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Diamond White '03 STS
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
For less than 1/11 of that price haha.

Hey guys, I've been around the site before, back in 2012 when I had an '04 Cadillac CTS. This is my intro/build thread for my 2003 Cadillac STS.

I was needing something a bit larger than my current daily driver to haul around my daughter and my son that's due to arrive in a couple months. I hopped on autotrader online and searched just a couple mins before seeing this car. The pics were terrible and didnt really show me much, so I got some more pics sent and we started talking details. After hearing about how much the seller cared for the car, and how it was babied by her and the previous owner I went to check it out last Saturday. Turns out this car was bought new from Sewell Cadillac in Dallas back in 2003 and the lady paid cash for it. The window sticker was folded up in the glovebox, looks like this car had every option minus navigation (fine by me). So it appears this 70k mile gem has been babied it's whole life :devil: It's funny what motivates people to purchase cars, I've never been much for buying cars for the prestige - but I do like to keep my cars looking good, running well, and I tend to not leave them alone. In my search I was just looking for a larger 4 door to hold 2 car seats without the folks in the front being pushed up in the dash, must have at least 300+hp by way of a v8 or turbo v6, ability to handle decently (will be remedied soon), have heated seats (also soon to be remedied), get decent gas mileage, all for around 5 grand. I think I picked a pretty good one, a true 'got it from a little old lady' story.

I'm a car guy at heart, so the first things on the list are to fix the issues it has. All in all the paint is very good, interior is very clean/undamaged. It's just a bit dirty in general, so I'll do a full detail soon when we get a warmer day - hopefully sooner than later. I thought the wheels were painted silver and little dirty, but they really are polished under all the dirt. Not sure why, but all of the F55 standard epuipment shocks have been replaced with the correct factory replacements. The work was performed at a tech school (cheap labor), and I'm not sure what they did, but I'm getting the C0579 and C0584 codes for the front two. A dealer receipt shows that she had them check it out and verify the issue, but all it says is that when it was on a 2-post lift the issue went away and no code was thrown. When they'd put the car back on the ground, it would return. I'm hoping a wire is just getting pinched somewhere. The steering also has a grabby feeling to it, and after a search I'm going to attempt to lube the intermediate shaft from under the boot inside the car with white lithium grease. We'll see if that helps, figured it can't hurt to try. No magnasteer codes so I think the system is fine.

After this stuff is done, future plans are to polish/apply shineseal to the wheels, glue down the dash (bending a bit around the defroster vents), tint the windows, paint the chrome trim black, remove the pinstripe and tail panel emblems, remote start installed, aftermarket nav installed/components in the doors/subs in the back, and finally save my pennies for a corsa catback.

I've always liked this body style of Cadillac, a friend had a '97 model back around 2002 and that was a sweet car. I look forward to getting this car back to how it should be and better than ever.


Here she is in all her radiant dirty glory...

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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70,380 Posts
"ability to handle decently" ................. The 2003 STS uses Lord/DELPHI Magnetic Ride Control - the absolute top of the line when it comes to handling in a Seville. The suspension is fine for a daily driver, but when you begin to drive the car to its limits the MRC hardens up and you find yourself driving a flat skateboard. Anything aftermarket that you try to do to the handling will be a minus - in some cases, a big minus. Hmmmm............ reading further says that perhaps one or more of the suspension control height sensor rods has been disconnected - by the hoist. Each control arm has a balljoint suspension rod and the front struts have height sensors. Check 'em.

If the stock heated seats don't work, the heater elements need to be replaced with the new re-design ones. GM dealer.

You'll need to study up on some more features of these late STS vehicles, there's a LOT more to them than meets the eye.

The wheels should be 17" X 7.5" chromed aluminum faceted spoke units. The original tires were 235/55/17 tires with the rating on the driver's door sticker. The options list is on the sticker unjder the spare tire cover.

Lots of stuff for your car in my albums. Click my username, open the profile, left column, 2 albums 6 pages of stuff.

EDIT: Remember that the original sound system head unit is part of the car's security, TheftLock and serial data bus. Install aftermarket sound, NAV and starters carefully or you will have endless electrical and electronic problems - big time.

