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'90 Fleetwood S&S Victoria Hearse
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Discussion Starter #1
Found a 1991 Cadillac Brougham S&S Victoria hearse with the 5.7L RWD engine.
Has 123,093 miles, but the last inspection was due April 2013, and the registration expired November 2012.
He's asking $3,900. (It's a used car lot [same business owner for 20 years]. He's had it since December. Purchased from auction.)

Here's the craigslist listing:
http://houston.craigslist.org/cto/4898235003.html

Went to see it, and not gonna lie, it's perdy, but it does have issues:

The Good:
• Cosmetically "fair" and very clean inside an out.
• Starts right up.
• Engine seems to idle smoothly without any hiccups.
• Exhaust "purrs" and don't hear any exhaust leaks.
• Revs really strong. Motor mounts good.
• All exterior lights front and back seem to work (save for the opera lights on the sides. Could just need a bulb.)
• Heater works
• Coolant reservoir is a clear green and is at appropriate levels

The Bad:
• horn not sounding (could be a fuse or the horn itself, haven't checked fusebox yet).
• dome lights in front were on, but shorted out sometime during my inspection, but in the back casket compartment, they still light up.
• A/C doesn't work (what old Caddy's A/C works anyway? I've had 6 (5 hearses; 1 limo) in the past and none of them had functioning A/Cs.)
• Both window motors extremely sluggish.
• Wiper motor sluggish, and switch a bit faulty. Can't turn it off once it is on without jiggling it past the "off" and "mist" part of the switch.
• Washer Fluid full, but it does not spray.
• Check Engine light comes on like clockwork after idling for 7-10 minutes. Checked the codes by pressing "OFF" and "WARMER" and had a "48" and a "23". (I could not find out what these mean. I found a list of FWD codes online, but it has an "E" preceding the number. These are just two-digit numbers as indicated by the A/C display.)
• Apparently was sitting for 2 years before the auction.
• Dealer told me it was owned by a funeral vehicle leasing company before auction.
• When first fired up, it was emitting a bluish white smoke (not like white oil smoke) from tailpipe, but it cleared out after about 30 sec. (On another visit, when I started it up, no smoke at all. Old gas?)
• It's a '91. This is bad because it is subject to emissions testing here in Harris County, Houston, Texas. (It'll be exempt next year when it turns 25 years old.)
• 3 tires seem decent/sub-par, but one is really bad, half-deflated, and has cracks. Can't test drive until it's been swapped with the really nice full-size spare I found in the compartment underneath the rollers in the back.
• No door keys!! Will have to have a new one reverse-engineered by a locksmith via the keyhole in the glove box. ($75 quote.)

Without test driving, and knowing he's had it since December, I told him that it has too much I'd have to fix to get it road worthy and to pass emissions test, and that I'd take it off his hands for $1500. He declined, we went our separate ways. That night, I saw that he had called me while I was at work. I texted him back and asked him if he called. He said, "I must have called you back by mistake." I told him, "I'm sorry, you're not going to get $3900 for that hearse as-is. There's too much wrong with it." 10 minutes passes and he messages me, "$2500 cash as-is". Just like that, he lopped $1900 off of it!! I told him, "That sounds tempting, but I'd have to test drive it first. I'm not agreeing to anything, but I'll come back to test drive it." I'm going back sometime this week to do so. I'll also hire one of those "mobile mechanics" to come out and do a pre-sale inspection and to see what else it needs to pass emissions test, test integrity of alternator and battery, etc.

What I still have to test/unanswered questions:
• Take it for a test drive (once they swap out that bad tire).
• Brakes good?
• Shifting smoothly?
• Speedometer/Odometer works?
• Gas gauge works? (It indicates a full tank.)

My only concern taking it for a test drive other than that tire is, if it's been sitting for two years before December 2014, is that old gas harming the engine? Would the transmission fluid need to be changed? Would the oil that is in it now be okay to take it on a short test drive?

So... if those last questions ↑ check out, would YOU buy this if you had a hankering for a hearse? And is $2500 a good deal? I sure have a lot to do to get it on the road and legal, and who knows what else I have to do to get rid of that Check Engine light.

What is a good price for this vehicle, or should I just walk away? Also, any other input as to what to check for would be appreciated. Thank you. Been a long time lurker of this forum seeking Cadillac maintenance advice, and this is my first post. In my experience, no one here owns Cadillacs; the Cadillacs own YOU.





