85 Eldorado Touring Coupe convertible

Started by 462HO, May 23, 2016, 11:25:13 AM

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TJ Hopland

Quote from: Eric DeVirgilis CLC# 8621 on May 28, 2016, 09:17:52 AMthose who are most familiar with the special needs of the engine with the skills to be able to tend them properly. It is really not an animal for those without these talents frankly.

That is a good way to put it.  Although now days you have to seek out a specialty shop to even work on anything that does not have a OBD2 port on it.    I have found when you get in more rural areas people are less afraid of them.   They are not much different than any other diesel fuel system wise.
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Scot Minesinger

Brian,

Seriously "good performance" from a 4.1 gasoline powered V-8 Caddy?  What other gasoline fueled V-8 Cadillac had worse performance?, you might have to go back to at least a decade or two before WWII, and sorry to offend the pre-war Caddy owners here.

I try not to be negative on this engine too much, but is someone is considering buying one, I let be known.  I drive 1970 Cadillacs generally and only RWD V-8 American vehicles, and so maybe I'm spoiled.  Cadillacs are supposed to have a sense of power, and Cadillac sorely missed that mark with the 4.1.  Maybe I'm all wrong and you have some insight into why the 4.1 is acceptable - after driving them I don't get it?
Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty

dochawk

Quote from: Eric DeVirgilis CLC# 8621 on May 28, 2016, 09:17:52 AM

While I'm not a diesel fan myself, I recognize that they seem to have developed something of a "cult" following,

So do Fiats & Yugos   ;D
1972 Eldorado convertible,  1997 Eldorado ETC (now awaiting parts swap from '95 donor), 1993 Fleetwood but no 1926 (yet)

Eric DeVirgilis CLC# 8621

#23
Quote from: Scot Minesinger on May 28, 2016, 10:21:32 AM
Seriously "good performance" from a 4.1 gasoline powered V-8 Caddy?  What other gasoline fueled V-8 Cadillac had worse performance?


Brougham models from 1986 - 1990 with the 5.0 liter (307 Olds 4 bbl) had the worst acceleration of any gasoline powered V8 Cadillac that I have ever driven. Far worst than an HT 4100 - albeit probably due to an advantageous rear end ratio used in the latter.
A Cadillac Motorcar is a Possession for which there is no Acceptable Substitute

dochawk

Quote from: Eric DeVirgilis CLC# 8621 on May 28, 2016, 10:50:21 AM

Brougham models from 1986 - 1990 with the 5.0 liter (307 Olds 4 bbl) had the worst acceleration of any gasoline powered V8 Cadillac that I have ever driven.

Couldn't climb hills, either.

In the early 90's, we went from Vegas to San Diego for the weekend every month or so.  One weekend I mentioned it to the other lawyer in the office, and he suggested taking his Caddy.

Being used to an '89 Crown Victoria, I found the thing to be just plain a slug, especially going up mountains.
1972 Eldorado convertible,  1997 Eldorado ETC (now awaiting parts swap from '95 donor), 1993 Fleetwood but no 1926 (yet)

Scot Minesinger

I drove the Olds 307 engine just yesterday, and found it to be better than the 4.1 Caddy.  My 1970 Caddy would eat it alive on the drag strip, and I agree it is no panacea.  This was used by Cadillac because of the objection to the 4.1, and it was an improvement.  I'm sure that there are magazine articles and other written documentation back in the day to prove this true. 

Heck, there are members on this forum that brag how they have replaced a 4.1 with an Olds 307 as if it is an improvement and I always accepted, and continue to, that this is a fact. 

Plus I did drive a 1985 Caprice with Chevy 305 over 228,000 miles and it had good power (similar to Olds 307 in hp ratings).  At one time, I had this car up over 100 mph, plus on a right turn on dry pavement it could spin the wheels.  This was the most trouble free car ever, did nothing to engine, trans, a/c and diff except maintenance; and even at 225k miles it returned 27mpg with a/c on driving 70mph - what range with my 26 gallon tank!  I sold that car for $1,400 in 1996 to a friend who topped 300k miles doing nothing and traded it in for $1,200 against a newer car at a dealer.
Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty

76eldo

Scott,

You have to put it in perspective.

