: Northstar Headgasket/Cracked Block/Bolt Failure? Please let us know



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Eldo1953
10-28-07, 09:21 PM
Here is the Definitive Northstar Headgasket Thread. Please choose your year of Cadillac and state if you have had a headgasket problem with your Seville or Eldorado and what mileage it occured at. If you have never had a problem please do not participate in the poll!

CadillacSTS42005
10-28-07, 09:54 PM
1993 ETC-Nothing 126K SOLD
1996 Deville-Nothing 135k SOLD
1997 ETC-HG Failure at 100,026
1998 STS-Nothing 112K
2003 STS-Nothing 52K
2005 STS-Nothing 13K
2006 STS-V-Nothing 17K

rolled the dice one too many times but the engine was replaced previously so they split the cost and ended up paying 2020.26 for the HG repair...

BigJon
10-28-07, 10:05 PM
1996 107,000 miles El Dorado

big420atx
10-28-07, 11:17 PM
1993 ETC-Nothing 126K SOLD
1996 Deville-Nothing 135k SOLD
1997 ETC-HG Failure at 100,026
1998 STS-Nothing 112K
2003 STS-Nothing 52K
2005 STS-Nothing 13K
2006 STS-V-Nothing 17K

rolled the dice one too many times but the engine was replaced previously so they split the cost and ended up paying 2020.26 for the HG repair...

thats a gang of lacs that you had there....im impressed :cool2:

Eldo1953
10-29-07, 09:41 PM
ttt.

CadillacSTS42005
10-29-07, 09:57 PM
who had the 01 hg failure?!?!?!

Playdrv4me
10-29-07, 09:59 PM
That would be me. 2001 SLS, I traded it before it got real bad for the last 1998 STS I had. Though I still see the car driving around town so they must have fixed it up nice or thrown some goop in it.

Mark C
10-29-07, 10:26 PM
1997 STS, 116,500. Rear head between cylinders 5 and 7

misfit6794
10-29-07, 10:31 PM
96 Deville, 9 of 20 headbolts pulled out of the block. 82,000 miles, Florida car till I got it in Jersey.

Eldo1953
10-29-07, 11:13 PM
That would be me. 2001 SLS, I traded it before it got real bad for the last 1998 STS I had. Though I still see the car driving around town so they must have fixed it up nice or thrown some goop in it.

If you still see it driving around are you 100% sure it was the HG then?

z06bigbird
10-29-07, 11:28 PM
thats a gang of lacs that you had there....im impressed :cool2:

He used to be a janitor at the GM Cadillac plant. He just borrowed the keys for a few months at a time.

LOL

CadillacSTS42005
10-29-07, 11:35 PM
ouch
i guess thats a burn
cept my ETC and STS are def mine and totally gorgious
i think your just jealous hahhaa

Playdrv4me
10-30-07, 12:51 AM
If you still see it driving around are you 100% sure it was the HG then?

YES. Had the coolant tested.

dwight.j.carter
10-30-07, 01:04 AM
My 99 went bad I think due to not changing the coolant on time. Anyway the gaskets went bad and the rings also so the motor was pretty much a total loss. For the eight grand it would have cost to fix I got a much nicer car my current 2000 STS. The deciding factor for me though was not the motor but the lighter interrior on the 2000 and the black interrior of the 99 was burning my A$$ in the summer.

dwight.j.carter
10-30-07, 01:06 AM
That would be me. 2001 SLS, I traded it before it got real bad for the last 1998 STS I had. Though I still see the car driving around town so they must have fixed it up nice or thrown some goop in it. It probably got fixed it's not like the car is not worth fixing. If mine lasts another 60 thousand like my 99 did then I will fork out the 2500 to fix it.

dwight.j.carter
10-30-07, 02:06 PM
This should be stickied

BIG ERN
10-30-07, 05:01 PM
I think i bought someone else's problem, bought it from a dealer real cheap 4 months later at 96k had a boneyard motor put in out of a 99 with 98K on the clock still running strong 18K later

misfit6794
10-30-07, 05:15 PM
Where's destroyer when you need him?

Eldo1953
11-05-07, 01:05 AM
This should be stickied

:yeah:

Playdrv4me
11-05-07, 03:31 AM
Done.

Eldo, I changed title of the post to garner more responses from new members.

Urb, if you want to un-sticky this or simply move it to the actual Northstar Technical forum, please be my guest. For now, I'll leave it here.

jholland
11-05-07, 02:00 PM
Mine is a 97 @ 89,000. I bought it with the bad HG and fixed it. I had a 96 that started acting up at 145,000. Did a K&W job and it was holding fine for over 15,000 miles until a soccer mom broadsided me.

Playdrv4me
11-05-07, 03:18 PM
Mine is a 97 @ 89,000. I bought it with the bad HG and fixed it. I had a 96 that started acting up at 145,000. Did a K&W job and it was holding fine for over 15,000 miles until a soccer mom broadsided me.

What's a "K&W" job?

dwight.j.carter
11-05-07, 08:25 PM
So far it looks like my prediction is correct. The problem years being 97-99. Looks like it started to pan out in 99 except of course mine lol.

allccf
11-05-07, 09:02 PM
96 Eldorado 150,000

Playdrv4me
11-05-07, 09:03 PM
I know of one other member who definitely had an 02 with a HG failure at 40k miles. But it stands to reason the newer motors may just not be showing failure yet because they just arent quite as old. Remember the first coolant change interval isnt even due until 4 years from the in-service date of the car. It seems that the swath of years affected has steadily crept forward as the cars got older. First we saw it on 93-96s, then 97-99s etc, and now every so often, post 2000 motors are beginning to crop up here and there. I dont know of a single solitary report of an 04+ RWD configuration N* failing yet except the isolated case of the STS-V at 500 miles. Keep in mind however that the RWD N* has been significantly revised over the previous generation, not just for the drive gear, but the inner workings of the motor as well. One report published an 80% difference between the "old" Northstar, and the new one.

I am hoping this solves the problem once and for all. I am also hoping and wondering whether it is possible to somehow convert a RWD N* for FWD use.

Ur7x
11-05-07, 11:08 PM
Cool poll

And so far this poll is confirming something that I first observed about 3 years ago...

Still it makes me wonder
1) Is there something wrong with the 97/98 head gaskets
2) Is this just the amount of time it takes the head gaskets to fail with Dexcool issues
3) Are the older cars not worth fixing so the owners aren't here to "vote"...

All interesting stuff... Not sure you will ever see a RWD post about head gaskets... I would bet they are significantly easier to get to.

If they were like the head gaskets in my 1991 F150, I replaced those in my driveway in a week end with basic hand tools for $50... If North* head gaskets could be fixed for $50....or even $500 most people wouldn't mind (so much) the main issue is that you basically have to take the whole car apart to get to them...

Eldo1953
11-05-07, 11:25 PM
Cool poll

the main issue is that you basically have to take the whole car apart to get to them...

Exactly!

Eldo1953
11-05-07, 11:28 PM
What about the Northstar in the 2006+ DTS. Has that been revised? Do you think we will see the same problems with that model?

dwight.j.carter
11-06-07, 05:00 PM
What about the Northstar in the 2006+ DTS. Has that been revised? Do you think we will see the same problems with that model?

I would think it has been revised some. However it is still FWD so it probably has many of the same characteristics of our FWD cars.

Playdrv4me
11-06-07, 07:18 PM
All interesting stuff... Not sure you will ever see a RWD post about head gaskets... I would bet they are significantly easier to get to.

If they were like the head gaskets in my 1991 F150, I replaced those in my driveway in a week end with basic hand tools for $50... If North* head gaskets could be fixed for $50....or even $500 most people wouldn't mind (so much) the main issue is that you basically have to take the whole car apart to get to them...

Excellent point.

I have asked only one other person that very question you just posed... "Is working on the RWD's substantially easier due to the longitudinal layout". The person I asked was one of our Cadillac techs "Stoneagecaddy" (and as typically happens in the internet world, Stoney's REAL name completely slipped my mind just now) when we had a Tampa meet last year.

His answer was that it was NOT much easier, only that it seemed to be of course much less common.

Except for that, I would tend to agree with you that it SHOULD be easier.

Playdrv4me
11-06-07, 07:22 PM
What about the Northstar in the 2006+ DTS. Has that been revised? Do you think we will see the same problems with that model?

As far as Im aware, the motor in the 06 DTS does *not* have the revisions the RWD motors do. Any updates since 2005 have merely been running changes to the same N*.

I am sure that GM is only eager to get the DTS, Lucerne and Bonnie GXP off the books once and for all here soon so they can finally close that chapter in the N*'s history and focus solely on the "new" RWD motor from here on out. We'll see how it plays out over the next 2 or 3 years, because the next car on my list is a 2004 XLR. But Im not going to get 30k in debt on a car that's going to be no different than the 4k Deville at the carlot downtown. For now, I have very very optimistic feelings about the new motor.

If I had unlimited money, my dream "Tim Allen/Jay Leno" style project would be to convert a 2003 STS, regardless of cost, to a RWD Smallblock layout, or a RWD Northstar layout. Anything can be done with the right amount of determination and cash.

Playdrv4me
11-06-07, 07:35 PM
Well this isn't terribly encouraging. Timesert.com already has a GM Specific Kit for coincidentally enough, the 2004 XLR motor which it calls "PV8-LH2".

http://www.timesert.com/html/NORTHSTAR2004-PV8-headbolt.pdf

JimHare
11-06-07, 10:48 PM
1999 Deville, sold with 99,964 miles, nothing
2001 Eldorado, currently 85,700 miles, nothing
2002 Deville, currently 178,000 miles, nothing.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I have had absolutely zero, naught, none, nothing, zilch go bad with any engine related parts on any of the three Caddys. An alternator on the '99, and the AC compressor on the 02.

WillGlueIt
11-08-07, 03:02 PM
My ETC has 92,000 miles. I have performed coolant maintenance every two years since I have owned the car (I know overkill). I always use 6 Barsleak HDC tablets. And I have never had a head gasket problem (knock on wood).

JN in CA
11-11-07, 04:30 PM
Mine went at 97k.

It was the classic symptoms. First, it started stalling at stop lights for no reason, no codes. Soon, it started running rough when cold. My mechanic took out the spark plugs and there was the bad (expensive) news: 6 of the 8 were coated in white powder residue.

Playdrv4me
11-12-07, 12:46 AM
Did you have the check coolant message ever come up?

JN in CA
11-12-07, 01:41 AM
Did you have the check coolant message ever come up?

Technically yes, but really no. When the stalling started, they thought it was sensors (logical) and started replacing them. Then when it started running rough they pulled the spark plugs and found the antifreeze residue. No "check coolant level" message at that point.

Only when I drove it on a 100F day did it finally get bad enough to blow anti-freeze externally, not just into the cylinders. Once I got "Engine Hot," pulled over, turned it off, and heard the "shhhh" of leaking coolant, only then did I get the "check coolant level" message.

In all, I probably went about 300 miles with bad gasket symptoms w/o getting the check coolant message.

Joseph

lbstone
11-12-07, 01:23 PM
Lots of great info here. I have a 97 Eldorado (purchased 08/07) with 73K and the N*, what should I be concerned with? I do use some oil, maybe two quarts every 3-4K miles. I do notice that the car starts hard when its warm on humid days. I had this same problem with a previous Boneville SSE and it was remedied by replacing the plugs. So what are all the symptoms of the HG failure? How 'bout replacement, is there and "upgrade" one can do to make a replacement more permanent when its finally needed?

Playdrv4me
11-12-07, 01:50 PM
It may yet be a little too early if this is truly your problem, but the simplest way to put your fears at ease is to have a test done to see if there are any exhaust gases in the coolant. This is really the best way to diagnose the problem if you suspect. N*'s dont put oil in the coolant or vice versa so that is not reliable.

I highly, highly doubt you have an HG issue based on those minor symptoms. For now you need to attack those starting and idling issues from the same perspective as your bonneville.

As far as a permanent replacement, I believe the closest we have come yet is a new crate motor from GM, let me get the link...

Playdrv4me
11-12-07, 01:56 PM
Here you go:

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/northstar-performance-technical-discussion/122168-gm-now-offers-premium-remanufactured-4-a.html

dwight.j.carter
11-12-07, 09:25 PM
I think this should be in the Northstar forum don't you Playdrive ?
what about the 93 Allante or the Fiero mods out there they may want to have a look at this.
Or the sandrail builders they may have done things to fix it permanetely beside timeserting.

Playdrv4me
11-12-07, 10:10 PM
Yea that has been bothering me ever since I stickied this. I dont have Mod abilities in N* though so another Mod would have to move this.

If we want to make this truly accurate, there should be a sticky in the forum of each pre-04 Northstar powered vehicle (Seville, Deville, Allante) with a link pointing to the main thread in the NS Tech forum.

xeper
11-13-07, 01:53 PM
Bought my '97 DeVille with 78K miles on it. Pristine shape and ran like a dream. I put 2K on it before it began to smell like burning coolant. Had it towed and I'm still waiting for it to be fixed [warranty company is slow as hell] Head failed and separated.

Is there some kind of class-action going for this? It seems to be a huge problem spanning a long period of time [didn't a VERY similar thing happen in the '80s with Cadillac as well?] and every single Cadillac forum I've been too has many, many, many cases and stories along a similar line. Every repair shop I talked to knew about this issue as if they see it more than once a day.

It seems to me that GM sent out engine after engine knowing full well a decent number of them would end up failing.

Am I wrong in my thinking?

Ur7x
11-13-07, 08:30 PM
Very interesting results... well over 1/3 are 1997... and well over 1/2 are 97/98's

And why does JonCR96Z (http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/member.php?u=37818) keep buying these cars? If the poll is right he has had one go bad each and every year!

dwight.j.carter
11-13-07, 09:23 PM
Yea that has been bothering me ever since I stickied this. I dont have Mod abilities in N* though so another Mod would have to move this.

