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'93 Fleetwood Brougham...Dad's
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Discussion Starter #1
Finally did it....

Just happened to stumble upon a '95 Brougham for sale at a local used car lot when I was doing my usual surfing on Autotrader.com. Emailed them to ask if it was still available and the owner got back to me saying it was, but a few people had also inquired about it from Autotrader like me--but he would get back to me if it sold before I got there.

Specs:
-'95 Fleetwood Brougham...they have an AutoTrader price of $4,995
-117k miles, local car all its life (eastern shore MD/DE)
-Marblehead Metallic w/ light Beige leather
-Full-size spare
-...looking up the other option codes as I type, so I'll add any of those later...
Pulled up and was thrilled to see how nice of shape it was in--paint was gleaming, all trim was tight and looked great, and the vinyl roof was perfect. Also has a set of relatively fresh Michelins on it, but they were blackwalls, so it didn't look *that* amazing. Also, the beige leather all looked great and the only defect was one little tear by the driver's side seat controls (VERY common, as you all know).

Took a look around and inside, and the guy came out to see who I was. Told him I emailed about it and asked if it was open and he told me it was. Looked all around the inside, checked out the seats, etc. and then asked for the keys--went inside, and came back with a license plate and the keys. "Just throw the plate on the dash and take it for a spin".:bouncy:

Well, to cut a long story short, the newer LT1 definately has a quieter idle than my '93 and started up immediately. Went to pull out (they're along a highway) and smoked the tires...whoops...:rolleyes:

My impressions:
-LT1 power seems nice and "zingier" than my TBI '93, but honestly not all that much more powerful. Seemed like it would rev quicker and was a lot like the 5.3L in our Suburban, to be honest.
-Steering seemed a LOT tighter than my '93, which I really enjoyed, and which also made me think something on the '93 is really worn...
-Seemed like something might have dragged or, well, I don't know, when I was on the brakes--but it might also have been that at least one of the front tires looked pretty low. Then again, it was about 35 deg. out and the tires might just have been cold.
-Shifted crisply and without any delay, and kicked down really well when I planted it
-REALLY like the bigger, better placed mirrors--didn't have the wind noise my '93 with the stupid little mirrors seems to

Overall, REALLY liked the car and enjoyed the LT1, but my socks weren't blown off as I was kinda expecting. Definately felt like a newer, revvier powertrain than my TBI 350, but when I got back in the '93 to go home, it felt like an old friend...smooth, torquey as hell, and even balsier than the LT1 did at times. The LT1 car could definately kick my '93s arse from a red light, but it didn't have that cool "turbine-like" feel I've always enjoyed with mine.

In truth, it was in better shape than mine--no loose or faded moldings, flawless vinyl top, etc. Only bugs I noticed were the tiny slit in the driver's seat, the kick panel underneath the steering column was hanging down a little, and that the bottom of the power door lock button on the driver's door had sunked in, so you could only unlock from that one.

Regardless, I loved the damn thing, and would buy it in a second--I just gotta figure out if I have the full $5k right now myself and the 'rents would be willing to let me park it somewhere (not really any driveway space left...). So, at the moment, it's a bit like Dopestar's deal.

Anyway, here's the pics (not great, but I did my best given that they were kinda looking at me weird when I was in picture mode...):







 

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'93 Fleetwood Brougham...Dad's
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Discussion Starter #3
Katshot said:
Nice car. Seems like nice last gen. Fleetwoods are getting harder to find so if you're serious, you might want to grab it. I noticed it's an early '95 as evidenced by the old-style armrest.
Precisely my thoughts. Today, even finding a badly colored '93 TBI car is hard enough....stumbling upon a '95 LT1 that's not only in a beautiful color combo, but in awesome shape overall for under $5k is next to impossible.

I'm always interested in the "under $5k" cars, but all I ever seem to find anymore are not so nice '93s or really ragged '94s, a lot of which are never in very nice colors. And they're usually quite a distance away too.

This one has all the good attributes (and I certainly gave it a shake down:cool2: ), is a very good price, is at a very well respected family run dealer, AND is just 30 mins away. I keep thinking "just wait until spring...just wait until spring" because I'm only halfway through my current year of college, but I think if I keep waiting, the pickings are only going to get slimmer.

