: Suggested improvements to stock 2004 CTS-V daily driver



ctsvohio
07-18-12, 09:59 AM
I found a 2004 garage queen (learned that term on here) about 2 years ago. The car had just 217 miles on her and now has just under 10,000. I will have the car paid off within a couple months and will have some money to put into the car. The V is my primary car but I work from home so she will never see a ton of miles. I love driving the car and love the way it looks and plan on keeping her a long time.

I am a little embarrassed to write this but my goal is not for more power. For me, it goes fast enough. I can feel you out there looking down and shaking your head. I am a little overwhelmed by all the info on the site and also some of the info seems dated as improvements come along. I want suggestions to make the car drive better and last longer. I am going to feel like a red headed step child by writing this but I won't be doing the work myself.

Here is what has been done since I owned the car (September 2010):
oil changes, CAGS, tint, battery, coolant flush, and tires

It would be great if you could be specific with your suggestions i.e. what type of short shifter to get. A rough estimate on cost would be nice (including labor).

I got no complaints other than some occasional clunks going from 1st to 2nd and downshifting but I usually get it right. I never launch. My fun is the winding country roads that are all around my town.

Thanks for your time and help. I enjoy the information and comedy you all supply on this site.

darkman
07-18-12, 10:25 AM
It would be great if you could be specific with your suggestions i.e. what type of short shifter to get. A rough estimate on cost would be nice (including labor).

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/2004-2007-cadillac-cts-v-general/192900-custom-short-shifter-ordering-process-5.html

rand49er
07-18-12, 11:05 AM
An aftermarket clutch and flywheel might soften that clunk a bit, plus you could sell your nearly pristine stock clutch to defray some of the expense.

As far as looks go if you're wanting to enhance the car's visual appearance, lowering the car is an option.

ctsvohio
07-18-12, 11:31 AM
An aftermarket clutch and flywheel might soften that clunk a bit, plus you could sell your nearly pristine stock clutch to defray some of the expense.

As far as looks go if you're wanting to enhance the car's visual appearance, lowering the car is an option.

I really like the lowered look but unfortunately have a driveway with a little hill in it.

CTSV_510
07-18-12, 12:11 PM
I really like the lowered look but unfortunately have a driveway with a little hill in it.

I highly recommend a coilover lowering kit anyway with increased spring rates... You can adjust the height so it works with your driveway and you'll enjoy the better handling. Combine that with hotchkis sway bars and you'll really see a handling improvement.

ctsvohio
07-18-12, 12:38 PM
I highly recommend a coilover lowering kit anyway with increased spring rates... You can adjust the height so it works with your driveway and you'll enjoy the better handling. Combine that with hotchkis sway bars and you'll really see a handling improvement.

Guess on cost (including labor) with and without the sway bars.

Faber
07-18-12, 01:17 PM
To confirm - you have a completely stock - only changes are easily reversible - 2004 CTS-V with ~10,000 miles on it and you plan to keep it for a long time. If so, my thoughts would be to not do anything to the car and keep it all original & unmolested. I believe that these cars will become a collectible over time & the chances of finding an unmolested one will be extremely limited thus making this one worth more loot. Worst case scenario, whatever you do, retain all your stock parts...

ctsvohio
07-18-12, 01:49 PM
To confirm - you have a completely stock - only changes are easily reversible - 2004 CTS-V with ~10,000 miles on it and you plan to keep it for a long time. If so, my thoughts would be to not do anything to the car and keep it all original & unmolested. I believe that these cars will become a collectible over time & the chances of finding an unmolested one will be extremely limited thus making this one worth more loot. Worst case scenario, whatever you do, retain all your stock parts...

Yes, stock with <10,000 miles and plan to keep a long time. I will save parts but I don't want to treat the car like an investment. I wouldn't base my decisions on future resale value. I bought the car to enjoy it.

FuzzyLogic
07-18-12, 01:54 PM
I have the opposite opinion. I think you should make the car your own and let worrying about what becomes a collectible up to the collectors. Personally, I think that the only collectible cars built in the 2000-2020 range are going to be hybrids and fully electric cars with a couple of unusual combustion-powered vehicles thrown in (Bugatti Veyron, maybe).

As someone that cut his mod teeth on the CTS-V, I understand how daunting this can seem, but I would highly encourage you to do every mod yourself. Not only wil you save a ton of money, you'll become a much more informed (and probably better) driver.

