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1997 Eldorado ETC
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Discussion Starter #1
I just bought a 97 Eldorado ETC (as my first car, I'm 16 and I worked hard for it!) for $4,700 (out the door) with 126,141 miles. Pearl white, gold exhaust tips, and chrome wheels are absolutely stunning! I have a few questions, first, why is there a fuel door release button on the key fob where the panic button should go? Is there EVEN a panic button? I also noticed that there are red markers on the interior doors, when opened I guess they are night-time reflectors. Do they light up or not (mine are not lite when doors open)? Also, how much would a new motor for the driver window cost? It is making noise and my mechanic says it may last a long time (I HOPE) or go out in a few months. I am going to take excellent care of this car for many years to come. I hope to get at least 150,000 more out of it and last me for another 8 years until I am out of college. Is this a reasonable though to last this long? Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!
 

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1997 Cadillac STS (BOSE w/AUX In, Massage Seats, URPAS, "Z")
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Before doing anything or listening to anybody’s advice (including your trusty mechanic) please read your owner’s manual (cover to cover).

There is no panic button, most (cheaper) cars don't have a fuel door release (it costs money) so they came up with the "panic" button which costs noting since you already have the horn in it. The same goes for example with the radio antenna, how many new cars have a power antenna? Is less money to put a screw in type or a window integrated one. Same goes with the fuel door, you know you have a upper scale car when you have a power fuel door release, otherwise you have a cheap panic button.
The door reflectors are just that, reflectors, are not supposed to light up.
What kind of noise is the motor making? Regardless a motor is super inexpensive assuming is the motor not the gears and/or the window alignment. It could be costly to replace/adjust unless you are doing it yourself.
$4800 is an ok price for a ’97 Eldorado with 126K Miles but not a great price, let’s hope is in above condition for a 126K miles car ($4000 would have been a much better price).

Now ETC = CVRSS = super expensive struts approaching the end of their life considering the mileage. One strut is ~$750 (and you have 4).
Gold exhaust tips = afetrmarket, better not have any more of these aftermarket touches or you may be in trouble (especially if involve electrics).
First thing to do is pull your codes (learn here how to do it as your car has already a built in reader far better than any mechanic you know may have), I hope you will find no suspension codes because it could be $$$$.

I am not lying to you, these cars are not unreliable don’t get me wrong, but are far more complicated than your average car and for a 16 y.o. on a budget it may not be the best car to own. You will have extremely tough time to find parts for it and probably money to purchase the part or pay the mechanic to install them. There are so many things (expensive things) that may go wrong that other cars don’t even have them that you have no idea yet. Yet if properly maintained these cars can easily reach the mileage you are targeting.

Every time you purchase a new to you car service all the fluids REGARDLESS of what the seller may have told you (unless you bought it from your parents). So change the engine oil and oil filter (it takes 7.5q of 10W30 regular, non-synthetic oil as you will find it in your owner’s manual), change the coolant, you need DexCool (50% of orange stuff and 50% distilled water) and according to the owner’s manual you should add 1-2 tabs. Best practice is to crush the tabs and dissolve in the coolant before pouring in. Too much is not better (actually is very bad) so don’t get inventive regardless of whatever mechanic or street wistdom may say, stick with the over’s manual.
The transmission fluid is good for the life of the car, I did change it when it was 130K for no reason, the least you can do is check the level (is measured with the car on a leveled surface – engine idling) and make sure is nice and red (not brown and smelling like burnt) .
Spark plugs and wiring are rated 100K, so I would assume by now are changed, is not a bad idea to check. You better have the OEM parts in there.
Also check your brake fluid level (it may be time to change it too) and same applies to the steering fluid.
Belts, you have 1 big accessories belt on the right (front) side of the engine for Power Steering Pump, A/C Compressor and Alternator. Then you have a small one on the left (rear) side of the engine solely for the water pump. Now both these belts have a tensioner (the accessories belt has an idler too) and it may be a good idea to take a mechanics stethoscope and listen those bearings.
These engines are designed with loose cylinder rings (for high revs) and as result are burning oil by design (up to 1q per 1000 Miles is considered normal – but the average is less than half). It is recommendable to check your oil level every time you stop to a gas station (or at least every other time). Keep the oil level between min and max (do not overfill).
The car is designed to use premium gas; I always used premium but lots of owners use regular for years with no issues. With that in mind better use premium fuel rather than using regular and then spending money to put crap into your fuel (advertised to do what ever they advertise it). As a general rule DO NOT add anything to any fluids (no additives, no magic potions).
I am pretty sure there will be no shortage of people telling you how the car will have the “infamous” HG issue. I am telling you to ignore it, is not as common as you read about it so forgot about it. It is common among the cars for sale and if you will have issues soon with the car you know why it was for sale, but yours was not exactly a too good to be true deal so it has chances to be good car.

