Heres’ the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Erie asks: I was rooting around for a minivan for the wife and got sidetracked as usual. I ran across some CTS and narrowed it down to manual shifters. Up came some older CTS-V models with higher miles. Do those last when properly maintained in their earlier years? I am not going to bother if they have electronic problems and such. I am far more inclined to simple cars with nothing more than a good fast heater and driveability in snow and my climatic conditions. Chasing down electrical problems is beyond me anymore so I would have to leave it to the “experts”. That sounds expensive. What is the life of that CTS-V chevy engine if had regular oil changes, etc?
My reply: I like this kind of sidetracking!
One the one hand, the CTS-V’s V8 is a known-rugged/reliable powerplant that, if treated reasonably, can generally be counted on to last almost indefinitely. Even though it is “modern,”it is a very simple engine in its basic layout. No overhead cams or multiple valves. Fundamentally, it’s a Chevy small block – only better than the originals because the current/recent ones have been designed to withstand internal pressure (horsepower) and high RPMs that would have grenaded a classic-era cast iron 327 or 350.
The six-speed manual is also a rugged, simple box. Not much different from an old M-22, just better because it has overdrive.
But, it’s a CTS-V. A high-performance car. Such cars tend to be bought by people who use them. Not always, but the odds are high. This means extra due diligence when you find one and are considering a buy. I’d want service records – and a very thorough examination by someone competent to do the evaluation. The upshot is it’s pretty straightforward to determine whether an engine is tired; same goes for tranny and clutch.
If you find one that checks out, I’d go for it. These things are – as the saying goes – stupid fast. Which means a lot more fun than a minivan. I took my ex father-in-law for a ride in a press car; we hit 147 in fourth.
He remembers it to this day!
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