1996 Cadillac DeVille 4.9L Northstar from North America


Still going strong at 168,000 miles, eats brakes


Replaced water pump 112,000 miles $300.

Replaced heater blower motor (twice) at 116,000 miles. Second time was under warranty at least... $400.

Replaced fuel pressure regulator at 130,000 miles. $200.

Replaced both front wheel bearing hub assemblies at 165,000 miles -- one was shot the other was getting there. $900.

Car eats brakes... I drive 100 miles/day to and from work, 99% highway. Brakes last about a year. Bizarre.

CVRSS (Continuously Variable Road Sensing Suspension) Module died about a year ago. Doesn't seem to do all that much, except cause static on the AM radio. I pulled the mini fuse to the CVRSS module (fuse and module both located in trunk) ; now I get a SERVICE RIDE CONTROL message, but the static is gone. Not worth the $800+ bucks to replace the CVRSS module.

General Comments:

Despite the several costly repairs above, this really has been a fine car for me. I bought it for a song ($10K) at 102,000 miles / 3 years old (obviously they were mostly highway miles to put that many on in just 3 years), and considering the cost of a new DeVille vs. putting cash into this one, it's been a pretty easy call.

For a highway car, nothing beats it. I love the smooth ride.

Northstar engine is awesome. Cannot believe the power it still has after 168,000 miles.

Any kind of service on this car will lead to some serious bucks (I mean, $321 for the part alone for a blower motor almost made me blow my stack), so if you buy one just make sure to have cash in reserve for those big whacks.

Considering that replacing it would run close to $50K, I'll run this one into the ground.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th May, 2003

25th May 2003, 11:38

Forgot to mention... it gets GREAT gas mileage considering the size & power. Combined highway/town about 22 mpg; highway only 25+ mpg.

10th Jul 2003, 20:21

My wife and I own a 1996 Cadillac DeVille D’Elegance. We bought it as a used car. It was a leased vehicle. We bought it in the spring of 1998 when it had about 27,000 miles on it. It now has 86,000 miles on it. It’s a beautiful, comfortable vehicle, but we’ve had our share of problems with it. For example:

• The vehicle died en-route home on an interstate highway. We had to have it towed to a Cadillac dealership. The problem was a dead fuel pump. This was an expensive repair, considering the pump is in the fuel tank.

• It needed new spark plugs and spark plug cables. You wouldn’t expect that to be a big deal, but the bill was shocking … nearly $800 at a Cadillac dealership. We were told the cables for this vehicle are expensive.

• For no apparent reason, it sometimes stalls when slowing down. That’s dangerous because the power steering dies at that time and if you’re going into a turn, you had better have strong arms!

• There’s a slow transmission fluid leak.

• We had to replace the brake pads and had the disks ground down because the vehicle rumbled as it came to a stop. However, after a couple of thousand miles, the rumbling resumed.

• The “Service Engine Soon” message is constantly on when driving

• The “Service Emission System” message comes on occasionally.

• The “Service Transmission” message sometimes comes on when slowing down. We were told it’s caused by a bad sensor inside the transmission and it would cost in excess of $2,000 to replace the sensor. The advice we got was “run it until it dies”.

• Guess what the most recent problem is … the heater/air conditioner motor died! I read a trouble report that says this can be caused by routing the spark plug cables too close to the motor. I wonder if the $800 replacement of spark plug wires caused this! Regardless, we’ve scheduled an appointment to remedy the problem. I wonder what it’ll cost!