When I told the guy I had emailed someone about it, he kind of smiled and said "Oh...you saw it on Autotrader, didn't you?", apparently because a few people have been inquiring, but I've been one of the only ones to actually see and drive the car, since I live so close.

I'll be back at work tomorrow--the bank--and am definately going to try and figure out if there's a way I can make it happen.
 

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Different armrest? what did they do different? Mine is that one. Is it more like my mom's 97 Deville armrest? (twin popout cupholders?)

Katshot said:
Nice car. Seems like nice last gen. Fleetwoods are getting harder to find so if you're serious, you might want to grab it. I noticed it's an early '95 as evidenced by the old-style armrest.
Nice ride! nearly a twin to mine except mine is a 94 with the same side mirrors you have now. Drop in 3.42's or 3.73's and it might bet better at knocking your socks off.
 

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I'm sure you've read about teh exhaust bolts breaking on the lt1's give it a check before you buy it and if there are missing bolts you can definitely get the price to go lower or maaaaaybe get them to fix it.

A broken exhaust bolt on the heads would definitely caused decreased its really hard to know if that '95 u drove is properly tuned etc. on my caddy I remember when i bought it the car blew my socks off I was so amazed by the power but shortly after it lost its power for about 2 years and then I found the missing exhaust bolt that was causing a hissing sound. After I replaced that exhaust bolt everything has been back to normal.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
ocjmakaveli said:
I'm sure you've read about teh exhaust bolts breaking on the lt1's give it a check before you buy it and if there are missing bolts you can definitely get the price to go lower or maaaaaybe get them to fix it.

A broken exhaust bolt on the heads would definitely caused decreased its really hard to know if that '95 u drove is properly tuned etc. on my caddy I remember when i bought it the car blew my socks off I was so amazed by the power but shortly after it lost its power for about 2 years and then I found the missing exhaust bolt that was causing a hissing sound. After I replaced that exhaust bolt everything has been back to normal.
Interesting. I had read something quickly, but never really focused on it since we only have 2 TBI cars. It's just the bolts holding the manifold on to the engine, right?

N0DIH said:
Different armrest? what did they do different? Mine is that one. Is it more like my mom's 97 Deville armrest? (twin popout cupholders?)

Nice ride! nearly a twin to mine except mine is a 94 with the same side mirrors you have now. Drop in 3.42's or 3.73's and it might bet better at knocking your socks off.
Well, the late '95s and all '96s got an armrest that had a solid lid, front to back, and two cupholders that sorta popout of the front--probably like the Deville one you mentioned.

As for the back gears, I confirmed it has the typical Brougham 2:93's, which I LOVE in the '93 as is. The power is something I'm having trouble describing--DEFINATELY peppier than my TBI and didn't need as much of a punch to jump off the line, but not all that different from the '93 overall. Then again, I've always been amazed at how fast my '93 feels, so maybe IT is the oddball;) Overall, I'd just say that it had some serious guts, and really did feel like there was something "sports-performance car" related under the hood.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Did some decoding:

N08: Lock Control, Fuel Filler Door Remote Controlled
N81: Tires, Spare Fullsize
03U: Primary Color, Exterior, Marblehead Grey Metallic (Very PURTY:yup: )
52I: Interior Trim, Lt Neutral (1)

So, it seems like a car about as lightly optioned (basically nothing) as our '93. Only question--what's the fuel filler door lock, ACTUALLY? I have a general idea, but didn't really look at that or mess with it.
 

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fuel filler door lock is pretty cool just keeps the license plate from opening when the doors are locked honestly if someone wants to open it they will with a screwdriver its not too tough but if say someone doesn't know where the gas filler is and they tug on the license plate it won't move so they will have a hard time knowing where to put the gas/crap in.

the exhaust bolts are the ones that bolt to the engine holding the manifold in place they break for many different reaons IMO I htink they break because there are so few of them compared to teh deville that has twice as many bolts etc. and almost the same hp the fwb only has 6 bolts per side

Also when i replaced my right side manifold theres this one piece on the rear of the manifold that was missing when i bought it I read they are made differently now the prevent the rear bolts from breaking.

This is a very common problem at least 50 people have had this problem who knows how many are out there with this problem.

