1993 Cadillac Fleetwood Base 5.7 TBI from North America

Summary:

I'm stuck on Fleetwoods, and will keep driving them as long as I can find them in good condition

Faults:

Age related things. The original steel radiator rotted out and had to be replaced - $329.

Wheel cylinders were leaking. These were cheap at only $11 each.

Coolant temperature sensor went bad, making the car run rich and the torque convertor inoperable. This was cheap and easy to replace, as it only cost $30 and screws into the top of the intake manifold.

The original ignition key went bad and made the anti-theft system kick in, rendering a no-crank condition (the key has a anti-theft pellet chip on it). I had a new key made at the dealer for $32. Haven't had this problem since.

The EGR valve went bad and made the "Service Engine Soon" light come on while on the highway. This didn't affect the driveability very much, but it did make the heat very hot and caused the intake manifold to leak at the front corners. I changed the EGR valve ($86) and the intake manifold has been bone dry since. This car has the best on-board diagnostics I've ever seen. Just push Off and Warmer on the Climate Control panel and it'll tell you almost everything wrong using numeric codes. Just reference these codes in your service manual and go from there.

The digital instrument cluster went out. I replaced it with a junkyard unit. The odometer is inaccurate, but I don't plan on selling the car.

The fuel pressure regulator went bad. This made the car stumble and occasionally stall after a lukewarm start. Cold starting was fine and hot starting was fine. Only when the car had sat for 25-30 minutes, was when this happened. The car would start, then stumble and sometimes stall completely. It would start right back up, but it would have a strong exhaust smell as if it was flooded out. This problem also made the injectors noisy. I recommend getting a regulator kit from the dealer. I bought a whole new regulator from the auto parts store. If I had known how easy it is to rebuild the regulator on a TBI system, I would've bought the kit from the dealer.

The water pump sprung a leak from the weep hole. It's very cheap and easy to change on this motor.

One of the rear speakers went out. This part was hard to find, since no other GM car has these odd 8" rear deck speakers. I lucked up on this part at the junk-yard. You will not see many Fleetwoods in the junk-yard. There were only 2 in the junk-yard that day compared to dozens of DeVilles and Sevilles.

The Level Ride system is not working. The dealer quoted me $1500 to fix. My mechanic told me that 90% of the time on Fleetwoods, it's the ride height sensor that's bad - that's it. Part cost $100-$300. I'll try this first. The good part about these Fleetwoods is even though the level ride is not working, the car doesn't sag too much in the back like Lincoln Town Cars do.

The fuel pump had a problem and caused a no-start condition. I had to be towed home. This is interesting because I could hear the pump running, but fuel was not getting to the injectors. I ordered a new AC-Delco pump from the dealer for about $80 including the shipping charges. When I got the old pump out, the problem was the rubber hose connecting to the pump-feed had come off because of wear, and GM had used cheap plastic hose clamps on this hose. The original pump also had a very short feed neck for this hose making a weak connection. The new Delco pump is redesigned, and has a longer feed neck with a flared end and they use metal screw type hose clamps for a secure connection.

The speed sensitive steering is acting up, making the steering too loose at higher speeds. Makes it handle like a 70's Caddy. I was told to replace the power steering pump.

Starter went out.

Right rear power window rolls down, but needs to be pulled up.

Leather interior is worn badly and dash is cracked. Needs to be redone.

ABS/Traction Control system is currently not working. The on-board diagnostics is showing a variety of codes for this one - mostly history codes. I don't really need ABS/TCC, since the cars I learned how to drive in didn't have these features, or air-bags either for that matter. But it would be nice if the system was working.

The gas tank either has bad baffles or is not designed well. If I let the gas drop to 1/8th a tank, it stalls when turned too fast or when parked on a hill for too long. My 91 Caprice Classic had the same gas tank with the same problem.

General Comments:

This is my 5th Cadillac, and it's the best one I've had so far.

The 235/70/15 wide base tires with the 121.5" wheelbase makes this the best riding car I've ever driven. However, it takes an experienced driver to understand the handling. This car has the FE1 soft ride suspension, a wide track, and a high ride height; so it handles like a mid-70's Caddy.

The interior is about as roomy as cars get. I like the simple dash layout and the one touch climate control. The rear heat vents are nice for rear passengers on cold days. The 6 speaker stereo has a cassette/CD combo and a programmable 5 band equalizer - I love blasting it, and those large 8" deck speakers give it a mean thump.

The trunk is huge.

