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Discussion Starter #1
I'll preface this by saying I turned 18 only a few months ago, and have been doing some car shopping. I recently became re-enamored with the last generation Eldorados.

I have come across a 98' Eldorado with 60,000 miles on it, that seems to be in good aesthetic condition, except for the steering wheel, which is two-toned has has some wear and tear. Is the steering wheel replaceable?
and if so, how much should it cost? and how would I go about doing it?

29407331470.333990946.IM1.05.565x421_A.562x421.jpg

Picture of steering wheel ^

P.S. what are the major differences between the Eldorado and Deville of the same era?

P.P.S. are there any signs I should look for when test driving the car that would point to it being a lemon?

Thanks everyone
 

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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Re: Help me out guys

That temp gauge looks to be sitting a tad high...for my likings anyway.
The car is sitting there, idling at 700 rpm. With the A/C off: The cooling fans don't come on until 224 degrees. The gauge will go almost to 5/8 when that happens. Normal.

Dillontheman, The Deville has 4 doors ............... depending on whether that Eldorado is the ESC or ETC there will be engine, transmission, and trim differences but nothing earth-shattering. The 1998 engine year is statistically one of the two worst for head gasket failure due to the head bolt threads in the cylinder block failing - and that's an extensive expensive repair. Otherwise, the car is like any other upscale "luxury line" vehicle - nice to own, fairly expensive to drive; not gasoline - maintenance.

You need to read the sticky posts ^^^ just above and also all the stickys down in Engines, Northstar Performance. Take some time and surf through the pages of threads in Discussions, Cadillac Tech Tips for threads of interest. Read the entire Cadillac Technical Archive way up ^^^ in the top black bar.

Find out the model of the car and use that during your homework - the active suspension in the ETC (and if optioned for an ESC) is expensive - one front strut costs over $600. To properly maintain one of these FWD cars takes deep pockets. They're great cars and still look luxurious and timeless - but they ain't cheap, and there are NO - nada - none aftermarket speed or appearance modifications out there. You maintain what you get.

p.s. - The steering wheel will be the least of your worries, and I think the 1998 is specified for premium gasolines.
 

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1997 ETC
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Id walk, like its been said, if youve the deep pockets to bring this baby back to its former glory id pass. At 18yrs old this might not be the car for you
 

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Master of the Dark Art of Diagnostics
2003 DHS - two-2002 DHS, 2003 SLS, 1995 Sedan DeVille, 1989 Coupe DeVille
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like MC said - the air bag has been replaced - NOT a good sign -
you have to wonder - WHY did it need replacing -
and WHY didn't the at least get the correct one -

I realize it is so tempting - but Cadillacs are NOT cheap to own or drive -

pre 2000 Cadillacs are going to be more expensive to own and drive
than 2000+ Cadillacs -

if you are absolutely sure you must have a Cadillac -
at least get a 2000 or newer model -
 

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Id walk, like its been said, if youve the deep pockets to bring this baby back to its former glory id pass. At 18yrs old this might not be the car for you
I second this you don't want a Cadillac like that at 18 years old to much money to keep them on the road. Look at 98-08 Crown Vics there cheap and cheap to work on. Just my 2 cents.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks guys, I'll look away from this car in particular. A little humbling but I understand that this may not be the most practical.
 

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98 eldo/KD54 w/N37,T96,QA1,D55,DS3,U1Z. U3R next
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Dilliontheman,

At the age of 18, you are fortunate enough to be lucky to find such an automobile with so much potential, good looks, decent power. Yet, everything has a price.

The car you have in question, is it an ETC or ESC?

Yes, the temp guage could be running on the tad high side. What's the coolant strength in there? 50/50? 70/30? All water?

What type of owner, or how many owners has the car had?

How does the car look inside and out?

Has the car been in an accident where the airbags have been deployed? Just because the airbag has been replaced, doesn't condemn the car for being in an accident.

The horn contacts are unfortunately part of the airbag assembly. If the horn contacts fail, what do you have to do? Replace the airbag. Every owner may not be as particular to find the matching color airbag for replacement. You're talking a 15 year old vehicle.

Take the car out for a drive, fully warmed up. Note all guage readings. Listen for abnormal noises, etc. Turn on the heater, see if you receive heat while driving. Take the car out onto the freeway, get it up to 70 at least. Note temp guage, heater output and overall vehicle handling. Let vehicle coast down. Note driver info center for any messages, watch for signs of overheating.

Once back at the owners residence, if you want to scruntize the car some more, open the trunk pull the carpeting panels off and look for rear body or quarter panel damage. If you want to check the front, you'll have to get on your back and look at the radiator support, bumper supports, frame, any area that might take a frontal impact. Yet, you have to know what to look for.

Depending on the condition of the car, the mileage, the performance, areas that need addressing and the price, then you can make a decision. Your mechanical ability will come into play also. These cars can be expensive to maintain. Yet, as they get older some parts get more expensive and some get cheaper.

