights then some time later lights again. I'm hearing get ready to drop a Kbuck.
07-27-10, 09:42 PM
Mr. Submariner 409,
Thank you for your reply. I will go bounce the car and get a feel for strut movement. Would you please read the reply I sent tateos and let me read your thoughts on the subjects. Yes, time does march on, seems to go faster and faster. Seems like yesterday I retired from the paying job. But, the numbers indicate 11 years ago. The good news is I have got to take alot of good naps!
Have a good day,
07-28-10, 12:15 PM
My opinion: The car is now 12 model years old. IF the engine, transmission or suspension were to fail to any significant degree, the parts and labor could easily exceed the Blue Book value of the entire car. If that were the case I would find a good 2001-2003 DHS - with its redesigned engine and updated transmission - and either sell or trade your Concours. The fact of life is that you're not going to take the Concours apart, sell what you can, and scrap the rest. A "dealer deal" will cost you some $$$ for the new(er) car, but you'll have a small warranty and a face to deal with.
07-28-10, 05:37 PM
Thank you for your advice. I have not kept up with cars for many years now, did the redesigned Northstar motor fix the cooling problem(s) I read about here on the forum. Why did the transmission get a make over?
The '96-99 engines were the most prone to head gasket problems. The 2000-2003 engines were improved somewhat, the 2004+ engines were improved a little more - none eliminated what some consider the inherent design flaw of an open deck block design, nor the required expensive fix of complete removal of the engine for drilling for studs or inserts. I know what Sub is saying, but if you do experience a head gasket failure, and the car is otherwise in great shape, and as you wrote
My wife loves the car and does not want to give it up
then you should still consider having the repair done. It will still cost less than a new-to-you 2001-2003 DHS which could have it's head gaskets fail in a few months or years.
If on the other hand, the head gaskets fail on the '99, and you have a few other problems, and the car is showing it's age, by all means follow Sub's advice and trade up to a newer model.
In the meanwhile, just drive the car and enjoy the serene ride...
07-28-10, 11:22 PM
...........the glitch was NOT cooling problems.
08-03-10, 06:16 PM
I think all the info you have been given is correct. I have a bit older version, a 1994 Concours, and I will tell you, that I too love this car. It is the 2nd Cadillac I have owned, and while I miss the first, a '99ETC I do not miss the electronic problems I had. The engine in that car was great. Now in my '94 I did have to replace both rear struts, and they were very expensive. I was considering going with a standard shock/strut set up but was happily talked out of it. It cost here $2400 for the pair (California overcharged?!) but the ride is worth every penny! As for electronics, no issues, engine, now that's another problem. I am over 100,000 miles. The burn rate is well within spec as far as oil is concerned, and most of that ends up in the drip pan! The engine is strong, I have no issues with coolant leak so it tells me (according to this valuable site) that I don't have a H/G problem. I have thought about attending to the leak, but the cost exceeds the price I paid for the car! So a drip pan at $8.00 vs a quoted $3500 to r and r the engine and replace the seals. No brainer for me a forced retiree (disabled). Just the other day a neighbor backed into my driver and rear passenger doors. small area of damage, no bigger than a normal sheet of paper. The estimate to replace the side mouldings ($796) plus repair and repaint... a staggering $2,800. plus the cost of a rental. I thought they were going to claim a salvage. But the insurance company came through and my Pearl White Whale of a Concours will be on the road to serve me another day. Enjoy yours to the utmost!