Thoughts on 1997 STS

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506
Location
Michigan
There is a 1997 Caddy STS w/ 45k miles on it in great shape thats for sale. I had a 94 that I loved but sold it after 2 years to get a Tahoe. Anyway, the STS can have a lot of problems. Some people hate them, others love them. I know the NorthStar can consume some oil between changes. Just wondering if anyone on here has an opinion. Thanks.
 
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1,836
Location
Pac NW
How much $? Do you know the previous owner? Any records? CARFAX? Like all mobile items on this Planet these operate on a bell-shaped curve. A '97 with 45K miles where you have all the service records, know the previous owner, clean CARFAX, etc. is worth a lot more than the opposite end of the curve. For the right car and the right price it might be a tremendous buy. It can also be a nightmare... You had a '94 you seemed to like: how does this one compare? Cheers!
 
Messages
755
Location
Oshkosh, WI
I'd avoid it personally. The Northstar engine is more or less junk. We get them in all the time with blown head gaskets, and to do them, you usually end up having to drill, tap, and Heli-coil every head bolt hole in the block,(after the engine is removed from the vehicle!) as they strip out when the head is removed. Most the time, they don't torque back down properly either, so it's just a matter of time before another one craps the bed. Figure about 20+ hours to do them if they go out, plus parts are only available from GM, so they're pricey too. [ June 15, 2006, 12:27 PM: Message edited by: GT Mike ]
 
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755
Location
Oshkosh, WI
It's the same car! Two less doors isn't going to make it more or less reliable! That's like saying a Plymouth Voyager is better than a Dodge Caravan. The drivetrains are absolutely identical.
 
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3,094
Location
Metro Detroit
Two less doors certainly affected the results in the review (2 vs. 7 out of 10). It's obviously not the same if you go by the difference in results there. People will look at different models differently, even if they're the same under the skin. To be accurate, you need to look at the review pertaining to the exact model you're looking at. Also, let me point out that this is a luxury car. Luxury cars are rarely cheap to maintain. Cadillac is no exception to this. Parts are generally more difficult to find and more expensive. Many times, the same job will take more labor on a luxury model than on a comparable non-luxury one. You have to love the car if you're planning on keeping it for any length of time.
 
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755
Location
Oshkosh, WI
That's why I question the credibility of that review. IMHO, the only good luxury car is a new luxury car. One with a warranty and a dealer that will cater to your every whim to retain you as a customer. It's definitely not the same if you buy one at a used car lot and expect to get red carpet treatment at your new car store when you need service.
 
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13,194
Location
Maricopa Arizona
Chris142 Member Member # 1614 posted 19 June, 2006 09:40 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I would never own a car that must use stop leak in the coolant to keep the coolant out of the oil pan. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Posts: 1361 | From: apple valley, ca | Registered: Jun 2003 | IP: Logged | This is for previous caddy engines prior to the northstar.
 
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1,904
Location
Bay Area, CA
quote:
Originally posted by GT Mike: I'd avoid it personally. The Northstar engine is more or less junk. We get them in all the time with blown head gaskets, and to do them, you usually end up having to drill, tap, and Heli-coil every head bolt hole in the block,(after the engine is removed from the vehicle!) as they strip out when the head is removed. Most the time, they don't torque back down properly either, so it's just a matter of time before another one craps the bed.
That sounds horrible. Do the bolts strip because the block is aluminum?
 
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1,836
Location
Pac NW
Back in the "old days" there was a famous book that cross-referenced all the various part numbers for the GM dividions... Yep! The part numbers from the Caddy dealers cost more FOR THE EXACT SAME PART than the part numbers for Chevy, Olds, Pontiac, etc. What a scam. Then there were the chevy 350 engines in the Olds, etc.
 
Messages
755
Location
Oshkosh, WI
quote:
Originally posted by Winston: That sounds horrible. Do the bolts strip because the block is aluminum?
Well, that paired with the absolutely obscene torque given to those head bolts I'm sure puts lots of stress on aluminum threads. They never put steel inserts into the block. Steel bolts thread into aluminum and get torqued to...Here goes: Step 1: 30 lbs ft. Step 2: 60 lbs ft. Step 3: 120° turn Step 4: 120° turn They use a "torque to yeild" bolt that stretches as it's torqued down to deliver somewhat of a "spring" effect to keep the torque constant. They only use an 11mm bolt too! The little Chrysler 2.2s used a bolt that big for their tiny little heads! My guess when it comes to these engines is that GM never expected them to fail. You do have to add cooling system sealer tabs to a Northstar every time the cooling system is serviced. Bottom line...The Caddies look nice, and drive real nice, but as for being reliable, no way. I'd look at a Chrysler 300M or Lincoln LS if you want a nice luxury car that will be affordable and much more reliable.
 

edvanp

Thread starter
Messages
506
Location
Michigan
Agree with you GT Mike. Decided to pass on the STS. Would love to get a Lexus GS400 (late 90s), but I also like the looks of the Lincoln LS.
 
Messages
135
Location
chicago
while i agree that you will find your share of northstar head gasket issues, it is fair to say that many, if not most, are the fault of cooling system maintenance and neglect. i believe there was a topic on this board regarding the most neglected systems in the car and this was most mentioned. my dad owns one 97k and has not had an issue. worked with someone with over 200k and never had this issue. seems to be the weak point of the motor, but if taken care of the motor does not seem to have this, or many other issues. regards lincoln ls, you might as well mention issues with ball joints, transmissions, fuel pump systems that may require a new computer.... the 300m is tagged with the infamous-maybe its legendary-a606/42le transmission. by the time its said and done, i would say this motor is no worse, and probably better than most, if taken care of. as far as adding coolant tabs-bfd. i suppose that whatever special chemicals go in such things as special honda trans fluid, coolant, etc. make them taboo as well? as a side, maybe gm could get some black ink if they just mixed the tabs right in with the coolant and called it northstar coolant-only available at the dealer-for $30 per gallon. plenty of other car manufacturers do this. i completely agree that unless you buy new, from a service oriented dealer, be prepared for expensive issues. this goes for any car-not just the northstar. if the service records are there, i'd say its as fair a gamble as anything in its class.
 
Messages
150
Location
Colorado
So it sounds like the '97 Cadillac Northstar may not be the best engine out there but have they improved it for the '00-'02 models? Also has anyone driven both the Seville STS and the Seville SLS in the years '00-'02 and if so does the STS ride much rougher than the SLS? We have had Lincolns with the 4.6L engine for years now and never have had an engine problem except for the plastic intake, does anyone think we would make a mistake by getting a Caddilac with the Northstar engine?
 
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1,979
Location
Dallas, TX
Beware of the older Lincoln LS if you're looking for a V8....early versions of that engine (In the LS and the Jag S Type) were prone to oil starvation at sustained high rpm. I never heard of problems with the 3.0 V6.
 
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