Cadillac Owners Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
HAD a miserable Catera and even worse 2003 STS
Joined
·
603 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm considering purchasing a nice black/black 2003 STS that a dealer is selling with about 160,000 kilometers on it. I have been reading a zillion reviews, watching videos, reading the forums here and am 'nervous' after seeing all the various problems people have had.

I'm wondering if someone could sum up for me what kinds of problems I can expect to run into over time (even if the car is well taken care of), and how much they might be. I know it's hard to predict. I've also heard about the Northstar repairs costing an arm and a leg.

I love this car and was thinking of getting a DeVille/DTS but couldn't find one in the color/price combo that I wanted.

Thanks!

Oh, P.S. what about getting parts for the 2003 model year? Are they still available? I suppose I should call a Caddy dealer in this area (Toronto) but I thought you'd give me an informed answer. ;) Thanks.
 

·
Administrator
2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
Joined
·
68,453 Posts
Plenty of parts, expect no problems, maintain and drive it. What kind of dealer - corner lot or GM dealership ?? How much ??? The car originally cost about $58,000 out the door. That's the level of costs you're looking at. ONE Magnetic Ride Control strut for these things costs about $630. Rear shocks are a tad lower. Welcome to exotic Cadillac. Your car appears to have ~96,000 miles on it - so expect rotating accessories like belt tensioner pulleys, P/S pump, alternator, A/C compressor, water pump (on the rear of the engine) to need attention in the not-too-distant future.

I've had my 2002.5 since 11/05 and have literally needed nothing except oil, filters, brakes, tires, toys. Great car - and I'm not afraid to drive the living snot out of it. It takes care of me in return.

You will NEED to learn what you are getting - it's a very fast, sophisticated car that can make many lesser vehicles cringe.

Study the entire Cadillac Technical Archive up ^^^ in the black bar, all the stickys at the top of this forums page and those in Engines, Northstar Performance. Read through the threads in Discussions, Cadillac Tech Tips. Google "lord delphi magnetorheological suspension".

You will need either a GM/Helm service manual - eBay or www.helminc.com - or a subscription to www.alldatadiy.com. The maintenance and repair procedures are, in many cases, not intuitive, even for a long-time gearhead.

Wade through as much of this site as you can - DO NOT restrict yourself to any one Forum - there is advice and hearsay everywhere. Remember: This is a site where the crippled, the halt, the lame come to rest - so it appears that all FWD Cadillacs are lemons. Not so. The vast majority are great cars, which is why you don't see them in here. Why am I here if I have no problems with my car ??? Because I started fooling with cars at age 12 and never lost the quest for wrenching and fun. If I had a BMW or another Jaguar I'd be in there, too.......

www.rockauto.com ; www.gmpartsdirect.com ; www.placeforbrakes.com ; Chris in Parts at Rippy Cadillac >>> over there.

EDIT: My quote: "Expect no problems......" True for ANY vehicle - but stuff happens. Be ready to repair it if it does.........
 

·
Master of the Dark Art of Diagnostics
2003 DHS - two-2002 DHS, 2003 SLS, 1995 Sedan DeVille, 1989 Coupe DeVille
Joined
·
19,270 Posts
I'm wondering if someone could sum up for me
what kinds of problems I can expect

just read this forum - it sums everything up -

I know it's hard to predict.
breakdowns are IMPOSSIBLE to predict -

I've also heard about the Northstar repairs costing an arm and a leg.
very true - head gasket repair - $2500 to $4000 -
Seville model STS shocks and struts $2500 to $3000 -
that's probably the two "common" biggies -

getting parts shouldn't be a problem for a couple years at least
 

·
Registered
HAD a miserable Catera and even worse 2003 STS
Joined
·
603 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks so much for the detailed, thorough and well-written reply!

So to answer some of your questions, it's from a 'lot' dealership like you call it, not a GM/Caddy dealership. He's asking $6995 but I think I can get him to go down to $6495 which I think is a fair price.

I have always been a Caddy person and know these cars backwards and forwards in terms of features and ride quality, but not from the mechanical standpoint and that's where I was hoping to get your input. Years ago I used to travel on business about 80% of the time and used Avis for rental cars, and *always* insisted on DeVilles or Sevilles (this was in the early 2000s). I had a CTS in '04 that although luxurious and beautiful, turned out to have a myriad of problems, from the Nav system to the fuel pump to a bunch of other things. Completely different ride from the DeVille/Seville obviously.

And you are so right re: only finding complainers on these forums. Cadillac Forum is not unique in this regard, and that's why much of what you read in 'reviews' and forums has to be taken with a grain of salt. However, the information gleaned from people who have run into issues and how they've solved them is really the benefit of these venues, if you ask me.

Anyway thank you for all the info, I have a lot of reading ahead of me. ;)

BTW I saw the 2005-2012 forum with pics of STS but can't seem to find that for pre-2005 models. Or are they just interspersed among all other posts? Just curious.

Thank you.

----------

Oh I should also mention that i do not do any repairs on my own. Everything will require a dealer or professional repairman intervention, I am not qualified or talented in that department. So I need to figure that into the costs as well. Anyway I think I have my answers for the time being. ;)
 

·
Administrator
2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
Joined
·
68,453 Posts
Click my username, open the profile - left column, lower part - 2 albums, 6 pages of your intended car and parts.

EDIT: I have no idea of labor rates in your area - the Alldata subscription gives the GM times for both warranty (not an issue) and retail labor. Good shop labor is NOT inexpensive, so you might be advised to lay in a basic set of metric hand tools for the light bulb - accessory drive belt replacements.
 

