: 97 Etc N* Head Gasket Project



tateos
12-18-07, 10:12 PM
My primary purpose for posting this, my first thread, is to chronicle my project for the benefit of others. I have learned a lot by reading posts from those that have braved this project before me, and I want to pay back and/or pay forward. I may also have some problems or questions as I go along, so thank you in advance for your help.

First, a little about me. I am 51, born and raised in the Boston area (GO RED SOX!), but have lived in the Phoenix area for 6 years and have been a DIYer since my teens. I have no formal training but have learned from reading and through osmosis, and have rebuilt engines from the 60's. 70s and 80s, but nothing since then.

The first engine in my car was replaced at 34K. It is a long story, but there was a noise and I think the dealer ruined the engine trying to fix what ended being the catalytic converter. Anyway, they put a new engine in the car at 34K and that engine was great until about 2 1/2 years ago, at 121K on the car when the head gasket let loose. I was not aware at that time that this was a common malady, and since I thought it was a fluke, I had a used engine and trans (there were TCC issues) put in for $2,500. Everything was perfect until 6/07 when the HG on this engine let go at 144K on the car and 102K on the motor. Well, I was going to junk the car, but I like it too much, so I decided to try to repair the engine myself.

I waited until things cooled down here in AZ and started on extricating the engine on weekends in October (I have taken a few days off from the project). My initial plan was to use the alternate method, and take the engine out the top, but some of the exhaust manifold and coolant pipe bolt are pretty much impossible top get at, and I have resigned myself to drop the entire cradle with engine/trans/steering. I plan to change the steering rack, since it has morning sickness, especially in colder weather. I think I finally have almost everything disconnected and the engine will be coming out this weekend.

I hope I will see some light at the end of the tunnel soon, because I am really wondering if I should have tackled this or just driven the thing to the junkyard. I must say, this is the most difficult, most complex, and overall most miserable job I have ever attempted. More posts will follow as thing move forward.

Richard Moore

Ranger
12-18-07, 11:28 PM
You're a brave man Richard. When you are finished you will join the very few in the HG hall of fame.:worship:

tateos
12-19-07, 01:02 AM
Thanks for the encouragement, Ranger. Brave? Maybe just foolish? I am not doing this to save money, so much as a fun project, and it hasn't been fun - at least not yet.

I have removed engines from cars before, but the list of steps is almost never ending, and there is never enough room to do what you need to do. Maybe I'm just getting old and tired, but this seems like a real tough job to me, and I'm just talking about getting the engine out - not the repair and re-assembly and re-installation. I bought a 2nd car when the HG on the first engine blew, so the good thing is I do have the use of a car and can just work on the thing on weekends as time allows.

I plan to post some pictures once it gets interesting.

RM

97Concours1
12-19-07, 04:54 AM
I think Bill Clinton said it best - "I feel your pain!". It's not exactly the type of project one does for "fun". I've read some of your previous posts about starting this project and I could tell you didn't realize quite what you were getting into. It really is sobering once you get into it. I had all the confidence that it couldn't possibly be that bad - wrong! Part of the problem is that cars today are very complex. I rebuilt a lot of cars in the 70s and 80s too. Other than a million vacuum lines, they weren't that bad. This Caddy is a different story. All of those fancy options have systems under the hood that make them work - cruse control, anti-lock brakes, a/c and many more. Unfortunately, you have to disconnect or take apart many of those systems to get the engine out and the heads off. The wiring harness alone has more arteries than the human body.

The somewhat good news is, it goes back together fairly easy. There are so many unknowns while taking it apart, but you kind of know your way when putting it back together. And then it's kind of like how a woman naturally forgets about the pain after childbirth. Once your baby is up and running again, you forget about most of the pain and effort. Good Luck.

zonie77
12-19-07, 12:37 PM
This will probably be the longest project you will ever do (barring building a house). There are some advantages...this forum and the internet in general.

In the end I hope you think it was worth it!

ramdge
12-19-07, 04:17 PM
Richard,

I just wanted to offer you some encouragement on the head gasket job.

I am very similar to you in both age and experience. I have also been
working on cars since my teenage years with no formal experience.

The head gasket job I did on my 95 STS was the first time that I had
worked on a cadillac.

I didn't have access to power tools so everything was done the old fashion
way.

I can offer a few suggestions. First, I'm hoping that you have a Factory
Service Manual because if you don't then you are in for a VERY, VERY,
hard time. Second, you will need several tools that you might not have
(for example, the puller for the water pump pulley, the puller for the
crankshaft damper, etc.). I was fortunate in that I had plenty of time
since the cadillac wasn't my daily driver at the time.

I left the engine and transmission together and on the frame. Make sure
you note where everything goes that you take off (use pictures, labels,
drawings, notes, or all of above). Make sure that you ask questions if you
run into anything that doesn't seem right. For instance, retiming the cams
can be confusing if you are not familiar with the procedure.

The job itself wasn't extremely difficult but it is time consuming and you
need to be very detail oriented.

I have over 10,000 miles on mine without a problem so far.

It's a big job but it can definitely be done in the garage if you have the
time and patience to do it.

tateos
12-19-07, 05:17 PM
Thanks for encouragement Zonie77 and 97Concours1. I need all I can get right now. I think part of my stress is that I am starting to get anxious that I will never remember how to put it all back together.

A couple things I learned on my own so far that I had never seen anything about on these forums:

1. The electrical and vacuum connections at the firewall the manual refers to are on the passenger side. The connector is held to the firewall by 2 small (8mm head?) screws. Then, you need to go under the dash on the passenger side and remove the 3 (I think) screws holding the hush panel on under the dash. You will see the vacuum and electrical connections there. Just unplug them and pass the line through the firewall. It is not a hard job, but the manual doesn't address the details.

2. The pinch bolt on the steering rack is best reached through the left wheel well. Drop the back of the cradle a few inches and push the boot up a little, reaching through the wheel well - use a long extension - I think it is a 10mm socket. Again, not that difficult, but there is no mention in the manual about the how - "disconnect pinch bolt".

More to follow

tateos
12-19-07, 05:35 PM
Ramdge - yes I do have the FSM which I bought from Helm back in '97 when I bought the car. I also have the water pump drive cam puller - used it already in fact. I think I have a puller for the crank puller, but I am having a problem getting the bolt off. I have tried a socket and breaker bar and pipe, but the head is getting pretty stripped. I will try again once it is out of the car. i do have an awesome $200 Ingersoll Rand impact wrench, but that won't do it either - I don't think my air compressor is strong enough. If the crankshaft bolt head gets totally stripped, I'm not sure what to do - file down the flats to the next smaller size? Use an angle grinder and grind the entire head off? Any ideas anyone?

tateos
12-19-07, 05:41 PM
Thanks everyone for your interest and moral support so far - it means a lot to me!. I have been working on this beast all by myself, and I feel better knowing I am not alone.

zonie77
12-19-07, 08:09 PM
Harmonic Balancer bolts are a PAIN! I never had as much trouble as I have on the 90 and up cars. I think they soak them in loctite!

I almost bought a 3/4" set for my son's 4 cyl Ranger. Not sure what to tell you. We got them off but it wasn't easy.

tateos
12-19-07, 08:25 PM
I have used the trick in the past of putting the socket and breaker bar on the bolt and strategically positioning the breaker bar handle, and then using the engine starter to break the bolt loose. I didn't do that this time and like I said, the head on the bolt is getting pretty mangled. I might have to grind or drill out the head on the bolt and then use th puller to get the balance off and then vicegrips or something to get the remaining portion of the bolt in the crankshaft - it should be easy at that point - maybe even finger tight?

The good head bolts were really locked in there also. I snapped and broke a cheapo 3/8" drive extension taking the head bolts out. It was pretty amazing because the first 5-6 bolts were perfect, and then I got to a couple that were different and one which was total trash - #1 cylinder was the bad one, so far I think. The bad ones are easy to remove - obviously. I still wonder which came first, the chicken or the egg; I mean does the gasket go and that screws up the threads, or the other way around?

zonie77
12-20-07, 01:06 AM
I believe the gasket goes and lets the bolt corrode. The HG had failed near the bad threads.

97Concours1
12-21-07, 02:09 AM
Harmonic Balancer Bolt removal - Yes, this was a major 4 hour road block. What I finally wound up doing was using an OxAcy torch and heating up the center of the head of the bolt (quicky before everything else gets hot too.) The heat expands the bolt slightly realitive to everything else, and then the impact will take it off. Even then it comes off hard.

Chicken or egg first?: My vote is for the threads failing first. When I took mine apart I didn't see corrosion, I saw sheared threads. Now mind you, a microscope and a metalurgical lab might have shown reduced mechanical properties of the aluminum. I do know that sometimes failures can be caused by something way out in left field (like corrosion).

Have you decided what inserts to use? Are you going to do all 20 threads?

tateos
12-21-07, 01:51 PM
I am doing all 20 threads - why not? I think I will use Norms - they seem to have a better rep.

That balance bolt is a problem! I don't have access to a torch, so the first thing I will do is try with the 19mm socket again once it is out of the car. If that doesn't work, a neighbor has a better air compressor than mine that might work with the impact wrench. If that doesn't work, I might try filing the flats on the bolt down a little and using an 18mm socket. Last resort, I will drill and/or grind down the head.

What a PITA!

Ranger
12-21-07, 05:33 PM
If I remember correctly, that bolt has 300+ lb/ft of torque. Even more important than removal is the proper installation torque. Under torque it and you'll have oil pressure problems. This may not need saying, but better now than later.

tateos
12-21-07, 08:02 PM
Yeah - thanks Ranger - I did read a post somewhere that someone had problems with oil pressure until they tightened the crank bolt. It makes sense, since the oil pump drive seems to be engaged solely by squeezing it between the balancer hub and the crankshaft. The installation calls for a fairly low torque value - 37 ft/lbs maybe - plus an angular value - 120 degrees, I think. That shouldn't be hard to achieve - it's the loosening that is the problem!

RM

zonie77
12-21-07, 11:37 PM
Leave the bolt til you drop the cradle. You have better access to it then.

tateos
12-23-07, 12:15 AM
The 1st good news it's out. I dropped the cradle with engine, trans, and sterring rack. More details and pictures to come tomorrow.

The 2nd good news is that, as Zonie77 said, once it was out, I was able to get the crank bolt out. It took an extra long 1/2" breaker bar with a pipe attached to it for extra leverage, and a neighbor's help holding the socket tight to the bolt, but it finally broke loose. They must use Locktite or something on there, because it "snapped" several times before it came off loose, although once it was broken loose, it did come right off with only finger power.

Now, I have a new problem. Although the crank bolt is off, the crank balancer/pulley seems welded on. I put a Harbor Freight 3 claw puller on there, but that would not take it off - just bent the center bolt and mucked up the threads. I am afraid if I force it anymore, I will break something - like the puller or the pulley The center bolt on the puller goes inside the bolt hiole in the center, right? I have taken these things off on other engines before and they weren't all that hard.

Any thoughts anyone?

RM

Ranger
12-23-07, 01:58 AM
The only thing that I can add is that our old Guru always said to never use a 3 jaw puller on it, as it will damage the rubber joint (for lack of the correct term) between the outer ind inner ring. Check it closely before installing and again afterwards. If it has excessive runout, replace it.

clarkz71
12-23-07, 10:29 AM
The only thing that I can add is that our old Guru always said to never use a 3 jaw puller on it, as it will damage the rubber joint (for lack of the correct term) between the outer ind inner ring. Check it closely before installing and again afterwards. If it has excessive runout, replace it.

I'm afraid the FSM say's a three jaw puller is the way to remove the balancer.

It does have to be used correctly to avoid damage as Ranger stated.
Note that a pilot must be used to prevent the forcing screw from causing damage to
the threads in the crank when using the puller.


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

Ranger
12-23-07, 11:57 AM
Hmm, once again I stand corrected. Could have sworn he said never to use a 3 jaw puller. Oh well, as they say, the memory is the second thing to go.

clarkz71
12-23-07, 12:26 PM
I think he probably said not to use it on the outside of the balancer
which would cause the damage to the rubber between the 2 pieces
as you stated on a previous post.

The FSM page I posted shows to grip the inner portion of the balacer hub.

Ranger
12-23-07, 03:25 PM
That is probably what he said. It makes sense. The correct name now comes back to me also. I think he called it the elastomeric bond.

clarkz71
12-23-07, 03:56 PM
Elastomeric bond, yes that's it.

tateos
12-23-07, 04:13 PM
Like I wrote earlier, my initial intention was to remove the negine out the top, so I partially disassembled the engine and some other things to help get it out the top. In the end, there were some things on the firewall side that were just too hard tio get at; maybe not impossible, but definitely not worth it. If I had known, up front, that I was dropping the cradle, I could have saved some time.

Mu house is in a hilly area, and my drivelway slopes down steeply, so if I lifted the body and pushed it back to clear the cradle, it would roll downhill and I would not have a way to push it back up. What I did is put the car diagonally in my 2+ car garage, so I would have room for the hoist in front, and then drop the cradle and push the it out the right side. I chose to remove the struts completely to gain clearance and so they would not interfere. I wired the calipers to the top of the strut tower. I unbolted the power steering cooler and left it connected to the cradle when I dropped it. I used an engine hoist to lift the body, like zonie77, except I chose to remove the headlight assemblies and wrap a chain around the bumper support struts, as shown in the photo. I loosened the pinch bolt on the steering rack input shaft, but it wouldn't come off. The u-joint ended up coming off the steering shaft, so I will have to remove the boot at the engine side iof the firewall to replace it. I left the AC condenser in the car - unbolted the AC lines "manifold" at the compressor (lost all the refrigerant obviously) and dropped the compressor. I left the ABS unit in (wired it up for support) and did not crack the hydraulic system.

