How durable is the 4.5 V8? As in how many miles have people put on this engine, how does it stand up to abuse, does it have any major problems that anyone can think of, ect... Is it anything like the durability of the chevy 3.1 V6's or the 3800 series engines? (I know a lumina with the 3.1 that has over 250,000 miles on it and it got the living crap beat out of it for most of its life but still runs like new) Basiclly how much crap can the 4.5 engine take and does anyone know of any high mileage ones. Thanks everyone
I think that the 4.5 from 88,89 and 90 is very reliable. There were many changes and inhancements for durability and reliability incorporated on the first 4.5 in 88 compared to it's 4.1 predecessor. In 1998 JD Power did a unique survey to find the most reliable 10 year old used car. When the data they collected came in they reported that the "most reliable 10 year old car" was a 1988 Cadillac Deville with the 4.5 engine.
The engines do need regular maintenance as most engines do. Of special importance is frequent cooling system maintenance (coolant drain and replacement to replenish the corrosion inhibitors in the coolant) and the use of the mandatory coolant supplement (sealer) pellets or the equivalent BarsLeaks golden seal powder to guard against any internal coolant leaks that might go undetected.
It must depend on what the weather is like where you live then because around here the 4.5s were junk. A couple years ago when you still saw a lot of those cars for sale almst every single ad would say XXXXkms on new engine.
Weather? I live in country, where 10 months in year we have "bad ski weather" and in winter (oct-march) temperature drops below 25 degrees C. I have 90 Eldorado with 236k in odometer and still running good. No leaks, good mileage etc.
Only thing, what i changed, was valve seals.
So, if car is well maintained, then it is very reliable
The climate can create problems that have very strict geographic boundaries. The main difference is the cold starting temperature and the number of days a year the engine is cold started from very cold ambients. The issue is thermal cycling of the engine and gaskets. As the engine warms up the internal parts "move" as the metal expands with temperature. Engines started from -20 degrees expand more than engines started from 40 degrees because they contracted more as they cooled to -20. Some places in Northern Ontario regularily get to -40 overnight in the winter. This temperature extreme is harder on the seals and gaskets in the engine due to the greater thermal cycling of the engine as it reaches the same operating temperature. In addition, much more raw fuel is added to the engine to get it started during a -40 cold start increasing the amount of fuel in the oil and washing the cylinder walls on every cold start.
The other extreme is hot weather. Cars in the desert southwest see high sun loads, very high operating and underhood temperatures. This can weather and age hoses, belts, etcetera much faster and certainly could be harder on batteries and generators that tend to run very warm in that type of weather. Also, there is a greater load on the electrical system in that weather due to AC loads and electric fan loads for cooling.
An AC system on a car in Alaska might rarely get used and fail from lack of use, corrosion, etcetera - whereas in South Texas it would get used year round and suffer from heat and maximum capacity operation all the time. Two completely different operating modes.
Engine coolant gets used heavily for cooling in Texas and the anti corrosion additives get used up rapidly but it will likley never freeze. In Alaska the coolant is not "used" very hard for cooling as the engine will likely live it's life on the thermostat but it certainly will freeze if the concentration is not correct.
Lots of examples as to how climate and weather for an area can affect the long term life and durability of different systems on an automobile.
From one point of view I think the 4.5 is a great engine. I bought a 1990 sedan deville 4.5l with 145,000mi on it. Starts right up everytime, by some grace of god it dosent burn oil neither!! I just knew it would burn oil. But it makes up for that in the miles per gallon department. I belive timing is off a little though because it runs like brand new one second then the next it stumbles but I know of 2 other ones that still run good with high mileage, 1 has 186,000 and the other 197,000.
But on another note I would never compare a 4.5 with a 3.1, if u ask "me" there the WORST engines GM ever made! Every one I know who has one has nothing but problems. That's just from my experience. I have better knowledge to know that majority of car problems happen because of neglect from there owners and irresponsible driving. For the most part if u change your oil on time and keep your maintinance up any car will last 200,000 plus miles.
My dad purchased his '89 Sedan deVille with 135k on it, and 8 years later she has 280k on it. As far as any one can tell this is the original motor, trans was rebuilt once. The car is now just starting to blow out a little bit of smoke and has low oil pressure.
"But on another note I would never compare a 4.5 with a 3.1, if u ask "me" there the WORST engines GM ever made!"
Seriously captainkirk you got to be kidding me. I would consider the 3.1 V6 amoung one of GM's BEST engines ever made along with the 3800 series engines and the 4.3 V6 vortec's. I've seen so many early 90's Chevy Luminas, Monte Carlos, Olds Cutlass Supremes, ect... with the 3.1 V6 with well over 200,000 miles with no engine problems. Everything else on the cars are usually shot (happens with 15 years and more than 200,000 miles) but the 3.1's are running as strong as ever. The only way I know of to kill the 3.1's is to overheat them but other than that they can take abuse all day everyday and still give you 100,000's of miles. Maybe the bad engine your thinking about is the 3.4 OHC V6 found in the Lumina Z34, Monte Carlo Z34, ect...? I know a lot of people that have had problems with those, but not the 3.1's.
I have two 4.5 eldorados now... My '88 is dead and my '89 is good.
The '88 had 135k miles and the '89 has 185k miles
The '88 died from a bent exhaust cam follower on cylinder 7... probably more, gonna rebuild it and stick it in my '89 in a week or so... Thinking of either twin turbos or NOS. But I definently will put a trans shift kit in it.
Both cars slip in 2nd and 3rd.... but shift great if floored...
The engine on '89 is great if I manually shift it, runs on 87 octane great and goes 120mph easily...
Overall if you watch for pinging and arent too hard on the transmission (keep it from leaking) then they are great.
I would consider the 3.1 V6 among one of GM's BEST engines ever made along with the 3800 series engines and the 4.3 V6 vortec's.
Have owned all 3, my current 3800 Series 1 has 154K on it and isn't even breathin' hard and still manages to hold it's own in the "Daily Commute 500", I love it when people switch lanes at a light so they don't get stuck behind "Grandpa" in his LeSabre and get dusted. Put 151,000 HARD miles on my '92 S-10 4.3 TBI and it didn't leak or burn a drop of oil, since I sold it a year and a half ago the new owner has put several thousand even harder miles on it.