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Sedan de Ville, CTS
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RUN; don't walk. Stay away from those early Northstars unless you have an extra $10k for another engine. Half truth. One--any car with 100,000 miles has a lot of worn parts. Those early Northstars had headgasket problems. With any bad luck, you might need a complete new engine. Anytime I buy a used car, I spend an additional $1500 on top of the sale price. And I typically buy cars that are 5 years old with less than 25k miles on them.

If you buy a Northstar, you better have a Caddy mechanic check it out. Slip him $25 or so, but ask him to check headgaskets and other common problems.

Recommendation:

1. early 90s Caddy with 4.9 engine. Some are still avail with less than 50k miles on them.

2. Buick LeSabre. They run for 200,000 miles. Almost as comfortable as a Caddy without all the gadgets. Good gas mileage too. You could drive one of these until you found the right Caddy.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My grandpa had a Lesabre and I was disgusted by it!

BUT, I was getting advice on an STS that was a 96, and noone said anything about the early Northstars being bad, as long as they were maintained.
 

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2005 White Diamond STS N* 1SF RWD ACC/HUD
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If it seems too good to be true...

I bought a '99 STS that I thought was a great deal for $6000. After putting another $6000 into it for a remanufactured engine that promptly failed again (head bolts pulled) I sold it at a huge loss rather than spend another huge amount of money on it. I now drive a '91 STS with the 4.9 engine. I am keeping myself in the Cadillac family until the new STS depreciates to my price range. Good luck!
 

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White Diamond 2001 STS
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I would just ask him why he's in such a hurry to sell it, and give it a real good test-drive. Have the engine inspected by a garage to ensure integrity. My '97 SLS has 160k+ miles on all original parts with no issues. They don't all break...

In general, the 2000+ engines seem to fair pretty well. The head bolts were redesigned and the design seems to be better overall (including better {less} casting porosity). The 98-99 engines seem to be particularly bad in this regard, but obviously, there are a ton out there running just fine.

As with any used car, it's a risk. I would personally look at a 2000+ model.
 

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1999 Black and Tan STS
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753 Posts
Could just be someone like me. I have had mine over 6 years and just did all 4 shocks, new LED to get it back in shape. I'd have mine go in the same price range and the motor has already been Timeserted and all the gaskets replaced. That's all I feel they are worth but my daughter's friends are buying Hondas and Infinity cars older and with more milles for the same money. But I'm now regularly traveling 200 mile trips and will not give up the STS now.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ill just pass on this one, it seems too fishy, and too eager to sell something for 5500 that they paid 20+ for two years ago!
 

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2000 STS, W/Nav
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i dont know the only reason people say that the head gaskets go out is because they have not been taken good care of so i dont think that helps you but yeah i would definetly test drive it a few times and have a dealer look it over check for leaks ect...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I found a Polo Green 95 Subaru SVX for sale, 3200$ w. 115K miles, and I might go look at it, because I think it would be a far more interesting/rare car than an STS. HEHE EVEN THOUGH they arent in the same category, Ive always liked the crazy looks of the SVX.
 

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2000 Eldorado ESC
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If you buy a Northstar, you better have a Caddy mechanic check it out. Slip him $25 or so, but ask him to check headgaskets and other common problems.
I wouldn't unlock my tool box for $25, let alone check out and verify there is no headgasket problem Bigbird. .:thepan:
The only place that might happen is Sesame st.

 

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Sedan de Ville, CTS
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My grandpa had a Lesabre and I was disgusted by it!

BUT, I was getting advice on an STS that was a 96, and noone said anything about the early Northstars being bad, as long as they were maintained.
1. There is a reason our grandparents drove Buicks and Olds. They lasted as long as the owners. Many Buicks and Olds have almost 200,000 miles on them, and they are still running. Potential problems with those cars: alternators ($200 to $300 parts and labor (esp in 110 outside temps) and harmonic balancer ($150??). Grandma could not afford to get stuck in a lousy part of town on Sat nite.

They are not as flashy as Cadillacs, but you have absolutely no interest in Buicks anyway.

In regard to what you have heard/not heard about Northstar engines, do a search here.

You are right about proper maintenance of N S. As long as you watch the temp regularly, you will not have a problem. Many Cadillac owners do not realize that the N S has a separate fan belt for the water pump. They never change that fan belt. If it breaks, bingo.

When buying a car from another person, the damaging hi temp might not show up on a test drive. It will show up a few days later. Once you buy a N S (or any other car), caveat emptor immediately kicks in. A new/rebuilt engine will run most people $5,000 (+/- 1000 for install). If they have already paid $5000 to $9000 or more for the car, plus the separate motor repairs/replacement, they now have a very heavy and expensive boat anchor.

I owned a red '97 SDV and sold it in Feb with 27,775 miles on it. Everything was perfect on this car. New tires (5), radiator, hoses, compressor, alternator, etc. I replace those items as part of my preventive maint. Never had a problem with this car. I knew that if I continued driving it, that I could have a head gasket problem. I also knew that I would never find another motor or tranny with 27k miles on it. I sold it for very high dollars. Buyer did not even test drive car. He could see how well maintained it was. He too is taking a gamble. I no longer wanted to gamble. I do miss the car, but I no longer worry about headgaskets failing if I somehow screwed up.

Right now, I drive a loaded CTS and 2 LeSabres. Each has about 18k to 24k miles on them. I did purchase GMPP for CTS because of the rear end potential problems. I would never purchase a GMPP or any other warranty on a Buick. No need for it.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
My Grandfathers LeSabre was a 2002, and he bought it new. At <15K miles, he had to have the transmission replaced, it quit shifting. He also had a couple problems with the AC if I remember right.

Now, he has a Terraza van, which has questionable interior build quality, and is jerky in shifting at 8K miles.

My OTHER set of grandparents has a 2003 LeSabre, and they have had fewer problems, (some sensors went bad) save the fact that the dealer rips them off because they are old.

Ive been very unimpressed with Buick reliability.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
However, I bought a car today!

1997 Infiniti I30 Pearl/tan. 123K miles, exc cond - #3900
It rides so great! Plenty of power too from what ive seen.
 
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