These cars when new were ~$45K, this is the level of maintenance/ownership costs you should expect, not the $4800 you paid for it.
 

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not anymore 2007 Lexus ES350
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7,700 Posts
I just bought a 97 Eldorado ETC (as my first car, I'm 16 and I worked hard for it!) for $4,700 (out the door) with 126,141 miles. Pearl white, gold exhaust tips, and chrome wheels are absolutely stunning! I have a few questions, first, why is there a fuel door release button on the key fob where the panic button should go? Is there EVEN a panic button? I also noticed that there are red markers on the interior doors, when opened I guess they are night-time reflectors. Do they light up or not (mine are not lite when doors open)? Also, how much would a new motor for the driver window cost? It is making noise and my mechanic says it may last a long time (I HOPE) or go out in a few months. I am going to take excellent care of this car for many years to come. I hope to get at least 150,000 more out of it and last me for another 8 years until I am out of college. Is this a reasonable though to last this long? Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!
Hello and welcome wow 16 years old and got a caddy for your first car you did your homework on it before purchase correct ?
ok well the Fuel Door button on the Remote i cant answer why GM did that other then to have some cool feature
and i also was curiouse why there was no panic button but never really bother to put my mind into thinking about it but no no way for a panic on our remotes

window motor if it is bad you could pick one from a junk yard for around 25 or 30 bucks i bet

Yeah you another 150k should not be a bother or problem unless you get the cursed HG issue wich not all N's get but it is a big enough problem that some think it is a very comon issue but more or so of just being a pain in the ass to fix problem so it makes it sound more common then it is
but if you don't have a cursed HG then 150k more should be easy

You paid 4700 for the car just remmber that this car was atleast 50k new so your repairs are still going to be in that price of a 50k car
 

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1997 ETC
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Follow what N* says, also get either a Helms factory service manual or an alldatadiy subscription, not a chiltons.
 

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03 STS
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my 16yr old son bought a 6k car. it was not a cadillac and i did not even bat an eye. i was happy he did not get one since i did not want to work on it or fix it. he paid for most of it and it was very reliable. its gone now but thats another story. i think a nice 96/97 seville or eldo is worth 4k with 120k miles. its probably at the upper end on price but they are nice cars.
 

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1997 Eldorado ETC
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490 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
97EldETC said:
I just bought a 97 Eldorado ETC (as my first car, I'm 16 and I worked hard for it!) for $4,700 (out the door) with 126,141 miles. Pearl white, gold exhaust tips, and chrome wheels are absolutely stunning! I have a few questions, first, why is there a fuel door release button on the key fob where the panic button should go? Is there EVEN a panic button? I also noticed that there are red markers on the interior doors, when opened I guess they are night-time reflectors. Do they light up or not (mine are not lite when doors open)? Also, how much would a new motor for the driver window cost? It is making noise and my mechanic says it may last a long time (I HOPE) or go out in a few months. I am going to take excellent care of this car for many years to come. I hope to get at least 150,000 more out of it and last me for another 8 years until I am out of college. Is this a reasonable though to last this long? Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!
ALSO, THE MECHANIC AT MIDAS SAID THAT THE AUTO LEVEL SHOCKS WHERE DISCONNECTED. HE SAID THIS IS NOT BAD, BUT WHAT DO YOU THINK? THE SHOCKS (previous owner replaced auto level with other shocks) ARE IN PERFECT SHAPE. HE SAID SELF LEVEL SHOCKS ARE VERY VERY EXPENSIVE.
 