I got a broken bolt with only 50,000 miles on my car it was all stock when it happened too.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
ocjmakaveli said:
fuel filler door lock is pretty cool just keeps the license plate from opening when the doors are locked honestly if someone wants to open it they will with a screwdriver its not too tough but if say someone doesn't know where the gas filler is and they tug on the license plate it won't move so they will have a hard time knowing where to put the gas/crap in.

the exhaust bolts are the ones that bolt to the engine holding the manifold in place they break for many different reaons IMO I htink they break because there are so few of them compared to teh deville that has twice as many bolts etc. and almost the same hp the fwb only has 6 bolts per side

Also when i replaced my right side manifold theres this one piece on the rear of the manifold that was missing when i bought it I read they are made differently now the prevent the rear bolts from breaking.

This is a very common problem at least 50 people have had this problem who knows how many are out there with this problem.

I got a broken bolt with only 50,000 miles on my car it was all stock when it happened too.
GOOD stuff to know. Do the bolts just snap off or what? And as far as replacing, it's pretty much just putting new ones in where they're missing--or is there a whole mess of extracting the broken off end?

Regardless, doesn't sound like too much of a problem. Anybody run into transmission issues on their LT1 cars? There seems to be a general consensus over on at least one of the Impala SS boards that the trans in the '94-96 LT1 cars is a bit weak and failure prone, but I honestly don't know--then again, it could also just be that they're more apt to beat the hell out of and race their cars, so who knows.

Any other, common, '95 (or just '94-96) issues that are easy to spot? I know of pretty much all the physical body and interior "bugs", but not so much when it comes to the mechanicals on the newer ones. Everything about this car seemed very right and very well cared for, and it didn't seem to have even close to the 117k miles on it--like I said, even better feeling and tighter than my '93 with less miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Now just have to come up with the cash (or whatever) and scoff it up before some other onlooker who wouldn't care for it as well comes knocking...

Even if it has to sit outside covered and uninsured until next spring, I think the chances of finding another this new and this nice for so little will get smaller and smaller.

Ahhh...what a Fleetwood does to a person:D
 

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GO FOR IT! Damn that thing is nice!
 

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I still can't believe in the past 50 years of GM building SB's, that this ever happened. GM has built 10's of millions engines with Grade 8 bolts, and then someone switches it....

Probably some production line shortage of Grade 8 and someone made a decision to put on a different bolt because they could get it. Or some cost reduction that got pushed through without engineering approval.

I have seen it in my industry. "We are short of this 10K resistor, can we put a 12K on??" NO, it was designed with a 10K, not a 12K!!!! We used to fill them in a book called "Factory Follies"

ocjmakaveli said:
the bolts usually break off

most dealers will take a deposit and hold the car for upto a month so they dont sell it
 

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GM engineers told me at the time that the breaking manifold bolts was caused by the wrong size (length) being used. The bolts were installed as usual and torqued as usual but they had basically bottomed-out in the holes and were fractured by the torquing. I also heard that they were just plain over-torqued. Personally, I think it also has to do with the fact that the rear cylinders tend to run a little hotter, so they created a greater amount of thermal cycling on the rear manifold bolts (the rear manifold bolts tend to be the ones that break most). There was also a few that cracked the right-side manifold too.
 

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Now that would make sense, but still hard to believe with 40-50 years of experience in small blocks alone, let alone any other GM engine, that they would have ever allow this to happen.

Mine broke the back on the driver's side, but too cold to mess with right now. Maybe if I do get some time off next week I can mess with it in my brother in laws heated garage. It is just 45 min away, so if I need something, it is a long way back to get it.

I bought an angle drill attachment for my dremel that will handle small drill bits, just perfect sizes to fit in the middle of the broken bolts. I am hoping that I can do it w/o removing the manifold, I have an idea, but I have to try. It will be hard to do that way, as the steering is in the way too. May not be possible too.
 

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I've done every manifold bolt IN THE CAR. It's not easy but it's possible. On the driver's side, just disconnect the steering shaft at the top and push it out of the way. I use an angle air-drill, acetylene torch, and short screw extractors. Works everytime! Make sure to use a center punch on the screw though, and start with the smallest bit and work your way up. I don't think I ever used anything bigger than a 3/16" bit though. Too likely to go off the screw and into the head. Once you do that, you're screwed!
 