My 98, I paid 650 for it almost 3 years ago. I can't believe it's been that long already.

Interior, flawless. Exterior, ding on the drivers door, ding on the drivers fender, dings on the hood. The rest of the body 9/10. Reason why I bought the car, I loved the fact it was an Eldorado. It's a black ESC with oak interior (rare color, I've only seen one other in the 3 years I've had mine). Of course it needs a headgasket job, the reason for my purchase. Mileage 150k. Not 60k like you found.

There are plenty of low mileage northstars going to the scrap yard as I type due to the fatal factory flaw. Some of them in pristine condition, yet very few can save them from their fate. Repairs are complex, time consuming and can be pricey.

NOT EVERYONE car fix these things. At times, it's best left to the experts if you can afford it, or be lucky enough to know someone that can repair it for you. Only you can decide those things.

I guess I just feel a tad bit sorry for the last generation Eldorados. I love the styling, and the power. Yet, I see so many of them in salvage yards now it's a shame.

Deville's and Sevilles will be plentiful for the most part, but once all the Eldo's are gone, they're gone.

If this one isn't the right one for you, find another while you can. Just make sure it's the right one for you.

Good luck......
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Dilliontheman,

At the age of 18, you are fortunate enough to be lucky to find such an automobile with so much potential, good looks, decent power. Yet, everything has a price.
I've found multiple Eldorados at good mileage.

This one in particular is an ESC, but I have seen a few ETC's that I am interested in. What are the differences besides the hp boost?

The carfax shows that no accident has occured, so thats encouraging.

What temperature should the vehicle be around at idle, cruising, and highway speeds, respectively?

What ways are there to check for headgasket failure? From what I've read that seems to be the main concern when shopping for these.
 

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Master of the Dark Art of Diagnostics
2003 DHS - two-2002 DHS, 2003 SLS, 1995 Sedan DeVille, 1989 Coupe DeVille
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I've found multiple Eldorados at good mileage.

This one in particular is an ESC, but I have seen a few ETC's that I am interested in. What are the differences besides the hp boost?

The carfax shows that no accident has occured, so thats encouraging.

What temperature should the vehicle be around at idle, cruising, and highway speeds, respectively?

What ways are there to check for headgasket failure? From what I've read that seems to be the main concern when shopping for these.
------------------
I have seen a few ETC's that I am interested in.
What are the differences besides the hp boost?

keep in mind that the big deal HP 'boost" is a whopping 25HP -
and that really only kicks in at the upper RPMs -
the trans also runs a higher final gear ratio -
so slightly better performance - and slightly less gas mileage -

probably the biggest difference is the suspension -
the ETC model has the "ACTIVE" - or electronic suspension -
compared to the PASSIVE suspension on the ESC -

there are many more expensive electronic parts on the ACTIVE suspension -
the struts and shocks are MUCH more expensive to replace -
around $700 each not including labor -

another hidden expense on the ETC compared to the ESC -
call your insurance company -
and compare the cost of liability insurance between the two -

ETC = high performance + 18 year old male = $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

The carfax shows that no accident has occured, so thats encouraging.
carfax isn't worth the paper it's printed on -
it DOES list the previous owners accurately - but that's about it -

all information given to carfax is on a voluntary basis -
if the bodyshop doesn't tell carfax the car was worked on - there is no record -
and the bodyshops are under no obligation to report anything -

What temperature should the vehicle be around
at idle, cruising, and highway speeds, respectively?

the temp shouldn't fluctuate much at all -
with the exception of sitting in traffic in 100* heat - with AC on -

What ways are there to check for headgasket failure?
the BLOCK TEST is the DEFINITIVE test for
failed head gaskets in a Northstar motor -

it uses a special blue fluid that turns a different color
as it reacts with hydrocarbons - exhaust gasses - in the cooling system -

if done correctly - it is 99.999% accurate
From what I've read that seems to be
the main concern when shopping for these.

that's because the cost to repair the problem is $2500 to $3500 -

the other big expense would be suspension problems -
or maintenance on the ETC model -
replacing ACTIVE struts and shocks can run into the thousands also -
 

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Discussion Starter #14
------------------
I have seen a few ETC's that I am interested in.
What are the differences besides the hp boost?

keep in mind that the big deal HP 'boost" is a whopping 25HP -
and that really only kicks in at the upper RPMs -
the trans also runs a higher final gear ratio -
so slightly better performance - and slightly less gas mileage -
I see. Sounds like the tradeoff for the extra performance isnt worth it in my case.

And what does the block test entail? Is it something that could be done while looking at the car?
 

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2001 Seville STS, 1990 Seville (RIP), 1972 Sedan Deville
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This is a block test:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgkMC-5Mtz8

You can "borrow" the test kit through the loan a tool program at most parts stores. All you actually have to purchase is the test fluid, ~$10.

The test is best performed after a hard drive, or after an overheat.