If we want to make this truly accurate, there should be a sticky in the forum of each pre-04 Northstar powered vehicle (Seville, Deville, Allante) with a link pointing to the main thread in the NS Tech forum.

Not a big deal the only ones really missing out are the Deville people.
I wonder how many Northstar Allantes there are still on the road ?
Oh and by the way my dad is storing his 89 Allante in my garage I posted a pic in the Allante forum if anyone is interested.

jmanley
11-16-07, 10:18 PM
97 TCP with 82k, Dealer said it was a cracked block. I find this hard to believe, more so after reading this forum. I will be doing a leak test before deciding on my next action.

98Eldoradovl
11-17-07, 02:26 PM
I have a 1998 Cadillac Eldorado with a cracked head gasket according to the Orlando Cadillac Service/Repair. About 3 months prior to this situation/diagnosis, we had the radiator flushed and new radiator coolant with tablets put in also done by the same service center. We didn't have a problem prior to the flushing of the radiator. Now the car loses coolant and at high speeds overheats. Too expensive to replace with new engine and from a Northstar mechanic expert what happens is the aluminum engine warps. It will happen again. Sounds to me like we should have a class action lawsuit for defective engines. My Eldorado has 66,000 miles on it. Beautiful Pearl finish, beautiful car. Useless engine.

Boombotz
11-22-07, 09:35 PM
Very interesting results... well over 1/3 are 1997... and well over 1/2 are 97/98's

And why does JonCR96Z (http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/member.php?u=37818) keep buying these cars? If the poll is right he has had one go bad each and every year!
We removed his votes

JonCR96Z
11-23-07, 02:43 PM
Very interesting results... well over 1/3 are 1997... and well over 1/2 are 97/98's

And why does JonCR96Z (http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/member.php?u=37818) keep buying these cars? If the poll is right he has had one go bad each and every year!

I just have really bad luck. :duck: Sorry guys.

Ranger
11-23-07, 10:16 PM
Are you seriously saying that you have owned every year and everyone had head gasket problems?

JonCR96Z
11-24-07, 02:04 PM
No, just trying to make fun of any trouble I caused. Again sorry guys, and I'm not trying to take this thread off course. If there's any more questions about this you can just PM me.

Jesda
11-24-07, 03:40 PM
What the hell happened after 1995?

Ur7x
11-25-07, 06:04 PM
What the hell happened after 1995?

Not sure I understand this question.... Lots of stuff happened after 1995, Clinton got re-elected, then George W... 911 the whole Afghanistan/Iraq thing, lately we have had the sub prime collapse and the devaluation of the US dollar.. etc etc... Fox News and CNN are a great place to start...
:thepan:

If you are referring to head gaskets... Keep in mind that these aren't cheap to fix... so if your 1994 car is worth $3000 you probably aren't going to spend $3500-$4000 on a head gasket job... You sell the car and probably aren't on this forum to vote...

A better question to consider is what the heck happened in 1997? (head-gasket wise that is)

xeper
11-29-07, 05:48 PM
What the hell happened after 1995?

Hmmmm, this COULD have something to do with it:


GM's use of Dex-Cool, a coolant it first introduced in its vehicles in 1995 and sold in more than 35 million cars and trucks between 1995 and 2004. According to GM, 14 federal and state lawsuits seeking class-action status have been filed against GM over a variety of engine problems linked to Dex-Cool.

Customers have complained of problems ranging from small coolant leaks to complete radiator and engine failure. Court documents show that GM has received tens of thousands of repair requests related to Dex-Cool and engine gaskets in the affected models and considered recalls for some models.

The company has issued several technical bulletins to its dealers about cooling-related problems in the engines, but says it prefers to handle customer complaints on a case-by-case basis.

When GM introduced the orange-colored Dex-Cool, it said in owners manuals that Dex-Cool could last up to five years or 100,000 miles without being replaced, and later extended Dex-Cool's life to 150,000 miles. Dex-Cool uses a different set of chemicals to protect engine parts than traditional green-colored coolant, which requires more frequent replacement, and GM was the first U.S. automaker to use it.

If this led to some sort of recall or class-action suit in my area, what could someone like me, who's already paid to repair the issue, do?

All from this posting: http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.ee9e77d/2335


I also have a few quick and stupid questions from someone who knows no better:

Can this car be changed to use something other than Dex-Cool if it IS a hazard to the engine?

Why exactly do I NEED to use premium unleaded as opposed to 85/87?

Ur7x
11-29-07, 06:30 PM
1) If you want YET another debate about premium fuel start a different thread... One thing I think we can all agree on... Fuel quality has nothing to do with Head gaskets.

2) Regarding DexCool... Maybe... Except
Why the spike in 1997 not 1995 when it was first introduced? Zero 1995 failures so far an yet these engines have been soaking in Dex the longest.
Why are some engines like LS1s (and lots of others!) that run Dex and yet seem to be immune to this problem?
Why the dip in numbers after 1998?
Why aren't other aluminum parts failing too?

xeper
11-30-07, 03:47 PM
Not trying to spark a debate about premium causing issues, I'm just generally curious.

Ranger
11-30-07, 06:01 PM
You CAN use 87 octane. Do a search.

Don't hold your breath waiting for a recall. Recalls are generally safety related.

clarkz71
12-08-07, 09:00 PM
2) Regarding DexCool... Maybe... Except
Why the spike in 1997 not 1995 when it was first introduced? Zero 1995 failures so far an yet these engines have been soaking in Dex the longest.


While GM may have started using dex-cool in "some" models in 95,
Cadillac wasn't one of them. 96 was the first year for dex in our cars.
The decal on the radiator support on my 95 states "use coolant designed for aluminum engine protection".
96 and up cars state "use dex-cool only"

clarkz71
12-08-07, 09:13 PM
Check this out. Here's a taste:

Dex-Cool is now used in almost 40 million vehicles sold by GM since 1996.
On its website, GM claims Dex-Cool will last 5 years or 150,000 miles but
a steady stream of consumers insist the product is defective and has damaged their vehicles.


http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/08/gm_dexcool.html

N0DIH
12-16-07, 01:07 AM
A friend of mine's 99 Seville just popped one... Crap...

So, easier to fix the engine with all the work or just drop in a LS4 out of Impala SS/Grand Prix GXP?

Has the swap been looked at? The PCM doesn't have to know there is a LS4 there instead of a N*....

cadijunkie
12-20-07, 09:47 AM
help ? im looking for imformation on a vin y head gasket r r 1994 deville concourse where do i go to post questions im new i dont know what 2 do.

earl ludington
12-20-07, 09:10 PM
Had a 94 Concours go bad. Rear gasket. Then head bolts stripped out. Junked the car after sitting 4 years. Approx 150,000 miles. Learned from a car dealer friend to always sniff exhaust pipes and check by hand feel(sticky) for antifreeze even if oil looks good. I have had 3 more N*'s and still have a 4.5 Allante, now that I know what to look for. I'm sure these quality problems are a big part of the poor resale value of Cadillac's overall.

N0DIH
12-21-07, 09:17 PM
How reliable the fixes? New gaskets/timeserts hold up?

rd62rdstr
12-27-07, 03:02 PM
I'm going through it now. Dealer maintained religiously. Never abused. 97,000 miles. :banghead:
I love the car (Concours Deville), am now hating the motor. If I fix it, I will sell it and buy a 93 or 94 Fleetwood. I bought this after swearing off of Fords because my Expedition had a problem with spitting spark plugs out of the aluminum heads. I may just go back to an older classic with a nice 327. These manufacturers seem to be taking advantage of us with inferior cars and higher prices.

N0DIH
12-28-07, 01:57 PM
I can be completely honest, I original was looking for a 94-96 Concours Deville, but once I started hearing about the head gasket issues on the N* I started looking at the Fleetwoods and ended up buying the first one I looked at. Ended up being a factory V4P car (7000# tow package). I need dead nuts reliability, I have already put 100K on my FW since Feb 05. I can't risk down time nor expensive to fix. The LT1/4L60E/Conventional RWD chassis fits the bill.

Ford Expeditions are just awful on mpg from all the owners I have talked, actually, anyone with a 5.4L says they get 12mpg and that is it. My 350 Suburban NEVER got below 12, and typically got 13.5-14, and 15-17.5 on the highway. Forget Ford and good mpg on the mod motors, in a truck they just don't have it....

I want a car that I can drive daily, hot rod and enjoy the heck out of it, but still rely on it, and in the end, be able to fix it if I had to (remove engine/trans myself in my garage instead of relying on a shop to do it for me)

MRBENZ
12-29-07, 11:18 PM
My father-in-law swears by the Cadillac with the Northstar engine. He has had 3 or 4 in the last 10 years, all kept under 60k miles before trading. I had become a Mercedes person. So, my wife was needing another car and we decided to buy a 2000 Deville with 74k on it. I have put 8k on it and now have a job of replacing the headgasket if the dealer will do it. I have had one external mechanic tell me that the recommendation from Cadillac is replace the motor in stead of repair due to the aluminum motor. This will probably be my only gripe session on this subject, but thought I would share my thoughts. I love the looks and the ride of the Deville. I have talked to many Cadillac mechanics and they say that it is normal that the Northstar engine use a little oil. Mine does, but that is not that much of an issue to me. I do not accept that it is normal for a car new to 100k miles to use oil. I have a 1990 Mercedes with the v8 that uses zero oil and that car has 179k on it. It also does not have a head gasket problem and require the replacement of the motor. My opinion, the Cadillac produces very stylish and comfortable cars, but the Northstar engine is nothing but junk. I hate to get rid of the car because I like the car as far as looks, but just as soon as I can get it repaired and/or trade it, it will be my first and last Cadillac. GM just proved to me what I have thought for years, that they produce junk at premium prices. I understand that if a car is abused such as running it with low oil often and never changing any of the fluids, there can be problems, but a headgasket to blow after 82k is not likely due to abuse. It is possible, but not likely. It is more likely that it is just a faulty piece of machinery. Right now, there are 4 other Devilles that are 2000-2001 that are at the dealership with the exact same problem as mine. That is just unacceptable. And the Dexcool coolant that is used from the factory is junk that probably cause many of the problems. It gums the radiators, thermostats, and the probably the waterpumps up. It sets up like wax. Also, if you are getting the message on your dash that you need to check the coolant level, then your sensor has been gummed up by this Dexcool and will probably need to be replaced. Sorry for the gripe session, but I am very disappointed with the Cadillac product. I will go back to the Mercedes for my wife. I own 2 currently and as soon as I can get the Cadillac fixed, will be trading it in for a 3rd Mercedes. I have owned 3 now with one having 220k on it and never this kind of problem.

N0DIH
12-30-07, 12:00 AM
I still stand by as the #1 most reliable Cadillac is the LT1, but honestly, could be tied with the L05, the 307 Olds, and then the 4.9L, with the injectors being the real issue with 4.9L's and main bearing thump. The LT1's had some early problems with the Opti's, and the L05's nothing that I can really think of.

I honestly don't know much on MBenz, but I really did fall in love with the 2000 prototype S500 I drove (freaking rocket for a big car!), the one we had was around S/N 300, made in Oct 98 or so. Not sure on reliability, but I sure would love one....

clarkz71
12-30-07, 08:17 AM
I have a 1990 Mercedes with the v8 that uses zero oil and that car has 179k on it. It also does not have a head gasket problem and require the replacement of the motor. My opinion, the Cadillac produces very stylish and comfortable cars, but the Northstar engine is nothing but junk. .

Well I am a Mercedes Benz technician and I was a dealer tech from 1982 to 1999.
I now work at an independent MB shop. Head gasket problems affect MB engines just as badly as Cadillac.
Back in the early 80's the M116 or 380SL 380 SEL and 380 SEC all had head
bolt issues. "When" the headgaskets had to be replaced the headbolt threads
pulled and thread inserts had to be installed in the aluminum engine block.
81,82 and 83 engines were affected. In 84 the changed to nickel/chrome bolts.

And don't get me started on the timing chain B/S. In 1982 when benz went to the 380 engine (M116) from the
cast iron block 450 (M117) they changed from a double row chain to a single row. Well they were coming in with
30K miles with a broken chain and bent valves. Warranty covered the repair but imagine the cars that made it
out of warranty. Again, in 1984 they switched back to a double row chain.

As recently as 1999 the M104 built from 1991 on has cronic headgasket leakage problems.

There's not emough room to list all the problems I've seen with
Mercrdes Benz in my 25 years of experience working on them in one post.

clarkz71
12-30-07, 08:52 AM
Here's the latest JD Power survey. Cadillac is 5th, Mercedes is 22nd.

Mercedes was "the" car back in the day, no longer.



http://www.jdpower.com/autos/ratings/quality-ratings/

N0DIH
12-30-07, 10:12 AM
Quality of Benz down? Did Chrysler do that much to them?

