Help me out guys - Looking at 1998 Eldorado
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Cadillac Seville / Cadillac Eldorado Forum Discussion, Help me out guys - Looking at 1998 Eldorado in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; I'll preface this by saying I turned 18 only a few months ago, and have been doing some car shopping. ...
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    Dillontheman is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Help me out guys - Looking at 1998 Eldorado

    I'll preface this by saying I turned 18 only a few months ago, and have been doing some car shopping. I recently became re-enamored with the last generation Eldorados.

    I have come across a 98' Eldorado with 60,000 miles on it, that seems to be in good aesthetic condition, except for the steering wheel, which is two-toned has has some wear and tear. Is the steering wheel replaceable?
    and if so, how much should it cost? and how would I go about doing it?

    29407331470.333990946.IM1.05.565x421_A.562x421.jpg

    Picture of steering wheel ^

    P.S. what are the major differences between the Eldorado and Deville of the same era?

    P.P.S. are there any signs I should look for when test driving the car that would point to it being a lemon?

    Thanks everyone

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    scott f's Avatar
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    Re: Help me out guys

    That temp gauge looks to be sitting a tad high...for my likings anyway.
    Tankboy40 and Tankboy40 like this.

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    turbol15 is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Help me out guys

    stay away.

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    Re: Help me out guys

    Quote Originally Posted by scott f View Post
    That temp gauge looks to be sitting a tad high...for my likings anyway.
    The car is sitting there, idling at 700 rpm. With the A/C off: The cooling fans don't come on until 224 degrees. The gauge will go almost to 5/8 when that happens. Normal.

    Dillontheman, The Deville has 4 doors ............... depending on whether that Eldorado is the ESC or ETC there will be engine, transmission, and trim differences but nothing earth-shattering. The 1998 engine year is statistically one of the two worst for head gasket failure due to the head bolt threads in the cylinder block failing - and that's an extensive expensive repair. Otherwise, the car is like any other upscale "luxury line" vehicle - nice to own, fairly expensive to drive; not gasoline - maintenance.

    You need to read the sticky posts ^^^ just above and also all the stickys down in Engines, Northstar Performance. Take some time and surf through the pages of threads in Discussions, Cadillac Tech Tips for threads of interest. Read the entire Cadillac Technical Archive way up ^^^ in the top black bar.

    Find out the model of the car and use that during your homework - the active suspension in the ETC (and if optioned for an ESC) is expensive - one front strut costs over $600. To properly maintain one of these FWD cars takes deep pockets. They're great cars and still look luxurious and timeless - but they ain't cheap, and there are NO - nada - none aftermarket speed or appearance modifications out there. You maintain what you get.

    p.s. - The steering wheel will be the least of your worries, and I think the 1998 is specified for premium gasolines.
    turbol15 and turbol15 like this.

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    MoistCabbage's Avatar
    MoistCabbage is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    The airbag's been replaced. I'd be very suspicious that it's been hit.

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    vincentm is online now Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Id walk, like its been said, if youve the deep pockets to bring this baby back to its former glory id pass. At 18yrs old this might not be the car for you

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    Re: Help me out guys - Looking at 1998 Eldorado

    like MC said - the air bag has been replaced - NOT a good sign -
    you have to wonder - WHY did it need replacing -
    and WHY didn't the at least get the correct one -

    I realize it is so tempting - but Cadillacs are NOT cheap to own or drive -

    pre 2000 Cadillacs are going to be more expensive to own and drive
    than 2000+ Cadillacs -

    if you are absolutely sure you must have a Cadillac -
    at least get a 2000 or newer model -

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    Re: Help me out guys - Looking at 1998 Eldorado

    Quote Originally Posted by vincentm View Post
    Id walk, like its been said, if youve the deep pockets to bring this baby back to its former glory id pass. At 18yrs old this might not be the car for you
    I second this you don't want a Cadillac like that at 18 years old to much money to keep them on the road. Look at 98-08 Crown Vics there cheap and cheap to work on. Just my 2 cents.

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    Dillontheman is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Help me out guys - Looking at 1998 Eldorado

    Thanks guys, I'll look away from this car in particular. A little humbling but I understand that this may not be the most practical.

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    stoveguyy is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    You did not mention asking price? Dealer? Private party?

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    Re: Help me out guys - Looking at 1998 Eldorado

    Dilliontheman,

    At the age of 18, you are fortunate enough to be lucky to find such an automobile with so much potential, good looks, decent power. Yet, everything has a price.

    The car you have in question, is it an ETC or ESC?

    Yes, the temp guage could be running on the tad high side. What's the coolant strength in there? 50/50? 70/30? All water?

    What type of owner, or how many owners has the car had?

    How does the car look inside and out?

    Has the car been in an accident where the airbags have been deployed? Just because the airbag has been replaced, doesn't condemn the car for being in an accident.

    The horn contacts are unfortunately part of the airbag assembly. If the horn contacts fail, what do you have to do? Replace the airbag. Every owner may not be as particular to find the matching color airbag for replacement. You're talking a 15 year old vehicle.

    Take the car out for a drive, fully warmed up. Note all guage readings. Listen for abnormal noises, etc. Turn on the heater, see if you receive heat while driving. Take the car out onto the freeway, get it up to 70 at least. Note temp guage, heater output and overall vehicle handling. Let vehicle coast down. Note driver info center for any messages, watch for signs of overheating.

    Once back at the owners residence, if you want to scruntize the car some more, open the trunk pull the carpeting panels off and look for rear body or quarter panel damage. If you want to check the front, you'll have to get on your back and look at the radiator support, bumper supports, frame, any area that might take a frontal impact. Yet, you have to know what to look for.

