: Root Cause of Head gasket Failure and a Fix?



AJxtcman
03-05-08, 06:50 AM
This is also on another forum.

Let me start out with an argument and please keep in mind I do this for a living. I have first hand experience and I am GM certified.
TimeSerts are a band aid and just make the bolt bigger in this case. Yes They just make the bolt bigger. This is a fact. They do not become a part of the block.

I have seen TimeSert inserts lock into an aluminum part, but that is not the case with the Northstar head bolt application.

If you have a brand new block. You removed the heads, then installed Timeserts, and then reinstalled the heads you may have just caused a premature failure. Just say the engine goes 80K and looses a head gasket for another reason (ran low on coolant) now when you remove the head bolts the inserts come out (this is typical) now what? GM doe not endorse any large or big inserts

This how they come out
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/timesertonbolt.jpg

This is a TimeSert insert If you notice it does NOT have a flange at the top or just a minor flange to seat it in place
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/headtimesert.jpg

This is a Norms insert. This will be another part of this discussion later.
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/norms.jpg

This is the two of them side by side
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/NormsVStimsert.jpg

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/TimesertvsNorms.jpg

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/timesertvsnorms3.jpg

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Timesertvsnorms2.jpg

AJxtcman
03-05-08, 06:54 AM
We all don't agree on the statement that it just makes the bolt bigger yet, but I hope to give enough information to change that.
With the correct education most of us will come to an understanding.

Now on to the root causes.
#1 is the block and they did redesign it in 00. They also used a slightly different alloy blend. Well that has been what I have been told.

The 93 to 99 block have been known to leak coolant though the casting. Wait I have seen more leak oil than coolant. :o

This is a cross section :o
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Blockcutaway.jpg

And another :o
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Blocksection.jpg

One of the block I have in my garage had a leak after 3k from New. I repaired the by welding it, but I learned a lot about the root problem. It appeared that when the block was poured the aluminum splashed up the side. Then as the casting filled the part that splashed had started to cooled. The splashed part did not melt back into the casting. This block had a very small pin hole leak, but as I heated it a line formed. this line actually then grew into two parts with a grey substances in between. This was little waxy and it in part of the off gassing.

I have some pictures after it was fixed. :mellow:

AJxtcman
03-05-08, 06:57 AM
If the treads come out like this I would say the a TimeSert will last.
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/threadsonmainbolt.jpg

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/threadsoffbolt.jpg

The fact is that is a Main bolt and has NO thread locker on them

AJxtcman
03-05-08, 06:57 AM
This is a head bolt hole and looks pretty good I can see the it is shiny and has no pits or erosion.

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/shineythreads.jpg

AJxtcman
03-05-08, 06:58 AM
This is a head bolt hole that has pitting and erosion. IT WOULD NOT BE ACCEPTIBLE TO TIMESERT!

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/hole2threadsnogood.jpg

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/hole2pits-dark.jpg

AJxtcman
03-05-08, 06:59 AM
This bolt hole we will use for an example.

You can see some deep pits
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/hole1pitting.jpg

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/hole1pits.jpg

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/2.jpg

Now I use the TimeSert drill and remove some material. OH no it is not shiny
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/darkdrillfillings.jpg

The pits are still in the block.
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/hole1piits2.jpg

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/5.jpg

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/4.jpg

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/3.jpg

AJxtcman
03-05-08, 07:00 AM
This is a my 99 block that leaked. The casting looks good in the water jackets, but it still leaked.
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/444.jpg


http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/block.jpg

This is the block that I showed drilling out above. I installed a TimeSert in that hole and it pulled out. This is the block after I installed Norm's inserts.
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/afternorms.jpg

This is a lip on the top of the deck that must not be removed.
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/dam.jpg

AJxtcman
03-05-08, 07:01 AM
This is an area that is still bad. It is not in the bolt hole, but coolant leaked into the bolt hole from this area. I pressurize the hole and could see the air coming through the casting
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/afternorms2.jpg

AJxtcman
03-05-08, 07:03 AM
What is it that the TimeSert is going to grip to?
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.
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Some time in the 2003 production run GM switch from 11mm X 1.50mm bolts to 11 X 2.0 bolts. This is a much courser bolts and can grip better. I have not seen 1 failure yet.
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I will start in on the head gasket design flaws now.
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The block and head expand and contract in the heat cycles.
This leads to the head gasket bunching up in this area.
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/432.jpg

Because of this open area the head gasket will look like this.
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/222.jpg

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/111.jpg



This is an old picture of some of my Good parts. The collection has grown

AJxtcman
03-05-08, 07:04 AM
This is the Deck of a 3.6L VVT engine from a CTS.
The deck is flat and the head gasket is a Multi Layer Metal gasket. I have no picture, but I will get them on Monday. Guess what. I have never seen a failure of a head gasket yet.
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/VVT%20Engine/Picture002.jpg

AJxtcman
03-05-08, 07:05 AM
What is it that the TimeSert is going to grip to?
.
.
.

Some time in the 2003 production run GM switch from 11mm X 1.50mm bolts to 11 X 2.0 bolts. This is a much courser bolts and can grip better. I have not seen 1 failure yet.
.
I will start in on the head gasket design flaws now.
.
.
.
.
.
The block and head expand and contract in the heat cycles.
This leads to the head gasket bunching up in this area.
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/432.jpg

Because of this open area the head gasket will look like this.
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/222.jpg

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/111.jpg



This is an old picture of some of my Good parts. The collection has grown

After looking at that you can see that the head gasket can shrink. This will cause a failure.

AJxtcman
03-05-08, 07:06 AM
This is a block from a 4.4L S/C RWD Northstar. As you can see the block has a full deck.
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/RWD%20VVT/44Lupperblock.jpg

This is the Multi Layer Metal head gasket that is used on a RWD Northstar
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/RWD%20VVT/44Lheadgasket.jpg
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/RWD%20VVT/HeadGasket44L.jpg

AJxtcman
03-05-08, 07:09 AM
I have not installed timeserts in several block. I bet that I have rejected more 99 and prior than I have actually install TimeSerts in.

I installed TimeSerts in several 99 and prior blocks and had the inserts pull while torquing them (never left = never came back). I have had several come in that have been done by other tech's at the dealer. This is how I learned what will hold and what will not.

We have a 00 in currently (2/5/2008) with Head gaskets out. Long story, but I will post pictures

AJxtcman
03-05-08, 07:10 AM
Some history
03/12/2003 @ 46998 miles: COVER AND/OR GASKETS, COOLANT PUMP - REPLACE
03/26/2004 @ 58428 miles: COVER AND/OR GASKETS, COOLANT PUMP - REPLACE Not at are Dealer
01/30/2006 @ 74820 miles: J1190 - LOWER CRANKCASE SEAL/SEALANT REPLACEMENT

After the last repair listed. The customer went to another dealer and had the Coolant Cross-over resealed and had been over heated
The customer again stated having over heating issues last summer. He continued to drive it until now.