If I had to do it all over again, I would start with the Ground Control coilover conversion kit and install the Hotchkis sway bar kit at the same time. $1000 of parts that require less than a days worth of work with only basic hand tools and a hydraulic lift. Between the two, I saw my minimum speed through my benchmark off-ramp on the way to work increase from 46 to 58 mph (limit of the tires).

ctsvohio
07-18-12, 02:27 PM
I have the opposite opinion. I think you should make the car your own and let worrying about what becomes a collectible up to the collectors. Personally, I think that the only collectible cars built in the 2000-2020 range are going to be hybrids and fully electric cars with a couple of unusual combustion-powered vehicles thrown in (Bugatti Veyron, maybe).

As someone that cut his mod teeth on the CTS-V, I understand how daunting this can seem, but I would highly encourage you to do every mod yourself. Not only wil you save a ton of money, you'll become a much more informed (and probably better) driver.

If I had to do it all over again, I would start with the Ground Control coilover conversion kit and install the Hotchkis sway bar kit at the same time. $1000 of parts that require less than a days worth of work with only basic hand tools and a hydraulic lift. Between the two, I saw my minimum speed through my benchmark off-ramp on the way to work increase from 46 to 58 mph (limit of the tires).

I hear you about doing your own mods but I am deficient in regards to tools and mechanical ability. My thought is that if it is simple enough for me to do, my mechanic is not going to charge that much. Conversely, if it is a long and complicated job for a mechanic then I don't stand a chance.

CTSV_510
07-18-12, 04:47 PM
Guess on cost (including labor) with and without the sway bars.

Ground Control kit is ~$600, Hotchkis sway bars are ~$430 on Amazon. No guess on the labor, I installed them myself. Going in pretty blind and not rushing I'd say you'd be in the good part of a day doing the install. I have no clue what a shop would charge.

FuzzyLogic
07-18-12, 06:21 PM
I hear you about doing your own mods but I am deficient in regards to tools and mechanical ability. My thought is that if it is simple enough for me to do, my mechanic is not going to charge that much. Conversely, if it is a long and complicated job for a mechanic then I don't stand a chance.

Thing is, there are so many excellent how-to guides for just about everything you'd want to do that you'll save a ton of money, even if you don't have the tools. I've probably spent $800 on tools since I started, and the only thing I haven't touched on the car yet is the bottom end of the motor. Some of the most expensive stuff is the most basic: a great hydraulic jack, a set of jackstands, and a set of 3/8" and 1/2" socket wrenches with sockets.

alradco
07-18-12, 07:05 PM
Talk about a great find, wow.
I wouldn't worry about keeping it stock as an investment either, I would focus on keeping it fun and reliable for you.

ctsvdubbz
07-18-12, 07:28 PM
ctsv clunk is gonna happen.. upgraded motormounts will give a smoother ride.. and get rid of alot of the clunk.... def a weak link on the v's..

GDPossehl
07-20-12, 03:07 PM
Surprised no one has mentioned the front differential bushing to reduce clunk. That was mod #1 for me.

HAMSTAR
07-20-12, 03:43 PM
I hear you about doing your own mods but I am deficient in regards to tools and mechanical ability. My thought is that if it is simple enough for me to do, my mechanic is not going to charge that much. Conversely, if it is a long and complicated job for a mechanic then I don't stand a chance.

Start by doing your own brake jobs. You will need a jack and stands for that. Once you can do that, you can pretty much do anything aside from engine work. It's really not that complicated. After you change rotors and pads, then you can start messing with suspension parts, etc. Just go little by little and gradually ramp up your exposure. Try to find someone that will show you how to do things, too, that's the fastest way.

GDPossehl
07-20-12, 11:33 PM
Start by doing your own brake jobs. You will need a jack and stands for that. Once you can do that, you can pretty much do anything aside from engine work. It's really not that complicated. After you change rotors and pads, then you can start messing with suspension parts, etc. Just go little by little and gradually ramp up your exposure. Try to find someone that will show you how to do things, too, that's the fastest way.

That's exactly where I started with my first car. Then moved to a water pump, power steering hose, drop coils, etc. Now I'm dropping differentials and rebuilding heads... who'da thunk.

I'm almost to the point now that if I could afford it, I'd have someone else turning the wrenches...

ctsvohio
07-21-12, 09:29 AM
The direction a thread takes is always interesting. I asked the question, what should I have done to my car? The thread quickly became get to work on your own car. I don't really have that person around that can get me started. I also think that fixing cars comes more naturally for some people. Maybe that is just an excuse. School came easy for me. Most sports came pretty easy. Working on cars, not so much.

FuzzyLogic
07-21-12, 09:58 AM
The direction a thread takes is always interesting. I asked the question, what should I have done to my car? The thread quickly became get to work on your own car. I don't really have that person around that can get me started. I also think that fixing cars comes more naturally for some people. Maybe that is just an excuse. School came easy for me. Most sports came pretty easy. Working on cars, not so much.

