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2005 Cadillac Deville Base - Gold
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317 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone in the STS Forums,

My current ride is a 2005 Deville Base. It's been a great car for me, and I've enjoyed ownership of it. I plan to get an STS for my next set of wheels - whether it be in a year, 2, less, who knows - but just to stay out in front of things, I figured I'd ask this here now while its in my mind, before I forget. My question is this: based on your experience, which STS engine do you find to be more reliable overall, the High Feature V6, of the Northstar V8? I've heard lots of things about timing chains in the V6 and things of that nature, and being a Northstar owner, I know that 2005+ Northstars almost never have the dreaded head gasket issue, so I always assumed the V8 was more reliable (plus, I've always been a V8 man). But before I started any kind of substantive research, I wanted to ask those in the know about the general reliability of both. Any information on known issues would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for any information,

Cut
 

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Super Moderator SEMPER PARATUS
2003 DeVille Base
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4,488 Posts
I have no experience to help you with, but I'll bet Bass and Sub will say plenty.
 

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2009 Escalade Lux AWD; 2005 STS N*AWD 1SG
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348 Posts
I have zero complaints about my N* V8.
I'd pass up the V6 in a heart beat. Search the V6 issues that existed in the early versions of this generation of STS. I think they burnt a lot of oil.
I do know the V6 gains you nothing in MPGs and the HP gain of the V8 is pretty fair.
 

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2006 STS V8 1SF RWD
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6,390 Posts
Night and day difference. The early 3.6 engines were a dumpster fire. They tend to think oil is a beverage and then proceed to snap timing chains...Not the best thing to have happen in an interference engine. Stay away...
 

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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67,157 Posts
Advising someone on which engine to use is a crap shoot. Your choice .........anything can go wrong with an internal combustion engine........ but based on the 3.6 threads in several other forums in this site I wouldn't touch one with a 20 foot pole.

Regardless - engine reliability depends to a great deal on whether or not the owner/driver opens the hood once a week to look around with a mechanical eye and check fluid levels. Even though it's a Cadillac it DOES need stinkin' maintenance.
 

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2008 STS Northstar RWD, 2000 Trans Am WS6 6 spd, 1968 LeMans convertible 6.6
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113 Posts
I chose a Northstar last March for very obvious reliability reasons. And, an STS is a far cry from a Deville especially a RWD car. I have always had V8 power in my vehicles. There are a pair of Gibson mufflers on Bettie Lou (my STS name, lol) and she has a very nice rumble from her Northstar. Can't do that with a V6.

Yes any car with any engine can grenade at any time, but the odds are way better for a long life with the Northstar than that V6.
 

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2005 Cadillac Deville Base - Gold
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317 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks all for the very helpful responses and info!

This was pretty much what I expected STS owners to say, that is, the V8 would be more reliable over the long-term. Of course that isn't a problem in the least, I always prefer more cylinders as opposed to less!

As far as the timing chain issue in the High Feature, could anyone give me a brief crash course as to what was such an issue with those? I would go through the 3.6 threads and do all the research myself (and likely will down the road for a better understanding), but being in law school currently, time just isn't as available as it once was. Any info here would be appreciated, but I don't want to take up anyone's time by making them write a novel 😂. Thanks again all!

- Cut
 

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2009 Escalade Lux AWD; 2005 STS N*AWD 1SG
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348 Posts
Essentially, in the 3.6, there are very tight tolerances (interference engine) for the valves and piston heads. If the timing chain breaks or skips, then you're facing head work, new valves, and possibly even needing pistons.
Combine this risk with the tendency to burn through your oil, and you see the concern.
 

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Cadillac CT6 (2019)
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2,257 Posts
From what I've read on the internet repair sites, I have gleaned that if you keep your oil level full and you ignore the oil life monitor and change your oil between 3500 and 5000 miles (or less), you will be a whole lot less prone to stretching timing chains. Now when buying a used car you really can't know the whole maintenance story so unless maintenance was meticulous you might want to shy away from the V-6.
 

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2006 STS4 V6
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438 Posts
My advice is to avoid these money pits all together. The cost of regular repair on these cars is ridiculous.

Many electrical issues will start popping up given the age of these cars.
 

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2008 STS Northstar RWD, 2000 Trans Am WS6 6 spd, 1968 LeMans convertible 6.6
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113 Posts
My advice is to avoid these money pits all together. The cost of regular repair on these cars is ridiculous.

Many electrical issues will start popping up given the age of these cars.
Unless you are a professional mechanic, like me. I made about $4k retail in repairs to my STS, my cost was about $900. Then I was able to buy some tires for $350, retail would have been about $900. I paid $4500 for Bettie Lou. Indeed they can be money pits. My favorite car was my 6-speed WS6, but since I got the STS that car stays in the garage. Yeah the WS6 is faster and corners better but there is really only one good seat in it, the drivers seat. The STS has awesome room for 4 full size humans, they all have a heated seat if they want to use it, is a competent handling car, a large trunk.

If someone can find a well taken care of car, they are nice. Just budget for repairs.
 