·
Registered
2001 Seville STS, 1990 Seville (RIP), 1972 Sedan Deville
Joined
·
26,323 Posts
bwv565 said:
BTW I saw the 2005-2012 forum with pics of STS but can't seem to find that for pre-2005 models. Or are they just interspersed among all other posts? Just curious.
:welcome:
The '05 STSs are completely different beasts than the car you're looking at. From '88-'03, STS stands for Seville Touring Sedan. You'll be posting in the Eldorado/Seville forums if you buy it.
 

·
Registered
HAD a miserable Catera and even worse 2003 STS
Joined
·
603 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
:welcome:
The '05 STSs are completely different beasts than the car you're looking at. From '88-'03, STS stands for Seville Touring Sedan. You'll be posting in the Eldorado/Seville forums if you buy it.
Yup, am fully aware of that, hence where this thread is posted.
 

·
Registered
2001 Seville STS, 1990 Seville (RIP), 1972 Sedan Deville
Joined
·
26,323 Posts
Oh, I misunderstood your question. You were referring to the Show Us Your STS "sticky" in the STS forum? No, we don't have one here (not sure why :noidea: ).
 

·
Administrator
2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
Joined
·
68,453 Posts
Start one ................ If we get some decent cars and not much whining I'll sticky it. (you first, me next :rolleyes:)

I'll show you my Seville if you'll show me yours ..............

(but there is an "official picture thread" up in the stickys................)
 

·
Registered
2001 Seville STS, 1990 Seville (RIP), 1972 Sedan Deville
Joined
·
26,323 Posts
If one gets started, I think I'll wait for spring. Since the pictures I have were taken, some of the chrome's been removed, the windows have been tinted, I've gotten vanity plates, and maybe the black interior will be in by then.
 

·
Registered
03 STS
Joined
·
2,527 Posts
Seems all the 02-03 Sts cars in my area have high miles. 100k at least. Quite a few low miles 04 SLS floating around. Guess they don't get driven as much. I see some 30-40k SLS cars and assume they are pretty clean. Which is nice.
 

·
Registered
STS
Joined
·
16 Posts
Any car will have issues. That said, around the mileage you reference, be ready for head gasket and head bolts. In the US the gasket job usually runs around $3500, this can and will vary. The great thing about the STS is that you can always find parts for it. Chris at Rippy is a good guy to contact. See if you can talk the guy down some more on price given that the gasket tends to go around 90k miles.
 

·
Registered
2001 Seville STS, 1990 Seville (RIP), 1972 Sedan Deville
Joined
·
26,323 Posts
IT Guy 2012 said:
.....around the mileage you reference, be ready for head gasket and head bolts..... the gasket tends to go around 90k miles.
Totally INCORRECT. There is no mileage (or age) at which to expect HG issues. It can happen at 30K, 80K, 120K, 250K..... Or never.
 

·
Administrator
2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
Joined
·
68,453 Posts
gasket tends to go around 90k miles.
Where did you come up with that idea ????

(I have a hint: Your STS, a 1998, is statistically one of the two worst years for cylinder block head bolt hole thread failure which leads to gasket failure. The 2000 and later engines use a different block casting process and somewhere around 2002 - 2003 the head bolts were lengthened, so a 2003 STS is probably as reliable, engine-wise, as any other make/model on the road - and make no mistake: Northstars are NOT the only engine out there to suffer from gasket problems.)
 

·
Registered
STS
Joined
·
16 Posts
Where did you come up with that idea ????
Good friend that worked as an engineer for GM during the mid 90s-2005 has since retired, said a good amount of N* engines tended to have issues with the HG around 90k miles. He forwarded me a chart with the data 2 years ago when I bought my car, just so I could budget for the repair as it is something I would not recommend doing on your own. Lo and behold, my STS HG went at 92k miles and fathers went at 93k miles. Should also mention, GM was aware of the issue and redesigned the engine in 2000. After the 2000 mark the data varies, but there was a very strong correlation in mileage and headgasket replacement in the 98-99 models.
 

·
Administrator
2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
Joined
·
68,453 Posts
Post the chart. You are the only "civilian" person on earth to have that data. Two months ago we went through a session in here - it's all in a thread - over engine failures and numerical statistics by year, and we even had input from Cadillac Customer Care on the subject and reasons why the data was unavailable.

You are sitting on a goldmine. Post it.

(and, by your admission, the "data" is not valid for the 2003 STS that the OP is questioning about.) EDIT: Go down to Engines, Northstar Performance and wade through the sticky posts concerning head gasket failure and polls - a bunch us of have been doodling with this failure thing for years.
 

·
Registered
'14 ATS Premium with 3 pedals | Past: '13 ATS Performance & '99 Seville STS
Joined
·
5,847 Posts
I have an '99 STS, and based on an unscientific poll results, it seems that this is the worst year for HG problem. My STS has 145k miles under its belt, no single sing of HG problem or any other powertrain problem whatsoever. There is a thread in N* engine technical discussion, and you will see old N* engines with 200-300k miles, and still everything is original, including the HG.
 

·
Registered
HAD a miserable Catera and even worse 2003 STS
Joined
·
603 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Well, I just "did the dirty deed" and purchased my new (to me) '03 STS, black/black with all the standard stuff. I love this car! Getting it next week, has to be detailed, registered, etc. but I'm happy with the price and the car and cannot wait to have it. It drives like a Cadillac should - and more. You can still feel the smooth buttery ride but it handles even better than the DeVille (I looked at a '99 DeVille this morning before deciding the STS was the way to go).

Thanks to everyone who responded to this thread, I read each and every one. I look forward to 'talking' with all of you more as the years go on. Love this forum!
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top