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RWD 19xx-1984 DeVille and Fleetwood,
1985-1996 Fleetwood and Brougham Forum Discussion, Question from First Time Buyer in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; Hey all, I've got a rather unusual question for you all. I'm going on 18 and looking to buy a ...
  1. #1
    K2013 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Question Question from First Time Buyer

    Hey all, I've got a rather unusual question for you all. I'm going on 18 and looking to buy a car. I was introduced to B and D platform cars on YouTube and they just seem like a really good choice given their size, reliability, and power. I'd looked for Caprices, Custom Cruisers, Roadmasters, Fleetwoods, and even dabbled a bit into looking at DeVilles, but I'm turned off from those because of their higher cost of maintenance, their hunger for premium fuel, and the fact that some of them are prone to headgasket problems. The 1994-1996 Fleetwoods really caught my eye because of the reliability and efficency of the LT1 (and even the 1993 TBI model), and I think I'd really like to buy one of these if I can find one locally for the right price. Does that sound like a good idea for a first timer?

    A few things I've already learned: I'm not a huge car person myself; I understand the specs on paper and lingo from reading forums like this one and GM Longroof and other sites. Another challenge that I face is Michigan rust. Because of the relative rarity of Fleetwoods, very few have popped up locally, and only one was close enough to actually visit in person, which I only got around to doing until today.

    My second question is if this sounds like a good deal: I went to look at this 1994 Fleetwood Brougham today (pic)(another pic) at a repair shop/car lot type place. 150K miles, "purple pearl" (although for the record, it looks more like a dark blue/silver/gray color in person). Asking price is 2200 (which is over the budget for this, so I'd only buy it if he'd take an offer). Supposedly was originally purchased in Michigan, drove to Texas, then back to Michigan a year ago to this lot, where it has sat ever since. According to the "salesperson" (mechanic) who showed it to me, he said it was (supposedly) in good mechanical condition. The car looked okay on the outside, the only real rust was a nice sized patch around the hood ornament (pic)(another). There's also some along the bottom of the trunk (pic)(another)(one more) and various "sketchy spots" on the back bumper (pic) and this bit I spotted when opening the passenger side front door (pic). Dashboard is badly cracked (pic). The underside's got me a little worried too (picture from the back)(another)(picture looking underneath from the right side)(taken from the same place, different angle [upside down]).

    Other than that, there's various small blemishes (like peeling chrome "tape", minor headliner trouble, small rust spots, peeling rubber, and other small annoyances), but overall, I don't think it's too bad considering its age, although I am worried about the rust underneath. What do you guys think about that?

    My next questions came during the test drive. My first time behind the wheel of the LT1 Fleetwood was powerful, but I did notice some vibration (which the mechanic claimed was rust on the brakes), some pull to the left (which I believe might be a result of an improperly inflated front left tire [pic] or bad alignment), and felt some "shimmying?" from the wheel. Other than that, the nice looking interior (pic) was comfy and plenty room for my height and fully equipped with heated power seats and a trashcan (pic).

    Does this look like a good deal, or should I keep shopping? Or find a different car to shop for altogether?

    Thanks.

    K2013

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  3. #2
    cadillac kevin's Avatar
    cadillac kevin is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Question from First Time Buyer

    I only looked at the pics of the underside, and I can with 100% certainty say- RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN. that is nasty rust and that frame is toast.

  4. #3
    MrHolland's Avatar
    MrHolland is offline Super Moderator
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    Re: Question from First Time Buyer

    Agreed, I would keep looking also!!!! I purchased my Fleetwood from another state after looking at pictures and had it shipped to me. Turned out to be a great deal and rust didn't have to be a problem since it didn't come from one of the rusty areas of the US. Be patient and you'll get a better deal. Good luck!!

    May be over budget, but worth mentioning - http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums...e-rwd-104.html ------ scroll down to post 1557

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    csbuckn is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Question from First Time Buyer

    Yea, I think that rust is gonna be a little too much for me. The shimmy is probably a loose wheel bearing which is easy to fix. Maybe $1500 at the most just because of the rust. If you plan on keeping the car for a while, that rust is going to come back to bite you later.

    Pretty impressive typing for a 17 year old. No text message lingo in that whole delivery.
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    cadillac kevin's Avatar
    cadillac kevin is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Question from First Time Buyer

    Quote Originally Posted by csbuckn View Post
    Yea, I think that rust is gonna be a little too much for me. The shimmy is probably a loose wheel bearing which is easy to fix. Maybe $1500 at the most just because of the rust. If you plan on keeping the car for a while, that rust is going to come back to bite you later.

    Pretty impressive typing for a 17 year old. No text message lingo in that whole delivery.
    with broken gas tank straps, it won't pass inspection (then there's the question of if you can attach new ones to anything that won't disintegrate)

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    Re: Question from First Time Buyer

    Quote Originally Posted by cadillac kevin View Post
    I only looked at the pics of the underside, and I can with 100% certainty say- RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN. that is nasty rust and that frame is toast.
    As I was reading the post and looking at the pictures I was thinking to myself "Don't walk away from this car...RUN! So Kevin, you took the words out of my mouth!
    That car has been in a salt water bath, I would almost guaranty it. I just posted earlier today about a Seville I passed on 20 years ago I suspected was a flood car and that was what it looked like.
    I have lived in WI almost my entire life, and am no stranger to rust. That rust is just not natural. Sumpin funny about that car, and who knows what else is lurking.