Parts are expensive, but relative to the cost of labor, they're cheap. For instance, you can buy a new LS7 clutch and flywheel for about $600. Having that thing installed will effectively double your cost, since you're looking at paying for about 6 hours of labor at $100/hour. I don't know what kind of school you went to, but if you already have an engineering background, look at this as a way to become even smarter. Almost like paying for lessons and getting a faster car for free.

ctsvohio
07-21-12, 10:16 AM
Parts are expensive, but relative to the cost of labor, they're cheap. For instance, you can buy a new LS7 clutch and flywheel for about $600. Having that thing installed will effectively double your cost, since you're looking at paying for about 6 hours of labor at $100/hour. I don't know what kind of school you went to, but if you already have an engineering background, look at this as a way to become even smarter. Almost like paying for lessons and getting a faster car for free.

I like your logical way of thinking. My background is economics. I think my calculation is more along these lines. $1200 for installed LS7 clutch and flywheel versus $600 for LS7 clutch and flywheel + $100 for tow to shop + $600 to install + cost of tools I purchased + 10 hours of time I tried to install myself + additional cost of anything I screwed up.

I know there is a value for the satisfaction that goes with doing things yourself. I enjoy taking care of my yard, trimming trees, etc. I painted my house. Without someone holding my hand, the car thing just isn't going to happen.

FuzzyLogic
07-21-12, 12:12 PM
I like your logical way of thinking. My background is economics. I think my calculation is more along these lines. $1200 for installed LS7 clutch and flywheel versus $600 for LS7 clutch and flywheel + $100 for tow to shop + $600 to install + cost of tools I purchased + 10 hours of time I tried to install myself + additional cost of anything I screwed up.

I know there is a value for the satisfaction that goes with doing things yourself. I enjoy taking care of my yard, trimming trees, etc. I painted my house. Without someone holding my hand, the car thing just isn't going to happen.

Frankly, the clutch installation is by far the most obnoxious thing you'll ever do on this car, but it's worth the time and effort. It's also perceived as a rite of passage for new members.

If you want someone to hold your hand as you get started, it'll be really tough going. You need to be able to do research on your own, read instructions, and collect the right parts and tools before you begin. If this isn't your daily driver, then things will be MUCH easier for you. My CTS-V is my daily driver and I just moved across the country, so I've had to do everything myself alone and between Friday-Sunday.

To get you started, you should already be familiar with the Cadillac FAQ. This thread is primarily what I used to do my clutch installation, although knowing me, I found several other threads and pulled information from them as well (sadly, I've forgotten them if they existed).

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/2004-2007-cadillac-cts-v-performance/181141-monster-clutch-install.html

repenttokyo
07-21-12, 12:15 PM
ctsvohio I understand your point of view. I used to do a lot of maintenance on my car myself, and mods as well. The thing is, I run my own business and my time has a very distinct hourly value. The rate that my mechanics charge is below the value of my own time, and they can do the job faster than I can, and there's no need for me to invest in specialized tools. While it honestly FREAKS me out to have someone else touch my car, economically it doesn't make sense for me to turn my own wrenches 90 percent of the time.

FuzzyLogic
07-21-12, 01:33 PM
ctsvohio I understand your point of view. I used to do a lot of maintenance on my car myself, and mods as well. The thing is, I run my own business and my time has a very distinct hourly value. The rate that my mechanics charge is below the value of my own time, and they can do the job faster than I can, and there's no need for me to invest in specialized tools. While it honestly FREAKS me out to have someone else touch my car, economically it doesn't make sense for me to turn my own wrenches 90 percent of the time.

My response to that is, "why do you own a V1?"

Let's be conservative here and assume that a talented mechanic charges $80/hr. If you work 40 hours per week, you work 2080 hours per year. 2080 x $80 = $166,400 yearly salary. If you make that much, you're much better off buying a new V2 *and* paying someone to modify it for you. You're just wasting your time with the V1, unless you really like the look of the car.

HAMSTAR
07-21-12, 01:43 PM
Yeah, but Fuzzy, you're not factoring in opportunity cost. I myself work on my V because I like to know how things work. My hourly rate is lower than a talented mechanic, in the way you factored it above, but honestly my career would be better off if I spent all my free time working to get ahead. For some people, that's a trade-off they're not willing to make.

So, whereas someone's hourly rate may be, say $40 per hour, it's worth more like $200 per hour to them in foregone future earnings, etc.

CTSV_510
07-22-12, 10:17 AM
My response to that is, "why do you own a V1?"

