2004 Cadillac Deville DTS

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772
Location
Chatham, Ontario, Canada
My son-in-law is picking up a 2004 Caddy Deville DTS for $5000. It has 100,000 miles on it After doing a little research on reliability I find that the Northstar engine blows head gaskets and leaks oil, the electronics [censored] out early and the struts need frequent replacement. Can anyone tell me anything good about this car that he is going to pay for tomorrow? He is dead set on getting it because he thinks the price is right and he likes big cars.
 
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6,186
Location
Texas Hill Country
I would not purchase this thing for $2500. When I lived up north I had a Crown Vic Police Interceptor, then a grand marquis. Both were great cars, but very dangerous in the snow for me. Both were dead reliable however. In his price range, maybe look for a FWD Buick with a 3800 engine?
 
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26,180
Location
MA, Mittelfranken.de
Nothing wrong with that car or the engine. The older N* had head bolt issues pulling the threads out of the block. This was fixed long before this car was built and is reliable. It is a good engine with plenty of power and gets good fuel economy for its size. The car is well made, no real issues with the drive train, suspension, electrics. rust is not a problem with these bodies. IMO he did good with this one. BTW i actually owned one of these and my sister still owns it, it has never been a problem.
 
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Messages
8,185
Location
The Midwest
You gotta remember it's $5000. You gotta look at it this way: Whats a cheap new reliable small Toyota Corolla cost in Canada which he doesn't want, $18k? Or a new Cadillac, $45K+? I don't like Cadillac vehicles in general. The good about it? I was picked up in a newer one years ago when I flew to Tampa. It had the best ride of any car I've been in and it had very good noise isolation.
 
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26,180
Location
MA, Mittelfranken.de
The 2004 and up used the longer head bolts with a different thread pitch. Granted its not as good a "fix" as the insets or better still studs but it worked out okay. Truth is not every N* had failed head bolts, i know of of 1999 and 2000 cars with almost 200K on them and never had a problem. 100K is no problem, it still has plenty of trouble free miles left in it. My sister hasn't spend any more on my old caddy (i bought it new) than she would to maintain any other car, its been great. Coming up on 150K and 10 years and the head bolts are still fine, no oil leaking either.
 
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26,180
Location
MA, Mittelfranken.de
You seem to be stuck on this one issue that was not a common a problem with the 04 and up cars. If you don't like the cars thats fine but lets at least be fair, the car has a lot of good points. If you want to do that lets pick any car and dwell on its soft spots. Like GM with the 3800 engine, LIM and pre 04 cars a soft 4th gear input shaft in the transmission. Toyota sludgers, engines with piston slap and timing chain problems. For every Caddy that lost a head gasket how many didn't? My friend owns a large Cadillac dealership, i know the managers and mechanics well. Out of the hundreds of cars they service every week head gasket jobs are not that common on later models.
 

cb450sc

Thread starter
Messages
772
Location
Chatham, Ontario, Canada
Well just an update. My son-in-law drove the vehicle from Richmond Virginia to Chatham Ontario which is about an eleven hour drive. He decided to do it over two days. He had the oil changed before he left and ensured all of the other fluids were topped up. My wife and I went to visit them and of course he wanted to show me the car. Both the interior and exterior of the car are in immaculate condition for a 2004. We then checked over the engine. It is very clean. We rechecked the fluids and everything was fine except that the coolant reserve was empty...
 
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19,686
Location
Sunny Florida
cb450sc, let the car get cool after a good run and then remove the oil filler cap. A careful sniff will reveal the smell of coolant. There may even be a bit of condensation under the cap as well. Sorry, but we all know this usually leads to the head gasket....
 

ls1mike

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Originally Posted By: SteveSRT8
cb450sc, let the car get cool after a good run and then remove the oil filler cap. A careful sniff will reveal the smell of coolant. There may even be a bit of condensation under the cap as well. Sorry, but we all know this usually leads to the head gasket....
Whoa Steve slow down. smile Check for leaks before you start ripping into it. Is this a pressurized system, I can't remember.
 
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26,180
Location
MA, Mittelfranken.de
Yes it is pressurized. Many times when owners change the coolant in these cars they neglect to use GM tabs which are mandatory in the N* From my own experience with HT4100, HT4500 and N* when a head gasket lets go there is no doubt about what it is. Its never a minor leak that needs real diagnosing.
 

ls1mike

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Came from the factory with the tabs, they need to be put back in after a flush. Also I have seen people flush the pressurized systems and they don't get them full.
 

cb450sc

Thread starter
Messages
772
Location
Chatham, Ontario, Canada
Sorry mike, I have been a honda and Dodge guy most of my life. What are these tabs you are referring to? In all honesty I did not go over the engine bay very carefully so there is a posibility of a leak.
 