The front bank head bolts did not crack loose. I have not looked at the head bolts yet and inspected for any signs of aluminum. I will today. The Tech doing the job installs all 20 inserts when he has a failure.

As you can see the material is shiny.
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/2000filings1.jpg


This is a shot of the chips. They are chips and not powder. They are shiny
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/00shinyfilings.jpg

This is a picture of the TimeSert alignment fixture. It has collected minor amount of smaller chip/powder this is not shiny, but it is not like some blocks. On the really bad blocks the drill goes in easy and when you pull the bit out the material you removed is all powdery. Like dust.
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/00filings1.jpg


So this 2000 block will hold the TimeSerts

AJxtcman
03-05-08, 07:12 AM
I JUMPPED SOME POST HERE
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I strongly endorse Norm's inserts. I feel that they are the best thing in most cases for a 99 and prior block. I know of a couple of issues with Norm's kit. It is not that big of a deal. It is not the product, but it does not use a stop collar. This means that the insert may not be set in the same location. If you take your time you can make sure that they all stop in the same location. I am used to the TimeSert kit, so I had two that did not stop at the proper distance. I just let the loctite set and I was good.

AJxtcman
03-05-08, 07:13 AM
This is two of the head bolts. As you can see they have NO aluminum on them. I did not see any of them with aluminum on them.

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/HeadBolts.jpg

AJxtcman
03-05-08, 07:13 AM
This is one of head gaskets. It really fell apart. This had a lot of stop leak in it
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/00headgasket1cyl.jpg

This is some of that bunching I talk about
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/bunching5.jpg

This part did not look that bad, but It has a lot of stop leak.
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Headgasket2.jpg

This is some rust on the head gasket
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/HeadGasket3.jpg

This stop leak really attacked the gasket
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Bunchingupandstopleak.jpg

More of that stop leak build up.
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Stopleak44.jpg

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Stopleak.jpg

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Stopleak-1.jpg

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Stopleakbuildup.jpg

The stop leak was so thick it plug the holes in the head gaskets and in the heads. Stu (the tech) had to use a drill to clean out the steam holes.

AJxtcman
03-05-08, 07:17 AM
GM will not warranty the Big Timesert or Norm's. GM states that if the bolt hole has erosion you can not TimeSert it and you must Replace the short block.
From my understanding all 1998 cars are now out of Warranty. With in a year all 1999 will be out they will not have any more 1999 and older Certified cars left under warranty.
.
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JUMPPED POST AGAIN
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I would never purchase a 96 to 99 Cadillac unless it was a 98 or 99 Seville and that maybe limited to a STS.
You can buy a 2002 or 2003 Seville for $6500 with 100K+ miles. A 99 Deville maybe worth $3k to $6K. Subtract the $3000 to $6000 for head gaskets and you have JUNK.
A 99 STS with 100K will go for $9000 now you can fix the car.

The reason I say up to $6000 in head gasket repairs is because of the cam shaft failure in the 93 to 99 models.
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Northstarlifter11.jpg
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Northstarlifer41.jpg
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Northstarlifter21.jpg

the pictures are 4 years old. We had a higher level of zinc then.

AJxtcman
03-05-08, 07:28 AM
http://www.cometic.com/images/Home_1x2.gif (http://www.cometic.com/gaskethome.aspx)

http://www.cometic.com/images/domesticauto.gif


Make: GM
Engine: Cadillac V8 4.6L
Description: Northstar 4.6L 32V Left Side
Bore: 3.700"
Material: MLS / C.O.T. - .065"
StockCode: C5716-065
Pkg Qty: 1
Price: $118.09
http://www.cometic.com/generateImage.aspx?g=/domesticauto/9-C5717.gif

Make: GM
Engine: Cadillac V8 4.6L
Description: Northstar 4.6L 32V Right Side
Bore: 3.700"
Material: MLS / C.O.T. - .065"
StockCode: C5717-065
Pkg Qty: 1
Price: $118.09
http://www.cometic.com/generateImage.aspx?g=/domesticauto/9-C5716.gif

AJxtcman
03-05-08, 07:35 AM
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/mls.jpg

:thumbsup:

AJxtcman
03-05-08, 07:38 AM
I had forgot about this company until I got a phone call last night.

97 STS
03-06-08, 12:21 AM
AJ, are these aftermarket gaskets?

JC316
03-06-08, 12:46 AM
Very interesting writeup AJ, well done. My 98 SLS blew the gasket, but for a different reason than the one that you showed. The metal on my block was great, no pits or corrosion, hell the threads didn't even pull out, what killed mine were two gashes in the surface of the head, near the water jacket. I assume that they were a factory flaw from the factory, but I never did find the reason. In your estimation, since the block was in good shape, no powdered shavings, or pits, what are the chances of my 98 blowing a head gasket again?

AJxtcman
03-06-08, 06:39 AM
AJ, are these aftermarket gaskets?
YES
They maybe the OE supplier of that type of gasket for some engines. I am not sure about that, but some is making then for GM.



Very interesting writeup AJ, well done. My 98 SLS blew the gasket, but for a different reason than the one that you showed. The metal on my block was great, no pits or corrosion, hell the threads didn't even pull out, what killed mine were two gashes in the surface of the head, near the water jacket. I assume that they were a factory flaw from the factory, but I never did find the reason. In your estimation, since the block was in good shape, no powdered shavings, or pits, what are the chances of my 98 blowing a head gasket again?

No pitting, No powder, No TimeSerts then the block should hold up just fine

Submariner409
03-06-08, 10:45 AM
AJ, It's too bad that CF doesn't pay an hourly rate. Thanks for the extensive homework. The complete set should be a Northstar or Tech sticky.

zonie77
03-06-08, 11:17 AM
Thanks for the info, I will watch more carefully when I do another one. Maybe I'm lucky so far!

I did realize there was a difference on some holes when I drilled them but didn't record or check them as well as you have.

tateos
03-06-08, 01:44 PM
My bad holes were very obviously different from my good holes. The good ones snapped really hard when they broke loose and the holes and bolts were dry. The bad ones were wet with coolant (I think). They was a slimy - and silvery coating - it was almost like anti-seize compound on the bolt threads. I think only one of them was completely stripped, but I drilled and inserted them all. I don't recall seeing any powdery aluminum - maybe I missed it.

I have given this a lot of thought, and I think (just a theory - just an opinion) the head gaskets let go first, allowed coolant & exhaust gases into the bolt holes and that degraded and corroded the aluminum to the point where the bolts let go, and the exhaust then entered the cooling system in a big way.