MRBENZ
01-01-08, 01:23 PM
Speaking of MB, I was not saying that they never had any problems. I was only stating that you would very rarely find a MB with only 82k on it with this problem. MB's prime cars, in my opinion were the w126 series. Although I am sure there were some problems, I have had MB mechanics here tell me that was when MB made a name for themselves as far as longivity. I have had 3 MB, one had 220k and running perfect with no oil consumption and never had a blown headgasket before I sold it, one that I still currently own with 179k on it and has never had a blown headgasket and another one I own currently with 91k and so far no problems. I talk to more and more MB owners and rarely do I find where there has been a blown headgasket, even with 150k. Since my ownership of my 2000 Deville and the problem, I am running into more and more Cadillac owners with the Northstar engine that either have had this problem or are having it currently. Again, 4 in the dealer with the same problem at the same time, is unacceptable. If you have a Northstar with 60k on it, my advice for what it would be worth would be to get rid of it an trade it. I have already warned my father-in-law because his has about 50k on it and he has admitted that he is starting to have some minor computer problems. All manuafactures have their problems, but I just feel Cadillac has let us all down in not addressing the issue and tring to get it fixed where there would only be rare cases show up. New Years Eve in NY, there was a major GM adverstisement on one of the screens on the street there. I told my wife, they should have taken some of the millions spent on that and put it into the research to fix some of the problems such as blown headgaskets at 82k. My main point I was trying to get across is that, sure all have their problems, but the chances of getting a MB with 82k with a blown headgasket are much less than with the Cadillac. My chances are already less in that I have had 3 MB, all with more miles than my Deville, and the Deville is the one with the problem. And, with Cadillac making the recommendation to "replace" the motor versus fixing it, tells me that they like selling new motors to people. And, they won't resolve the problem as long as they can sell a new motor every 80k miles at a cost of $4000-$7000. If Cadillac was smart, they would do the research and fix the problems to reduce the chances of having this problem and in turn, people would be more willing to buy Cadillacs over and over. That is one reason I have grown close to MB. Yes, I have had problems in the past with the ones I owned, but when you have something go wrong with 150k or 200k on the clock, you tend to realize that they won't last forever and you don't mind spending the money to fix. But when you get one as young as my Deville, it makes you think that it is just not a well built car.

N0DIH
01-01-08, 01:52 PM
My thoughts are: GM found this problem early on it the life of the N*. Back in the early 90's. It should never have escaped 1994 at the latest. They HAVE the tools to figure this out, and to eliminate it. If it takes some WORK, then do so. My LT1 is over 240K now (just barely) and I stomp on it often, no blown gaskets. I can't imagine a small block Chevy "dealing" with issues like that. It is further more embarassing that Cadillac does.

GM's quality is supposed to be good based on QS9000/TS16949. But they still won't take it seriously. They are learning that painful lesson now, as Toyota IS taking it seriously and starting to outsell GM. It is truly sad that GM won't get serious. I hate to say it, a lot of it is the quantity vs quality mentality, and I am sure the unions aren't helping anything. GM needs to stop beating the snot out of the suppliers for the problems they have and take the roll they need to be in and use it to do what they need to do. GM is their own worst enemy.

Motorola (http://www.motorola.com/motorolauniversity.jsp) wrote the book on quality with the Six Sigma and Digital Six Sigma programs. GM needs to get into school and LEARN it. They WILL eliminate the quality defects quickly and effectively. It will teach them how. If you apply the principles of Six Sigma, you CAN'T have bad quality. But you have to apply them. You have to WANT to have good quality.

GM has the 5 Phase Action Plan should also show the issues. Ford uses the 8D (http://www.dwassoc.com/ford-8-ds.php) for problem solving. Both are similar, they both accomplish the same thing. But they have to be used!! Take that and apply Six Sigma and you WILL eliminate the quality defects that plauge the company!

dwight.j.carter
01-02-08, 06:09 PM
I dumped my 94 when the headgaskets started to go. The car had 187k on it though so I think they where due to go.
I wish the car was in better shape cosmetically because I would have paid the money to fix it.

dwight.j.carter
01-02-08, 06:10 PM
Would it hurt the car to change back to the green antifreeze ?
I plan to drain my dexcool and refill it every year or two hopefully that will keep it fresh.

Destroyer
01-06-08, 10:00 PM
Where's destroyer when you need him?You rang?. My '98 bit the big one w/98k miles on the odometer. Dont like the stench of Dex cool and dont wanna hear of purge lines and coolant tablets or anything like that again. Only N* I will drive again is a rental. :D

Destroyer
01-06-08, 10:11 PM
Hmmmm, this COULD have something to do with it:



If this led to some sort of recall or class-action suit in my area, what could someone like me, who's already paid to repair the issue, do?

All from this posting: http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.ee9e77d/2335


I also have a few quick and stupid questions from someone who knows no better:

Can this car be changed to use something other than Dex-Cool if it IS a hazard to the engine?

Why exactly do I NEED to use premium unleaded as opposed to 85/87?
Lots of GM vechicles use Dex Cool including the 5.7 Vortec found in my conversion van and countless GM trucks. They have no issues with H/G's.

creeker
01-06-08, 10:30 PM
96 Deville, 9 of 20 headbolts pulled out of the block. 82,000 miles, Florida car till I got it in Jersey.

What actually is the cause of the head bolts pulling out?, is it caused by old coolant?.

Jesda
01-07-08, 07:40 AM
Old coolant, bad aluminum, etc. Some blame can be placed on the user, and some can be placed on GM.

tgs2101
01-08-08, 07:48 PM
1996 Seville SLS at 132,000 miles. Two previous cooling problems precipitated the final failure; Impeller and radiator went out.. The OAT orange coolant starts eating the gaskets from within, once air ever gets in the system.

Same thing happened to my 2000 Chevy Venture. Did a top end to that engine, and started using green coolant and all cooling problems fixed.

N0DIH
01-09-08, 01:33 AM
So will timeserted block survive long duration?

tgs2101
01-09-08, 11:14 AM
As for my 1996 SLS, I have not yet decided if I'm going to time-sert the block, get a used engine, look at the LS4 5.3 transverse engine swap, or just take this beautiful car to the junk heap and call it quits. No one seems to want to buy a good looking car with any problems. Still runs like a sewing machine, but you can smell coolant from the exhaust and overheating is a crap shoot. 5 miles or a 100 miles, ... it is unpredictable except that it will overheat.

I should probably start a new post for help on this issue.

N0DIH
01-09-08, 11:21 AM
Is an LS4 swap viable? A friend of mine wants to know, his N* is starting to use coolant (steamy exhaust, makes a nice cloud at times). I am pretty sure it hasn't come close to overheating, he bought a new Jeep so the Cad is now parked.

He has a 99-00 SLS. He wants to get it back up and running, I mentioned a LS4 swap is possible, but we need to know details.

Any help/advice either way is very welcome.

Slo-Mo-Shun
01-10-08, 07:03 PM
What actually is the cause of the head bolts pulling out?, is it caused by old coolant?.

Can someone tell me if the Northstar uses a torque-to-yield headbolt system?

I'm curious because the headbolts on my mucho expensive BMW V12 failed at 62k due to use of that system. I'm wondering if Cadillac didn't engineer itself into the same corner. BMW eventually fixed the issue (took it 5 years of production, through). As far as I can tell, every mfg who has used this system, be it GM, BMW, Honda, or whomever, ends up with blown gaskets due to failed headbolts.

I think mfg's are engineering themselves into corners because marketing departments want to wow customers with technology and performance, but this comes at a price in longevity. A 12v cast iron V6 can be made to last forever even with minimal maintenance, but nobody wants one in their car anymore. So we get highly stressed, high tech engines that are zippy and give good mpg off the showroom floor, but are prone to failure. GM is not the only mfg in this corner.

To make it worse, the heavy use of leases means most of those "buying" the cars don't give a hoot about how long it will last after 4 years--they're just going to hand it to the dealer and get a new one anyway. So why build the car to last 150k? To please a bunch of folks who never buy new anyway?

N0DIH
01-10-08, 07:35 PM
So basically the failure mode is coolant leaks into the threads of the head bolts, corrodes the block, and the head bolts give way and you are done. So somehow you need to absolutely prevent coolant from ever getting to the threads.

What did BMW do it to fix?

GM should revisit the main bolt concept on the 427 Hemi Pontiac. They had spayed main bolts and the lower head bolts were long and went into the main caps. The upper head bolts went into the block deep, well past where the bores were so no bore distortion could happen when the heads were tightened down. This is a long Pontiac design already on the top bolts, but the bottom never got into production.

Slo-Mo-Shun
01-10-08, 07:51 PM
So basically the failure mode is coolant leaks into the threads of the head bolts, corrodes the block, and the head bolts give way and you are done. So somehow you need to absolutely prevent coolant from ever getting to the threads.

What did BMW do it to fix?



Well, then the failure mode is not similar to BMW's. With the BMW, the head bolts were purposefully stressed to the point of stretching and using the elastic properties of the metal to compensate for expansion of the all-aluminium block and heads. Sort of like holding the heads with really strong rubber bands. Probably works great in a Formula One engine intended to last 400 miles. Not so great for a passenger car engine. The bolts would stetch a bit too far and couldn't return to their previous length. When I pulled my head bolts, average torque remaining in the bolts as about 35 ft lbs, due to this overstretching.

Ask a mechanical engineer about the stress-strain curve, the yield point, and the modulus of rupture.

Sounds like the Northstar is more similar to the old Jaguar 6. As Jag expanded the displacement over the years they extended the head studs deeper into the block to the point the studs ran through the water jacket. If you didn't keep the coolant super clean the studs would corrode. The engines were so dammed overbuilt that you probably still wouldn't lose a gasket, but it was hard to remove the stud without leaving 1/2 the stud behind if you ever had to pull the head.

Does the Northstar expose the head bolt directly to coolant or does failure first require something else, like a cracked waterjacket or a partial loss of seal at the headgasket?

N0DIH
01-10-08, 08:27 PM
Sorry, I didn't phrase it well, I am guessing that is the problem, not sure if it is. A lot of people seem to blame the antifreeze so that is my guess.

I sure would like to know the actual engineering analysis for the failures. And is it repairable to make the engine truly reliable.

I am worried on my mom and dad's 97, they are @ 105K on GM installed antifreeze...... I found a trace of coolant on one sparkplug, so I am concerned they are on borrowed time.... The car doesn't drive much anymore, but still gets driven several times a week....

Slo-Mo-Shun
01-10-08, 11:35 PM
Actually, the "explanation" of antifreeze corroding the bolts makes perfect sense. The overall problem still sounds much like what I've seen with the Jag 6, through the problme is not limited to that engine and is a fundamental issue with any aluminum motor.

The basic issue is that because of the greater expansion of aluminum, an all-aluminum design puts much more stress on the head gasket--it gets squeezed tighter when the engine is warm and has to expand more to fill in the gaps when the engine is cold. After 1000's of cycles, the gasket will lose some of it elasticity and no longer seal completely. Small leaks from the water jacket result, and if the antifreeze is old, the headbolts (which are iron or other metal susceptible to corrosion) will corrode and eventually fail.

With the Jag, the solution was to change the headgasket at 100,000. You didn't wait for a failure; this was considered normal maintenance. The good part was that the engine was so overbuilt that you only changed the gasket--the timing chain, valve seals, etc., were good to 150k easily.

BMW (and others) have tried to avoid this problem by designing the head bolts so they stretch and take some of the load off the gasket, which can be made out of very hard and tough material. I still have one out of my V12, and it likely is vulnerable only to A-bombs and cockroaches :)

Us red blooded 'mericans are used to driving cast iron blocks and head forever without head gasket issues. Those times are gone.

I wonder if GM when the extra mile with the STS-V and used a better gasket material?

N0DIH
01-11-08, 12:49 AM
But is better gasket material gonna fix anything? Or prolong the inevitable?

Makes me wanna avoid any alum block cars out of fear of headaches.

Are the LS1's, LS2's, LQ9's, LS7's and the like having any issues? They make a lot more power in many cases, did they fix it with them?

Slo-Mo-Shun
01-11-08, 11:19 AM
But is better gasket material gonna fix anything? Or prolong the inevitable?

Makes me wanna avoid any alum block cars out of fear of headaches.

Are the LS1's, LS2's, LQ9's, LS7's and the like having any issues? They make a lot more power in many cases, did they fix it with them?

Well, the new Vette ZR-1 has a 4-layer gasket rather than a 2-layer gasket, so I suspect a mfg can spring for extra $$ and prolong engine life. Don't forget that for decades GM used rubber o-rings as valve seals on the small block chev. The General is not above scrimping on key engine parts.

As for all-aluminum designs, I'll just say there's a reason that my other car is a Buick with the good 'ole cast iron 12v V6. Simple and near indestructable.

dwight.j.carter
01-11-08, 04:33 PM
And don't hesitate to post even if you got rid of the car. I wish I could post for my 94 but I sold it without diagnosis so it may have just been a coolant leak. In my opinion dex cool is the culprit behind the issue. If you kept the coolant clean in pre dex cool as my 94 was it ran forever. I got rid of mine at 187k and running like new minus the coolant leak. I also plan to drain and refresh my coolant every spring to make sure my coolant is always fresh and not harmful. That and it only takes a bottle to fill it and costs 8 bucks from wal mart.

dwight.j.carter
01-11-08, 04:36 PM
As for my 1996 SLS, I have not yet decided if I'm going to time-sert the block, get a used engine, look at the LS4 5.3 transverse engine swap, or just take this beautiful car to the junk heap and call it quits. No one seems to want to buy a good looking car with any problems. Still runs like a sewing machine, but you can smell coolant from the exhaust and overheating is a crap shoot. 5 miles or a 100 miles, ... it is unpredictable except that it will overheat.

I should probably start a new post for help on this issue.

I would say fix it and buy a better gasket and the motor will last dam near forever. Think about it more like this it's probably the first major repair right ?
So why not fix it and go another couple hundred thousand miles ?

rockybalboa11
01-14-08, 12:14 AM
Here's the latest JD Power survey. Cadillac is 5th, Mercedes is 22nd.

Mercedes was "the" car back in the day, no longer.



http://www.jdpower.com/autos/ratings/quality-ratings/


5th in what? alphabetical order?

look at those ratings. horrible.

p.s. i wouldn't put much stock into a 90 day study. a head gasket isn't going to fail on any car in 3 months.

clarkz71
01-14-08, 06:09 AM
5th in what? alphabetical order?

look at those ratings. horrible.

p.s. i wouldn't put much stock into a 90 day study. a head gasket isn't going to fail on any car in 3 months.

The survey is for new cars, new Cadillacs are 5th, Mercedes is 23rd.