  8. #7
    brougham is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Question from First Time Buyer

    It doesn't look too bad and you might be pressed finding one better then that for your budget. As far as the rust underneath and everywhere else that's normal for around here. That's not from flooding that's from road salt in the winter. If you want to keep that car long term you might have problems but if you only want it for a few years it should be OK but get it looked over by someone before making any deal for it.
    The most common cause of shimmy if you can feel it in the wheel is bad tire. I wouldn't pay much more then $1,500 for it.

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    HUF
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    Re: Question from First Time Buyer

    I would not take that car even if someone paid me. A rust bucket.

  10. #9
    Poda is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Question from First Time Buyer

    I've got a 94 here in Canada - it's no where near as rusted out as the one you're looking at, and it's been in the snow belt since new. I have surface rust on my frame, sure, that's to be expected in the north, and based on other issues I can state for a fact it wasn't particularly babied by the previous owners. But that car is about ready to be parted out, it's had a rough life.. That said, I paid 3k all in for mine and it was a steal. I hate to burst your bubble, but I think you'll be hard pressed to find a d-body in acceptable shape for less.

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    Re: Question from First Time Buyer

    Quite possible the best first post ever. Well written, and the knowledge reflects the research that has been done. Welcome, you'll fit in nicely around here. Don't buy a rusty car, you'll find something if you're patient. Don't be afraid of the older 92 and earlier cars, either. Same car, different body. Engines are less powerful, of course...

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    Re: Question from First Time Buyer

    As you just found out, you can't make the mistake of determining a car's overall integrity on the reliability of the drivetrain. When you live in the rust belt and above, chassis integrity trumps all. Engines and transmissions are relatively cheap and easy to replace and repair - rotted frames and suspension will total a car out real quick.

    While the guys down south have no problem enjoying them, my opinion is that these cars are a poor value as a daily driver when you live up north. The newest one is now 17 years old, and many of them were driven every winter and look just like the pictures you've posted. They need constant attention, and EXTRA attention when repair time comes. The ones that don't look like this charge a hefty premium anyway.

    If you buy a rusty car, find a mechanic that's good with the fire wrench and be prepared for high labor costs.

    You've mentioned the later Devilles and are concerned about drivetrain problems, but keep in mind that corrosion protection and overall chassis durability is excellent in comparison.

    If you want the d/b body floaty 'n boaty formula, classic full frame rwd, but not something so old and rusty, I recommend the Lincoln Town Car. You'll find much more recent examples (produced about 15 years longer) that are probably in much better shape than 95% of the b/d bodies that are left.
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    K2013 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Thumbs up Reply

    Thanks for all the feedback. I'll probably pass on that particular Fleetwood. I'll keep my eyes open on CL for a cleaner one.

    Quote Originally Posted by drewsdeville View Post

    You've mentioned the later Devilles and are concerned about drivetrain problems, but keep in mind that corrosion protection and overall chassis durability is excellent in comparison.
    Would you recommend one? They're not exactly a Fleetwood, but maybe they could be a good compromise (I do like certain aspects of it more than the Fleetwood and others less) if I run out of time (my goal is to have something by early April or late march). I read a few other threads on here where other first time buyers asked about various Northstar Cadillacs and they were generally recommended against because of the high cost of maintenance and the fact that they're prone to costly headgasket problems. If I found one that already had the headgasket issue, but then had it fixed, could that be a good deal?

    What about the 1994-1995 4.9 Devilles?

    ::

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    Re: Question from First Time Buyer

    People that own Northstar cars or FWD Devilles are going to be fans, just like we love our RWDs. Personally, I would never consider either, for many reasons. If you want to solicit opinions, or to check out the positives/negatives, head over to the FWD forum section for their advice.

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    brougham is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Question from First Time Buyer

    The 94-95 Devilles are the best of the FWDs you can get. They are the newest ones that still have the 4.9. The 1991-1993s aren't bad either and have the same engine. But just like any other car they still rust and they have their own share of problems and none of them will hold up any better then the big Fleetwood will. Really one like you originally wanted or an older one will be more reliable and cheaper to fix then a Deville will. You can take that from someone who has both- there's a Deville in my driveway right now.

    Don't blow your whole budget on the car because you'll need money to keep it on the road.
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    Re: Question from First Time Buyer

    Quote Originally Posted by jayoldschool View Post
    Quite possible the best first post ever. Well written, and the knowledge reflects the research that has been done. Welcome, you'll fit in nicely around here.
    K2013 you may not be a huge car guy but you sure could fool me.
    Jay is right. Your looking into, around, and under, and the way you presented the research would put many of us "car guys" to shame.
    Can't wait to hear more from you and hope you find the right one soon.
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