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Mom's 2008 DTS LIII
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Sorry I haven't had any updates in a while, but trying to get to the bottom of things took longer than thought. In the meantime Mom has loved the comfort and ride of her DTS, but somewhat frustrated wondering "what next?" Now about 110,000mi.

She has service work done at her local Cadillac dealer, my impression is that their shop rate is in line with the typical dealerships around, just to put numbers to some benchmark. Perhaps higher then the "mom & pop shops" but then they've done some odd diagnostics without even charging her, so I guess there are places where customer loyalty counts (she didn't buy this car there, but has had service done there for like 30 years).

That transmission error is definitely a torque lock randomly not engaging. She can tell it on mileage, but those few mpg probably cheap compared to fix or trade. However, there is always the concern it gets stuck locked in. While diagnosing that, they found some steering seals, engine halves leak, and maybe a front strut or something also due. I believe a couple other minor things that don't hurt much, but much of the labor is the same as the transmission. Over $4000, if dropping in a used 80K mile transmission, I think going through the existing one was like $1000 extra, a GM rebuilt (100K warranty?) was like $2000 extra.

Now....the coolant leak SEEMED TO retreat late summer when I put, a new reservoir cap on it. But returned. Cadillac couldn't find it, pressurized couldn't find it, pressurized overnight recently: cross-over seal?, over $1000. Mostly labor IIRC. Again some labor overlaps, but they said "figure the works as a $5K job."

Now if that was a warrantied transmission, and the engine majored too, no brainer. But even though the 08s were supposed to be past the head bolt thing, I'll assume that only brought them to normal failures at best, not to mention anything else that could go wrong on a 110K engine in the next 100K.

Oh her neighbor just noticed a knock, he described "like rod bearing," or more likely [in my mind, I haven't heard it yet, nor would I really know the sounds of certain failures to this drivetrain] motor mount, or maybe some balancer between the engine and tranny.

It got a new alternator and battery a few months ago. Yeah, pretty normal 100K possible repair for any car, but a sting on a rather expensive alternator, knowing there was still a coolant leak somewhere, and a transmission that may or may not cause fits.

So clean underneath and inside, still tempting, but when less than a year turns up that many quirks, it's hard to rest easy too. They offered to trade her for a 2014 XTS, which is interesting, but not the same "old school notchback sedan" style, and more money than she wanted to spend before buying, and certainly before sinking money into this one. They offered $3K trade, knowing the immediate and potential problems, though, I suspect they'd probably turn it on auction rather than put it through their busy shop. Worth maybe double on a private sale, but her conscience, nor mine, would let her sell it without disclosing the potential issues. There is a dealer or two in town I could dump a car in good conscience, but wouldn't want to buy something from them for that reason!

The '14 would come with a 1 year dealer warranty, so has some temptation. Their price on that is in line with KBB, even without the warranty, and oddly enough KBB data (and a little random checking agreeing not far off) is showing that Impala LTZs are the same money to a little more around us right now. But then the XTS will be 10 years old in just a few years, so any better than a 15 year old car with a few less gadgets inside? From the backseat, I thought the DTS felt a bit nicer ride, though the XTS did seem roomy back there despite shorter overall.

Partially just dropping in the update for everyone, but all ears on any advice! Even comparisons between the two models in general [I know the specs, but I mean personal maintenance history etc.] or any bad is advice welcome!
 

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... They offered to trade her for a 2014 XTS, which is interesting, but not the same "old school notchback sedan" style, and more money than she wanted to spend before buying, and certainly before sinking money into this one...
I know this isn't much in the way of advice, but the XTS has far more notchback than the DTS, if you're comparing aesthetics. The DTS is basically the anti-notch.
 

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Mom's 2008 DTS LIII
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I know this isn't much in the way of advice, but the XTS has far more notchback than the DTS, if you're comparing aesthetics. The DTS is basically the anti-notch.
All advice appreciated!

Probably poor terminology on my part, though the angle seems to give the XTS a bit of a fastback look in my mind. Regardless, I should have merely noted that, after driving a DeVille for many years, the DTS "looks" a little more "Cadillac" to her, and admittedly me too, from the outside.

Personally, I think they did some nice things inside the XTS, but I think she does like the more "simple elegance" on the 2008.

I do think she'd eventually enjoy six inches shorter overall, and back up camera, and such, but then she takes every bit of driving somewhat slow, so has no trouble parking the DTS yet.
 

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...

Personally, I think they did some nice things inside the XTS, but I think she does like the more "simple elegance" on the 2008.

