chuckathon
chuckathon New Reader
8/23/14 9:04 p.m.

Awhile back I had posted that I bought a 2004 CTS-V for well under $6,000. It had high mileage and wasn't owned by an enthusiast but overall was somewhat taken care of. Folks asked me to keep the forum updated so here goes. Current mileage is about 227,000 miles. I have learned some interesting things about this car. None of the repairs were a surprise but this car does have some unique items. Read through if you are interested. I won't list every tedious repair but the major ones.

  1. The most important is this engine is freaking awesome. I don't think it is straining at all. At almost 230k it runs like it is new. Doesn't miss a beat and still returns 25-28MPG on the interstate. Still pulls strong and feels like the 405HP it was when new.
  2. The first repair was new front struts. This is when I found out there is very little aftermarket support for this car. You can buy coilovers, factory struts or regular CTS struts. I went with KYB GR2's for the regular CTS. They work fine and were inexpensive.
  3. The XENON lights were shot. Ballast were shot, lights cracked etc. New ones were $700 a piece. I really don't need Xenon so went to the junk yard and picked up nice halogen lights off of a regular CTS. Note: Why oh why GM do I have to remove the bumper cover to swap light bulbs. They really couldn't put an access hole somewhere?
  4. When you have a front end clunk listen to everyone else. It is the swaybar endlinks!
  5. The biggest repair was a new clutch. The clutch actually worked fine but unfortunately the slave cylinder blew its seals and on this car the transmission has to come out. I replaced everything with a single mass clutch and flywheel from a Z06. I had some issues getting the right spacer, because of the single mass flywheel, so took some extra time but got it all back together. Luckily, I did this work, as the pilot bearing was frozen solid. No wonder I was getting a weird noise on down shifts. All fixed now and shifts like it should. I don't abuse the transmission or rear end though as this is my Daily Driver and I want to drive it to 300k. Note. The T56 is heavy!!!
  6. Finally the only other repair has been a new alternator. The bearing went as did the regulator. I should know better, but I went ahead and ordered a rebuilt alternator. The first two didn't work at all. Finally just ordered a new OEM and it works great. I sent the two pieces of junk back to get my money.

    Overall this has been a great car for what I paid. My favorite feature is the Brembo brakes! They haul this big car down in a hurry. The engine is stout and runs great. I am sure I will keep working on different items and would like to autocross it soon. I have never autocrossed a car with this kind of weight before but it is light on its feet. Yes this car has some weird items. 6 lug wheels that have zero aftermarket support, bumper cover removal to change bulbs, a driveshaft you aren't supposed to rebuild, etc. Hopefully we keep rolling on to 300k!

Woody
Woody MegaDork
8/23/14 9:24 p.m.

Cool! I've been wondering about these cars. Please keep us updated.

Opti
Opti Reader
8/23/14 10:53 p.m.

I really like to see high mileage performance cars. I know on the C5 forum there are a bunch of C5s over 300K and 2 over 400k. Hope mine makes it that far.

Also If you havent heard of them I have had really good luck buying OEM parts from GMPartsdirect.com. You can save a lot on parts, they are a little high on shipping, but its generally still worth it on most things. Looked up the stock V struts, they are listed at 91 each.

calteg
calteg HalfDork
8/24/14 9:10 a.m.

Your motor mounts are intact at 230k? Now THAT's impressive.

I never did any long highway stints, but I could only muster 17-18mpg out of my 2005...

mazdeuce
mazdeuce UberDork
8/24/14 11:07 a.m.

How is the interior holding up in these?

Opti
Opti Reader
8/24/14 7:06 p.m.

From what Ive seen in standard CTS is that the coating on the switches wears off and reveals an off white opaque switch. Pretty much all the gms did it from that era. Seen in on a few high mile CTSs, but its really the only issue Ive seen, well that and tore up leather seats that werent conditioned, but nothing that doesnt really happen to every car.

This type of stuff.

Best explanation I ever heard was that it is from lotion and hand sanitizer people use. Dont know if its true but Ive seen it on pretty much every early to mid 2000s car.

e46potenza
e46potenza New Reader
8/24/14 8:59 p.m.

Makes me miss the old rubber coating from the late 90's.

chuckathon
chuckathon New Reader
8/24/14 9:05 p.m.
Opti wrote: I really like to see high mileage performance cars. I know on the C5 forum there are a bunch of C5s over 300K and 2 over 400k. Hope mine makes it that far. Also If you havent heard of them I have had really good luck buying OEM parts from GMPartsdirect.com. You can save a lot on parts, they are a little high on shipping, but its generally still worth it on most things. Looked up the stock V struts, they are listed at 91 each.

I think the engine will easily make it to 300K. The question is will the rest of the car make it. Only time will tell. Yes I have used GM parts direct. I had to buy sway bar bushings and a new dashboard insert by the windshield. Mine was cracked in mutliple places.

chuckathon
chuckathon New Reader
8/24/14 9:06 p.m.
calteg wrote: Your motor mounts are intact at 230k? Now THAT's impressive. I never did any long highway stints, but I could only muster 17-18mpg out of my 2005...

It appears the original motor mounts are still intact. They could of course been changed by the previous owner at some point. I have been under there and they still look good. I will eventually replace them with something else. I did change the transmission mount though. It was shot.

Most of my travel for work is long distance so I get plenty of interstate travel.

e46potenza
e46potenza New Reader
8/24/14 9:13 p.m.

GMPartsDirect is great. I forget the guys name, but I slow-raced one of the people that runs the site a few years back at a car show after most of the people left... good times lol. "astro vs cobalt slowest race and burn out" on youtube... good times lol

chuckathon
chuckathon New Reader
8/24/14 9:15 p.m.
mazdeuce wrote: How is the interior holding up in these?

Pretty good considering the previous owner didn't really take good care of the interior. I am always amazed where I find coffee stains. There are some small issues I will fix one at a time. The armrest is broken. I will go to the regular CTS armrest as they are better made. The leather seats show some wear but actually holding up pretty good considering the mileage. I had to shave the synthetic suede inserts. I may re-dye the fronts. The rears look new. My buttons are ok but I do have some coating coming off a few plastic pieces. I will pull those at some point and recoat them. The biggest issue with the interior is the cheap plastic GM used. For a $50,000 car the interior sure is a cheap feel. The door panels are low quality, the dashboard makes all kinds of noises as it warms up in the sun, and generally it feels like a budget interior but it is comfortable I will give them that. I wanted to swap the seats for the new CTS-V Recaros but unfortunately GM put the seatbelt in the seat on the Gen 1 cars so limits your options.

Harvey
Harvey Reader
9/18/14 12:34 p.m.

The interior is a bit disappointing on that version, but it is a good buy at this point. Did your rear end get swapped ever? They are known for going on a regular basis with that wheel hop issue.

chuckathon
chuckathon New Reader
10/7/14 2:30 p.m.

In reply to Harvey: I am still on the original rear end. So far so good. At this mileage I admit I try not to abuse the rear end and transmission too much.

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