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Discussion Starter #1
What is best Eldo Touring 86 & newer (handling, low maintenance costs, highest MPGs)

I want to buy an Eldo touring coupe in the 86-91 or 92-02 year models that will be the best suited for my needs and I’d like recommendations as well as models and options to avoid.

One of my dream cars is the 95-02 Touring Coupe, but the only ones I can afford have above 150,000 miles on them, and I will not be able to afford a head gasket failure. I can get one of those cars very cheap with a blown head gasket and might be interested in doing that IF I could put a 4.9 or 4.5 in place of it and drive it until I could afford a rebuilt Northstar. However, I do not think that is doable without also swapping in the 92’s tranny and computer- and that would be WAY too much work.

I have found a 90 Touring coupe for $500 that runs good, but is missing front seats, a headlight, and needs a decklid and front fender. (its ugly- but the trip computer shows an aveage of 27MPGs.)

I know that the 91 goes 0-60 one second faster, but am I correct that it is the only year with a body control computer? (My wife had a 91 Tornado with a Body control computer and we could never keep the electronics alive in that car).

Will the free flowing exhaust from the 91 bolt up to the 90?

Will the stiffer struts from the 86 Touring Coupe bolt up to any of the later year models and eliminate computer related ride control problems?

Are there any other cars such as Grand Prix or Tornado that have stiffer struts? What about stiffer spring swaps? I would be interested in lowering the car a couple of inches, putting on bigger sway bars, opening up the exhaust, stiffening the ride and racing in occasional autocross races. However, 99% of the time, the car would be making daily 66 mile round trips and would need to get a minimum of 25 MPG on the interstate at 70 MPH. I cannot afford a lot of down time or repair costs- so the fewer computer related potential problems the better. Cornering is more important than acceleration or ride comfort. I would rather buy an Eldorado than a Grand Prix or a six cylinder Mustang, but I crave the Grand Prix and Mustang handling and MPGs. What Eldorado is my best match? What is the biggest potential nightmare car for me to avoid?

Cody
 

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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Re: What is best Eldo Touring 86 & newer (handling, low maintenance costs, highest MP

First, the 2002 is the best of the lot. For highway mileage forget the ETC because it has the 3.71 final drive, which, although peppier than the ELC, costs a couple of mpg at speed.

Earlier engine swaps are out of the question.

Lowering, autocross, and FWD are mutually exclusive. Buy a 2002 and either turn it into an urban ricer or maintain it as-is: a reasonably fast, comfortable luxury touring coupe. If you lower the front of an Eldorado or Seville by "a couple of inches" the ONLY place you can then drive is on straight, flat Interstate.

If you cannot afford down time or repair costs, completely forget pre-1995 (time and mileage wait for no man), and that condition also puts you out of the later (1996 - 2004) FWD Cadillac ownership arena altogether.
 

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Re: What is best Eldo Touring 86 & newer (handling, low maintenance costs, highest MP

If you can't afford repairs -- then DO NOT go there. They can bleed you dry.

I've spent $8000 on my 2000 that had 42K miles on it -- without HG or suspension problems.
 

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Re: What is best Eldo Touring 86 & newer (handling, low maintenance costs, highest MP

If you can't afford repairs -- then DO NOT go there. They can bleed you dry.

I've spent $8000 on my 2000 that had 42K miles on it -- without HG or suspension problems.
I looked for a 92 eldo. with the 4.9 for two years,I owned one before and sold it with 190,000 miles three years ago,it's still going strong,anyway I regretted selling it, so I bought another one with 88,000 miles on it,very clean one owner,I expect to get a lot of mileage out of this one too,
that's my prefrence, personally I trust the 4.9 over the northstar even though I own and enjoy a 97 sts with the northstar.
 

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Re: What is best Eldo Touring 86 & newer (handling, low maintenance costs, highest MP

I appreciate people not wanting N*s, but I've had no N* problems -- just everything else...
 