I thought I made myself clear.:thepan:

The point is that new Mercedes are already having more problems then Cadillac's in the forst 90 days of ownership.

And my post was directed to MBENZ who was bashing Cadillac and bragging about how great his
old Mercedes was. Read the thread.

N0DIH
01-14-08, 02:12 PM
What sort of quality problems? Minor stuff or major stuff? Or do they list severity of the problems?

clarkz71
01-14-08, 06:24 PM
What sort of quality problems? Minor stuff or major stuff? Or do they list severity of the problems?


Click on the link I provided several post ago, oh I'll just post it again.
It show all the catagories that are rated.


http://www.jdpower.com/autos/ratings/quality-ratings/

97Concours1
01-15-08, 06:50 AM
The survey is for new cars, new Cadillacs are 5th, Mercedes is 23rd.

Am I missing something here? The list is just in alphabetical order. Cadillac is lower than MB in all but the one catagory. Looks like Lexus is the one to beat.

97Concours1
01-15-08, 08:38 AM
My thoughts are: GM found this problem early on it the life of the N*. Back in the early 90's. It should never have escaped 1994 at the latest. They HAVE the tools to figure this out, and to eliminate it. If it takes some WORK, then do so. My LT1 is over 240K now (just barely) and I stomp on it often, no blown gaskets. I can't imagine a small block Chevy "dealing" with issues like that. It is further more embarassing that Cadillac does.

GM's quality is supposed to be good based on QS9000/TS16949. But they still won't take it seriously. They are learning that painful lesson now, as Toyota IS taking it seriously and starting to outsell GM. It is truly sad that GM won't get serious. I hate to say it, a lot of it is the quantity vs quality mentality, and I am sure the unions aren't helping anything. GM needs to stop beating the snot out of the suppliers for the problems they have and take the roll they need to be in and use it to do what they need to do. GM is their own worst enemy.

Motorola (http://www.motorola.com/motorolauniversity.jsp) wrote the book on quality with the Six Sigma and Digital Six Sigma programs. GM needs to get into school and LEARN it. They WILL eliminate the quality defects quickly and effectively. It will teach them how. If you apply the principles of Six Sigma, you CAN'T have bad quality. But you have to apply them. You have to WANT to have good quality.

GM has the 5 Phase Action Plan should also show the issues. Ford uses the 8D (http://www.dwassoc.com/ford-8-ds.php) for problem solving. Both are similar, they both accomplish the same thing. But they have to be used!! Take that and apply Six Sigma and you WILL eliminate the quality defects that plauge the company!


Great posts. I agree 100%. I've always had a concern about pushing the Six Sigma as being able to solve all quality problems. It just stresses holding all tolerances to the middle of their range. This is a good thing for sure, but if the base design is flawed, all the tolerance holding is worthless. They need to put just as much emphasis on getting the base design correct as they do on holding tolerances. I think a good design should actually allow for wide manufacturing variations while still maintaining design integrity.

The 5 Phase Action Plan should solve this (IF they really want to do it,) but they have to accurately determine the Root Cause. In this case it seems to be a moving target.

GM has always been bad about fixing something once it's in production. I had a 2002 GMC Sierra. An absolutely wonderful vehicle, except that at 30k miles the cable tailgate straps broke and dented the tailgate when it dropped and hit the bumper. I knew about this problem for at least 10 years prior on GM trucks from all my buddies having the same thing happen. It always confused me why the entire truck was an engineering marvel, but they dropped the ball on something as simple as the tailgate straps.

N0DIH
01-15-08, 09:36 PM
Ahh yes, the old engineering tosses it over the wall to manufacturing bit......eng is on to newer better things, forget the old stuff....

97Concours1
01-16-08, 11:55 AM
Ahh yes, the old engineering tosses it over the wall to manufacturing bit......eng is on to newer better things, forget the old stuff....

Exactly, so maybe marketing should take a few stacks of their customer survey complaints over to engineering once in a while and demand that problems be resolved. This would complete the loop. I'm sure it's not that simple, so I'll just be quiet now.

N0DIH
01-16-08, 12:00 PM
As my company, your bonus is tied to quality, if quality is down, it hits the bonus paycheck, IF you get one. Quality can drown you.

They need to be held accountable for quality. If poor design nab Eng, if poor manufacturing, nab them, but if a design that isn't manufacturable, nab ? They need to learn best practices and CHANGE. CHANGE is a GOOD thing. LEARN from mistakes!!! We do, we have rules that are held over our heads that we have to design to, if we don't design TO them we do not get ship acceptance!!

Sometimes called Lessons Learned, every program should do a Post Mortem review after ship to review how itis working in the market.

Look at the iPhone. Sure, market sensation, quality? crap. 120K returns to Apple for issues that could not be resolved at ATT. Hmmm..... Good? Bad? You decide, people keep buying them, and DON'T drop them!!

xeper
01-17-08, 04:56 PM
Look at the iPhone. Sure, market sensation, quality? crap. 120K returns to Apple for issues that could not be resolved at ATT. Hmmm..... Good? Bad? You decide, people keep buying them, and DON'T drop them!!

Haha! That's a pretty bad example to use considering that a VERY large chunk of those issues were bricked by the user, trying to update to non-approved firmware. It's hardly the same thing.

N0DIH
01-17-08, 05:08 PM
GM could say the same thing, people "abused" their cars by not changing coolant or flooring it, or something I am SURE they could come up with to.

Yes, I know what you mean, flashing IS a major source of headaches, but they should be screening those out too. But 100's of thousands in the return bin??

Shame you can't bring your car back to GM, make them take it back and get a new one!

97Concours1
01-18-08, 10:34 AM
As my company, your bonus is tied to quality, if quality is down, it hits the bonus paycheck, IF you get one. Quality can drown you.

They need to be held accountable for quality. If poor design nab Eng, if poor manufacturing, nab them, but if a design that isn't manufacturable, nab ? They need to learn best practices and CHANGE. CHANGE is a GOOD thing. LEARN from mistakes!!! We do, we have rules that are held over our heads that we have to design to, if we don't design TO them we do not get ship acceptance!!

Sometimes called Lessons Learned, every program should do a Post Mortem review after ship to review how itis working in the market.

"Change" I've always suspected that GM actually does know how to fix these problems (and would like to), but doesn't because doing so would open them up to a class action on the existing ones in the field. It would go something like "you have fixed this problem on your new vehicles, now you must retro-fit the fix into ALL the existing ones in the field." $$$$$$$$$.


"GM could say the same thing, people "abused" their cars by not changing coolant or flooring it, or something I am SURE they could come up with to."

Right. Didn't change coolant and HG corroded = customer's falt, Threads pull out first = GM's falt.

ss6r
01-18-08, 05:19 PM
Here is the Definitive Northstar Headgasket Thread. Please choose your year of Cadillac and state if you have had a headgasket problem with your Seville or Eldorado and what mileage it occured at. If you have never had a problem please do not participate in the poll!
I am on my second engine for a 1998 STS. It is a frustrating problem to say the least. I am currently in the process of timeserting the second engine. First engine 134,000 miles, engine two 96,000 miles.

ss6r
01-18-08, 05:27 PM
Does anyone know if using a JB weld type of hardening adhesive instead of the 277 loctite on first time timeserts be recommended. It was recommended to me by a GM dealer mechanic that has worked on timesert repairs before.He said do my self a favor and put a lite film of JB weld on the timesert before their installed instead of the Loctite. I dont want to doubt his judgment but I don't want to cause any further issues either that he may not know about. Any thoughts?

Ur7x
01-18-08, 09:38 PM
GM could say the same thing, people "abused" their cars by not changing coolant or flooring it, or something I am SURE they could come up with to.


Regarding "flooring it" You need to floor Northstars on a regular (at least once a week) basis....

The other common thing that many North* head gasket failures seem to have in common is the owner says "But I babied it since day one"

I never heard a head gasket victim say "It was only a matter of time... I drover her HARD"

It is generally accepted that "blowing out the carbon" once a week or so while keep these engines running good to 200,000 miles and beyond.

N0DIH
01-18-08, 09:40 PM
I do it in my car at least DAILY, but try to write that into the owners manual or convince Cadillac owners of it.

I wanted to get a N*, but I knew I would be nailing it often, and don't want it "blowing" the gasket on me. I worry on my mom's 97 Deville, she has probably floored it 2x since 1997.... The first time she had to call me to tell me how fun it was!

Cryptoman
01-19-08, 12:34 PM
So if Dex-Cool potentially has problems, what are you folks changing it out with? Any aftermarket coolant certified for aluminum engines?

jarhead99
01-19-08, 11:42 PM
I am new to this forum and have done quite a bit of reading on the head gasket issues and repairs on these vehicles. I test drove a 99 STS and am considering purchasing. This vehicle has had a head gasket problem in the past and am told the current owner who intended on keeping the car decided to have everything done. He had every intention on keeping the car so while they had the motor out for the head gasket repair he had them rebuild the motor. This was not done by GM. He used a reputable shop in NY.

New rings
New pistons
New gaskets
New suspension
New brakes
New calipers
etc.

The current owner has invested over 9k in making the car perfect but is forced to sell due to hardships. Have not seen the receipts yet but am told they will show me all receipts of work that was done. I talked to the shop that rebuilt the motor. There is a 1 year warranty on the motor which leaves 7 months if I purchase the vehicle.

My question is do you think this is a good deal or do you think I would be better off finding a low mileage STS under 100K. The dealer where the car is located swears the car is perfect. Based on your experience with these motors does this sound like a winner or should I run. HELP???

Ur7x
01-20-08, 11:48 AM
So if Dex-Cool potentially has problems, what are you folks changing it out with? Any aftermarket coolant certified for aluminum engines?

Look at the results and think about what is going on...If Dexcool was the issue how come (essentially) no headbolt failure in the LS1/2/x camp? They have aluminum blocks and they run Dex too? Also why the sudden drop in head gasket victims after 2000? Those cars have been soaking Dex for about 8 years but there failure rate is fractions of the 97/98/99 cars... less then 1/5th as many or an 80% drop.

What the result show, and something that many of us have suspected for 3 or 4 years now... either GM got some bad gaskets in 97/98/99 or GM cast some bad blocks in 97/98/99 or GM used some bad headbolts or headbolt sealer or headbolt lub in 97/98/99

My opinion, this has little to do with Dex... But I would still change it often. There have been enough gelling "mixed" coolant stories that I would be more afraid to switch to something else then stick with Dex. My 2002 is on its THIRD batch of Dex-cool

97Concours1
01-21-08, 03:25 AM
I am new to this forum and have done quite a bit of reading on the head gasket issues and repairs on these vehicles. I test drove a 99 STS and am considering purchasing. This vehicle has had a head gasket problem in the past and am told the current owner who intended on keeping the car decided to have everything done. He had every intention on keeping the car so while they had the motor out for the head gasket repair he had them rebuild the motor. This was not done by GM. He used a reputable shop in NY.

New rings
New pistons
New gaskets
New suspension
New brakes
New calipers
etc.

The current owner has invested over 9k in making the car perfect but is forced to sell due to hardships. Have not seen the receipts yet but am told they will show me all receipts of work that was done. I talked to the shop that rebuilt the motor. There is a 1 year warranty on the motor which leaves 7 months if I purchase the vehicle.

My question is do you think this is a good deal or do you think I would be better off finding a low mileage STS under 100K. The dealer where the car is located swears the car is perfect. Based on your experience with these motors does this sound like a winner or should I run. HELP???

Because its only been 3 months, I would be somewhat concerned that the head gasket job didn't hold and they are looking to unload it. Did they use Timeserts or Norm's inserts for all twenty headbolts? I think I would still do an exhaust gases check on the radiator before deciding to purchase it. If all is ok, it would be a great deal to have one with the problems taken care of already.

jarhead99
01-21-08, 10:35 PM
I had this vehicle looked at by a local shop today. The mechanic did not find any error codes in the computer but did find small traces of hydrocarbon in the overflow tank. He said this is an indication of seepage from the head gaskets and recommended adding stop leak to the coolant. After we explained to him that the motor had just been rebuilt he said it is possible that the gaskets have not sealed completely because it was just done and had less than 500 miles on it. Does this sound normal to you?? Or is this an indication that the gaskets did not hold??

I thought the new gaskets were supposed to take care of the problem altogether?? Is there a bonding time required for the gasket to completely adhere and stop any seepage???

Was told timeserts were used.

MRBENZ
01-27-08, 02:13 AM
To Clark71, my personal experiences and what I see on my local area do not support Cadillac as being a well built car. When I buy one Cadillac and it is a piece of crap, which I have spent a third of what it cost me when I bought it to fix a blown head gasket that should have never blown and then I look at not one, but three MB with 90k, 179k, and 220k on the clock and never ( I repeat never) have had a blown headgasket. Then, I say that the odds of getting a cadillac and being able to drive it for many miles without a major dip in the wallet, is very low. MB has their problems like the next brand, but there is one thing that you will not see very often and that is a blown head gasket at 82k. You will never make me believe that Cadillac makes a tight motor that will give many years of performance without the Well Fargo truck following you waiting for the repair.

99 eldog
01-27-08, 02:34 AM
99 eldog 11300 miles so so sad

clarkz71
01-27-08, 08:07 AM
To Clark71, my personal experiences and what I see on my local area do not support Cadillac as being a well built car. When I buy one Cadillac and it is a piece of crap, which I have spent a third of what it cost me when I bought it to fix a blown head gasket that should have never blown and then I look at not one, but three MB with 90k, 179k, and 220k on the clock and never ( I repeat never) have had a blown headgasket. .

What year and models are your MB's? I'll tell you what you have or will have to repair/replace on them.

It's funny, this week we have a C280 with a M104 engine coming in for..........................................,
you guessed it, a HEADGASKET.:2thumbs:. I'll take some pics and post them while it's apart.

It's pissing oil so bad we had to leave off the splash shield.