I do think she'd eventually enjoy six inches shorter overall, and back up camera, and such, but then she takes every bit of driving somewhat slow, so has no trouble parking the DTS yet.
I prefer to think of it less as "simple elegance" and more "straight badassery," but that's just me 😃. One could make the case that XTS looks sharper from the front at least. The side is kind of a subjective thing. DTS definitely has it beat in the back though; just think of those poor, sad little taillights and dopey, busy trunk on the XTS. Again, those things could be overlooked when one considers the improved performance. You lose one cubic foot of cargo capacity with XTS, but make it back with the introduction of folding rear seats, which the DTS sorely lacks.

You'd also be leaving the comfortable embrace of the Northstar for the questionable longevity of the 3.6, which, while improved for this generation, does not exactly have a reputation for being GM's best.

I'd personally withhold final judgement until having driven both. That's where it counts. You'll know for sure then.
 

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I prefer to think of it less as "simple elegance" and more "straight badassery," but that's just me . One could make the case that XTS looks sharper from the front at least. The side is kind of a subjective thing. DTS definitely has it beat in the back though; just think of those poor, sad little taillights and dopey, busy trunk on the XTS. Again, those things could be overlooked when one considers the improved performance. You lose one cubic foot of cargo capacity with XTS, but make it back with the introduction of folding rear seats, which the DTS sorely lacks.

You'd also be leaving the comfortable embrace of the Northstar for the questionable longevity of the 3.6, which, while improved for this generation, does not exactly have a reputation for being GM's best.

I'd personally withhold final judgement until having driven both. That's where it counts. You'll know for sure then.
Well, I understand your dilemma but if you plan on keeping the car the car, you will have make the repairs. I purchased a used 2011 Premium with a 103k miles for $12,000 cash in 2017. I had three leaks, half- case leak (engine), torque converter leak(transmission), and rack and pinion leak(steering). Also a broken motor mount. Sounds familiar. While the engine was dropped, I had waterpump and crossover gaskets replaced. Parts and labor exactly $4,000. Since then the only problem I had was a bad radiator cap and bad battery. I have put 43,000 miles on it in less than three years. I have been down South three times in 2019, pushing 80 mph or better for hours, only stop for gas. Took a friend along last time who drives a 2018 CTS. First thing he comment on was how roomy my DTS is. When it was his time to drive, he fell in love with the North Star growl when you give it a little more had than usual. Then he started commenting on the little things like blindside alert and heated seats. When I told him that mine was the last year he ask why. Anyway, long story short, I do not regret one minute about my decision the buy my DTS. And I am fully aware of future repairs will be had with 143k miles on it.I made a comment when I first joined this forum that if you can get past the leaks, you will have a Cadillac, first rate!

Sent from my LG-LS993 using Tapatalk
 

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i've heard these are 100k mile cars, im at 78 on my 08. if i hit 100 i can't see myself sinking too much more into it
 

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Well, I understand your dilemma but if you plan on keeping the car the car, you will have make the repairs. I purchased a used 2011 Premium with a 103k miles for $12,000 cash in 2017. I had three leaks, half- case leak (engine), torque converter leak(transmission), and rack and pinion leak(steering). Also a broken motor mount. Sounds familiar. While the engine was dropped, I had waterpump and crossover gaskets replaced. Parts and labor exactly $4,000. Since then the only problem I had was a bad radiator cap and bad battery. I have put 43,000 miles on it in less than three years. I have been down South three times in 2019, pushing 80 mph or better for hours, only stop for gas. Took a friend along last time who drives a 2018 CTS. First thing he comment on was how roomy my DTS is. When it was his time to drive, he fell in love with the North Star growl when you give it a little more had than usual. Then he started commenting on the little things like blindside alert and heated seats. When I told him that mine was the last year he ask why. Anyway, long story short, I do not regret one minute about my decision the buy my DTS. And I am fully aware of future repairs will be had with 143k miles on it.I made a comment when I first joined this forum that if you can get past the leaks, you will have a Cadillac, first rate!

Sent from my LG-LS993 using Tapatalk
Went through all systems from 2017-18. car drives just as it did when new. Caught myself going 90mph coming home from a Celtics game last night. So smooth and quiet. Great car.
 

