: Looking to move to a RWD Fleetwood

08-23-10, 09:38 AM
I lost my '01 Deville DTS to an accident last April, a car that I meticulously restored from its flood-totaled state. I drove it for several years and loved it. It was my first Caddy and I loved having a big sedan. Late last year, my grandfather passed away and I got his '95 Deville Concours. I've been driving it since January and it's similar in a lot of ways to my '01 DTS, but unfortunately it's got several mechanical problems that just aren't worth repairing.

My family has a lot of experience with these FWD, Northstar Devilles and it seems a lot of the trouble begins at around 100k miles. Very expensive repairs like the TCC soleniod, active-suspension struts, etc. My '95 is no exception. It's also very rusty underneath due to having spent its life in eastern-MA. The gas tank filler tube is rusted through and leaking, and there's something broken in the right rear suspension as well as in the steering. I just can't justify investing in it anymore.....

I want to get away from the complexity of the FWD and into an LT1 car. I zeroed in on the '94-96 Fleetwoods. I've come across some nice 'funeral cars': 6-door, 9-passenger limos. Mechanically, they'd be identical to the 'regular' Fleetwoods, with the exception of the driveshaft and exhaust. I believe they had heavy duty brakes as well.

I have another vehicle that I consider a fair-weather, daily driver. I also have a 4WD truck. I intend to use the Fleetwood the same way I use the Deville: bringing kids to school, lugging larger items around and weekend trips to the Poconos during ski season. I think the stretch would be a neat alternative to an SUV for these purposes.

Doing reasearch, it does not seem like there are a lot of common, expensive problems with these things. I've read all about the LT1 Opti-spark problems (I have an LS1 powered Trans Am, so I'm familiar with the LT1 as well) and some air-ride suspension issues. I'm mechanically very handy, so I figure if I get a rust-free example with 100k miles or less on it, the cost of maintaining a Fleetwood would be minimal. I typically put less than 10k miles a year on a car so I figure it would last a while.

Are there any other common problems I should look for in a Fleetwood? Is my assumption that it is a lower-cost, less-complex solution compared to the FWD Northstars a good one?


08-23-10, 10:01 AM
I recently bought a 1995 fleetwood and I have no complaints. It has minor problems (exhaust leaks, ABS light is on, etc...etc...) All seemingly easy fixes but I've been both lazy and busy recently and haven't had time to mess with it much. One common problem is, i believe, the fuel sending unit in the tank...it does not provide accurate readings and so your fuel guage will never go down lower than a quarter tank or so. I've had it happen in mine where the guage said 1/4 tank and I ran out of gas. Since then, I never let it go below 1/4 tank.

The car has power for days and has been very reliable...and fuel economy is great. 20 MPG about...

I love it! You will to :)

08-23-10, 11:08 AM
Yeah they all have fuel gauge issues but there's a fix for it out there somewhere that I saw.

08-23-10, 11:13 AM
Yup, fuel gauge is funky it can be fixed too . I appreciate your decision and go for RWD car . LT1 performs no slower than nstar engine .

08-23-10, 01:53 PM
I've had my 94 FWB for about a year now, and so far the only things I have done in terms of major repairs was the water pump. The car looks to have the original Opti Spark, I am keeping it healthy by replacing the spark plugs and wires a few months back, and keeping it dry.

Overall, the only major issues you will have with these cars which is well stated and are common problems, is a leaky water pump, and bad Opti, which is usually takin out by a leaky water pump anyways, so it's likely people that have a bad water pump will wind up having a faulty Opti. At the same time though, this is not always the case, but after awhile, it can be damaging to the unit which could cause a slow death.

I have a 155,000 miles on mine, and everything still works, besides for the A/C, I picked up a compressor and a new accumulator. I'll probably install both parts sometime this week, other than that, these cars are awesome, and are very reliable. Truly the last great big cars around, and you would have to spend a great deal of money today for a new car, to obtain the interior space, comfort, and solidarity of these modern FWB's. Plus these Caddys stand out way more than any new CTS or DTS, because of it's sheer presence and great styling especially if the car has 1inch WW tires!. I get tons of looks from a lot of different people, from young to old, and it's out of respect for the car. Plus you don't see one everyday.

08-24-10, 09:13 AM
Thanks all for the replies.

I do recall the water pumps being an issue on the LT1s, too. It's a funky reverse-flow arrangement?

In any event, I'm going to look at a 95k-mile Superior funeral limo. Black, black leather. 6-doors, 9-passenger. I like this particular version because the middle seat flips both ways so the passengers can either face front or face the rear passengers.

If I can't find a decent limo, I'll start looking for a 'normal' Fleetwood. It's tough to find a low-mileage example. The funeral cars are typically lower mileage.