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Re: What is best Eldo Touring 86 & newer (handling, low maintenance costs, highest MP

If you can not afford repairs or downtime on a Cadillac 4.X or N* FORGET about your plans....these cars will bleed you dry in upkeep cost & time.:banghead: That being said, IMO the best of the 4.X lot is the 4.9 hands down. My 93 Seville is literally falling to piece’s but the 4.9 is as strong as ever, use's no oil, no knocks or thumps, temp is always just right & still lots of kick down power after 120kms but that’s if the car holds together...some times I have to turnaround & pick up some parts that have fallen off....but still a good engine:mob:
 

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Re: What is best Eldo Touring 86 & newer (handling, low maintenance costs, highest MP

Well I wouldnt say the 4.9 is the best of the 4.x engines. If the N* didnt have the potential headgasket issues then it would be legendary like the 350 SB. A N* will run a 4.9 in the dirt when it comes to power and smoothness. Now the 4.9 is a strong well built motor that requires very little maintnance but it lacks the power of the 300hp N*.
 

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Re: What is best Eldo Touring 86 & newer (handling, low maintenance costs, highest MP

Well I wouldnt say the 4.9 is the best of the 4.x engines. If the N* didnt have the potential headgasket issues then it would be legendary like the 350 SB. A N* will run a 4.9 in the dirt when it comes to power and smoothness. Now the 4.9 is a strong well built motor that requires very little maintnance but it lacks the power of the 300hp N*.
Who cares about power when you’re blowing white smoke out the tail pipes?:bomb: All the power & performance in the world means nothing if your busting engine mounts & splitting head gaskets on a car that has less than 45000 miles on it. Like you said "Now the 4.9 is a strong well built motor that requires very little maintenance" & that is what matters when driving day to day.:cookoo: Every time I stop by the big GM dealership here in Montreal I see row after row of Cadillac N* from 93 & up with failed engines. The service Tec who is a friend of mine told me "that’s the North star Death Row" & what about the caddy’s with the 4.9 "they come in from time to time needing maintenance.....some times some engine work":yup: 300HP N* engine that eats engine mounts & head gaskets & LOTS OF $$$$ verses the 200HP 4.9 that in the words of some "Now the 4.9 is a strong well built motor that requires very little maintenance" well you know what I'm getting at:drool:
 

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Re: What is best Eldo Touring 86 & newer (handling, low maintenance costs, highest MP

The N* is an entirely different engine from the 4.x. So yes, the 4.9 is the best of the 4.x engines, when the alternatives were the HT4100 and the 4.5L.

And yes, the N* has HG issues, but there are an awful lot of N*s out there that haven't had HG problems. The problems of the engine get magnified around here with people who discuss it on a daily basis.

Now this isn't to say that the OP should tempt fate on getting some uber high mileage N*, and go into old Cadillac ownership blindly. There are plenty of things for an old car to bleed you dry on besides the engine...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Re: What is best Eldo Touring 86 & newer (handling, low maintenance costs, highest MP

I missed buying the 90 Touring Coupe with 4.5 by a few hours. It sold for $450. It had a list of problems that are common to old cars with 159,000 miles, but its engine was strong and the drivers information computer showed 30MPG on the interstate with a 27 MPG average.

To clarify, I mean that I cannot afford EXPENCIVE maintenance and downtime. My finances are bad, but I drive and maintain a used car that stays in good shape. I can afford maintenance and repairs that are common to other GM used cars of the early 90s. (with the exception of the electronics problems related to my wife’s 91 Toronado---- I do not want another nightmare like that again; we had to drive it broke- or go broke to drive it. It had a body control computer, a touch screen dash, and a leaky sunroof that no one could seem to fix. Bad combination)

Is the 91 Eldorado the only one with the body control computer or do 92 up Eldos also have them?

Is the 4.5 a bored and stroked 4.1?

Is the 4.9 a bored and stroked 4.5?