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Mom's 2008 DTS LIII
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Discussion Starter #9
I had three leaks, half- case leak (engine), torque converter leak(transmission), and rack and pinion leak(steering). Also a broken motor mount. Sounds familiar.
While the engine was dropped, I had waterpump and crossover gaskets replaced. Parts and labor exactly $4,000. Since then the only problem I had was a bad radiator cap and bad battery. I have put 43,000 miles on it in less than three years. I have been down South three times in 2019, pushing 80 mph or better for hours, only stop for gas. Took a friend along last time who drives a 2018 CTS. First thing he comment on was how roomy my DTS is. When it was his time to drive, he fell in love with the North Star growl when you give it a little more had than usual. Then he started commenting on the little things like blindside alert and heated seats. When I told him that mine was the last year he ask why. Anyway, long story short, I do not regret one minute about my decision the buy my DTS. And I am fully aware of future repairs will be had with 143k miles on it.I made a comment when I first joined this forum that if you can get past the leaks, you will have a Cadillac, first rate!
That repair list does sound way to familiar! Weather has been rather crazy here, so she hasn't gotten over to the dealer for a longer drive on that XTS yet, so we'll see. No doubt she's rather attached to the DTS, though not fond of leaks at all.
 

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Seems expensive on the parts and labor. I am doing the water pump now and it took about 3 hrs to get out and it really wasn't all that bad. I think the pump is like 35 bucks. Me personally what I would spend monthly on a new car in a year I could have my used car running like new in that amount of time and money and have it run just as long as a new one. I am just cheap like that I guess but then again if I had to pay someone to work on cars I couldn't afford the cars so I hear what you are saying. Nothing like being in a newer car though
 

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Seems expensive on the parts and labor. I am doing the water pump now and it took about 3 hrs to get out and it really wasn't all that bad. I think the pump is like 35 bucks. Me personally what I would spend monthly on a new car in a year I could have my used car running like new in that amount of time and money and have it run just as long as a new one. I am just cheap like that I guess but then again if I had to pay someone to work on cars I couldn't afford the cars so I hear what you are saying. Nothing like being in a newer car though
In this case it may boil down to personal preference, I which case I suspect DTS is in the lead, but the practical side is "which option poses the best combined cost & maintenance scenario per mile over the next maybe 10-15 years?" A 13 year old car with nearly every seal (but no engine mechanical) replaced at 110K or one half the age & less than half the miles, but with a different drive train, more electronics, etc. I don't know.

That 3.6/6 speed may a little unknown by apples to apples time frame, but I think there many miles behind them without much of a troublesome trend yet. Of course, I happen to respect those old Cadillac V8s, and even the feel of the Northstar, but why they didn't do a better job of getting the bugs out of the N* I'll never know. That torque converter lock system seems to have deserved some engineering attention much earlier too. I'd also loved to seen the DTS with eight cylinders cranking a six speed instead of four (despite quite smooth with the four!), but don't think more gears in cars was really gaining traction until the last decade.

i've heard these are 100k mile cars, im at 78 on my 08. if i hit 100 i can't see myself sinking too much more into it
I agree with the earlier comment that they deserve well better than that. But then seeing the combination of things crop up on this 08, and reading that they're all common enough problems, I can see where that reputation might be construed. If you're putting on the next 30K I'd be tempted to say worth making the next 130K.

With Mom's, everything happening 3-9 months after she bought it, it's a little hard to keep from thinking "lemon" should even the most minor things show up after she makes a major investment now - so, in my mind a little more conundrum, even if the rest of the math were the same.
 

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2006 DTS perf
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I think it comes down to what expectations you have for a 10 plus year old car. I would say get a new car if you don't want to have to repair the older car. Parts wear out. Also depends on if the car was used and abused or well cared for. The term lemon is a term for a new car that is expected to be free of defects and breakdowns. Can't call a older car a lemon as its expected that it will need work as it continues to age. I owned my DTS since new so I know the history. So I put over 7k into it knowing I plan on keeping it. I plan on buying a new C8 Corvette in a couple years once all the demand goes down and the bugs are worked out. My everyday driver will be my DTS and RAM Limited pickup.
 

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2008 DTS
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I have an 08 DTS.Issues in 1 year of ownership.New Water pump/pulleys etc.New motor mount.New Valve cover gaskets...the damn air pump (A.I.R) KEEPS THROWING A CEL EVERY SO OFTEN EVEN AFTER A NEW ONE WAS PUT IN. I never had this many issues in such a short time when I owned Lincoln Town Cars.It's a shame Ford let that car go to hell because it's reliability was legendary for guys like me that used to be in the Limo biz back in the 80's and 90's in NY.These days,I find the DTS to ride much like the Lincoln's of old and the seats are much more comfortable than the latest TOWN CAR seats of the entire last generation.Not to mention that the CADDY is/was way ahead as far as options...like cooled seats,back up sensors and stuff like that. Having said all that,I do like the DTS because it's sort of old school Caddy..i.e. LAND YACHT. What I dislike most about it is the COST of repairs. Ridiculously expensive. Even with the extended warranty I have.
 
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