Once cadillac never go back
November 21, 2018
I got this at an estate auction 2 years ago (Oct 2016) with low miles (68K) and have hung 51K on it since. I am more than pleased withe the ultra smooth northstar v8. at 275 hp (base model not DTS) it is the most powerful sedan I have even owned and never leaves you lacking for power. Merging or passing is never an issue.
The tinted windows, phone antenna, color and chromed aluminum wheels, plus lack of hood ornament seems to fool other people at first glance that is is an unmarked crown vic which is funny to see the reactions. It has all the comforts I want (traction control, sunroof, dual climate, all heated seats, xm radio) so it is our go-to car, even tho around town the mileage can get depressingly low. but I can score 26 highway at 70mph cruise.
The traction control and the weight up front make it real good in the snow and this GM body design it used is the strongest FWD they ever built.
Now for the low points - the northstars can drink oil, down to 750 miles per quart. Believe it or not they need hammered wide open throttle from time to time to keep the rings free. sedate driving or city driving sticks the rings, so does impossibly steep hills where you have to manual downshift to 2nd a lot.
The car empty is about 4050lbs and it is based on the same running gear as say, a lesabre. So the brakes and tires are too small for a car this heavy capable of sneaking in under 15 seconds in the quarter.
I found a US company - Powerstop - that makes drilled and slotted rotors for all 4 corners with carbon fiber ceramic pads. They dont have the same aggressive initial bite of metallics, BUT, you get zero fade, and you can run 3-4 seds of pads on the rotors, whereas the semi-mets will generally warp a rotor in hilly driving by 50% brake like, leaving for an expensive replacement every 20K. Typical northstar coolant use - 6 oz or so every 6 months.
Runs good on regular gas and the wide open 1-2 upshift of the 4T80E tranny is a thing of beauty. The relatively light gear of the FDR makes the off the line a bit boggy but from a 30mph kick down, someone else has to bring an A game with a big engine to counteract it. Meaning, you can 'northstar' laggards with ease. AS they age, replace the strutting/shocking in all 4 corners to restore a really good, stable ride in a 2 ton car.
The trunk is large enough to uphold a time honored caddy tradition: 2 bodies in the trunk :-) I have used it to grab 20 2x4x8s from the lumber yard, 6 in the passthru, and the balance across the rear deck to dash with the passenger seat reclined. why grab the 12mpg suburban for a quick run to finish framing? you can even get 10ft trim in the car juuuuust touching the radio.
The oil life monitor (OLM) says 12K between oil changes, but I do it at 10K. 7.5 qts of 5-30 synthetic with a gm pf61E filer and buy another 7 qts to get u thru the oil usage. if the 'check oil message flashes, you are down *2* quarts.
the 00-05 devilles seem to have the head gasket issues fixed but the throttle body to intake gasket does split with age. the replacement comes from amazon for under $20 and takes 45 minutes of your life to change (if you are inclined)
the 'deville drop' is more prevalent in these cars for the windows falling, than say the impala, lesabre etc cuz the caddy windows heavier and the motors speedier. But you can get the regulators for $50 online and its about 1 hour-2hours tops for a first timer and there are good videos online how to do it ($400-$800 dealer cost for 1) The reason is because the window glass is heavier and the motor is faster, it puts too much strain on the plastic piece as it finds the uppers and lowers for the 'one touch' feature. Even the base stereo is bose built and with all the CDs it can swallow, the XM and even a tape, you are always entertained. the auto climate is as always, flawless. Some may throw a code for the rear adjustment - but it still works.
When buying, check for rust in the rear - the rear suspension links and the frame ends under the trunk are spots to keep an eye on as they salt with worse and worse acid every year.