You can also see my crankshaft pulley bolt - it is pretty mangled, but I did succeed in removing it - obviously it will be replaced.

That's it for now - I am heading out to try again to get the pulley off the crankshaft!

tateos
12-23-07, 05:14 PM
I had not given it my all yesterday, since I thought mybe I was prying against the wrong thing, but I looked at it closely today and could see I was doing it the right way, so I forced it today and it finally broke free. The puller I was using did finally give out 1/2 way through the removal - the threads on the center bolt stripped out (cheap harbor Freight tool) but I had another smaller puller that worked well enough for the rest of the way, since the it was much looser now.

I can see why it is on there so tightly - it is just like the water pump drive - just pressed on - no woodruff key like the engines I am accustomed to.

Anyone remember: Does the crankshaft bolt suffice to press the pulley back on when I'm all done?

That's it until next weekend, I think.

RM

clarkz71
12-23-07, 05:38 PM
Anyone remember: Does the crankshaft bolt suffice to press the pulley back on when I'm all done?

RM

No it doesn't. You need an installer like this.


http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/SNAP-ON-Crankshaft-Pulley-Iinstaller-CJ139-NEW-USA-Made_W0QQitemZ120199891366QQihZ002QQcategoryZ43996 QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

http://i18.ebayimg.com/06/i/000/c6/c0/be0c_1_b.JPG

tateos
12-23-07, 06:41 PM
Thanks clarkz71 - even a link on where tio buy! What happens if you try to use the crank bolt? Just curious...

clarkz71
12-23-07, 07:09 PM
Not enough threads to pull on the balancer. You could use a longer bolt, but the installer isn't expensive
and is much easier to use. You also need a flywheel lock tool or find something to hold the flywheel
while you torque the balancer bolt. Here's the factory tool.


http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k120/clarkz71/E-bay014.jpg

zonie77
12-23-07, 08:58 PM
Instead of the balancer installer we used a long bolt the right size. That took it in enough for the original bolt to finish it. Use washers and grease of course.

clarkz71
12-24-07, 04:57 AM
You could use a longer bolt, but the installer isn't expensive
and is much easier to use.





Instead of the balancer installer we used a long bolt the right size. That took it in enough for the original bolt to finish it. Use washers and grease of course.


I thought I said that?;)

zonie77
12-24-07, 11:06 AM
I thought I said that?;)

You probably did. I knew I heard it somewhere! :histeric:Memory is the ...mmm,,mmm,uhhh,17th thing to go!

clarkz71
12-24-07, 11:28 AM
:xgrin: . Merry Christmas

Cadillacboy
12-24-07, 01:44 PM
You got a great job !
:thumbsup:

tateos
12-24-07, 02:32 PM
clarkz71:

What I did to lock the crankshaft in order to get the bolt OFF was never mentioned on these forums, so I am glad you brought it up. What I did was to put a bolt in the flywheel (ring gear is probably the correct term for an engine with an automatic trans, actually). I put the bolt in through the hole in the back of the block where the starter goes. The bolt I used was one which holds the torque struts (dog bones) to the engine. It may not be as elegant as the tool from OTC, but it seems to work.

I am able to push the balancer on enough by hand to engage the threads of the bolt. I don't mind really buying the tool - it is short money - but I may try to use the bolt first.

The tool I DO mind buying, but will have to, I guess, is the tool for installing the revised rear main seal - $297.00 for a 1 minute use:

http://www.etoolcart.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=2005

Everything I read says it MUST be used. If anyone has that rear main seal tool or a NORMS kit they would like to sell or rent me, please let me know.

RM

97Concours1
12-29-07, 05:49 PM
Rear main seal installation: I made an installer out of a short section of PVC tubing. Had to machine it on a lathe though. I did go to the dealer to take some dimensions off their tool. If I had it to do over, I would just load the block up in a truck and go to the dealer. Then see if they would let me use the tool for 15 min. in the parking lot.

Block drilling and taping: I used Norm's also. I bought my own drills and taps, and just bought the inserts from Norm. I made a drill guide to get the holes straight. If I did one again, I would rent a Magnetic Base Drill and bolt a steel plate on the block deck to set it on. I would also buy Norm's 17/32 drill, because he regrinds the cutting rake angle so it doesn't "grab". All this may not be necessary because there are no drill jigs in Norm's kit. I just wanted to make sure the holes were perpendicular to the block deck. I read once about the head bolts not threading in straight after installing the inserts.

tateos
12-31-07, 01:17 PM
I got the left head off this weekend - not too hard. Getting the timing chain and gears off the cam is pretty straightforward - just follow the manual. I did run into one minor issue - I didn't seem to have an open end wrench that would fit the hex on the cam to hold it steady while unbolting the gears - neither inch nor metric wrenches seemed to be correct. I ended up slightly enlarging a old oddball 15/16" open end wrench I had using a bench grinder.

Once the head came off, I had the same problem as it seems everybody else has had with the alignment dowels. I inserted a bolt and gripped the exterior of the dowels with vice grips and twisted them and also pried up with a small pry bar. I buggered up the exterior of the dowels pretty good, but I ground them smooth and I think they will be OK, although I will buy new ones if they are available (anyone know the part #?).

I covered the entire deck, including the timing chan cavity, with clear package sealing tape, and then cut out the tape from each cylinder head bolt hole with an Xacto knife. I must say this worked really well at completely sealing off the engine from all the metal and trash generated by the drilling and tapping operation. Overall, I am very pleased with Norm's kit. The only tricky part is starting the hole straight. I had a helper that held the supplied tap block to be sure I was square to the head. I would start and drill maybe around 1/8" and then stop and recheck with the tap block to be sure I was going square and make any needed adjustments. I checked again at maybe around 1/4", just to be sure, but I was always OK at that point. From that point to the bottom of the hole, about 3" deep, there was smooth sailing. It was easy to tell the bad holes by the type of trash thrown off by the drilling operation. The end of the drill bit is ground to prevent going too deep, so the very center of the hole is left untouched. It was apparent by the shape of the untouched aluminum that all off the holes had been drilled straight and square. I used a little flexible head mini flashlight to see inside each hole, and it worked great

Once the hole is drilled out, the next step is to use the tap block and a supplied tap with a tapered end, then repeat the process with a bottoming tap with a square end. Pretty standard stuff here - no challenges or surprises. The supplied tap oil is designed specifically for aluminum and works very well. I am leaving the final steps of cleaning and degreasing the inserts and holes and installation of the inserts with the supllied Loktite until the re-assembly stage, so I won't have to worry about keeping the holes clean.

AlBundy
12-31-07, 06:09 PM
Great info. I'm sure it will help all. Thanks.

tateos
12-31-07, 11:50 PM
I got the coolant crossover off today, and the left head is now all drilled and tapped - all 10 holes, even though only maybe 3 were bad - I just need to do a final cleening and apply the Loktite and insert the inserts, which I plan to do last before re-installing the heads.

That coolant crossover must be near impossible to do in the car. Oh yeah - I also had to take off the metal coolant lines boted onto the right/rear cylinder head. That was actually where I got hung up early on when I was trying to remove the engine out the top. I said it before and I'll keep saying it - Zonie and others were right - it is best to just drop the complete cradle assembly. I really tip my hat to anyone that successfully removes and repairs and replaces the engine through the top. The cradle acts as an engine stand - so much so that I don't think I will use one on this project. I do need to remove the engine and replace the rear main seal and oil pan gasket, but I think I can do that by using the engine hoist and then lowering it and gently resting the front of the block on carpeting. I don't think it will be too, too heavy - just the block and crank and rods and pistons at that point - maybe ~300pounds?

On a separate note, I don't know if I mentioned this earlier on, but I had a problem getting the steering column shaft to disengage from the inout shaft on the steering rack. The u-joint ended up being disengaged from the steering shaft and came out with the rack and the rest of the cradle. The u-joint just slides ionto the steering shaft and is held in place by a tiny set screw with a TORX T-10 head. Anyway, I had to remove the boot off the engine side of the firewall to gain access and the u-joint was easy to re-attach. The point of all this is that figured out my mistake; I had the problem because I loosened but did not REMOVE the pinch bolt on the u-joint where it connect to the input shaft on the steering rack. There is a groove in the input shaft on the steering rack that prevents the u-joint from disengaging unless you completely REMOVE the pinch bolt. I expect that info is somewhere in the manual, but I guess I missed it. Learn from my mistake!

I found the head gasket leak area, BTW. It seems like it gave way between the first 2 cylinders on the left bank - #1 and #3, I think? I will take some pictures of the gasket and if they come out good, I will post them and you be the judge. The cylinders have no ridge at all; I have read the same from others, but I was skeptical. It is amazing that an engine with around 100K on it would have no perceptable wear in the cylinders.

I was wondering if I should take the heads to a machine shop and have them cleaned up and have new valve stem seals put in. The car always ran great and had plenty of power, but I wonder if I am being penny wise and pound foolish to re-install these heads. Has anyone done the above and if so, what did it cost?

Happy New Year all!

Ranger
01-01-08, 06:44 PM
I was wondering if I should take the heads to a machine shop and have them cleaned up and have new valve stem seals put in. The car always ran great and had plenty of power, but I wonder if I am being penny wise and pound foolish to re-install these heads.
I have never done this so I do not speak from experience, but I don't ever recall anyone saying that they needed to touch the heads. See what others with experience have to say.

zonie77
01-01-08, 07:19 PM
Tateos, I keep telling people to drop the cradle and it is really hard for some of them to realize that it's the easiest way to do it...scariest too! It's really scary the first time. One of the old timers on the board pretty much talked me into iot and I'm glad he did.

I'm glad you're progressing on it. Lonnnnnnngggggggggggggg project but you'll feel good when it's done.

A couple of times people had threads strip that looked good. Some one had the 20th bolt strip on the last tightening sequence. It didn't happen often but it makes it wise to insert all 20.

I have not had the heads redone on any I did. If it was running well before you started they should be OK for another 100K.

JC316
01-01-08, 07:21 PM
I changed the head on my 98 due to a factory defect, but otherwise, it was fine. I wouldn't worry about it myself, unless to got hot enough to possibly warp them, then I would have them machined. The harmonic ballancer bolt was a PAIN, I had to get a 23" breaker bar to get it loose.

Submariner409
01-01-08, 07:48 PM
Don't forget that the preload on that harmonic balancer is critical to driving the oil pump. FSM torque.

tateos
01-01-08, 08:05 PM
2-3 cylinder head bolts were pretty loose, but even many of the ones that "snapped" when loosened (if you have done this, you know what I mean) had wet, aluminum colored threads, kind of like they had antiseize compound on them. Of course, we all know it is not antiseize - it is the aluminum threads in the block coming out with the bolts. I think the left bank was the one that actually let go and caused the overheating, but I could see that many more holes on the right bank were in bad condition - just ready to go. I think this tells me that it IS the gasket that goes first, and THEN LATER the aluminum threads in the block. If that is the case, I guess EVENTUALLY, the new gaskets will also leak, except this time they will leak into holes with steel inserts in them. I wonder what that will mean 5-10 years down the road? A new block, I guess. Oh well, I have owned the car since brand new, but I don't plan to keep the car forever.

I took off the right cylinder head with the exhaust manifold still attached - it seemed a lot easier that way.

Another bit of advice - put a 1/2" to 3/8" drive adapter (I used a impact version from Harbor Freight that worked without breaking) on the 3/8" drive hex drive used to remove the head bolts, and then a 1/2" extension - maybe around 6" and then a 1/2" breaker bar. This will make it easier to break the cylinder head bolts loose, and using a 1/2" rather than 3/8" drive extension means that it will twist less and will require less effort on your part. Once the bolts were broken free, I used an impact wrench to back them out, since they are hard to turn - not sure if that is because of the factory applied thread sealant on the bolts or if it is due to the corrosion and aluminum block thread deterioration.

Next weekend, I will drill and tap the right bank. Just 10 holes, but I think it will take about 3 hours or so, based on the left bank. It is not really that hard to do, but it's important it be done right. If I ever made a mistake, for example drilled or tapped a hole crooked, I think the block would be trash, so I prefer to take it slow.

Thanks everyone, as always, for your interest, advice, and friendship.

Richard Moore

Ranger
01-01-08, 08:16 PM
I think this tells me that it IS the gasket that goes first
My gut tells me that it is the threads that go first. Never had these kind of problems with good 'ol cast iron blocks (the way God intended). Just my $0.02 of coarse.

zonie77
01-02-08, 12:38 AM
Ranger, the cast iron blocks held up but the aluminum radiator hose necks corroded pretty fast!

97Concours1
01-02-08, 09:27 AM
How come there has never ever been a Northstar taken apart with a bad head gasket, which still has ALL good threads? I'll say it again, never a bad head gasket, with NO bad threads. They ALWAYS have some bad threads too! If the gasket goes first, wouldn't we be seeing cases of bad gaskets with all good threads?

To solve this for good, I think we need a new show called - CSI Northstar!... LOL

zonie77
01-02-08, 10:38 AM
I know there has been at least one a few years ago. That's the one that pulled the threads on the last bolt, final torquing. I believe there have been a few others that asked about the necessity of inserts.

I can see why this "syndrome" exists. Due to the design, free standing cylinders, you get a leak into the water jacket under load. It still runs well, doesn't put coolant in the oil, and only overheats under load. It takes a while to diagnose and when you hear the cost takes even longer to commit to fixing. This gives the depleted coolant a chance to corrode the threads. Less than perfect casting, porosity, and smaller than optimum bolt sizes all contribute.