My first Cadillac was a 70 DeVille convert.  We drilled out the jets in the carb and the thing was some kind of freak.  I used to blow the doors off of Camaro's and Mustangs back in 78 or 79 when I was driving it.  After that I had a 76 Eldo convert that was slower, then another 70, and then when I first got married, no Caddy's for a little while.  I bought my wife a beautiful low mileage 84 Eldo when it was 2 or 3 years old and it ran great.  Ran it up to 125,000 miles and only needed one water pump during our ownership.  Ignorance is bliss sometimes because I never knew about all of the problems and didn't know about all the problems when I bought my one owner 85 Biarritz convertible in 1990.

AT THE TIME the performance of these cars, although less powerful than Cadillacs of the past, was deemed adequate and I would routinely bury the digital speedometer and got a flashing "85" on the highway.

Do you think that the hundreds of thousands of Eldos and Seville's sold were dogs right out of the showroom and hated by their owners?  Not at all.  The crap didn't hit the fan until the coolant leaks started and the factory was replacing engines quite a bit.

If you compare the performance of new cars to the HT4100, even the 4 cylinders will blow them away, but since I drove these cars when they were basically new I can judge one with the benefit of knowing what a good one and a bad one run like.  When the 89 DeVille came out with the 4.9 it was quite a hot rod, but drive one now as compared to a V6 new car and the horsepower difference is incredible.  That's what technology does when you fast forward from the 80's to now.

If you or any other doubters drove that 85 Touring convert and felt the engine performance and the exceptional (for an 85 Eldo) handling, you would have been amazed.

As a whole, I agree, avoid the HT4100 but I cannot say that they are all dogs.

Brian

The 85 Touring Coupe
Brian Rachlin
Huntingdon Valley, Pa
CLC # 22443
I prefer email's not PM's rachlin@comcast.net

1960 62 Series Conv with Factory Tri Power
1970 DeVille Conv
1970 Eldo
1970 Caribu (?) "The Cadmino"
1973 Eldorado Conv Pace Car
1976 Eldorado Conv
1980 Eldorado H & E Conv
1993 Allante with Hardtop (X2)
2008 DTS
2012 CTS Coupe
2017 XT
1956 Thunderbird
1966 Olds Toronado

bcroe

#27
Don't be too quick to run down the 5.7L diesel.  I have owned or worked
over quite a few, and 3 of my 5 present cars came with diesels.  The AVERAGE
mileage is 250K. 

To begin with, they came with a lot of extra equipment.  Big electrical, extra
capacity fuel tank, hydro boost, and sound proofing come to mind.  Before
too long, I found I could pick up these cars with fairly low mileage for a song,
esp if the TH200C trans was blown (more on that).  Then I found they were
NEVER required to take emissions tests here.  Earlier diesels had superior
exhaust systems, with no cat. 

Gas engines were geared with axles like 2.41:1 for economy (before 4 speeds),
slow off the line.  My Delta diesel was geared EXACTLY THE SAME as a gas
engine, which was just terrible.  It couldn't reach its 120 hp until 45 mph in low,
so it was a slug in town.  I put in a TH400 SWitch Pitch trans, which not only
solved the durability problem of the TH200C, it let the engine rev immediately
and get into the best hp band much sooner.  This positively transformed the
car in the city.  It was pleasant to drive; don't expect to win serious races. 

So you say, "but the engine fails".  Yes, but mine gave plenty of warning. 
Then I dropped in an Olds small block, keeping ALL the advantages I
mentioned above.  A 350 is simple, no electronics problems since the
diesel didn't use them.  For some more performance use a 403 with a 350
HEI & duals: my Delta did a 91 mph quarter mile, yes with the 2.41 and SWP. 
The same car can do 19 mpg on a good day, on the cheapest fuel.  Bruce Roe

Scot Minesinger

Here is my experience circa 1982 with Cadillac 4.1 gasoline engines and GM 350 V-8 diesels:

Got my license to drive in 1976 and bought a 65 Thunderbird used, then later a 1968 Thunderbird.  In 1983 after graduating from college bought a low mileage great condition 1978 Delta 88 Royal, then later in 1987 bought the 85 Caprice.

In 1973 my Grandmother bought a 1973 SDV and it was a wonderful driving car.

In 1980 My Dad purchased a 1980 Buick Electra diesel and he loved it.  Then he bought a 1982 Olds 98 diesel and drove it until my sister borrowed and wrecked it with 140k trouble free miles.  I can't say I really enjoyed the diesels because they were noisy and low power, but my Dad loved the 28 mpg - really unheard of at the time to drive a living room around and get that mileage.

