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94 FWB, 93 SDV, 94 FWB (sold), 90 Brougham (sold)
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Discussion Starter #1
The DeVille's tranny is shot

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-deville-1985-2005-including-1985/167550-93-strikes-again-transmission-dead.html#post1853486

and Ruthie and I need to make a choice. I've been driving the car to work because I live pretty close and I still have a good first and slipping second gear. Ruthie and I have about $1000 at our disposal at the moment, and are not sure what the best course of action is. We've come up with 3 possible solutions.

1. Sell the DeVille for junk, try and get 300 or 400 for it as is right now.
2. Repair the DeVille and drive it
3. Repair the DeVille and sell it

So let's discuss.

1. Sell the DeVille as is. Here's the ad right now:

http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/cto/1133284173.html

I have $600 listed because I want to squeeze every dollar I can out of it, and because I know people will talk a junk car down in no time. It would also ease the burden of purchasing a different car.

So what would we purchase? Glad you asked. Early 90's LS400's are cheap, and quite possibly one of the most reliable cars ever built. There are several on Craigslist in the Twin Cities right now for around $2000.

2. Repair the DeVille and drive it. Ruthie's father Al has a trusted mechanic he's gone to for years, who's done several transmissions for them, including the tranny on their 95 Regal (they live in the bluffs in the southern MN / eastern WI area, the hills down there are monsters. They go through trannies and brakes like nobody's business). Al called his mechanic today who said he's very familiar with the 4T60-E and would rebuild ours with a warranty for $1100. I would have him put in a shift kit, and with tax, I'm figuring $1300 for this option.

3. Repair the DeVille and sell it. If I spent $1200 or $1300 to repair the DeVille, I don't think I could sell it for much more than $1600 or $1700 around here. It's in good shape, but there's plenty of DeVilles for sale in the area, for the same money or less. So this means that I would maybe make as much money going this route as if I sold it right now for junk.

Things to consider. The DeVille was in a bad accident when it lived in Nevada. It was repaired very well, but the car got a paint job that would make a Maaco paint job look impressive. There's alot of overspray, and while the color is an excellent match, it's a single-stage paint job with no clearcoat. It was a blast to wet-sand........:bigroll:
The DeVille also has 140,000 miles on it. I'm well-aware that the 4.9 can run for far more miles. It needs rear shocks, and a new windshield (which I have), and it would be a fine vehicle. But after the luck I've had with the car, I'm nervous. I'd like to think all the bugs are worked out of it.

I know the random misfire and no-start problem has been solved, that was a fluke with the MEM-CAL not seated on the PCM. I know the alternator and battery and ignition module are great, because they're all brand new. It's got good tires, great brakes, and a great interior.

But.......we can find $1000 if we need to to buy an LS400. For me to say that is not easy, considering how much I hate Lexus, but it's impossible to ignore the proven track record the LS has. Ruthie and I are making good progress paying off all our debt (thank you Dave Ramsey!) and finding a $1000 to add to our $1000 would set us back slightly, but to have such a reliable vehicle as an LS400, is it worth it? Possibly. So what do we do. Do we pay $1200 or $1300 to fix a car that we both love, but has had problems in the past (but that does not mean it will have major problems in the future) or do we spend an extra $1000 for an LS400?

The reasons to buy the LS are very long. Extremely high reliability, world-class stereo, great mileage, RWD, good power on the highway. The reasons to keep the DeVille are long too. We know what we've got, we both like the car, it's powerful, I've put alot of time and energy into it. The reasons to avoid the LS? It might be problematic too, we might be buying another car with just as many problems. Not likely, but a possibility. It's slower and smaller, and we'd have to find about $1000 more than we have currently. The reasons to dump the DeVille? It's been one headache after another (but most problems seem to have been fixed or solved), it's been in a big accident, and it's got a cheap paintjob.

If we were to sell the DeVille and find another car, it would be an LS400. My father sold his first, a '91 with 335,000 miles on it. He saw the car a year or two later still driving around town (he recognized the wheels and color). And let's be honest, they really are one of, if not the most reliable vehicle ever made. I know they can have problems, but they are much less likely to. So what do we do now?

Brian
 

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Hyundai Elantra
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Good luck selling it Brian!!! :) I'll keep my fingers crossed for you and Ruthie.

