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Author Topic: 1991 Allante -- need some advice please  (Read 834 times)

Offline James Landi

  • Posts: 2384
  • 2007 XLR
  • Name: James Landi
1991 Allante -- need some advice please
« on: April 25, 2017, 03:24:54 PM »
 Dear Allante Owner past or present,

 I am about to "pull the trigger" on a purchase of a 1991 Allante with 59xxx miles. I owned a '90, and aside from the ABS brake system (covered by Cadillac ten years later) radio, and some "switch gear" issues, it was trouble free through 106,xxx in 2007.  At that point, it needed new struts, and my Cadillac dealer put in NON ADJUSTABLE replacements, and I simply hated the ride--- sold the car.  I was told that the speed sensitive shocks as well as other items were not supported.

My questions are as follows:

Will I need a new abs system on the '91? -- is it simply a forgone conclusion that the system  will fail?
Are speed sensitive strut shocks available anywhere?

And finally, are there certain components that "age out" of service rather than outlive their service life that I must be mindful of before I purchase the car?

Finally, what would you pay for a car with this kind of mileage/ age?  I will consider your advice very carefully, so I deeply appreciate your help.


Offline Dave Shepherd

  • Posts: 2425
Re: 1991 Allante -- need some advice please
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2017, 07:43:40 PM »
When  I worked for Cadillac we never really caught up with all the issues, some you mentioned, very unhappy owners back  then, of course 87-88 being the worst.  I personally would not own one. I suspect unless the car has been updated/ repaired during its service history,  you can expect some of the same issues.

Offline 76eldo

  • Posts: 6651
  • CLC Number: 22443
  • Name: Brian Rachlin
Re: 1991 Allante -- need some advice please
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2017, 10:09:33 PM »
I currently do not own an Allante.
The first one I bought was a 92 and it had just under 100K miles.  As soon as it hit 100K miles it needed the major tune up and a few injectors replaced. 
While i owned it I also had the front pull down fail on the passenger side.  When that happens you think that the top is securely latched and it you do a highway burst up to say 90 or so and the top blows open, scares the crap out of you and bends a few parts on the top you will know it didn't latch.

I also replaced speakers (Bose).  My wife hated the stiff Recarro seats and said it felt like a folding chair.

Then I bought a 12,000 mile 93.  It has nicer seats, standard Delco braking system, more than adequate stereo without the Bose amps with the aging capacitors that fail, and last but not least 100 more HP and a completely different suspension system.  That car was a dream but when the 60 Convertible that I now own became available I sold the Allante and put the money towards that.

Personally I would not buy anything other than a mint low mileage 93.  The run better, they handle better and are faster and more comfortable.

The Northstars in the Allante's seem to hold up better than in the regular cars.  Cadillac must have blueprinted the ones going into the Allante's, same as the 4100's that didn't have the same failure rate as the regular car line did.

Maybe I am nuts but I truly believe that Cadillac did something different to the engines that went into the Allante's.

Brian Rachlin
Huntingdon Valley, Pa
CLC # 22443
I prefer email's not PM's

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

Offline Alan Harris CLC#1513

  • Posts: 687
  • CLC Number: 1513
  • Name: A Harris
Re: 1991 Allante -- need some advice please
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2017, 10:02:18 AM »
Being a former Allante owner, if offered one for free, I would run like the proverbial cheap thief.

Offline Eric DeVirgilis CLC# 8621

  • Posts: 7039
  • Name: Eric DeVirgilis
Re: 1991 Allante -- need some advice please
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2017, 10:06:19 AM »
Being a former Allante owner, if offered one for free, I would run like the proverbial cheap thief.

Could not have been better said - IMHO.
A Cadillac Motorcar is a Possession for which there is no Acceptable Substitute

Offline Caddyjack

  • Posts: 208
  • 1976 Edlorado Convertible
  • Name: Jack Larson
Re: 1991 Allante -- need some advice please
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2017, 10:27:58 AM »
I own a 1991 Allante and a 1993. Anytime you buy a 26 year-old car, it's a crap shoot. There are ways to try and find a car that has a better chance of not being a money pit, but nothing is for sure.

If the previous owner(s) kept to the recommended anti-lock brake system flush every 2 years, the odds decrease that you'll have major ABS problems. The most common issue with the 1987-92 Bosch ABS is actually ABS pump failure. Replacing the pump is a fairly easy job, and requires no special tools. I had to replace it on mine at about 97k miles. It took me about 45 minutes. The pump is about $600, and is readily available.

My '91 was a two-owner car when I bought it seven years ago. 77k miles, it now has 122k. I bought the car to drive, not collect, so I am getting my money's worth. I had to have the front struts replaced at about 102,000 miles. For me, the aftermarket passive struts from Monroe worked just fine. The ride is a little stiffer, but I didn't feel a major change from before. Sadly, the factory electronic struts are no longer available, anyway.

The differences between the '91 and '93 are pretty obvious, as Brian (76eldo) said. My 1991 handles and rides like a small, big Cadillac. Turning radius, road feel, turning and braking are all very similar to old style, bigger Cadillacs. But the '93 feels more like a tight, road hugging modern Cadillac. The turning radius is much shorter, it's faster, the brakes (while not as quick to stop) don't have the potential failure issues of the Bosch system. Even the power windows are twice as fast and more like a modern car on the '93.

Here's a somewhat exaggerated way to compare the two: The 1991 feels heavier than the '93. It's like driving a small version of my 1976 Eldorado. While the '93 is like driving an older version of my XLR.

If the fuel injectors haven't been replaced in the 1991 you're looking at, they will have to be replaced eventually. The ethanol in today's gasoline deteriorates the '89-'92 injectors for some reason, but not the '93.
It's a $500 job if you buy the injectors from Allante Source (one of three major parts sources for Allantes) and have them installed. The job is too involved for my skills, so I had my mechanic do them.

Anyway, that 1991 Allante is really a fun car to drive. I have loved it for 7 years. And I drive it about 6500 miles a year. That's more than any of my other cars. But if you can hold out for a 1993 low mileage (under 75k) Allante....I would do that. Much more of an upgrade than one would think on  the same model car only 2 years newer.

The Cadillac Allante is underrated by car enthusiasts, but in my opinion give you a HUGE bang for your buck. What a stylish looking car.
Jack Larson
Philadelphia, PA


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