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RWD 19xx-1984 DeVille and Fleetwood,
1985-1996 Fleetwood and Brougham Forum Discussion, Need Some Fleetwood Brougham HELP! in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; They can run a very long time. 300k miles is possible with good maintenance. But with poor maintenance (which is ...
  1. #16
    j2rossit is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Need Some Fleetwood Brougham HELP!

    They can run a very long time. 300k miles is possible with good maintenance. But with poor maintenance (which is often with cars that sit around not being used) the low mileage car might give you just as much if not more problems. I tend to like the 100-200k cars that don't look their age. Often this means they have been well maintained, have lots of highways miles (best thing for a car), and have not had long periods of no use (worst thing for a car).
    talismandave likes this.

  2. #17
    Lord Fleetwood is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Need Some Fleetwood Brougham HELP!

    Quote Originally Posted by fixitman View Post
    Shortly after I bought my first Cadillac, I found out my first grand child was on his way! Gotta love it.
    Whatevercar you get, just make sure it was well maintained and not full of rust.
    Hahaha...glad to see there are still some grandfathers driving these around. Too bad more aren't like you, since if so they might still make new versions.

    As far as longevity goes, maintenance matters, but a good thing about this type of car is that they are usually (but not always) owned by mature people of means (financial and/or intellectual) with a taste for classy vehicles who take good care of them and don't beat on them. The 100,000-150,000 is a good range to buy, since even if it started to be mistreated, the car will still be good. I've seen quite a few over 300,000. My 95 Fleetwood has 170,000+ and drives really close to brand new. I got it a bit over 100,000 and have taken care of it over the years, but it hasn't needed much. The only major job I ever did on it was to rebuild the transmission. This didn't even have to be done, but it had an annoying clunk when it would downshift, so when I got out of college and started my career I treated myself to a rebuilt transmission.

    I'd avoid the HT 4100 engine just because it has no power. They were unreliable back in the day, too. Chances are if you got one now it would have its design flaws remedied (rebuilt correctly or replaced), but not always and even if it does it barely moves these large cars. Though it seems you are looking for a real full-sized Cadillac (like a Fleetwood or Brougham), and good for you to do so, just be warned if you ever consider a mid-to-late-90s Deville for any reason, the Northstar engines on those also have issues with head gaskets may not get much past 100,000 without major repairs. My friend likes them and just fixed one with a bad head gasket a few months ago, but he went through TOTAL HELL to do it.

  3. #18
    MWP
    MWP is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Need Some Fleetwood Brougham HELP!

    I'm brand new to this forum, and thought I'd respond to your question.

    A rear-wheel Fleetwood is a good start. Front-wheel drive cars can be more expensive in maintenance, and the rear-wheel ones are relatively easier to work on. Ditto the comments about the HT4100 versions--they're okay if you know what you're getting into, but not recommended as a first car.

    I've got a 95 Fleetwood with the LT1 350-inch engine. 94-96 are essentially the same. Right now it's my only car, and I have no uncertainty about its reliability. I keep a new fuel pump in the trunk just in case, since that's one thing I haven't gotten around to replacing. The late-model Fleetwoods are generally very trouble-free, with only a few quirks (the turn-signal wire can short out at the bottom of the steering column and start blowing fuses, the plastic window rollers are prone to breaking, little things like that).

    What to look for: a well-maintained car, rust-free, that is in great cosmetic shape. Body, trim, and interior parts are often hard to find (and expensive). Plus, if it looks fantastic, the odds are that the owner didn't abuse it. Stay away from rough, hacked or modified cars--they're not worth the trouble, and it's hard to know if the job was done right, or what the person screwed up. Example: on another internet forum there's a guy who just bought his first car from his cousin. Turns out his cousin never maintained anything, didn't tell him about the hidden front end damage, disconnected the ABS, and left out half the bolts that hold the upper ball-joint to the control arm.

    For a car you feel serious about, yes, get experts to go with you. Or, it's worth taking it to a service shop and paying them for an hour or two to take a really good look at it and give you a list. If the seller won't agree to that, walk away.

    Look at a lot of used car guides online, and at the "sold" listings on Ebay to get a feel for what a fair price is. Some people have funny ideas about what their cars are worth.