JC316
03-06-08, 05:18 PM
YES




No pitting, No powder, No TimeSerts then the block should hold up just fine

I used the Timeserts on mine, they seemed to lock in nicely and I haven't seen a problem yet after 10,000 miles.

AJxtcman
03-06-08, 07:30 PM
I used the Timeserts on mine, they seemed to lock in nicely and I haven't seen a problem yet after 10,000 miles.

I have TimeSerted many thing over the years. On a Northstar Block the Drill/Ream is centered with a jig and then the drill goes down into the bore about 3" before it drills out the threads. This would mean that it is pretty well centered! Yeah right. The block was square at one time also. :eek: Do you understand that? :stirpot: OK the block goes through heat cycles and the bolt holes become slightly curved. :thumbsup: When the drill gets to the bottom it drills ever so slightly off center. Maybe it goes towards the soft stuff. That would a good thing. Just think about this you have a drill in a 1" collar square to the deck and then it goes into a bore another 3". That means that it is held centered and square by a 4" tube. So why is it that I see so many off center? They hold up, but I just saying. So if one of the 20 hole is not perfect then the block is junk after the TimeSerts have been installed and they fail. If you just fix the bad ones and 75K later a different one fails you can fix the ones needed.

dwight.j.carter
03-06-08, 08:32 PM
excellent write up this is a very good read if you are a northstar owner.

tateos
03-06-08, 08:34 PM
So AJ, you say that:

If you just fix the bad ones and 75K later a different one fails you can fix the ones needed.

I think you are saying that if you insert all 20 holes at the same time with the initial failure, some of them can be expected to fail again in the future, right?

I think you could be right about that... if the head gasket initial leakage ultimately causes corrosion of the threaded hole in the block, then that same corrosion will take place when the replacement gasket starts to leak after 75K miles or whatever the mileage is. The only thing is, I think the Norm's inserts (I know you are a fan) will hold up longer, since they engage a longer area and they have a coarser/deeper thread. Also, how many cars are worth replacing or even repairing the engine in by the time the second HG has let go?

JC316
03-06-08, 09:40 PM
But if you do all 20 and it lasts longer than 75K miles, then it was better than just doing one. I mean, how many people have had the timeserts fail under normal useage over the years?

AJxtcman
03-07-08, 07:22 AM
So AJ, you say that:

If you just fix the bad ones and 75K later a different one fails you can fix the ones needed.

I think you are saying that if you insert all 20 holes at the same time with the initial failure, some of them can be expected to fail again in the future, right?

I think you could be right about that... if the head gasket initial leakage ultimately causes corrosion of the threaded hole in the block, then that same corrosion will take place when the replacement gasket starts to leak after 75K miles or whatever the mileage is. The only thing is, I think the Norm's inserts (I know you are a fan) will hold up longer, since they engage a longer area and they have a coarser/deeper thread. Also, how many cars are worth replacing or even repairing the engine in by the time the second HG has let go?

Correct on the expected failure and GM changed to a courser bolt in mid 2003

But if you do all 20 and it lasts longer than 75K miles, then it was better than just doing one. I mean, how many people have had the timeserts fail under normal useage over the years?

We see them all the time. If the block has been TimeSerted and a head gasket fails most tech walk away from that engine. Remember the TimeSerts come out with the bolts about 75% + of the time.

NHRATA01
03-07-08, 02:00 PM
Interesting, having not seen a N* apart (only became an owner 2 mos ago) I did not realize GM designed it with an open deck. I've never been a fan of open deck motors, because typically gasket sealing is an issue (especially at *ahem* elevated power levels) along with core shift and distortion of the cylinders, N* block casting issues aside. GM seemed to learn the lesson, since according to your pics the newer RWD N* were redesigned with a closed deck, and they did the same with the LSx series V8s when they were released in '97.

JC316
03-07-08, 07:04 PM
We see them all the time. If the block has been TimeSerted and a head gasket fails most tech walk away from that engine. Remember the TimeSerts come out with the bolts about 75% + of the time.

Right, but how many miles did it go before they went again? I know that there are several members here that did the timeserts and haven't had a problem with it so far.

SmoothTS
03-11-08, 05:13 AM
How common is head gasket failure on the 2000 N*? I'm currently at 115,000 miles. Is it just a matter of time before my gasket blows? Are there any warning signs / symptoms to watch or listen for, something that will warn me that the gasket is about to go?

dwight.j.carter
03-11-08, 08:35 PM
How common is head gasket failure on the 2000 N*? I'm currently at 115,000 miles. Is it just a matter of time before my gasket blows? Are there any warning signs / symptoms to watch or listen for, something that will warn me that the gasket is about to go?

If you start smelling coolant but not noticing any leaks then it is getting close. Or if you start losing coolant and it isn't leaking then it is probably burning off in the cylinder. Or in alot of cases if your thermometer on the dash isn't right at 12 o clock that can be another indicator.

dwight.j.carter
03-11-08, 08:36 PM
My question to Aj is what can we do so it doesn't happen again or is it just something that will keep happening ?
If I use those metal gaskets and my holes are all good it wouldn't bunch up at all would it ? And is it fair to say that the poor castings are what may have caused the bolts to pull out of the block ?

Raze
03-11-08, 09:43 PM
AJ question if you have a chance, since my block was timeserted already and i have to pull the front head due to that foreign object jamming open one of my intake valves which may have gotten slapped by the piston, what are the chances I'm going to strip out those inserts? What's the clearance between the piston and the intake valves or is it a straight up interference engine?

Thanks...

Ur7x
03-13-08, 12:15 AM
If you start smelling coolant but not noticing any leaks then it is getting close. Or if you start losing coolant and it isn't leaking then it is probably burning off in the cylinder. Or in alot of cases if your thermometer on the dash isn't right at 12 o clock that can be another indicator.

Keep in mind that the above test is not fool proof. 2000-2003 Northstars have a known and common problem with the gaskets on the water pump cover (TSB too). When they leak here, they leak really slowly and drip directly onto the hot tranny where it evaporates and smells. Smells exactly like a failed head gasket...

Long story short, the new cover is <$50 and the upgraded gasket is about $7.00... If you smell coolant don't panic there are lots of other things that are significantly more likely.

aarcuda
03-13-08, 10:25 PM
excellant writeup. thekey to the kix is the courser threads. woth the fine thread timeserts, there is less material between each thread so it can pull easier. give me a big honking cousre head bolt any day!!

AJxtcman
03-14-08, 07:27 PM
AJ question if you have a chance, since my block was timeserted already and i have to pull the front head due to that foreign object jamming open one of my intake valves which may have gotten slapped by the piston, what are the chances I'm going to strip out those inserts? What's the clearance between the piston and the intake valves or is it a straight up interference engine?

