blown head gasket? part 3
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Cadillac DeVille 1985 to 2005 including:
1985-1992 Fleetwood, 1993 Sixty Special, All FWD Forum Discussion, blown head gasket? part 3 in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; I have a 2001 Deville DTS with 89,000 miles. Lately I have been having to add up to 3 quarts ...
  1. #1
    Ed P. is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Head gasket repair question - 2001 DTS

    I have a 2001 Deville DTS with 89,000 miles. Lately I have been having to add up to 3 quarts of water every 30 miles or so. I had diagnosed a crack in the radiator right side tank so a new radiator was installed. On Thursday I drove to work and for about 12 miles all was fine then the temp gauge just started and started climbing. I barely made it to work with the needle firmly planted against (but not into) the red zone.

    Five hours later I go out to check and it takes almost 2 gallons of water! I started it and did the check on the purge line but had no coolant flow so I shut it off. Then noticed there quite a lot of coolant on the right side below the serpentine belt. Had the car towed to the shop that did the radiator and they just told me that they are pretty sure the head gasket is blown.

    They also say head gasket repair is not recommended since if the studs pulled up the repair may not be successful. He is recommending a new engine which would make the repair costs higher than the value of the car.

    Any opinions? Can the head gasket be successfully replaced? Bummer is I have only had this car since October.

    Thanks,

    Ed

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  3. #2
    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, stick on fender vents
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    Re: Head Gasket Reoair Question

    If you can see visible coolant/leaks, then you're probably not into head gasket replacement - yet. You need to find the source of the coolant leak, perform a cylinder block exhaust gas leak test, and check the coolant reservoir and water pump drive system for proper operation (no purgeline flow).

    Yes, head gaskets can be successfully and permanently replaced. The repair involves engine (drivetrain) removal, dissection, engine block head bolt hole machining, steel bolt insert installation, and reassembly. Labor intensive, but the engine is then essentially good forever. You most probably DO NOT need a "new" engine.

    I would suggest you go down to Engines, Northstar Performance and read the sticky posts at the top of the first threads page. Then go through the many pages of threads in Cadillac Tech Tips, searching for threads of interest.

    You might want to do some outside research and look at www.huhnsolutions.com , www.carrollcustomcadillac.com , and www.northstarperformance.com .

    Where are you (update your ^^^ profile) ? There are several good shops that do this work at reasonable rates - but understand - this is NOT an afternoon job: it is labor and expertise - extensive and requires decent working conditions.

    EDIT: Please do NOT resort to using some sort of 'block sealer". It will only complicate the eventual repair, and may well damage other parts of the cooling system. Had the car since October and it now overheats.......... You did not buy this car from a GM dealer, did you ?? It came off a corner lot or front lawn ??? If that's true, the chances of someone unloading the car with block sealer already in it are very good. Just sayin'

  4. #3
    basscatt's Avatar
    basscatt is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Head gasket repair question - 2001 DTS

    I agree with Sub 100% - in addition -
    I would recommend cleaning out the purge line -
    or actually the hollow bolt the purge line attaches to -

    and then do a pressure test -

    Northstar motors with the head gasket problem
    don't usually have external coolant leaks -

    keep us posted with the results -

    oh - and like Sub said - PLEASE -
    don't be tempted into using ANY stop-leak -
    or mechanic-in-a-can products -
    they simply don't work in a Northstar motor -
    and will cause additional problems if you DO have the head gasket problem -
    and want to get it properly repaired -

  5. #4
    Ed P. is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Head gasket repair question - 2001 DTS

    Thank you guys. There has not been any "fix in a bottle" added.

    If you do not feel this is a head gasket problem (I do not have "milk shake" in the oil, nor does the cooling system seem to be over pressurizing) are there any other ideas why I would be loosing so much coolant on the right side of the engine?

    Thanks,

    Ed

  6. #5
    basscatt's Avatar
    basscatt is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Head gasket repair question - 2001 DTS

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed P. View Post
    Thank you guys. There has not been any "fix in a bottle" added.