I say try to find a Lexus. As much as you'd want another Fleet, I can imagine your mom might kill you. The LS400 is very reliable from what I've heard so I think it would make a nice replacement car for the Deville.
 

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1992 STS / 2005 MB G500 / 2003 STS / 2006 XLR-V
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My vote goes for the LS, Dave Ramsey would have no problem with a 2k car at all, and it probably does make more financial sense than nursing along the old Fleet or getting another one.

However, just be aware a 2k LS400 will probably need some fixes of it's own in the first year to be truly reliable thereafter.
 

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1990 350 Brougham (The cruiser), 1988 Mark VII LSC (The DD)
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Brian, you are gonna shoot me for saying this but why do you need a luxury car? You sold the FWB, which was a great car, in hopes of you two being able to buy a house. I say find an economy car just to get around town in and continue towards your goal of purchasing a house. You still have the Continental for long road trips so it is not really necessary to have another luxury car. It may not be pretty, but a Saturn will get you just as far as an LS400.
 

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Brian, you are gonna shoot me for saying this but why do you need a luxury car? You sold the FWB, which was a great car, in hopes of you two being able to buy a house. I say find an economy car just to get around town in and continue towards your goal of purchasing a house. You still have the Continental for long road trips so it is not really necessary to have another luxury car. It may not be pretty, but a Saturn will get you just as far as an LS400.
Hmm... there is some wisdom here.
 

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1992 Town Car Cartier & 2014 Accord LX MTX
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Interesting problem. It's funny how the Lundquist's situation closely resembles the Rawson's situation. Both have fine cars that are too costly to maintain. Both have considered the LS400. Both like the LS400 due to it's technical proficiency and overall engineering prowess, but both recognize it's complete lack of soul.

I have a feeling that buying that damn deVille was one of the worst things you could have done with your money (but hey, I was involved on that deal too). The week prior, we had looked at a crappy '94 Regal Limited sedan to replace her Ter(d)cel with and didn't like it, but we convinced Ruthie that a 4.9 Cadillac was the way to go. We were happy, we had prevailed, we made up a list of 4.9 Cadillacs to go look at. We saw the '93 you guys bought and fell in love with it upon sight. It seemed legit....clean, no rust, paint and body looked fine, interior was decent, the price was right. I had great luck with mine so I gave the thumbs up. Maybe we were all happy about it because it looked "good enough" and we were going to a party at Dan's that (fateful) night. I should have known to avoid that car when I dragged my ass outta bed the next morning, hungover as FVCK, and drove you through the drizzle to get that damn thing. Never buy a car on a cold, rainy Sunday morning, especially when the seller throws in a 20lb box of 10-20 year old porn (is that being sold with the car??), especially when you're nursing a lethal hangover.

So what do I say? The car has been a (beautiful) headache since day one, there's always been a problem with it, but you've made it your own. Still though, I'm all for change, especially considering your track record, so I say take a (fairly solid) chance and buy the LS400. They're the most reliable (luxury) sedan ever made, come wonderfully equipped, drive much more "european" than the deVille or Continental, and your family has a long and illustrious history with the Japanese S Class. You and your father know them and know what to expect and how to avoid the hot issues. They'll have their own issues, but it won't be nearly on the level of this cluster****.


LS400....LS400....LS400... I can hear the crowd chanting now..
 

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1992 STS / 2005 MB G500 / 2003 STS / 2006 XLR-V
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Interesting problem. It's funny how the Lundquist's situation closely resembles the Rawson's situation. Both have fine cars that are too costly to maintain. Both have considered the LS400. Both like the LS400 due to it's technical proficiency and overall engineering prowess, but both recognize it's complete lack of soul.

I have a feeling that buying that damn deVille was one of the worst things you could have done with your money (but hey, I was involved on that deal too). The week prior, we had looked at a crappy '94 Regal Limited sedan to replace her Ter(d)cel with and didn't like it, but we convinced Ruthie that a 4.9 Cadillac was the way to go. We were happy, we had prevailed, we made up a list of 4.9 Cadillacs to go look at. We saw the '93 you guys bought and fell in love with it upon sight. It seemed legit....clean, no rust, paint and body looked fine, interior was decent, the price was right. I had great luck with mine so I gave the thumbs up. Maybe we were all happy about it because it looked "good enough" and we were going to a party at Dan's that (fateful) night. I should have known to avoid that car when I dragged my ass outta bed the next morning, hungover as FVCK, and drove you through the drizzle to get that damn thing. Never buy a car on a cold, rainy Sunday morning, especially when the seller throws in a 20lb box of 10-20 year old porn (is that being sold with the car??), especially when you're nursing a lethal hangover.

