1982 Cadillac Eldorado 5.7 liter diesel from North America


Unique for its day... Runs fine with care


After purchase, the entire hydraulic brake booster went out, costing $400+ to fix when doing it myself.

The entire brake system, including calipers, was replaced.

Alternator bracket broke twice under normal conditions.

The car went though 4 starters in the lifetime of having it, which each time was VERY costly.

The end of its life, was when at 256,000 miles the head blew.

General Comments:

Despite every review I have ever read (even in books), I took on owning the infamous 5.7 liter diesel engine. People said this car simply just would not run very long without major headaches or total engine failure. This Eldorado was beautiful, and ran excellent with lower miles for an 82, so I purchased it. At first it was very buggy with brakes and some of the brackets breaking under normal driving conditions. Overall this is expected in an "older car" of any make or model. The major flaw for me was starters... seemed like every other year I was replacing them.

I never did any upgrades to the original 82 5.7 diesel, as some said that had to be done in order to keep them going... (head bolts etc. etc.). The engine was never replaced by the GM Goodwrench version later offered.

From 79,000 miles, all the way to 256,000 when it finally blew the head, it was very, very reliable. Always started, even under the coldest conditions, and got superb mileage for a car of its size.

They key to the 5.7 diesel that everyone hated, is to change the oil below what is recommended (I did it every 2500 miles)! Use QUALITY oil, keep the coolant CLEAN, and all the filters CLEAN. Only buy diesel fuel from places that move a lot of it, and quality fuel, not watered down crap fuel, causing the injection pump to totally fail. Many times using bad diesel fuel would sporadically advance the timing in this engine, causing horrible engine failure and the heads to lift off!

Another major thing I must say is... In driving this car, it is by no means a "hot rod race car". Yes, they have very little power for the size of the car, but driven with care, it doesn't stress this engine out to the point of failure.

Overall, most comments about this engine are right!! They were known for disaster from day 1. But treated with care and maintenance, they will last. If they're neglected and driven like a regular gas powered car, no they won't last.

At 256,000 miles, the head on the diesel finally blew... As most of these did early on. By this time, I had gotten a lot of use out of this car and didn't see the justification in repairing it. Although when I sold it, it was going to be repaired by the next owner.

76,000 - 256,000 is not bad at all for a car known to be avoided because of the engine. With care these are not bad at all by any means. You just must understand they require more than just turn the key and go.

I personally loved the way the car drove, ran, and handled. Had many happy experiences with it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 2nd July, 2013

30th Aug 2013, 14:55

I agree! When cared for, these cars are spectacular. Not to mention collector's items. Loved your honest opinion, thank you.