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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-14-2012, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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Question Potential new car

So right now I'm looking at a 95 fleetwood brougham. Ad says its been family owned since new and has records, I haven't seen it in person yet but the pics look pretty good. My only real concern is that it has 180,000 miles, again the ad says mostly highway and religious about maintanance. So the question is what should I look for when I go to look at it? I've read that the transmission can be an issue and the opti-crap. Also if the car was really good, maybe a little surface rust or dings but ran and drove good, how much would you guys pay for it, if you'd buy a car with 180,000 miles anyway?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-15-2012, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by defflepp1 View Post
So right now I'm looking at a 95 fleetwood brougham. Ad says its been family owned since new and has records, I haven't seen it in person yet but the pics look pretty good. My only real concern is that it has 180,000 miles, again the ad says mostly highway and religious about maintenance. So the question is what should I look for when I go to look at it? I've read that the transmission can be an issue and the opti-crap. Also if the car was really good, maybe a little surface rust or dings but ran and drove good, how much would you guys pay for it, if you'd buy a car with 180,000 miles anyway?
So, you wouldn't do Nina Hartley, then?
Some cars age better than others, too.
The other thing I mean to say, is that 180K is a lot LESS than you seem to think it is, EXCEPT when the person who owns/owned the car doesn't actually realize how little [s]he really cares/cared about the car.

1. If you thoroughly read and understand a high-quality maintenance record, you will learn how overrated the importance of mile-age is.

Does the history indicate any problems which both the owner & the mechanics gave up on? If so, does the ISSF have an answer? Do you care?
Anyone who keeps maintenance records will have an explanation for large gaps. Does that explanation sound honest, or fishy?

2. AFTER thoroughly understanding the maintenance history, you'll have a better idea of how important the 'walkaround' is - tire-kicking, oil-checking, etc. - looking for stuff to go wrong BEFORE you get in the driver's seat.

3. A thorough test drive procedure will - AGAIN - prove to you how overrated the importance of mile-age is.

Turn the key to the 'ON' position withOUT starting the engine. Turn on every single electrical device in the car you can think of, while your foot leans HARD on the brake.
Before you start the car: did the brake pedal move more than 0.5" downward after your foot found its '1st floor'?
Try to start the car.
Does the attempt sound 'weak', or did it totally fail? Possible electrical problem.
Is it taking more than 3 seconds to start (none-1000,1-1000, 2-1000, 3-1000)?

When you drive it, does it respond faithfully to your feet and hands, or does it make you nervous?
What doesn't he want you to do during the test drive? WHY?
Have him drive it BACK as hard as he feels safe to do so. If he makes any excuses, I'd be concerned.

If you want a better proxy for the condition of the car, get some engine oil out of the crankcase analyzed.

1g1bl82p7rr127841 Rust In Pieces, Rest In Peace
They are NOT Lying to You
You are NOT Lying to Yourself
You are Being Lied to - BY Your Self
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-15-2012, 08:41 PM
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Rust is always a concern.

2005 Pontiac GTO
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-15-2012, 11:55 PM
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I wouldn't be too worried about the mileage as long as the car was taken care of.
I'd ask to see the maintenance records and look them over thoroughly

make sure to test out all the electronics during the test drive.

surface rust is ok (not great) but I'd make sure to look really good at the floor of the car (up on a lift). I always have my cars looked at by a mechanic prior to buying. While its in the air at the shop, I also look the underside over really good for rust (living in the rust belt, rust is a huge problem on older cars)

As for the transmission, I've had 2 vans (97 and 00 safari) with the 4l60e and its a great transmission. The 97 lasted until 145k when the van was totaled (trans still worked perfectly when pulled) and the 00's trans is still going strong at 175k (and the PO towed a 5k lbs boat with it every summer for 8 years both to lake of the ozarks (alot of hilly terrain) and to florida)

1986 fleetwood brougham 66k original miles. chevy 350/ BTO 200r4 swap. pypes dual exhaust. bravada buckets and console. buick turbines next up: lower it!
1983 buick lesabre "the pimpmobile" 68k bone stock
2000 GMC safari explorer high top conversion van. 192k on body, 179k on 1997 4.3 "Z" motor
previous vehicles
1987 chevy silverado "the beast" 115k motor donor.
1991 olds cutlass cruiser wagon. 180k. 3300 with high flow injectors
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-26-2012, 10:16 AM
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nuff said...


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357,580 miles on 94 Fleetwood (RIP)
123,000 miles on 06 STS-V
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-21-2012, 08:52 PM
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I realize this is an old thread and the OP has surely either bought the car in question or moved on by now, but I thought I'd add my experience regardless.