The point is initial failure is not obvious and does not get repaired in a timely manner.

tateos
01-02-08, 12:39 PM
I think zonie is right. The left bank was the one that let go, and had a w really bad and 2 kinda bad holes. The right bank appeared to be still holding, but had 7-8 with bad threads. Also, why is it that good holes are always dry, and the bad holes are always wet or at least slimy? I think because it is the gasket that goes first. I'm still not sure why coolant, even if a little degraded, should cause such metal degradation, except maybe the combustion gases are a catalyst.

zonie77
01-02-08, 01:35 PM
The dexcool loses any protection when old, the older green still offered the silica coating.

The heat from combustion gases definitely would speed up the chemical reaction. Was it double for every 10 degree centigrade rise? That sounds too extreme...hmmm.maybe someone with a better memory will chime in.

tateos
01-02-08, 11:02 PM
On both banks, one pair of cylinders shows evidence of leakage between adjacent cylinders, and on the left bank, I think it broke through to the coolant passage. Although all the entire bottom side of both head gaskets is pretty deterioted and rusty, notice the difference in the areas where the two fire rings are really close. On the photo on the right, you can see the line of each combustion chamber and the area in between the cylinders. On the photo on the left, you should be able to see the difference.

97Concours1
01-03-08, 09:51 AM
This is probably a good point to mention that the little "burr" at the top of the cylinder liner has a purpose and should not be removed.

Head location dowel removal: I used a slide hammer. I drilled a hole crossways through the dowel and also though the end of a slide hammer shaft. Put the shaft in the dowel and then put a pin in the cross drilled holes. The dowel can then be driven out with little or no damage.

Also, Lisle makes a nice 10mm hex drive with a 1/2 in drive, just for head bolts.

tateos
01-03-08, 10:48 AM
97Concours1:

Thanks for info on the Lisle tool. I suppose the 3/8" drive Craftsman tool will work if it got me this far, but that is good to know if I do have a problem. So you did not have to replace the dowels? If anyone did, and knows the part#, please let me know.

ramdge
01-04-08, 05:28 PM
I believe the part number for the dowel pin is
GM PART # 3522352 .

I believe they are like $7 dollars each.

tateos
01-04-08, 06:18 PM
Thanks ramdge. Assuming that is the correct #, GM Parts Direct shows the following:

3522352

MSRP $7.02

Our Price $4.16

97Concours1
01-06-08, 09:43 AM
I wound up replacing two of the four dowels because I didn't use the slide hammer on two of them. After destroying two, I decided to try to find a better way to get them out. One thing about the using the slide hammer; drill the cross hole close to the block, but don't let the drill bit hit the block. If the cross hole is too close to the top of the dowel, it will tear out when you use the slide hammer on it.

Yes, 3522352 is the part # I bought too. Dealer had them for $6.88 each.

Also, if you are changing the rear main seal, I found them at Advance Auto for $17 each. This was the new design version too. I couldn't find them anywhere else nearly that cheap.

I couldn't find the part # for the Lisle 10mm head bolt socket (for reference). Lisle's Torque Angle Meter works great too for torquing the head bolts (P/N 28100). Thats another thing. Head bolt torquing. The new specs are 30 Ft-Lbs, 70 deg, 60 deg, 60 deg. There was some talk about only going 45 deg on the last pass. If I did another one, I'd think about only going 45 deg. The end of the last pass gets kind of scary.

tateos
01-07-08, 03:26 PM
Didn't get too much done this weekend - the wife came back from being in Boston for 19 days, so I had a LOT of house cleaning to do before she got here!

I didn't "destroy" the dowels - just mangled them. I was able to grind them smooth enough to re-insert, so I may be able to re-use them. I'll test fit them and if there is any problem, I'll just get new ones. I will tap the bottom row of the left bank with the block out of the cradle, since otherwise the tap handle will interfere with the trans and exhaust. I guess I could rig up some kind of extension, but since I am pulling the block to change the oil pan and rear main seal, there is not a problem.

I plan to use the old head bolts inserted into the new inserts to left the engine off and back onto the cradle. Not sure where else to lift from...anyone think there is any problem with that?

97Concours1 - I plan to replace EVERY seal and gasket I can while this engine is out of the car, so I plan to buy the entire FELPRO cylinder head and block gasket sets and also new cylinder head bolts from Rock Auto. What is scary about tightening the bolts - were you afraid they would snap? Afraid the threads in the block will let go? Besides, would 15 degrees make that much difference?

97Concours1
01-08-08, 11:25 AM
I plan to use the old head bolts inserted into the new inserts to left the engine off and back onto the cradle. Not sure where else to lift from...anyone think there is any problem with that?

That's what I did too. I put a long socket on the head bolt first and actually tightened the head bolt against the block ("sandwiching" the flat steel link of the engine lifting chain against the block).




97Concours1 - What is scary about tightening the bolts - were you afraid they would snap? Afraid the threads in the block will let go? Besides, would 15 degrees make that much difference?

The bolts are getting expotentially tighter on that last pass. It just seemed like overkill to me at times. I don't want to talk anyone into stopping at 45 degrees though. There was talk on this forum that a mechanic stopped at 45 degrees on ones he did, but there was no long term report that this was a good thing to do.

Threads letting go? If they where the original aluminum threads I'd be very concerned, but with the Norm's inserts I wasn't.

dhm37
01-10-08, 05:08 PM
I have used Norm's inserts on two engines now, after using the Timeserts on the first job. With Timeserts, two of the inserts seemed to give on that last pass. But with Norm's, I actually broke a headbolt when I got lost in the count on a hole, and over tightened - a lot. It was fun getting the bolt drilled so I could get it out, but the insert was solid. I would not want to back off of the last torque cycle for fear if lifting threads in the engine.

Might be an interesting test for someone to try - using old block and torque four or five bolts to spec, and then see how much more they can take until threads pull or bolts snap. From a sample of one, I have seen the bolt snap first, and I was probably 70 degrees past spec.

tateos
01-10-08, 06:25 PM
dhm37 - thanks for the info and also for alerting me to be careful not to lose track of where I am in the tightening sequence. I think I will write it down as I do it.

97Concours1
01-10-08, 07:27 PM
Use a Sharpie to mark your starting point on all the bolt heads after the (30 lb-ft torque) first pass is done. Mark a vertical line all the way down the side of the head bolt head, on to the washer, and then keep going down to the head. When you're done with the last pass, your marks should be rotated 190 degrees apart. This will be a little more than 1/2 a rotation as a ball park, which you then can easily verify from the marks.

Norm sent me some pictures of a test that he did on his inserts. He tightened a head bolt until it failed. I don't remember how far it went, but it was quite a ways. Give him a call if you have any questions.

tateos
01-11-08, 01:24 PM
Excellent suggestion 97Concours1 - thanks!

zonie77
01-11-08, 11:21 PM
The mark is a good way to do it. If something were to happen and you get mixed up it is OK to loosen and retighten the bolts. It takes heat cycling to set the sealant on them.

tateos
01-13-08, 07:50 PM
I finally got the block out of the cradle today. I had a hell of a time - there was a lot of corrosion around the rear/right dowel that didn't help, but I am embarrassed to admit the real problem was ME! Every car I ever worked on, at least as far as I can remember, had 3 flexplate to torque converter bolts. I thought I confirmed that was the case, but guess what - this car has 4! I ended up pulling the engine with the torque converter still attached to the engine with one bolt. I hope I didn't screw anything up on the input side on the trans - I will have to take a gander next weekend.

I have attached a photo of one of the old head bolts next to one of the Norms inserts - notice the difference between the diameter as well as the coarseness of the threads - I think the the difference is absolutely staggering! I used the old headbolts hand tightened into the inserts to yank the block and it was no problem at all. Since I needed the engine hoist to lift the block off the cradle today, I rested the body on jackstands under the bumper struts - basically in the same place I lifted the body from on top. it is a clear shot with no obstructions from below.

I still can't believe I missed that fourth bolt!

tateos
01-21-08, 12:57 PM
Got the oil pan off and cleaned this weekend. It was dirty on the outside, but quite clean on the inside - no sign of any sludge whatsoever - just a light film of what I will call "soot" - like what you see on the oil pan of an auto trans. Put the new gasket on the pan, bolted in a new oil level sensor (changed it as a precautionary measure - cost only around $17) and bolted it back up.

I took the old rear main seal off the way the manual recommends - drilled a 1/8" hole and used a dent puller - worked like a dream! The new seal is a different design and requires a special Kent Moore tool to install - J45930-A. I ordered direct from the manufacturer SPX/OTC - the cost was $262.50 - kind of a lot, but the manual says the new design seal REQUIRES the tool and if you don't use it the rear main seal will be damaged and/or improperly installed. I must say. the tool worked beautifully. I just placed the seal on the tool and threaded two pilot bolts into the crankshaft flange, and then just turned the drive on the tool and the new seal was pressed onto both the crankshaft AND into the block at the same time. I guess you can do anything if you try hard enough, but I can't see why you would try to install this seal without the special tool - I would never want to gamble since the cost of failure is too high (remove engine again!).

The manual says not to reuse flywheel to crankshaft bolts, but I did not have new ones, so I did reuse them. I noticed that there was coating of what appeared to be RTV on the bolt threads, which made sense to me, since the other side of the flange is open to the crankcase and oil could leak by the threads if they weren't sealed. I cleaned the bolt threads and put some RTV on them and on the threaded holes on the flange - hopefully that will work.

I struggled a little with getting the engine back in the cradle and bolted to the trans, but it is back in now. I cleaned the left bank head bolt holes in the block and installed the inserts - the right bank comes next, followed by the heads.

Stay tuned!

97 STS
01-21-08, 11:57 PM
dhm37, you mention Norms inserts. Where do you find them? I can only find the time serts?
Thanks, Bob

flyinlow
01-22-08, 10:57 AM
dhm37, you mention Norms inserts. Where do you find them? I can only find the time serts?
Thanks, Bob

I think these are the ones you are looking for http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/NORTHSTAR-ENGINE-NS300L-HEAD-BOLT-THREAD-INSERT-KIT_W0QQitemZ150208578008QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item1 50208578008

tateos
01-22-08, 04:18 PM
The process with the Norms inserts is:

1. Drill out the hole until the bit stops at the bottom of the existing hole (the tip of the drill bit is ground to prevent drilling too deep.

2. Use the tap with the tapered end first and tap all the way to the bottom.

3 Use the bottoming tap all the way to the bottom, to form the threads on the portion of the hole that the tapered end tap only partially threaded.

I found that by following this process, the insert, when bottomed in the hole, would be a little deeper than the 1" to 1 1/4" maximum distance from the deck specified by the Norm's instructions.

AJ is correct that you are then relying on the Loctite to prevent the insert from turning when you torque down the cylinder head bolts. A drill stop as he suggests would be a good solution.

Since I had already drilled all the holes on one bank when I learned the above, I found that by using only the first tapered-end tap, the inserts would all stop at between 1" and 1 1/8" deep - perfect! This process actually saves a step, since the bottoming tap is never even used. All you have to do is use the first tap until it bottoms, remove the tap and blow out the cutting oil and chips, and then test fit the insert - if it is between 1 and 1 1/4 inches, you are done tapping.

dhm37
01-23-08, 05:54 PM
dhm37, you mention Norms inserts. Where do you find them? I can only find the time serts?
Thanks, Bob

I called (or emailed) Norm and ordered them separately. I have my third set now, so far unused. They are a little less than $10 bucks apiece, as I remember.

97 STS
01-25-08, 12:11 AM
dhm37, I found Norm on ebay.
Thanks,
And tateos, great thread. I'm getting ready to start this same project on the 97 STS. Lots on good info here. Gives me hope that I will be able to pull it off.
Thanks, Bob

tateos
01-25-08, 09:25 PM
Yeah, Bob - the forum really does help give you the confidence to do this thing. Let me know if you get into it and get stuck and want to talk live - I'll send you my phone #. I am only a little more than 1/2 way through this thing, but I have learned SO much. Be sure to take note of the things I did WRONG, starting with trying to take the beast out from the top.

Loyal readers:

On the schedule for this weekend is re-installing the heads on the block. They are pretty dirty, so I am going to clean them by spraying them down with lots of WD-40 and then blowing them off and also coating the cams and lifters with assembly lube. I am also changing the steering rack in my car - maybe I will tackle that also, if I get ambitious. I am going to try to get a little extra done this weekend. Next weekend we drive to Las Vegas for a Super Bowl Party we were invited to at the Four Queens. Hoping to see the Pats go 19-0!

tateos
01-28-08, 01:29 PM
Broke a head bolt over the weekend - more info to follow later today

tateos
01-28-08, 03:55 PM
I have good news and bad news. The good news is the Norm's inserts are plenty stong. The bad news:

Over the weekend, I was torquing down the left bank cylinder head, and I got to the last 60 degrees and when I got to bolt 9, it suddenly started to get EASIER to turn. This was the first hole I had drilled and tapped, and when the insert was installed all the way to the bottom, it was a little deeper than it should have been. I installed the insert to the proper depth, but I thought maybe the loctite had let go when I was tightening the bolt and the insert was turning. I checked the torque on the rest of the bolts and they were around 80 ft pounds, so I decided to try turning bolt 9 until I reached 80 ft pounds, but the more I turned it, the EASIER it got to turn - until the bolt snapped!

