This engine had a very bad reputation for blowing up from sucking in coolant from defective manifold gaskets. We never replaced them, but did keep watch on the oil, which warns you by changing appearance to a foamy chocolate milk look when they leak.
I had the advantage of meeting the best service advisor in the industry. With his advice and guidance I saved a lot of money, and began a love affair with Cadillac's. In nine years I've owned eight of these cars, two to four in the driveway at one time.
I am just an average guy, who never even took shop classes, but with Cadillac's onboard diagnostics and the Cadillac shop manual, there wasn't anything I couldn't do. Cadillac's best kept secret is the onboard computer diagnostics. Two fingers and the manual is all that's needed. No other car has this feature. It tells you when it's sick.
This car was garaged in Arizona for most of its life. Before I bought it in Kansas City, every rubber hose was replaced. Sun had damaged most of the plastic interior parts, but there was no rust.
Although a grandma car, it had been T-boned in an accident. When rebuilt it had a lot of windnoise I corrected by replacing the door gaskets. It had also been stolen at least twice from the parking lot of the nursing home. It had 42,000 miles on it when I purchased it in 1995.
Parts are half the price of a Mazda, and one quarter that of Lexus, and they are not a dealer only item. Also GM has no fixed prices, so different dealers quote different prices.
The most difficult repair is the water pump $550. It requires moving the engine, and is complicated by Torx bolts that invariably break off or seize up and in my case cracked part of the block, which meant drilling it out and rethreading a new longer hex bolt.
The most expensive repair is the air conditioning pump which runs about $1500. but is warranteed for life if the dealer does it. The A/C went out at 120,000 miles.
We donated the car when the cam flattened out at 138,000 miles.
It rode beautifully, had velour upholstery, and was delightful in size, and gas mileage.
On the negative side, the car is so complex and sophisticated that things do break, but five minutes in an econo box will convince you Cadillac's are every penny.
Also because Grandma doesn't get drunk and run into people the insurance rates on Cadillac's for teenage drivers are ridiculously low. It is always a good idea to put more sheet metal between your teens and their opponents.