ANY change in fluid color indicates an HG issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #16

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What temperature should the vehicle be around at idle, cruising, and highway speeds, respectively?
The Northstar uses a thermostat set to begin at 188 and fully open at 206. There are two cooling fans controlled by several situations and sensors. With no A/C function set the fans go to SLOW at 224 and FAST at 236. With an A/C or DEFROST function set the fans run in SLOW all the time. Fans will never run above about 40 mph or so - they aren't needed.

So a "normal" temperature at idle can be anything from a dead cold startup to 224 degrees. On the highway temp will sit at about 12 o'clock on the gauge (which is highly damped) so you'll have temps of 190 - 210. In heavy traffic, summer, no A/C on the temp will crawl to 224, fans go to SLOW, the engine cools to 213 and it starts all over again. With A/C or DEFROST on fans run all the time so temps will sit around 12 o'clock.

The Eldorado never got the updated 180 degree sweep gauge after 2000 - it still used the obsolete 135 degree sweep and still had the "Premium fuel" note on the gas gauge (that's incorrect for 2000 and later). In my albums there is an annotated temp gauge - the tick marks still correspond to the Eldorado temp gauge ticks. Click my username, open the profile. Left column - 2 albums, 6 pages of Northstar and 2000+ parts and diagrams.

FWIW, the ETC uses the VIN 9 300 hp engine and a 3.71:1 performance final drive. The ESC uses a VIN Y 275 hp engine with a 3.11:1 economy final drive. A VIN 9 car will give up 2 - 4 mpg to the VIN Y on the highway. In the city they're close - 12 to 16 city, 16 to 20 suburban, on the open interstate - 28 or so for the Y and 25 for the 9 in perfect tune and driven well. Speed vs. rpm tables (TCC engaged) in my albums.
 

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1997 Cadillac STS (BOSE w/AUX In, Massage Seats, URPAS, "Z")
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ETC vs ESC

ETC is the more expensive full options (luxury and performance) model.
ESC is the base model

ESC most of the time has passive suspension, less wood grain, less options and the grille colored in silver plus the engine is 275hp, 300·ft w/3.11:1 final drive.
ETC has always the active suspension, full stability system, full wood trim, is prone to have more options, the grille is colored in the car body color and the engine is 230hp, 295 lb·ft w/3.71:1 final drive.

The ONLY difference between the 2 engines is the headers (exhaust valves) and in the transmission the final drive gear. Other than that powertrain wise the cars are identical.
These cars did not had many options, most have everything with little extras to choose. Among these is the BOSE sound system with InDash CD slot (for '98 and up), 4 speakers with individual amplifier for each and a RIM (the module that does most of the sound processing). Base cars had the classic layout sound system (no InDash CD slot), where everything is in the HU (what most people call the stereo) and conventional speakers.
Either one of the 2 sound system can be extended with a 12 Disk CD changer (same unit for both). The ESC being the economy model, most people ordering a ETC were on a budget thus not opting for very expensive extras (like the sound system) as a result BOSE sound system is not very common in ESC cars.
The other bigger scope option was the Moonroof.
There was a choice of rims and tires. The rims choice was brushed aluminum (standard) or chrome (same exact rims but chrome finish - as option). For tires there was the S of H speed rating tires (for ESC) and H or Z for ETC. Based on the tire choice the car top speed was limited to the tire rating. For the cars equipped with Z rated tires there is no speed limiter.
The memory package (mirrors, seat) was optional (but very common) for the ESC and standard for the ETC.
The other option was the Cell Phone package, not very popular with either of the ETC or ESC. This was option could be used as OnStar (analog). In ’00 the OnStar as stand alone system became an option (not too common).
Home Link garage door opener was optional in both cars.
At some point the compass/self-dimming mirror was an option, by ’98 I believe it became standard even in ESC.
The Rainsense wipers were optional for ESC (but pretty popular).
For the ’99 production year exclusively there was a very rare option available, massage seats. Only about 750 cars were ever made with this option.
Still with seats, I believe for the southern cars the heated seats (at least in ESC) were optional. I have never seen northern cars (especially ETC) w/o Heated seats.
Again about seats, the difference between ETC and ESC is the ETC had perforated leather inserts while ESC did not. Other than that the seats are identical.
Wood wise, the ETC had wood inserts on the door panels while ETC did not, also ETC has wood trim around the shifter panel whereas ESC does not.
For the older cars (prior to ’97) some of the standards were options or none at all. Generally ’95 (’96 to some extent) and older cars were quite different although look the same on the outside.

That is pretty much it.
 

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WOW,

From what N*Caddy stated, my 650 ESC was well spent. The only thing I don't have is moonroof, rainsense, "9" motor, heated seats, on-star and cell phone package.

I'm adding the wood steering wheel, wood shifter plate, wood ashtray, (TL4 painted grille). On the fence whether or not to go to the painted rear liscense lamp pocket.
 
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