: What to "watch for" when buying a used CTS-V



heavymetals
12-20-10, 12:39 PM
This thread is for anyone thinking about buying a used CTS_V.

mhemsley
12-21-10, 11:35 AM
I am actively looking for a CTS V and asked this question, as have others. I created a list of items of advice that appear helpful. It is in first person, since it was copied directly out of the posts, but it is anonymous. I've done a bit of editing on the list to reduce redundancy and extraneous comments:

My advice is do all the normal used car checks, but specifically for the V: check the shocks for oil residue which indicates they are going. When you shut it off check for big vibration/weird noise (some is normal with the stock fw but not excessive) which would indicate motor mounts are shot (you can also check them for leaking fluid). While driving listen for diff whine during light accel/decel, you'll know it if it's there, it whines and typically goes away when you press the clutch. Listen/feel for parade clunk (clunking when shifting/working the clutch/reverse and 1st gear starts, etc.) or overly vibrating shifter.

Remember that the V does not have a caddy feel. It has engine vibrations, it has a clunky drivetrain, it's a hot rod not a bmw, it isn't very smooth in general and it isn't very easy to drive smoothly. You get used to all of this as an owner but it is different from other cars I've owned, it's not for everyone.

I'd support listening to the diff while in 6th gear under a very mild acceleration at between 45-50 MPH. A little whine isn't bad, IMHO, but a screeching whine would be a red flag.

If the engine shimmies/shakes at shutdown, that would mean motor mounts are shot.

Most of everything else is what you'd check on any other car made: clutch wear (get going 50-ish MPH in 6th gear, push clutch in, let motor rev slightly, then let clutch out to see if you get any slip), brakes, shocks, tire wear, dents, chips, cracked lenses/windshield, cigarette burns on the seats, etc.

Check the clutch fluid before you drive it. I just had mine bled during standard service and it made a huge difference in operation, pedal feel and overall smoothness. And that is at 27,000 miles.

Don't let some people scare you off with talk about replacing all the bushings, motor mounts and broken differentials. Remember this is an open forum and my 12 year old could register and post his thoughts. If you're just going to drive it like a normal human being, you'll be fine with just going over the normal used car items (leaks, etc.). When you buy it, just don't launch it so hard that the wheels spin and start hopping and don't bang second gear and your diff should be fine.



1. Drive the car at 45 mph in 4th gear and listen for a loud whine coming from under the back seat/trunk. Some noise is OK, just not excessively loud.
2. Feel for any engine vibration around 2000 rpm, its a sign of a bad clutch/flywheel.
3. Listen to the motor while idling. Listen through the wheel wells to see if there is any knocking coming from the bottom end of the motor, most do it a little but a loud knock is bad and usually a sign of a well 'used' motor.
4. Look for signs of leaks. Most can be fixed easliy by replacing seals that are all mostly less than $25 each. I'd be wary if I saw a leak coming from inside the bell housing as it's a sign of a leaking rear main seal or trans input seal, both are not quick fixes and require dropping the trans to fix

Also slip the clutch in 1st and reverse a few times and see if there is chatter or clunkiness, it should be minimal. Look for build up of rubber on the rear wheel well/bumper area. Work the sunrooof, seat heaters, change the cd, and if the g-meter reads over 1.00 ask him what he was doing.

Rev the motor to about 1200 rpm and start letting the clutch out really slow and hold it half way engaged. There should be no chatter or jerking of the car.

The 'g' meter is accessed with the steering wheel controls. Find the button on the wheel that changes the information on the left hand information center. Go to until it says 'g' in the middle. I would say anything over .80 in either direction is more than normal driving. But this doesn't mean the car has been beat on or is in bad shape, it most likely means the owner used the car for what it was meant for.

If we assumed your budget was $25k and lower, a nice '06/'07 would insure that you had the best differential. In addition to a mostly-stock V, you might want to improve the shifter.

The thing about the OEM shifter is that it's rather rubbery and lacks a certain crispness that I, for one, prefer. I have a B&M shifter, but they're pretty rare right now, and you probably won't find one very easily. Lots and lots of guys have the UUC shifter which, though pricier than the B&M, is quiet and works great. A few guys have the Katech shifter, and they swear it's also very good. Within the last six months of so, one of the members here (PISNUOFF aka Brian) as begun offering to rework the stock shifter. I'm told that the result is truly magnificent, and you can't go wrong with the price he charges, either.