I removed the other 9 bolts and the head and was eventually able to get the remainder of the head bolt out with an easy- out. I found that the insert had not turned at all - it was at the same depth as I had set it! I re-installed the head and inserted and tightened the other set of bolts - the ones I had bought for the right bank. This time everything went just fine.

I don't understand what went wrong... could it have been a defective bolt? I plan on ordering a new set of Fel-Pro bolts for the right bank - I got them from Rock Auto - $28.79 per bank

Submariner409
01-28-08, 05:24 PM
Assuming the head bolts were new (never reuse head bolts, particularly torque-to-yield types) someone owes you a replacement set free.

tateos
01-28-08, 08:14 PM
Yes - brandy new Fel-Pro bolts purchased from Rock Auto. Like I said, that was one that failed out of 20 - the other 19 worked fine. I will ask them what their return policy is, and I am planning to use a new set for the other bank - not re-use the ones that did not break. It was pretty scary until I got the broken part of the bolt out of the block - it was hard to drill, but came out really easily once I drilled it and inserted the easy-out.

Ranger
01-28-08, 08:40 PM
Geez, as if you do not have enough problems. Murphy's law.

AlBundy
01-28-08, 09:43 PM
I don't have much to add besides great documentation as this thread will help many(not me I hope/pray).

97Concours1
01-29-08, 08:48 AM
I have good news and bad news. The good news is the Norm's inserts are plenty stong. The bad news:

Over the weekend, I was torquing down the left bank cylinder head, and I got to the last 60 degrees and when I got to bolt 9, it suddenly started to get EASIER to turn. This was the first hole I had drilled and tapped, and when the insert was installed all the way to the bottom, it was a little deeper than it should have been. I installed the insert to the proper depth, but I thought maybe the loctite had let go when I was tightening the bolt and the insert was turning. I checked the torque on the rest of the bolts and they were around 80 ft pounds, so I decided to try turning bolt 9 until I reached 80 ft pounds, but the more I turned it, the EASIER it got to turn - until the bolt snapped!

I removed the other 9 bolts and the head and was eventually able to get the remainder of the head bolt out with an easy- out. I found that the insert had not turned at all - it was at the same depth as I had set it! I re-installed the head and inserted and tightened the other set of bolts - the ones I had bought for the right bank. This time everything went just fine.

I don't understand what went wrong... could it have been a defective bolt? I plan on ordering a new set of Fel-Pro bolts for the right bank - I got them from Rock Auto - $28.79 per bank

I had a similar thing happen. That's why I was thinking about stopping at 45 degrees on the last pass (if I ever do another one). All but one of mine went above 90 ft-lbs. One seemed to "yeild" and only got to about 88 lb-ft. I was uncomfortable with it, but I left it in anyway and so far (6k miles) it is ok. I suspected the insert turning or stripping threads too. But after reading your post, I think my bolt was begining to fail too.

I think the Norm's inserts provide much greater holding power than the original aluminum threads. This puts a lot more stress on the unused section of the bolt threads between the bolt shank and the insert. Once this portion begins to yeild, there is very little warning before it fails. Rockauto bolt quality is probably less consistant than OEM too.

Submariner409
01-29-08, 10:00 AM
Unfortunately bolts are no longer made of anything approaching uniform quality because the majority are made overseas. I have no idea where GM/Ford get their bolts from, but I'll bet the farm it ain't Taiwan.

For our Olds 455 boat engines we use exclusively ARP, and have great results. I have no idea if they make N* bolts or kits. Worth a phone call.
Not cheap, though.......

NHRATA01
01-29-08, 11:15 AM
ARP would be a great option if they have bolts that will work with an N*. I used them in my LS1 and got rid of the pain in the butt torque-to-yield factory style bolts. I didn't like the idea of repeatedly cranking on headbolts in an aluminum block as hard as was required for TTY bolts. The ARP's should clamp better, and be a bit easier on the N* block threads.

tateos
01-29-08, 11:39 AM
97CONCOURS1 - you bring up a good point I had not thought of - the bolt DID break above the insert - I never really thought about that - there were only about 5 threads left on the bolt. As tight as these bolts are tightened, I am surprised the aluminum EVER held. The FSM does specify just two 60 degree turns after the initial torqueing, but that has been revised to 3 60 degree turns (or is it 2 60s and a 70?), so maybe that is why the aluminum was strong enough from the factory.

AJxtcman
01-30-08, 09:23 PM
I found a set of heads on ebay. Guess what came out with these bolts?
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/0ed4_1.jpg

tateos
01-31-08, 12:14 PM
AJ - that looks familiar.

I guess I have to make a confession to you guys. I left this out of my posts so far, but when I removed the head, after breaking the bolt, one of the OTHER bolts came out with the insert still attached. It did not strip - it just unscrewed. I apparently forgot to apply Loctite to that insert, and the sealer on the bolts was strong enough to hold the insert and cause the insert to turn out. I installed the extra insert that Norm supplies, with Loctite this time, and everything went fine.

krechtr
01-31-08, 09:46 PM
Tateos... I'm glad you have this thread. I just bought a 99 Seville for a song and dance last weekend 'cause it has a bad HG and a botched re-paint on the passenger side. I originally planned to use the N* for my Jeep and part the rest of the car out but... WOW.. it's a nice car and I don't have the heart to gut it. The plan now is to fix the motor, fix the botched Maaco repaint and sell it. I took the motor out last weekend (yeah... what a pain). I WAS planning to replace the head gaskets this weekend and get the motor back in the car UNTIL I read you post. I have replaced many a head gasket but the N* seems to be quite a different animal. I don't have a service manual and was hoping to "work" my way through it. Like everyone said... the Haynes manual isn't exactly a wealth of information on this. I have a couple of questions: 1. The Haynes manual tells you how to do MOST of the "sub-tasks" as far as I can tell... is there something I will miss without the service manual? I don't really want to spend the money if I don't have to for 1 job. 2. The rear head is the problem... is there any reason why I should do the front head? AND 3. What are the chances I can get away with replacing the head without installing inserts? If all of the headbolts come out clean when i remove them is it even worth trying?

Ranger
01-31-08, 10:14 PM
Just my $0.02
Do both heads while the motor is out. Don't attempt it without Timeserting. Some threads may pull on final torquing or will likely fail later. I realize you are going to sell it, but personally I would rather do the job right and sell it with a clean conscience.

krechtr
01-31-08, 10:29 PM
Ranger... I'm not trying to sell anyone a lemon or I would have just put some barsleak in it and called it a day. Thank's for the advice. Like I said, it is a really nice car (I don't know how many cows had to die for that interior). Does anyone know the best deal for the timeserts?

Ranger
01-31-08, 11:08 PM
Don't misunderstand me, I didn't mean to imply that you were.

http://www.timesert.com.
You might find a used kit on Ebay. Probably have to get the serts from Timesert. Or you might try Norms inserts on ebay. AJ seems to like them much better.

Destroyer
01-31-08, 11:29 PM
Tateos... I'm glad you have this thread. I just bought a 99 Seville for a song and dance last weekend 'cause it has a bad HG and a botched re-paint on the passenger side. I originally planned to use the N* for my Jeep and part the rest of the car out but... WOW.. it's a nice car and I don't have the heart to gut it. The plan now is to fix the motor, fix the botched Maaco repaint and sell it. I took the motor out last weekend (yeah... what a pain). I WAS planning to replace the head gaskets this weekend and get the motor back in the car UNTIL I read you post. I have replaced many a head gasket but the N* seems to be quite a different animal. I don't have a service manual and was hoping to "work" my way through it. Like everyone said... the Haynes manual isn't exactly a wealth of information on this. I have a couple of questions: 1. The Haynes manual tells you how to do MOST of the "sub-tasks" as far as I can tell... is there something I will miss without the service manual? I don't really want to spend the money if I don't have to for 1 job. 2. The rear head is the problem... is there any reason why I should do the front head? AND 3. What are the chances I can get away with replacing the head without installing inserts? If all of the headbolts come out clean when i remove them is it even worth trying?So you are attempting to do a $3000-$4500 repair on a $2-$3k car?. LOL, good luck. :thumbsup:

Zorb750
02-01-08, 03:06 AM
So you are attempting to do a $3000-$4500 repair on a $2-$3k car?. LOL, good luck. :thumbsup:

It's not even a $1000 repair if he does it himself.

krechtr
02-01-08, 01:57 PM
So you are attempting to do a $3000-$4500 repair on a $2-$3k car?. LOL, good luck. :thumbsup:

They are going for between $5 and $10K on Craigslist... plus I'm a pretty good salesman. I guess if took it to a shop they may charge me $2 or $3K but if I took my cars to the shop I wouldn't be spending time in this forum. I got all the info last night I need from another website to fix this without a manual. Even with paint, parts and buying a NEW timesert kit I will have less than a grand in this car... worst case, I will cut it up and still make money. Want to buy some leather seats? What?

Ranger.... I didn't misunderstand you... you were right and I appreciate your advice. I like to think of myself as a quasi-perfectionist so I want the job done right. I talked to a caddy tech and he told me that I only need to replace any bad threads and the threads that surround them. Since I have to buy the timesert kit anyway just for this job, however, I am just going to go ahead and do them all.

Ranger
02-01-08, 02:33 PM
Doing them all is good insurance and always recommended. I am surprised that a tech would advise otherwise. Best of luck.

tateos
02-01-08, 02:34 PM
krechtr - Do them all - my front head was the BAD one, but once I removed it, I could see the rear head wasn't far behind. Also, the cylinder head crossover gaskets showed signs of leaking - not enough to show up on the ground, but there was definitely a trail of leakage. I really like the Norm's kit, plus it was only $349 on e-bay including shipping - do a search for "NS300L". Either that, or get the BIG-SERTS, but I think the BIG-SERTS are way more expensive.

Personally, I would never do this job to make money. This job is too much of a PITA - it had to be a labor of love for me to do it. I couldn't bear to see my beautiful car, that I have owned since new, go to the crusher.

krechtr
02-01-08, 07:29 PM
Thanks for the advice tateos. Sounds like you are getting a lot more involved in your car that I plan on this one. Are you working on your car this weekend or taking off for a Super Bowl party? Things are crazy in the valley this weekend with the golf tournament and the ball game.

krechtr
02-02-08, 07:39 PM
Got the heads off today. Anyone have a timesert kit they want to sell?

AJxtcman
02-03-08, 03:53 PM
Take a look at this Root cause failure thread

I think you need a login to see the Pictures.
Root Cause Failure (http://caddyinfo.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=16742)

krechtr
02-04-08, 06:26 PM
AJ... good thread and great pictures. Thanks. When I pulled the head bolts, none of the threads came out with them... Or if they did... it wasn't as obvious as the ones in the pictures you posted. Just looked like old sealant; although the bolt holes around where the gasket blew looked wetter and nastier than the others. I haven't cleaned up the block or the heads yet but I didn't see any obvious cracks or pitting. I am going to go ahead and order Norm's kit off ebay and use those just as insurance... I don't want to have to pull the motor again and I think it will be a selling point for the snow birds (all the retired people who come to Arizona for the winter). Anything else I need to know to keep me out of trouble?

tateos.. I really didn't mean to hijack your thread. Hopefully your aren't upset.

tateos
02-05-08, 08:04 PM
krechtr - I went to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl - we were invited to the Four Queens for 3 free nights and a great Super Bowl Party. We left Las Vegas down $160 but stopped in Laughlin for 1/2 hour and ended up the weekend up $65.

When you loosened the bolts in the "wet" holes, did they "snap" like the rest? Mine didn't. Also, didn't the bolts in the wet holes come out with aluminum on the threads? Mine did.

I suggest you read (or re-read) AJs suggestions about the depth that you drill to, or at least calibrate the depth of the threaded portion. Like I wrote, I drilled the holes all the way, but then only tapped to the desired depth.

Richard Moore

tateos
02-05-08, 08:36 PM
AJ - nice info and photos (well, some of the photo's are blurry...) at the link you provided for other site. Not sure if i ever asked your opinion - what goes first - the gasket or the threads? I was starting to think it is the gasket, but if thread depth and pitch changes have helped, maybe it is the threads that let go?

I contacted Rock Auto about the head bolt that snapped and he said it usually only happens if a bolt is overtightened, but he sent me a new set of bolts no charge and no questions asked; I thought that was pretty nice of them.

krechtr
02-05-08, 10:14 PM
Tateos... I am glad you enjoyed Vegas. It's amazing how much they have cleaned up the downtown area. We stayed at the Golden Nugget a few months ago and had a lot of fun.

Yes, all of the bolts popped when I pulled them and no, none of the threads appeared to have come out. I already ordered the kit from Norm so I am committed now but based on AJ's feedback I am not convinced that they needed re-sleeved. I still haven't cleaned the threads out yet so it is hard to tell on some if they are still intact or not becuase of all of the crud in the bolt holes.

By the way, how long did it take Norm to get the kit to you once you paid for it? I paid for the kit two days ago and haven't heard a peep; no invoice, no tracking number, no email at all. I was hoping to get the kit by Saturday so I can get the heads back on and the motor back in the Caddy this weekend.

krechtr
02-06-08, 12:36 PM
By the way, how long did it take Norm to get the kit to you once you paid for it? I paid for the kit two days ago and haven't heard a peep; no invoice, no tracking number, no email at all.

Actually Norm emailed me last night... I think my days were running together. I didn't pay for it until the day before yesterday and he shipped it that day. Very nice guy. Very receptive. Looks like I may get to finish the job this weekend after all.

tateos
02-06-08, 01:59 PM
I think I received the Norms kit in 2 days - I think he ships FEDEX 2 day.

