: 96 Eldorado ETC - Blown head gasket



greggm333
09-15-07, 01:40 AM
Hello,

My car has been sitting in the garage for about a year now with a blown head gasket. The dealer said it's the #4 cylinder. The car has 109k on it.

I've considered time-certing the heads myself but really don't want to get that far into the engine. Even if I did, I would still have a block with the faulty main seals and 109k miles on it.

So, what I'm most likely going to do is get a remanufactured engine and do the swap myself. The company that I would purchase the engine from is AGAP in Texas. They claim to have allot of experience rebuilding the N* and offer a 3yr/unlimited mileage warranty on it.

Has anyone here had any experience with this company or heard anything about them?

What should I use to support the engine cradle so that I can move it from underneath the car once I've dropped the cradle? I know that there is a part number for this, but would like to know if there are any alternatives.

While I have the engine and tranny out, what would be some good things to do while I have easy access?

Thanks!

big420atx
09-15-07, 02:35 AM
if you are going to yank the motor anyways just fix it all and dont waste the money on a new motor.....just swap in the time-certs and better gaskets and your seals....it is such a breeze to work on a motor that is out of the car..

btw, what part of texas are you in and why do you say you think you have faulty seals instead of ones that are gone and just need a replacement..

northstar11
09-15-07, 11:35 AM
I replaced the head gaskets on my 97 eldorado. Got them replaced, and while the were in there, I had them replace all the main engine bearings (not a dealership. dont go to them). The whole job cost me $1000. Ran like new, at 140,000 miles

CadillacSTS42005
09-15-07, 11:41 AM
1k lol
def wasnt timeserted
the kit alone cost 3-400

z06bigbird
09-15-07, 12:41 PM
Hello,

My car has been sitting in the garage for about a year now with a blown head gasket. The dealer said it's the #4 cylinder. The car has 109k on it.

I've considered time-certing the heads myself but really don't want to get that far into the engine. Even if I did, I would still have a block with the faulty main seals and 109k miles on it.

So, what I'm most likely going to do is get a remanufactured engine and do the swap myself. The company that I would purchase the engine from is AGAP in Texas. They claim to have allot of experience rebuilding the N* and offer a 3yr/unlimited mileage warranty on it.

Has anyone here had any experience with this company or heard anything about them?



What should I use to support the engine cradle so that I can move it from underneath the car once I've dropped the cradle? I know that there is a part number for this, but would like to know if there are any alternatives.

While I have the engine and tranny out, what would be some good things to do while I have easy access?

Thanks!

Might consider jacking up the horn and putting a good car underneath it. I don't know if I would spend several thousand (including timeserts) on a vehicle that old. To each his own. If car is particularly clean, it might be worth it considering another used one might have similar problems.

Good luck.

big420atx
09-15-07, 02:25 PM
1k lol
def wasnt timeserted
the kit alone cost 3-400

not all blocks need timeserts...also with a good steel core gasket i dont think it would ever go out again...you would really have to rape your car to do that shyt..:want:

JC316
09-15-07, 03:25 PM
1k lol
def wasnt timeserted
the kit alone cost 3-400

Not true, I changed the head gaskets and CV joints for $600 and I timeserted. Ebay is your friend when looking for expensive gadets like a timesert kit.

Ranger
09-15-07, 07:15 PM
Bearings almost never need to be replaced. While the motor is out, check the HVAC housing on the firewall. They tend to get brittle and crack with age. Can't be replaced with the motor in the car and repairing it will be much easier if you have to go that route.

CadillacSTS42005
09-15-07, 07:51 PM
i replaced the one in my moms deville with the motor in the car (the hvac housing that is)
was a total BIT** and i would NEVER do it again

greggm333
09-15-07, 11:56 PM
if you are going to yank the motor anyways just fix it all and dont waste the money on a new motor.....just swap in the time-certs and better gaskets and your seals....it is such a breeze to work on a motor that is out of the car..

btw, what part of texas are you in and why do you say you think you have faulty seals instead of ones that are gone and just need a replacement..

I'm in St. Louis, MO. I just found this company searching the internet, I've talked to them and they seem to know what they are doing and claim to have done allot of N* remans with no probs. They want 3200 for the reman engine and 100 to ship each way.

The seal between the two block halves is leaking, not sure if it's the rear or front. It's a common problem for early N*'s.

Do you think it will be a major pain in the a** to do the timecerts? I know that I'll have to drill the heads and I don't want to deal with any unforeseen problems.

It would save allot of cash if I just fixed it though. do you think the reman engine is worth it?

Thanks guys!

greggm333
09-15-07, 11:59 PM
Might consider jacking up the horn and putting a good car underneath it. I don't know if I would spend several thousand (including timeserts) on a vehicle that old. To each his own. If car is particularly clean, it might be worth it considering another used one might have similar problems.

Good luck.

The car is very clean. I've thought about buying another used one but, like you said, I could end up with the same problem. I'm the second owner of the car and it had 58k on it when I bought it. I got this problem because the engine overheated :crying2:

Thanks

greggm333
09-16-07, 12:01 AM
I replaced the head gaskets on my 97 eldorado. Got them replaced, and while the were in there, I had them replace all the main engine bearings (not a dealership. dont go to them). The whole job cost me $1000. Ran like new, at 140,000 miles

I can't find anyone around here (St. Louis, MO) that is willing to work on it besides the dealer. There is no way that I'm going to pay them 2k just to fix the head gasket.