Thanks...

I missed this.
I did a similar job last summer. The valve face and seats were beat up. That was it. You will find out if the TimeSerts stay in place, pull out:suspense:, unscrew, or the worst partially unscrew:eek:

AJxtcman
03-17-08, 10:32 PM
New pictures
This is Highline Cady's 2003 DHS

This is the head gaskets. It looks pretty good.
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Berts/HPIM0097.jpg

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Berts/HPIM0106.jpg

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Berts/HPIM0101.jpg

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Berts/HPIM0096.jpg

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Berts/HPIM0103.jpg

AJxtcman
03-17-08, 10:35 PM
These picture shows some signs of bunching up.
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Berts/HPIM0099.jpg

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Berts/HPIM0102.jpg

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Berts/HPIM0100.jpg

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Berts/HPIM0104.jpg

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Berts/HPIM0105.jpg

AJxtcman
03-17-08, 10:40 PM
This is the head bolt conversion

Stock up to 2004
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Berts/HPIM0107.jpg

As you can see they came out clean, but all the threads were pitted.
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Berts/HPIM0108.jpg

2004 bolts
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Berts/HPIM0109.jpg

Comparision of the pre 2004 and the 2004 and up.
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Berts/HPIM0110.jpg
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Berts/HPIM0111.jpg
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Berts/HPIM0112.jpg
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Berts/HPIM0113.jpg

Yeah do they ever feel nice going into the new GM TimeSerts. A++++

tateos
03-18-08, 12:59 PM
Nice pics AJ - your photography is improving ;-)

roger greeb
03-18-08, 02:25 PM
interestin story..very technical but extremely upsettin...basically what im sayin is like i always say....cadillac engineers should b taken to da shed!! seems they know the problems but peddle the machine anyway, kinda like throwin ......against the wall and see how much sticks...knowin a few will cum back under wanrranty, hopin most wont...all vehicles have inherent probs. but this is a very good reason gm is losing mkt share...huge huge prices low low quality...seems u all seem to say they is prob with the block before it even in a manufacture state! i know in my biz if i treated my clients like this they would horsewhip me...and if i knew of problems in production and design but provided them with the product anyway knowin it was gonna stand a very very big chance of failure..well, then i deserve to b horsewhipped AND put out of biz...hate to tell u guys but u dudes r pushin me back to audi and mercedes yeah they got thier problems but aint NOTHING like the stuff i read here...

AJxtcman
03-18-08, 09:20 PM
Nice pics AJ - your photography is improving ;-)

I think I said this before. Some of the pictures were old. My screen on my camera broke about 6 months ago:crybaby:.

I have a new HP Mz67 and I like it!:thumbsup:

AJxtcman
03-18-08, 09:24 PM
interestin story..very technical but extremely upsettin...basically what im sayin is like i always say....cadillac engineers should b taken to da shed!! seems they know the problems but peddle the machine anyway, kinda like throwin ......against the wall and see how much sticks...knowin a few will cum back under wanrranty, hopin most wont...all vehicles have inherent probs. but this is a very good reason gm is losing mkt share...huge huge prices low low quality...seems u all seem to say they is prob with the block before it even in a manufacture state! i know in my biz if i treated my clients like this they would horsewhip me...and if i knew of problems in production and design but provided them with the product anyway knowin it was gonna stand a very very big chance of failure..well, then i deserve to b horsewhipped AND put out of biz...hate to tell u guys but u dudes r pushin me back to audi and mercedes yeah they got thier problems but aint NOTHING like the stuff i read here...


I have a FIX.
MLS head gaskets and Norm's inserts or Timesert Big inserts ( I have not used )

tateos
03-19-08, 02:45 PM
Has anyone had a HG fail after inserting and replacement. I don't mean have the inserts failed... I know they sometimes fail in the '96-99 blocks with powdery aluminum. I am asking if the factory (or Fel-Pro like I used) head gaskets fail, like after say 25-50K miles. I think they might, since I am pretty convinced that the gasket fails and that causes the threads to be contaminated and fail, but I was wondering if anyone has had that happen after repairs?

AJxtcman
03-25-08, 10:23 AM
This is a little information on coolant. I am still testing the coolant when I service it, but I have not found any that has been acidic.

TSB #00-06-02-006D: Engine Coolant Recycling and Warranty Information
Portion of the bulletin that talks about Sealing Tabs and Dex-Cool

Sealing Tablets
Cooling System Sealing Tablets (Seal Tabs) should not be used as a regular maintenance item after servicing an engine cooling system. Discoloration of coolant can occur if too many seal tabs have been inserted into the cooling system. This can occur if seal tabs are repeatedly used over the service life of a vehicle. Where appropriate, seal tabs may be used if diagnostics fail to repair a small leak in the cooling system. When a condition appears in which seal tabs may be recommended, a specific bulletin will be released describing their proper usage.

Water Quality
The integrity of the coolant is dependent upon the quality of DEX-COOL® and water. DEX-COOL® is a product that has enhanced protection capability as well as an extended service interval. These enhanced properties may be jeopardized by combining DEX-COOL® with poor quality water. If you suspect the water in your area of being poor quality, it is recommended you use distilled or de-ionized water with DEX-COOL®.

"Pink" DEX-COOL®
DEX-COOL® is orange in color to distinguish it from other coolants. Due to inconsistencies in the mixing of the dyes used with DEX-COOL®, some batches may appear pink after time. The color shift from orange to pink does not affect the integrity of the coolant, and still maintains the 5 yr/150,000 mile (240,000 km) service interval.

Back Service
Only use DEX-COOL® if the vehicle was originally equipped with DEX-COOL®.

Contamination
Mixing conventional green coolant with DEX-COOL® will degrade the service interval from 5 yrs./150,000 miles (240,000 km) to 2 yrs./30,000 miles (50,000 km) if left in the contaminated condition. If contamination occurs, the cooling system must be flushed twice immediately and re-filled with a 50/50 mixture of DEX-COOL® and clean water in order to preserve the enhanced properties and extended service interval of DEX-COOL®.

After 5 years/150,000 miles (240,000 km)
After 5 yrs/150,000 miles (240,000 km), the coolant should be changed, preferably using a coolant exchanger. If the vehicle was originally equipped with DEX-COOL® and has not had problems with contamination from non-DEX-COOL® coolants, then the service interval remains the same, and the coolant does not need to be changed for another 5 yrs/150,000 miles (240,000 km).