Do you have a helper? I found I really needed one to use the tap block for a guide and help me drill the holes straight (perpendicular to the block).

Where are you in AZ? I am in Fountain Hills

krechtr
02-06-08, 07:28 PM
Tateos... I am in East Mesa (Signal Butte and Broadway). My son and his buddy helped me get the motor off the car. He is actually the experienced one with overhead cams and front wheel drive cars (Honda freak). I am kind of nervous about drilling the block. I read you post though and it didn't look like you had too much of a problem... if memory serves, you had only done one bank at that point though. Have you finished drilling the block? Did you get your heads back on? If so, did you have any problems? Any advice for me? Like I said, I have to work all day Saturday but I plan to at least get the motor back together on Sunday.

krechtr
02-09-08, 12:48 AM
got Norms kit today... wow... 2 days!!! I wish all ebay transactions were that smooth. I can't wait to install it tomorrow. Too bad I am still waiting for the gaskets and head to get here (that I ordered before I orderd Norms Kit).... I will let you know when this beast purrrrrrrrsssssss. Anyone want to buy a 99 Cady Deville (new head gaskets, fresh paint)?

97Concours1
02-09-08, 07:42 AM
I contacted Rock Auto about the head bolt that snapped and he said it usually only happens if a bolt is overtightened, but he sent me a new set of bolts no charge and no questions asked; I thought that was pretty nice of them.

The more I think about it, I just think the "new" torque specs are too high. The original spec was 22 ft-lbs + 60 degrees + 60 degrees + 60 degrees. The new spec is 30 ft-lbs + 70 degrees + 60 degrees + 60 degrees. Also, the manual has two different specs in it. Under the list of torque specs in the front, it has 22'+60+60+60. Back in the Engine Mechanical section, it spells out 22'+60+60, with one less 60 degree pass. If you didn't look at the torque specs at the front of the book, this would be what you would torque to. I torqued mine to the "new" specs, but I was really uncomfortable on the last pass. I felt they were tight enough without the last pass, but I followed the specs and did it anyway. I had one bolt begin to fail (yeild), just as Tateos did. I left it in and so far it is ok, but I wish now that I had replaced it. If I ever do another one, I'm either going to completely drop the third 60 degree pass, or greatly shorten it.

STEVEHO
02-09-08, 10:01 AM
I've been following this project with great interest, even though it is way beyond my capabilities. I notice a good deal of worry about the final torque value of the head bolts. With a really good forum like this, isn't there someone with a direct connection to Cadillac engineering to get a positive answer and explaination for this very important final head bolt torque value?

97Concours1
02-10-08, 08:19 AM
I'm probably the one that keeps questioning the torque values all the time. Since I had the same problem that Tatos did, I just think it is worth some discussion so others might avoid a problem. As far as consulting Cadillac engineering, I think we are on our own when we use the aftermarket Norm's inserts and Rockauto head bolts. These two variables change things enough that Cadillac would probably not have any suggestions except to use original GM parts. The problem here could just be the quality of the Rockauto head bolts. They are much less expensive and probably not as consistant in their strength.

Submariner409
02-10-08, 10:38 AM
Get in touch with ARP. If anyone other than CHRFAB knows torque and bolts from different manufacturers, it's them.

AlBundy
02-10-08, 04:54 PM
AJ should know or at least give info on what he does when he changes them out.

krechtr
02-10-08, 07:22 PM
Thanks for the help today Tateos. Got all of the inserts in... it took a lot more time than I though it would but they all ended up pretty straight. I should get the head gaskets and bolts in tomorrow and plan to bolt the heads back on Wednesday. This is what AJ posted on the Fiero thread:

Cylinder Head Bolt (M11)
First Pass .................................................. .....................................30 Nm.........22 lb ft
Second Pass .................................................. .................................+60 degrees
Third Pass .................................................. .....................................+60 degrees
Final Pass .................................................. .............................+60 degrees (180 degrees Total)
Cylinder Head Bolt (M6).............................................. .......................12 Nm.........106 lb in

that is what I am going to use... will let you know how it turns out.

tateos
02-11-08, 12:33 PM
krechtr and I live about 30 minutes apart in the Phoenix area, so I went down and gave him a little help and advice on Sunday.

On my own project, I got the right/rear head on and bolted up this weekend - also bolted up the coolant crossover and replaced the rack and pinion steering gear with a new one (mine was original and pretty worn out and suffered from "morning sickness").

I don't think the Fel-Pro cylinder head bolts I got from Rock Auto are inferior - they are made in US and 29 out of 30 worked just fine - I think I just got one bad one, and that could happen to anyone. By the way, did I ever mention that Rock Auto said they had not heard of these bolts snapping, but they sent me a new set of bolts, no charge and no questions asked - I didn't even have to return the broken bolt or the rest of the set. I think that is pretty good customer service.

blb
02-11-08, 08:35 PM
With a really good forum like this, isn't there someone with a direct connection to Cadillac engineering to get a positive answer and explaination for this very important final head bolt torque value?

If Cadillac Engineering knew what they were doing in the first place, there would be no need for this thread, and there wouldn't be a big market for aftermarket inserts for the Northstar.

Rafterd
02-12-08, 08:40 PM
Went to the dealer ship today and they quoted me a price of $2127.75 and I furnish the inserts. I thought that was not bad.

Bill

Rafterd
02-12-08, 08:44 PM
Oh forgot, Please keep this going I am enjoying reading this.

Bill

97Concours1
02-13-08, 05:29 AM
If Cadillac Engineering knew what they were doing in the first place, there would be no need for this thread, and there wouldn't be a big market for aftermarket inserts for the Northstar.

I'll second that. I've never really understood the reverence shown to GM at times related to this problem (i.e. "you can use Norm's inserts - they're not GM approved".) I'm as loyal as anyone when it comes to GM products, but the ball was dropped somewhere on this one.

97Concours1
02-13-08, 05:43 AM
Delete

STEVEHO
02-13-08, 08:09 AM
Actually I was talking about the torque value discrepancy in the FSM. I was also under the mistaken? impression that Rock Auto sold G.M. parts. Years ago when I was into building up VW engines, the first thing you did was to Helicoil all the block fasteners. So it's not unusual for a high performance light alloy engine to have this kind of problem. I'm very impressed with the engineering that went into this engine but if my head gaskets blew, I would probably be joining you in your displeasure with GM. I wish you all a successful repair job.

krechtr
02-13-08, 10:27 PM
Got the motor back together today... no problems with the inserts. I am ready to put it back in the car tomorrow morning but have haven't installed the harmonic balancer yet. My neighbor told me that it has to be lined up to work correctly but I don't see any marks on the timing chain cover or the balancer to line up with. I am doing this work from AJ's post on the Fiero website but it doesn't mention it. Anyone have info?

Ranger
02-13-08, 10:31 PM
The only thing I can tell you is that the oil pump is driven off of it and it MUST be torqued properly or you will have oil pressure issues. Torque is quite high as I recall.

krechtr
02-13-08, 11:03 PM
I have the torque value... I just don't know if it is suppose to line up with something like the timing gears do... like the groove on the balancer of a SBC is lined up with a timing mark.

Ranger
02-13-08, 11:12 PM
I don't think so, but I would not swear to that. See if Ewill or AJ pipe in. I'll PM them for you.

AJxtcman
02-14-08, 06:14 AM
Got the motor back together today... no problems with the inserts. I am ready to put it back in the car tomorrow morning but have haven't installed the harmonic balancer yet. My neighbor told me that it has to be lined up to work correctly but I don't see any marks on the timing chain cover or the balancer to line up with. I am doing this work from AJ's post on the Fiero website but it doesn't mention it. Anyone have info?

It can go on at any position. Just make sure it is tight.

ewill3rd
02-14-08, 06:50 AM
If you didn't mark it when you took it off, no point in worrying about indexing the balancer now.
Just put it on, there is no keyway to align it with.
Torque is pretty important but without the proper tools it will be hard to set it at the factory spec.
It is really high.

97Concours1
02-14-08, 09:49 AM
Got the motor back together today... no problems with the inserts...

I don't want to beat a dead horse, but what did you have success with in your case? Torque: 22'#+60deg+60deg+60deg? Aftermarket (Rockauto?) bolts? Just curious.

krechtr
02-14-08, 10:43 AM
I don't want to beat a dead horse, but what did you have success with in your case? Torque: 22'#+60deg+60deg+60deg? Aftermarket (Rockauto?) bolts? Just curious.

Actually felpro bolts from partstrain. 22 plus three passes of 60%... No issues whatsoever.

Thanks for the info AJ! I am going out to the garage now to install that balancer.

I have the day off so my goal is to get the car running tonight so the paint work can be done tomorrow.

Submariner409
02-14-08, 01:32 PM
Don't forget that the oil pump gear is driven by the crank, and that the balancer torque is critical to the oil pump function. I think you're looking at over 200 ft/lb of torque. The '02 FSM calls for 37 ft/lb first pass then 120 degrees..... that's a lot for a big bolt........you need to lock the flexplate to do it. You also need to prime the oil pump before you bolt everything up because the pump sits above the full oil level and will not self-prime.

tateos
02-14-08, 02:13 PM
Worked on my project a little last night - how far on the camshaft should the water pump pulley go? Is the pulley hub supposed to be flush with the end of the camshaft? There is no stop and I don't remember how it was before I took it off...

Thanks guys

jbrenn7000
02-14-08, 02:51 PM
tateos, hi, i'm working on doing the HG in 94 deville concours.....easier to take harmonic balancer bolt loose before removing engine. I unhooked the coil wires so car does not start.....THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT..... than with the socket and wrench on the bolt, i positioned the end of the wrench so that it would hit the ground or stabilizer arm when I cranked the engine. I cranked the engine for about 1 second or 2 until I heard the thud of the wrench hit the ground vwalla! bolt was loose.... have had to do this several times to remove a harmonic balancer bolt......sometimes the first try does not work and it has to be set up again for a second or third try.... I learned this trick from a mechanic friend that had his own shop for about 15 yrs. if your engine is already out, try some break free on it, and tap it a little to jar it and break to bond, if you use a 6 point socket, you can not round the corners on the bolt. if too late for that, file down to next smaller six point socket size and you will get it. if out of car, you may need a 12-15' pole on the end of you wrench, use a 1/2 in drive.

krechtr
02-14-08, 03:09 PM
Tateos... maybe my motor was dirtier than yours but it was obvious where my water pump pully was suppose to stop. Also, if you look straight down you can line it up pretty close with the pully on the pump. Also... got the motor back under the car and got most of the wires and hoses connected... taking a break for lunch. We may even be able to get this thing fired up tonight (crossing my fingers). If this doesn't work I will post a picture of me blowing the car up in the desert.

tateos
02-14-08, 07:14 PM
OK Tom - good luck - let us know how it works out - maybe I will come down and visit again and see how you did. I want to see the fender paint job also.

jbrenn7000 - thanks for the advice - all good advice - I have used that trick before, but did not think there was a good place to wedge the breaker bar. Anyway, I did finally get the bolt off after the engine was OUT of the car and I will install a new bolt - the old one was way too mangled

Richard Moore

krechtr
02-14-08, 09:47 PM
Didn't get it done today. You were right about the half shats Tateos... they are a bear. We got the left side done and will finish the right in the morning (I have to find those straps you were telling me about)... I didn't take some of the stuff apart so I wasn't sure how it went back together and I ended up breaking the belt tensioner trying to put it back together so I guess I get to go junk-yard hunting (or pay way too much at the dealer). Got a lot of the tough stuff done today and I think we just have "buttoning up" stuff to do tomorrow.... hopefully we can get it running and start on the paint prep. I need to get this thing done! Too many projects, not enough time.

tateos
02-15-08, 12:04 PM
Tom - you can buy the tensioner at any parts store - Checker - Auto Zone - NAPA - whatever. I tried to find the cv joint boot clamps, but no one had one big enough - not even the dealer. I ended up using the old clamp and used end nippers to compress the clamp and a screwdriver to force it on. Call me to discuss if you want - you still have my work #, right?

krechtr
02-15-08, 11:16 PM
Still not running but closer. Turns out that the heater core broke and I had to replace that (they made the part the heater hose hook ups out of plastic... what kind of crap is that?!?!?!). Wanted to crank it tonight but the battery is dead. Put the charger on it and tomorrow morning I just have a buy a new hose and fix a few broken vacumm lines to fix and route and hopefully I can get it running in the morning. For some reason I can't see where the large vacumn line for the brake booster goes so I will have to figure that out too. Oh, I found the tentioner at a local wrecking yard for $20.

krechtr
02-16-08, 11:49 AM
It's alive. If that hose connection would have been a snake it would have bit me. Got a bad whining noise that i have to diagnose (may be that stupid tentioner I got at the wrecking yard). It's running though and that is a step in the right direction.

krechtr
02-16-08, 12:12 PM
Okay. There is a very loud, very high pitched squeal coming the driver's side of the motor. At first I thought it may be the water pump pulley connected to the cam (it may still be) or the tensioner for the WP belt so I took the belt off and cranked the car... still squealed. The pulley is straight and appears to be lined up perfectly. The belt is good. Would something make the throttle body squeal like that? I replaced the TB gasked and torqued it to spec. It sound like the squeal is coming from that area. The car starts and idles great. Any ideas would be appreciated.

Rafterd
02-16-08, 03:55 PM
Does the squeel vary with engine speed? Is it maybe a high pitch wistle? Vacume line maybe, but might idle rough if it was that.???? Spray some starting fluid in that area and see if the engine speeds up. If so Vacume leak somewhere.

