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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking at buying a 1983 Cadilllac Fleetwood Brougham it has the 4.1L engine I am wondering were these engines not that great and were there a lot of problems with these engines.

Thank you
 

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1989 Brougham d'Elegance, 1992 Sedan DeVille
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Re: 1983 Cadillac Fleetwood questions

Though some people may tell you otherwise or may have success stories with 4100s, they are infamously poor.

If you're planning on getting one, make sure it's in good health, because high mileage and wear on an aluminium block pretty much always ends the same way. Felix (graust) knows everything there is to know about HT4100s and will definitely give you hope for a 4100-based project if you're feeling brave.
 

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1983 FWB (Mac), 1981 SDV (Junkyard Dog)
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Re: 1983 Cadillac Fleetwood questions

Nice going APE. I was scared to death about owning a 4.1 engine too. That was donkey's years ago when I was looking at getting a car with a 4.1 in it. The car I found was the cleanest FWB I had ever seen and it had 27,000 miles from new on it. After much hair-pulling and teeth gnashing, my wife bought the car for me for Christmas that year. It was the best Christmas present I have ever been given. Fast-forward to today. The car has now just passed 73,000 miles with no major problems. The water pump and the power steering pump have both failed but were replaced with a minimum of fuss. My Christmas present now has me and my old trucking buddy Rodeo Joe planning a Route 66 tour in it for next year.

Cheers.............R.
 

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1980 FBC
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Re: 1983 Cadillac Fleetwood questions

There used to be a whole lot of very clean Cadillacs available with the HT-4100. They were a great value for the person with a tool kit.

The 8/6/4 was even better because of it's poor reputation. You could get one a few years old for a song. They lasted a long time but don't tell anyone.

The HT-4100 block is perfect to make into a planter. Remove the sleeves, heads, crank and add Geraniums. Almost anyone can move the block because it is so light.

I should organize a Cadillac event. 4100 block throwing. We all get together and see who can throw one of these the most distance.

Seriously Robin, I'm glad you are getting good service from your engine. May it last 300% of the norm.
 

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1990 Brougham, 1990 Brougham d'elgance 1979 Coupe
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Re: 1983 Cadillac Fleetwood questions

I almost bought a 84 Sedan last fall, it was already gone when I got my nerve up to make a offer.

Rebuilt replacement engines are very reasonable, so if I found a real nice car for a good price Id get it.

I look around on craigslist all the time and for some reason lately 4100 cars have high asking prices.
 

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1991 Cadillac Brougham D'Elegance 5.7 Litre, 1994 DeVille
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Re: 1983 Cadillac Fleetwood questions

Te 4100s seemed to have less failures in the RWD cars. If the car is clean and decent priced go for it. If it's a lemon you can always put a better engine in it later.
 

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1989 Brougham d'Elegance, 1985 Fleetwood Brougham *Coupe*
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Re: 1983 Cadillac Fleetwood questions

Even a good running 4100 will never be reliable (they can go down hill very quickly, because one problem can cascade into multiple), and the time and effort into repairing them usually doesn't pay off like it would other engines (because you can never fix anything back to 100%, and again, one small problem can break everything). But that doesn't mean you or anyone else should just replace it; it means that the 4100 should not be trusted, and it should be expected to break at any given moment.

So when getting a 4100, you should have contingencies lined up; you should have good roadside assistance, a second and more reliable car, and know a garage that can do engine rebuilds or replacements. If your 4100 dies, you can swap it with an Oldsmobile 307 or a Chevrolet 305, without having to change anything else in the car, so it may be a good idea to have an extra engine (or know where you can get one).

When I got my 4100, I got everything in line, except the second engine, because I didn't expect it to take a shit after 200 miles, but now I know better
 

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1985 Seville
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Re: 1983 Cadillac Fleetwood questions

Did you drive it pedal to the metal all of the time? Any motor can take a dump if you abuse them.
Even a good running 4100 will never be reliable (they can go down hill very quickly, because one problem can cascade into multiple), and the time and effort into repairing them usually doesn't pay off like it would other engines (because you can never fix anything back to 100%, and again, one small problem can break everything). But that doesn't mean you or anyone else should just replace it; it means that the 4100 should not be trusted, and it should be expected to break at any given moment.

So when getting a 4100, you should have contingencies lined up; you should have good roadside assistance, a second and more reliable car, and know a garage that can do engine rebuilds or replacements. If your 4100 dies, you can swap it with an Oldsmobile 307 or a Chevrolet 305, without having to change anything else in the car, so it may be a good idea to have an extra engine (or know where you can get one).