Think about the head gaskets
TSB #05-06-02-001: Information on Aluminum Heater Core and/or Radiator Replacement

The following information should be utilized when servicing aluminum heater core and/or radiators on repeat visits. A replacement may be necessary because erosion, corrosion, or insufficient inhibitor levels may cause damage to the heater core, radiator or water pump. A coolant check should be preformed whenever a heater core, radiator, or water pump is replaced. The following procedures/ inspections should be done to verify proper coolant effectiveness.

Technician Diagnosis

Verify coolant concentration. A 50% coolant/water solution ensures proper freeze and corrosion protection. Inhibitor levels cannot be easily measured in the field, but can be indirectly done by the measurement of coolant concentration. This must be done by using a Refractometer J 23688 (Fahrenheit scale) or J 26568 (centigrade scale), or equivalent, coolant tester. The Refractometer uses a minimal amount of coolant that can be taken from the coolant recovery reservoir, radiator or the engine block. Inexpensive gravity float testers (floating balls) will not completely analyze the coolant concentration fully and should not be used. The concentration levels should be between 50% and 65% coolant concentrate. This mixture will have a freeze point protection of -34 degrees Fahrenheit (-37 degrees Celsius). If the concentration is below 50%, the cooling system must be flushed.

Inspect the coolant flow restrictor if the vehicle is equipped with one. Refer to Service Information (SI) and/or the appropriate Service Manual for component location and condition for operation.

Verify that no electrolysis is present in the cooling system. This electrolysis test can be performed before or after the system has been repaired. Use a digital voltmeter set to 12 volts. Attach one test lead to the negative battery post and insert the other test lead into the radiator coolant, making sure the lead does not touch the filler neck or core. Any voltage reading over 0.3 volts indicates that stray current is finding its way into the coolant. Electrolysis is often an intermittent condition that occurs when a device or accessory that is mounted to the radiator is energized. This type of current could be caused from a poorly grounded cooling fan or some other accessory and can be verified by watching the volt meter and turning on and off various accessories or engage the starter motor. Before using one of the following flush procedures, the coolant recovery reservoir must be removed, drained, cleaned and reinstalled before refilling the system.


Flushing Procedures using DEX-COOL®

Important: The following procedure recommends refilling the system with DEX-COOL®, P/N 12346290 (in Canada, use P/N 10953464), GM specification 6277M. This coolant is orange in color and has a service interval of 5 years or 240,000 km (150,000 mi). However, when used on vehicles built prior to the introduction of DEX-COOL®, maintenance intervals will remain the same as specified in the Owner's Manual.


If available, use the approved cooling system flush and fill machine (available through the GM Dealer Equipment Program) following the manufacturer's operating instructions.

If approved cooling system flush and fill machine is not available, drain the coolant and dispose of properly following the draining procedures in the appropriate Service Manual. Refill the system using clear, drinkable water and run the vehicle until the thermostat opens. Repeat and run the vehicle three (3) times to totally remove the old coolant or until the drained coolant is almost clear. Once the system is completely flushed, refill the cooling system to a 50%-60% concentration with DEX-COOL®, P/N 12346290 (in Canada, use P/N 10953464), GM specification 6277M, following the refill procedures in the appropriate Service Manual.

If a Service Manual is not available, fill half the capacity of the system with 100% DEX-COOL®, P/N 12346290 (in Canada, use P/N 10953464), GM specification 6277M. Then slowly add clear, drinkable water (preferably distilled) to the system until the level of the coolant mixture has reached the base of the radiator neck. Wait two (2) minutes and reverify the coolant level. If necessary, add clean water to restore the coolant to the appropriate level.


Once the system is refilled, reverify the coolant concentration using a Refractometer J 23688 (Fahrenheit scale) or J 26568 (centigrade scale) coolant tester, or equivalent. The concentration levels should be between 50% and 65%.

AJxtcman
03-26-08, 12:19 PM
This is the head bolt conversion

2004 bolts
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Berts/HPIM0109.jpg

Comparision of the pre 2004 and the 2004 and up.
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Berts/HPIM0110.jpg

Yeah do they ever feel nice going into the new GM TimeSerts. A++++

For all you Northstar haters. The 2004 head bolt TimeSert are the same as the LSx engines use!:thumbsup:

So I converted a 2003 Northstar the LSx head bolt threads!!!

STS Tom
03-30-08, 06:12 PM
Ok, my son has a 99 STS and the head gaskets went. On the rear head all head bolts snapped loose upon removal. (Front not yet pulled, figured rear would be the worse due to heat. Gasket bunching evident.) So far looks like no coolant made it to the head bolt threads so I suspect we may not have the “gray dust of death” when we drill and tap for inserts. None were mushy. We have, the following kits M11-1.5 time-sert, M11-1.5Big-sert and M11-2.0 time-sert.
So the coarse thread gets a better bite into the aluminum and GM does not warranty the Big-serts. So I am leaning toward the M11-2.0 inserts. The engine came out the top due to lack of facilities, so we want to do this once and do not want to go back. The gasket kit that will be used is Felpro.

To be able to utilize the M11-2.0 inserts, what bolts do I purchase? I believe the later engines used two different lengths of head bolts. Are the LSx bolts the same length as the ’97-’99 Northstar? If so I would just purchase 3 sets of LSx bolts and be set.
Thanks
STS Tom


:confused::

AJxtcman
03-30-08, 09:30 PM
1994 to 1999 Head bolt Part number ------- 1647217
Thread size ------------------------------- M11 x 1.5 x 30mm
Bolt Length (under washer) --------------- 139.9 mm
Bolt Thread length ------------------------ 44.5 mm
Hole depth ------------------------------- 75 mm
Cylinder head boss height ----------------- 76.0 mm
Counter bore depth ----------------------- 35 mm

2000 to 2003 Head Bolt Part Number ------ 12557775
Thread size ------------------------------ M11 x 1.5 x 30 mm
Bolt Length (under washer) -------------- 157.2 mm
Bolt Thread length ----------------------- 45.3 mm
Outboard hole depth --------------------- 96.5 mm
Counter bore depth ---------------------- 51.5 mm
Inboard hole depth ---------------------- 80 mm
Counter bore depth ---------------------- 35 mm
Cylinder head boss height - outboard ----- 76.0 mm
Cylinder head boss height - inboard ------- 92.5 mm

2004 to 2008 Head bolt Part Number -----11589058
Thread size ---------------------------- M11 x 2.0 x 30 mm
Bolt Length (under washer) ------------- 157.2 mm
Bolt Thread length ---------------------- 64.8 mm
Outboard hole depth -------------------- 89.5 mm
Counter bore depth --------------------- 45.5 mm
Inboard hole depth ---------------------- 73 mm
Counter bore depth --------------------- 29 mm
Cylinder head boss height - outboard ---- 76.0 mm
Cylinder head boss height - inboard ------ 92.5 mm

If you but a set of 2004+ bolts and cut 17.3 mm off the bottom you will have 47.5 mm of threads left on the bolt. The 94 to 99 have only 44.5 mm on them. So the 2004 bolts will have 3 mm more.