Let's be conservative here and assume that a talented mechanic charges $80/hr. If you work 40 hours per week, you work 2080 hours per year. 2080 x $80 = $166,400 yearly salary. If you make that much, you're much better off buying a new V2 *and* paying someone to modify it for you. You're just wasting your time with the V1, unless you really like the look of the car.

This statement is irrelevant and meaningless. Making that much money does NOT mean anyone is "better off" buying a V2. repenttokyo was agreeing with ctsvohio's thought process in deciding whether it makes sense to do his own wrenching. I share their same thoughts, I have done almost all the wrenching on my car over the years, but have recently been paying others to do it. The fact that I could afford to buy a V2 tomorrow doesn't mean I would be better off doing so, and I'm pretty sure I'm not wasting my time owning a V1. A V2, to me, is not worth $40k plus my V1. Maybe next year it will be, but every day I keep the V1 and don't buy a V2, I'm putting more money in my pocket. You might say I'm "better off" that way.

repenttokyo
07-22-12, 01:24 PM
My response to that is, "why do you own a V1?"

Let's be conservative here and assume that a talented mechanic charges $80/hr. If you work 40 hours per week, you work 2080 hours per year. 2080 x $80 = $166,400 yearly salary. If you make that much, you're much better off buying a new V2 *and* paying someone to modify it for you. You're just wasting your time with the V1, unless you really like the look of the car.

honestly, i really don't understand how you can decide how I would be better off spending my money than I can. Thanks for telling me I am wasting my time with a vehicle I love. You really know nothing about my financial situation, or my life at all.

Worst post of the year, so far?

V for victory
07-22-12, 11:18 PM
Wow, this post went sideways.....Ohio, sounds like you have a great low mileage car, drive it enjoy it and mod whatever you want too, and if you can't or don't want to do the work then find a good, really good mechanic and pay him to do the work. Enjoy the car.

ctsvohio
07-23-12, 12:10 AM
Wow, this post went sideways.....Ohio, sounds like you have a great low mileage car, drive it enjoy it and mod whatever you want too, and if you can't or don't want to do the work then find a good, really good mechanic and pay him to do the work. Enjoy the car.

Thanks. I do enjoy it and I will be improving it. I just wanted advice on where to start in terms of driveability and long term reliability. Instead, I sparked a discussion on the opportunity costs of doing your own wrenching.

FuzzyLogic
07-23-12, 07:14 AM
Hi ctsvohio!

I'm glad you bought a V Cadillac! It sounds like you're interested in getting some DIY advice from other owners, but I just wanted to let you know I'm available to help if you decide to try the dealership route at any point. Contact me anytime via direct message!



Best,


Cadzilla

Sounds like we have a paid Cadillac representative now that Katie is falling out of favor. This is at least the second time that he's copied and pasted this message. PMing the moderators.

Edit: Holy crap. His last seven posts (http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/search.php?searchid=678372) have been almost identical to this one.

Hung
07-24-12, 11:40 AM
Getting back on topic, I like the iPod interface mod. I have one similar to this one:

http://www.cadillacfaq.com/faq/answers/ipodkit/index.html

If you don't like the coilovers idea, there's always drop springs from H&R or Eibach that you can buy for 2-300 and it'll get rid of the wheel gap while improving your handling a little bit.

Congrats on your pickup. Remember, always mod it for your tastes and needs. Then you'll always be happy. It's an amazing machine out the box as you've already discovered.

repenttokyo
07-24-12, 06:02 PM
Are those springs still being manufactured?

Faber
07-24-12, 07:26 PM
Also, if you are going to be driving in the rain, the third brake light should be removed & sealed. There is a few posts on here about it & I'm going to butcher the facts, but I think the ballast or something like that will get water in it & will rust out. Costly to replace - unless you are fine redoing to LED lights.

repenttokyo
07-24-12, 08:48 PM
The CTS-V has a ballast for that rear light? Why?

Faber
07-24-12, 11:34 PM
From what I've read, it's b/c it's neon. Here's one of the links that gives basic info & how they fixed with LED's. There's other write ups on how to replace & relocate the balast to an area where it is less likely to rust.
http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-cts-first-generation-forum-2003/197420-3rd-brake-light-fix-led-cheap.html

and here's the one for fixing it and keeping the neon vs switching over to LEDs
http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-cts-first-generation-forum-2003/158286-3rd-brake-light-fix-pix-redeux.html

repenttokyo
07-25-12, 03:32 PM
I think the regular CTS and the CTS-V have different rear light bars...I don't think ours is neon.

PISNUOFF
07-25-12, 04:24 PM
ctsvohio - Where in Ohio do you live? Maybe someone with knowledge can come help you. I would say lowering and sway bars would be a great start to modding for the type of driving you do. A short shifter is also good and only takes a couple wrenches and a drill.