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Just bought a 1988 Cadillac Deville 'Creampuff Caddy'

2737 Views 12 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  77CDV
This is the first Cadillac i've ever owned. I am British, left my life in England behind and my Honda Civic, moved to California and bought this...

Cost $1900. 74000 original miles, the car has really been looked after, inside is like a time warp, the leather is perfect, all the electrics work great. It came complete with a service history and the original user manual.

Was this a good deal?, i am really happy with it.

Forgive me for asking stupid questions but does anyone know where i could get a cd player and speakers fitted that will compliment the car and not ruin the look of it. Part of me doesnt want to mess with the car at all, but i love to listen to music when i drive and 80's tape deck technology was never that great.

I really want to take care of this car, is there any general advice a first time Cadillac owner should know, especially one this old.

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I just got quite scared reading the 'I'm at the end of the road with my DeVille' thread!
First, just realize that creampuff or not, it's still a 19 year old car. Things will go wrong. Fortunately, among the many choices you could have made with older Cadillacs, you picked one of the more reliable ones, and one of the least expensive to repair.

I have an '87 that I bought 3 years ago with 47K miles for $2800, so the price paid was about right. Your car looks great, too. :thumbsup: The 4.5 is a very reliable engine that gets great mileage. You should see 23-27 highway mpg, 15-17 in town. A slightly weak transmission limits the car's life span somewhat, otherwise this engine will happily chug along into the 300K mile range and beyond.

Common problems include: Leaky or non-functional A/C. Power antenna stuck in the 'up' position. Cruise control trouble, EGR system issues. ISC (Idle Speed Control) problems, various sensors (o2, MAP, TPS) and modules (coolant fan control, HVAC blower control, programmer). Any or none of these things may need replacement on your car in years to come.

But by far the most common complaint with 4.X engine cars is head gasket and intake gasket failure. It is absolutely essential that the cooling system be maintained according the to the instructions on the radiator support panel or owners manual. I change my coolant every year as added insurance. You'll get varying opinions on this, but I use only the GM sealer supplement pellets.

Your car also has built in on-board diagnostics that are accessible through the Climate Control Panel. See the 4.X engine section sticky post at the top on how to check and interpret trouble codes.

If you're mechanically inclined, you may want to pick up a GM Factory Service manual for your car. They're generally available used on eBay, usually for $30 to $70, or you can buy a new one from Helm, Inc for about $150. Mine has saved me a couple of thousand dollars in labor costs so far.
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Congratulations! What a great DeVille you picked up. In my opinion, that was a relatively sound buy for a Cadillac with that mileage in exceptional condition.

I know there are divergent opinions regarding audio systems and swaps, yet I'd be inclined to tell you to leave the stock system as-is. Unless you have a highly-trained tech doing the install, these can get tricky-fast.

The electronic systems in these Cadillacs are very sophisticated and complex. Before you know it, once the radio has been swapped for a CD player, you may find your sentinel headlights no longer work as they should, or the power locks/windows function erratically. A Cadillac service tech once told me that it's more difficult to diagnose an electrical problem with a Cadillac than the Space Shuttle - and I'd believe it.

While a minor pain, I'd use a CD car adapter and play it through the existing tape deck. Sure, you won't get the best audio quality, but you won't compromise the electronics and you'll maintain the great stock appearance of such the wonderful Cadillac you have.

Again, congrats to you. I truly hope you'll find the U.S.A. a great place to live, and that your classic '88 DeVille gives you many wonderful years of enjoyment in sunny California. (I'm sure $ David Beckham $ will like it here, too when he heads to LA!)
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I'll second what Cadillac_Fan says about the sound system. Because this was the first American car where the entire body/electrical/drivetrain was computer controlled, the wiring is rather unique.
You got a bargain, but buy shop manual. It will help you understand different things.

I did not know about the head gaskets on the 4.X series engines. Your car is known as the "shorty cadillac."

4100 engine had cam problems, but yours has survived that situation or been repaired. If engine is not slapping now, it will not slap. (Or, again, it has been repaired.)