AJxtcman
03-31-08, 06:51 AM
1994 to 1999 Head bolt Part number ------- 1647217
Thread size ------------------------------- M11 x 1.5 x 30mm
Bolt Length (under washer) --------------- 139.9 mm
Bolt Thread length ------------------------ 44.5 mm
Hole depth ------------------------------- 75 mm
Cylinder head boss height ----------------- 76.0 mm
Counter bore depth ----------------------- 35 mm

2000 to 2003 Head Bolt Part Number ------ 12557775
Thread size ------------------------------ M11 x 1.5 x 30 mm
Bolt Length (under washer) -------------- 157.2 mm
Bolt Thread length ----------------------- 45.3 mm
Outboard hole depth --------------------- 96.5 mm
Counter bore depth ---------------------- 51.5 mm
Inboard hole depth ---------------------- 80 mm
Counter bore depth ---------------------- 35 mm
Cylinder head boss height - outboard ----- 76.0 mm
Cylinder head boss height - inboard ------- 92.5 mm

2004 to 2008 Head bolt Part Number -----11589058
Thread size ---------------------------- M11 x 2.0 x 30 mm
Bolt Length (under washer) ------------- 157.2 mm
Bolt Thread length ---------------------- 64.8 mm
Outboard hole depth -------------------- 89.5 mm
Counter bore depth --------------------- 45.5 mm
Inboard hole depth ---------------------- 73 mm
Counter bore depth --------------------- 29 mm
Cylinder head boss height - outboard ---- 76.0 mm
Cylinder head boss height - inboard ------ 92.5 mm

If you buy a set of 2004+ bolts and cut 17.3 mm off the bottom you will have 47.5 mm of threads left on the bolt. The 94 to 99 have only 44.5 mm on them. So the 2004 bolts will have 3 mm more.

Will someone check my math on this please. Thank A.J.

STS Tom
03-31-08, 10:19 PM
A.J. Math looks good. I'll check later with pencil and paper.. So what do I do for lube/sealant after I cut the precoated portion of the bolt off ?
On VW water boxers head nuts, I have used a pipe joint compound with Teflon. On the VW the coolant comes up the stud and rusts the cap nut to the stud. Years later attempted removal, breaks the stud.
Is there any equivalent coating for the original coating on the head bolts ?
On the used bolts it looks like installing them smears the coating up the bolt.
From what I understand the coating has micro spheres of thread lock and must be torqued within something like 30 minutes after being run into a hole.
Also does GM use coatings on the head bolts that go into iron blocks ? The cut-down bolts will be going into a steel threaded hole with the inserts. I wonder if the coating is there originally to prevent galvanic corrosion between the steel bolt and aluminum block.
Regards
STS Tom Sr.

AJxtcman
04-01-08, 07:01 AM
A.J. Math looks good. I'll check later with pencil and paper.. So what do I do for lube/sealant after I cut the precoated portion of the bolt off ?
On VW water boxers head nuts, I have used a pipe joint compound with Teflon. On the VW the coolant comes up the stud and rusts the cap nut to the stud. Years later attempted removal, breaks the stud.
Is there any equivalent coating for the original coating on the head bolts ?
On the used bolts it looks like installing them smears the coating up the bolt.
From what I understand the coating has micro spheres of thread lock and must be torqued within something like 30 minutes after being run into a hole.
Also does GM use coatings on the head bolts that go into iron blocks ? The cut-down bolts will be going into a steel threaded hole with the inserts. I wonder if the coating is there originally to prevent galvanic corrosion between the steel bolt and aluminum block.
Regards
STS Tom Sr.

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Berts/HPIM0109.jpg
The thread pitch is 2.0
So I counted the thread and you will sill have some of the blue stuff. T would think putting blue loctite on the bolt would work. Not really sure I have never done this. THESE BOLTS ARE VERY STRECHY! When torquing you turn them 60° and the turn back about 5°:mad: It was a little tricky

AJxtcman
04-01-08, 07:15 AM
Torque Specifications:

1993-1999 Head Bolt Torque

First Pass ----- 30 lb ft
Second Pass -- +70°
Third Pass ---- +60°
Fourth Pass -- +60° (190 Degrees total)




2000-2003 Head Bolt Torque:

First Pass ------ 30 lb ft
Second Pass -- +70°
Third Pass ---- +60°
Fourth Pass -- +45° (175 Degrees total)




2004-2008 Head Bolt Torque:

First Pass ------ 22 lb ft
Second Pass -- +60°
Third Pass ---- +60°
Final Pass ---- +60° (180 degrees Total)

dwight.j.carter
04-14-08, 01:33 PM
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/Berts/HPIM0109.jpg
The thread pitch is 2.0
So I counted the thread and you will sill have some of the blue stuff. T would think putting blue loctite on the bolt would work. Not really sure I have never done this. THESE BOLTS ARE VERY STRECHY! When torquing you turn them 60° and the turn back about 5°:mad: It was a little tricky

So when the headgaskets are done on pre 2004 are they retapped for these bolts ? If not could that be done ?

AJxtcman
04-14-08, 04:12 PM
So when the headgaskets are done on pre 2004 are they retapped for these bolts ? If not could that be done ?

The 2000 to 2003 can be upgraded.

dwight.j.carter
04-14-08, 04:15 PM
The 2000 to 2003 can be upgraded.

when you do them do you upgrade them ?

AJxtcman
04-14-08, 07:22 PM
when you do them do you upgrade them ?

Highline Cady's was the first one. we can't get any of the newer TimeSerts. We just don't have a sorce. We don't buy them from GM. We buy them from the worlds largest distributor of TimeSert inserts. They don't have a listing. :banghead:
I need 20 more Now:bomb:

dwight.j.carter
04-14-08, 08:05 PM
Well if mine ever go I at least I know what to ask for and what should be used. And it's all thanks to you AJ. :)

mikelawson
04-18-08, 12:55 PM
Aj, have you used the cometic gaskets before? I have heard of sealing problems and the need for cooper spray. I just ordered norms and agree MLS looks like the way to go. Just looking for some good advice before spending the money.

AJxtcman
04-18-08, 03:43 PM
Not yet. I have been too busy to add to your thread. I did read it. I am hoping to get caught up in my reading this weekend

RickyHenry
04-25-08, 02:13 AM
I had my heads pressure checked, didn't find any issues with them. In my case, it looked like my gasket blew between 2 cylinders. I remember while taking off the head bolts that the bolts by the cylinder that had the most coolant/water mixture was rather loose and not difficult at all to get off. All other head bolts were pretty difficult to remove. I believe in my case, the head bolt started receiving coolant, (possibly through the short block like you state in this thread), head bolt gets loose, pressure removes part of the gasket and walaa... in comes the water to my cylinder.