On the other hand I've had several Northstar Cadillac's and I never (I repeat never) had a blown headgasket.:jerkit:.

As long as people like you have out of warranty Mercedes I'll have a job
as I plan to stay at an independent Mercedes Benz shop rather than go
back to a dealer. 20 years was enough.

99 eldog
01-27-08, 03:27 PM
1999 Eldorado 113000 miles
Well taken care of mint condition. How could this happen?

97Concours1
01-29-08, 10:23 AM
I had this vehicle looked at by a local shop today. The mechanic did not find any error codes in the computer but did find small traces of hydrocarbon in the overflow tank. He said this is an indication of seepage from the head gaskets and recommended adding stop leak to the coolant. After we explained to him that the motor had just been rebuilt he said it is possible that the gaskets have not sealed completely because it was just done and had less than 500 miles on it. Does this sound normal to you?? Or is this an indication that the gaskets did not hold??

I thought the new gaskets were supposed to take care of the problem altogether?? Is there a bonding time required for the gasket to completely adhere and stop any seepage???

Was told timeserts were used.

Did you buy the car? I don't think head gaskets take time to seal. I think they either seal or leak right from the beginning. From all I've heard, adding sealant doesn't work. If you have to add sealant, I'd be very concerned and would probably not buy the car.

Maybe some other mechanics could comment on this.

jarhead99
01-29-08, 10:09 PM
Did you buy the car? I don't think head gaskets take time to seal. I think they either seal or leak right from the beginning. From all I've heard, adding sealant doesn't work. If you have to add sealant, I'd be very concerned and would probably not buy the car.

Maybe some other mechanics could comment on this.

Is it possible that the hydrocarbons in the overflow could have been left over from the original leak before the HG repair? (this was also suggested) The mechanic said there was a very small amount. :banghead:Perhaps I should pass on this vehicle. There seems to be too many angles and no real way to confirm. I would hate to get stuck with an expensive vehicle that is in need of repairs.

97Concours1
01-30-08, 11:58 PM
Is it possible that the hydrocarbons in the overflow could have been left over from the original leak before the HG repair? (this was also suggested) The mechanic said there was a very small amount. :banghead:Perhaps I should pass on this vehicle. There seems to be too many angles and no real way to confirm. I would hate to get stuck with an expensive vehicle that is in need of repairs.

Leftover hydrocarbons are possible I suppose. I've never done this test, I've just read that it is the best way to determine if a head gasket is leaking. I don't want to scare you away from buying this vehicle. It might be a great car. It's just a gamble with these Northstars either way. If the head gaskets haven't been repaired, you take the chance that the head gaskets will eventually go. If they have been repaired, you wonder if it was done right.

Maybe you could try posting a question down on the main Northstar section and see if some mechanics would respond.

AJxtcman
02-03-08, 04:57 PM
Please look at this. You need a login to see the pictures.
I may repost over here

Root cause failure (http://caddyinfo.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=16742)

RichF59
02-06-08, 02:58 PM
1997 Eldorado Touring

95,000 miles

Car is presently at Martin Cadillac undergoing headgasket/headbolt repair.

Changed coolant every 3 or 4 years since new, used only distilled water (no tap water) and dexcool, always added tablets to lower hose.

Headgasket failed anyway.

cadillacdriver25
02-16-08, 08:12 PM
now my STS has it :( at 67500 mls... very bad so early! well is there something wrong with the engine? I heard the 99 engine wasn´t build perfect GM made a mistake I heard. is that true? so if I reapair the HG does it come again?? Whats the reason for the broken HG?? What kind of coolant should i use? only the Dexcool or an other one which is also allowed?
How about the waterpump? does it also brake down soon after the HG? are the pellets important to do it into the new coolant??

THX a alot

Olly

Rafterd
02-19-08, 07:40 PM
98 STS 115k miles. Very well taken care of. Perfect condition now. Will most likely fix it.

Bill

mechanix
02-20-08, 11:08 PM
'97 DeVille - Head gasket failure at 65K miles. RH head, cyl. #7. I time-serted the block and drove it another 20K when a 12" crack appeared along the LH cyl. bank. Full of new Dexcool, good to -45F, it just popped like an egg. I got a used '94 block out of an STS - when torquing the heads down, the head bolts pulled out. Now I am time-serting THAT block. The engineers who designed the Northstar engine (and I know they read these posts) may be brilliant engineers in their own right. But the Northstar engine has to be the greatest folly of their careers. And it will certainly go down as one of the biggest mistakes in automotive history, along with the Corvair. Those guys should all be taken out and shot with slugs melted down from failed Northstar blocks! *lol* I curse the day that I was stupid enough to buy one. Never again! :banghead:

N0DIH
03-01-08, 04:37 PM
The more I read threads like this the more I just LOVE my LT1.... I almost bought a 95 NorthStar Deville.... I am SOOO glad I didn't. And that makes me sad to say, I really was hoping to get one and enjoy it, but the liability of it isn't worth the pain. I guess if I had a ton of cash to throw at it.

A friend of mine has a 99 SLS that his is blown the head gasket now, advice for him? He is wanting to keep the car, but not to thrilled about tossing $4000 on it to fix. Tossing in a LS1 IS an idea.

Has it been done at all yet? Maybe using a Corvette PCM to hook up with the electronics? Vettes typically have FDC and such.

dwight.j.carter
03-11-08, 09:20 PM
I highly recomend you guys read this post. Aj did an excellent job explaining why the head gasket issue exists and a potential means of fixing it for a long time if not for good.

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/northstar-performance-technical-discussion/133429-root-cause-head-gasket-failure-fix.html

dwight.j.carter
03-11-08, 09:24 PM
really if you look at it 97,98,and 99 where the bad years for the problem.

Ur7x
03-13-08, 01:28 AM
Wow, you are right!

Those three year amount to almost 70% of the problem...

Why do I suspect that some lawyer at GM is aware, and worried, about this fact.

Has anyone considered a class action? Didn't something like this happen with intake gaskets on V6 Buicks?

ggerbino
03-25-08, 08:58 PM
I have a 1997 Cadillac Concours. My sister in law overheated 3 mos ago and had a new radiator, water pump and thermostat installed. Car was fine for a month then overheated again. After sitting a bit and pouring in coolant, all the warning lights/messages disappeared. I drove the car for two hours Friday and it overheated again. I read the messages carefully and limped to a service station. They replaced the thermostat saying it did not have a gasket around it. When they test drove car it overheated again. After further testing they said the head gasket was blown and that I should replace the entire engine. Does this sound right?

couldntmakeitup
03-30-08, 03:30 PM
I have a 1997 Cadillac Concours. My sister in law overheated 3 mos ago and had a new radiator, water pump and thermostat installed. Car was fine for a month then overheated again. After sitting a bit and pouring in coolant, all the warning lights/messages disappeared. I drove the car for two hours Friday and it overheated again. I read the messages carefully and limped to a service station. They replaced the thermostat saying it did not have a gasket around it. When they test drove car it overheated again. After further testing they said the head gasket was blown and that I should replace the entire engine. Does this sound right?

Sounds dead on to me. Looks to me like this problem has been a nice revenue stream for all GM dealers involved. JUNK...JINK...JUNK.. You can add my 1997 SLS Seville to the shit pile list. What a piece of shit.

couldntmakeitup
03-30-08, 03:45 PM
1997 SLS Seville... Replaced water pump, crossover gaskets, drinks Dexcool like a phucking pig. 140k miles..Not sure what Im gonna do. May just run the phucker over double ditch into the missouri river. What a complete pile of shit

Cadillacs..what a story. They hold NO VALUE at all. Its no wonder you can buy the shit piles for 2 or 3 k. There a dime a dozen, and for a very good reason. there complete pieces of shit.

If you dont mind paying 5ok+ for a car thats gong to lose 75% of its value at 50,000 miles it may be just the car for you. As long as people bend over and let GM stick it in deep, nothing will change. GM is a horrible company and there STOCK tells the whole story. Wont be surprised if they no long exist in a couple of years...there getting butchered by Toyota.

So you can add me to the list of customers that have been bent over by GM. Its just a shame that they stick it in so deep. Complete piles of shit. NEVER TOUCH the shit piles again.

lukky4u
04-03-08, 10:42 PM
98 deville at 91K. yeah yeah shoulda coulda woulda got something else but anyway i still owe almost 6grand on this thing. not sure what to do. i'd like to try to take this on myself. im a pretty good wrench but i dont have a garage or a lift. anyway welcome to the club

white97deville
04-05-08, 12:17 PM
My '97 Deville had a head gasket failure at 117,000 miles. Only 1 bolt pulled the threads out but I time-serted all before re-assembly. Used information from this site to do it all.

Destroyer
04-09-08, 11:33 PM
Well I sure am glad I'm not the only one that feels the N* Caddy's are pure evil shit bombs. I mean, those who haven't experienced their wrath praise them to high holy hell....................until IT happens and then they wind up here bitching about it.

N0DIH
04-10-08, 03:33 AM
I hate to say it, I am just soooo glad I bought a Fleetwood with a LT1...... 248K and counting..... Original engine/trans, never opened up.....

Destroyer
04-10-08, 08:23 AM
I hate to say it, I am just soooo glad I bought a Fleetwood with a LT1...... 248K and counting..... Original engine/trans, never opened up.....Now THAT is the kind of reliability that Cadillac should have been building into their cars. In other words, Cadillac should never have their own line of engines ever built again. The cars are much better with Chevy motors. Remember the 4100 and even all that 4-6-8 crap of years gone by?

N0DIH
04-10-08, 10:01 AM
It is my opinion, that Cadillac Motor Division should be the standard of quality at GM, setting the entire Quality methology there.

With the prices on those cars, you are getting an optioned out chevy these days. Nothing more. GM should make a point of buying a Cadillac is a way of life, and for life. This is the car that you can drive confidently for 400K miles. Set the standard. Failures and defects are not optional, nor accepted. The parts need to be tighter quality, and GM can't tell me they don't know how to do it (we got a "polite" butt chewing from a GM Quality exec some years ago, they can talk the talk, but they can't seem to walk the walk at all) GM needs to APPLY what they have learned. 6Sigma needs to be a way of life, not just some program that they use now and then. When a failure occurs, a 5 Phase is done. Ok, cool. NOW APPLY WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED FROM IT. It does NOT go into the file cabinet with all the rest of them. They need to go back and apply every single thing they have learned from a 5 phase. And if a supplier is a repeat problem, they are gone. Find another. GM knows how to play hardball. (if you have ever been in cost negotiations, you will walk funny afterwards....)

Cadillac needs to set the quality barometer for GM. And it needs to proliferate to the rest of GM. But failures at Cadillac with that hefty premium on parts costs, should NEVER be option. It is slap in the face to the customer, ESPECIALLY the loyal ones who keep coming back.... Eventually GM, they won't come back, they will take business elsewhere. and unfortunately, they are taking it overseas.... Which if frigging wrong, just plain wrong. And honestly, it is the STUPID things that GM is having problems with not the big things. But that is what people see and remember..... Customers rarely if ever forget poor quality that they had to deal with.

And GM wonders why Toyota is knocking on the door. It should be pretty embarassing to Cadillac that the most reliable Cadillacs have been powered by a 350 Chevy and not a Cadillac V8. And the worst quality Cadillacs are powered by Cadillac engines. That should have everyone who approved those engines fired. Crap guys, I could do a better job running a quality organization than that.

Destroyer
04-10-08, 03:30 PM
And GM wonders why Toyota is knocking on the door. It should be pretty embarassing to Cadillac that the most reliable Cadillacs have been powered by a 350 Chevy and not a Cadillac V8. And the worst quality Cadillacs are powered by Cadillac engines. That should have everyone who approved those engines fired. Crap guys, I could do a better job running a quality organization than that.Or Cadillac should just stick a Chevy motor in EVERYTHING they build. Would it have been objectionable to anyone if instead of a Northstar Cadillacs came with LS-X motors?. Even a 5.3 is a damn good motor. The Chevy motors are more reliable, easier to work on and just as smooth. Not only that but think about all the initial development costs and upgrades done to the Northstar, that money saved would also have made Cadillacs more affordable to the customer OR used to upgrade the quality and components used inside/outside the car. GM really could have made these Cadillacs something that people could keep for a lifetime like they used to with the older Cadillacs instead of the fast depreciating disposable shit piles they have become.

Ur7x
04-10-08, 06:06 PM
That's not exactly true.. and yes it would have been objectionable... GM has been sued (and lost) for doing just this in the past. Some would argue that sticking Chevy engines into Oldsmobiles was the begining of the end for that make.

For the record:
1) The 5.3 in a FWD car is just as tight and just as much of a PIA to work on as the Northstar.
2) The 2000 - 2003 Northstar's are much better (as this poll nicely documents) and the 2004 to present have almost zero issues
3) The LSx motors were designed with the knowledge that >90% of their use will be in Trucks... These are truck motors and aren't as smooth or as quiet as a North*. They are great truck motors, best in the world... They are NOT luxury car motors.

Yes the 97/98/99 motors have issues.. the rest of them will last forever, and even in those dark years the vast majority will not suffer head gasket problems.

The day that GM says sticks a chevy motor into everything is the day that the Caddy division dies.

Destroyer
04-10-08, 09:15 PM
That's not exactly true.. and yes it would have been objectionable... GM has been sued (and lost) for doing just this in the past. Some would argue that sticking Chevy engines into Oldsmobiles was the begining of the end for that make.

For the record:
1) The 5.3 in a FWD car is just as tight and just as much of a PIA to work on as the Northstar.
2) The 2000 - 2003 Northstar's are much better (as this poll nicely documents) and the 2004 to present have almost zero issues
3) The LSx motors were designed with the knowledge that >90% of their use will be in Trucks... These are truck motors and aren't as smooth or as quiet as a North*. They are great truck motors, best in the world... They are NOT luxury car motors.

