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RWD 19xx-1984 DeVille and Fleetwood,
1985-1996 Fleetwood and Brougham Forum Discussion, 94 thru 96. What to buy? in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; I do agree the 307 is sufficient for most applications and gets a bad rap for a lack of power ...
  1. #31
    Lord Fleetwood is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 94 thru 96. What to buy?

    I do agree the 307 is sufficient for most applications and gets a bad rap for a lack of power mostly because the engine needs some maintenance its owner doesn't know to perform. The key is keeping on top of it. Mine was kind of doggish until I did some maintenance (beyond the typical tune-up stuff) and now it is better. I was prompted to research this when I was watching a video online of a guy accelerating his stock 86 Fleetwood Brougham from roughly 0-60 and it did a noticeably better job than mine. Many below the video commented on how surprising the acceleration was from this stock 307. After a number things like EGR cleaning, A.I.R. pump removal, TV cable adjustment, tweaking the timing, and other stuff, it ran stronger. The basic design overall, though, is limiting. Small ports, conservative cam and such are just part of the design. I've even considered putting dual exhaust on it (made a big difference on my 76's 500 ci) but don't know how much difference it would make for the 307.

    It is true for me, as well, that I use the extra power of my 95 minimally and usually only when I am mad at a driver and want to stick it to them, which is admittedly not a thing I'm always proud of since I hate beating on my cars. It is just so satisfying sometimes to execute road justice and I can so rarely do it with the 307 without strategy, and sometimes not at all. I am disappointed with the 307 only so far as it doesn't deliver EXCESS, which is one of the things these cars are all about - excess size, space, comfort, ease, style, and power. You are right that the only thing the 95 really has on its predecessor is the size and the power (and heated seats, lol), but in the end it was enough for me to get one. Good acceleration is also safer if you need to merge into traffic, pass, or maneuver on a hill, and the 307 usually does do the job safely enough, but not always seamlessly.

    The 307 is a product of its times, its just too bad those times couldn't have focused more on power. I remember reading that GM (CEO Roger Smith?) in the 80s refused to have cars incur the gas guzzler tax, which was probably the only way back then to get real power on such a large vehicle. Restrictive EPA regulations and oil prices are what killed the truly full-sized Cadillacs of the late 60s and 70s, and power and size continued to be a casualty until technology caught up in the 90s. Too bad by then "full-size" had gained a bad name and was going out of style. The 307 is actually remarkable when you consider the tight-rope it had to walk, which was a lot to ask at the time. If I were a car buyer back then I so would have paid a one-time gas guzzler tax in exchange for a more power-engineered 307.

  2. #32
    Cadillac Giovanni's Avatar
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    Re: 94 thru 96. What to buy?

    I've heard putting dual exhaust makes a noticeable different in the 307's performance. I know it's been talked about, but not sure if anyone here has swapped the 307 for one of the bigger Olds engines in the same family, since it would more or less be a direct fit.

    I will also say I love the massive dashboard in the 95 as well. Sometimes I go to sit in my 89 as she rusts in peace and I can't believe how close the windshield is. I also realize that I miss the massive hood ornament on that thing.

  3. #33
    Lord Fleetwood is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 94 thru 96. What to buy?

    I was hoping someone would tell me dual exhaust would help the thing. I've toyed with the idea for a while, but I need to get some other things in order with it first, mostly body work. The bottom of the doors aren't in good shape and are quite rusty, though the frame is somehow in relatively good shape. I surmise it sat for a few years before I bought it, damaging the doors from collecting water, but leaving the frame mostly undisturbed. If I can find some doors to extend its life, the addition of another exhaust will be worth it. I've also thought about swapping it, but the engine has been so good to me mechanically I feel more like helping it be better than tossing it.

    The 95 sure does have a huge dashboard! It actually extends width-wise beyond the doors and is quite deep. I had a Coupe DeVille until around 2003 and then had to junk it due to frame rot. I got my 86 in 2009 and was also shocked to see how close the windshield was and how shallow the dashboard was. It was hard to believe that it was that close and my memory of the dashboard of Coupe DeVille was that bad since I should not have been so surprised having owned a nearly identical interior before. The thing that sucks about the 95 dash is that it takes away from the hood length. The 86 has such an impressive hood and that nice, larger ornament. I also found the 86's ornament huge after getting use to the dinky 95 ornament until I got my 76...now that ornament is truly huge! Each does seem to match its hood, though. With the shorter, sloping hood, the 95 might look weird with an enormous ornament. It could have stood being a bit bigger, though. It unfortunately is the same one they used (more appropriately) on the smaller mid-to-late 90s Devilles. They were probably trying to save money, which is exactly what they shouldn't do on an impressive luxury car.

