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My 1998 Catera just died (*giggle*) and now I am in the market for either a 2002-2003 STS or waiting a little longer for a 2005-2006 CTS. I've been reading in the forum and the main thing that I'm coming across for the STS is the head gaskets.

From my reading I assume that a 2002-2003 has a low chance of having this issue. Am I correct? PLEASE tell me if I am wrong.

Also, is there anything else that I can be checking for?

Thanks!
 

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2000 STS
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54 Posts
I have a 2000 STS with 160,000 miles and still running strong. it is all in how you take care of the car.
 

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2005 White Diamond STS N* 1SF RWD ACC/HUD
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There were some improvements done starting in the 2000 model year that greatly reduce the likelihood of a head bolt failure on the NorthStar engine. However, that being said, poor maintenance practices (not changing the coolant as required) may still result in head gasket failure. The earlier engines were prone to the head bolts pulling from the block. At least that is my take on the sitaution. Others will chime in...
 

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2003 Cadillac Seville STS 73k Miles, '90 Chevy 1500 Reg Cab
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725 Posts
Well I'll offer my 2 cent, I bought my 03 STS this past Nov and love it....hasn't left the driveway in 2 weeks due to muddy road(3.5 miles of gravel) but its leaving tomorrow and I'm excited to get back in it. 00 and later models have a lower chance of HG failure, however as previously mentioned they still need to be properly maintained. Coolant changes(not flushes) are important, do it immediately upon buying one, refill 50/50 with DexCool and Distilled water and then change every 2 or 3 years and you should be on very solid ground. Other than that there aren't a whole lot of major things on those models.....heated seats have a tendency to break(DIY fix here, just search for it), batteries for it are rather expensive if it goes out(under the back seat), oil change takes 7.5 qts of your favorite 5W-30(synthetic or conventional), mostly just lots of bells and whistles to learn about.....if you get one read the manual, if you don't get a manual with it get one off ebay.

If you're looking for an 02 or 03 I would highly recommend driving one with the MagneRide Suspension and one without....they'll handle like 2 completely different cars. All 03 STS's had the MagneRide, and the late model 02's also did, to ensure what you're getting pop the trunk, flip the spare tire cover over and you should have a sticker with a list of 3 character RPO codes, if you see F55 its MagneRide, F45 is the normal suspension. To find out what the car has installed take that list of RPO Codes and hit up one of the stickies on the top of this section and follow to the link for RPO codes, type them in(watch for 1 and I) and then post that list of options back here, along with all trouble codes pulled off the DIC(directions also stickied), the letter next to the tire size on the sticker on the back edge of the drivers door(speed rating) and also the all important pictures. I would also bring it by your local GM dealership and when getting some service, parts or something else(or nothing if you're on good terms with them) have them run the VIN thru their VIS system. This will tell all the factory service work its had, parts, coolant changes, original delivery dates, etc....lots of interesting stuff can be learned from that...get a copy for your records.

Far as the difference between the STS and the CTS I can't help you much there.....my grandparents have an 08 STS and I like driving it...but haven't ever spent any time in a CTS to help you out....though if you swing over to that forum I'm sure they'll have answers for you.
 

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'03 STS (RIP), '89 Eldorado, '13 Malibu, '89 Grand Wagoneer
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Something that seems to get forgotten around here... Any car can suffer from headgasket failure.

With regard to a Seville however... Just remember, as with most things - you get what you pay for. If STS "A" *seems* very similar to STS "B" but is being sold for a significantly cheaper price, then there's probably something wrong with it somewhere, somehow.

As far as the whole CVRSS vs MagneRide thing goes... It all comes down to what your budget is and what you can find. Personally, a well cared for, low mileage pre-magneride Seville STS is a much better deal than a late-'02/'03 that's been kicked and beaten most of its life. Not only that, but I'll be just about the only person on here who'll tell you that if you find a good deal on a properly maintained, well-optioned SLS... Then definitely drive it and see if it suits you - it's only your ass that matters, no one else's.
 

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2003 Cadillac Seville STS 73k Miles, '90 Chevy 1500 Reg Cab
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725 Posts
AMGoff has a very good point, don't limit yourself to just the STS model, check out an 02-03 SLS as well. Depending on how you plan on using the car, the less stiff ride and the better mpg out of an SLS might be a better fit for you, take em out for a drive and put them through the paces and see what you think!
 