A lot (though not all by any means) of the '04/'05 cars have received the improved differentials via warranty work ... I have for one. I believe the '06s came with an improved diff right out of the factory, so you'd have no worries there. Seems right now the '06/'07 models are staying a bit above $20k, and the '04/'05 models are a bit below or right at $20k though for sure they vary all over, but those are rough guidelines.

The question is, do you plan on racing this car regularly? If no, you have virtually no worries with the original diff. Check the "who here is on their original diff" thread and you will see tons of '04/'05 owners with excess of 100k on their original diff with just occasional whine.

I hope this list proves helpful to others who are looking for a CTS V and look forward to additions to the list.

Happy Holidays!

Mike

2004ctsv
12-22-10, 09:31 AM
Excellent post

My V is still running strong but I don't drop the clutch
"g" readings are not indicative of abusing the V - it's a great road sedan and values over 0.9 just says that it is being driven like it should
The problem is that the early drivetrain was not design for rapid application of the low end torque from a stand still. And those of us with s/c made that even worse.

It's really like a woman - a little whine is acceptable. Too much and you have to get it taken care of.

03Cobra
01-23-11, 03:27 PM
Thanks for this compilation. I am shopping and really appreciate it.

mmayzak
01-23-11, 10:01 PM
I am shopping too... hopefully buying like tomorrow!

Hockeyref
01-28-11, 12:16 AM
Thanks for the info, I just joined the forum and have been shopping for a CTS-V - thinking 2006 - 2007 due to what I have heard about the differential. Also, being 2011 would just like a little bit newer than 04 or 05. I live in Canada but just 5 min from the US border so am shopping both sides of the line. Hope to have something soon, looking for one in a dark color.

ben.gators
01-31-11, 04:08 AM
Thanks for the info. My STS is getting old and at some point I will need a newer one! The new CTS/STS models don't increase my heart beat rate, but a 400+ HP engine will compensate it. That is why I have an eye on CTS-Vs and STS-Vs. I have a question: How much is the cost of replacing clutch in a CTS-V? and how much hard it is?

dragonian89
02-11-11, 07:26 PM
Thanks for all of the insight and advice of what to look for. I just bought an '05 and ran through this checklist to make sure it hasn't been beaten, looks all good!

mxracer2161
02-22-11, 11:10 PM
bought a 2005 cts-v in october. Ran into one little issue. the starter one day just died on me the car has 49xxx miles on it. battery was good the whole 9 yards. i bump started teh car because i was in a parking lot with a friend and after that it was fine. confused about that. also the clutch is getting low the driver before me guess had fun with the car. but im not sure what this is, when "getting on the car" and switching gears at a high rpm the clutch sometimes sticks to the floor? is that a bad slave cylinder or something to do with the clutch?

CancerJCC
02-23-11, 03:40 PM
bought a 2005 cts-v in october. Ran into one little issue. the starter one day just died on me the car has 49xxx miles on it. battery was good the whole 9 yards. i bump started teh car because i was in a parking lot with a friend and after that it was fine. confused about that. also the clutch is getting low the driver before me guess had fun with the car. but im not sure what this is, when "getting on the car" and switching gears at a high rpm the clutch sometimes sticks to the floor? is that a bad slave cylinder or something to do with the clutch?

How does this have anything to do with buying a used V? Make a new thread about your issue and don't clutter this one up. Boy do I wish I had mod status sometimes...

kevm14
02-23-11, 05:38 PM
Technically that IS an issue to watch for (the clutch). It's hard to "watch for" a starter issue, though it is common nonetheless.

CancerJCC
02-24-11, 02:47 PM
Technically that IS an issue to watch for (the clutch). It's hard to "watch for" a starter issue, though it is common nonetheless.

Yeah...his questions was specific to his car and thus deserves its own thread. I am anal about these sort of things though.

NOLAG05
12-02-11, 12:55 PM
Great info, from the information presented i need to hunt down some motor mounts... She shakes a little bit at shutdown.

Deanjet
05-21-12, 10:43 PM
mhemsley thanks for the excellent post, now I feel much better about my up and coming test drive on a 2005.