Is 91-93 Deville suspension a prob?
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Suspension, Brakes and Tires Discussion, Is 91-93 Deville suspension a prob? in Item Specific Cadillac Discussion; I am new to this forum and don't own a Cadillac, but I am looking to buy a 91-93 Sedan ...
  1. #1
    phisher17 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Is 91-93 Deville suspension a prob?

    I am new to this forum and don't own a Cadillac, but I am looking to buy a 91-93 Sedan Deville. I looked at one today with 88k miles and it had its "SSS" service light on. My question is, is the suspension on these cadillacs a big problem? From what I've read the engine and trans are very reliable these years, but what about the suspension? How long do they last? What are the options as far as repair, and how much does it cost?

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  3. #2
    Mark G is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Is 91-93 Deville suspension a prob?

    I have two Cadillacs, a 93 DeVille and 92 SeVille. These cars are almost identical mechanically and share very similar suspensions (mine anyway). BTW, read my post about Monroe shocks Aug 28 04.

    Anyay, to answer your question, Cadillacs of these years that have the active suspension systems can have problems. One source of the problem is the struts themselves. There is a solonoid in each strut with a rotating disk that has 3 different orafice diameters. The solonoid rotates based on speed and the different orafice diameters restrict flow more/less ..thereby determining different degrees of shock firmness: soft, medium, firm. Anyway, after some years, the solonoid can fail. GM no longer sells replacement shocks for this car ...and even if they did I bet you wouldn't want to pay the premium replacement price. On top of that, I thought the engineering on the active dampening system was sub-par in my opinion. Driving down the interstate in the "firm" position was really annoying, for a Cadillac. Anyway, GM replaces these shocks with standard "Passive" shocks, nowadays. I think they are made by Monroe.

    The other thing that can happen is the shocks can just wear out and make the car "bouncy". That makes the car annoying to drive.

    In your case, it sounds like the car you are looking probably at has the active suspension system and probably a shock solonoid has failed (or someone replaced the shocks with new and didn't deactivate the computer). You can tell if there are wires going to the shock towers in the engine compartment. If original, you could try hammering on the bottom of the problem strut to see if you can jar a "stuck" disk free. It probably won't work but it doesn't cost anythig to try. That car isn't really high miles, so the struts may still be good otherwise. You can remove the plastic cover on the shock tower and pull out the plug and use a ohm meter to check if the solonoid and determine which one has failed. It's possible you could replace it with one from a bone yard. If you buy the car and are interested in doing this, post and I will explain how to check.

    But the best thing would be to just get the shocks replaced with some new Monroes or Gabriels. I replaced mine with the Monroe shocks with was about $225 for 4. My rears were load leveling type. I installed them myself, but you might be better off letting a shop handle it for it's a lot of goofing around.

    Other than that, my DeVille has been a real work horse. I get 24.5 mpg which I guess isn't too bad for a full-sized car with a V8. I'm getting close to 200k and it still runs like a champ.

    Other than the struts and water pump replacement (recently), I have to say our DeVille has been one of the cheapest cars to own I've ever had. I haven't had a lick of trouble with it other than the radio on/off button failing twice.

    Mark G

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    Ralph's Avatar
    Ralph is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    Re: Is 91-93 Deville suspension a prob?

    For passive struts I was recommended to stay away from Monroes because a few years ago their gas charged shocks and struts were experiencing leakage problems. I also experienced this with the Monroes on my 1991 Grand Marquis, AND Pontiac. At Midas they recommended Gabriels to me if I ever need them in the Caddy, say if I develop an air leak, etc.

    The consensus among some early posts here is that around 100,000 to 150,000 miles, is when people experience trouble with them like an air leak, etc.

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    DaveSmed's Avatar
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    Re: Is 91-93 Deville suspension a prob?

    Disabling the computer.... If you compare procedures all it really calls for is clipping the wire that goes to that bulb. Your better off removing it and keeping it as a spare. Passives are definitely the way to go, and they shouldn't be much more than an average set of struts, save the auto leveling setup.

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    Ralph's Avatar
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    Re: Is 91-93 Deville suspension a prob?

    Good reminder about the computer Dave. Max goes into detail about this I think, here is one of the early posts on this. Skip the crap and go to Max's info starting at post # 20:

    http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums...2&page=1&pp=10

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    DaveSmed's Avatar
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    Re: Is 91-93 Deville suspension a prob?

    Good bit of info there, he also takes care of the common misconception that there is air bladders in the front struts. The Dealer TSB has you fighting with the carpet under the drivers seat to cut a wire that runs up to the bulb in the dash. Why didn't they just say take the bulb out?? The later ones with the Alphanumeric display are a different story. No bulb per say, but the suspension module merely grounds a wire to turn on the damn message. I think the reason they call for a relay is the DIC might monitor the feed, and ensure it does a self test (kind of like a bulb test) and if it doesnt it may produce an error. Pure theroy mind you. Heck, you could probably even put the relay up in the dash, and use the wire running to the trunk for something else, like remote turn on for an amp, instead of its previous job of bugging you on startup.

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    phisher17 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Is 91-93 Deville suspension a prob?

    Thanks for the replies fellas, I didn't end up buying that 91 with the service light on, but the info could definately be helpful in the future, just as long as its not too soon. I ended up finding a 93' with 46K miles and bought it for $5400. I hope it turns out to be a good deal, the car is a cream puff.

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    Re: Is 91-93 Deville suspension a prob?

    5400 for a 93, whats it like??

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    phisher17 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Is 91-93 Deville suspension a prob?

    It's from an elderly gentleman from Oregon. Him and his wife had it until last spring, when they were too old to drive it. They traded it in and now I own it. Bought it last week for $5400. Its white w/a blue pin stripe and blue interior. Definately the best looking car I've ever driven. I need to get it out on an open road a let her run a little bit though.

  11. #10
    michellewhitlow is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Is 91-93 Deville suspension a prob?

    how do you replace the air suspension with shocks?Our car is like riding in a truck....

  12. #11
    michellewhitlow is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Is 91-93 Deville suspension a prob?

    how do you change the suspension to shocks?We have a 91 Deville and it is very rough.Thank you in advance

  13. #12
    peteski is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Is 91-93 Deville suspension a prob?

    Caddies do not have air bladder suspensions (like trucks or Lincolns). They have shocks and springs. Just the rear shocks have air bladders for auto-leveling the rear end.

    Peteski

  14. #13
    Brews is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Is 91-93 Deville suspension a prob?

    To michellewhitlow: first off, got to Strutmasters.com, or the Arnott site; they sell the kits required to remove the load-levelling rear struts.
    It comes as a "coil-over" shock, or strut, that can be installed at a shop. They call it "passive" suspension, where you are currently driving on an "active" suspension.
    This is not a driveway job by any means. I am a 25 year mechanic, and this job was a b---h with two of us working on it for almost 3 hours! Everything was seized up tight.
    The end result is quite pleasing though. The car's ride height is right back where it supposed to be, and the ride is very smooth, kind'a like a Cadillac again.

  15. #14
    michellewhitlow is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Is 91-93 Deville suspension a prob?

    Please Help.do You Need A Kit To Change The Struts On A 91 Deville Caddy.our Compressor Was Running All The Time And It Runs Really Rough.i Do Not Have The Money To Spend A Fortune In Getting The Struts Fixed.any Info Would Be Great

  16. #15
    medicz28's Avatar
    medicz28 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Is 91-93 Deville suspension a prob?

    Take out your drivers seat. Reach into the area of the carpet thats slit open. Find the BCM and cut the dark green wire, the 1300 wire. You'll never see the SSS light again.

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