jmk015
jmk015 New Reader
2/6/17 2:10 p.m.

Like the title says, I'm thinking about picking up a used 2010-2014 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon with the 3.0 v6 for my new daily driver. While I want the CTS-V, its not in the budget. The 3.6 v6 has a lot of reports of failing timing chains and burning too much oil, so I'm going to go with the 3.0.

It will be an automatic and have ~50,000 miles on it.

I currently daily drive a 2009 Mini Cooper and am tired on its electrical gremlins. It seems like another $300 part breaks every other week.

I'm an above average mechanic and have ample garage space and tools. I DIY all of my car repairs. I'm quite familiar with GM products, as I also have a 1994 z28 Camaro and a 1987 El Camino.

Gas mileage is not a concern. My commute is 18 miles round trip.

I'm hoping for a reliable car with relatively affordable and available parts. I hate working in tiny cramped engine bays. What would I be getting into with a CTS Sport Wagon. Good or bad daily driver? Thanks!!

mazdeuce
mazdeuce UltimaDork
2/6/17 4:42 p.m.

I will admit that I know nothing about the V6's in these cars other than the 3.6 is fairly universally hated. There are at least two non-V wagons driving around by me so I'm interested to hear what people say about them. The combination of the wagon back and the smooth V6 hood is attractive.

hhaase
hhaase Reader
2/6/17 6:08 p.m.

Huh, never had a peep of trouble from our 3.6, and put almost 100,000 on it. Can't say the same about the Chrysler 3.6 I had in my jeep.... that one needed a head at around 15,000.

Only actual problem we ever had with our CTS wagon was a couple failed relays for the cooling fans. Other than that it was a solid and comfortable car that drove great. My main complain was the mileage was only in the high teens to around 20.

-Hans

Raze
Raze UltraDork
2/6/17 6:19 p.m.

Have a 3.6 in my wife's Crammit and my Impalalalala, no problems

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku PowerDork
2/6/17 7:37 p.m.

the 2010+ 3.6 had several improvments over the earlier ones. Use good oil and filter every 5k or better.

NickD
NickD SuperDork
2/7/17 5:28 a.m.

The hubs on these use a metal-impregnated plastic tone ring glued to the back of the hub. They are prone to falling off and causing ABS issues. And the rear ones are a real treat to do, thanks to the multi-link suspension. If you have to hammer the brake rotors off, be prepared to change hubs, because it will often jar them lose.

jmk015
jmk015 New Reader
2/7/17 8:04 a.m.

Good to know about the hubs, I'll be careful with rotor removal (if I buy one).

Thanks for the report on the trouble free 100,000 mile car.

Are the CTS's generally reliable up over 100,000? There seem to be a lot of 100,000-200,000 mile CTS's on Autotrader and Craigslist, so I guess that's a good indicator of their longevity?

From the YouTube videos and forum posts, I've read it seems like most of the maintenance and under hood items are pretty easy to work on.

drdisque
drdisque HalfDork
2/9/17 11:27 a.m.

100k is generally when their price falls low enough that they end up in ghettocruiser territory and don't get maintained from that point out.

PeterAK
PeterAK Dork
2/9/17 11:45 a.m.

This board is bad for my marriage. Now I want to trade my Accord on an AWD Caddy wagon.

2010 CTS Performance Wagon

jmk015
jmk015 New Reader
2/10/17 11:06 a.m.

I put a deposit down on a 2010 AWD 3.0 sport wagon with 55,000 miles on it. I'm going to pick the car up tomorrow!!

I'll update this thread periodically with how it's treating my as a daily driver, in case anyone is interested.

jmk015
jmk015 New Reader
2/13/17 6:17 a.m.

I bought the car!! It was much nicer, both inside and out, than I expected it to be!

The fold flat seats, huge cargo area, and under floor storage bins are awesome.

On my 3 hour drive home from the dealer (mostly 65 mph+ highway) I got 28.4 mpg!

