: I have a cracked block, what next?

12-25-07, 11:08 PM
I have been a member for some time now but never needed to post. I have always used the forum for reference and love it.

I just replaced headgaskets on a 99 STS for a customer and in return I got a 97 STS with a "blown headgasket". Because of the cold weather I never confirmed this and just took his word for it. So after loading the car up, getting it home, and doing some quick diagnosing I found the starter was not engaging. So I pull the intake to find the starter halfway submerged in water(not coolant). I first decided he must have power washed the engine and somehow managed to fill up the pan with water thus killing the solenoid. At this point I was very happy thinking if the starter would not turn over the engine and there was no sign of exhaust gasses in the coolant than the guy simply had a bad starter but thought the engine had locked up..score for me...WRONG!

The next day I walked past the engine with the intake still propped up and noticed the "valley" had water in it again! So I pull the small coolant line going into the throttle body and plug one end while applying 20 psi of shop air to the other side to find cracks on both sides of the block(insert disappointment sound clip here).


Obviously JB weld probably will not be of use to this engine, so my question is has anybody ever had this issue and if so is it repairable? I have seen blocks repaired by welding the cracks but would welding work on a northstar? Is this simply a leaking issue, or is that area a structual area that simply cannot be patched? My guess would be the engine was filled with water and froze and that is how it cracked.

My next question is what engine years will work with a 97? I have been told by others that certain years are better than others.

Thanks, Jason

Crown Vic Owner
12-26-07, 07:37 AM
Was there ANY coolant (not water) in that car whatsoever?

I was expecting it to crack somewhere else personally.
Im stunned that someone managed to pull that off.

12-26-07, 08:32 AM
There's a couple ways you can go. Personally I don't think the block is repairable, I could be wrong.

You could go buy an engine from a junk yard and then timesert the block and put it in. Or you could buy a new engine. The 2000+ northstars have revised headbolts, but as long as you timesert whatever engine you put in, headgaskets shouldn't be an issue.

12-26-07, 05:23 PM
95 to 99 will work. Depending on the year, you may need to use some parts from your engine.

12-26-07, 08:18 PM
Well first I would track down the guy that filled the cooling system with straight water and beat the snot out of them.

Then I would do the same to the person that allowed the car to enter harsh temps without checking such things.

Then I would look for a new engine. Just my $.02

12-28-07, 04:55 AM
I have a 97 Eldorado engine with 114K miles you can have it for $500 if you pick it up in Phx Az (no shipping)