Bill

Ranger
02-16-08, 04:37 PM
Vacuum leak would be my guess.

krechtr
02-16-08, 04:41 PM
Thanks I will try that but the squeal is steady no matter what the engine RPMs are. Steady squeal... that is why I thought it was a pulley.

Ranger
02-16-08, 05:17 PM
If it does not vary with RPM it is not vacuum. Gotta be a pulley or belt.

krechtr
02-17-08, 06:19 PM
Didn't work on the car today... it sounds like it is coming from the upper water pump puley which of course is connected to the cam... is there a possility that I got something in the cam bearing that would make it squeal like that? I disconnected the H20 pump belt so that elimiates the lower pulleys and it isn't coming from the right side of the motor so I am thinking that it has to be the cam right?

Ranger
02-17-08, 07:24 PM
Tensioner bearing?

tateos
02-18-08, 12:54 PM
Tom - could it be the pulley rubbing against the cam cover? Remember I asked last week how to know how far on to press the pulley? I think if you pressed the pulley on too far, it would rub against the cam cover in the hub area and squeal. What about the seal - did you replace it? Did you lubricate it? Maybe that is the source of the noise?

Well - my project is coming along - bolted some more stuff up this weekend - got the timing case cover on and pressed the balancer on; I bought the SNAP-ON tool someone suggested earlier in this thread and it worked GREAT. Still waiting for the oil cooler line and crankshaft pulley bolt I ordered from GM PARTS Direct - also trying to figure out how the AC compressor and alternator bolt up - just minor stuff like that

krechtr
02-18-08, 10:31 PM
Tateos... if you need any pics of the alt or AC compressor let me know. BTW the pulley is not rubbing the valve cover and I already put some lube on it... I wish it was something that simple. I need to get a new battery and a coolant overflow tank and I will most likely take it to a friend's shop and have him figure out the squeal so I can get it on the market.

tateos
02-19-08, 10:39 AM
OK - thanks Tom - good luck finding the source of the squeal. I will let you know if I need some pics.

I did a little work last night - took the fuel rail off the intake manifold - cleaned up the manifold - changed the o-rings on the injectors with the new ones that came in the in the Fel-Pro gasket kit. The Fel-Pro kits come with every possible gasket and o-ring that is on the engine - really great!

I got a shipping confirmation from GM Parts Direct that my parts will arrive this week, so with any luck, the cradle will be bolted in this weekend.

Twill08
02-19-08, 11:18 AM
this is really a long job people are not kidding i just picked up a 97 eldo etc for 200$ with a bad HG, worked on it with my father on the weekends, like you said the only major prob was when we went to put the head bolts back in they where striped :banghead:, the car is now running great with few problems and i wanted to know if anyone could help with some issues, the heater core seems to get plugged and i loose heat after about 50 miles we have flushed it about 5 times and i get the heat back but it fades, and some issues with the ABS/ TcS lights on the dash. the car was sitting for 4 years when we found it so it may be a bad air line for the TCS but not sure

Ranger
02-19-08, 03:24 PM
:hijacked:
Start a new thread.

Twill08
02-19-08, 07:37 PM
sry i was not trying to steal the thread i was asking it here because the problems started after I did the HG job and thought some people here may have ran into the same thing

Ranger
02-19-08, 09:00 PM
No problem. Start a new thread and they'll chime in.

krechtr
02-20-08, 04:01 PM
tateos... PM me your email address. I still am not authorized to PM (FNG).

tateos
02-20-08, 05:28 PM
Tom (and anyone else who is listening) - it is tateos@yahoo.com or rmoore@usdigitalmedia.com

BigJon
02-20-08, 06:03 PM
well tateos i just sat here and read all 15 pages and learned alot i cant wait to get my self in this mess now sound like it going to be fun.. not really kind of wondering what i got my self in to... thanks for the help again

Rafterd
02-20-08, 10:35 PM
Am thinking about this also. I have a full shop with hoist and all pnuematic tools. I too am 51 years young so why not. Loved the thread. The cliff hanger on the noise has me on edge!!! One question, on torquing the headbolts, you torque the bolts in sequence to 30nm, then turn 60 degrees three times for a total of 180 degrees or 1/2 turn??? Is this correct? I read thr FSM and thats the way I understand it. No torque on the finished tightened bolt??

Bill

Ranger
02-20-08, 10:59 PM
Yup, they now use torque angle. Much more accurate ........so I am told.

tateos
02-21-08, 01:46 PM
I did 22 ft lbs then 60/60/60 on the left head - that was in the FSM. Then I read that it was supposed to be 30 ft lbs and 60/60/60 and a different tightening sequence, so that is what I did on the right head. I left the left head as-is - hopefully the slight difference in tightening and the different sequence will not cause any problems

mechanix
02-21-08, 08:48 PM
For what it's worth Richard, I made my living for 17 years as a professional mechanic. And my '97 DeVille is the most difficult automobile I've ever had to work on! I've taken the engine out both ways...top AND bottom...and I prefer the top...it's a lot less work. If you haven't already ordered your time-sert kit, do it now. There's no way the threads in the block will hold the head bolt torque. That is why your head gasket failed. My kit cost around $500, I think. Good luck!
Mechanix

tateos
02-22-08, 11:46 AM
I received the new crankshaft bolt and oil cooler line yesterday. The bolt went on really easily - it wasn't hard AT ALL to tighten to 37 ft lbs plus 120 degrees. It was so easy that I thought I did it wrong and loosened it and then re-tightened it. I don't understand why the original bolt was so damn hard to get off - I guess maybe 10 years explains it?

Anyway, the bolt is on, the power steering pump and AC compressor are bolted up, the oil cooler lines are installed on the block, the PS lines are attached. Tonight, I bolt up the alternator, install the drive belt, install the new heater hoses on the car (easier to do with the engine out - they were fine, but a few years old, so why gamble?), and hook up the engine hoist to the body to get ready to slide the engine back under the car and install it tomorrow.

1starrider
02-22-08, 02:20 PM
well i could not figer how the heck to get the old head bolts out they would not turn at all but after looking at it for about an hour i decided why not use my map gas hand held tank and heat/warm up the block where the bolts are at
and sure enoff the bolts came right out with out any thread pull.
has any one tryed this? when i get ready to re torque the heads down what is the torque patern and lbs/degrees

thanks alot

tateos
02-22-08, 04:01 PM
Use a 1/2 breaker bar and a lot of force and the head bolts will break loose. The stripped holes will turn easily

1starrider
02-23-08, 02:08 AM
hope to be ready monday to re torque the heads down what is the torque paterrn and lbs/degrees
frt of head 3 small bolts then the 10 big bolts how is the torque patern like this
10/9/6/5/1/2/3/4/7/8 with 1 & 2 in the middle working out ?

thanks for all info

Rafterd
02-23-08, 05:29 PM
You always start with the middle upper then lower. Then one right upper then one left lower. Then the next right lower then left upper and so on till you reach both ends. Always work from inside out. 30 ft/lbs then 60/60/60 degrese on each. Good luck.

Bill

1starrider
02-24-08, 01:57 AM
You always start with the middle upper then lower. Then one right upper then one left lower. Then the next right lower then left upper and so on till you reach both ends. Always work from inside out. 30 ft/lbs then 60/60/60 degrese on each. Good luck.

Bill
thank you this is what i was looking for :D

tateos
02-24-08, 09:18 AM
Well, the cradle with everything on is back in the car and bolted up. I did end up bolting up the cradle and then having to drop it again to pass something up from below - this happened a few times. The hardest part was getting the steering column coupling back on the steering rack - it must have taken an hour or two to get it on! I think maybe the problem was I had the cradle hanging down in the back for easier access and that made the angles of the rack and the coupling different enough that they would not connect. I was finally successful once I jacked up the rear of the cradle close to all the way to the body - even then it was still hard to do (that boot gets in the way!), but the coupling finally dropped in place. The struts are re-installed loosely and today I plan to bolt up the wheels and put the front end on the dolly and roll the front end of the car back in until the car is straight in the garage (remember, I had the car diagonally in my two car garage so I would have room in front for the hoist to lift the body). It will be nice to have the other side of the garage back!

krechtr - update please - is the Deville ready for sale yet?

1starrider
02-24-08, 12:21 PM
thank you this is what i was looking for :D

well i got the bad news:crying2: i thouth that the threads in the block were ok but tryed to torque down the the left head & got to bolt #3 and could not even get 30 ft/lbs .stripped out....

orders a thread kit from ebay NORTHSTAR ENGINE NS300L HEAD BOLT THREAD INSERT KIT 349.00

what do you all think the shop labor would be on this complete head gasket job would be ?

thanks is advance

tateos
02-25-08, 03:45 PM
1starrider:

Labor has got to around 20 hours, just to replace the head gaskets.

My Eldo does now have the wheels bolted back up and is back straight in the garage. I did dent the right front fender pushing the car back in place - I guess I don't know my own strength! The fender popped in when I was pushing the car and I was able to pretty much pop it out from the back, but I did crack the paint a little and left a smallish dent.

I was planning to have a garage evacuate and re-charge my AC, but I bought a pneumatic powered vacuum pump at Harbor Freight yesterday and will try to do it myself. Does anyone have any experience with one of these Harbor Freight units? I mean - do these things work - it was only $17

BigJon
02-25-08, 04:02 PM
thats cool got any more pictures? of the job... i got my new air compressor and hoist yesterday :-) cant wait to start

jeffrsmith
02-25-08, 07:09 PM
1starrider:

I was planning to have a garage evacuate and re-charge my AC, but I bought a pneumatic powered vacuum pump at Harbor Freight yesterday and will try to do it myself. Does anyone have any experience with one of these Harbor Freight units? I mean - do these things work - it was only $17

I have one of these. It works great, used it to pull a vacuum on my 92 Lebaron Vert, and my 90 LeSabre (it does use a lot of air, hope your compressor can handle it). I purchased a A/C gauge manifold (also Harbor Freight) for about $20 from ebay so that I could make sure the vacuum held - another good toy for the garage.

Rafterd
02-25-08, 08:54 PM
Yes I have one of those also. It does use a lot of air, but works good. I think you also have to regulate the air pressure to around 50 - 60 lbs.

Bill

tateos
02-26-08, 10:00 AM
Thanks for the feedback on the vacuum pump guys - the compressor I have I also bought at Harbor Freight - it is a pretty small one - maybe 12 gallons? - rated at 5 CFM @90 PSI, but I doubt that is true - it has a hard time keeping up with my impact wrench. Here is a picture for BigJon of the engine/trans/steering on the cradle just before going in:

BigJon
02-26-08, 02:57 PM
looks like it coming along great for ya. i brought a 26 gal 1.5 hp air compressor i cant wait to start. got any other pictures ?

krechtr
02-27-08, 03:55 PM
Much drama at my house and haven't touched the caddy other than to FINALLY get the title in my hand... turns out it is a 98; not a 99. Tateos I am sorry that I never sent you any pics but my life turned very hectic very fast. Sounds like you are right on the edge of catching up to me (hopefully with out the squeal). I looked for a coolant reservoir at a junk yard but haven't found one yet. I may end up having to go to the dealer for this part. My plan is to spend a few more hours trying to find out what the damn noise is and if I can't I will take it to a buddy of mine that has a shop and hopefully he can figure it out. I will let you know when I find out what it is.

tateos
02-28-08, 10:24 AM
No problem Tom - I figured it out. I recommend you get the coolant reservoir from GMPartsDirect.com - I did a couple years ago when mine started to leak from the area where the small hose connects (I think they all do that eventually).

Here is what I paid 12/28/05 - much less than the local dealer:

1 3540041 TANK ASM- 1.240 47.25
HANDLING CHARGE 3.43
Comments:
3,17858803270 Subtotal: $50.68
Freight: $6.97
NC Tax: $0.00
Core Charge: $0.00
Misc: $0.00
Total: $57.65


I have bolted on the intake manifold, the oil filter is on, the crankcase is filled - I am pretty close. I just need to charge the AC, install the battery, install the fans and radiator, hook up the vacuum line and wiring under the dash, refill with coolant, and I think I am ready to go. I estimate another 4 hours or so - I don't rush - so I expect the car to be running by this Saturday.

jevanof
02-28-08, 10:43 PM
Wow, that was alot of reading, my HG failed, I am not happy to say that I will be starting this soon. I plan to take my time also. I was wondering why you removed the engine from the tanny, couldent you just pull the engine and tranny, make the repair and install the engine?

BigJon
02-28-08, 11:20 PM
he replaced some other gaskets like the rear main seal which is behind the fly wheel

jevanof
02-29-08, 01:18 AM
ok I am just courus here but why cant you pull the engine from the top? Is it possable?

BigJon
02-29-08, 10:23 AM
it is possable but some people say it easier some say it harder so i guess it just a personal thing.

tateos
02-29-08, 11:12 AM
Joe - don't even think about taking it out the top! I also read all the posts about dropping the cradle and I STILL tried to take it out the top. I regretted that - I found it was pretty much impossible, so I decided to take the entire assembly out the bottom and that was EASY. Not only was it easy to take out, I was able to see how much re-assembly was possible OUT of the car, which was much easier. When I installed the cradle, the engine was nearly completely assembled - even alternator/AC compressor/PS pump and the drive belt were already on; that was much easier than hanging over the fender or grill and bolting that stuff up. So, I leaned that it is much easier to disassemble and then re-assemble the engine and it's accessories. Jon is right that I had to change my oil pan gasket and rear main seal, and I also had to change my steering rack, so that was easier with the cradle out also. I unbolted the struts from the strut towers and the knuckles and wired the knuckles to the cradle so the inner CV joints will not overextend and come apart internally.