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08 STS-4 N* 1SG, 08 DTS Luxury II, 04 Bonneville GXP N*
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3,205 Posts
Bottom line is that new technology is always released in the luxury market first, frequently before it's refined and sometimes simply not ready for day to day use. Buying this type of vehicle should always come with an expectation of more frequent and costly repairs. About a year ago, I started to hear Toyota boasting in their ads about the latest and greatest "Automatic high beams". Big deal. Cadillac had this in production cars back in the early 2000's (perhaps before that). I'm sure their latest and greatest does a better job, but Cadillac was installing this more than 15 years ago.

Luxury cars = latest and greatest = not completely proven technologies = potential for lots-o-repair costs.

About 4 years ago a friend of mine bought a brand new Honda with factory navigation. Don't know what the deal was, but he had to switch between day and night screens manually. Really? In this day and age? We really do have quite a bit of technology in these vehicles (for their time).

About 5-6 years ago I had a brand new Nissan Altima rental. Frustrated with trying to adjust the instrument cluster illumination, I inadvertently opened the trunk while sitting at a light in DRIVE. Not overly advanced, or smart. Even the 2000 model year Bonneville protects against this.

Even now I constantly see vehicles driving around in the dark of night with no rear facing lighting illuminated. Current model year vehicles no less. Canada has passed legislation requiring automakers to install systems or otherwise prevent "phantom vehicles". This will apply to any vehicle sold on/after September 1, 2021. Again, how long has this been standard on these (and many other GM vehicles).

Oh, but to answer the original question... Northstar without a question.
 

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2006 V6 STS RWD
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267 Posts
Advising someone on which engine to use is a crap shoot. Your choice .........anything can go wrong with an internal combustion engine........ but based on the 3.6 threads in several other forums in this site I wouldn't touch one with a 20 foot pole.

Regardless - engine reliability depends to a great deal on whether or not the owner/driver opens the hood once a week to look around with a mechanical eye and check fluid levels. Even though it's a Cadillac it DOES need stinkin' maintenance.
Very true, but no amount of maintenance can eliminate a design problem, IF that's what it is. Many people (like me) don't have a clue when (if) their 150k STS V6 got it's last timing chain, only when it got it's first one ;) I don't care, as I've already put about $3k into it in the last 1½ years, and depending on why it's currently dead (starter, starter relay, cable connection?) it'll be more within a week. It was 25° this morning and I don't own a lift, so for the moment, Plan A is to pretend it isn't blocking one of the garage doors and take advantage of the new aggressive tread rear tires I fortuitously put on the E350 van last week. IF the timing chain goes, I will replace the car, not the engine, but I won't badmouth the engine. For a while, Ford had problems with F150 5.4L spark plugs blowing out and taking the threads with them. It never happened with my truck, but I can't take credit for maintaining it being the reason. They screwed up, and if we charted every vehicle with that problem, it would be impossible to not notice there was a problem with some years. ☺
 

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2010 STS
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279 Posts
Hello Everyone in the STS Forums,

My current ride is a 2005 Deville Base. It's been a great car for me, and I've enjoyed ownership of it. I plan to get an STS for my next set of wheels - whether it be in a year, 2, less, who knows - but just to stay out in front of things, I figured I'd ask this here now while its in my mind, before I forget. My question is this: based on your experience, which STS engine do you find to be more reliable overall, the High Feature V6, of the Northstar V8? I've heard lots of things about timing chains in the V6 and things of that nature, and being a Northstar owner, I know that 2005+ Northstars almost never have the dreaded head gasket issue, so I always assumed the V8 was more reliable (plus, I've always been a V8 man). But before I started any kind of substantive research, I wanted to ask those in the know about the general reliability of both. Any information on known issues would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for any information,

Cut
My 2010 3.6 has given me zero problems. Initially I wanted the V8 but unfortunately you cannot get one in Platinum trim.
 

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08 STS-4 N* 1SG, 08 DTS Luxury II, 04 Bonneville GXP N*
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3,205 Posts
My 2010 3.6 has given me zero problems. Initially I wanted the V8 but unfortunately you cannot get one in Platinum trim.
It's always nice to hear about a positive experience. I personally still wouldn't buy one because I do believe that it's not if there will be a problem, but when. The reputation of these still makes me very skeptical. The Northstar engines leak, like just about everything GM has ever made, but you can buy a lot of oil for what you'll spend if your timing chain lets go. From what I've heard (timing chain aside), pretty much all manufacturers had a lot of problems with the direct injection engines for the first several years.
 

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2006 V6 STS RWD
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267 Posts
Mine has given me lots of problems, but for a 13 year old engine with 143k miles on it, I think it's entitled to various maladies like starting the day out with a smoke and tinkling on the floor. ;)
 

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'14 CTS 2.0 Luxury AWD, 2017 XT5 AWD
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1,415 Posts
Hello Everyone in the STS Forums,

My current ride is a 2005 Deville Base. It's been a great car for me, and I've enjoyed ownership of it. I plan to get an STS for my next set of wheels - whether it be in a year, 2, less, who knows - but just to stay out in front of things, I figured I'd ask this here now while its in my mind, before I forget. My question is this: based on your experience, which STS engine do you find to be more reliable overall, the High Feature V6, of the Northstar V8? I've heard lots of things about timing chains in the V6 and things of that nature, and being a Northstar owner, I know that 2005+ Northstars almost never have the dreaded head gasket issue, so I always assumed the V8 was more reliable (plus, I've always been a V8 man). But before I started any kind of substantive research, I wanted to ask those in the know about the general reliability of both. Any information on known issues would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for any information,

Cut
Do not buy a STS. They have 0 resale value and will be an endless money pit. The engine is a POS. Endless expensive repairs.
 