    Depending on the condition of the car, the mileage, the performance, areas that need addressing and the price, then you can make a decision. Your mechanical ability will come into play also. These cars can be expensive to maintain. Yet, as they get older some parts get more expensive and some get cheaper.

    My 98, I paid 650 for it almost 3 years ago. I can't believe it's been that long already.

    Interior, flawless. Exterior, ding on the drivers door, ding on the drivers fender, dings on the hood. The rest of the body 9/10. Reason why I bought the car, I loved the fact it was an Eldorado. It's a black ESC with oak interior (rare color, I've only seen one other in the 3 years I've had mine). Of course it needs a headgasket job, the reason for my purchase. Mileage 150k. Not 60k like you found.

    There are plenty of low mileage northstars going to the scrap yard as I type due to the fatal factory flaw. Some of them in pristine condition, yet very few can save them from their fate. Repairs are complex, time consuming and can be pricey.

    NOT EVERYONE car fix these things. At times, it's best left to the experts if you can afford it, or be lucky enough to know someone that can repair it for you. Only you can decide those things.

    I guess I just feel a tad bit sorry for the last generation Eldorados. I love the styling, and the power. Yet, I see so many of them in salvage yards now it's a shame.

    Deville's and Sevilles will be plentiful for the most part, but once all the Eldo's are gone, they're gone.

    If this one isn't the right one for you, find another while you can. Just make sure it's the right one for you.

    Good luck......

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    Dillontheman is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Help me out guys - Looking at 1998 Eldorado

    Quote Originally Posted by 98eldo32v View Post
    Dilliontheman,

    At the age of 18, you are fortunate enough to be lucky to find such an automobile with so much potential, good looks, decent power. Yet, everything has a price.
    I've found multiple Eldorados at good mileage.

    This one in particular is an ESC, but I have seen a few ETC's that I am interested in. What are the differences besides the hp boost?

    The carfax shows that no accident has occured, so thats encouraging.

    What temperature should the vehicle be around at idle, cruising, and highway speeds, respectively?

    What ways are there to check for headgasket failure? From what I've read that seems to be the main concern when shopping for these.

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    basscatt's Avatar
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    Re: Help me out guys - Looking at 1998 Eldorado

    Quote Originally Posted by Dillontheman View Post
    I've found multiple Eldorados at good mileage.

    This one in particular is an ESC, but I have seen a few ETC's that I am interested in. What are the differences besides the hp boost?

    The carfax shows that no accident has occured, so thats encouraging.

    What temperature should the vehicle be around at idle, cruising, and highway speeds, respectively?

    What ways are there to check for headgasket failure? From what I've read that seems to be the main concern when shopping for these.
    ------------------
    I have seen a few ETC's that I am interested in.
    What are the differences besides the hp boost?

    keep in mind that the big deal HP 'boost" is a whopping 25HP -
    and that really only kicks in at the upper RPMs -
    the trans also runs a higher final gear ratio -
    so slightly better performance - and slightly less gas mileage -

    probably the biggest difference is the suspension -
    the ETC model has the "ACTIVE" - or electronic suspension -
    compared to the PASSIVE suspension on the ESC -

    there are many more expensive electronic parts on the ACTIVE suspension -
    the struts and shocks are MUCH more expensive to replace -
    around $700 each not including labor -

    another hidden expense on the ETC compared to the ESC -
    call your insurance company -
    and compare the cost of liability insurance between the two -

    ETC = high performance + 18 year old male = $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    The carfax shows that no accident has occured, so thats encouraging.
    carfax isn't worth the paper it's printed on -
    it DOES list the previous owners accurately - but that's about it -

    all information given to carfax is on a voluntary basis -
    if the bodyshop doesn't tell carfax the car was worked on - there is no record -
    and the bodyshops are under no obligation to report anything -

    What temperature should the vehicle be around
    at idle, cruising, and highway speeds, respectively?

    the temp shouldn't fluctuate much at all -
    with the exception of sitting in traffic in 100* heat - with AC on -

    What ways are there to check for headgasket failure?
    the BLOCK TEST is the DEFINITIVE test for
    failed head gaskets in a Northstar motor -

    it uses a special blue fluid that turns a different color
    as it reacts with hydrocarbons - exhaust gasses - in the cooling system -

    if done correctly - it is 99.999% accurate
    From what I've read that seems to be
    the main concern when shopping for these.

    that's because the cost to repair the problem is $2500 to $3500 -

    the other big expense would be suspension problems -
    or maintenance on the ETC model -
    replacing ACTIVE struts and shocks can run into the thousands also -

  15. #14
    Dillontheman is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Help me out guys - Looking at 1998 Eldorado

    Quote Originally Posted by basscatt View Post
    ------------------
    I have seen a few ETC's that I am interested in.
    What are the differences besides the hp boost?

    keep in mind that the big deal HP 'boost" is a whopping 25HP -
    and that really only kicks in at the upper RPMs -
    the trans also runs a higher final gear ratio -
    so slightly better performance - and slightly less gas mileage -
    I see. Sounds like the tradeoff for the extra performance isnt worth it in my case.

    And what does the block test entail? Is it something that could be done while looking at the car?

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    MoistCabbage's Avatar
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    This is a block test:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgkMC-5Mtz8

    You can "borrow" the test kit through the loan a tool program at most parts stores. All you actually have to purchase is the test fluid, ~$10.

    The test is best performed after a hard drive, or after an overheat.

    ANY change in fluid color indicates an HG issue.

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