99_concours
04-28-08, 01:41 PM
I appreciate greatly all the technical advice and the documentation of this thread. I do have some questions though.

I have a 99 deVille Concours in premium condition with 133K miles that I believe the head gaskets just failed. Sudden coolant usage and smell; large bubbles in the coolant resevoir observed (with cap off) that when 'pop' steam or exhaust is released. After it sat a week without being used, this weekend I started it up and now has large amounts of white 'smoke' coming from both exhaust pipes. This car has NEVER overheated, even to date. Car was well maintained. The car is still in extremely excellent shape, no scratches, dings, etc. So, this isn't a 'throw away' even though according to some of the blogs and threads I have been reading that the northstar engine may be a 'throw away'. Unbelievable that the engine that essentially 'brought back Cadillac' has such a failure record.

While I have read many of the posts, I need to simplify exactly what I should do; what is the wisest choice. I plan on removing the engine and cracking it open to determine the head bolt to block situation to determine if my engine is salvagable. No water in the oiling system so that is a good thing but what I am reading about the timeserts and powdery block alloy is disconcerting.

I see by the threads that the '99 is one of the 'bad' engines as far as timeserting...I also read that the mid 2003 the factory head bolt upgrade to LSx style bolts has a better record. So that leads me to think that the 2004 and above FWD northstars are the way to go whether used engine or a remanufactured engine knowing there were some changes with coils, etc. I saw in the above post that the post '99s are not a simple 'bolt in' replacement for a '99 and prior but I must ask what other changes would there be?

It is also my understanding that the closed deck design of the RWD northstar WILL NOT be usable in my FWD; is this correct?

So, essentially, it is my understanding that the 2004 will bolt in (with modifications) but with the LSx head bolt design this is the better choice?

It is also my understanding that the '99 northstar doesn't accept timeserts (or Norm's) very well but the 2000 thru 2003 will?

One other question: I saw something in one of the posts about someone not wanting to own a deVille up to 99 but a '98 and '99 STS is better? Was there a difference in the engine for the STS (300hp) over that of the Concours (300hp as opposed to the 275hp of the regular deVille)? Maybe it was just that, the engine horsepower. I thought the STS and the Concours had the exact same engine.

Sorry for the length of the post but there is so much information out there that I want to ensure that I am in full understanding. I might be crazy about wanting to keep my car (I actually was going to keep it indefinitely once I took it out of everyday service) but I really love the car. 300HP, and at 26mpg at 80mph is hard to beat! Add to that the quiet ride and the size of the car and its safety features (over a tin can at 33mpg) I can't find anything acceptable to replace it.

cmross97
06-09-08, 04:54 PM
AJ so when doing time serts on a 2003 if one wanted to upgrade would they get the 2004 timesert kit?????

AJxtcman
06-10-08, 08:26 PM
AJ so when doing time serts on a 2003 if one wanted to upgrade would they get the 2004 timesert kit?????

Correct

cmross97
06-16-08, 07:03 PM
would it be worth it to do the upgrade b/c the new bolts would just be going into the time-sert? Or is the time sert insert itself have courser threads also???

AJxtcman
06-16-08, 08:03 PM
would it be worth it to do the upgrade b/c the new bolts would just be going into the time-sert? Or is the time sert insert itself have courser threads also???

Oh yeah the 04 TimeSerts have the courser threads on the outside

cmross97
06-22-08, 06:32 PM
cool good info thanks

Dubya
06-28-08, 12:23 PM
would it be safe to say, that for preventitive maintenance it would be a good idea to put a lower temp thermostat in the car? It seems that would greatly help this car, to never get that hot. is it coincidence that northstar run hotter then most all other cars, and they have the most head gasket failure's due to heat and the expanding / contracting of metals also due to heat.

you might loose a mpg if you got it to run at 185-190 instead of 210-220, but it seems well worth it.

inthefreeze98
07-02-08, 05:56 AM
Iv done a bunch of these the only system that works is Norms,,,ns300L ,,,PLAIN AND SIMPLE!!! OVER!

Crown Vic Owner
07-07-08, 02:48 AM
would it be safe to say, that for preventitive maintenance it would be a good idea to put a lower temp thermostat in the car? It seems that would greatly help this car, to never get that hot. is it coincidence that northstar run hotter then most all other cars, and they have the most head gasket failure's due to heat and the expanding / contracting of metals also due to heat.

you might loose a mpg if you got it to run at 185-190 instead of 210-220, but it seems well worth it.

The northstar LOVES to run cold from what i know.


Either way, i would just like to state that i have been changing coolant every 5-15k miles in my 98 and i have no HG issues.

foos
07-23-08, 01:18 AM
So after all this, I have a 99 STS, eventually something will happen to the head gaskets.. hopefully at 200k or more :> What is the best thing to do?
Upgrade the block or use norm's? I couldn't quite get what is best to do if you have a 96-99.. Thanks

patterson
07-23-08, 02:24 AM
I sure like all that head gasket talk. My 95 Eldorado beauty recently started overheating (done it twice now) and I hear it's the HG b/c my coolant goes low just after it overheats.
I did find out that I had the wrong cap on the expansion tank and I had air in the system. After the first overheat 2 weeks ago I drained and refilled the coolant. 50/50 Dex/distilled but I didn't burp it much.

Well now it overheated for the 2nd time and so I had the system flushed today at Goodyear. Seems fine for now. They did a pressure test on the cooloing system, passed.
It's not missing, never has; It's never had a problem far as I can tell. I drove around in the heat today, the temp. stayed around 228F. Granted it's 100 degrees F in Tucson AZ.
And my oil looks good.

Is there any other way that exhaust can get into the coolant mix other than thru a breached headgasket? Could it be throttle body seals or pitting or something else??

One more Question; Is 130k a lot of miles for a Northstar compared to other engines? I thought these engines were revolutionary and love the hwy, plus some hard acceleration only makes them better! ?


http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/hotpotatapie/HPNX0742.jpg

tateos
07-23-08, 06:29 PM
Nice looking car. Exhaust can get into the cooling system from other places, but a leaking HG is by far the most common. 100 degrees sounds good - I am in Phoenix - it's always 5-10 degrees hotter here than there

Submariner409
07-23-08, 07:19 PM
Almost a month ago, dubya opined that there might be a Northstar bandaid applied by running the engine colder.....phooey!!! An internal combustion engine is a heat creator and a heat user: the hotter it runs (within limits) the more efficient it is. Problem is that we need to use low boiling point coolants under pressure to insure that the car and engine accessories don't cook. It makes not one whit, temperature-wise, where the engine runs, as long as the various gasketed parts are held tightly together and expand and contract at pretty much the same rates.

