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2003 CTS
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4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've been looking around for a cool daily driver and I've discovered the CTS and I'm way impressed... Where have these cars been all my life?

Please bear with a few FNG questions...I actually did a Google search for a few things and came up mostly empty. I'm down to purchasing either a low miles (45k) 2003 CTS with the sport package or a base 2007 3.6 with 76k. I'm concerned about 2003 being the first of the CTSs and the 3.2 engine.

I see a lot online about the 3.2 vs the 3.6, some of it on here. Which one do you guys prefer? Is the 3.2 a Cadillac-only engine? I'm a decent mechanic (probably a lot worse and a lot better) with access to a very good shop, lift, air, etc...

I've read on here about the suggested trans cooler mod. Got it...anything else to look for?? The 2003 has had the head gaskets replaced (way early, like 7k miles, according to the CarFax) and a heater core replaced. Is that common shite?

I like the 17" wheels on the 2003 vs the base 16" wheels on the 2007. Will 18s fit on a first-gen CTS? Will second gen wheels fit on a first gen? I ask because I see a lot of wheels listed on here.

I get used cars and the inherent risk, but I want to know what to look for and I believe in asking enthusiasts for their opinions. I'm a Jeep guy and believe me, there's a huge underground following with them that has proved invaluable.

Thanks, guys...I'll send pics when I buy one.

Fred
 

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05 CTS
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53 Posts
3.6 is better imo, but you WILL have problems with the timing chains, oil consumption, and the driveline. iirc the 3.2 is the 3.6 but with a thicker sleeve in the cylinders to reduce displacement/power and give it better gas mileage. none of the problems are very difficult to remedy however.

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smaller wheels perform "better"
 

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04 cts
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12 Posts
just from reading forum postings here the 3.2 engines have more problems. 76k for a 07 is still low miles and would be my pick imo
 

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2003 CTS 1SC Luxury Sport
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1,017 Posts
The 3.2 and 3.6 are not even in the same family. The 3.2 does not have thicker sleeves for displacement. It is the only 56 degree v6 made, it is an Opel engine and a revamped version of the problematic 3.0. The 3.2 doesn't have the head gasket issues like the 3.0 did. The 3.2 had issues with oil cooler,and the timing belt which leads to bent valves is due to owner neglect, and valve cover gaskets due to PCV. The 3.6 has timing chain issues, burnt valve issues, oil consumption issues, and common for coil packs. The dealership I work at does 4-6 3.6 timing chains per week. The 3.2 was available for first 2 years of production in the US but used throughout in Europe.
 

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07' CTS-V | 07' Lux 3.6 Volant-Borla-Vsways | 08' CTS 3.6 DI Performance
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969 Posts
07 man, 07.

But do watch out for oil consumption. If I were you I would take that I'm planning on buying and take it to a good mechanic and have him do a compression and leak down tests.
If there is a hint of oil burning walk away, unless you want to be topping off oil every 250-500 miles like me.
 

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'07 CTS 3.6 FE5 Blk/Blk 'Nadine'
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1,165 Posts
It would be nice to know how many owners, svc. history etc., it seems to me that the two big things are trans cooler failure and timing chains .
Buy the '07 and you've got one problem (chains) covered until 120k mi. or '017 rolls around on the house anyway .
 

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2003 CTS
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4 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Was the timing chain a GM recall? Is it likely that the timing chain has been replaced already via recall or it is a warranty issue that covers the timing chain if/when it fails?
 

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2003 CTS 1SC Luxury Sport
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1,017 Posts
Timing chain is not a recall nor technically an extended warranty. It's a special coverage for those that have the issue (95% do) to cover repairs for the chains. It does not cover if they fail and bend valves, it's only if they're noisy or throwing codes. The recall is for the oil life monitor which is a joke. If you PM the last 8 of the VIN I can tell you if they've been done.
 
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