On my short commute to work (~2/3 highway and 1/3 in town) I got 24.1 mpg.

When driving around back roads, in manual shift and sport mode, and really putting my foot down, I averaged about 19.5 mpg.

The 3.0 runs smooth. Its not fast, but it has plenty of power for a daily driver and returns better gas mileage than I was expecting.

I'll run a few tanks of gas through it to get better baseline numbers and then add an air/oil separator to the PCV return line (which is supposed to help prevent valve carbon buildup on these direct inject engines) and add an Airaid cold air intake. Both mods get rave reviews on the forums for improving MPG's.

mazdeuce
mazdeuce UltimaDork
2/13/17 7:02 a.m.

I'm glad it's working out! You should start a build thread. We have a lot of them that are more like ownership logs than build threads and they work like a repository of information and experiences on a particular car and that helps the community learn about cars that we don't otherwise have a lot of information on.

759NRNG
759NRNG New Reader
2/13/17 7:51 a.m.

In reply to jmk015:

Have an Airaid on my 2010 'V', can't say if it has helped my mpg, though I did see 21.9 on a recent trip(68-70mph) to Houston. The value I find is the honk factor from behind the wheel when mashing the loud pedal.

jmk015
jmk015 New Reader
2/17/17 2:22 p.m.
mazdeuce wrote: I'm glad it's working out! You should start a build thread. We have a lot of them that are more like ownership logs than build threads and they work like a repository of information and experiences on a particular car and that helps the community learn about cars that we don't otherwise have a lot of information on.

I'll keep this thread going as my information repository for all things CTS Sport Wagon.

The 50,000 miles service is supposed to include changing the fluid in the transfer case and front and rear differential. The guy at the dealership where I bought the car had no idea whether it had the 50,000 miles service performed or not, so I decided to do it.

MY local Cadillac dealer quoted me $600 for the job, and my local quick lube wanted $400. Nope, I'll do it myself. There isn't much info on the web about performing the CTS4 (all wheel drive) specific maintenance, so here you go:

Once I got the car up on jack stands, I was pleasantly surprised how clean and rust/corrosion free the undercarriage was!

The rear differential is very simple. Both the fill and drain plug are out in the open in obvious places. Both take a 10mm allen wrench, and there's plenty of room to work.

The front differential is slightly trickier. The drain plug is right in the middle of the bottom and easy to get to. The fill plug is on the back of the differential, above the K-member, and in front of the exhaust. Your best bet is to use a 10mm allen on a ratchet with a long extension so that your ratchet can be behind the exhaust. Fill plug removal:

Filling with new fluid:

The transfer case is the hardest part. The manual says to remove the exhaust and the transmission cross member, then drop the tranny and transfer case. Nope, not going to do that.

Both the fill and drain plugs on the transfer case are square 3/8'', so a standard 3/8'' drive extension fits. This works great for the drain plug, but there's not enough space to get a ratchet up to the fill plug. I have a stuby 1'' long extension, and that's even too long to fit in the tight space.

It turns out that a 9mm allen wrench also fits pretty well. I cut the ball end off of an extra 9mm allen wrench I had:

This tiny allen wrench stub just barely fits into the fill plug and can be carefully turned with a small wrench (I taped my allen wrench stub to my wrench because it kept popping out):

Fill the transfer case VERY SLOWLY. There's something inside the case right behind where the fill plug goes, which prevents you from inserting the fill tube the whole way into the transfer case. If you pump too quickly, the fluid won't have enough tine to drain down into the case and you'll end up dripping it everywhere. Pump slowly!

A known issue with direct injection motors is carbon caking on the intake valves. The best solution to this seems to be installing an air/oil separator inline between the valve cover breather and the intake manifold.
The stock tube is a hard piece of molded plastic. You must remove it from the valve cover first, by pressing the tiny button and pulling on the fitting. After getting the tube off of the valve cover, remove it from the intake manifold. Its a 1/4 turn fitting on the intake manifold, hence why you needed to remove the other end first.