Please trust us and just drop the cradle - it is NOT hard to do and you will save yourself a lot of trouble!

BigJon
02-29-08, 11:26 AM
hey rich, how did you replace the gasket lift the motor up? and on an engine stand or? and where did you bolt a chain to so you could pick the motorup?

tateos
02-29-08, 01:10 PM
Jon:

To remove the block from the cradle, I used the old cylinder head bolts after I had installed the inserts and lifted with 2 on each side. Then, I put the engine down on the back/flywheel side on a piece of scrap carpet on the floor, and then rolled it over onto the top of the engine so the engine was upside down onto two by fours. I replaced the oil pan gasket and rear main seal and oil level sensor (hard to do with the engine in the cradle due to clearance issues) with the block in this position. Remember, there are 4 torque converter to flywheel bolts. Also, I had to jack up the transmission along with the block to gain clearance in the front.

Does that help?

jevanof
03-01-08, 01:41 AM
Can you put the engine on a stand and do the TimeSert repair?

tateos
03-03-08, 01:00 PM
The engine is in the car, it is running well, I just got it emissions tested this morning - it passed easily, and it is registered and insured and back on the road!

I got the last few things hooked up on Friday night and Saturday morning, and I filled it with coolant and disconnected the connector on the ignition module. I cranked it for 20-30 seconds to build up oil pressure, then reconnected the connector, and turned it over and it started right up - almost like it had been running all along. I charged the AC - I just need a FE alignment and I will be all set.

A couple minor issues to resolve:

1. I do have a small coolant leak on the front driver's side of the engine - in the water pump area. I see a few drops of coolant on my garage floor. I will check it out in the next few days. I hope it is not coming from the coolant crossover where it connects to the block and heads! I would not want to have to change that with the engine in the car. I guess it could be coming from the water pump, where the water pump meets the crossover, the water pump cover, or the lower hose.

2. I also need to adjust the trans shift linkage a little.

3. Also, I changed the steering rack and it is kind of hard to turn - especially at slow speeds. I hooked up the Magnasteer connector, so I'm not sure what is going on with the steering. I will check it out as time permits.

zonie77
03-03-08, 01:33 PM
Can you put the engine on a stand and do the TimeSert repair?


If you are leaving the engine and trans on the cradle you don't need a stand. The cradle acts like one. It's easy to do the timeserts while on the cradle.

tateos
03-03-08, 04:00 PM
Zonie is correct - use the cradle as the stand - it is more sturdy than any engine stand I have ever seen! I had to remove my block from the cradle to replace the oil pan gasket and the rear main seal, but I still did the insert process BEFORE I removed the block. If I didn't have to change that gasket and seal, I would have saved a LOT of work by just leaving the block in the cradle. Let me think.... if only doing the head gaskets, I could have not messed with the 6 engine to trans bolts, the starter, knock sensor, alternator, AC compressor, the 4 flywheel to torque converter bolts, the crankshaft position sensors, oil level sensor, oil filter adapter and pressure sending unit, several braces between the trans and the engine, etc., etc. Now that I think about it, this project sounds almost easy if you don't have to remove the block and replace the steering rack.

0h yeah - I got some news for you guys: My father has ordered a 2008 DTS, and I will "inherit" his existing car - a 2000 DTS (back when the DTS was the top of the line Deville). His car has about 65K old timer miles on it, and has always been garaged. I don't want to part with any of my cars, so I guess we will have to have 4 cars in a 2 person household. We will add the 00 DTS to the 97 ETC, an 04 Grand Prix GTP, and an '05 Lincoln LS. Maybe I will find that I prefer the DTS to the ETC - if so, I will sell the ETC, but it will be hard to part with an old friend.

Ranger
03-03-08, 06:10 PM
I do have a small coolant leak on the front driver's side of the engine - in the water pump area.
Pump cover gaskets where known to leak and where redesigned. If it is original, that may be the problem.

jevanof
03-03-08, 09:04 PM
here is somthing that I have never understood, My 98 st would overheat rarly, only on long trips and when I turned on the heat he went back to normal, last week I changed my collant and now it overheats all the time. I am not driving it all and I will start the head gasket soon, I am just courous why it got worse after I changed to collant.

Ranger
03-03-08, 10:08 PM
Air in the system and a clogged purge line?

mechanix
03-03-08, 10:50 PM
This is to jevanof:
My theory on your overheating problem is that is just took some time for your head gasket(s) to leak bad enough to overheat constantly. When my HG failed, it was an intermittent thing, not constant, until it got bad enough to overheat every time I drove it. I believe the timing of your coolant change is merely coincidental. As for engine removal, I believe it is a personal thing, as someone else said. I found it much quicker to take it out the top. That way, I didn't have to break the A/C system and recharge it. I also did not have to take the front suspension apart and get it realigned. I also did not have to disturb the steering gear coupling, most of the engine compartment wiring harness, or the sub-frame underneath. That's got to be at least a four day savings in time. I know the Factory Service Manual says that bottom removal is the "prefered method," but not by me! *lol* It's kind of tricky - it must be done in the right sequence, but you can do it if you pay attention to "what has to go on next" during reassembly.

97 STS
03-04-08, 01:38 AM
tateos, congrats on getting it running. Thanks for the excellent narration.
Bob

tateos
03-04-08, 12:17 PM
Ranger - thanks for the pump cover suggestion. As I think of it now, it was actually leaking from the same area BEFORE the head gasket went south. I assumed at the time that the water pump was shot, and I never got around to checking it out before the head gasket blew. Then, I assumed that it was the head gasket leaking externally that was the cause of the small leak on the garage floor. Now I wonder...

I did change the "gasket" on the pump cover - actually more like an o-ring, but maybe there is still a problem. I think I did read somewhere that the pump cover itself was redesigned, right? I just hope I don't have to remove that crossover!

Ranger
03-04-08, 06:07 PM
Yeah, I think there was a redesign of the cover as well.

tateos
03-05-08, 09:23 AM
It's a little off subject, but it was part of my HG project so here goes:

I replaced the steering rack with a re-manufactured unit, and it works fine, but the steering effort at idle/slow car speeds is pretty high - requires 2 hands. The steering effort at higher speeds, ~30MPH+, seems low - maybe too low. If the Magnasteer leads were reversed when they re-manned the rack, would that cause these symptoms? The connectors only plug in one way, but I could cut the leads on the rack and reconnect them to reverse the polarity. Does anyone know about this?

Thanks all.

krechtr
03-08-08, 01:52 PM
Richard... congrats on getting your car running. I guess it is true that slow and steady wins the race. My squeal ended up being a pinched throttle body gasket. Got it fixed and now I am just waiting on the coolant reservoir to get in from gmpartsdirect.com (thanks for the tip.. got it for $80). We will prep the side for paint this weekend but we are going to have to spray it at 2 in the morning because my neighbors are getting upset (can't really blame them). Should be able to list it by the end of next week and hopefully it will sell quick. I am hoping to get $4K for it. I was going to just get one of those cheap kits from AutoZone to charge the air. Did you take yours in to get it charged or did you do it yourself?

jevanof
03-09-08, 12:16 AM
I know its a band aid fix but I put a bunch of bars leak tabs in my car and drove it all day with no overheating, I hope this holds me off until it gets warmer

tateos
03-10-08, 01:30 PM
Tom - you really are supposed to pull a vacuum when you open the AC system. In fact, according to the manual, you are supposed to change the accumulator/receiver drier - the aluminum tank next to the coolant tank. The accumulator has a desiccant bag in the bottom that absorbs trace amounts of moisture, but when you have the system open for awhile, the amount of moisture can be too much for the desiccant to absorb. In spite of what I just wrote, we are here in the desert so I did not change the accumulator and so far, so good.

To charge the system, you have to add 2 pounds - almost 3 full cans of R-134A, plus 3 ounces of PAG oil. I got the vacuum pump and a new set of gauges at Harbor Freight for under $60 - it was easy and I figured that was cheaper than paying someone else to do it, and I own the tools. You are welcome to use them if you want to drive up to FH sometime.

I was actually out your way yesterday - my Dad is visiting from Boston and we took him out to the Mesa Swap Meet. I was shocked to see how built up that area has become - those huge shopping centers and housing developments weren't there the last time we went to the swap meet.

I thought I tracked down the coolant leak this weekend. When doing the HG job, I had unbolted the water pump housing cover and changed that gasket/o-ring, but I left the thermostat housing bolted to the cover, so I had never changed the gasket/o-ring on the thermostat housing. It seemed like it was leaking, so I changed it - I already had it from the Fel-Pro kits I bought anyway. Well, this morning, I had a few drops of coolant on the garage floor again, so I will have to look further. It doesn't seem to be coming from the pump cover, but I will check again this weekend.

jevanof
03-15-08, 07:28 PM
I love this post, I read it 3 times a week. I just started disconnecting things, now sure what methods others use but I got a P-Touch Label Maker and I am labeling everything I disconnect.

tateos
03-17-08, 01:23 PM
Update - no more coolant leak.

A few weeks before the head gasket blew, I started seeing a few drops of coolant on the garage floor, and it was coming from the water pump area, so I thought it was the water pump. It was only a few drops, so I never got around to looking into it... then the HG blew. Now I thought that it was the head gasket that was the cause of the coolant on the garage floor, right?

So, I did the HG job and removed the water pump cover and never needed to remove the thermostat outlet off the pump cover, so I left it alone. I re-assembled the engine and I had a leak form the water pump area. Was it the water pump? Water pump cover? Coolant crossover? Nope. It was the thermostat outlet gasket. That sucker was leaking before the head gasket ever blew. The one gasket/o-ring/seal I never changed when I did the HG job was the one that leaked!

Question - how soon should I change the oil after doing this project? It has been around 3-400 miles since it ran again, and I did my best, but I'm sure, in spite of my efforts, there was some dirt left in the engine when I re-assembled it, so I was thinking of changing the oil and filter at - oh maybe around 500-1,000 miles. What do you guys think?

zonie77
03-17-08, 09:08 PM
After major work, like you did, I like to change the oil after a week or so. That would be roughly 500 miles. Get any junk out quickly.

Rafterd
03-17-08, 10:03 PM
Should't be any junk if you have an oil filter.

Bill

krechtr
03-17-08, 10:36 PM
I got my coolant overflow tank in last week and buttoned all of the mechanical issues up on the car this weekend. Runs great, AC blows cold, no issues. My son is painting the botch Maaco job and detailing the car this week and it should be on craigslist by Friday. Thanks for everyones help!

tateos
03-18-08, 12:27 PM
Yeah, zonie - I think that's about right - I'll change the oil and filter this weekend. I know what you are saying, rafterd, but I think there could be a lot of fine dirt and grit that is to small to be filtered by the oil filter that could be circulating around.

Congratulations on your project, Tom - I'm sure that it will look as good as it runs when you are finished. Please let us know what you get for it - just curious - I may be selling my ETC after I get my father's 2000 DTS. I don't plan to sell it right away, but I think eventually I will have to admit 4 cars for 2 people are too much. If I have to choose between a 2004 Grand Prix GTP (36K miles), a 2005 Lincoln LS (30K miles), a 2000 DTS (71K miles), and a 97 ETC with 150K on it, I have to believe the ETC will be the one to go, in spite of the emotional attachment.

AlBundy
03-18-08, 12:54 PM
Sell the Eldo?:eek: Blasphemy!:rolleyes:

zonie77
03-18-08, 09:25 PM
Should't be any junk if you have an oil filter.

Bill


Shouldn't is the operative word. It just makes me feel better that I'm getting any little bit of coolant or grit out quickly. The filter does not get 100% so if there was any in there I want it out.

Rafterd
03-18-08, 10:11 PM
Shouldn't is the operative word. It just makes me feel better that I'm getting any little bit of coolant or grit out quickly. The filter does not get 100% so if there was any in there I want it out.


Hey absolutely. And oil is cheaper than a new engine. Today anyway . May not be next week. lol

Bill

tateos
03-19-08, 02:21 PM
I guess maybe I should be pretty proud - my thread has exceeded 20 pages - that's a lot of posts and a lot of interest! I have learned a lot from you guys, and I have gotten some similar feedback from some of readers. This forum really is amazing to me - this kind of information sharing would have been impossible 15-20 years ago

zonie77
03-19-08, 06:39 PM
- this kind of information sharing would have been impossible 15-20 years ago

Every so often I start to say things aren't that different than when I was a kid...then I think about it! Man, are things different! :bonkers:

97Concours1
03-20-08, 06:33 PM
...this kind of information sharing would have been impossible 15-20 years ago

Agreed. I don't think I would have attempted this project myself if I hadn't read about others doing it successfully. That gave me the confidence to do it, and also what it took to do it (Inserts and what-not). There is no substitute for another person that has already done it. Auto parts stores and dealers don't give you much advice. They generally want to get you to buy parts, or do it themselves and charge you for it.

RickyHenry
04-12-08, 05:02 PM
I would have never contemplated on doing this job myself until reading these posts. This post in particular is extemely useful. Thanks to Tateos for a job well done and good documentation on the project. I myself am getting to the halfway point of drilling the block for the inserts. I would have never gotten this far without community help. All in all, this job was no where near as hard as it was intimidating.