In 1982 my Grandmother bought a 1982 Sedan deVille with the 4.1 and I drove it in April 1982 and I thought it was terrible right from new, a dog.  Understand that many disagree with me in 1982 including my Grandmother. 

I'm critical, Cadillac did not make a new car I want to buy from 1997 until maybe 2017, waiting for CT6 w/V-8.  The only Cadillac after 1981 thru 1996 would be the RWD 5.7 (V-8) powered models.  Basically every Cadillac from 1979 and earlier is a winner to me provided it can be  driven at 75mph on the highway.

My grandmother had to stop driving in 1988 and she offered me her Cadillac (had only 19k miles on it), and I knew about the 4.1 engine, so politely turned it down.  My Dad wanted the car.  When he walked up to it, he said "I wonder what engine it has?" with great excitement (so he did not know about the 4.1).  Remember he drove GM diesels and loved them.  He thought that was the worst car ever and promptly sold it after a few months.

This is all reliability aside, I thought in 1982 it was terrible, so did my Father, and after driving one just recently I still do.  The one I drove recently was smooth, good starting, and was great if you were not going to exceed 25 mph, which my Grandmother never did.

It is all good though, most people all ridiculed me for driving the 1995 Fleetwood RWD as being an old person's car (I was 37 at the time).  I had to fire a bunch of people at a satellite office back in 1998 and pulled up in that car to do it.  The employees that remained referred to it as the "funeral mobile".  This never bothered me.  We all are different, but I can't get on board with that 4.1.  The club has room for all the Cadillac fans; the purists, the modified, the pre-war, the no fins, the new, the old, the trailer queens, the parts cars, the 8.2 liter, the 4.1, the 1976 Series 75, the Cimerron (spelling), and all in between. 

This is the only engine that I ever advise people on the forum to avoid, and only if they ask.

BTW one of my CLC friends bought a 1980's diesel Cadillac and improved the power considerably.  I don't think they are looked on negatively in our area, but they are rare.
Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty

TJ Hopland

One thing that likely didn't help the 5.0 307's was not being fuel injected.  The computer command carburetors had a very limited range of adjustments the computer could make.   I suspect especially if you were dealing with altitudes that could have been a real limitation.   I always thought it was odd that the didn't at least do the TBI injection system on those.   You would think the system the started using on the trucks in 87 would have been easy to drop on the Olds.   If they had done that they could have likely bumped up the compression a bit and got a little more out of em.   Or why did they bother with the Olds after 87 anyway?  After the Cutlass and Regal went FWD all that got them was the full size wagons and the Brougham.   I think the Caprice went EFI in 86 or 87 so they had the basic parts that already worked in a similar size car. 
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Eric DeVirgilis CLC# 8621

I'm not sure why but the 305  4 bblGM used in a very large number of vehicles in the mid '80s  (except Cadillac) seemed to be much peppier than the same model with the 307 Olds 4bbl.

In 1991, the 307 Olds 4 bbl was replaced by the 305 Chevy (which became FI in 1991) and acceleration improved dramatically. There is relatively little appreciable difference between 5.0 305 and optional 5.7 350 Chevrolet engines in a 1991 or 1992 Brougham whose horsepower ratings are 170 and 185 respectively. They both share the identical engine block as well.

I think the anti pollution equipment of and the miles of hoses and piping the system entailed played a role in robbing the 307 of whatever performance it had to give. Conversely, when you look under the hood of a 305 or 350 FI, you can actually see an engine and both valve covers! Compared with a 307, it looks almost as if you were looking under the hood of a '55 Chevy.

I have to agree with Brian, the acceleration of the HT4100 was not the worst in the world. Within the context of the time I would say it was reasonably tolerable overall. You have to drive a 4100 knowing its limitations. Once momentum is achieved, it does a fair job of maintaining almost any speed at which these cars were intended to be driven.
A Cadillac Motorcar is a Possession for which there is no Acceptable Substitute

Scot Minesinger

Sorry guys, it was well known in 1985 that the 4.1 engine was underpowered.

Again, I advise don't buy one to the original person who started this thread.

The 1985 Eldorado or any Cadillac for that matter of this year (as 4.1 was their best engine) was no match for my 1985 Caprice RWD with a 305 V-8 carbureted.  Granted Chevy hit a home run with that car and made over a million of them and it was the #1 selling car in America in 1985.  The idea that a fairly standard Chevy sedan would best every Cadillac 4.1 powered made at the time is ridiculous.  I was around in 1982 thru 1985 driving and drove several examples of the 4.1 Caddies and they were not comparable to other cars of the time except maybe crummy economy cars, plus they suffered major reliability issues. 