Here's the LR suspension height sensor - look for the link rod.
 

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Diamond White '03 STS
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63 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I don't discredit the car at all, but in its current state, that system is disabled, so now its similar to a much larger cadillac of generations before. I come from a background of corvettes, f-bodys, and some imports that handle very well, so that was my comparison by 'decently'. I do not plan to make the car try and handle any better, I just want the factory system working as it should. No discredit like I said for this platform.
I have done some research, and this looks like a good knowledge base. Is there another fact/wiki page that better describes in detail the other things that I may not be aware of?

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Thanks, that helps alot, I'll check out those suspension rods.

I'm glad these wheels are chrome, I'd seem mixed posts regarding their finish. I'll give them a good cleaning, hopefully they're not too pitted from having brake dust accumulate for so long.
 

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Administrator
2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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Not to my knowledge. It's ALL in here (Seville), Tech Tips and Engines, Northstar.

Study the entire Cadillac Technical Archive way up ^^^ in the top black bar.

You will NEED either a real GM Helm service manual set from eBay or www.helminc.com, or get a multi-year subscription to www.alldadadiy.com - it's the GM manuals plus a LOT more.
 

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Diamond White '03 STS
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63 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I appreciate your feedback sub. As far as concerns regarding the replacing of the factory head unit, there's a couple of gizmos you can buy when installing a new unit that allows you to retain the factory features.

http://www.pac-audio.com/productDetails.aspx?ProductId=158

This allows you to reprogram/retain your stock steering wheel controls...

http://axxessinterfaces.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=197


I installed an aftermarket radio in my '04 CTS using these adapters and they worked flawlessly. I definitely recommend them to anyone wanting to update the 12 year old technology.
 

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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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19,998 Posts
I don't discredit the car at all, but in its current state, that system is disabled, so now its similar to a much larger cadillac of generations before. I come from a background of corvettes, f-bodys, and some imports that handle very well, so that was my comparison by 'decently'. I do not plan to make the car try and handle any better, I just want the factory system working as it should. No discredit like I said for this platform.
I have done some research, and this looks like a good knowledge base. Is there another fact/wiki page that better describes in detail the other things that I may not be aware of?

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Thanks, that helps alot, I'll check out those suspension rods.

I'm glad these wheels are chrome, I'd seem mixed posts regarding their finish. I'll give them a good cleaning, hopefully they're not too pitted from having brake dust accumulate for so long.
==============================
Is there another fact/wiki page that better describes in detail
the other things that I may not be aware of?

how about the Owners Manual -
 

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Diamond White '03 STS
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63 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I did some research this afternoon and found these part numbers for the replacement front heated seat elements...

3rd Design - For 2001 Vehicles Built AFTER VIN 1U228113 thru 2004 MY
Part Number Description
25755075 Heater Pkg-F/Seat Back Cushion-LH/RH
25755078 Heater Pkg-F/Seat Cushion-LH/RH

Are those part numbers listed for a left and right pair or individual elements that can be used on either side? I need to know if I need to order one or two of each of those part numbers if I want to replace both elements in both front seats.
 

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Diamond White '03 STS
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63 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Well sub I checked out the rods and they appear connected correctly up front. I'm going to get a better look this weekend when I have more time and I'll report back.
 

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C0579 and C0584 both direct to front strut solenoids left and right circuit open. It's possible that someone previously replaced the fronts with non-MRC struts and just left the wiring disconnected. Check to see if the wiring to the front struts are properly hooked up.
 

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Diamond White '03 STS
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Discussion Starter #10
Checked it out last night. Looks like the struts are correct, have the line coming off of them, it's a long lead that's loomed up a lot traveling in and out of a couple retainers then up to a loom that looks like it's tied to the inner frame rail and the harness is mounted on the inside edge in front of/near the brake booster? I unplugged and examined (driver side, haven't looked at pass side yet), and it appears the connection is good. I'm going to get under the front end on a better day (very cold here currently) and look up from the bottom at both ends of the harness. Is there a pigtail attached to the height adjustment sensor that's able to disconnect? It's filthy with accumulated road grime/grease at the moment, but the rods connected and seemed like it was movable. Still scratching my head though, seems like a pretty sensitive system.
 
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