: Problems with 02 DHS, need more opinions

02-19-08, 08:37 AM
Just want to see if anybody here may have another clue before I go spending a ton of money.

02 DHS started with a rough idle a few weeks back, I took it to the shop and they filled up the oil which they said was really low (even though I had just had my oil changed less than a month before that) but nothing else seemed to be wrong.

Rough idle was still kind of there, and then it started saying Check Coolant Level. I filled the coolant, and it ran great for another day or so before it started saying the same thing again and even twice got to the point of saying Engine Hot - Idle Engine. Also there is a weird smell and some vapor coming out of the tailpipe.

Took it to the shop and they're telling me it could be the head gaskets, and they're saying they can't replace that or something so I might need to get a whole new engine for 5 or 6 grand. They had one other option that would be quicker and cheaper, but they said might not work (I'm so tired right now I can't remember what it was, I'll repost it later).

My stepfather who is pretty knowledgeable about cars says it could be the water pump going bad, but he hasn't actually looked at the car, he's just saying that by the symptoms I told him.

Any ideas? It would be very much appreciated...

forgot to mention that sometimes it starts up bad, one time I even had to slam on the gas to get it to start, other times it starts up perfectly...all of this since the first rough idle problem.

02-19-08, 11:00 AM
Coolant loss AND vapor from the tail pipe is not a good sign. Proper diagnosis can confirm or rule out a head gasket. If it is a head gasket, it CAN be repaired for about half the cost you quoted for a replacement engine.

02-19-08, 08:09 PM
He just called and said the head gasket is blown and it is going to be a $5,000 repair. He says if they try to replace it and whatever they pull out gets de-threaded, it can't be fixed, so he's saying to replace the whole thing.

Would I be better off going to a dealer? Or are there any good sources for good Cadillac shops around here (Peninsula/South Bay, California)?

Sorry I don't have more info, I'm not too knowledgeable about cars.

02-19-08, 08:10 PM
Also, he said the head gasket is blown from the car overheating (even though it never got into the red or smoked), and it overheated because of the Coolant problem, so he basically never diagnosed the coolant problem. I would need to get that fixed also.

02-19-08, 09:04 PM
It can be repaired. The average price is about $3000. Be sure that all 20 head bolt holes get Timeserted. That is the thread repair. Make sure whoever does it is familiar with the Northstar and has done it before. A dealer would fit both.

02-20-08, 01:14 AM
When I bought the car I bought a warranty for drivetrain/transmission, would this fall under that umbrella? I'm sure hoping.

02-20-08, 12:51 PM
Hard to say. They have lots of loop holes to avoid pay outs. Many will not cover gaskets unless there is a mechanical problem that caused it (pulled threads).

02-20-08, 07:26 PM
Thanks for all the help Ranger, it's very much appreciated.

I'm going to just figure out how to do the warranty thing, I'm afraid they are going to put the blame on me. Fortunately on my side I have invoices and records of oil changes (last about a month before the problem occured), and also having the system checked a week before the problem after the first couple symptoms. So I atleast have solid proof that I was good on upkeep, and then was trying to get the symptoms resolved before it became what it is now. I'm sure they have a million ways to swing it their way though...

02-20-08, 08:09 PM
scodylan I live in sacramento ca use to live in san francisco and when i needed to go to an auto dismantler i would go to A&A auto dismantler in oakley ca all they have is cadillacs and they have auto repair shop there and they do headgasket jobs all the time try them youll be pleased i thank around 3000$ and warranty check it out.

02-21-08, 02:20 PM
Thanks for the info coaster. I found a shop that specializes in Cadillacs and Buicks right down the street, so I'm going to go with them. Still need to check on the warranty but I want that second opinion first.