  4. #34
    cadillac kevin's Avatar
    cadillac kevin is online now Cadillac Owners Master
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    Dual exhaust won't really help the 307...the factory manifolds are restrictive with how one dumps into the other. Maybe get some headers or older manifolds from a 350 with factory duals?
    Swapping to earlier 5a heads, a more aggressive cam, intake off a 403, aftermarket carb and distributor would help, but then you might only have 200 hp.

  5. #35
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    Re: 94 thru 96. What to buy?

    Just get Submariner to build you a 455

  6. #36
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    Re: 94 thru 96. What to buy?

    Unfortunately the 90s Fleetwoods were a big culmination of GM trying to save money and only give it enough appeal to attract its geriatric consumer market. This harmed it in overall build quality, but helped it in that it never got any fidgety electronic gizmos that eventually break. Seriously, whenever people complain about the lack of features on the Fleetwood, I just shrug. Less to break in my opinion. It has everything you need and nothing you don't, and the dash is simple, yet elegant.. Also, cost-cutting and simplifying meant that the entire platform got access to the LT-1, which is certainly a good thing.

  7. #37
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    Re: 94 thru 96. What to buy?

    It wasn't cost cutting that brought the LT1 to the B/D line, it was emissions. It is a far more efficient engine than the old LO3/LO5. The trucks didn't get it because they didn't have to meet the car emission regs. We benefited because they were finally figuring out that air flow combined with higher efficiency combustion chambers meant not only lower emissions but also higher HP. Reverse cooling=cooler heads=higher compression=better burn=more hp. 8 injectors/MPFI (instead of batch fire)=precise control of fuel delivery= lower emissions=more hp. Once the truck emission regs caught up to the cars, we saw the efficient LS based engines installed.

  8. #38
    Cadillac Giovanni's Avatar
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    Re: 94 thru 96. What to buy?

    I thought the Fleetwood got the LT-1 was because the Impala SS was getting it, and they decided just to simplify across the whole line and cut out the L05 which is why the Roadmaster and Caprice got it as well. Better emissions and efficiency were a good bonus, though.

  9. #39
    Lord Fleetwood is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 94 thru 96. What to buy?

    That sucks about putting dual exhaust on the 307. I wasn't looking to tear the thing apart, just some tweaks, so putting on different manifolds might be up my alley if I were to try it. I feel like the cost, time, and effort put into doing all of those other things (like heads) would probably be better spent on just swapping for a beefier engine.

    I was also under the impression the change to the LT1 had to do with efficiency. It was more environmental with more power, so why not? The build quality decline was just a result of the times as a whole, and not Cadillac in particular. Pretty much every car from this era suffered from the decision to cut costs and move to smaller, lighter, more cheaply built plastic pieces. This era doubled-down on cheapness in the form of plastic (or fiberglass) bumpers, fenders, emblems, interior trim, and seats. The "aero" look also meant less surface area and less material used. Huge, sloped windshields exchanged metal for glass. Engines were no longer steel, but light-yet-soft aluminum. Even the turn signal levers and radio knobs felt horribly cheap compared to cars of the past. For all the gains in power and efficiency the 90s gave, there was definitely a loss in solidity, excess and luxury. I think the Fleetwood is actually one of the few cars of that time that at least tried to give the impression it didn't sell out.

    I do agree that the simplistic dashboard without all of the gadgets that break was a plus and gave a cleaner look. I just wish it was better for giving information. I actually like the digital displays on the late-90s Devilles that let you see things like RPMs and voltage if you want, or turn it off if you don't. You can still access that information on the Fleetwood, of course, but only awkwardly through the ECC diagnostic pointers.
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  10. #40
    Poda is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 94 thru 96. What to buy?

    Well, while it doesn't have quite the performance of the Impala SS, the Fleetwood isn't called an "Impala SS in a Tux" for nothing.. I've been able to embarrass a fair number of other cars on the highway with mine who never saw it coming.

    And the attention both of mine get when they're clean is insane - even the Livery car with it's body damage. In the summer, people talking to me through my open windows at red lights is a routine occurrence here in Toronto. When you're seeing more Bentleys, Lambo's, Astons, etc than Fleetwoods, you know you have something rare. In fact, I haven't seen another Fleetwood on the road here in over 6 months. Doesn't mean it's valuable though lol..

