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'98 Cadillac Seville Nightmare

owner7512owner7512 Posts: 7
edited March 2014 in Cadillac
I bought this car new with just 123 miles the
transmission failed and was replaced, then the fog
lights, The door switches, the front suspension,
the rear suspension, the steering wheel switches,
the third brake light, the rear suspension again,
the brake rotors, the water pump, the engine was
overhauled because of oil usage, the body seam was
faulty and the trunk filled with water, the engine
was replaced because of oil consumption, the front
seat frame was improperly riveted, the front
exhaust pipe was replaced, the transmission shift
linkage replaced,and there is more! When will it
be enough? Does Cadillac care? NO!


  • hiflier1hiflier1 Posts: 1
    I own a 2000 STS. I love this car. I have had absolutely NO problems with it. In contrast to Edmund's observations that it has "poor build quality", I would respectfully disagree. Addressing this gentleman's rant; Can I assume that Cadillac failed to reconcile these horrendous problems under warrantee? If so, I certainly can commiserate with this individual. If Cadillac on the other hand, make a concerted effort to repair/replace these defective components, then what is the purpose of this rant?? Auto companies WILL NEVER replace a car in it's entirety. They would rebuild it from the ground up first. It would seem that this individual would only be satisfied if Cadillac were to replace his car with a new unit. Not in his lifetime.
  • btroybtroy Posts: 92
    The cartalk guys would refer to this car as an FOT. On it's way from the factory to the dealership, it probably Fell Off Truck.
  • WE love the car but there does come a point. Yes they do fix what goes wrong but thats the very reason I bought the STS, not to have problems. This is no joke I have all the work orders and hate to think what will go wrong next.
  • porto14porto14 Posts: 1
    From what you have said it sounds like you may be elegible for the "lemon law". Check your state's lemon laws and you may be able to get the car replaced. At least make a stink to GM and Cadillac. I have a '95 STS that had a lot of problems between 18,000 and 22,000 miles but now has 47500 with no further problems. Now my Ford Explorer...that's another story!
  • corlt1corlt1 Posts: 29
    In 1992 afer Huricane Andrew crushed my wife's Turbo T-Bird, I bought her a '92 5.0 V8 Ford T-Bird with all the bells and whistles. Funny thing was that it had 180 miles on it. I asked several persons about the 180 miles on an untittled car, and was given several answers.

    I was told that the car was driven North to avoid Hurricane damage, but I found out that the car was made long after the Huricane hit. After many visits to the service department for transmissions, rear ends, drive shafts and half shafts loose, electrical problems, etc. It was clear to me that they were going to repair anything that went wrong, but the car was getting shop worn and just could not fix the loud bang in the rear end when the transmission shifted into overdrive. Plus the car now had 17,000 miles on it and was 17 months old. They even tried trading transmissions from a new 1993 that just arrived.

    They finally told me that could not fix it and that I was welcome to take it to another dealer or trade it in. I asked the Service Manager about those very suspicious 180 miles on a new car and he said that some times a car does not pass quality control at the factory or a problem is discovered after final build. He said that they repair the car and run it at the factory test track until it's fixed.

    There is another possibility in that the car was used as a demo for a short time and was trouble, or it was sold and came back before the paper work was sent out.

    Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to let you know all the details. Dealers don't like Lemon Laws, because they can't resell that car in some states. They will do a dealer or factory assisted buy back. I was offered premium trade in from the so called black book and a $2,000 check from Ford. I still took a loss, but it was worth it.
  • I own a 1999 STS with not a problem at all. The car is wonderful and has only 5800 miles. I would never regret my decision when I was faced with Lexus GS300's and 400's I passed them up for the STS so it better preform past my expectations which it has! Keep up the good work Caddy!!
    Tim M.D.
  • corlt1corlt1 Posts: 29
    On the Escalade, I would wait for the 2001 model. The 2000 is built on the old chassis and will switch to the new much more refined chassis in 2001.

    When Chevy came out with the new pickup truck chassis in 99, it drew rave reviews. The 2000 Yukon and Yukon XL are on the new chassis that offers the new Vortec V8 engines based on the LS1 V8 Corvette engine which is excellant. This chassis has standard 4 wheel disk brakes, not YET offered on the older designed GMC Denali and twin, Escalade from Cadillac.