********THIS CONCLUDES MY POST. BELOW IS THE CARFAX REPORT FOR THIS VEHICLE THAT I ORDERED.********





♦ OVERVIEW

• No accident / damage reported to CARFAX
• 25 Detailed records available
• 123,093 Last reported odometer reading {This was what was displayed on the odometer. Perhaps it doesn't drive, they didn't drive it at all since auction, or the odometer is stuck?!}
• CARFAX Price Adjustment: Worth $510 less than retail book value {Tried to come up with a figure from the NADA website, but I didn't know what special features to plug in since it is a hearse, so I just added them all, and it made his initial $3900 offer seem generous.}


♦ HISTORY

03/12/1991
800
Nebraska Motor Vehicle Dept.
Omaha, NE
Title #00000570955
Title issued or updated
First owner reported

07/22/1996
892
Iowa Motor Vehicle Dept.
Omaha, NE
Title #43W006309
Title issued or updated

11/20/2002
99,748
Texas Inspection Station
Dallas, TX
Passed emissions or safety inspection

01/08/2003
Texas Motor Vehicle Dept.
Sugar Land, TX
Title #05746637594144331
Title issued or updated
New owner reported

10/01/2003
Texas Motor Vehicle Dept.
Sugar Land, TX
Title #05746637594144331
Title issued or updated

11/13/2003
113,813
Texas Inspection Station
Houston, TX
Passed emissions or safety inspection

12/01/2003
Texas Motor Vehicle Dept.
Sugar Land, TX
Title #05746637594144331
Title issued or updated
Passed safety inspection

12/01/2004
Texas Motor Vehicle Dept.
Sugar Land, TX
Title #05746637594144331
Title issued or updated
Passed safety inspection

12/28/2004
120,270
Texas Inspection Station
Houston, TX
Passed emissions or safety inspection

02/08/2006
121,810
Texas Inspection Station
Houston, TX
Failed emissions or safety inspection

02/11/2006
121,815
Texas Inspection Station
Houston, TX
Passed emissions or safety inspection

02/15/2007
122,182
Texas Inspection Station
Houston, TX
Passed safety inspection
Failed emissions inspection

02/16/2007
122,206
Texas Inspection Station
Houston, TX
Passed safety inspection
Passed emissions inspection

03/04/2008
122,521
Texas Inspection Station
Sugar Land, TX
Passed emissions inspection

12/01/2008
Texas Motor Vehicle Dept.
Sugar Land, TX
Title #05746637594144331
Registration issued or renewed
Passed safety inspection

03/10/2009
122,731
Texas Inspection Station
Sugar Land, TX
Passed emissions inspection

12/01/2009
Texas Motor Vehicle Dept.
Sugar Land, TX
Title #05746637594144331
Registration issued or renewed
Passed safety inspection

03/25/2010
122,985
Texas Inspection Station
Sugar Land, TX
Passed emissions inspection

12/01/2010
Texas Motor Vehicle Dept.
Sugar Land, TX
Title #05746637594144331
Registration issued or renewed
Passed safety inspection

04/01/2011
123,070
Texas Inspection Station
Sugar Land, TX
Passed emissions inspection

04/05/2011
Texas Inspection Station
Sugar Land, TX
Passed emissions inspection

12/01/2011
Texas Motor Vehicle Dept.
Sugar Land, TX
Title #05746637594144331
Registration issued or renewed
Passed safety inspection

04/24/2012 123,084
Texas Inspection Station
Sugar Land, TX
Passed emissions inspection

07/01/2014
Texas Motor Vehicle Dept.
Houston, TX
Title #10125741806085309
Title issued or updated
New owner reported

12/08/2014
123,093
Auto Auction Texas
Sold at auction
 

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89 FWSD, 91 FWB, 88 FWBD'
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65 Posts
I would bring the mechanic with me to help weasel the price down even more. Most of those things aren't major. If you're willing to put some money into it, it could be a fun project with lots of little things you can hunt down and replace yourself. I say go for it.

I just don't understand the hearse thing. It's...whatever ya like I guess :highfive:
 

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'90 Fleetwood S&S Victoria Hearse
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Discussion Starter #3
I just don't understand the hearse thing. It's...whatever ya like I guess :highfive:
I can't vouch for other hearse owners, but I love them because the American hearse, especially those modified by the S&S coach builder, were designed after Victorian Era passenger stagecoaches. I'm a Victorian Era nut, wardrobe consists of 99% period clothing from the Victorian Era, and this horseless carriage would top things off better than a top hat! But yeah, personally, I'm not into the whole doom and gloom spook factor that most people are into about hearses. I like keeping them original save for a modified stereo system, and maybe some exhaust, especially on this 5.7 bad girl. But all those skulls and flames and dropping and bagging them, and lowering the roof? Pfff! :bigroll:
 

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84 Coupe w/500
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5,665 Posts
I'd say 2500 is a good price. A mechanic will always be able to find problems so don't let him talk you out of it. If the tranny does good on your test drive, I'd say go for it. One more year of emissions will ensure you get it running properly.
 