So what do I say? The car has been a (beautiful) headache since day one, there's always been a problem with it, but you've made it your own. Still though, I'm all for change, especially considering your track record, so I say take a (fairly solid) chance and buy the LS400. They're the most reliable (luxury) sedan ever made, come wonderfully equipped, drive much more "european" than the deVille or Continental, and your family has a long and illustrious history with the Japanese S Class. You and your father know them and know what to expect and how to avoid the hot issues. They'll have their own issues, but it won't be nearly on the level of this cluster****.


LS400....LS400....LS400... I can hear the crowd chanting now..
LOL, that was an awesome read.
 

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Where do we go from here?
The gears are shifting out all weird
Where are you now?
When I need you

Alone on a Fleetwood Brougham
Falling asleep against the window pane
My blood will thicken
 

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2003 Cadillac Seville STS 73k Miles, '90 Chevy 1500 Reg Cab
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Though I'm a newer member to here and haven't had the full experience of Brian's problems with the DeVille and only read about them long after they were solved, I'm on the fence here as to which way I would go.

Personally I'm not a fan of foreign cars......grew up GM/Chevy, always been GM/Chevy so a LS400 just doesn't do much for me....however it is a ton of car for the money....but if you're looking at it from a financial/ledger book perspective I'm not sure what side of the book to put it under....assets or liabilities. By definition you would own it, with nobody else having rights so that makes it an asset, but with all the potential things that could go wrong on it, that would likely all be expensive fixes.....is it as much of a liability??? Now the DeVille I think is more of an asset....but I agree with the question is it worth it putting money into it? A good running, respectable looking car is going to hit a lower limit on its depreciation just because there is always a value in a good mode of transportation.....but if you drop 1300 into the tranny rebuild......how are you going to feel 3 months down the road if it needs another 500 bucks in parts for something?

I definitely see the attractiveness of no payments on a car....not a fan of my current payments though they're extremely reasonable, but when I'm considering buying a house its just another monthly payment that I would rather be able to put into an account and use to pay off debt and save up for upcoming maint, car upgrades or random toys that make life fun.

Personally I think I'd probably go ahead and fix the DeVille, not sure on what the cost of putting a low mileage used tranny into it would be, might be expensive enough in labor to not make it worth it but it might be a way to save a couple hundred bucks. With the DeVille you know exactly what you're getting, where as the LS granted would be something new and exciting....but to me that unknown of what might be lurking around the corner makes me uneasy.
 

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I should have known to avoid that car when I dragged my ass outta bed the next morning, hungover as FVCK, and drove you through the drizzle to get that damn thing. Never buy a car on a cold, rainy Sunday morning, especially when the seller throws in a 20lb box of 10-20 year old porn (is that being sold with the car??), especially when you're nursing a lethal hangover.
In other words, it's all your fault, Chad. :histeric:

Note to self. Don't buy a car when drunk or pick it up when hung over.

Considering the car came from Las Vegas, the box o' porn comes as no surprise.
 

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I should have known to avoid that car when I dragged my ass outta bed the next morning, hungover as FVCK, and drove you through the drizzle to get that damn thing. Never buy a car on a cold, rainy Sunday morning, especially when the seller throws in a 20lb box of 10-20 year old porn (is that being sold with the car??), especially when you're nursing a lethal hangover.
Note to self (well, everyone actually), never go car shopping with either Chad, Jesda or Ian because something will get get seriously F'ed up eventually.
 

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Old luxury car = Old luxury car

You can't get around it. Buy the LS for $2k and you'll have to sink in $1500 right away to make it dependable, unless you luck out and find one with a complete service history.

I suggest a 1989-1993 Accord. I would bet my life, your life, and my dog's life on that generation of Honda. Plus, they're good to drive and quite comfy. Forget the luxury car thing for a while. There's trim levels of that Accord that make it look similar to the Acura Legend.
 