Yes the 97/98/99 motors have issues.. the rest of them will last forever, and even in those dark years the vast majority will not suffer head gasket problems.

The day that GM says sticks a chevy motor into everything is the day that the Caddy division dies.I had a N* and I've driven trucks with the 5.3 and the 5.3 is a smooth motor. Lets not get to excited about the '04-up Northstars. I'm willing to bet that in '98 there weren't all that many '94's with issues either. Your'e right though, the 5.3 or other LSX motor would have been a tight fit as well but they dont blow head gaskets like the Northstar and they dont have the huge DOHC heads the N*'s have so maybe even if they did blow a gasket the swap may have been able to be done without all the trouble involved with a Northstar. I will agree that the car as whole is a POS and its not just the Northstar..............if thats what you were inferring by "The 5.3 in a FWD car is just as tight and just as much of a PIA to work on as the Northstar", if not, sorry but after owning one and hanging here awhile, nothing will change my mind.

AlBundy
04-11-08, 08:15 PM
Wow. This thread kinda makes me feel better considering I own a 96. I was considering starting a similar thread directed at the pre 2000 N* with no HG issues to post year, model and mileage unless its already been done.

chubbyranger
04-12-08, 08:38 PM
1999 STS 101,500 miles. HGs, half case seal, bad exhaust cams and mice in the intake. Doesn't get any better than that...

dwight.j.carter
04-14-08, 05:17 PM
Looks like the issue was resolved in 2003 and up models with the coarser threads on the bolts.

Ur7x
04-14-08, 07:27 PM
Looks like the issue was resolved in 2003 and up models with the coarser threads on the bolts.

Coarser (LS1 like) bolts didn't get there until MY 2004

As far as I can tell there are several different Northstars
1) 1993-1995 Short Fine threaded head bolts with Green coolant (few problems)
2) 1996-1999 Short fine threaded head bolts with Dexcool (LOTS, ~70% of the problems, not counting the 1996??? Odd! )
3) 2000-2003 Long fine threaded head bolts with Dexcool (few problems)
4) 2004-present Long coarse threaded head bolts with Dexcool (almost none...fixed?)

and there is a
5) RWD "V" motors have long coarse threads and a closed water jacket and MLS head gaskets
all of the others have open water jackets.

dwight.j.carter
04-15-08, 01:06 PM
Coarser (LS1 like) bolts didn't get there until MY 2004

As far as I can tell there are several different Northstars
1) 1993-1995 Short Fine threaded head bolts with Green coolant (few problems)
2) 1996-1999 Short fine threaded head bolts with Dexcool (LOTS, ~70% of the problems, not counting the 1996??? Odd! )
3) 2000-2003 Long fine threaded head bolts with Dexcool (few problems)
4) 2004-present Long coarse threaded head bolts with Dexcool (almost none...fixed?)

and there is a
5) RWD "V" motors have long coarse threads and a closed water jacket and MLS head gaskets
all of the others have open water jackets.

True but AJ said if you have a 2000 or newer the holes can be re tapped to the coarser threads thus solving the problem indefinetely.

AlBundy
04-15-08, 01:29 PM
Coarser (LS1 like) bolts didn't get there until MY 2004

As far as I can tell there are several different Northstars
1) 1993-1995 Short Fine threaded head bolts with Green coolant (few problems)
2) 1996-1999 Short fine threaded head bolts with Dexcool (LOTS, ~70% of the problems, not counting the 1996??? Odd! )
3) 2000-2003 Long fine threaded head bolts with Dexcool (few problems)
4) 2004-present Long coarse threaded head bolts with Dexcool (almost none...fixed?)

and there is a
5) RWD "V" motors have long coarse threads and a closed water jacket and MLS head gaskets
all of the others have open water jackets.

My 96 has Dexcool but has a build date of Dec 95.:yup:

Ur7x
04-15-08, 09:35 PM
Yes all MY 1996 Northstars got dex... first year for it (in the Northstar)... Interesting that coolant problems didn't occure untill 1997... Hmmm

dwight.j.carter
04-18-08, 08:28 PM
With the cost of dex I plan on draining and refilling my radiator every year or two to keep the fluid fresh.

willbr1
04-20-08, 04:59 AM
1996 SLS. 170,000 miles. Three stripped bolts by cylinders 3,5 and 2,4. I used Time-sert inserts. Head gasket looked good, but I replaced it at first sign of smoke in exhaust. I wonder how goop in a can fix the problem permanately when the root cause is headbolt failure and the symptom is the head gasket. The goop might temporarily fix the symptom but the problem is that the threads are stripped out of the block.

Ur7x
04-20-08, 11:02 AM
I wonder how goop in a can fix the problem permanately when the root cause is headbolt failure and the symptom is the head gasket. The goop might temporarily fix the symptom but the problem is that the threads are stripped out of the block.

The problem is a combo of "bunched up" gaskets and bolts that have failed in the block causing the head to lift...

ALL "goop in a can" options have been basically PROVEN NOT TO WORK on this problem.

99_concours
04-29-08, 03:39 PM
1999 DeVille Concours in excellent condition with 133K miles...gaskets blown...never overheated to date...exhaust in the coolant resevoir noticed after having to add one gallon twice in 230 miles...after sat a week now observe white billowing 'smoke' and smell out of both exhausts...the car doesn't have a scratch or ding...never wrecked...shines like the day she was new...driver's seat leather a bit worn and the headlight covers are sandblasted and need replaced, also the gas gauge quit (tank unit) but nothing else until the headgaskets...still doesn't overheat. Owned since new and serviced better than scheduled. I wouldn't complain if it was a 'normal' head gasket job as in $500-$1000 but between $4K and $8K+ dependent on route taken? Unbelievable. The northstar and the Seville STS brought back Cadillac and now leaves me and others stranded and frustrated...Nearly $50K new and 133K miles later essentially junk? What gives???

dwight.j.carter
04-29-08, 04:09 PM
Junk to others maybe but junk to you ? A head gasket job should cost between 2-3000 at 4-8000 I am thinking they are wanting to replace the motor ? Did you continue to drive it after you noticed the white smoke ? If so that would definetely kill the motor at least it did on my 99.

TMO
05-12-08, 12:24 PM
99 DeVille D'Elegance 85K
$7,000 replaced W\GM Crate engine :banghead:

AlBundy
05-13-08, 01:16 AM
Sorry about your HGs. Has anyone posted any info on the CTS/CTS-V lounges to let them know about this poll? I'm sure alot of them have upgraded and have not visited the older Caddy lounges. Most of you know that once someone upgrades why would they visite the Seville/Eldo/Deville lounges. We got good information going on about the HG problems so I see no way why it shouldn't flow thoughout the entire forum. Imput please. Thank you.

KrazyK55
05-13-08, 08:38 PM
96 Eldorado cream puff 72,000 miles. I drove this car for 5 years with very few minor repairs. I had no problems with loosing coolant or over heating. Then one day on my way home from work it it was running just fine until it started blowing white smoke, the temp shot off the scale and the diagnostics went Krazy so I pulled over immediately and called for a hook to haul it home. I haven't done anything with it yet because I've been having some health issues but plan on fixing it after I retire the end of June. Actually, the engine still runs smooth as silk but after a few minutes it starts blowing white smoke (still runs smooth) and there is coolant coming out the tail pipes so I'm sure it has blown a head gasket or maybe even two. :hmm:

hondo69
05-16-08, 04:37 PM
98 STS HG at 114,000

Kimura-sensei
05-18-08, 02:15 AM
Well folks, I'm #36 on the '99 poll.

99 Deville, 96k miles. Blown HG. Replaced with Prestone Dexcool every 3 yrs to try to avoid this fate...

Currently using it as a local car. To reduce overflow from surge pipe, I rigged an empty antifreeze 1 gal container to catch it and recycle it back in when the engine is cold. Works well to buy me some time to figure out what my options are. It has a 15 mile highway range with no traffic. Or 5-8 miles with traffic.

I'm tempted to fix my baby. Done 90% of the work and maintenance myself. Still looks and runs like a 3yr old car. The only thing wrong with it is just the HG and my front right brake caliper (no sense replacing if I'm gonna junk the car). Don't have the skills, time, and equipment to timesert and fix the block myself.

Anyone know any good mechanics willing do to timesert/norms my baby in NYC/LI area for a good price? Otherwise I'll keep using for local till I'm ready for a trade-in.

AKBanzai
05-28-08, 08:38 PM
98 sts 91,000 miles

Destroyer
05-29-08, 02:54 PM
98 sts 91,000 miles:welcome5:

tesla3
05-31-08, 10:30 PM
94 pearl Concours. Wifes well maintained car started having heating problems 3 years ago at 90,000 miles and HG let go at 101,000. Bought wife MB and no more problems. Started into N engine this week to see if could salvage something from this mess. Have been driving GM cars for 40 years and Cads for 20 years. GM should be very ashamed, I have learned my lesson. One question I haven't seen answered is why is there no class action on this? Thanks for all the good info everyone.

Richard S
05-31-08, 10:31 PM
1999 Deville blew a headgasket about 350 miles from home after almost 1500 miles of a 1850 mile trip done. Drove it home at about 63 MPH and it did not overheat at that speed. Had it into the dealer the next day and three days later it's home again. extensive work done as well as the HG's and time serts. New hoses, heater hoses and bypass hose, new plugs and wires, new belts and maintenance on water pump belt idler, new oil pump (so much sludge in pan that the tech wouldn't trust the old one) new water pump lots of new gaskets and seals. And they did a four wheel alignment since the engine cradle had to be dropped to work on the engine. All this and it only had 92,626 miles on it. At first I was going to trade it ASAP, but decided to keep it now. After looking at how far I drove it in the condition it was in and it never failed, well, that's one really tough engine in my book.

Richard in eastern North Carolina.

ryannel2003
05-31-08, 10:36 PM
Richard, I was wondering where you got your Deville done at? My dealer had one the other day that had a similar problem to yours.

robert copeland
06-05-08, 06:44 PM
my 96 deville has 221,000 and as far as i know it never has had the headgaskets or bolts replaced.i have owned it for the past 91,000 miles.have had it 3 years i guess.

AlBundy
06-05-08, 07:59 PM
I wonder if it was time certed before you got the car otherwise that's great news.

Richard S
06-06-08, 10:24 PM
Richard, I was wondering where you got your Deville done at? My dealer had one the other day that had a similar problem to yours.

ryannel2003

I had the work done at Trent Cadillac/Olds, the same place I bought the car from, and the same place you work. Yes they are expensive, but so far they have been honest and I've never had to take a car back to have the same repair done twice. We have bought two cars from them, and are thinking of getting an Escalade for my wife. So you also live in New Bern? My Deville is pearl white. Could that have been what you noticed? Brian did the work, and other than a couple small details that he has since corrected, I am impressed with him.

Richard

ryannel2003
06-06-08, 11:02 PM
Well I'll be damned, that's the exact car I was looking at. I had a feeling it was your car when you said Eastern NC. I've been working at Trent for almost a year and half now and love it. My parents have been buying GMC's from they're for almost 13 years.

I almost bought an '00 Seville the other day, but I was talking to Brian about it and he said the cars are expensive to maintain and the engines blow headgaskets too often. Kinda scared me so I didn't get the car which bites, because I loved it. If you want an Escalade, we've got plenty of 'em. They all have rebates in the windows because we haven't moved one in a month or so. BTW, I don't sell the cars I just wash 'em! ;)

Richard S
06-07-08, 11:54 AM
It's a small world isn't it. Yes, they can be expensive to maintain, but if you can do of the easier repairs/maintenance yourself, then it's not so bad. Maybe one day when I'm in there I'll ask to s[eak to the gentleman that washed cars, and we'll get to shake hands and talk for a bit.

Richard in the middle of the Croatan Forest.

ktraub
06-10-08, 01:20 PM
'93 SLS - HG's at 138k.
'03 STS - Water pump @80k mi, Water pump & HG's at 103K

ryannel2003
06-10-08, 10:43 PM
Looks like you're the first person with a blown HG in the 2003 model year. Question: was the car reliable before the HG and water pump problems?

kingsnake
07-26-08, 02:17 PM
1998 sls 100,000

BCBlixt
08-06-08, 04:15 PM
1999 SLS..97k....Doing the job soon.

CoupeDeBlanc
08-11-08, 01:24 AM
Not my '98 yet exactly, but I was just about to buy a pristine low-mileage DeVille from my friend's mom, when it apparently blew a gasket at just over 30k. That's very low mileage of course, but evidently it can be a problem when the car spends most of it's life sitting around waiting to be driven to the store. This according to the dealer they took it to for diagnosis. Bummer.

Paul

ryannel2003
08-11-08, 02:08 AM
The cars like to be driven. My Seville blew a HG at 54k with the previous owner. Dealer told me most likely reason was the car not being driven hard enough, and possibly bad coolant. Runs great now! :thumbsup:

mnsundevil
08-25-08, 06:22 PM
1997 STS 93K miles

bamms27
09-20-08, 05:08 AM
Gotta 94 STS Shop says Headgasket-but its Still running Well and the reason we took it in casue Coolent was Pumping out the Air Hose--Average Costs? Give me the Low Downs

Ranger
09-20-08, 11:42 PM
Average cost is $3000 - $3500. Do a search. LOTS of info.

Hogg
11-06-08, 08:48 PM
Headgasket failure at 160,000kms, positive test for combustion gasses in coolant, overheating whilst driving, steam cloud emminating from exhaust tips GM coolant tabs-no effect

peace
Hog

dukester
12-08-08, 05:36 PM
1998 Deville, (Babied) 65K - all recommended service performed.

dukester
12-08-08, 05:40 PM
CONT'D 1998 Deville, (Babied), all recommended service performed.

Blew the head gasket at 65K miles, car never been over 70 MPH.