I bought my '95 FWB three years ago with 193k miles on it. I didn't flinch at all at the mileage, but I probably paid a bit too much for it. I promptly put a hitch on the car and started towing with it fairly frequently.

I had a few issues with the car initially, but all proved to be due to work the previous owner had done at the used car lot/NAPA store/repair shop he worked at: battery, fuel pump, intake manifold leaking oil. None of these are the fault of the car itself or typical for the make/model, but let it serve as a reminder to closely examine any repairs or new parts installed.


This weekend, I rolled 245k on my '95. The only persistent mechanical issue I've dealt with outside of things related to what I mentioned above is an accessory belt that gets squeaky every once and a while, and power steering pump that just plain wore out (turned out it was already a reman unit).

A few weeks ago, I bought a '93 FWB as a parts car, mostly to replace the grill and some of the trim panels on my '95 that have been damaged and lost since I've had it. I bought the '93 as a runner and intend to keep it available as a back-up car. I committed to buying the '93 without ever looking at the mileage; turns out it had over 315k on it! It runs amazingly well for that mileage, and the shifts still feel good.


From the above experience, there are two major areas in two Fleetwoods for me now that have really shown the age of a car with high mileage:
  1. Suspension - It's almost comical to drive that 315k-mile Fleetwood. Everything is original except the front shocks are new (NAPA's cheapest), and the beyond-shot air shocks in the rear aren't original either (no Auto-level). What's left of the bushings sure are original. To say the least, it's a handful to herd the thing down the road. My '95 wasn't quite as bad (with more than 100k fewer miles on it, mind you), but had much better shocks (although still wore out) on it when I got it. One of the reasons I hadn't been worried about high mileage is because there were mods and improvements I wanted to do to suspensions, brakes, engine, and transmission, and high mileage just meant needing to do those things sooner. I ended up spending twice what I intended to rebuilding my front suspension, and other than not selecting quite the right front springs, I've been very happy with it. It feels good to know that the suspension has at least another 150-200k in it again.
  2. Seats - The seats in my '95 looked decent, but the driver's side seat has quite a depression in when you sit down in it--and it's getting worse all the time. Some small cracked areas quickly opened up into tears, and the overall condition of the seats has declined faster than I've been able to keep up with washing and leather lotioning. The seats on the '93 looked terrible, but the buns are in better shape than my '95. However, the heater doesn't work, and the leather has let go in some areas.


Neither of the Fleetwoods I bought had any kind of maintenance records/service history with them. However, I genuinely believe both sellers when they adamantly declare that the car has always had its fluids changed religiously on-time. Of course there are always exceptions, but I'm beginning to suspect that obedient maintenance is the norm for people who have owned a Fleetwood with pride over the years.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-22-2012, 10:07 PM
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Sounds great. Ive known before I bought my 96 that these motors are awesome. Even the prior 350 was rock solid long lasting. Ive had many cadillacs, some with northstars others with caddy motors and Ive either replaced the motors with chevys or like my fleetwood it has a chevy engine already. I like to say, the best caddy is one with a chevy motor
Id love to get back into a newer caddy but the maintanence some day is killer. Where as with my fleetwood i have no car payments, still have luxury with leather and heated seats and the maintenance is very cheap. Its hard to make any argument to get a new car over this thing. Its not the best on gas but saves money in the long run.

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1996 - Fleetwood Brougham Black on Black V4P
1983 - Coupe Deville - Street Custom Show Lowrider
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 01:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoupeDTS View Post
Ive had many cadillacs, some with northstars others with caddy motors and Ive either replaced the motors with chevys or like my fleetwood it has a chevy engine already. I like to say, the best caddy is one with a chevy motor
You must not have had anything prior to the 4100 or the "8-6-4" 368 because the 78 and prior big block(500/472/425) is a better mill then Chevy ever thought of, and the earlier 429 ('67 on back) are nothing to sneeze at.


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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 07:05 AM
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Look in my signature I got a 70 with a 472, correct its not being replaced with a chevy motor, but I was mostly talking about daily drivers (late model) not classic cars.

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1996 - Fleetwood Brougham Black on Black V4P
1983 - Coupe Deville - Street Custom Show Lowrider
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 09:08 AM
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My 96 Fleetwood has 185K. It runs and drives PERFECT. Not a single hiccup. Mileage means nothing if it was maintained.


1994 Chevrolet Caprice Classic LS - LT1 swap ect..

1996 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham - Sprint springs
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