    If you do not feel this is a head gasket problem (I do not have "milk shake" in the oil, nor does the cooling system seem to be over pressurizing) are there any other ideas why I would be loosing so much coolant on the right side of the engine?

    Thanks,

    Ed
    ---------------------
    I do not have "milk shake" in the oil
    that's another symptom the Northstar motor does NOT share -
    with the usual blown head gaskets -

    we don't get oil in the coolant - or coolant in the oil -
    the most common symptom is exhaust gasses in the cooling system -

    are there any other ideas why I would be loosing so much coolant
    on the right side of the engine?


    this is why I suggested having it pressure tested -
    there are many many places it COULD leak from -

    are you sure the coolant isn't coming from the reservoir?

    the reservoir tank is under pressure with the rest of the cooling system -
    it can develop small cracks all over it -
    it can also develop cracks around the nipple the purge line goes onto -
    also - there is a large hose on the bottom of the tank -
    check that area for cracks or a leaking hose -

    if it turns out the tank is leaking and needs to be replaced -
    check Amazon.com - they had the best price a while ago -

  7. #6
    Ed P. is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Head gasket repair question - 2001 DTS

    The shop that had changed the radiator did a pressure test yesterday and said that it all seemed normal.

    How about this: the purge line is blocked so that could cause the car to start overheating, yes? When it overheats it blows water out of the coolant tank and accumulates on the right side. And this starts the downward spiral of less water in the system and more overheating.

    I just happen to have a new coolant tank sitting in the garage. I'm going to check the purge line, install the tank and cross my fingers.

    Ed

  8. #7
    basscatt's Avatar
    basscatt is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Head gasket repair question - 2001 DTS

    How about this:
    the purge line is blocked
    so that could cause the car to start overheating, yes?

    absolutely correct -
    the purge line is the only way to get rid of trapped air in the cooling system -

    if the purge line can't expel the air - coolant will not flow properly -
    and the engine WILL overheat -

    the easy way to clear out the hollow bolt the purge line attaches to
    is take a straightened out metal coat hanger - or something similar -
    and poke it into the hollow bolt several inches -

    with the engine running -
    you should have a constant - gentle flow of coolant -
    through the purge line -

  9. #8
    Ed P. is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Head gasket repair question - 2001 DTS

    The purge line was definitely blocked. I removed it from the expansion tank and then at the other end. When I pulled it off rust colored water drained out... my first sign. With how many gallons of water that have been poured into the car over the past 2 months everything in the cooling system should be crystal clear. I blew on the end of the hose, initially got some resistance and then rusty water blew out the other end. Just to be sure I fired up my air compressor and blew about 90 psi thru the hose.

    The hollow bolt was totally plugged. Initially I could not even get the coat hanger to enter. A couple of minutes of poking and jamming finally got it thru. I measured the OD of the coat hanger and followed up with a drill bit just a bit larger. Kinda' rotated that in back and forth with the help of some channel locks until I was sure it was clear. Wouldn't you now it a nice steady mix of Dex-Cool and water came streaming out.

    I'm just about to put the new expansion tank in. Is the level for the fill line that molded line on the bottom half? If so I have always been overfilling mine, could not really see it on the old yellowed/brownish lower half of the tank. Seems a bit low for a fill line.

    Ed

    Ed

  10. #9
    70cougar is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Head gasket repair question - 2001 DTS

    Good to hear it was the purge line!

    And yes, the tank full line is about 1/2 way up with engine cool. Overfilling will cause coolant loss as it expands when heated with normal driving.

  11. #10
    Ed P. is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Head gasket repair question - 2001 DTS

    Just finished. The old expansion tank did not seem to have any cracks but the new coolant level sensor is worth the "LOW COOLANT LEVEL" message going away.

    On Thursday when it over heated I was about 12 miles from home. 4 or 5 minutes to get to the Toll Road then 68 mph on the Toll Road for less than 10 minutes... 14 or 15 minutes to overheat at 68 mph. Just now in my driveway (coolant tank cap off) I ran the heater and/or defroster... hot air immediately. After about 10 minutes I shut those off and ran the A/C. Temp gauge eventually went straight up (12 o'clock) and held there. After 10 more minutes of idle and blurping the throttle with the A/C on temp guage held steady. Coolant level in the tank held firm.