Other than Body Control Computer related electronic nightmares, my repair cost fears are with the Northstar and the active suspension systems. Because I am interested in racing the car in the autocross and do not mind if it rides like an 84 Corvette, I could easily solve the active suspension issues when they arise by converting to a passive suspension. The less desirable body style of the 90 Eldo was appealing because I could use Toronado Trofeo struts and/or Grand Prix Struts with stiffer springs. I’m thinking that some where, some one has worked out a spring/strut and sway bar swap for the 92 up Eldo that will get them to corner with a Z28 Camaro flatness – if not, then I’m sure I could figure one out since low buck salvage yard swap handling packages has been one of my hobbies.

This leaves the engine repair issue; and I know that North star fans (I am one of them) hate to hear talk about Northstar failure, especially since posts like this become hits on search engines (that is how I found this forum) but the truth exists that Northstar repair is not cheap- and is a big consideration for ownership. Why else could I buy a 95 ETC for $2500? If Nothstar repair would not add $3500 to the cost, then the used car value of these Eldos and Seville’s should be just under Corvette prices.

I love the idea of 0-60 in 6.5 seconds in a stock Eldo that gets 25-28 MPG, but I think if I did buy a 95 Up (love the bodywork) then I would be afraid to race it- and two – three autocross events per year would be over half my joy of ownership. I may have to get a 92 touring Coupe to avoid the fear of petal-to-the-floor driving, and then upgrade to the 97 up’s bigger brakes.

If it wasn’t for my 66 mile daily commute, I’d use the money to rebuild my 82 Eldo w/the 472 and I’d put in the TH425 tranny. I could see 0-60 in 5 seconds with no blow the motor or tranny worries and could corner flat, but with that tranny, I could not get above 22 MPGs. I might get 25-27 MPGs with the weak overdrive and a 2.19 front diff, but that would kill the acceleration and create the fear of blowing the tranny in a race. – then what have I gained? I may as well drive a 95 up ETC (my dream car) and be afraid to race it.

The 70 Eldo was fun to drive- but 13.5 MPG interstate is no joy. The 500 Caddy powered Mustang was a hopeful answer to my driving needs, but it was sold out from under me while in storage and I can’t afford to replace what money and time I had in invested in it.

25 up MPGs (28-30 is goal) in an Eldo I can race in the autocross 3 times a year is my goal. My budget- or lack there of- makes my choice of the car limited.



Cody
 

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Re: What is best Eldo Touring 86 & newer (handling, low maintenance costs, highest MP

why would you be afraid to race a 95 and up car with a n*? my 93 n* with 121,000 miles gets WOT atleast once a day.. it has no cooling issues. i have had to replace a couple sensors lately but thats it for the engine. the only annoying thing is oil consumption. when summer came my city oil consumption was 1 quart every 350 miles. no leaks just dissappearing.. then i went on a trip last week and drove 1500 miles round trip with only 1/2 a quart consumed. 1400 miles highway. i averaged 21 mpg and drove 80-90 the whole way through the mountains and hills of WV and Virginia. i have beaten v6 mustangs on winding roads and if not for the turns i would have been long gone. i have an active suspension also.. the n* is a RACE engine... it likes to be driven fast.. 93 to 95 have had the least problems with HG in the 90's models. get yourself a clean one and do a test on the coolant for the presence of exhaust gases before you buy. thats my advice...and you can always switch to passive suspension..i beleive there are performance springs made that fit the early 90's n* do a search on this forum.
 

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02 Eldorado ESC, true 2.5" duals, 18X10's & 275/40ZR18's, 14" rotors, C5 Vette brakes
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Discussion Starter #12
Re: What is best Eldo Touring 86 & newer (handling, low maintenance costs, highest MP

why would you be afraid to race a 95 and up car with a n*? ...........
If I race a 4.9 on a Saturday and break it, then on Monday I call the local salvage yard and get another one for $150 as is or for $350 with a guarantee. Then I swap the next weekend. If I race a N* on a Saturday in 2009, then I have a yard ornament until some Monday in 2014 when I can save an extra $3500 after having to buy another car to replace it for the daily commute.

