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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everybody!

It's now becoming time of when I need to choose myself my first car. I have been doing research for a long time and I "fell in love" with american cars. Now after researching what model and make I ended up with Cadillac.

I have found a nice looking only drove by summertime Cadillac Brougham 1987 with 5.0L engine. If I will go take it to testdrive and inspect it myself, what I should look for in this model? Should I check those OBD codes?

I'm new to this so if anybody can help me out it would be nice! :cool2:
 

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87 Brougham, 1969 Calais, 95 FWB, 07 SRX, 07 ESV
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Hey, great choice on cars! my 1987 Brougham D'Eligance was actually my 2nd car, but my first Cadillac. One thing that took me some time to get used to (coming form an old 86 Crown Vic) was that the 5.0L engine in the Brougham (Olds 307) is very sluggish compared to the crown vic. It moves the car around nicely but you will not be doing donuts or burn outs with it.

It's fairly decent on gas and very dependable. Parts are very cheap here in the US...I dunno where you live but I've heard some places overseas can get pricey for American parts.

Check for rust, typically anywhere the chrome trim is (like around the wheels, etc...) door bottoms as usual...

If the car runs good, you're in good shape. If the car runs rough it's usually an easy fix! a good tune up should fix most problems if the car's been sitting a while. Other common causes for rough running on these cars: Vacuum leaks...the car has miles of vacuum lines (not literally...but it has a lot!), Carb trouble...carb rebuilt would probably help tremendously, EGR valve, TPS, all seem to be common problems with these cars. All pretty easy and cheap to fix.

You can check trouble codes by shorting out the last 2 pins on the connector (ODB i think?) under the dash in the middle of the car. you can use a paperclip for this, and then turn the key to run and watch the blinking "check engine" light. Read the tech FAQ thread for more info on that.

Overall, solid cars. Check all normal car things too...exhaust, brake lines, fuel lines...you know, the basics. The car is over 20 years old so things are bound to need replacement.

Post some pics when you go see it!
 

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1970 calais coupe
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A good idea would be to take someone along who is experienced and knowledgeable with cars in general and who isn't blinded by preconceived ideas.

Have a look at a few cars before you buy.

Remember there will never be any shortage of second hand cars so don't be in a hurry.

Good luck.
 

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84 Coupe w/500
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Look for coolant leaks around the intake, a bad tranny and throttle position/idle control codes. Those would be the major issues that a lot of people have with the 307. It runs very smooth and quiet but has no power. You do have the right Cadillacs in mind, dont get one of the front wheel drive Caddys unless you are a great mechanic, rear wheel drive Caddys are much easier to maintain.
 

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1989 Brougham d'Elegance, 1985 Fleetwood Brougham *Coupe*
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You can't beat an '86-'89 Brougham when it comes to a first car.

As stated before, check for coolant leaks. When you open the hood, there will be an expansion tank on the passenger side of the engine compartment. If the engine is cold, the fluid should be at the ADD line.

In the back of the engine, on the passenger side, there is the dipstick for the transmission fluid. With the engine running and warm, pull the dipstick a check the level. Look at the color of the fluid; it should be red not brown.

While you driving, find a straight, flat section of road. Release the steering wheel and see if the car veers to one side or the other. Due to the road crown, all cars will begin to turn when the wheel is released, but it should be very granule.

The car won't have ABS. If the tires are good and the owner isn't riding with you, make a few hard stops. If there is a vibration when you hit the brakes, either the drums or the rotors are warped and the car will need a brake job.
 