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2005 Cadillac Deville Base - Gold
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317 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Do not buy a STS. They have 0 resale value and will be an endless money pit. The engine is a POS. Endless expensive repairs.
Thanks for the reply greyghost04, I appreciate the insight. Actually, I watched that video just last week when it came out. However, I was more looking for advice on the RWD, Sigma-based STS, not the FWD Seville STS like the one Hoovie had appraised in the video. I am not looking into a Seville, I've got a Deville already.

Have you had any experience with the RWD STS?
 

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Registered
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Hello Everyone in the STS Forums,

My current ride is a 2005 Deville Base. It's been a great car for me, and I've enjoyed ownership of it. I plan to get an STS for my next set of wheels - whether it be in a year, 2, less, who knows - but just to stay out in front of things, I figured I'd ask this here now while its in my mind, before I forget. My question is this: based on your experience, which STS engine do you find to be more reliable overall, the High Feature V6, of the Northstar V8? I've heard lots of things about timing chains in the V6 and things of that nature, and being a Northstar owner, I know that 2005+ Northstars almost never have the dreaded head gasket issue, so I always assumed the V8 was more reliable (plus, I've always been a V8 man). But before I started any kind of substantive research, I wanted to ask those in the know about the general reliability of both. Any information on known issues would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for any information,

Cut
It's really hard to predict these things as MOST cars that I have owned have had issues and very few have been perfect, so its hard to say if the STS is any worse than other cars. Every time I get a car and do some research, I hear that I have "the worst car ever". I had a BMW and that was the worst car ever, so its relative I guess. I have replaced the timing chain, and its been running relatively well ever since, being about 2 years ago. Now I have an issue with the turn signal (high beams come on when using the turn signal) but after just a bit of research I hear its a common problem and purchased a turn signal from Amazon for $36.00. Looks like an hour or so of work.
Mine burns no oil and has no leaks at this point, no check engine lights etc. No electronic gremlins yet except for a dead/weak tire pressure monitor on one wheel, easy fix. I would say the V8 may be more reliable though. Most of the STS Caddys I see look pretty beat to hell, so I would expect that they would have problems. I do all my own maintenance and oil changes and minor fixes, so I'm satisfied that it gets the care it needs. Oh, had to replace the battery a year ago, but that is entirely expected and not the fault of the car. Mine is jet black and has about 10 coats of wax/sealant on it, so it looks pretty good and I always get compliments on just how clean it looks. So if cared for, I dont think its any worse than any other car, especially after having a BMW where EVERYTHING is expensive and hard to access!
 

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2006 V6 STS RWD
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267 Posts
It's really hard to predict these things as MOST cars that I have owned have had issues and very few have been perfect, so its hard to say if the STS is any worse than other cars. Every time I get a car and do some research, I hear that I have "the worst car ever". I had a BMW and that was the worst car ever, so its relative I guess. I have replaced the timing chain, and its been running relatively well ever since, being about 2 years ago. Now I have an issue with the turn signal (high beams come on when using the turn signal) but after just a bit of research I hear its a common problem and purchased a turn signal from Amazon for $36.00. Looks like an hour or so of work.
Mine burns no oil and has no leaks at this point, no check engine lights etc. No electronic gremlins yet except for a dead/weak tire pressure monitor on one wheel, easy fix. I would say the V8 may be more reliable though. Most of the STS Caddys I see look pretty beat to hell, so I would expect that they would have problems. I do all my own maintenance and oil changes and minor fixes, so I'm satisfied that it gets the care it needs. Oh, had to replace the battery a year ago, but that is entirely expected and not the fault of the car. Mine is jet black and has about 10 coats of wax/sealant on it, so it looks pretty good and I always get compliments on just how clean it looks. So if cared for, I dont think its any worse than any other car, especially after having a BMW where EVERYTHING is expensive and hard to access!
True, mine looks amazing, even when it doesn't run. I will miss it for sure, because when they're right, they're great. Nice handling for their size, great look that the CTS continues minus the RWD, etc. Resale value? Cheap to buy and cheap to get rid of. It's the money in between that has to be based on how badly one wishes to keep it. I finally had to accept it was time to let it go. Runs great, still can get 25pg on the highway, put brakes on all around incl. new rear calipers (DELCO rebuilts) all new front lamps, new pwr steering pump, new rear diff. "clunk bushing".
Currently has airbag light on, rear backing assist lamps & audible don't work, needs 3rd battery in 20 months (I have to assume every now & then it's overcharging them) and other stuff I probably have forgotten. But who knows what care it got before me? You can't really be sure of anything unless you bought it new, other than various, "happens to all of them" stuff like the bushing clunk.
 
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