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hey I just bought a cadillac devilleand have a problem with the check engine light, appearing on the dashboard even though there is nothiing wrong with the engine, because I had even got it check by a few mechanics and they don't even know what to do about it, or why is it even appearing. I can't pass penssylvania expections, because of that
 

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hey I just bought a cadillac devilleand have a problem with the check engine light, appearing on the dashboard even though there is nothiing wrong with the engine, because I had even got it check by a few mechanics and they don't even know what to do about it, or why is it even appearing. I can't pass penssylvania expections, because of that
Welcome to the forum, please create a SEPARATE thread for new topics otherwise it causes confusion and problems for other members who attempt to search. Thanks.
 

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Old luxury car = Old luxury car

You can't get around it. Buy the LS for $2k and you'll have to sink in $1500 right away to make it dependable, unless you luck out and find one with a complete service history.

I suggest a 1989-1993 Accord. I would bet my life, your life, and my dog's life on that generation of Honda. Plus, they're good to drive and quite comfy. Forget the luxury car thing for a while. There's trim levels of that Accord that make it look similar to the Acura Legend.
Agreed.

$2,000 doesn't get much when it comes to a luxury car, they're all going to be old and tired and whether it's an LS400 (supposedly reliable but the most boring car on the planet ever) or a Deville, it's going to need parts. Nothing lasts forever, and I don't know about in the USA, but parts for Japanese cars are not cheap in the UK. A friend of mine had a Lexus GS something or other (300?) for the money you're talking about and while it was solid overall it needed a starter motor and coilpack in short order, plus suspension bushes and those parts were not cheap (and the starter was a complete B**** to get to).

Those old Lexus are all well and good while they're working but when they stop working it hits your wallet. And for every 300,000 mile all original story, there is another which needed a lot of bits.

If I only had $2,000 and needed it to be reliable I'd either stick with the devil you know or buy a less complicated car that takes cheaper parts and is easy to fix.
 

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My grandma had one of those Accords. She sold it to my aunt who drove it well past 200K miles in the city.
 

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You might see if you can sell the DeVille as it is. But if you decide to fix the tranny, I'd keep it for now.

I was in a similar position three years ago with Cruella. I decided to bite the bullet and get the tranny rebuilt. One, I really liked the car. Two, I had already made a number of small (and a few not-so-small) repairs, so I knew what the car's issues were. And once I had the ignition parts replaced, she turned out to be very reliable. Three, with any older <$2,000 car, there are likely to be issues, and it can really be a crap shoot. You could get lucky, or you could end up with a horrible POS that will make the trouble you've had with Ruthie's DeVille look very minor.

The LS400 is a really nice car, but it's much more complex than a DeVille, and even though they're generally reliable, there's likely to be repairs needed at the age and mileage you'll likely find for around $2K. You already know the 4.9 is pretty much bulletproof, long-lasting and relatively simple to repair, certainly compared to the high-tech V8 in the Lexus. Parts are readily available at NAPA and any mechanic worth his salt would be able to work on it.

I like the early 90s Accords as well, but good luck finding one at that age that hasn't been beat all to hell. Since I had excellent experiences with two completely trouble-free Accords (a '95 and a '99), I was originally thinking of a late 80s Accord when I needed a cheap car four years ago. The ones I found were in horrible shape and way overpriced. I remember looking at an '87 Accord with an asking price of ~$1,800. The entire plastic cover under the dash was ripped away and there were wires dangling everywhere. The upholstery was shot, and the white hood looked like somebody had painted it with Liquid Paper. And with the brush. I didn't even bother driving that one.

It was only after test driving an '89 Acura Legend with a broken power seat (that had me stuffed uncomfortably under the wheel), non-working A/C, and shocks so shot I felt like I was driving a 70s-era Lincoln Town Car that I noticed a nice, clean '90 DeVille on the lot for $1,999. I quickly changed my thinking toward finding some blue-hair owned car and found Cruella for $999 two days later. The rest, as they say, is history.

Hope this helps. Good luck and keep us posted.

BTW, Brian, my church is hosting a 6-week Money 101 workshop using Dave Ramsey's book that starts tonight. I'm getting better at managing my money (especially since I have a bit more now), but I think I'll learn something useful.
 

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Hey Brian, why not get a 1995 Deville with the 4.9? That car had the most refined and bug-free incarnation of the 4.9 (no main bearing thump), and also did not seem to have any of the 1993 Deville's known issues. You could also get it for right around, if not below, the LS400's price.
 
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