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Thread: 85 Seville with 4.1 Engine: Buy or Run?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    171

    85 Seville with 4.1 Engine: Buy or Run?

    My colleague is selling her 85 Seville with the 4.1 engine. The car has 72K on it and seems to be in good condition overall ...serviced regularly, drives well, etc. Would you trust the engine in this car? What other areas should a potential buyer look for/be aware of?


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  3. #2
    BlackTTC6 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
    Automobile(s): 1987 Seville
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Kingston, Pa
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    42

    Re: 85 Seville with 4.1 Engine: Buy or Run?

    What are the horror stories with the 4.1L? I just bought an 87 with 56K miles and it runs great

  4. #3
    noahsdad's Avatar
    noahsdad is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
    Automobile(s): '87 SDV
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    Jun 2005
    Location
    Michigan
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    57
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    Re: 85 Seville with 4.1 Engine: Buy or Run?

    The 4100 has a number of design flaws and weaknesses, but the primary one is the use of an aluminum block with cast iron heads. Because these metals expand and contract at different rates during heating and cooling cycles, these engines tend to lose gasket contact on the upper engine. Most frequent failure is intake gaskets, followed closely by head gaskets. The same problem affects all 4.5s, 4.9s, and Gen 1 Northstars - to a lesser degree. The result is coolant mixing with oil, which rapidly leads to catastrophic bearing and cam failure.

    Usually, 4100s that have reached the 60k mark have either had one or both of these gasket sets replaced, or they likely won't need them during the life of the engine. The key is maintaining the cooling system EXACTLY as GM prescribes on the radiator support panel sticker and in the owners manual. Use the sealant pellets.

    All this being said, I've been driving an '87 Deville for three years and over 8 thousand miles, and have never had a problem. My car had intake gaskets at 39K (previous owner), and now has 55K on the ticker. It runs beautifully, and gets 16-24 mpg.

    The fact is, for all the bad rap the 4100 gets, the actual catastrophic failure rate is fairly low. Most of the major problems with them were in the early RWD installations, but by the '85-'87 model years Cadillac had addressed most of the weak spots.

  5. #4
    BlackTTC6 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
    Automobile(s): 1987 Seville
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Kingston, Pa
    Posts
    42

    Re: 85 Seville with 4.1 Engine: Buy or Run?

    Quote Originally Posted by noahsdad View Post
    The 4100 has a number of design flaws and weaknesses, but the primary one is the use of an aluminum block with cast iron heads. Because these metals expand and contract at different rates during heating and cooling cycles, these engines tend to lose gasket contact on the upper engine. Most frequent failure is intake gaskets, followed closely by head gaskets. The same problem affects all 4.5s, 4.9s, and Gen 1 Northstars - to a lesser degree. The result is coolant mixing with oil, which rapidly leads to catastrophic bearing and cam failure.

    Usually, 4100s that have reached the 60k mark have either had one or both of these gasket sets replaced, or they likely won't need them during the life of the engine. The key is maintaining the cooling system EXACTLY as GM prescribes on the radiator support panel sticker and in the owners manual. Use the sealant pellets.

    All this being said, I've been driving an '87 Deville for three years and over 8 thousand miles, and have never had a problem. My car had intake gaskets at 39K (previous owner), and now has 55K on the ticker. It runs beautifully, and gets 16-24 mpg.

    The fact is, for all the bad rap the 4100 gets, the actual catastrophic failure rate is fairly low. Most of the major problems with them were in the early RWD installations, but by the '85-'87 model years Cadillac had addressed most of the weak spots.

    Thanks for explaining it to me noah.


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