Bar's Head Gasket "FIX" FIXED THE PROBLEM, no coolant consumption for nearly 1K miles - was using 6 cups of coolant per 300 miles. Serious problem.

SCOTT2325
12-21-08, 11:59 AM
What happen after the year 2000 they seem to be getting somewhat better not as many blown HG .

Submariner409
12-21-08, 12:50 PM
SCOTT2325, You should post this and the one in the other head threads in the main Performance threads......these stickys are for poll and failure logging, not questions.......

SCOTT2325
12-22-08, 02:09 PM
SCOTT2325, You should post this and the one in the other head threads in the main Performance threads......these stickys are for poll and failure logging, not questions.......
:dammit: I'm so sorry ..I'm new on here it takes time to know when and where to put things on here ..just give me time and be kool !:cool: It's not the end of the world !

goldendd
12-31-08, 02:20 AM
I currently have a 1998 ECT with a blown head gasket @ 77K miles. I have owned countless Cadillacs and I am not going to stop. I am going to an auction on Tuesday to look at more. My question is what is the most obvious indication that a Northstar has a head gasket problem? I have an OBD tester that I take with me when I go to buy a car, is this enough? This is the second time I have been "burned" buying a Cadillac with an unknown major repair needed to make the car roadworthy. I don't want it to happen again. Any suggestions? Thanks!
P. S. Anybody looking for a '98 Eldo that just needs a little work?...Cheap??

shawn00ETC
12-31-08, 11:33 AM
2000 ETC
HG replaced at 113k
All head bolts were still tight, the gaskets themselves were deteriorated.

dwight.j.carter
01-06-09, 03:02 PM
I want to know who had issues on 2003 models as these are suppose to be darn near bulletproof ?
I heard of a 2005 model going bad somewhere also don't remember where though.

dwight.j.carter
01-06-09, 03:06 PM
First thing I did when I got my 2000 was drain the coolant and put in fresh.

N0DIH
01-06-09, 03:09 PM
The people listed are:
JonCR96Z (http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/member.php?u=37818), ktraub (http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/member.php?u=25249), mbl_rl (http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/member.php?u=25050)

Click on the 2003 poll numbers at the end (the 2 for this one) and 3 people showed up....


I want to know who had issues on 2003 models as these are suppose to be darn near bulletproof ?
I heard of a 2005 model going bad somewhere also don't remember where though.

Ur7x
01-07-09, 11:16 PM
The people listed are:
JonCR96Z (http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/member.php?u=37818), ktraub (http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/member.php?u=25249), mbl_rl (http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/member.php?u=25050)

Click on the 2003 poll numbers at the end (the 2 for this one) and 3 people showed up....

JonCR96Z answered yes to owning ever year of North* and having them all blow...:bigroll:

So either he is really unlucky or full of BS...

Either way, his "vote" was deleted by the admins but his name was not.

N0DIH
01-07-09, 11:23 PM
Gotcha, statistically not likely going to have EVERY year....


JonCR96Z answered yes to owning ever year of North* and having them all blow...:bigroll:

So either he is really unlucky or full of BS...

Either way, his "vote" was deleted by the admins but his name was not.

RunnoverU
01-15-09, 01:39 PM
1999 Seville SLS blown HG at 116,600 miles

mtflight
02-02-09, 08:52 PM
1998 ETC, started to spit coolant out the overflow, temperature would rise upon WOT or heavy driving---SOLD at 117,000 Nov 08

egheorghe
02-03-09, 02:00 PM
Is there a way we could find out how many members this forum has?
I'm interested to see what the percentage of northstars with HG problems is. If we can see it by year that would be perfect.

STSj90
02-03-09, 02:17 PM
Is there a way we could find out how many members this forum has?
I'm interested to see what the percentage of northstars with HG problems is. If we can see it by year that would be perfect.

Its right above this thread....''view poll results'':thepan:

egheorghe
02-03-09, 03:42 PM
Thanks STSj90 , but that would be = total number of HG problem/ total number of cadillac forum members * 100
:thepan:

$piteldo
02-12-09, 02:08 PM
December 28th 2008 .
1997 Eldorado w/ 84,500
Radiator, waterpump changed 1 month prior to overheating and HG blowing.
HG repaired for $3k.

Jesda
02-23-09, 12:46 PM
Bump.

70torino429
02-23-09, 03:23 PM
my 96 seville sts had them go at 79,000 miles, a shame such a nice car and it still looks gorgeous

Dead STS
02-23-09, 08:39 PM
My 94 Seville STS began to go at around 143k miles.
I drove it until 232k miles. The only reason that I had to park it was because of the crossover gaskets failing (I think). Water was pouring from that side of the engine. The engine was still strong and ran smoothly and it did not smoke or run rough unless it was in limp home mode which happened a couple of times. I used to keep gallons of water and coolant in the trunk. Whenever it got hot I would pull over and wait a few minutes then fill it up and off I went.
I also used a lot of the Bars Leak powder. I would still race cars off the line while looking in the rear view at the steady stream of coolant pouring out.
I COULD NOT KILL THIS CAR. Beleive me, I tried. I would feed it more tap water and it would be fine for 50-100 miles. I estimate that the engine temperature exceeded 260 degrees and overheated two hundred + times. I still have it but have never had the time to fix it. The body and interior are in better condition than my 97 STS. It is at 162k miles with no engine problems.

Submariner409
02-23-09, 08:47 PM
Damn......drop the cradle, overhaul the top end, do an ECM mild tune, and drive it forever. Use Jake's head studs......it will never leak again. The car's worth the work..............:thumbsup:

allgm
02-24-09, 08:22 PM
[/SIZE]1998 ELDORADO ETC 144,000 miles:violin:

Eldo1953
02-26-09, 12:15 AM
My 94 Seville STS began to go at around 143k miles.
I drove it until 232k miles. The only reason that I had to park it was because of the crossover gaskets failing (I think). Water was pouring from that side of the engine. The engine was still strong and ran smoothly and it did not smoke or run rough unless it was in limp home mode which happened a couple of times. I used to keep gallons of water and coolant in the trunk. Whenever it got hot I would pull over and wait a few minutes then fill it up and off I went.
I also used a lot of the Bars Leak powder. I would still race cars off the line while looking in the rear view at the steady stream of coolant pouring out.
I COULD NOT KILL THIS CAR. Beleive me, I tried. I would feed it more tap water and it would be fine for 50-100 miles. I estimate that the engine temperature exceeded 260 degrees and overheated two hundred + times. I still have it but have never had the time to fix it. The body and interior are in better condition than my 97 STS. It is at 162k miles with no engine problems.

So you are saying you drove 90k miles on a blown HG??!

Dead STS
03-01-09, 05:18 AM
Yes, my 94 STS went approximately 90,000 miles with a partially blown head gasket.
I left out the worst part of my Northstar blown hg/pulled head bolt story.
At around 141k miles the crankshaft got screwed up due to oil starvation caused by a piece of a gasket that got sucked up against the screen where the oil leaves the oil pan. This happened before I became a student of Bobinski the Northstar Guru. So when the engine was out I had no idea to tell my mechanic that we needed to Timesert the engine even though I had not experienced any problems with the cooling system. The overheating began shortly after crankshaft repair. This was my mechanics first and last Northstar.

Kelly
94 STS 232k miles
97 STS 162k miles

bigtone
03-01-09, 09:06 AM
My 98 Deville developed head gasket problems at 81k miles. I found Number one cylinder leaking when I pressurized it with 100 psi air. The rear head bolts were a bit looser than the front, so I can assume that the threads were pulling. Timeserted the block, have about 1k miles on it so far with no problems. I did the entire job in the car, see my post under Northstar topics for pics.

pinkbird53
03-13-09, 03:53 AM
1997 Cadillac Deville d'Elegance
180,000 - just this week diagnosed with the DREADED HEAD GASKET LEAK,
which may have been going on for some time now.

Over past year, I've had to keep topping off the coolant; and have had some external leaks - I've essentially had the entire cooling system replaced; water heater, radiator, heater hoses, radiator cap, overflow tank, thermostat and couplings, etc., etc.

Last weekend, the car overheated; first I got the 'check coolant level' notice - checked the coolant temp, which was 248. I immediately stopped, let it cool, then limped the car back to the repair shop I have been using. While limping back I got the 'engine overheated', 'idle engine', 'stop engine', and 'change engine oil' lights come on.

There are leaking seals at both ends of the metal tube that runs the coolant through the engine. The mechanic (and as far as I know, this is the FIRST TIME anyone did this test) - did find exhaust fumes in the coolant tank, indicating the DREADED HEAD GASKET LEAK. The dealership has also since confirmed these findings.

The repair will be about $3,000; and I have decided not to do it. I'll be buying a replacement car.

str8bucs
03-13-09, 08:19 AM
1998 Seville SLS 86K

mike sts
03-15-09, 09:04 PM
had a 94 STS first engine went at 55000 miles cracked head, they replaced it under warranty the second engine went 100,000 miles before it was leaking oil, fouling plugs with oil and coolant, coolant leak, not sure if head was cracked probably was junked the car

mgturbo1
03-16-09, 02:44 PM
1999 STS 71000mi:(:(

N0DIH
03-16-09, 03:01 PM
Anyone junking one over a head gasket, let me know, I would like to get one to explore a LS1 swap....

mrlacy
03-19-09, 05:18 PM
Had my 99 deville crap out with 127000 miles...it is in the shop as we speak getting put back together. Former GM Tech doing the work and said that these engines do this due to cadillac using a smaller head bolt since 94-95. He said GM knew about this problem during their test prototype northstars back as late as 87.

Shouse
03-22-09, 04:23 PM
I agree that the older n*'s aren't around to vote anymore.
We're probably all but extinct now. :ill:
Anyways, '94 STS. 135k. No problems yet (knocks on wood).
Not to say that this car hasn't had it's problems (it has) but no
HG yet or signs as I can tell. After Reading this thread I'm shakin in my boots though. I love to trade it off for a Challenger but cash flow is quite limited.
Quite the sticky situation.

clarkz71
03-22-09, 06:27 PM
My 95 Eldo is still great. I joined this forum in 03-2006 and no
cooling system issues at all. Some of you guys may remember
me. I gave the Eldo to my wife. Now I drive a 1994 E420 Benz.


http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k120/clarkz71/Dunedinhouse052.jpg



http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k120/clarkz71/001-1.jpg

yamahag9er
03-22-09, 11:10 PM
I have an 03 DTS with a little over 88,000 miles on it. No problems yet, but after reading all of this I am afraid to take it out of the driveway.

AlBundy
03-23-09, 01:04 AM
My 95 Eldo is still great. I joined this forum in 03-2006 and no
cooling system issues at all. Some of you guys may remember
me. I gave the Eldo to my wife. Now I drive a 1994 E420 Benz.


http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k120/clarkz71/Dunedinhouse052.jpg



http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k120/clarkz71/001-1.jpg


Where the hell have ya been? Yes it was noticed you were missing. I was trying to figure out how we could start an additional poll to show all of the cadillacowner's forum members who own/owned a N* before they moved on to state if they've had a HG issue or not. How do we let all of the lounges know?:annoyed::ill::crying2::yup:

maeng9981
03-26-09, 11:11 AM
99 Deville, Bad HG was causing mixture of engine oil and coolant, SES light, and oil leaking. fixed at 84,000 miles.

32vmonte
03-27-09, 01:09 AM
My failure was a 96 block, it was pressurizing the coolant system very badly and overheating as well.

It got enough coolant in the crankcase that I spun bearings taking off from a stop light. Wierd thing was the oil never ever looked milky but when I drained it there was about a quart or so of dex in there then oil.

I have a feeling it lifted the head because all the motor seen was WOT racing. It had about 15xxx on the fresh rebuild.

Here I come headstud kit!!!

alanstokes
04-01-09, 06:51 PM
94 Seville, 105,000. Loved the car but once the head gaskets go you are looking at serious money and you don't want just anyone doing the
work. I've had 2 92's (4.9), 93, 2 94's, a 97, 98, and a 99. Only had one problem and that was the 94. Would love to know why.

Curtis Barrier
04-01-09, 08:42 PM
I am in need of some help!!!

My 99 STS has just started to overheat. Had a new thermostat installed and the car overheated again. Local mechanic confirmed a "head gasket issue."

2 CADILLAC DEALERSHIPS REFUSED TO SERVICE THE CAR!

I am in college so I don't have access to loads of cash; however, the car only has 117k so I don't want to junk it. Does anyone have any advice?

Ranger
04-01-09, 10:32 PM
http://www.northstarperformance.com

C.J.
04-15-09, 08:42 PM
2000 Deville 144500 not fixed yet can't say if it's the bolt failure or not.

2009chopper
04-22-09, 01:21 AM
i got a question? when the head bolts pull out of the threads,. are their any threads left? what i mean is i noticed they give you a choice on new head bolts getting them longer, has anyone heard of someone putting in longer bolts and it holding the heads down? just curious,

93eldodave
05-11-09, 07:20 PM
I had a 94 eldo with 221k and it would use a quart a week and had no external leaks..Ended up parting it out on ebay and local papers, Sometime they are worth more dead than alive..

Jman73
05-27-09, 12:34 PM
1999 Deville. 90,000mi. Bought it with the blown gasket. It is sitting @ Jake's (97Eldo) to have the studs put in.

duck_tape187
05-27-09, 07:39 PM
99 Deville 114,000 pretty sure its the head gasket havent opened it up yet

N0DIH
05-29-09, 05:55 PM
So for those of you who have sold or bought a 97-99 Deville with a blown gasket, what is the market bearing?

My mom and dad have a 97 and gaskets are still good, factory installed Dexcool is still in it, and 110K miles. It recently got a little low, but just in the resovoir. That is it. So wondering if they would even get much with a good gasket, but all OEM? Mom wants a newer 2000-up Deville....