This car has the 5.7 TBI engine (LO5). This is a base Fleetwood, so it has the 2.56:1 rear end gears. I was expecting some sluggishness given it's rated at 185 HP. But this engine feels more than adequate for this car. The 300 lbs of torque is available at low RPM, making the car launch off the line briskly. People think you're trying to race, but that's just how it takes off. Acceleration is very good and passing is effortless. This motor is smooth and quiet, and the dual electric fans make it very quiet. The car has so much insulation; when the windows are up, it's dead quiet inside.

Fuel mileage is fine for this car. It gets about 15 city, 25 highway. If you drive the old speed limit (55 mph), the 2.56 rear end helps the motor yield up to 30 MPG.

The mechanicals on this car are simple, so it's easy to service. The engine bay is uncluttered and they did a fine job keeping everything simple. The belt only turns a water pump, power steering pump, AC compressor, and alternator - that's it. I did a complete tune up on this car using common hand tools and didn't even scratch a finger. I changed the water pump in 20 minutes using the front bumper as a chair. I wish they still made servicing a car this easy.

This is a great looking car. Mine is gold with a coffee colored rag top. Those large chrome rocker moldings really set it off. This car is much better looking than its Roadmaster and Caprice cousins.

However,there are a few things about the car I don't like. The exterior paint is too thin and fades - mine needs to be touched up. Those beautiful chrome rockers are held on with cheap plastic clips and come off. One of mine flew off on the interstate one day after a rock hit it. I see why people put those Cadillac mudflaps on these Fleetwoods. I got lucky on a replacement; it only cost me $70 - retails for $460.

The leather doesn't wear very well. My older Cadillac's leather lasted longer.

It needs rear AC vents to accompany the rear heat vents.

The interior lighting is not laid out well on 93's. The front ceiling lights need to be in the center of the ceiling like on the old Brougham; not on each side of the ceiling. This issue was cured on 95-96's when they put lights under the rear-view mirror.

There's no compass available on Fleetwoods, yet my 91 Caprice Classic had one.

Overall, I've been very happy with the car the 5 years I've owned it. It has that rock solid reliability these full size GM's are known for, still looks great, seldom needs service other than routine, and still turns more heads than new Cadillacs. It even has the R12 AC system that still gets cold after 20 years... now that's great quality.

I wish they still made cars like this, and I wish luxury cars still offered velour seats.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th July, 2013

9th Jul 2013, 17:55

The original "steel" radiator?

I don't think so.

13th Jul 2013, 18:36

Correction there. It was aluminum with a copper or brass core. It rotted out from old age. Still better than the plastic crap every car maker uses these days.

1993 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special 4.9 from North America

Summary:

A thouroughbred race horse with an impressive pedigree

Faults:

Nothing has gone wrong with this car.

Sixty Special was one year only in this front drive platform. In 1993 Cadillac gave its esteemed Fleetwood badge to the new D-body rear wheel drive monstrosity.

General Comments:

The throttle response of this car is amazing. Might feel a little too "peppy" off the line for the older folks. Almost an intimidating "lunge" off line. Cadillac tried softening this with a cam eccentric throttle linkage, with fair results in my opinion.

These cars require a bit of fussing over compared to their other GM counterparts. But I have reached an opinion that all of the creature comforts and their respective plastic components are reaching the age of compromised integrity. Albeit most minor repairs won't break the bank, they are just added inconveniences.

The drive train is very solid in this car, but again requires slightly more attention to proper maintenance because of the aluminum components.

The only major potential issues I found would involve the air-ride level ride systems. They tend to become more problematic after sitting very long periods. So drive and enjoy often! After all, it's a Cadillac!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th June, 2013

6th Jun 2013, 07:39

"Sixty Special was one year only in this front drive platform."

Actually, the Sixty Special had been around as a FWD car since 1987. In its last year, 1993, it was actually closer to the previous year's Fleetwood in terms of standard equipment levels, as reflected by a sticker price that was about $2500 less than the 1992 Sixty Special.

The "rear wheel drive monstrosity" reference will likely produce other comments.

20th Jun 2013, 17:51

I still own one of these "rear wheel drive monstrosities" and have had the misfortune of owning two of the FWD models. Of the 5 Cadillac's I've owned, my 2 front-wheel-drive models were real maintenance monstrosities. My RWD models lasted twice as long as the FWD models, and were far more reliable during ownership than the FWD models. They didn't need those stupid pellets added to the cooling system either. As long as I can keep finding low mileage RWD models, I'll never even consider a FWD or newer model Caddy.