When I got my 4100, I got everything in line, except the second engine, because I didn't expect it to take a shit after 200 miles, but now I know better
 

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1926 Model T street rod, 2000 Jaguar XJ8, 1999 Corvette.
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Re: 1983 Cadillac Fleetwood questions

As an ex service advisor for Cadillac during the 4.1 era, I can attest to poor maintenance as the primary cause of failure. Coolant MUST be changed every 24 months regardless of mileage. I've owned 3 HT 4100's all were going strong at well over 100,000 miles. I replaced 2 timing chains at approx. 80,000 miles. One intake gasket at 70,000 miles. All were daily drivers. Ignoring Antifreeze (coolant) leads to corroded intake gaskets, that then leads to coolant leaking internally, that leads to cam lobe failure that then leads to crank bearing wear and main bearing knocks. Coolant, much like swimming pool water has to maintain a specific PH rating. If the PH is too high, the intake gaskets eat away, allowing coolant to leak into the lifter valley. I also used Shell Rotella engine oil designed for diesel use primarily, it still has some zinc to protect the cam shaft. 15/40 wt. But I live in California. Service history is crucial to any older car. Especially true with 4100's. In my experience these older drivers were great at changing oil but rarely changed any other fluid.
 

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1926 Model T street rod, 2000 Jaguar XJ8, 1999 Corvette.
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Re: 1983 Cadillac Fleetwood questions

Mileage has nothing to do with this. Service history is everything on an older car, any older car. Without that, you can only check it visually for replacement parts, and you can check the PH with a test strip. No history, you should change all the fluids including brake fluid, coolant (do not flush) just drain and refill. Check all hoses to the brakes for cracking, rear wheel cylinders for fluid seepage. Low mileage garage queens are more prone to deteriorated rubber and fluids. Overlooked because it was not driven often enough. On my first 4100 I monitored the coolant leak possibility by checking the oil filler cap every week. If not leaking, the underside of the cap should be dark brown or black and dry. If leaking, it will be light brown and damp. If found damp, you must STOP driving the car and at a minimum replace the intake gaskets ASAP! Because the 4100 has cast iron heads bolted to an aluminum block, the corrosion is accererated by dis similar metals reacting to corrosive coolant.
 

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1983 FWB (Mac), 1981 SDV (Junkyard Dog)
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Re: 1983 Cadillac Fleetwood questions

Close but no cigar. The coolant itself is not corrosive. The process you are trying to explain is one of electrolysis. The coolant, over time becomes an electrolytic solution (not unlike the tanks in a chrome shop) and the dissimilar metals react adversely to this environment. The end result is the same and when one tries to gun the head bolts out to replace a failed head gasket, the threads tear up what is left of the disintegrating aluminum oil pan rail into which they were secured. Not good........ an aircraft mechanic once told me when I first got my 4100 to change my coolant every year without fail. Scared the crap out of me so I did the change every year. Also, I have never used the GM bogus pellet addition to the coolant. In my opinion, that is just a feeble excuse to get them off the hook for creating such a disaster in the first place. So......73,000 miles later and my coolant remains squeaky clean and bright green. The cooling fins in the radiator show no residual material build up at all. I will keep on trucking in my HT4100 as long as I can.

Cheers.......R.
 

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I wonder if some of the new coolants would be a good choice for the HT4100. They are certainly forumlated for engines that are more like the HT...
 

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1991 Cadillac Brougham D'Elegance 5.7 Litre, 1994 DeVille
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Re: 1983 Cadillac Fleetwood questions

On my first 4100 I monitored the coolant leak possibility by checking the oil filler cap every week. If not leaking, the underside of the cap should be dark brown or black and dry. If leaking, it will be light brown and damp. If found damp, you must STOP driving the car and at a minimum replace the intake gaskets ASAP!
Just keep in mind that depend on climate and the amount of driving the car sees it can still have dampness on the oil filler cap just from normal condensation in the engine. Ive seen several cars over the years and even had a few of my own that would constantly have a build up in there even with nothing wrong. Then driving habits change or the car passes to a different owner who uses it differently and it clears up completely.
 

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1989 Brougham d'Elegance, 1985 Fleetwood Brougham *Coupe*
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Re: 1983 Cadillac Fleetwood questions

Did you drive it pedal to the metal all of the time? Any motor can take a dump if you abuse them.
To be honest, the engine was pretty much dead when I got it, but things got so much worse so quickly. The only mistake I made was trying to drive it after finding out there was no compression on the #8 cylinder, and that didn't really contribute it completely breaking down like it did (maybe it was a variable). What really started it, was a blown radiator, which caused the thermostat housing to fail (even though I had a radiator shop replace everything), and then right after that, the fuel system crapped out.

To its credit, the 4100 didn't do too horribly, considering how poorly maintained it was from the previous owner. And even now, I can go out and start it and it will run, but the fuel filter and injectors are clogged, so the engine floods after a little while.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Re: 1983 Cadillac Fleetwood questions

Also did these cars come with air in the back for suspension
 
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