: NEW (used) Cadillac Owner Deville Northstar 32V

08-10-05, 09:58 PM
Hey guys, I am hoping to get some advise from as many Cadillac pros as possible.

I purchased a really sweet Cadillac DeVille Concours. It's awesome... black on black with chrome rims, leather interior that is mint and the car has 59,000 miles.

Okay... here are my concerns. I purchased this car from a very nice elderly couple (original owners) the car was garage kept in a gated community and was only driven within their sprawling developement.

I asked the owner, if he knew of any problems and he told me it had a small oil leak, but I shouldn't worry, because every Cadillac he had ever owned had a leak, well I had a DeVille a few years back and it had 190,000 miles on it and it didn't leak, but I wanted the car so bad... I decided not to worry and just take his word.

So, I purchased the car and drove it home. The car drives like it is brand new... very responsive and corners like my Mercedes, but after getting it home I started going thru some paper work and I noticed that last year, our local Cadillac deal told him that it wasn't just a simple little oil leak, but advised him that the lower crank seal was leaking and quoted him $2,300.00 to fix it. Does that make since???? $2,300.00???? I am wondering if I am reading that right. Since he was told this, he has driven the car another year and 10,000 miles. He mentioned the small leak didn't bother him... Now, I am wondering... should this lower crank seal be addressed with the dealer and should I pay such to have it fixed... or should I just drive it as it is??

Well, today I decided to take the car to the Cadillac dealership when I noticed in the news paper they had a $29.99 oil change in which they would check all the fluids and look for leaks. I didn't tell them anything, I just wanted to see what they would say.

Well after 45 minutes, they brought the car around and I was told everything was fine and they mentioned nothing about leaks. But did tell me my front engine mounts were bad and this would cost $550.00 to repair and then mentioned the brakes were at 10% and should be replaced first, he said front and rear brakes would run another $400.00!

So after the service advisor told me what was wrong, I mentioned the oil leak... he said they saw nothing, but that it could be a fluid leak (that looks similar to oil) that comes from the engine mount)

So, I have to wonder.... could it be the engine mounts all along??? And is it odd, that a Cadillac with 59,000 miles, driven in a senior development (paved roads) would need engine mounts at 59,000 miles. I opened the hood when I got home and checked the engine in idle and it seems to be sitting pretty still.

I am in the Los Angeles area. Does anyone know of a good Cadillac mechanic or would one suggest trusting the dealer with his suggestions.

$2,300.00 for service of the lower crank seal somewhat concerns me. And even more so, since they didn't even mention it today, but did to the former owner when he had the car in for service last September.

Any thoughts guys??? Thank you in advance for taking the time to respond.

08-11-05, 09:18 AM
I wouldn't be to overly concerned about the oil leak, but just for your piece of mind, get the front of the car up on jackstands and using carb cleaner (I perfer Berryman's B-12) spray around the oil pan, oil filter adaptor and where ever else you might see any oil. Wipe it down with a rag, then start the engine and let it run for a bit and see if you can see oil seeping from any seals or gaskets.
I bought my 95 SLS with a known oil leak, what I didn't know is that I'd have to drop the powertrain cradle to fix it. After 6 months the leak was to the tune of a couple qt's a week which required repairing. Here's a link to a thread concerning dropping the cradle.


There have only be a very few of us that have had to do this to fix an oil leak, others have only had to replace o-rings on the oil filter adapter or snug up the oil pan bolts slightly.
I don't know if the engine mounts on your car are oil filled or not and that too could possibly be where the oil is coming from. You won't be able to diagnose a bad mount from the engine idling as there isn't enough torque generated to rock the engine. Have a 2nd person start the car, put it in drive and while keeping pressure on the brakes, depress the acclerator gentley till you have a good load on the engine. If the engine rocks backwards more than a few inches (2-3) I'd say your mount needs replacing.
Sounds like you got a real sweetheart of a car, good luck with it :)

08-11-05, 05:08 PM
Sounds like you bought a fine example. The a/c is light years ahead of anything Mercedes has ever used.

I wouldn't worry about the oil leak.

My dealer told me not to worry about the same oil leak on my '97 Eldorado. He also quoted a similar amount to fix. Most of the repair is labor. It drips a couple of drops every once in a while. I wish my old Harley Sportster would
leak so little.

Ask your Mercedes tech if he knows anyone that can give you a second opinion. You may be able to wait on the mounts for a little while longer. The brakes I would get a second estimate and opinion on. The dealers use oil changes as a way of getting a foot in the door for other repairs. Motor mounts and brakes are real money makers for the dealer. Simple part replacement done by a tech that doesn't get paid as much as the drivability tech. The service writer probably gets a healthy percentage of the bill for "selling" you the job. Are all the brakes at 10%? Or just the fronts. You might be able to do the front brakes now and wait a while on the rear if they have more pad life remaining. No need to do all four wheels if the fronts are worn. If the brakes were worn down to the sensors you would hear it.

A friend of mine who has been selling used cars for forty years told me that any car(new or old) taken to a shop for a pre purchase inspection can come back with a laundry list of problems. He loses sales because of that. It is all relative. I bought a old turbo diesel Mercedes from him years ago. Nobody wanted it because the local euro car emporium said the car needed thousands in repairs. More than it was worth. The car still runs well and looks good. It has well over 220k miles on it. I have fixed a few things and learned to live with others. It's just an old $2500.00 car.

The point is that dealers make a healthy profit from repairs. That's why even Pep-Boys repairs cars now. There is good money to be made. Remember that the service writer gets a percentage of your bill. He is a salesman. Salesman will say anything to get a sale. I speak from experience.

Enjoy your car. It has low miles and sounds like it has been very well kept.
The dealer just wants to sell you something to make up for the oil change they lost money on.

08-11-05, 10:54 PM
Thank you for taking the time to send out a note... Terry

08-11-05, 11:20 PM
Welcome to the Forums terrybaker.

08-11-05, 11:22 PM
I agree wiht PJ & mumblypeg. The price is high (if that is the real leak) because the engine has to be dropped to get to it. That is a high price to pay to stop a few drops of oil.

Remember that the service writer gets a percentage of your bill.
I didn't know that. That explaines a lot.

08-12-05, 01:33 AM
I agree wiht PJ & mumblypeg. The price is high (if that is the real leak) because the engine has to be dropped to get to it. That is a high price to pay to stop a few drops of oil.

Remember that the service writer gets a percentage of your bill.
I didn't know that. That explaines a lot.

For $2300 someone could buy alot of quart bottles of oil.

I was thinking that there was a thread a long while back about a guy with a rear main seal leak that mysteriously stopped. I think it turned out that dealer had spilled oil when refilling the engine and it made it seem that the rear main seal was bad. Anyone else remember that?

Back when I sold auto parts for a living I saw what really goes on at shops. I have seen cars sabatoged. Some people I know hide a GPS reciever under the seat when they drop the car off. I am not that paranoid, but I can see how someone could be driven to that. I have seen "techs" take customer cars to do personal errands with the excuse of doing a "test drive".