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4,954
Location
Kansas
I have not checked since, but a few years ago GM would not sell a remanufactured Northstar engine. I guess that shows you just how much confidence they put into them. Perhaps they do now. Anybody?
 

ls1mike

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Originally Posted By: cb450sc
Sorry mike, I have been a honda and Dodge guy most of my life. What are these tabs you are referring to? In all honesty I did not go over the engine bay very carefully so there is a posibility of a leak.
They use them too...it is like bars. GM specific stop leak Or it was flushed the air is all out now and they never topped off.
 

ls1mike

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Originally Posted By: Kruse
I have not checked since, but a few years ago GM would not sell a remanufactured Northstar engine. I guess that shows you just how much confidence they put into them. Perhaps they do now. Anybody?
You can go right down to dealer and get one right now. You just don't want to pay for it. Better getting it from a reputable rebuilder.
 

ls1mike

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From GM Techlink March 2004: Cooling System Seal Tabs What’s made of ground-up ginger root, almond shells and binder? And causes confusion in auto service departments? Some people call them coolant pellets, but the proper name is Cooling System Seal Tabs. And we hope to clear up some misunderstandings about them. How They Work Seal tabs are dissolved in the engine coolant and the resulting fibres circulate through the cooling system. At a microscopic level, the tabs break down into irregular, long, thin fibres. When a small leak or seepage occurs, the coolant carries the fibres into the opening, where they cluster up and jam together. (Think of logs and branches in a beaver dam.) This mechanism is very effective at stopping leaks. Any fibres that make it to the surface will crust over and enhance the seal. This sealing method is useful only for small-scale leaks and seepage, and tends to work best in conditions where the surrounding parts aren’t moving. The seals tend to break down in areas between metals that are expanding and contracting with temperature changes, for instance. A Secondary Benefit The traditional green-colored coolant, used until DEXCOOL® was introduced in 1996, contained silicates, which deposit on cooling system surfaces. The tiny fibres from the seal tabs acted as scouring pads, removing silicate deposits from the water pump seal faces, which contributed to longer water pump seal life. Side Effects of Seal Tabs In addition to the benefits of sealing small leaks and scrubbing silicates from water pump seals, seal tabs also have some side effects. After awhile, a brown, dirty-looking stain may form on translucent coolant bottles. Residue may form on the backside of the radiator cap. And deposits that resemble rust may be found in the cooling system. These are not problems, in the sense that they cause no physical harm. But their appearance can be alarming, especially on a new vehicle. Both customers and well-intentioned technicians can be misled by these deposits. Another side effect comes from overuse. When seal tabs are used in the prescribed amounts, they will not cause restrictions or plugging in an otherwise properly operating cooling system. But, if a little is good, a lot must be better. Wrong!! Overuse can lead to plugging, especially in the relatively small tubes used in heater cores. Some History There was a time when seal tabs were installed in every new vehicle, at the factory, to account for the inevitable small leaks that occur in castings, joints, and so on. By the mid ‘90s, manufacturing and machining techniques had improved to the point where the seal tabs were no longer needed on a universal basis. With the introduction of long-life coolant, silicate deposits were no longer a concern, so the scrubbing action from the seal tab fibres was no longer needed. TIP: GM plants, as well as other manufacturers, still occasionally use seal tabs to address specific concerns. Today’s Recommendations In short, GM no longer endorses universal use of seal tabs. Procedures in SI have been specifically written to discourage their use in most cases. When a condition appears in which seal tabs may be beneficial, a specific bulletin is released, describing their proper use. One such bulletin is Customer Satisfaction Program 03034, dated 7/7/03. This applies to specific 3.8L engines only, and is in effect until July 31, 2005. TIP: After performing the procedure in the bulletin, be sure to install a recall identification label to the vehicle to indicate that the seal tabs have been installed. TIP: If seal tabs were installed in a vehicle at the factory, it’s OK that the proper amount of tabs be installed if the coolant must be drained and replaced. What’s a Recommended Dose? TIP: Use this information only when instructed to do so by bulletin or SI procedure. The proper number of Cooling System Seal Tabs depends on the capacity of the vehicle’s cooling system. Use between 1 and 1 1/2 grams of tabs per liter of cooling system capacity. TIP: Cooling System Seal Tabs are packaged in two sizes.12378254 Small tabs (4 grams each) 5 tabs per package 3634621 Large tabs (10 grams each) 6 tabs per package
 
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