    Tomorrow morning I will check the coolant level and go for a drive. This engine just runs way too good to feel like it has blown head gaskets. Hopefully the purge line solved the problem.

    Ed

  12. #11
    basscatt's Avatar
    basscatt is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Head gasket repair question - 2001 DTS

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed P. View Post
    Just finished. The old expansion tank did not seem to have any cracks but the new coolant level sensor is worth the "LOW COOLANT LEVEL" message going away.

    On Thursday when it over heated I was about 12 miles from home. 4 or 5 minutes to get to the Toll Road then 68 mph on the Toll Road for less than 10 minutes... 14 or 15 minutes to overheat at 68 mph. Just now in my driveway (coolant tank cap off) I ran the heater and/or defroster... hot air immediately. After about 10 minutes I shut those off and ran the A/C. Temp gauge eventually went straight up (12 o'clock) and held there. After 10 more minutes of idle and blurping the throttle with the A/C on temp guage held steady. Coolant level in the tank held firm.

    Tomorrow morning I will check the coolant level and go for a drive. This engine just runs way too good to feel like it has blown head gaskets. Hopefully the purge line solved the problem.

    Ed
    --------------
    Hopefully the purge line solved the problem
    I'm 99% confident your problem is solved -

    like I said - that purge line is the ONLY way
    to expel trapped air from the cooling system -
    now that it's flowing again - you should be good to go -

    ----------------

    one more thing -

    Had the car towed to the shop that did the radiator
    and they just told me that they are pretty sure the head gasket is blown.

    They also say head gasket repair is not recommended
    since if the studs pulled up the repair may not be successful.
    He is recommending a new engine
    which would make the repair costs higher than the value of the car.


    this shop obviously does NOT work on too many Cadillacs -
    they didn't know about the purge line - a VERY important feature -
    I'd start looking for a shop more familiar with Cadillacs - just my $.02

  13. #12
    Ed P. is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Head gasket repair question - 2001 DTS

    Just got back from a 25 minute test drive. It is 94 degrees here and I was running the A/C all the time. Drove around some surface streets, stopped at some lights, ran a couple of miles at 55 mph and the temp gauge stayed straight up until...

    I got 2 blocks from home. The needle crept up just one increment, not to the next line, you know how it creeps up about 3 or so increments per section before you get to the next line? That is all it went. I idled it in my driveway for a minute or so and it did not go any higher. Should I be concerned or is that possibly normal behavior?

    Ed

  14. #13
    basscatt's Avatar
    basscatt is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Head gasket repair question - 2001 DTS

    take it out and romp on it - don't baby it -

    do some Wide Open Throttles - stress it some -

    but I do believe you are fine -

  15. #14
    Ed P. is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Head gasket repair question - 2001 DTS

    Just got back from another test drive. Another 20 minutes or so including parking at the grocery store and doing some shopping. Near the end it did creep up an "increment" but when I got on the open road at 45 mph it went back down to 12 o'clock. The car is not leaking or blowing out any coolant at all. I am beginning to think I've got this licked.

    Tomorrow morning will be the test. My commute to work consists of about 20 minutes on the freeway at 68 mph. If it makes that then I'll be happy.

    Ed

  16. #15
    basscatt's Avatar
    basscatt is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Head gasket repair question - 2001 DTS

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed P. View Post
    Just got back from another test drive. Another 20 minutes or so including parking at the grocery store and doing some shopping. Near the end it did creep up an "increment" but when I got on the open road at 45 mph it went back down to 12 o'clock. The car is not leaking or blowing out any coolant at all. I am beginning to think I've got this licked.

    Tomorrow morning will be the test. My commute to work consists of about 20 minutes on the freeway at 68 mph. If it makes that then I'll be happy.

    Ed
    -----------------
    check your coolant level again when everything is cooled down -

    because the purge line was blocked - and now open -
    you might have "burped" more air from the system -
    and it might take a day or two to get it all out -

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