03DeVilleDTS
05-30-09, 01:38 PM
I have a 2003 DeVille DTS with a bad head gasket at 62000 miles. No warning, just started leaking coolant. It's blowing pressure back into the surge tank. It still runs perfectly fine, but I go through about a gallon of coolant every other day. Unfortunately it's all I have to drive. I was going to sell it, but the value fell so fast I'm about $5000 upside down in it and can't afford the head job.

Sorry to vent. lol

CoupeDeBlanc
05-30-09, 02:07 PM
So for those of you who have sold or bought a 97-99 Deville with a blown gasket, what is the market bearing?...

Not much around here. Seen newer ones asking $3500 or less and had a friend offer me a mint '98 with only 30k miles on the clock for $1500. They had advertised it on Craigslist for awhile at $3000 with no takers.

Paul

97BOBSTS
06-06-09, 11:09 PM
'97 @ 126k, '99 @ 131k. GM should be ashamed of themselves for the CRAP they have put on the market. On the '99, the dealer told me, and this is a quote, that the head gasket problem was "a non-repairable engine failure", so I had to put a reman engine in it that cost around $5k (parts & labor). I'm PISSED!!!!!!! Maybe I should be ashamed of myself for EVER buying another GM product after the fiasco with the '97. I sincerely doubt that I ever will. HELLO JAPAN, WANT TO SELL ME A REAL AUTOMOBILE?

N0DIH
06-07-09, 12:13 AM
You do need to sort out the dealer garbage with the GM manufacture issues. If you put $5k into a 97 car, that is your own fault, you should have sold it for a grand or so and bought something else. Those cars in new shape don't go for $5K. If a dealer quoted you $5K, I would have gone to someone else for a second opinion. Sorry to say it, but you got ripped, you should rip the dealer's owner first.

I will NOT buy a Japanese car, period. I am sorry for your problem, but this crap attitude that US car manf are inferior to Japan is idiotic and honestly WHY we are in such economic straights today. Yes, GM missed testing for this particular situation, no one, no car company is perfect. In most cases much of the problem is the owner of the car who didn't pay attention to maint and following the GM maint schedules. And then they wanna blame GM for them not opening the hood for months on end. How many people have let the coolant run low for whatever reason, even once, is one of the chief reasons for this problem. GM says to check the oil and do a visual inspection every time you fill up with gas, rarely does anyone. Who's fault is it?

Remember the old bumper stickers? Hungry, Eat your Import....

Check the quality of GM and Ford for the cars in 2000-up, they are much better than the Japanese cars. And you put $ in the US, not
Japan. People have this attitude of me me me, and send our USD outside the US and wonder why our economy is in the garbage can.
Yes, GM had some dark periods on the late 80's and early 90's, but honestly, the Japanese cars were not much if any better. When was the last time you saw a 1990 Toyota, or Infinity or Nissan or Lexus or Subaru driving around? Heck, even a 1997? Not near as often as you see a GM car of the same year. Most ricer burners of those years are in the junkyards now.

Get on with it, you dropped a nice chunk of change on it, now, take care of it like GM says to, enjoy driving a Cadillac for the next 10+ years. There is still no equal.

jimzilla
06-07-09, 04:28 PM
Yes have seen a few...just worked on a 95 that happened at 165K...

97BOBSTS
06-09-09, 01:38 AM
You do need to sort out the dealer garbage with the GM manufacture issues. If you put $5k into a 97 car, that is your own fault, you should have sold it for a grand or so and bought something else. Those cars in new shape don't go for $5K. If a dealer quoted you $5K, I would have gone to someone else for a second opinion. Sorry to say it, but you got ripped, you should rip the dealer's owner first.

I will NOT buy a Japanese car, period. I am sorry for your problem, but this crap attitude that US car manf are inferior to Japan is idiotic and honestly WHY we are in such economic straights today. Yes, GM missed testing for this particular situation, no one, no car company is perfect. In most cases much of the problem is the owner of the car who didn't pay attention to maint and following the GM maint schedules. And then they wanna blame GM for them not opening the hood for months on end. How many people have let the coolant run low for whatever reason, even once, is one of the chief reasons for this problem. GM says to check the oil and do a visual inspection every time you fill up with gas, rarely does anyone. Who's fault is it?

Remember the old bumper stickers? Hungry, Eat your Import....

Check the quality of GM and Ford for the cars in 2000-up, they are much better than the Japanese cars. And you put $ in the US, not
Japan. People have this attitude of me me me, and send our USD outside the US and wonder why our economy is in the garbage can.
Yes, GM had some dark periods on the late 80's and early 90's, but honestly, the Japanese cars were not much if any better. When was the last time you saw a 1990 Toyota, or Infinity or Nissan or Lexus or Subaru driving around? Heck, even a 1997? Not near as often as you see a GM car of the same year. Most ricer burners of those years are in the junkyards now.

Get on with it, you dropped a nice chunk of change on it, now, take care of it like GM says to, enjoy driving a Cadillac for the next 10+ years. There is still no equal.
It wasn't the '97, but the '99 STS that I invested the $5K into. I love both cars, they are pristine and yes, a cut above what I have seen from any other manufacturer of the time. Fit, finish, features, style and power amaze me for the 10+ year old cars, not to mention 28 MPG on interstate cruising at 80 MPH. I'm just VERY disappointed that the engines are not holding up (I've lost one in two consecutive STS's !!!!) I have been a loyal GM man since I was a teenager. Heck, my daughters initials are GM !! For GM to sell a car with a "NON REPAIRABLE" engine is just WRONG !! Also, I DO follow the maintenance schedules on my Cadillacs and I refuse to use anything but AC/Delco parts on them. I am a working man and I can't afford to have expensive repairs like this, and being an engineer, I am a firm believer in preventative maintenance. And I'm one of the few that DOES lift the hood everytime I gas up. Poor engineering is the problem, not my lack of attention.
I've owned several cars in my life (before the STS's) ... Just a few examples....'72 Volvo -750K with no major repairs / '78 Volvo 240 - 525K, no major repairs, just UGLY / (2) '85 Volvo 740's - 340K on #1, 320K on #2 / '78 Toyota Celica - 330,000 miles. All were bought used and I personally put over 150,000 miles on each of them with the most expensive repair on any of them being a trans for the #1 Volvo ($300 dollars) Both of the 740 Volvo's STILL run and are dependable transportation. The Celica was my one and only Japanese car. And no, none of them compare to the STS, that's why I bought another !

Fat Brian
06-13-09, 01:25 AM
I wish I had seen this thread last week. I bought a 2000 STS on Tuesday, its got 96,000 miles and I had hoped it would be fairly trouble free but this thread has got me worried to death. Is there anything I can do to avoid a HG problem ? Should I have a priest or a Rabbi pray over the car or put a Rosary on the rearview mirror ?

CoupeDeBlanc
06-13-09, 02:30 PM
Good question. Not sure I remember seeing anyone address this specifically (though this thread has been going a long time!) and I'd be interested as well in what preventative (or is it preventive?) precautions can be taken.
Can't imagine it would hurt anything to make sure the coolant is new and to put an additive in that is supposed to seal against small leaks.
I would be cautious however, in deciding whether or not to actually flush the system. It's usually a good idea to clean all the old crap out first, but with this issue you might also be eating away at gasket edges and/or any corrosiong that's keeping things together.
Be interested to hear what the others say about that scenario.

Good luck with yours. Maybe you'll be one of the lucky ones and won't ever have to deal with it. One can hope...

Paul

MrEldo97
06-24-09, 05:26 PM
1997 Eldorado at 91,459 miles. All of the headbolts pulled out of the rear head, center six I pulled out with my fingers. The front head was fine. I made the repair myself and 2-1/2 years and 25,000 miles later the repair is holding.

I agree with BOB97STS that poor engineering is the cause of this problem and not poor maintenance. My other ride is a '95 Jaguar XJS convertible an absolutely lovely car and far, far less trouble than my Eldorado has been.

Ranger
06-25-09, 11:34 AM
For GM to sell a car with a "NON REPAIRABLE" engine is just WRONG !!
That is ridiculous. No such thing as non repairable. http://www.northstarperformance.com

Ranger
06-25-09, 11:37 AM
The only thing you can do to hedge your bets is to change the coolant. Other than that, prey. That said, the 2000+ is much less likely to suffer this failure as GM made some changes in 2000.

Fat Brian
06-26-09, 09:42 PM
The car is a blast to drive but I still have nightmares from time to time. It appears to have been very well cared for, its clean enough to eat off of inside the heads but there is something strange. The front valve cover is painted silver but the rear is black, is this common or does it have a more sinister meaning ?

brianroark
07-01-09, 10:13 PM
Common.

83CADMAN
07-08-09, 12:13 AM
94 Concourse, in mint shape, originally a 1 owner AZ car. HG went @ 114k. Just been sitting. Sooner or later some one will come up with an affordable short block replacement predrilled for oversize head bolts. Better yet a long block. Sounds like plenty of demand based on this poll. Any entrepreneur’s out there?:suspense:

Destroyer
07-13-09, 11:52 PM
Good question. Not sure I remember seeing anyone address this specifically (though this thread has been going a long time!) and I'd be interested as well in what preventative (or is it preventive?) precautions can be taken.Buy a Lincoln:duck::histeric:

AlBundy
07-14-09, 05:48 PM
Buy a Lincoln:duck::histeric:


couldn't resist eh?:alchi:

brendanw
07-29-09, 05:29 PM
All,

I've got a sneaking suspicion that the head gasket in my 2001 Deville DHS may be on its way out, i.e. the head bolts are pulling out of the block as has been described. Here's what I'm seeing:

1) I have to add about a quart of oil every 1500 to 2000 miles. I know this because I change the oil every 3000 and I cant make it between oil changes without having to add some. There's no smoke from the exhaust or oil burning smell, and no sign of leakage as would be evidenced by an oil stain after leaving it parked.

2) Every now and then I get the "CHECK COOLANT LEVEL" prompt on the dash. I throw a little DEX-COOl in there and all seems well for a while.

So, with these items in mind, how do I confirm, and possibly preempt a head gasket failure? What can I do now to give myself confidence for those long road trips?

Many thanks!

N0DIH
07-29-09, 08:24 PM
the NorthStar has had its share of leaks, with the age, look for water pump leaks, radiator leaks and intake/thermostat housing leaks.

The low coolant light triggers off the surge tank not the radiator, so keep it full, over the full line and let it pee off what it doesn't want if ever, so you are sure to be full.

Rarely does it leak any off when overfull.

MrEldo97
07-29-09, 09:41 PM
Have the coolant checked for the presence of combustion gases.
You can get a block testing kit at NAPA for $50.00.
Timeserting a N* is a lot of work but a COMPETENT DIYer can do it.

brendanw
07-30-09, 10:15 AM
Have the coolant checked for the presence of combustion gases.
You can get a block testing kit at NAPA for $50.00.
Timeserting a N* is a lot of work but a COMPETENT DIYer can do it.

$50 for a kit at NAPA ... consider it done! What does "Timeserting a N*" mean?

Also, I had the whole water pump assembly replaced not too long ago, so that should be all set. Again, I dont see any oil or coolant leaks anywhere, but I seem to be adding both on a semi-regular basis.

I'll get the NAPA kit to test for combustion gases and will report back.

MrEldo97
07-30-09, 01:49 PM
Timeserting = drilling out, tapping and installing 20 steel inserts in all of the head bolt holes. Good repair if done properly. Many/most shops (especially stealerships) take short cuts, rush the job, screw it up and claim the block is unrepairable.

Submariner409
07-30-09, 02:56 PM
One quart of oil every 1,000 to 2,000 miles in a Northstar is GM-accepted as normal oil consumption. TSB's on this last year. Posted in Northstar Performance.

An oil change every 3,000 miles is a waste of oil and money. 5,000 to 7,500 is even too early for a 2001 Northstar. Set your OLM and change oil at 25% to 35%. 5W-30 in whatever good brand floats your boat.

brendanw
07-30-09, 04:37 PM
Aha ... "timeserting" = installing helical inserts (Heli-Coils, etc) ... never heard that one.

Aha ... "N*" = Northstar ... hey, I'm new to the forum. I cant even post web site link or photos I'm so green.

So GM bolted two pieces of aluminum together with steel bolts, but no helical inserts and expected it to hold up to significant cyclical pressure loading? Wow, that was a stretch. The 'checker' must have been out sick!

1 Qt of oil every 1,500 miles is par for the course? Really?

I have no doubt that changing the oil every 3,000 miles is a bit overkill for almost any modern engine. However, I dont have kids to put through college or a rampant drug / alcohol habit, so I dont mind spending the $30 one extra time per year. It makes me feel better and somehow I think it make the Caddy feel better too!

Thanks for the help. I'm still looking forward to this coolant test kit project!

kckranz
07-30-09, 04:43 PM
the NorthStar has had its share of leaks, with the age, look for water pump leaks, radiator leaks and intake/thermostat housing leaks.

The low coolant light triggers off the surge tank not the radiator, so keep it full, over the full line and let it pee off what it doesn't want if ever, so you are sure to be full.

Rarely does it leak any off when overfull.

:thepan: No! The surge tank is to be considered "full", cold, when the fluid level is halfway up the side as marked on the side of the tank itself. This is not a simple "overflow" tank. The air in the tank is essential for correct operation of the system - pressurized to 16 to 18 lbs (depending on the cap) to raise the boiling point of the coolant to 260 - 265 degrees (~ +3 degrees per +1 psi).

BLUESTAR502
08-02-09, 08:27 PM
95 eldorado 79870 head gasket replaced by headmasters lodi n.j.

MrEldo97
08-02-09, 09:37 PM
"Aha ... "timeserting" = installing helical inserts (Heli-Coils, etc) ... never heard that one."

Do your homework on timeserts and then rejoin the discussion...