Cadillac Owners Forum banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
127 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My girlfriend has her eye on a pearl white STS she found on the web. I think we might be taking a look at it soon.

Can someone advise me on what sort of things to look for when evaluating this car? It has a Northstar, were the 95's susceptible to the block case leaking?

Anything that "typically" goes bad/wears out/breaks on these vehicles that we should consider - especially anything expensive to replace?

Thanks in advance for any advice anyone can offer.

I do my own mechanical work (have an '89 Allante), so I'm not worried about fixing things per se, I do have a worry about affording replacement parts though. We want to factor those big-ticket things in to the decision to buy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,658 Posts
Well, the actual drive train is good. Tranny is rock solid. The only thing that is a problem with this is the failure of the speed sensor, and it causes the tranny to shift erratically. This is a fairly major ordeal because they have to drop the tranny to get to it.

An important factor is that you have maintenance records, and they are clean. Proper maintenance and these cars will be very good. If its hasent been maintained properly, dont get it. Also, if they dont have the maintenance records get it inspected by a cadillac dealer.

The most common problem is the head gasket failure. It causes the head bolts to pull, and they have to be fixed a special insert kit and new bolts. You have to take the entire powertrain out to do this. There is pleanty of information about this.

Also, if it uses a little oil that is fine. According to GM, 1qt per 3000 miles is fine, and some people have reported it using more. Apparently, because of the engines design it oils more aggressively and this apparently makes it use more. It may leak a little too, nothing to worry about, unless you dont like driveway stains. Sometimes even repairing the case half gasket doesnt work, so its more something to live with.

Parts arent too bad, some parts can be hard to come by. They arent too expensive, but unless you have to, dont go to a dealer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,658 Posts
No prob. I like being the 1st one to reply, and i like it when people reply quickly to my posts. Thats why this board is the best.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,576 Posts
He just wanna keep his post counts up.:devillaug j/k!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,235 Posts
At least now they have something in them other than psyco babble!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,317 Posts
Wes made a good post. I'd like to add to it a bit...

The oil consumption issue is there, but it's not a "failure" of the engine, just a result of the engine design. The Northstar is a high-rpm motor, and to keep it well oiled at those high rpms, you need to use a little oil. There's more information in the oil consumption thread in the Northstar forum here. GM actually considers 2 qts. in 2000 miles acceptable (or 1 qt/1000 miles). I think most don't use quite that much, but if yours uses more, it's probably a sign that it may need work inside.

With a 1995 and previous car, ask the owner about cooling system maintenance. This is probably the #1 cause of engine trouble on a pre-1996 car. The engine is all aluminum, and the coolant is the regular green stuff so common on store shelves. This coolant cools fine, but there are corrosion inhibitors in the coolant to prevent corrosion. These are very very important in an aluminum engine. The green coolant uses silicates as corrosion inhibitors, and they are depleted after about 24 months or 24,000 miles. It's very important that the coolant be changed on this interval, or you risk internal engine damage.

Starting with the 1996 model year, GM switched to DEX-COOL (the orange stuff) which uses an organic corrosion inhibitor package which lasts 60 months or 150,000 miles. If you or your girlfriend continue to look around at Northstar Cadillacs, keep this in mind.

Again, there's absolutely nothing wrong with either of the coolants -- but the green stuff requires more frequent changes and it's important that the previous owner(s) had this done (along with the cooling system sealer). If you're looking at a one-owner car and that owner says they maintained the cooling system as recommended, you should have no problems!

Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,658 Posts
Jason is right on, I guess i had that in my head, but getting it from there to the fingers can be a tedious process :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
586 Posts
can you use dex-cool in a pre96 car? I have a 95, but if i want more life out of my coolant can i have it flushed with dexcool to get more life out of the coolant?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,658 Posts
DO NOT USE DEXCOOL!!!

Once you have used regular coolant, you cant switch to dexcool. Apparently it can clog up the system, and other things. To make a long story short, dont use it. There have been many horror stories about using dexcool in a pre 96.

If you just drain and fill your radiator 1 time every year you will be fine. If you dont know how long its been, drain and fill maybe 2 times over the course of a month. After that, drain and fill every year, and youll be fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,317 Posts
You can use DEX-COOL, but it will be of no functional advantage to you, since the cooling system is already "contaminated" with silicates. It will render the DEX-COOL good only as a coolant and will negate its long-life features.

Just do like elwesso said and drain/fill the green stuff every year or so.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,658 Posts
I have always heard that it can actually harm the cooling system. But im sure you would know if it was.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,317 Posts
I've never heard if it harming the system, but I don't know too many people that have switched either. The systems aren't really DESIGNED differently -- so either coolant can be used. It's just that the long-life attributes are killed when they come in contact with the silicates.

It's actually the green stuff that can sludge up over time. The silicates fall out of suspension and block heater cores, etc. There are no silicates to fall out of suspension in DEX-COOL, and the problems of blocked radiators and heater cores are largely gone. You can still manage that, though, with copious amounts of generic brand of crushed stop leak pellets. :) GM's pellets are organic (just like DEX-COOL's corrosion inhibitors) and should not cause any blockage problems.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,658 Posts
So technically couldnt you keep flushing with water and something like CLR it until all the silicates are out? Or do they like engrave themselves in the tubing?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,317 Posts
Well, the silicates have already embedded themselves in places like the cylinder heads and head gaskets, which are the main areas you're trying to protect with the corrosion inhibitors. Again, the conventional coolant does a 100% good job at protecting the engine -- it just needs replentishing every few years (2 years/24,000 miles is what's usually stated I think). The problem is simply that with used vehicles, you rarely know the past history of the vehicle, so you don't really know what the condition of the engine is inside. If the proper maintenance was performed, it should be just as good as new.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
Another thing to keep in mind are the cars struts and shocks... it best if yu get a car with low mileage since that means you wont have the expense of changing them if you do purchase one with plenty of miles don't fret with haveing to pay 1000 per shock. their is a substitute for the electric shocks made by Arnott Inc. which cost you a fraction of what the dealer wants. i paid 615 for all four and i think a pair of either front or rear cost 300. happy car hunting
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
About this Discussion
17 Replies
8 Participants
Vinnyguti988
Top