Saving Dad's Caddy

Hello. I’m new here.

A couple of years ago I brought my dad’s old Cadillac from his home in Arkansas, to here in San Diego. My dad passed away and his only wish was that I adopt his dog. So we drove the dog across country in my dad’s 2001 Cadillac Deville. I’ve had a bunch of work done to the car over the past couple of years, and am fine with it, as I would like to preserve this beautiful old car. The one thing I have not had done yet is to repair that famous oil leak. So I’ve just kept putting oil in and all has been well, except that I dropped the ball over the last few weeks and yesterday about a half mile from home it began making a horrible noise. Got it home and the dipstick showed only a small amount of oil in it. Oops.

I put oil in and started it up again, and it seems perfectly fine. Is it possible that I got to it quick enough where there is not damage done, other than that it still has the leak? I took it out of the garage a bit ago and no fresh oil underneath.

I would like to keep this car - permanently. Some people think that’s crazy because repairing the oil leak is costly, But everything else with the car is great. It’s absolutely gorgeous and I don’t mind the money I’ve already put into it. I’m just scared to death that I’ve damaged it with what happened yesterday. And advice or info on preserving my dad’s old car would be greatly appreciated.

The low oil event did damage. You can’t know the amount of damage without actually taking the motor apart and inspecting the wearable parts. Basically you keep the oil level up and drive on a hope for the best.

The 4.6L Northstar V-8, developed from a Lotus-designed racing engine sounded like a good idea at the time but time has not treated them kindly…These engines have a dry-sump oiling system and a split crankcase, fine for racing engines but they always have been high-maintenance and chronic oil leakers…Today, abandoned by General Motors and completely unloved by the automotive community, they can turn into real money-pits for owners who try to keep them roadworthy…

Never fall in love with something that can’t love you back…

Agreed with Caddyman. Now you’re at the point you’re going to decide how much you REALLY love that Cadillac.

A reman engine is probably going to be in the 4 grand range. Add fluids, additional gaskets and parts, labor, etc and it’s going to tote up to way more than the car will ever be worth.

The oil leak is not the only problem; it’s the noise caused by little motor oil in it and the fact that it’s quiet now means nothing. It’s damaged goods.

If it was a '59 tail fin car, '69 mini-fin car, or something like a '74 El Dorado then it would be worth an expense like this. A 2001 is not in that category yet and may never be.
You’re going to have to decide if sentimentality will outweigh a stack of 100 dollar bills.

If this old Cadillac is not your daily driver or not used for long trips, I wouldn’t rush right out and replace the engine. It might be fine for short country drives. A friend of mine bought a 2001 Cadillac–traded in her 1997_Cadillac that was doing fine and had less than 100,000 miles. The 2001 turned into a money pit. She traded it in for a late model Honda Civic with only 33,000 on the odometer.

Some damage was done, but hard to say how much. If no symptoms show up, it’s likely ok.

Here’s the more important question: How’s the dog doing?

How many quarts did you have to add?

In addition to how many quarts did you have to add this time, how many miles do you normally get between adding a quart? How many miles between oil changes and what type of oil do you use (synthetic/conventional and weight)? How many miles on the engine/car?

A lot depends on how you intent to use the beast. The horrible noise after allowing the oil to run low definitely wasn’t a good sign, but If you’re going to only drive it occasionally for pleasure I think you should keep on driving it and hope for the best. Keep the oil full, remember your dad, and enjoy the vehicle. If you ever decide to use it as a daily driver, you can decide whether to dump money into the motor at that point.

You just might get years of occasional enjoyment out of it before it gives up the ghost. Frankly, it may never give up the ghost. The streets are full of engines with problems that keep n running.

I’m surprised you didn’t get a “low oil” warning.

I agree w/ Mountain Bike. Watch the oil lever a little more closely, and don’t get too far from the house without AAA, and see what happens.