I cut about 8'' out of the stock hard tube, and added in a length of flexible 3/8'' fuel line on either side of my JEGS air/oil separator. The separator is pretty small and light, so i mounted it by zip-tying it to a rigid line.

I also replaced the stock air box and air tube with a cold air intake from Airaid. This seems like a very high quality kit and installed easily. This kit usually retails for ~$350, but I found the "carbon fiber" model on Amazon for only $185, so I bought it. I wanted the all black kit, but Amazon's price was too good to pass up. The fake carbon fiber finish is really cheesy, so at some point in the future I'll remove it and paint it gloss black.

Now I'm off for a test drive. I'll report back after I put some miles on it as to how much oil my separator collects and if the cold air intake improves my MPG.

NickD
NickD SuperDork
2/17/17 2:44 p.m.

Be warned in advance, these are a pain in the hootus to service the transmission in, because they don't have a dipstick/fill tube. There is a plug in a standpipe in the pan to drain the transmission down and the pan comes off easy enough, but to fill the transmission you are supposed to remove a plug from the case where the dipstick would go, screw in an adapter and fill it there, then remove the plug in the pan and wait until it stops running out, at which you are at the proper level. This would be pain enough on the RWD models, but on the AWD models, the driveshaft to the front diff is right there in the way and you can't even reach up to remove the plug. The best way to fill it is to blast ATF up into the pan through the standpipe under pressure and make an unholy mess, then insert the pan plug, start it up and run it and remove the pan plug to get the fluid level right. It is absolutely as needlessly stupid as it sounds.

NickD
NickD SuperDork
2/17/17 3:09 p.m.

Also, make sure to do good fuel induction services fairly regularly on these. The 3.0L/3.6L High-Feature is prone to carboning up valves (causes misfires) and rings (causes oil-burning).

jmk015
jmk015 New Reader
2/17/17 4:41 p.m.
NickD wrote: Be warned in advance, these are a pain in the hootus to service the transmission in, because they don't have a dipstick/fill tube. There is a plug in a standpipe in the pan to drain the transmission down and the pan comes off easy enough, but to fill the transmission you are supposed to remove a plug from the case where the dipstick would go, screw in an adapter and fill it there, then remove the plug in the pan and wait until it stops running out, at which you are at the proper level. This would be pain enough on the RWD models, but on the AWD models, the driveshaft to the front diff is right there in the way and you can't even reach up to remove the plug. The best way to fill it is to blast ATF up into the pan through the standpipe under pressure and make an unholy mess, then insert the pan plug, start it up and run it and remove the pan plug to get the fluid level right. It is absolutely as needlessly stupid as it sounds.

Yeah, I read up on this stupid procedure before I bought the car. Luckily, the previous owner did change the tranny fluid at 50,000 miles... so I have another 50,000 to go before it needs it again. This sounds like a job that's worth every penny of Quick Lube's $150 tranny fluid change.

The car is currently running and idling smoothly, and I'm getting 28 mpg on the highway, so I'm guessing that the motor isn't too carboned up yet. I'll keep an eye on it though. The air/oil separator that I added is supposed to help reduce the carbon buildup significantly.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/17/17 5:23 p.m.

Congrats. If you want this thread moved to the Build Threads forum, just say the word.

jmk015
jmk015 New Reader
3/20/17 8:40 a.m.

Since doing my fluid change and adding the Airaid intake and oil separator, I've put 1,200 miles on the car.

I'm averaging 21 mpg around town and 29 mpg on the highway. I'd say that the intake and oil separator were good for 1-2 extra mpg. I can't feel any power difference though, but it did increase engine noise, in a good way.

Over the 1,200 miles the car hasn't consumed any oil.

I snow tested it last week, and the 4 wheel drive does great. It has no problem is snow, as long as it isn't so deep that it's up to the bumper. In the snow, it's very comparable to a Subaru.

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