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chevy 350 powered 86 FWB, 00 safari h.t. 66 toro, 83 lesabre
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6,397 Posts
I wouldn't pay over 1800 for it. Needs too much work. Tires alone will run you 500 or so. Puffing blue smokers on startup is common on 350s and 4.3s of that era. Cheap valve seals from the factory. Not a big deal, but it does affect price. Non working AC also affects price. Wipers is an easy fix BTW. Bad switch (they don't have to know that though). I can almost guarantee you it will need either brakes or shocks/ springs (been my experience with old vehicles, especially suspension).
I wouldn't waste money on a mobile mechanic. If you know anyone with a real shop, drop by and have it inspected to bottom, and have it put up in the air (if you can). That way you can see if anything is leaking, rust, exhaust condition, etc.
 

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1980 Eldorado, 1974 Talisman, 2004 Volvo C70, 1975 Fleetwood 'd Elegance
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7,958 Posts
You don't get much now days for $2500.
If it looks nice, and drives right, you have the money, and the desire, ENJOY!

BTW Every seller says the AC just needs a charge....it is never just a charge.
If they say that, tell them you will wait while they charge it.
 

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'90 Fleetwood S&S Victoria Hearse
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5 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Cheap valve seals from the factory. Not a big deal, but it does affect price.
Are replacing valve seals on this 350 engine something a DIYer can tackle? I know I could do a valve cover gasket, but not sure about the actual valve seals. I'm learning one bit at a time, but I've changed a wheel bearing on my PT Cruiser thrice (wrong side first time, replaced with bad used part 2nd time on correct side, then finally got it right on the 3rd time) and I've done tune ups, and swapped a camshaft sensor. I'm pretty good at following instructions and acquiring the right tools to do the job unless it requires something like a pressure hose or other special shop tool. (I do have a 12 ton shop press though.)
 

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1990 Brougham, 1990 Brougham d'elgance 1979 Coupe
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1,196 Posts
I think all 350 tbi engines smoke a little when starting them.

To do valve seals you can take the spark plugs and but a tool to hook up to a compressor to keep the valves in place when you take the springs off.
 

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chevy 350 powered 86 FWB, 00 safari h.t. 66 toro, 83 lesabre
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6,397 Posts
Personally I would not worry about it. Like I said, a lot of them did it soon after new (including my dad's 92 S10) he took it in under warranty. Dealership said it was a common issue on 4.3s and 5.7s. Only thing is I would keep an eye on oil usage.
 

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1991 Cadillac Brougham D'Elegance 5.7 Litre, 1994 DeVille
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6,796 Posts
$2,500 is a great price for it. Even $3,500 is OK. None of the problems are overly major. With hearses and limos it's all in the condition of the body.
 

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'90 Fleetwood S&S Victoria Hearse
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Discussion Starter #12
$2,500 is a great price for it. Even $3,500 is OK. None of the problems are overly major. With hearses and limos it's all in the condition of the body.
Yeah, especially since it's a Brougham with a 5.7. I LOVE that engine. If it was anything else, like a 4.5 or a 4.9, I'd not even be on the fence with those... (4.1's don't even deserve a mention!)

So tomorrow, I'm going to finally be able to take it for a test drive and get it checked out by a mechanic. I just hope I don't have to do an exorbitant amount of things to it to get it to pass emissions test. Just one more year for emissions test and I'm home free with this one.

By the way, I was looking up ways to pronounce "Brougham". I've always said it like it rhymes with chrome, and I've heard others say it like "BRO-HAM" but the two I haven't heard of before was "BREW-uhm" and then straight up, "BROOM". Maybe in this case, since it's a hearse, I can legitimately say I drive a "broom".

How do y'all say it?
 

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1983 FWB (Mac), 1981 SDV (Junkyard Dog)
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734 Posts
If you are not into the morbid stuff (skulls & dead things etc.) think of your new Caddie as a King-size station wagon. It looks like a good buy...........I'd go for it because I like station wagons.

Cheers..............R.
 

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1991 Cadillac Brougham D'Elegance 5.7 Litre, 1994 DeVille
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6,796 Posts
I say it Broam, so rhymes with chrome is a good way of putting it.
 

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'90 Fleetwood S&S Victoria Hearse
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Discussion Starter #16
I'm not gonna get it. It was an accidental discovery, and I gotta focus on other obligations. I will get one within a year though.
 
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