    But one thing I've noticed about the LT1 (and I have no idea how things are for the L05 - as an evolution of the SBC it might be easier), is that maintenance items, at least up here, are expensive as hell or impossible to come by. In the grand scheme of things it's had a relatively short run, and with the LSx motors coming so soon after, there was never a chance for a real aftermarket to build up. In my neck of the woods, hardly anything is available off the shelf. Everything has to be ordered, or I have to scour the F-body, Y-Body, and B-Body boards and communities for parts.

    I get that interior components, body panels, etc are hard because of the limited run these cars had. But when I have to scrap and scrounge to find something as simple as a distributor (optispark) because of the one-offness of it all, it's aggravating. Again, I don't know how much better things are for the L05, but I find myself wondering if I wouldn't be better off with a pair of 93's.

    ..
    ..
    But then I mash the gas on an on-ramp or go to pass a slow vehicle on a country road and everything is good in the world.
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  11. #41
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    Re: 94 thru 96. What to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cadillac Giovanni View Post
    ...The older Broughams are easier to get in and out of, ride nicer, look nicer, handle nicer, and the build quality is much better...
    Easier to get in and out of?? With that seat belt contraption in lieu of the dual air bags??? WTF?????

    Ride better? No way.

    Build Quality. Nope, look at the old initial quality surveys from when these were new.

    The one thing I hate on mine is the stupid digital dash with only a fuel gauge and a single trip odometer. But then the olders Broughams had the same dash. My 2000 Eldorado Convertible had a nice cluster and DIC, but GM was not spending any $$on the Fleetwoods because they were canceling it after the 1996 model year.

  12. #42
    Cadillac Giovanni's Avatar
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    Re: 94 thru 96. What to buy?

    The seatbelt contraption was on the 90-92 cars only, and even then you don't have to use it. The extra body width of the Fleetwood, coupled with the absolutely stupid placement of the heat switch for the seats makes enough extra real estate that it's a pain to slide over. I currently own both cars, and even though the Brougham isn't on the road, after a year of getting in and out of the Fleetwood, sliding into the Brougham is easy as pie.

    My 1989 with 200,000 miles has a far more comfortable ride, in my opinion, than my 95 with only 30,000. The 95's ride is harsher and almost a bit restless. It's extra girth is easily sent wobbling from side to side, while I found my Brougham was much better at soaking up the road, as they say.

    Where are these quality surveys? I don't really care what they say, unless the survey was done by the same person. Perception changes over the years. I've taken apart interior and exterior trims for both cars more than I care to remember, and the Brougham is a much more solid car in that respect. The cheap particle board, plastic and vinyl used in the Fleetwood is laughable.

    They're nice cars, for sure, but...eh. Maybe it's the rose-tinted glasses from my Brougham being the first car I actually bought for myself, but seeing as how for a short while I had both on the road and was using them interchangeably, I think my opinion is somewhat validated.

  13. #43
    Lord Fleetwood is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 94 thru 96. What to buy?

    It is interesting to hear the debate about the ride of the Brougham vs. the mid-90s Fleetwoods. The Brougham will corner better and feels lighter than it is, but I have always had to give the ride quality to the Fleetwood. Mine just soaks up every bump and barely wallows. I really don't know how they did it. I find my 86 firmer but harsher, and the older Cadillacs ride soft but wallow and lean a lot. Somehow my 95 is both stable and soft.

    Perhaps one thing contributing to the debate is the type of suspension. For the mid-90s Fleetwoods, I know RPO code FE1 was for soft ride, but there was also FE2 which was firmer. Maybe this is where some disagreement comes from? Personal taste also matters, but I would love for my 86 to ride a bit softer. Maybe it has to do with new parts, too. My 86 doesn't have the original rear shocks, but my 95 does. The back of my 95 will bounce slightly and move easily if I push on the rear bumper, where my 86 will give more resistance and has no bounce after it comes back up. I would love to drive a Brougham that I knew had an original rear suspension so I could compare.

  14. #44
    Cadillac Giovanni's Avatar
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    Re: 94 thru 96. What to buy?

    Nope. I've got FE1 and, as I've said, only about 40,000 miles. Unless the previous owner put some absolute shit shocks in the car, as they were done some time in the past few years.

  15. #45
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    Re: 94 thru 96. What to buy?

    Or put the cargo coil springs on.

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