    So if you wait until 2001, a year after letting the Chevy Yukon debug the new chassis, you can get all the good items in the 2001 Denali and Escalade.
  • On Thursday my wife found out she was pregent with twins!! We will most likley no longer be getting a SUV at all! Now we have to start looking around at minivans, we have never done any minivan shopping at all. The only van we know anything about is the Oldsmobile Silhouette Premiere, because my sister has one, maybe we'll get one of those. I was really looking forward to getting a Escalade , I am really not a minivan person, they seem to slow and boxy, but they can seat 4 kids in the back, unless the Escalade can add a third row seat in the 2001's. If you know anything about the third seat in 2001 or any good minivans please let me know. Maybe we can get a new minivan for my wife and the kids and I can still get an Escalade that would be great ;) Only if Cadillac made a Minivan!! (Are you listening GM??)
    Tim M.D.
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    Let's don't lose sight of the purpose of this topic which was to discuss problems with a 98 Seville. :-)

    Heartdoc, congrats on your news. If you haven't already, you should go take a look at our Vans Conference to find lots of discussion about all sorts of minivans. Just click on that link to go directly there.

    There are also several Escalade topics in our SUV conference which you can easily find by keying Escalade into the Topic Search feature on the left side of this page.

    Good luck!

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • corlt1corlt1 Posts: 29
    Congrats to you and your wife. I'm also sorry drifting from the subject so I'll be brief and won't deviate after this.

    I made a mistake, as the Yukon is a GMC and not a Chevy. It does offer a 3rd rear seat that's removable, so it seats nine. The 2001 Escalade and GMC Escalade twin, the Denali will be on the new chassis and will offer the extra 3rd row seat.

    Tell your wife that she and the twins will be far safer in an Escalade than any mini-van presently on the planet.

    Okay, I promise never to deviate again.
  • corlt1corlt1 Posts: 29
    Does anyone with a Northstar have oil consumption problems. I heard that some do and some don't and I believe that it may be the way in which the engines are broken in.
  • The car was broken in properly, started using oil at about 20k. When it was replaced it was using more than a quart in 1k miles. I still can't get a response about the buy back program, all the dealer does is work on it. I don't think I can stand one more promise.
    Still waiting!
  • haimohaimo Posts: 2
    Haimo here. I've been driving my 2000 STS very hard for 2 months now; really enjoying it. But anxious to hear of changes coming for 2001. Any info?

    Thanks. Also, don't forget the great "Contemporary Cadillac" discussion board at:
    I post there under the username: Double H

  • haimohaimo Posts: 2
    Sorry - meant to add to above post:
    NO PROBLEMS with this 2000 Cadillac STS. And I've been driving it hard. What is hard? Hmm - how about 3 drag races against a 2000 Lexus GS400 (victorious, thank-you very much). V-E-R-Y high speed (where prudence allows). And yes - even a few burn-outs. I make no apologies. My previous cars were Corvettes and several Vipers. Having our first baby forces me into a sedan, but it doesn't have to change my interest in performance driving.

  • corlt1corlt1 Posts: 29
    Well, I'm glad you said it first. I have always been told that in order to properly break in a motor, you should avoid wide open accelleration for the first 1500 miles, but that you SHOULD accellerate moderately up to expressway speed and then coast back down several times to seat the rings. After 1500 miles, whatever you want. In the past 20 years or so the so called experts advise that engines DO NOT need any special break in procedures.

    My parents Eldorado was really babied and the oil consumption was terrible (800 miles a qt.) This went on for about 60,000 miles. When I got it, I drove it hard and after about 2500 miles of hard driving the oil consumption got better until it started going 3,000 miles without using any oil. After 45,000 more miles without using any oild between oil changes, I sold it, and the new owner, a friend reports no oil problems.

    I believe that many Cadillac owners drive their cars so easy, that the rings never seat properly.
  • msolermsoler Posts: 2
    I am looking at the 96 SLS with 41,000 miles. Car ran great on the test drive and is loaded. It would be the first Caddy for me,is there anything specific to look for or to avoid in this year and model?
  • jpstaxjpstax Posts: 250
    I posted this same message in the Buick Regal GS topic, but I believe it applies to all cars that require premium unleaded gasoline:

    I read this in what is called "Ask the Auto Doctor" in my local newspaper's Auto Showcase:

    Q: "I purchased a 1999 Cadillac DeVille. The
    dealer says to use premium gas. This is my sixth
    Cadillac and in the other I always used the middle
    grade fuel.
    With the price of gas today, I would like to
    use cheaper gasoline. The 2000 model Cadillac now
    uses the regular unleaded. Betty"

    A: "Dear Betty: Your 32-valve Northstar V-8 has a
    high-compression engine and is designed to run on
    premium octane fuel. The lower octane, the less
    heat is required to light the gas/air mixture. The
    higher octane requires more heat to ingite it.
    When regular, lower octane is used, it will
    ignite on the internal cylinder temperature
    without the aid of the spark plug firing. The gas
    mixture actually explodes. This is heard when the
    ping sound is heard.
    The continued use of a lower-octane gasoline
    will damage pistons and valves."
  • I am interested in problems anyone has with a 1998 STS as I have. Before Lloyd Mismer can decide what to do with this car it's going back to the dealer again with an average of every 2,000 miles. Now when I go over the slightest bump it sounds like the wheels are going to fall off.
  • corlt1corlt1 Posts: 29
    I advise you to get ask the dealer or better yet, another dealer to print out the history of this vehicle.