93 to 95 have had the least problems with HG in the 90's models. get yourself a clean one and do a test on the coolant for the presence of exhaust gases before you buy.............
If I knew that WOT did not cause head gasket failure in the N*- if it was simply a matter of coolant eating away at the aluminum and the way you drove did not matter, then it would be no issue. Babying a N* would not make it live any longer than “driving like I stole it”. But I’m not yet convinced that cylinder pressure is not related to HG failure. I was ready to buy a Red 97 ETC for $2900 with 89,000 miles from a Chevy dealership that took it on trade and drove it around town with no overheating problems. I asked them to guarantee that the HGs were good. They then did a pressure test and told me that they blew the gaskets when they pressurized it. They then said they were selling the car to salvage for $600 after checking into what their cost of repair would be.

If money were no object, I’d have a pair of race ready Eldos; one powered by a N* and the other by a 500 stroked into a 600.

Eldorados and racing autocross are my auto related passions; I’m good at road racing too, but I doubt I’d enter any sanctioned events (mainly because there are none local). However, there is a two mile stretch of curvy road I go through every day where the maximum safe speeds are 25 and 30MPH. I drive a bone stock 93 Olds Cutlass Ceria Station Wagon with a 3.3; the only modifications being 16 X 7” wheels from a Cutlass Supreme with 215/65 16 tires. I recently got to “play” on that two mile stretch with a 2009 Honda Civic SI Coupe. The front of my car left the ground going over one hill, and we entered most of the turns at 55MPH. I stayed on his bumper the whole way – he could out accelerate, but I could gain it back in the turns. I know he has a better car- but being new, he just did not know its capabilities as much as I know mine. Back in 86 when I raced my 70 Eldorado in the Fayetteville autocross, I encountered the same situation. I could squeeze every inch of performance out of that car, and that was why my fastest run beat an 84 Corvette’s slowest run- and I was running 1minute 10 second to 1:12 runs where the fastest car there ran 60 seconds flat, the C4 Vettes were running 1:05 to 1:10, and the Camaro, Trans Ams, and Mustangs were running 1:11to 1:16. I finished 12th out of 25 total cars in what the SCCA said was the biggest and loudest car ever to compete at their event.


~ sorry for the rant…. This is autocross season and I have the need…….
 

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Re: What is best Eldo Touring 86 & newer (handling, low maintenance costs, highest MP

Who cares about power when you’re blowing white smoke out the tail pipes?:bomb: All the power & performance in the world means nothing if your busting engine mounts & splitting head gaskets on a car that has less than 45000 miles on it. Like you said "Now the 4.9 is a strong well built motor that requires very little maintenance" & that is what matters when driving day to day.:cookoo: Every time I stop by the big GM dealership here in Montreal I see row after row of Cadillac N* from 93 & up with failed engines. The service Tec who is a friend of mine told me "that’s the North star Death Row" & what about the caddy’s with the 4.9 "they come in from time to time needing maintenance.....some times some engine work":yup: 300HP N* engine that eats engine mounts & head gaskets & LOTS OF $$$$ verses the 200HP 4.9 that in the words of some "Now the 4.9 is a strong well built motor that requires very little maintenance" well you know what I'm getting at:drool:
Ok first off a motor mount is completely seperate from the engine.:cookoo: GM could have easily avoided faulty mounts by using dogbones. Secondly the only knock on the N* is the headbolts loosing torque not the headgaskets themselves actually failing. Again another problem GM could have avoided if they used larger bolts. The engine itself is rock solid! The materials GM decided to surround it with are questionable (i.e. motor mount). Put a 4.9 up against a 4.6 and it will eat its heart out. Hell just because an old 86 Honda is well built and requires less maintnance than my Caddy doesnt mean its better.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Re: What is best Eldo Touring 86 & newer (handling, low maintenance costs, highest MP

