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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I had been looking for a 97 - 99 Deville of lately and came across one at a local GM Buick dealer. I like this body style and I'm sorry I don't care too much for the newer STS and DTS models. I had a 05 CTS fully loaded and didn't like it either so I sold it. Anyhow..... this Deville was in very very excellent shape. Not a door ding anywhere and no where could I find collision damage or repainting. This car was immaculate and 1 owner trade in on a new Buick. Sold for just over $39K new from the window sticker. That was a lot back in 97.

With what I'm reading about the North * motor's you have me a bit worried. Blown head gaskets. Wow I've never owned a vehicle and had that happen. I have aways regularly changed the thermostats in my vehicles way before a problem even has a chance of hapening with one sticking closed. Any words of wise/wisdom here to help prevent that from happening with the North*? Also it appears that Dex-Cool wasn't used in this car. I see no mention of it on the window sticker.
I guess if that would happen I would weigh in just replacing the engine based on the body condition and hey who really wants to pay $40K, $50K + for a new one out there today.

My other question is that this vehicle didn't come with a CD player only a cassette player. I checked GM parts direct and eBay seeing if they offered that on a 97. I couldn't find a radio with that option on partsdirect, none on eBay either. Does anyone know if there is a radio/CD replacement or will a 98 or 99 radio/CD replace mine?
 

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White Diamond '03 DHS (with DTS floor shift)
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'97 came with Dex. It is not listed on the window sticker. If the coolant is orange it is still Dex. If it is green it now needs to be changed every 2 years. Changing it when needed will help, but there is no guarantee.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I checked carfax and this car was a 1 owner and no reported history to raise a red flag.

I spoke with a neighbor after someone told me that he had a problem with his 98 Deville about a month ago. They were out on a trip and it blew a head gasket. A dealer in the town where it happened at did the repair work, $2800. He said that they sent the heads out to be machined and did it right. He also said that he noticed that coolant was gradually disappearing and should have caught it before going out on a trip. I believe I can find a shop to do the work for less than $2800, still far less expensive than buying a new one.
 

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1988 SDV; 1997 SDV D'Elegance
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That's a sweet car you've got there. Wouldn't happen to be Silvermist Metallic, would it? :) :)

Keep up the maintenance, check the coolant religiously, do an oil change/filter every 3,000 miles or so and you should be right as rain. Remember for every sad blown head gasket story you read on this board, there're probably 2,000 contented, NON blown head gasket'd 97-99 Deville owners out on the road profiling and generally enjoying their rides.

Take care of it and it'll take care of you - only in good ways!
 

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1992 STS / 2005 MB G500 / 2003 STS / 2006 XLR-V
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If you dont have the previous maintenance history of that car, starting to change the coolant now will help avoid problems, but its no guarantee because with the coolant changes, damage already done will continue to worsen, its not a reversible process.

Unfortunately most people dont find that coolant changes are a necessary part of vehicle maintenance and focus so much on oil changes, which quite frankly are less important for a N* car at consistent intervals.

Its a nice car, but nothing you find on Carfax (outside of again, a service history which they have sometimes) or no matter how pretty it looks, is going to save you from headgasket woes. Its an unfortunate thing but 97-99 for some reason have at least lately been our worst offenders for HG problems here. Its cyclical though, as a particular year gets older, we start seeing more problems with it.

As far as the price to fix headgaskets on a Northstar and *DO IT RIGHT, WITH TIMESERTS*? Youd be lucky to get someone to do it for less than 2500.00.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks for all of your input everyone.

I thought it over some more and walked away from buying it. I called around to several good repair shops and the one I had hoped would do a HG replacement said that they wouldn't even touch it. They told me to check it thoroughly they would need it a day or so to do a pressure test. I visually checked the coolant and from what it looked like maybe the original but one can hardly tell. I base that on what the underside of the cap looked like.

Something clued me that something was wrong with this car. When I first looked at it and started it up it was hard to start and backfired in the intake manifold it sounded like. When I went back to the dealer today to get my deposit back I thought well I would check it out again. Perhaps from it sitting and the engine cleaning they did with moisture caused this. When I and the salesman tried to start it again it did it again. I told the salesman something wasn't right. Then I inquired about contacting the previous owner to see if I could get some maintenance history or just to talk with them. Supposedly they tried to phone them when we went back inside. They told me that the previous owner(s) didn't want to talk to me or be bothered, an elderly couple. The salesman said that he could get another $500 knocked off. I sort of laughed to myself and thought I'll offer them $750 for it in cash, out the door.

Like I told someone else likely the previous owners were told something was wrong and to dump it. So they did. Now if the dealer, non Cadillac, knew about the Northstar problems, they didn't seem to think so.

When I asked the repair shops about the hard starting they basically said walk away from it. Could be coolant in the cylinders or engine electrical problems.

Later this afternoon my brother stopped by. Him and his wife have owned several Deville's and he said the last one was a piece of $hit with the NS engine. He said his began to suck up the oil really bad and burn it.

My heart sunk on this and I definitely considered many options.

So now I'm waiting to see the new CTS. Not that I care too much for the style but we'll see.
 
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