    Even better than that go to and get the history as I believe that you stated that this car had some miles on it prior to your purchase. Remember, I bought a carr too with 180 UNEXPLAINED miles on it and I ended up trying to do a "Lemon Law" return on the car since it was so screwed up. Since the dealer did a dealer assisted buy back, he resold my "Lemon" to another probably unsuspecting person.

  • I also had many problems with a new 1998 STS. Many engine related problems, and heating/air conditioning problems. In the first year the vehicle spent over 30 days in service.
    As a result, after 12 months of problems, and 9,000 miles, I submitted an extensive summary of the problems to Cadillac Customer Service, and with the help of an excellent dealer (Brown Brothers in Louisville KY), Cadillac REPLACED the vehicle with a new 1999 model of my choice AT NO COST! No questions, and no hassle! The 1999 model has been totally trouble free for over 1 year, and is an excellent car. Customer service does not get any better than this. My experience has been if you work with the customer service people in a professional manner, and you have a supportive dealer, you can get the problems resolved. Good Luck.
  • barkingpumkin- I guess they got tired of replacing the 98 STS 'cause I'm getting hassled like you couldn't believe. They've had my car a week now and the mechanic called Friday and told me he didn't know how to fix it! Thats fine, the rental is a nicer car and hasn't broken down yet.
  • kyle80kyle80 Posts: 2
    I've been looking to buy a older STS Or Eldorado
    ("93to"96) due to cost.I found a "93 STS with 38,000 miles on it and an orig.owner car.After reading some of these posts i wonder if i should even go look at it now!! i currently own a '82 seville with just over 100,000 on it and has been a great car.I cant seem to find anything else that rides like a Cadi..Any feed back would be great..
  • corlt1corlt1 Posts: 29
    I'm glad to see that barkingpumkin handled his problem car in this manner and is is now happy with his new car. In fact if I was in your area, I would be buying my new car from this dealer. You should show your dealer the posts on this board as this is is what builds customer satifaction and dealer loyalty and it great dealer advertisement.

    Owner7512, I beleive that your dealer is giving you a hint. When my dealer's Service Manager advised that, "He could not fix my car", I asked what he recomended, "Taking it to another dealer", I said.

    The Service Manager said that it would do no good and advised me to trade it in, which I stated that I did not want to suffer the depreciation on a year and 1/2 old car. The Service Manager said that he would see if he could get me dealer buy back assistance from the factory and he did.

    If it's under 12 months and 12,000 miles and the vehicle has been in the shop 4 times for the same item or out of service for a total of 30 days, it falls under the Lemon Law. If it's over 12 months and 12K miles you can still qualify for the Lemon Law if the last few repairs took you past the 12 months and 12K.

    After the 12 and 12, your dealer can do a factory assisted buy back against a trade in for a new car.
  • beeb21beeb21 Posts: 1
    Here is a neat twist on the Oil consumption and premium fuel usage. I have a 1996 STS that I purchased at 14K miles used and certified in 97. The car has 48K on it now and is still under warrantee. The car uses a quart of oil every 350-450 miles. I just got it back from the dealer today and this it what I learned:
    They have a new TSB out that says the cause is the new premium fuels causing the rings to stick. The recommended fix is to do a Carbon X treatment. That is to dump a quart of this stuff down the throttle body to free up the rings. They also instructed me to use regular gas and the computer will correct itself for the change in octane. Isn't that funny, all these years and all the extra in premium just to screw my engine up. It would appear that the extra money I spent on the STS over SLS for the extra horsepower is now being detuned for the regular fuel. I hope Cadillac doesnt add the Northstar to there diesel and 4-6-8 list on ways to handle this and fix this thing the correct way.
  • corlt1corlt1 Posts: 29
    Well, I hope that you'll keep us informed on if the oil consumption gets better or worse. But that doesn't sound right on the cause.

    Most cars have 3 rings per cylinder and the end gaps are strategically placed so that the end gaps are NOT lined up together. If they were, the oil would have a nice path from the crankcase into the combustion chamber where it would burn.