To write that this engine was competitive or comparable to cars of its day is just not true.  At this time many Cadillac buyers took the drive train for granted and I think past reputation helped sales rather than actual customer experiences.  My circle of car guys in 1985 all knew the 4.1 engines were dogs and to be avoided - why do you think the Lincoln town car became an enormous success during this time period? - mainly because of the 4.1.  If you had to pick the one reason why Cadillac slipped from the top luxury manufacturer, the 4.1 would be my explanation. 

I really like the Cadillac brand and hope that the CT6 is a major step back in the right direction.
Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty

Eric DeVirgilis CLC# 8621

"Underpowered" is a very relative and subjective term: What may be"underpowered" to someone might well be ample for another.

Speaking within the context of the time, there were many cars that were quite anemic during the dark days of the early 1980s. GM X-Body cars like the Citation, Omega, Skylark and Phoenix; J-Body like the Cavalier, Sunfire etc - you get the idea. And the 1979 Lincoln 400 2 bbl was no pavement burner either, and not exactly a great engine otherwise.

Yes, the 305/350 Chevy family was a terrific engine but also remember the early 1980s were tumultuous times and Cadillac being the flagship was in essence the lead car for the latest and newest technology which the 4100 represented at the time.

The days of the carburetors were numbered and what was learned from the 4100 program eventually filtered its way throughout the other divisions and today, the cast iron block is pretty much a thing of the past in all GM cars and has been for some time, not to mention carburetors.

It is pretty much a given that the last version of the old technology is usually far more reliable than early versions of new technology. Therefore, comparing the final production runs of the 305 4 bbl to the earliest aluminum block digital fuel injection engine is not an apt comparison to make.
A Cadillac Motorcar is a Possession for which there is no Acceptable Substitute

Scot Minesinger

Eric,

Ok but back in 1985 the 4.1 Cadillac was no match for Chevy Caprice with 305 V-8 4bbl, no matter the fairness of comparisons. 

It is understood you know more about cars than me and are a better writer.  However I drove the Cadillac 4.1 back in the day and recently.  Nothing you can do will change my opinion that this was a terrible engine and many knew about in the early 1980's (myself included).  All this performance aside, the reliability issues really exacerbated the problem.  Again, I advised not to buy a 4.1 powered Cadillac back in 1982 and today.

Today in comparing cars, a bummer of a car is not given a pass when it is less than another car because of advanced technology.  The advanced technology has to attain something other cars cannot to be judged superior.  It is not superior only because the manufacturer tried to use advance technology and failed.

Those GM X body cars were near bottom of the line at the time and it is unfair to compare them to a Cadillac.  In 1985 (compared to 1979, as clearly the Caddy 425 was way better) the Lincoln Town car drive train in their town car was superior to all 4.1 powered Cadillacs.  Granted the early 1980's was an anemic time for American car performance, but Cadillac was leading the parade from 1982 thru 1985, even with their advanced technology.

I'm just saying the 4.1 Cadillac engine was a dog and it really was no matter the good intentions, technology and etc. 

This 4.1 ushered in Lexus, the Lincoln town car success and etc.  Cadillac moved to correct the problem when the Olds 307 was introduced, and especially when the 4.9 was introduced. I believe they were successful.  It was just a little too late and public opinion is slow to change unfortunately.
Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty

Eric DeVirgilis CLC# 8621

#34
Scott...Nobody here has been more critical of HT 4100 than I have and after having owned dozens of them, I understand exactly where you're coming from.

Nevertheless, the 4100 was the foundation for the 4.5 Liter of 88 - 90 and the 4.9 Liter of 91 - 95 and all of those are very reliable with excellent power and acceleration. These fine plants would not have existed without the HT4100 program.

In any case, the many points you have raised regarding the HT4100 are absolutely valid, however I felt they needed a bit of clarification and perspective, is all I was trying to do. I hope it was not interpreted as attempting to invalidate them in any way; this was not my intention.

Thanks. 

A Cadillac Motorcar is a Possession for which there is no Acceptable Substitute

Scot Minesinger

Eric,

Happy Memorial Day!  Thanks for clarifying, we agree.
Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty