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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
My first post here. Please forgive me if I ask silly questions but I'd really like your advice
on 1978 Cadillac Coupe DeVille (2 door). One showed up locally so I arranged to see it. It turned
out to be a beauty, gold/brown color, 1 owner 50K KM on car, all original, including radio and CB (with
"Cadillac" written on it). It has very little rust, mostly a bit on the engine. It starts right up. drives A++
and idles evenly, purrs. There are a couple of issues. One windshield wiper doesn't work and the
trunk lock needs attention and I think that's it. I was already to purchase the car but then had a
quick look at what wiper motors go for and was shocked. Online retailers quoted
over 500 bucks. Are parts really that much more expensive for a Cadillac vs say a Buick for the
same year? I have some experience with Buicks, mostly from my parents and parts were always
very cheap. I don't know what I should do. I love the look and feel of this DeVille but the prices
for parts made me rethink my plans. I'm won't be doing my own servicing so makes me wonder
about the cost too, vs a non-luxury car......
Can you give me some advice? I really want this car but if it's gonna be so expensive to
fix and maintain, I'd be worried. I have no problem putting 1000K or so per year
on maintenance / servicing but am worried it's gonna turn out to be 5 x more! Oh, and by the way,
the seller (who's a old war veteran) only wants $3000 for it (about 2400 USD). Thanks for any and
all advice.
 

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1980 FBC
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3,163 Posts
Grab a wiper motor from a later junker. They were quite similar for many years. Stay far away from anyone or anyplace that quotes 600 dollars for a wiper motor for this car.

Best of luck!!!
 

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1979 Phaeton Coupe, 1990 Brougham d'Elegance 5.7 liter
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4,416 Posts
At this point in time, maintaining a 1978 Cadillac should cost basically the same as a 1978 Chevrolet, Buick, or what have you. There's a good handful of parts that even enterchange between them. If it's as nice as it sounds, I'd say that's a fair price on the car. Pictures always help though. :)
 
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1995 SEDAN DEVILLE-4.9 & 1978 SEDAN DEVILLE-425
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I have a mint 1978 Cadillac Sedan Deville and have had no problems so far getting parts for it.
Most parts I have needed have come from EBAY.
"Selective" shopping for parts on EBAY and other car parts sites can really keep your parts costs down to a minimum.
Fair price for the `78 Coupe Deville.
Post some pictures of it if you can.
 

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87 Brougham, 1969 Calais, 95 FWB, 07 SRX, 07 ESV
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for that price, I'd buy it! As others have said, shop around for parts. Rockauto.com is a great resource, as well as ebay if you're careful.
 

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84 Coupe w/500
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Lol, $500 for a wiper motor, that's impressive. Car definately sounds like it's worth it. These cars are not expensive to fix. You should get a service manual so the shop will have reference on your 30+ year old car when you bring it in for repairs.
 

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1983 FWB (Mac), 1981 SDV (Junkyard Dog)
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And if it's only one wiper that doesn't work I'd guess that you don't need to replace the wiper motor at all.Problem is likely somewhere in the linkage if the other wiper works. Doesn't sound like a reason not to buy the car. Get busy and go for it!

Cheers.................R.
 

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2014 ELR
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100% agree with Robin. If one wiper works, the motor's not bad. It's the linkage (maybe) or the wiper arm is stripped on the shaft (likely, and really easy to change).

Post some pics, and also let us know where you are. You probably have at least one local guy to help you out. It might be me...
 

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1977 Coupe (blue), 1977 Coupe (yellow), 1977 Coupe (green)
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Sounds like an arm separated from the socket. I have the transmissions for these if needed
 

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Discussion Starter #12
WOW! I hadn't expected so many helpful replies. Thanks so much to all of you and sorry also for taking this long to reply.
My initial viewing may have had a touch too much emotion and less objectivity. I had returned the 2nd time to see the vehicle and
noted several issues, which may or may not influence my purchase. I made some photos to post on this forum. Now that the
"parts" issue has be resolved (thanks again for that), I'm now worried about the rust (which by the way seemed to have been
sanded off somewhat from what I had seen before and reported to the seller). Please take a look at all the photos I tried to make
of the possible issue areas. Again, the car starts right up, it's all original and performs just fine. Problems are issues mentioned
previously (confirming that BOTH wipers don't work, busted trunk lock with emblem missing, some rust on engine,
upholstery somewhat worn, carpet needs cleaning, crack in plastic bottom of door). Many photos attached. First photos are from seller's
ad (beauty shots) and the rest are mine in person, showing the not so beautiful. I may have to post extra photos in another reply due
to space constraints.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I had hoped to put collector plates on it but judging by the criteria, I would have to put a lot of work into it first, remove the
rust, clean and repair the cosmetic and operational issues etc... I don't know if it's worth it anymore....
 