    Oil has only 3 ways to get out of an engine. It can leak out, bypass the rings or bypass the valve guide seals. The later 2 would show up as smoke in the exhaust.

    Again, my experience is that most Cadillac drivers don't drive their cars hard enough to seat the rings.

    As for fuel grade selection, my Corvette says "Premium Fuel Recomended", but I would never run it on regular even though the ECM computer WILL compensate by retarding the timing and richening up the fuel injection pulses thereby killing power and decreasing fuel economy.

    Funny, that when my wife's T-Bird had a failing alternator and the Service Engine Soon light was lit, the dealer told my wife that the light was lit because she admitted to using Premium fuel! The dealer was busy and told her to come back the next week. She was stranded on busy I-95 the next day and I had to have the car towed home.

    Your car has 48,000 miles and is close to the end of the factory waranty (depending on the years)and I'm wodering, if the dealer is just trying to get you past the waranty period without making the real repair. I would ask to get a copy of that TSB as it goes against the orginal emissions certification and the manufacturers recomondation found in the owner's manual.

    Please keep us informed on your progress. If your not leaking any oil, you may want to take the car out on the interstate and go after a couple of Mustangs or Camaros. It worked in my Eldorado.
  • ongamongam Posts: 1

    I owned a '93 Seville STS which I bought with 32K miles on it and it was a tigress, just awesome. Only problem I had in 7K miles was a window motor went out and since I took the extended warranty, it was covered. I'm looking at a '98 STS tomorrow, again. Why again, because this STS with 28K miles on it drove strange when I test drove it last week. The salesman tried to push it off on the new style clutch. Yeah right. So they ended up taking it to Cadillac and it was engine mounts. They're asking a ridiculous $39,000 for the vehicle. As nice of a creampuff as it is, I still have mixed emotions. Yes it has factory warrantee left for over a year, but do I want to to drive it or constantly go visit it at the Cadillac repair shop? By the way, the car is at....A Lexus dealership. Help please!
  • I just purchased a 1998 STS with 51,500 miles for about $22K. I thought it was a great deal until 400 miles later the RPM and Speedometer quit working. Then I noticed that the turn signals, cruise control, odometer, and sun roof weren't operating either. I was heart broken. Next thing you know, everything went back to normal. I'm on pins and needles till Thursday when I take to the Caddi dealership. Since mine is past the warranty mileage, I'm afaid that my great deal might evaporate in non-warranty repairs.

    Anyone have similar problems? Does anyone think Cadillac might repair it under warranty if the trouble codes show the problem existed prior to 50K?

    Another problem (mainly an annoyance) is the chipped paint on the steering wheel volume control button. I noticed when I bought it, but I didn't know that it would 'leak' light at night.

    Finally, anyone know where to get some good quality Cadillac or Seville merchandise? I looking for a key chain, license plate frame, and maybe a golf shirt or hat.

    Little tid bit: If you want to view your trouble codes, just press the info up and on/off buttons simultaneously. I really can't make much of them other than knowing they exist in history.
  • hello22hello22 Posts: 8
    Cadillac merchandise can generally be found at the dealership. Our dealership has a case that has shirts, hats, keychains, etc... at a Cadillac price.

    My SLS has had two problems. First the battery exploded, coroding the positive battery terminal. It could not be pried off the battery, so I cut it and jury-rigged a new terminal on it, removed the acid from the engine compartment, and replaced the battery. Big mistake on my part. The + terminal and cable assembly had to be replaced... $400! Mostly labor to remove everything in the car to re-route the cables.

    The other problem was the waterpump. I was told they are weak in the northstar engines. Another $400.

    I think I'm finding that buying the car is the easy part. The mtc is scary.
  • A little over 1 week and 1K miles in my STS. One word, WOW! What a car. It's fast, yet refined and good looking.

    One thing I find disturbing is poor headlamps. I find myself driving with my so called brights on all the time and no one seems to notice/flash me.

    Anyone know of a good upgrade. I would like HID, but they aren't legal. Other choices PAII superbrights or over wattages bulbs. Has anyone tried any of these?
  • harleybillharleybill Posts: 23
    I bought a 95 concours with 30K and the engine began using oil and it used 2qts in l300 miles and I got cadillac to replace the engine at 68K. ( I bought the extended warranty) I now have l21k on the car and have used PREMIUM exclusively. I do not see how premium could cause the rings to stick?

    I kept the 95 and bought a 98 concours with 30k and now have 35k on it and it does not use any oil so far. However, I bought a 6 yr/l00k warranty. The northstar is too expensive to replace. I believe it is $5,000.00 with labor.

This discussion has been closed.