Ranger
09-16-07, 11:36 AM
Do you think it will be a major pain in the a** to do the timecerts? I know that I'll have to drill the heads and I don't want to deal with any unforeseen problems.
You drill and retap the block, not the heads.

stoveguyy
09-16-07, 11:44 AM
a dealer is probably the most competent shop that will do a proper headgasket job. they have the trained personnel that work on caddy motors compared to bob's fixall that works on everything but caddys. so you want to pay $600 to your brother in law to fix the heads and than complain that he screwed up or pay more and go to a dealer who will probably do the job right? i did the job myself and it is a ton of work. only a fool will charge less than a grand.

greggm333
09-17-07, 02:06 AM
How many hours did you put into it?

stoveguyy
09-19-07, 11:25 AM
it's not my only car so i took my time. easily 40+ hrs of effort spread over several months. i took the motor out the top which is hard but i did not have a car lift. than i kept waiting to find a timesert kit on ebay. get all your tools lined up before you start. like pulley pullers, engine stand, cherry picker, and so on.

zonie77
09-19-07, 02:30 PM
There is a thread that gives a lot of info in Tech Tips.

If you have an engine hoist you can lift the body off the cradle. It is the easier way to do it.

greggm333
09-20-07, 12:57 AM
Hey guys.
Thanks for your help on this.

After contemplating doing the time-cert repair myself or just swapping the engine out myself for a raman engine, I decided to just buy the reman engine from AGAP in Texas and have a local(St. Louis) engine shop (Rhodes engines) do the swap for me. The engine was 3200 + 200 shipping + 300 core and 1300 to swap it out. I really think it's worth the 1300 to do the swap. I've replaced sb 350's in my teen years but don't think I want to get myself into the Northstar mess.

I went and talked to the guys at Rhodes today. Spent about an hour shooting the sh** with 'em and I'm comfortable with them doing the work. They've swapped out N*'s before.

I'll post back and let you know how it goes.

Thanks Again!

clarkz71
09-20-07, 07:59 AM
Good luck with that, hope it turns out OK.:thumbsup:

stoveguyy
09-20-07, 10:01 AM
its 2k for a headgasket job from the dealer or 5k for a remaned motor? i would lean towards fixing the 109k motor. as long as the heads check out ok. depending on how severely you overheated the motor they might be ok. if the dealer was just estimating the 2k price is another issue. if you can walk out the door and only pay 2k including tax, parts and so on and get a 12 mo warranty than great. so you can reuse the WP, don't have to recharge the AC, replace any heater hoses. all kinds of things you find when you yank a motor.

greggm333
09-21-07, 03:31 PM
its 2k for a headgasket job from the dealer or 5k for a remaned motor? i would lean towards fixing the 109k motor. as long as the heads check out ok. depending on how severely you overheated the motor they might be ok. if the dealer was just estimating the 2k price is another issue. if you can walk out the door and only pay 2k including tax, parts and so on and get a 12 mo warranty than great. so you can reuse the WP, don't have to recharge the AC, replace any heater hoses. all kinds of things you find when you yank a motor.

Hey stoveguyy.

I've considered just having the dealer fix the prob for 2k, but decided that I would rather have a new-like engine. It has a 3/yr unlimited mileage warranty.
If I fix the HG problem, I could have the same thing happen on the other head the next day. The 2k is just for the one head. I plan on keeping this car for a long time.

As far as the ac goes, I need to replace the compressor anyways. Found a new one for 200 bucks and the guys at the engine shop that are doing the install said I can bring them any parts that I want them to put on. They even said to bring in the 134a, pag oil, antifreeze and other things so they're not going to charge me for all the stuff that I need, just labor. Thanks for your input.

greggm333
11-01-07, 01:14 AM
We'll I picked up my baby today with the reman engine. The guys at Rhodes engines in St. Louis did a really good job and are great to work with. Good guys.

It's so nice to be driving my car again after being garaged for at least a year.

Kind of ironic that I got it back on the same day that I originally bought it.

Any tips on breaking in a N*?

tateos
11-01-07, 04:53 PM
Going to start on my '97 ETC HG project this weekend.

No specific Northstar engine advice on break in, but when I had to replace my AC compressor 2 1/2 years ago, it was strongly advised to change the one piece hose/manifold assembly and the condenser and the orifice tube at the same time. This advice came from the AC specialty supply store I bought the products from, as well as by some uninvolved mechanic friends. It seems that when the front motor mount goes, it puts a strain on the AC hoses. Also, when the compressor goes, it throws trash in the system that collects in the condenser (in front of the radiator). Not sure if it was good advice, but I must say the AC has been excellent and trouble free through the 3 Phoenix summers since.

Not sure if this has been addresses elsewhere, but I hope this info is valid and will be useful to you and/or some other members.

Richard Moore
Fountain Hills, AZ

greggm333
11-01-07, 08:09 PM
Thanks for the info.

My ac was totally trashed. They showed me the orifice tube and it was caked with chunks of metal. Hopefully they cleaned the system out before they put it back together. I put a new compressor and accumulator in it. Hope it lasts a while.

greggm333
11-01-07, 08:12 PM
btw. Good luck on your project this weekend. You're braver than I am.

tateos
11-02-07, 09:06 PM
That's right - now I remember - it was 4 things I had replaced - compressor, orifice tube, receiver drier (accumulator) and condenser.

Thanks for the well wishes. I have owned the car since new and I am fairly attached to it. I had this HG problem 2 1/2 years ago and did not realize it was a commonplace problem. I had a used engine and trans installed, not aware that this engine was destined for failure also. I did buy another car, a 2005 Lincoln LS, intended to replace the ETC, but later decided to repair the ETC. Once it was repaired, I always drove the ETC as I much prefer it to the LS.

This repair job will be a project and an adventure - at least that is how I think of it now. We will see once I get into it. I need to correct the HG problem and also an oil leak from the engine. I also need to replace the steering rack, which looks pretty easy once the engine is out. Yes, I will be taking the engine out the top, due to the constraints of my garage.

Richard Moore
Fountain Hills, AZ