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87 Brougham, 1969 Calais, 95 FWB, 07 SRX, 07 ESV
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It doesn't look that bad. All of the surface rust under the hood can be treated and painted with rattle cans making it quick and easy to fix.

Body looks pretty clean, the gaps and lines all line up nice. Paint looks decent.

I'd say go for it. Give yourself maybe a $2,000 budget (over time) to buy and replace some of the faded interior, damaged, or missing parts. If you enjoy working on the car yourself I'd say this car is a great little project, one you can drive and enjoy while you work on it.
 

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86 Bronco, 74 Ford LTD,1999 Deville, 1977 Coupe Deville
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On the other hand, if you pay someone else to do all of the work an old car can be a HUGE money pit.
Do you know that on old cars the odometer " rolls over" after 100,000 ?
A car this age can just as easy have 150,000 or 250,000 as 50,000 on it & you'd never know from the odometer.
I've looked at many old cars that obviously did not have the advertised "Low mileage" the seller claimed.
If the broken rear bumper fillers bother you, that will be a high dollar item for a body shop to fix for you.
If your not experienced, you may want to first take this car to a shop for a pro inspection. It could be money down the drain. But save you from buying something with more issues than you want to pay for. No way to tell from pics.
Looks nice for the money to me.
It's a lot of luxury for $3000.00 Canadian.
Try for a lower offer though as always! Heh..Heh
 

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1979 Phaeton Coupe, 1990 Brougham d'Elegance 5.7 liter
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Brake master cylindars literally always rust on these. They were untreated metal from the factory.That's nothing to worry about. All other rust you posted is also under hood, and it's only a light surface patina. This stuff happens, no biggie. Check the door jams, around the bottom edge of the trunk, and the chassis for rust. Those are the places that are more telling. Looks like a great car from what I can see. The 2nd to last picture you posted is of a crumbling rubber bumper filler. Those always fall apart, par for the course. Reproductions are made. Is the trunk lock itself broken, or just the cosmetic cover? The cover can be drilled out and replaced rather simply. Seats don't look bad for a driver of this vintage.

Really, it looks like a very solid car with a few minor issues that are all very common. We've all been there, so any questions just ask here and we'll keep you taken care of!
 
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77 CDV, 06 DTS III, 69 FWB
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Everything Ben said is true. These are not expensive cars to maintain, and parts are very reasonable. One other place you should look for rust is around the edge of the vinyl top, especially on the sides. Is the vinyl top in good shape? No tears or cracking? I can't really tell from the pictures. Also, check carefully to be sure that factory astroroof isn't leaking. That can be a major headache. Judging from the wear I can see on the driver's seat, I'd say this is a 150,000 mile car. However, the 425 V8 and TH400 transmission in this car are near indestructible. With proper care, they'll both go well over 250K miles.

Given the relatively minor cosmetics and mechanical fixes needed, and the fact the the car has the d'Elegance interior option, 3000 USD is not a bad price, though I'd try to get it for 2500 myself. The most important thing to remember is that this is a 40 year old car. It isn't perfect. Things will break or wear out, and you must be prepared to live with that reality. Other than that, buy it, fix it up as time and money allow, and enjoy it! :)
 

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1990 Brougham, 1990 Brougham d'elgance 1979 Coupe
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Brake master cylindars literally always rust on these. They were untreated metal from the factory.That's nothing to worry about. All other rust you posted is also under hood, and it's only a light surface patina. This stuff happens, no biggie. Check the door jams, around the bottom edge of the trunk, and the chassis for rust. Those are the places that are more telling. Looks like a great car from what I can see. The 2nd to last picture you posted is of a crumbling rubber bumper filler. Those always fall apart, par for the course. Reproductions are made. Is the trunk lock itself broken, or just the cosmetic cover? The cover can be drilled out and replaced rather simply. Seats don't look bad for a driver of this vintage.

Really, it looks like a very solid car with a few minor issues that are all very common. We've all been there, so any questions just ask here and we'll keep you taken care of!
I bought a can or "cast iron engine paint" sprayed it into the cap and used a foam brush to paint the master cylinder on my 79. Its not as easy as it sounds, as I spent quite a bit of time cleaning the cylinder and masking it off but it turned out nice, a little more shiney that I expected but looks much better than the rust.

My opinion of the car posted would be to buy it. Im surprised its still availbale, as its a very desireable year.
 
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