    You'll spend a bit more to get a nice-looking car where almost everything works, but you won't regret it. All you have to deal then is with fixing mechanical and electrical stuff, and parts are readily available. For parts, spend the money for good ones (AC Delco, Moog, Goodyear, NAPA, etc.) My opinion is to avoid parts-store brands like the plague (Carquest, Autozone, etc.). Never go for the low-priced part.

    If the car is mostly original, there are some things you will HAVE to do, as with any old car. For any car you get, go on Ebay and get the factory service manual--it will teach you a ton, and will give you or a mechanic the proper way to do repairs. Don't let hacks work on your car. And, look for mechanics with gray hair--they remember working on cars like these

    Even on a low mileage car, rubber doesn't age well, so the belts, radiator/heater hoses, brake hoses, power steering hoses, sway bar bushings, and probably control arm bushings will likely need to be replaced.

    The soft suspension tends to wear out shocks, so expect to buy a set. If the car has a fair amount of mileage on it, you'll also be looking at rebuilding the suspension--especially new ball joints and tie rod ends.

    Cooling systems don't age well, either. Anytime I buy an old car,I automatically put in a new radiator, heater core, hoses, thermostat, and water pump all at once.

    Tires don't age well, either. Get them checked.

    Drain the transmission pan and put in a new filter and fluid. The 90s transmissions are pretty good, although the reverse-low clutch is prone to failure.

    If you get an LT1-powered 90s Fleetwood, it will need a tune-up at 100,000 miles. That means plugs and wires, plus a new OptiSpark distributor. The distributor is $400-500, but then it will be good for another 100,000 miles.

    One little tip--if you buy a car more than 8-10 years old, go ahead and replace every exterior light bulb on the car. It's cheap, bulbs get dim with age, and this way you won't worry about your brake lights or headlights randomly burning out.

    The nice thing about most of these repairs is that they are things you can learn to do yourself with basic tools.

    Whatever you get, you will find that there are a lot of other people that have that model and know a lot about it--car clubs and the internet are fantastic. This forum, for example. Plus, if you get a 93-96 Fleetwood, check out impalassforum.com Lots of tech info there, and the Fleetwood, Chevy Caprice, and Buick Roadmaster are all based on the same platform.

    At first you may feel like you are spending a lot of money on an old car. But, if you renew the whole cooling system, or brake system, or suspension, then you know that part of the car is going to be good for many years and miles to come. Safe, reliable, fun, and 5 or 10 years from now you will have spent a lot less money on a car than most people.

    Anyway, I hope you find this advice helpful. Not trying to dictate what you should do, just offering my opinions based on a lifetime of driving cars that were 20-40 years old.

    Good luck with your hunt! Whatever year you get, you'll have fun (and a little frustration) bringing it up to snuff, but you will quickly come to love driving a big, comfortable, old Cadillac.
    Cadillacboy and talismandave like this.

  4. #19
    Cadillacboy's Avatar
    Cadillacboy is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Need Some Fleetwood Brougham HELP!

    Text book examples of you wrote MWP
    Welcome btw ,great post in every respect

  5. #20
    brougham is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Need Some Fleetwood Brougham HELP!

    I quickly skimmed thru that, it was too much reading, and the only thing I would say is don't parts like the radiator and bulbs until there is a reason to do it. Original parts last a lot longer then replacement ones do.

  6. #21
    cadillacmike68's Avatar
    cadillacmike68 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Need Some Fleetwood Brougham HELP!

    Quote Originally Posted by brougham View Post
    I quickly skimmed thru that, it was too much reading, and the only thing I would say is don't parts like the radiator and bulbs until there is a reason to do it. Original parts last a lot longer then replacement ones do.
    Yeah that list was way too extensive. I'd Check out all the hoses and belts, and have spares in the trunk, but if the look new (especially if they have date codes less than 3 years) I keep them on the car. I also never change the bulbs, but I do have all the various bulbs in trays in my garage. Same with the radiator & heater core. Leave them alone. Flush the cooling system, but if it's not leaking let it be. I wouldn't change the water pump on a 94-96 LT1 unless there was evidence of it leaking, and then not only that but the opti-spark will need changing.

    Kepa basic set of tools in the trunk, full range socket set, adj wrenches, combi wrench set & screwdrivers, etc. That way you can handle minor incidents on the road.

    And that reminds me; the Fleetwood has a burned out reverse bulb on the right side that I need to change tomorrow.

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