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Katshot said:
Too likely to go off the screw and into the head. Once you do that, you're screwed!
Boy, that sounds familiar. :bomb:

I bought my FW with two broken bolts on the driver's side and attempted to extract them myself. Managed to drill off center (it is very hard to get the angle just right with the right angle attachment and lack of room in there) and cause damage. :banghead:

But then I decided that if I have to take the engine apart, then it's getting a new camshaft. :sneaky: It all went downhill from there... or uphill maybe! I love that darn car and can't stop modifying it.

FYI...
The way I heard it is that GM used grade 5 or 6 bolts for the exhaust manifolds for all iron-headed LT1 engines which is bad for the application due to heat. Never heard about length being incorrect, but may be the case AFAIK. I always suspected that the rears usually broke due to weight on the back on the manifold being a strees point since the cat converters are just below the rear area. I'm sure combined with extra heat this caused major problems.
Even some LT1 exhaust manifolds were known to break and crack themselves, under the heat shields where you can't see the crack.
 

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What did you use the torch for?

Just to heat things up? I am hoping the manifold doesn't have to come out.

My thoughts are to make a sleeve that fits in the bolt hole, then drill a hole in it that is dead center, then insert the sleeve in the hole, and then drill so I keep on center. Then extract the bolt. with or without the sleeve, depends on if it needs support or not. Shouldn't matter, right?

Were the bolts loose or really tight in there?

Katshot said:
I've done every manifold bolt IN THE CAR. It's not easy but it's possible. On the driver's side, just disconnect the steering shaft at the top and push it out of the way. I use an angle air-drill, acetylene torch, and short screw extractors. Works everytime! Make sure to use a center punch on the screw though, and start with the smallest bit and work your way up. I don't think I ever used anything bigger than a 3/16" bit though. Too likely to go off the screw and into the head. Once you do that, you're screwed!
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
All this broken bolts talk is certainly interesting...in a negative kind of way, I guess:suspense: Doesn't sound like a fun fix, but the damn car is so nice *if* it had the problem, I guess it wouldn't be too much of a chore to fix.

On another note, here's an update as of today:

-Good News: Money situation, at least as far as buying, is A-okay. After checking my accounts (what a collection...), the $5k price is well within my budget.

-Bad News: Parents (well, at least one of them, that is) agree that I could easily afford to buy the car--"That's no problem at all", as mother dearest agreed--but then that the insurance would be the deal breaker. Trying to figure something out as I type this...hmm...

A funny part? My father seems part jealous that I found such a great car for so cheap (compared to his/our current '93 at least) and a bit miffed that I would really want another one...as of late, it's not his favorite car, to the extent that he said "NO. Definately won't be making that mistake again." when I was joking around about a couple '94s that were for sale in the local paper this week. Well, that, and he still thinks of the Roadmaster as the beloved child and as "the superior car" to the Fleetwood...but that's his problem.

Argh...so the only issue, trully, standing in my way right now, is the damn insurance, which was quite an ignorant oversight to forget on my part:rolleyes:

It'd be REALLY nice if I saw the keys to the beast under the tree this weekend, but don't think that will be happening just yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Going to try and smooze a bit more tomorrow and see if I can work something out over the whole insurance deal. The more I think about it, I'm just crossing my fingers that it doesn't get sold out from under me.

More thoughts on the LT1 power:
-Yesterday, having driven there 35 minutes in my '93 TBI car, the difference in overall power didn't seem drastically different, but the LT1 car definately was peppier and I *thought* was a lot like the feel of the 5.3L in my mom's 2wd Suburban--NOT so. Just drove that behemoth around a bit today and it definately feels like a slug with a lot of dead spots in the rev range (mostly due to poor trans gearing and a weird throttle). So, in thought, I think the LT1'r could definately take on the TBI car throughout the entire rev and speed range, and would just obliterate the Suburban--which I always thought was one of the punchiest rides I'd driven.

Oh, and strangely enough, the '95 LT1 also seemed quieter and to have LESS of an exaust note than my single piped '93. Roared a bit when I floored it and it kicked down, but otherwise seemed almost a little too quiet. Not bad, just quiet--but that can be a good thing.

Wish it was mine already:rolleyes:
 
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