Cadillacstud
05-08-08, 09:53 PM
I just wanted to add that I am a first time re-builder 97 caddie and when I joined I didn't kinow what to expect but this site has been wonderful for/to me. these guys have been realy helpfuf to me with info and I hope they can do the same for You. And I am going to get a book and its going to run me about 125.00 give or take

tateos
06-11-08, 11:51 PM
Look on e-bay for the manual, but in the meantime, ask us any questions - someone here will know the answer

AlBundy
06-12-08, 12:48 PM
Wow, I guess we'll be seeing some more supporting member badges.

davz
11-12-08, 06:07 PM
Just wanted to revive this thread. It is AWESOME.
I am to the head alignment dowel removal part on my 97 sts.


How are you guys cleaning your engines ??

Are you waiting until its done and powerwashing them or what?

I didn't wash it before it came apart. Oops.

Destroyer
11-12-08, 10:12 PM
I guess maybe I should be pretty proud - my thread has exceeded 20 pages - that's a lot of posts and a lot of interest! I have learned a lot from you guys, and I have gotten some similar feedback from some of readers. This forum really is amazing to me - this kind of information sharing would have been impossible 15-20 years agoAbsolutely and its guys like you that make it all happen. You probably saved a lot people a lot of frustration by posting this all up and you provided inspiration. Who knows, I might have tried to fix my wife's Deville had I seen this and others first.

IFD158
11-13-08, 03:41 PM
hey DAVZ. keep going your gettin there. I just completed by 96 eldorado ETC. went to 210k before the head gaskets gave way. It was a trying repair but I recieved lots of help as I went along from members here. The guide pins are a pain to remove. I tried all the tips stated here including using the old head bolt and graping it with vise grips, bit the one that worked best for me was to weld an old bolt upside down(head of bolt to the pin) and then is used a deep socket over it with a washer and nut and it removed effortlessly. of course i did have to by new pins but it made by life easier. Just take you time. I did mine over a months time, little by little as I had time and so far its running well. good luck

davz
11-15-08, 11:33 PM
I got the alignment dowels out. I soaked them with penetrating oil overnight and used tateos method with the bolt and vise grips and they came right out. I bought new ones. I want to head to be located perfectly.

I've got one side - front (right?) all done and head mounted, exhuast manifold, alternator, ac compressor back on. The motor mount on that side was toast, so I replaced it while I was right there.

I will do the rear haed tomorrow.

tateos
04-23-09, 02:35 PM
Update - the car broke 150K recently, the HG project has been a total success, but with 3 cars to drive, I have to admit I've only gone about 6K miles on the ETC since the HG repair. My wife and I have 3 newer cars in the family, a 2000 DTS (75K miles), a 2004 GP(45K miles) and a 2005 LS (42K miles); they all have their good qualities, but the '99 ETC with 150K miles is still my favorite.

(My wife prefers her Grand Prix; It is sporty looking in Fusion Orange Metallic and is the GTP model with supercharger, and has the Comp G package.)

haist82
05-18-09, 05:25 PM
hey ppl i need to change HG on my eldo 98 tell me name of tools that im gonna need coz i dont have anything thanks.

C0RSA1R
05-18-09, 06:05 PM
Absolutely and its guys like you that make it all happen. You probably saved a lot people a lot of frustration by posting this all up and you provided inspiration. Who knows, I might have tried to fix my wife's Deville had I seen this and others first.

See Destroyer? I knew you had some love for the Caddy. Maybe not the N* - at this point, your bitter feeling are understandable and I totally sympathize. Had I been in your shoes, there is no way I can say for sure I'd feel differently. But you profess to be a hands-on guy, and with this stuff available as a guide, perhaps your outcome and outlook would have improved.

haist82
05-19-09, 12:32 PM
do i found this guy on craigslist he is gonna fix my HG for 600$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!and he was like u know caddys r pain in the ass so instead of regular price(400)he wants 600!!lol that is so cheap i still cant believe this.

MrEldo97
07-17-09, 01:28 PM
A N8 can't be Timeserted properly for 600 bucks, unlees you bring it to him and put it on his engine stand. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar. Case closed..

jeffrsmith
07-17-09, 09:01 PM
A N8 can't be Timeserted properly for 600 bucks, unlees you bring it to him and put it on his engine stand. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar. Case closed..

I'll agree with that - there isn't any money to be made at that price. Unless you are paying for everything and the 600 is just the labor charge - even then he's not making very much for his trouble.

vincentm
09-15-10, 06:23 PM
THinking of doing my own HG job on my 97, how high would i have to get the car up to remove the engine from the bottom?

tateos
09-15-10, 06:31 PM
THinking of doing my own HG job on my 97, how high would i have to get the car up to remove the engine from the bottom?

Look at pics on post #25

vincentm
09-15-10, 06:42 PM
Thanks, How big of a Jack did you use? And how long did it take to remove the engine?

tateos
09-20-10, 06:35 PM
I think it was a 3 ton engine hoist - 3 tons is more than you need for weight, but you need to extend the boom out to get at stuff, and that lowers the weight limit, so the extra capacity comes in handy.

Hard to say how long it took me to get to the point of removal - I was originally trying to pull it out the top, but I eventually figured out that dropping the cradle makes a lot more sense. I think first time around, taking your time, plan on it taking a day to do everything and drop the cradle. Next time around, but still taking your time, probably 1/2 that.

Submariner409
09-21-10, 09:38 AM
Thanks, How big of a Jack did you use? And how long did it take to remove the engine?

An engine "cherry picker" with an adjustable arm and 3 ton ram will lift the entire front end of my Seville off the floor to 28" without problems.

vincentm
09-21-10, 11:50 AM
So my checklist should be:

Jake's stud kit
3 1/2ton jack
jack stands (optional)
Gasket kit
Coolant ( not DEX-Cool)
10w-30 oil
GM service Manual
Cherry picker


Had the car a little over a month now, and recently did a tuneup(AC Delco), should i replace the plugs again?

Ranger
09-21-10, 11:59 AM
No. Nothing wrong with those plugs.

Submariner409
09-21-10, 11:59 AM
If the plugs are clean, no real reason to replace them. You might want to consider renting a pallet jack - you drop the cradle onto the pallet jack and roll the whole mess out from under the car. Actually, you can probably rent all the jacks/cherry picker.

vincentm
09-21-10, 12:29 PM
If the plugs are clean, no real reason to replace them. You might want to consider renting a pallet jack - you drop the cradle onto the pallet jack and roll the whole mess out from under the car. Actually, you can probably rent all the jacks/cherry picker.


Ok, i'll keep the plugs as they are just a month old and have maybe 200mi on them, along with the cables. Now i just need a shop or garage for a month or so to do the job lol

tateos
09-21-10, 02:45 PM
Yeah - a month is a good ballpark estimate for time. Some guys report doing it over a weekend - personally, I took my time and took probably 4 months total, mostly just on weekends...something like that.

vincentm
09-28-10, 05:30 PM
Yeah - a month is a good ballpark estimate for time. Some guys report doing it over a weekend - personally, I took my time and took probably 4 months total, mostly just on weekends...something like that.


Hi tateos, Can you post for me what exact steps you did to actually get that baby out?, the Chilton manual i have gives steps to remove the engine from top, but when it comes to the cylinder head section it states it's best to have it removed from underneath. I'd really appreciate it, i've a co-worker who has a shop i can possibly borrow and help from friends to help me remove it, the guy who owns the shop is really good at machining and said he can resurface the heads if need be and retap the threads for jake's stud kit install.

tateos
09-29-10, 02:26 PM
I suggest you start here:

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-tech-tips/31831-n-head-gasket-repair.html

vincentm
09-29-10, 05:38 PM
I suggest you start here:

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-tech-tips/31831-n-head-gasket-repair.html

Thank you very much. Just received an email from our maintenance shop sup, who has his own machine shop at his house, the job will be done there. He'll install the stud kit for free too, and a colleague of ours is going to assist me in removing the engine, i can now do this job for just under $1000, i love this forum and am glad to have the help i do. Thanks again tateos. Cadillac forums rocks.

HPMotors
11-08-11, 09:03 AM
Hello AJxtcman.
Ran across this old thread and your posts (root cause) when looking for info on the HG issues on the Northstar. Have motor/cradle out - heads off but don't see any real obvious head bolt/thread failure. :hmm: Gasket looks pretty bad in open areas at top of cylinder, similar to what you had in your pictures. Since this is a customer project ( who self diagnosed the issue ) I am concerned that no bolts or threads appear to have failed. A lot of corrosion, but every bolt felt like it would break my allen wrench before it came loose so it seems they were holding their torque. Can the gasket fail without corresponding bolt/thread failure? Your pictures of porosity in the block cooling jackets worries me even more. How common is this and how can it be determined if this is the problem? According to the customer, the car was running but would blow coolant out of the system. BTW, my shop is to the west of you in the Greenville SC area.
Henry

Submariner409
11-08-11, 10:02 AM
AJ has been pretty quiet lately - lots more Northstar head gasket discussions scattered throughout this Forum and in Discussions: Cadillac Tech Tips.

You would not be the first to encounter a head gasket failure with no apparent bolt hole failures. I believe the open deck configuration is a contributor to gasket failures.

Do the repair using either use Norm's Inserts (www.huhnsolutions.com (http://www.huhnsolutions.com)) or Jake's studs (www.northstarperformance.com (http://www.northstarperformance.com)). Better safe than sorry.

89falcon
11-09-11, 12:48 PM
Hello AJxtcman.
Ran across this old thread and your posts (root cause) when looking for info on the HG issues on the Northstar. Have motor/cradle out - heads off but don't see any real obvious head bolt/thread failure. :hmm: Gasket looks pretty bad in open areas at top of cylinder, similar to what you had in your pictures. Since this is a customer project ( who self diagnosed the issue ) I am concerned that no bolts or threads appear to have failed. A lot of corrosion, but every bolt felt like it would break my allen wrench before it came loose so it seems they were holding their torque. Can the gasket fail without corresponding bolt/thread failure? Your pictures of porosity in the block cooling jackets worries me even more. How common is this and how can it be determined if this is the problem? According to the customer, the car was running but would blow coolant out of the system. BTW, my shop is to the west of you in the Greenville SC area.
Henry

Henry,

Welcome to the forums! Hope things are well in the upstate (I grew up in Blythewood).

There seems to me a little bit of a chicken vs the egg discussion WRT the head gasket problems. Some think that the head gaskets fail BEFORE the bolts pull....kind of a small failure.....that allows the coolant to seep into the threads...which corrodes them, and leads to a bigger failure. So if it was caught very early, it would seem that the threads would still be there. My failure took place over a couple years....started slowly with the loss of a little coolant here and there....then got to the point that all components in the cooling system started failing (heater core, radiator, hoses).

My advice, if this is a customer car, and you need to get it out of the shop fairly quickly, go with Norm's inserts...they will probably ship sooner than Jake's studs. Are you an independent shop, or dealer? If you are an indy, there seems to be a lack of shops that will fix the northstars in the tri-state area (Georgia, SC, NC), and you would probably find yourself with more work than you knew what to do with if you get at the installation of Jake's studs or Norm's inserts. There is a forum member in the Atlanta area that has uses Jake's studs (Speedygman) who you could talk with....maybe even go see his installation.

If you have to use timeserts, jump straight to the "bigserts". DO NOT attempt to fix without drilling/insert/studding EVERY hole. Even if the threads are still there, Aluminum fatigues, and those threats WILL NOT last......all you need is for one to fail. It takes a little more labor, but the customer will be happy with the result...especially if you give the the full story on the fix and let them "make the decision"......there is a reason a 97 STS sells for less than a 97 Taurus....and it ain't because the Taurus is a better car......fix it once, fix it right. Regardless of your chosen method, visit Jake's website (Northstarperformance.com)....lot's of GREAT headgasket information.

Finally...one more note.....consider using MLS gaskets. There has been some discussion on the quality of headgaskets.....the factory ones fail....obviously....and now some folks are having problems with Felpros. I haven't heard of ANY issues with the MLS gaskets.....but they ARE a little more pricey. BTW, what year/model is the car? Are you going to re-seal the bottom end while you're at it?

Speedygman
11-10-11, 08:02 AM
Henry,
If you are south of Atlanta anytime Come by Juliette Ga. I have one engine on the stand completed and I have a spare set of Jake Studs that you can look at and see the quality of the installation kit and etc.

tateos
11-10-11, 07:21 PM
I agree with this from 89 falcon - I believe it is coolant and corrosive combustion gases that leak and eventually corrode the threads in the block :


There seems to me a little bit of a chicken vs the egg discussion WRT the head gasket problems. Some think that the head gaskets fail BEFORE the bolts pull....kind of a small failure.....that allows the coolant to seep into the threads...which corrodes them, and leads to a bigger failure. So if it was caught very early, it would seem that the threads would still be there.

I like Jake's system, but used Norm's when I did my project, as that was the best that there was back then (I am the OP for this thread) - and the car is still on the road several years later (the stepson has it now). I can't remember what I wrote back in the day, but it was very obvious which of my holes were bad - the bolts did not break loose and came out with what looked almost like anti-seize compound on the head bolt threads - I guess it was the decomposed aluminum from the block, mixed with coolant and thread sealant and who knows what else.

tateos
10-17-13, 08:49 PM
Update - about a year and a half ago, the heater core blew up, the coolant all leaked out and the engine overheated and went into limp mode. then, about 3 months ago, the radiator side tank cracked, the engine overheated, and went into limp mode. In both cases, even that extreme stress did not cause any residual problems and once the items coolant were replaced, the engine was otherwise fine and is still driven daily by the stepson. I guess what I'm trying to say is that once repaired, the head gasket/pulled bolts problem really is a durable, long term fix. In case you don't want to read all prior 236 posts, I used Norm's inserts and just cleaned things up and replaced the gaskets and seals and head bolts (all Fel-Pro)...that's about it.