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Cadillac STS
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There are a few things you might look for..if I may chime in
If the car you are looking at has over 50K...I would look for its history of electrical fixes
IE...things that seem to go wrong on about all of them...crank position sensors..etc..oil pressure sensor
Check for wheel bearings....check and see if the trunk is dry..look for a newer battery and a hopefully a recently changed fan filter( the one near the drivers knee)...and like said before the heated seats can be problematic
None of these are huge costly items...but all together they can set you back a bit and be one heck of a financial inconvenience...or be a pain to diagnose
As for the magride deal...mine is a late 02..so it has the magride...I never drove one that did not have it...so I can't compare an the earlier ISS set up to the magride car
However..my other car is a older (2000 model) 7 series BMW and even with magride..the STS is not even close to the same ballpark in handling....

That being said you can buy a very clean 03 all day long with 65-70K miles for $7995( or less)..perhaps a few hundred more with Nav and satellite radio options
So because of these cars low resale..it represents a very good value..purchase price wise) on the used car market
I would expect to pay about $1000-1200 less for the same year SLS of the same mileage

good luck


Warren
 

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2003 Cadillac Seville STS 73k Miles, '90 Chevy 1500 Reg Cab
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725 Posts
Not sure what part of the country you're in but in the midwest its closer to 9k to 10k for a clean 03 STS with that 60k mile range, I've seen several 03 STS on Autotrader for under 7995, however they were all 85k-100k mileage range.

Also if you test drive an '00 plus Seville take careful note of how the car feels in the 60-70 mph range. Try and find a smooth road and see if you can detect any shake or shimmy....most ppl who experience it seems to be in the 65-70 mph range. Sometimes it points to a dinged wheel, poor balance, bad tires, dirty mating surface on the brake rotor, bad wheel bearing....all in all it can be a nightmare to track down and expensive to get resolved....if it ever does get completely fixed.
 

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Not sure what part of the country you're in but in the midwest its closer to 9k to 10k for a clean 03 STS with that 60k mile range, I've seen several 03 STS on Autotrader for under 7995, however they were all 85k-100k mileage range.

Also if you test drive an '00 plus Seville take careful note of how the car feels in the 60-70 mph range. Try and find a smooth road and see if you can detect any shake or shimmy....most ppl who experience it seems to be in the 65-70 mph range. Sometimes it points to a dinged wheel, poor balance, bad tires, dirty mating surface on the brake rotor, bad wheel bearing....all in all it can be a nightmare to track down and expensive to get resolved....if it ever does get completely fixed.
Those prices are too high.
I am in the midwest and you can buy an 03 with 65K for $7995
The dealer can ask book if they want too ..lol
Everyone knows these cars do not bring book...don't fall for that

I bought my 02 in December 2007 with 59K for $10,200...and it was very clean with new brakes and rotors all the way around

Micromanage what you pay for one of these. This is not a Lexus purchase
The absolute last thing you want to do is overpay for a car that has had historically poor resale value..like these do
Talking with a GM salesmanager at one of the dealers in Cincy( who is a relative of a good friend)
The market is very soft on an STS or DTS product( take that idea when you negociate..the dealers know it)...unless the car has very low miles no GM franchise dealer is interested in having it on their lot
So they go to the Indy lots or the "buy here pay here" lots
And lastly you might wait till June 1 or so( if you can) and see if Gm declares bankrupty( which I see almost surely forthcoming) ...then use that as a bargaining tool...could save you some additional $$



Warren
 

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2000 Seville STS
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id have to agree. last year i paid 9400 for my 2000 STS but it only had 47,700 on with brand new tires. i pulled the vin and asked a dealer to run it, nothing major came up. few TSBs [ yay ]. car was always garaged, always dealer serviced, ectect. it also has the oem brakes on it still, plenty of pad too. so far a year later all i had to do was replace the drivers side wheel bearing. thats why the car had new tires. i knew it before i bought it and considered ita fair trade. 1 bearing for 4 BRAND NEW tires. goodyear responsedge tires. :)

the f45 suspension will work for most ppl. id rather have the magnetic but i had a $10k cap to spend on a car. i didnt want to go over budget. the standard STS supension is still pretty good and will work for most ppl driving less than 8/10ths.

my car avgs about 18-19 in the city and about 23-24 on the hwy. the hwy could be better but im always loaded down when im traveling so its a bit skewed and driving like 75mph or so. it still gets right at 400 miles to a tank. not bad imo.
 

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2003 Cadillac Seville STS 73k Miles, '90 Chevy 1500 Reg Cab
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I'd still say those prices are a bit low, but then i haven't searched for one for 6 months. I paid 9500 for my 03 STS with 51k miles last november and I feel that was a very fair price, all I've done to it so far is an oil change and coolant change.

I do agree that the used market for these cars is soft and is basically exclusively a used car/private party car as the new dealers generally don't want something that old on their lot, especially since the Seville isn't a current model.
 
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