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chevy 350 powered 86 FWB, 00 safari h.t. 66 toro, 83 lesabre
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check the engine codes (as stated above)
also check the wheelwells and rockers on the car for rust, along with the bottom of the doors. even low mileage cars can rust out in the rockers, wheels wells and inside door bottoms if the owner never cleaned the salt off.
the intake and valve cover gaskets are main sources of leaks on the 307 (not common, but thats where it leaks if its leaking). check the carb for alot of oil buildup. some oil buildup is normal, but excessive buildup (gunk/ sludge) is not. this means either A: its burning oil, or B: the carb hasnt been serviced in 20-25 years.
when test driving the car :
the 307 performance wise is pretty lame. a properly tuned 307 in a rwd caddy will yield 13 second 0-60 times and should FEEL powerful in 50-70 acceleration.
in street driving, the 307 should move the car down the road with little to no effort once rolling. the engine should also idle quietly and make very little noise while accelerating under normal conditions.
while on the highway, hammer the throttle in a passing exercise (40-70/ 50-80) and let off. the secondaries should open up, which should throw you back in the seat for a second, followed by a loud whoosh from the carb. if the engine knocks after letting off the gas, you have carbon buildup or the EGR system has a leak. it should not bog heavily when doing the highway acceleration. knocking after hard acceleration is not a big deal, but it means the car will need a tune up and most likely premium fuel.
while on the highway, shift from OD to 3 while doing about 60mph then wait about 15 seconds and shift back into OD, then back into 3, then back into OD. the car should not stumble/ lurch and the engine should not bog or shudder. stumbling or shuddering means the TCC solenoid is going out or is out. if the TCC solenoid is out, the car will also die or almost die when coming off the highway in 4th gear.
also check cruise control to make sure it holds speed. dont test cruise if there is a car in front of you in case it rapidly accelerates (usually due to a vacuum leak).
the transmission should shift smoothly. the shifts should not be noticeable at all or barely noticeable in both sound and feel. the transmission should operate smooth as glass.
you can also try shifting the car from gear to gear on the surface streets to check for smoothness and proper shifting. dont wind the car up when shifting, you just want to make sure the trans shifts fluidly and the gear selector actually works.
check the suspension. the rear wheel well trim should sit a hair above the top of the hubcap.
if you swerve back and forth (from lane to lane) the car should sway/ roll a little, but not heavily. the suspension should be fairly tight when swerving back and forth lane to lane and feel fluid and not bottom out. the ride should be very smooth on good pavement (like riding on a cloud), and slightly better than average on poor condition roads (bumpy, but not bone jarring).
brakes- the fleetwood brougham shoud come to a stop evenly (no nose dive) even under hard braking. nose diving means the rear drums need work. the car should not screech when stopping, nor should it pull to one side.
steering- the steering should feel very light and the wheel should be incredibly easy to turn (you can turn it with 1 finger with ease)
also:
take the car to a mechanic prior to buying it and have it looked over with a fine tooth comb. the cars owner should have no problem with you having the car looked at by a professional. also, put it up on a rack and check the undercarriage for leaks, rust, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you all for replies, very informative!
I live in Finland and american cars are rare here. Only 3 Broughams are up for sale now and I might quess that service for these cars are minimal in my country. I'm OK with making repairs myself as long as it can be done without need of lifting the car up. So in general: can they be repaired without lifting them up?

Now my father is ofc against buying this 'big yach' car. He claims that they are so big that they are hard to park and move around in town. Is that true? Our family now has Volvo wagon and Brougham would be like 6-700cm longer...not a big difference in my eye but what is reality? Are they hard to park?

The other concern is winter. Here in Finland minus 20-30 celcius is a common temperature. Can Brougham handle that? Will it need block warmer or something to start it up?

And are those 1987's with 307 Olds engine and Olds transmission? I've readed that engine is as good as 305 Chevy when talking about reliability but what about transmission?
 

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87 Brougham, 1969 Calais, 95 FWB, 07 SRX, 07 ESV
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I have found with all of my caddies that backing them into parking spots is much easier than pulling in normally.

As for servicing them without lifting them...As long as you have a jack and some jack stands you can do most of the work. I do not have a lift, just a jack and a pair of stands and I've had no problems doing anything I needed. If you're not overly big (I'm 5'8" and about 180 lbs) you can crawl under the car for oil changes and such without even jacking it up! It's a little tight but you can make due!

I'm not sure how cold minus 30 celcius is but here in maine we get down around -20 F and the car has always started fine. Mine has a block heater, but I've never used it.
 

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84 Coupe w/500
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Its a long car but not bigger than most trucks. Its 18 feet, the S10 I just worked on is 18 feet also. The tranny is a 200R4 that has dual bolt patterns for BOP and chevy but it is a weaker tranny compared to others. You'll do alright parking, just back in till you hit the car behind you, then go foward. Just playing. If it were me and it was my first car, I'd make sure that carb is in good shape because working on them can be a challenge and finding someone that can fix them is even harder.
 

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chevy 350 powered 86 FWB, 00 safari h.t. 66 toro, 83 lesabre
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if you have a set of jackstands or drive up ramps, you can perform most repairs on the underside of the car.
the brougham is a pretty maintenance free car once you get it in a proper tune. I had the carb on mine professionally tuned by a guy who knew how to tune the CCC carbs (guys who can tune them properly are hard to find). once the carb was tuned, the car drove like a dream. got better mileage, no bogging, and faster acceleration.
Around here, the lowest temps we get are -10F. the car started fine, but I had to let it warm up for about 20 minutes before I drove it to get up to operating temps (normal for an old car) besides, thats about how long it takes the heat to kick on.
as for parking/ space, it doesnt take up any more room than a full size pickup truck. backing in is immensely easier than pulling in to a spot. the big mirrors on these caddies help quite a bit. as for curbside parking, well thats something you have to learn. my dad could park a full size chevy wagon (about 20 ft long) in a spot that was under 4 inches (12cm) longer than the car, so it is possible to make them fit into a tight spot with practice. the tailfins on the caddies help in locating the back end of the car (you have to push yourself up against the seat to see them). if you're still worried about hitting stuff, get a backup camera and curb feelers.
as for them being hard to maneuver in town- not at all. I find it easier to get around town in the caddy over my lesabre (another land yacht) or my van since everyone gets out of my way since they think I'm an 80 year old man who cant drive. in a cadillac, most people are afraid of you hitting them, so they tend to give you lots of room, especially in tight streets and when merging on the highway.
 
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