Good color, good car, nice ride. As some one else volunteered, do not mess with electr system. Buy a portable cd or something. (Throw a towel over it when not in use. That will keep burglars out of car. Saves broken windows too.)
Welcome to the USA. And welcome to California. You will love and hate it! :lol: Seriously, I'm located in southern California, about an hour from you called South Orange County. I grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles though, specifically, Downey, CA. You most definitely will love the weather here. Very mild compared to England. Easy to keep your car clean all the time.

I agree with the rest of the guys. Any car will need work. The older it is, the more it will need. The key is preventative maintenance. If your car is running great, now is the time to make sure all regular maintenance has been done and replace things that need replacing. Rubber hoses, weather stripping, fluids, filters, sparkplugs, etc. Simply doing that stuff will go a long way into keeping your car running great. But keep a "car fund" ready for repair bills. They will come.

As for your sound system, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of installation shops throughout Los Angeles County alone. The most difficult part is finding the right one in your area. I know of one I trust that has done work for me on several occassions but it is way out this way in south Orange County. In the mean time, you can easily play your music through your existing stereo with minimal expenditure. I would buy a portable XM Satellite Radio/MP3 player. Pioneer makes a really good one readily available through appliance stores such as Best Buy or Circuit City. Then, you can buy an adaptor to funnel the sound coming out of that player into your in-car stereo via a tape cassette adaptor or an FM transmitter. I would go this route first until you find a stereo installation shop you can trust.
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Welcome to the USA and the Cadillac World. These cars can be tricky and expensive, compared to other GM/Ford models, but if you've been dealing with European cars, nothing you find in a Caddy should be too bad. I'm also an Italian Car nut, so $100 water pumps and such are the norm...If you are coming out of a Chevy with a Small Block where everything is $19.95, then the Caddy can seem extra expensive.

I bought a 90 SDV recently myself and faced the same question as you in regards to a CD player. If your car does not have the Bose system you can easily swap in an in dash CD from other GM's. My car ended up with a AM/FM/CD from an Olds Silhouette that was a plug in/bolt in. I went to the biggest U-Pull-It in the area, pulled an original from one of the many Caddys and walked around with it until I found a match, both in mounting and electrical plug ins.

I like the OE system because there is little temptation for anyone to steal it, plus the buttons and controls are nice and big for my tired old eyes! Good luck and enjoy that sweet lookin ride!
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For sound system improvements, There is a guy on ebay selling modified stock GM radios with a MP3 plug. Works great. Maybe you could find some radio shop to do the same on your radio. heres a pic.
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Just use a cassette adapter if you dont want to mess with the stock look, the audio quality of the cassette adapter is actually better than what that system is capable of anyway, so other than the wire hanging out it should work fine with minimal expense. It also doesnt just limit you to using a CD player, but just about anything with a headphone jack.

I use one in my Escalade and I have no complaints. I could be considered an audiophile and Ive never had a problem with cassette adapters. FM Transmitters are complete and utter trash by comparison.
FM Transmitters are complete and utter trash by comparison.
True. Ever since the FCC neutered those things to broadcast with a weak signal, they've suffered badly. Dependin upon how good your FM tuner is, you will get radio drift as you drive. The cassette adaptor is much better as far as sound quality is concerned. It has has that additional wired device that goes into your cassette player.

A viable alternative is to have a stereo installation shop hook up an FM modulator directly on your car's antenna. It requires finding the wire to your antenna and unbolting some things though. Many of the Satellite Radio makers offer this "kit" that fit into pre-existing car stereo systems.
i have an itrip for my ipod i bought it for my Honda earlier this year and i agree they are absolute garbage, havent even bothered trying it with the Caddy. I bought a tape deck ipod device from frys this week and maybe the tape deck in the caddy is shitty but the quality was really bad, i guess i'll stick with the radio! thanks for the replys guys.
Belated congratulations on your new Caddy and welcome to the USA! I love those coupes, especially in the red and white color combo (though I prefer the white interior to the red). Very well bought IMO.

As to the radio, I swapped out the factory unit and speakers in my 1989 60S after the CD player died with an aftermarket unit. Al and Ed's, a SoCal chain, did the work, and it turned out very well. No resultant electrical gremlins in any of the car's other systems.

Happy motoring!

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