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not anymore 2007 Lexus ES350
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ALSO, THE MECHANIC AT MIDAS SAID THAT THE AUTO LEVEL SHOCKS WHERE DISCONNECTED. HE SAID THIS IS NOT BAD, BUT WHAT DO YOU THINK? THE SHOCKS (previous owner replaced auto level with other shocks) ARE IN PERFECT SHAPE. HE SAID SELF LEVEL SHOCKS ARE VERY VERY EXPENSIVE.
I know that if i where gong out to look for a ETC i would want and hope that the OEM Active shocks where still there and working good
if they had been replaced i would pass up on it if you want passive shocks go with a ESC not a ETC but thats just the way i feel
Save up your Coin and put the OEM shocks back on
 

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1997 Cadillac STS (BOSE w/AUX In, Massage Seats, URPAS, "Z")
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In that case you kind of had been screwed off with the car big time.
It is actually really bad, to fix it you are looking at minimum $2000 in parts alone.
Basically you have a Honda Civic that looks like an Eldorado.

Have you pulled the codes yet?
Do you have the option to return the car?
The car worth in this condition and mileage (assuming everything else is consistent with the mileage) ~$2500, maybe $2800 because is an Eldorado.
 

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1994 Eldorado - 48,500 miles
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66 Posts
My feelings are this. Everything the folks said above about this car are true and depending on the shape it is in, it could eat up every dime you have in maintenance over time. I have a 94 Eldorado. There are some things that do not work correclty such as the power antenna and power trunk latch. It also throws some codes periodically. However, I have chosen to not fix the trunk latch or antenna because to me it does not matter if they work or not. The antenna still picks up radio stations and the trunk still locks. Noone does not know they do not work properly but me.

I suggest that you carefully assess the things that are "must fixes" and those things you can live with. If not, you may not have a lot of spare change to go to school with. Do not let us scare you, just be relaistic about what needs to be fixed!
 

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not anymore 2007 Lexus ES350
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In that case you kind of had been screwed off with the car big time.
It is actually really bad, to fix it you are looking at minimum $2000 in parts alone.
Basically you have a Honda Civic that looks like an Eldorado.

Have you pulled the codes yet?
Do you have the option to return the car?
The car worth in this condition and mileage (assuming everything else is consistent with the mileage) ~$2500, maybe $2800 because is an Eldorado.
did they make aftermarket struts does Monroe make an active shock and strut for the Eldo ?
if they do the OP may be able to come in under 1500 for all
 

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1997 Cadillac STS (BOSE w/AUX In, Massage Seats, URPAS, "Z")
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You know, if you don't stay on top of it with the repairs it is the sure way to drive the car to a wreck yard when it gets overwhelming.
For example the trunk is not more than $30 to fix if you know how to and the antenna is in about the same price range.
Is kind of like paying always the minimum on your credit card balance, I always pay my credit card balance in full and have the same attitude abut the car repairs.


did they make aftermarket struts does Monroe make an active shock and strut for the Eldo ?
if they do the OP may be able to come in under 1500 for all
No such thing, the OP is looking at ~$750 for each of the 2 rear struts and ~$50 install (each). Probably, since the original struts were replaced, the ELC compressor is gone, that's another $450 and ~$200 to install (assuming minimum issues with the lines).
Again to the OP, this car is TROUBLE; the previous owner had $200 to pay for the 4 aftermarket unnecessary gold plated exhaust tips but not enough money to fix the rear suspension properly. Now if the rear struts are gone, the front struts are not far (all 4 wheels went on the same roads).
I see a minimum of $4500 in the first year of ownership of this car just to keep it running. Trust me this particular car is not for you. Sorry, I really do!
 

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1997 Eldorado ETC
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Discussion Starter #12
In that case you kind of had been screwed off with the car big time.
It is actually really bad, to fix it you are looking at minimum $2000 in parts alone.
Basically you have a Honda Civic that looks like an Eldorado.

Have you pulled the codes yet?
Do you have the option to return the car?
The car worth in this condition and mileage (assuming everything else is consistent with the mileage) ~$2500, maybe $2800 because is an Eldorado.


What are you talking about? What is $2000 to fix? The shocks were in fine condition; my mechanic (who also happens to be my parents mechanic) said that having them disconnected should be no problem as long as I, and I quote: "have no lard asses riding in the back seat."
 

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2016 Honda Accord LX. Previous: 2004 Deville, 2000 STS
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The Eldorado ETC uses a sophisticated CVRSS (Continuously Variable Road Sensing Suspension) that reads road conditions and adjusts accordingly 1,000 times per second. These struts are very expensive to replace (about $750 per as N*Caddy already mentioned) so the original owner of the car probably got scared of the costs and put some inexpensive aftermarket struts in the car and then sold it to you. The car will not ride bad it just won't react to changing conditions on the road... so the car is basically a Eldorado ESC. The big question is does the car still level out when you have weight in the back. If not, this could be an issue because you would see something like "Service Ride Control" on your dashboard when you start up the car. I wouldn't have paid any more than $3500 for the car knowing all this information. The aftermarket solution isn't such a bad idea as long as you leave the air ride in the rear operational.

