: New to the site, wondering about repairs

03-03-08, 09:17 PM
Hello everyone I'm Tim, I live in Minnesota and I have an '02 STS I picked up about a year ago, now currently with 86k on it. This is my second caddy, I had an '89 deville I drove for 6 years and didn't really do much other than a radiator and alternator.

I had my eye on an '02 for years, and finally found one at an awesome price last winter. Everything was fine on the STS 'til a couple weeks ago when the service engine light came on...found out it needed a torque converter solenoid, epc solenoid, input speed sensor, and a tranny flush, setting me back $1300. They also recommended I replace the water pump housing (crossover pipe), valve covers, and the oil gasket, another $1500 or so.

So I'm wondering...I'm not too handy when it comes to working on cars by myself, but I have an uncle who is, however not so much on newer cars. How difficult would it be to do repairs like this together? What else can I expect in terms of difficulty on future repairs for this vehicle, now that I'm approaching 100k?

I was offered an extended warranty, even with the high mileage, through a company named "Dealer Services" for 3yr/36k for $2500 over their 18 month payment plan, and can cancel at any time. I'm going to take the warranty to the dealer to find out exactly what it would cover. After being out $1300 last week, and knowing it needs work, am I better off to get the warranty or save the money and try to work on it with my uncle? I get a pretty good deal on parts if I were to do it myself, but is the labor time alone a complete headache with no experience working on a northstar?

I look forward to the input, and appreciate everyone's opinon!


03-03-08, 09:34 PM
Welcome to the forum and others will chime in but it seem like your dealer's trying to hose you and you came to the right forum to help you save some $$$.

03-03-08, 09:57 PM
I would take it to a different dealer if I were you.
Unless you are saying 1300 for all. That really doesnt seem too high for: "torque converter solenoid, epc solenoid, input speed sensor, and a tranny flush." Could be wrong though.

But what got me was the recommendation for the tranny flush. I may be wrong ???? But I think that 87,000 may be a bit too soon for the recommended tranny service. You should be able to check that yourself anyways in the DIC. Is the same as your oil life monitor. It will tell you what percentage your at for your tranny fluid.

Not to mention the fact that they "Didnt" say anything about a coolant flush and or change. Cause if that hasnt been done recently, then it should have been on the top of the list.

You say they have also recommended other things as well. I would wonder as to the reason to all of it.
A service engine light does not mean your vehicle needs an over haul as to what you have been told.

Do a search here on WOTs' (wide open throttle). Do a couple of those. Clear your codes. And see what happens from there.

From the information that you have given. It really sounds to me as though someone is attempting to take major advantage of you.

Are you leaking oil ?? ie: the oil gasket ?
Are you leaking coolant ?? ie: the water pump housing ?

03-03-08, 09:58 PM
Hard shot to call......but you'll never get your money back on a high mileage extended deal. The company makes the profit, not you.

Are you losing coolant ?? Why the water crossover work ?? Are you leaking (quite a bit) oil ?? Why replace/service cam covers ??

Something stinks. Go to another dealer.

03-03-08, 10:44 PM
Wow thanks for the quick responses guys...I will definitely have to go to another place for a second opinion! I apologize if I was unclear in my first post, as I seemed to have confused a few of you. :( It was $1300 for the torque converter solenoid, epc solenoid, input speed sensor, and the tranny flush, which doesn't sound like a bad price. For some reason, my DIC doesn't seem to be correctly monitoring my tranny fluid, or maybe it is...but has been at 100% for the year and 20k that I've had the vehicle. I didn't tell them this, but they recommended the flush to go with the other work they had done on the tranny. Oh and this was actually Kennedy transmission, not the dealership.

They actually did highly recommend the coolant flush/change...I still have the dexcool in there and they wanted to take it out, which I think I am going to do, however I did not bring this up and open up another can of worms. :) I don't seem to visibly be leaking coolant, so I'm not sure as to why they're recommending the water pump housing/crossover pipe.

They noticed some oil seeping out the oil gasket, but said it could either be that or be running/dripping down from the valve covers...not sure if this is true or not. They recommended I get an underbody car wash and bring it in again for a more thorough inspect of the oil problem. But I'm not leaking hardly anything at all, nothing more than a couple drops a week and no 'check oil level' message. I recently switched to valvoline max and they said this might help to slow down the dripping if it is indeed coming from the oil gasket.