the only knock on the N* is the headbolts loosing torque not the headgaskets themselves actually failing. ...... The engine itself is rock solid! ....... Put a 4.9 up against a 4.6 and it will eat its heart out.......
Okay, maybe I should have specified: this was not intended to be a Northstar vs. 4.9 debate. :want: It was intended to be a “what is the best touring coupe for a poor boy budget” debate. I personally love the N*. I dream of racing one. Let’s face the facts: you open the hood of any 68-70 Eldorado, or 93-02 Eldorado/Seville and you can’t keep a smile off of your face or stop the adrenaline rush. However, when you open the hood of a Caddy and see the 4.9 badge, its like watching a rerun of Bonanza (you can’t deny the quality, but watching ice melt causes more of an adrenaline rush.) ….. The question is money. Both engines are MPG friendly and that is the only thing that has pulled me away from the tried and true 500. I want an Eldorado daily driver in the 25-29 MPG range that is fun to drive and that I can race in the autocross about three times a year. It needs to be a year model that is not prone to failures or much more expensive to keep road worthy than other used cars- so I’m trying to avoid mechanical and electrical pitfalls. Because of the pending $3500 repair bill IF the “Super Motor” breaks, I am leaning toward the less than awe inspiring 4.9 (big yawn). I’m thinking that with my budget a 92 Touring Coupe with a stiffer than stock passive suspension, 97 up brakes, free flowing exhaust, cold air intake, performance chip, and bigger wheels/tires is the most reliable, most economical, and cheapest to maintain performance compromise that will keep me rolling. I’m thinking the extra 1.5 seconds in the 0-60 time is worth the potential $3,000 savings on engine replacement; that will enable me to “drive it like I stole it” when it comes race day without worrying how I would get it home or what I would do with it if I broke it. Yes: Northsar is a better; but I’m a Cadillac racer on a Chevy budget. I want an Eldorado with the MPGs, performance, and reliability of a late model Grand Prix or 6 cyl. Mustang that I can tune into an exciting ride to work and still have the money to buy groceries…… And I do NOT want to own and race a Grand Prix or an “econobox” Mustang in the autocross- I want to beat them :thepan: with an old Caddy.
 

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Re: What is best Eldo Touring 86 & newer (handling, low maintenance costs, highest MP

Yeah CadVette I see what your saying. A 4.9 is alot easier to mod and doesnt seem to have many potential issues besides being slightly underpowered. But when it comes to budgeting theses cars its not so much the engines but everything else around it. Cadillacs are notorious for parts breaking, bumpers falling off (exaggeration), knobs coming off etc. But with that being said they are a blast to drive. So yeah if you can find a early model eldo with a 4.9 then go for it. I didnt mean to turn the thread into a engine cock measuring contest. A 4.9 is alot easier to work on and not to mention the looks on the car period!! So yeah if your worried about cost then go with the 4.9. A $3500 HG job is enough to make you crawl under a rock lol!
 

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Re: What is best Eldo Touring 86 & newer (handling, low maintenance costs, highest MP

The 4.9L was only available on '91-'93 Eldorados and was only standard from '91-'92... '86-'87 used the 4.1 and '88-'90 used the 4.5, although '90 saw an increase in HP due to its switch from throttle-body to multi-port fuel injection. So... 1991 was the only '86-'91 model to use the 4.9, but '91 was also the which Computer Command Ride became standard.

So basically... I don't know what to tell you. Frankly, I can't see how you'd have to money to modify the car, but not for the car itself.... Personally speaking, if I really wanted to get one of these things - I'd recognize and appreciate the car for what it is and spend a bit more on a decent example... Mainly because they're never going to handle anywhere near the way you're hoping it will without extensive and expensive modifications - and even then you're still going to end up with the inherent limitations of 1980's FWD engineering.
 
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