I got my first Cadillac, a 2000 Seville STS, when I turned 18 and let me tell you it hasn't been a cheap or easy road. One year the car might cost you $2000 to keep on the road (like it did for me in 2010). Others it might only cost you around $1000 (like it did this year)... but one thing is for sure: this is no Honda or Toyota. These Cadillac's require a little more maintenance than your average car.
 

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1997 ETC
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What are you talking about? What is $2000 to fix? The shocks were in fine condition; my mechanic (who also happens to be my parents mechanic) said that having them disconnected should be no problem as long as I, and I quote: "have no lard asses riding in the back seat."
The 97 eldo uses ac delco shocks in the rear, and ac delco struts in the front, if one goes 3rd party on these parts they loose the ride quality this vehicle was built with, this isn't your ordinary vehicle, its quite advanced for as old it is.
 

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2003 DTS
'03 Deville DTS
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265 Posts
Greets,

To add to the discussion : Arnott Industries sells replacement shocks & struts for your vehicle. I've had them on my ride for about a year with no complaints. Their prices are reasonable and they also have replacement compressors as well. You can find them in the Authorized Cadillac Vendors section of these forums. If you plan to do repairs yourself get yourself a good torque wrench or two. You never want to over torque anything that attaches to the engine or transmission or is a part of either, the bolt hole threads can and will strip. Don't know if your car needs to go to a GM shop to have it done properly but get the cooling system refreshed and checked, overheating kills these cars real quick. Probably the most important thing you need to do is change the oil & filter when it tells you its time to do it, but that goes for pretty much any car you'll ever own. If you really want to get to know that car do get a factory service manual as already suggested or get a alldata account if books are too old school for you ;o)

DJSG3
 

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1994 Eldorado - 48,500 miles
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Everything these guys are saying is true. However, you got what you got so enjoy it/drive it. Once you have had some time to get some miles on it, then you can assess what you need to fix first.
 

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not anymore 2007 Lexus ES350
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No such thing, the OP is looking at ~$750 for each of the 2 rear struts and ~$50 install (each). Probably, since the original struts were replaced, the ELC compressor is gone, that's another $450 and ~$200 to install (assuming minimum issues with the lines).
Again to the OP, this car is TROUBLE; the previous owner had $200 to pay for the 4 aftermarket unnecessary gold plated exhaust tips but not enough money to fix the rear suspension properly. Now if the rear struts are gone, the front struts are not far (all 4 wheels went on the same roads).
I see a minimum of $4500 in the first year of ownership of this car just to keep it running. Trust me this particular car is not for you. Sorry, I really do!
I was just looking on Rock Auto and they have Monroe Listed with high prices that would look like they are active or seem like they are
hmmm

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a bad idea as long as you leave the air ride in the rear operational.

I got my first Cadillac, a 2000 Seville STS, when I turned 18 and let me tell you it hasn't been a cheap or easy road. One year the car might cost you $2000 to keep on the road (like it did for me in 2010). Others it might only cost you around $1000 (like it did this year)... but one thing is for sure: this is no Honda or Toyota. These Cadillac's require a little more maintenance than your average car.
:yeah:
for my 2000 seville SLS
my First year of Ownership i think i spent around 1000-1500
my second year was around was around 11k yes 11 thousand dollars in Work
this last year from December of 2010 to Dec 2011 id say around 3,000 3,500

I am really hoping since just about everything on the car is new lol i might be able to make the next year with closer to what i spent on the first year of ownership

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The 97 eldo uses ac delco shocks in the rear, and ac delco struts in the front, if one goes 3rd party on these parts they loose the ride quality this vehicle was built with, this isn't your ordinary vehicle, its quite advanced for as old it is.
Basicaly if you take a ETC and go Passive you have a ESC ride
 

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not anymore 2007 Lexus ES350
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You REALLY put that much into an old Cadillac??????.
Yes i really did
and whats funny about it i wanted to keep her on the road so i did
im sure there are some who have put more money into there cars then i do
i put more money into my car then my women Lol oh wait thats a song i think

when it comes down to it i am very happy with my car how she runs the ODO clock may say 193k but i know she only has 33k
and im happy
 
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