As for the service engine light, the work that needed to be done on the tranny was what set it off, four codes actually. It wasn't until the vehicle was in the shop for service they advised me of the condition of the water pump housing and valve covers...funny how they always seem to find something 'else' wrong with the vehicle.

So now I am definitely going to have to get a second opinion, preferrably from a cadillac dealership I assume?


03-03-08, 11:15 PM
What is an "EPC solenoid"?

Go to the top left of this page. Click on Technical Archives and read up on transmission flushing.

They probably recommended the crossover gasket because they saw a small leak and it is a big job = $$$$$$$

An oil leak can be a small easy cheap repair (oil filter adapter of pressure switch) or a very large expensive job (half case or pan). Check back here before OK'ing any such repair.

Unlike the OLM (Oil Life Monitor), the trans fluid monitor will not decrement. It will stay at 99 or 100% unless you overheat the trans.

03-04-08, 10:18 AM
Be real careful of "an underbody car wash" as Cadillacs don't like excess water in all the electrical connections (rain and road spray notwithstanding...)

If you have DEXCOOL, stay with it and do the recommended 4-5 year changes.

Unless you overheat the transmission or tow heavy loads regularly, DEXRON III or VI is forever. Different environment than inside an engine. (How often did you change rear axle oil ??)

03-08-08, 07:07 AM
I wouldnt be too concerned about an underbody car wash.
A full engine wash is different.
During the winter months I take my 01 through the automated wash (really sorry to say but I do do it if really needeed. Touchless though).
And it sprays the under body. Sure sounds like it. Guess its probably only the rockers .....but any ways........If there was any kind of concern about electronics within the underbody then better be very very careful if driving through a deep puddle.
Not sure where you live and how the seasons are there....But again.....I get all seasons here were I live and Ive never ever been concerned about driving my vehicle along slushy wet spraying roads. Drive slow enough to be safe of course.
But has never crossed my mind about excess moisture being thrown up within the underbody of my vehicle.
What sometimes concerns me is the spray on my windshield from the car in front of me on a slightly wet road.....and thats at even a 3 car space between us. How much is actually going under the car has and will never be a concern.

No such thing as an under body wash. Oh Ya Engine Clean and all that sure......And if you want to do an engine clean then yes you have to take care not to soak electrical areas. Thats a no brainer.

But if you KNOW you have an oil leak, and the mechanic you have told that too has said wash it all off so I can find it................It doesnt mean you have a bad mechanic.

Whom your dealing with is some one that doesnt want to misdiagnose. He actually cares and doesnt want to tell you it may be this or the other thing. He wants to be sure. He probably really does know, and would be able to fix it. But the basis of his work is oil changes and brake jobs. Sounds as though you have a very honest man there.

Best bet is to take it to a dealer for your next oil change. Then ask them about the leak you have seen. They will tell you what they believe it is. They may tell you 2 things or even 3. But upon close examination it really would be obvious what it is.
Then go back to your friend and look at it on the lift with him.

May be an oil pan gasket. Could be a leak at a cv shaft. Could be simple as the oil drain plug.

So its a dealership thats said you should have it cleaned first then bring it back !!!

Then like Id said before......dont go back to them..............find someone else.........Hell.....Take it to the Ford Dealer if need be.

My wifes 99 Bonneville has been leaking oil for years. And Ive been telling her to tell her mechanic, next door to her work, to change the oil pan gasket for years. He kept tellin her to engine wash so he can be sure.
Her car crapped out right at home and had to be taken to the dealer up the road. They fixed the problem.....then told us that BTW.........Need a new oil pan gasket LMFAO...........

Im not a mechanic and I knew that. Her mechanic is a very honest guy.....but too honest enough to make a desicion.....

For a dealer ship to be that wishy washy is a bit scary

03-08-08, 09:15 AM
Welcome to the forum! :wavehi:

03-15-08, 04:14 AM
Thanx sgurl
Hope I didnt scare em away ! LOL !
Maybe I should keep away from the new members.