The problem with the Northstar is that 10 head bolts (per head) is damn few for an aluminum engine with high power-per-cubic-inch ratings, especially one that has an inherently weak open deck design. There would be NO head gasket problems if there were a half-dozen more head bolts, or if the deck had been closed and supplied with necessary coolant and steam passages. The block should have been inserted as a part of the original casting process and fitted with studs, not bolts. Less than 1/4" of gasket between cylinder wall and coolant passage, especially in an aluminum engine, is a sure recipe for disaster and if someone wanted to ruin GM, start a class action lawsuit with head gasket failure customers. Ask for a new, redesigned Northstar which would at least operate in the original warranty period. Our problem is that, unlike a sponsored IMSA or NASCAR, we can't afford to rebuild/buy new engines every 1,250 miles.

patterson
07-24-08, 02:27 AM
Tateos, Sounds like you've been through it with the headgasket re-build of a late 90's N*. I take it the inserts are working. Do you think the aluminium from a 95 N* block has a chance at being tough enough for a drill and insert scenario to work? How's Phoenix treating you and your Cadi? My car is running good for now, which is kinda wierd. In any case, let me know if you ever get to Tucson.

Tigman
08-16-08, 07:55 AM
Any feedback on the Norms NS300L inserts and the Cometic gaskets?

Mark

tateos
08-19-08, 12:57 PM
I used Norm's - great kit. I used FelPro gaskets - no problem so far

mtgldr
09-17-08, 10:26 PM
I appreciate greatly all the technical advice and the documentation of this thread. I do have some questions though.

I have a 99 deVille Concours in premium condition with 133K miles that I believe the head gaskets just failed. Sudden coolant usage and smell; large bubbles in the coolant resevoir observed (with cap off) that when 'pop' steam or exhaust is released. After it sat a week without being used, this weekend I started it up and now has large amounts of white 'smoke' coming from both exhaust pipes. This car has NEVER overheated, even to date. Car was well maintained. The car is still in extremely excellent shape, no scratches, dings, etc. So, this isn't a 'throw away' even though according to some of the blogs and threads I have been reading that the northstar engine may be a 'throw away'. Unbelievable that the engine that essentially 'brought back Cadillac' has such a failure record.

While I have read many of the posts, I need to simplify exactly what I should do; what is the wisest choice. I plan on removing the engine and cracking it open to determine the head bolt to block situation to determine if my engine is salvagable. No water in the oiling system so that is a good thing but what I am reading about the timeserts and powdery block alloy is disconcerting.

I see by the threads that the '99 is one of the 'bad' engines as far as timeserting...I also read that the mid 2003 the factory head bolt upgrade to LSx style bolts has a better record. So that leads me to think that the 2004 and above FWD northstars are the way to go whether used engine or a remanufactured engine knowing there were some changes with coils, etc. I saw in the above post that the post '99s are not a simple 'bolt in' replacement for a '99 and prior but I must ask what other changes would there be?

It is also my understanding that the closed deck design of the RWD northstar WILL NOT be usable in my FWD; is this correct?

So, essentially, it is my understanding that the 2004 will bolt in (with modifications) but with the LSx head bolt design this is the better choice?

It is also my understanding that the '99 northstar doesn't accept timeserts (or Norm's) very well but the 2000 thru 2003 will?

One other question: I saw something in one of the posts about someone not wanting to own a deVille up to 99 but a '98 and '99 STS is better? Was there a difference in the engine for the STS (300hp) over that of the Concours (300hp as opposed to the 275hp of the regular deVille)? Maybe it was just that, the engine horsepower. I thought the STS and the Concours had the exact same engine.

Sorry for the length of the post but there is so much information out there that I want to ensure that I am in full understanding. I might be crazy about wanting to keep my car (I actually was going to keep it indefinitely once I took it out of everyday service) but I really love the car. 300HP, and at 26mpg at 80mph is hard to beat! Add to that the quiet ride and the size of the car and its safety features (over a tin can at 33mpg) I can't find anything acceptable to replace it.


Did anyone ever respond to this post? You're describing my car & situation exactly. If I'm going to pull the motor I would love to replace it with a later model that would basically bolt in and is not known for HG failure.

mtgldr
09-18-08, 08:14 AM
My post is the previous one. What I meant to say is that the condition of my car is identical to the one described, the symptoms are not identical. I am mainly asking if a late model motor will go into a '99 Concours. I really hate to lose the rest of the car if I need HG's and paying the dealer $5,500 to do it makes keeping the car a tough decision if the motor / block is likely to fail again due to the serts. They're quoting 35 hours labor and $1,900 in parts to sert all 20 holes.

patterson
09-19-08, 04:16 AM
The problem with the Northstar is that 10 head bolts (per head) is damn few for an aluminum engine with high power-per-cubic-inch ratings, especially one that has an inherently weak open deck design. There would be NO head gasket problems if there were a half-dozen more head bolts, or if the deck had been closed and supplied with necessary coolant and steam passages. The block should have been inserted as a part of the original casting process and fitted with studs, not bolts.

SubMariner said it best. It appears that Even if you are willing to pull your motor and replace the head gasket, Your head bolts probably won't hold once threaded into the block for the 2nd time. They might hold for a while??

As above, Inserts should have been part of the original casting with studs instead of bolts. Imagine a bullet proof N* for your Cadi :dance:

Did Cadillac get over this Head Gasket problem in the 2000 N* redesign/2nd Generation business???

F*@%$! it, Buy a Reman motor for a late 90's Eldorado or STS and put it in?

CadVetteStang
09-19-08, 02:01 PM
I called a car lot about a 98 Eldo touring coupe. The lot owner drives this car home daily. He said after a few miles he discovered it had a blown head gasket and had it fixed with a local engine rebuilder. He said he had the repair bill of $2,500. He said he has put 1,000 miles on the car with no troubles and uses that shop regularly.

I called the shop to see what they do to fix the head gaskets for $2500. They said that they leave the engine in the car, pull the heads off, and re-drill the block to accept larger head bolts. He claims that the shop has done ten Northstars that way and none have returned. I asked him if there would be any difference in labor price if I bought a car needing gaskets and we went with head studs in stead. He said the labor would be the same, but I would need to find out what head studs would fit it. If I go that rout, anyone know what head stud to use? Would converting to studs help solve future head gasket problems by preventing reverse torque on the new inserts or will it hide potential in block stud corrosion problems by allowing seepage in some studs to go undetected in future H/G replacements?

I am new to the Northstar- I do not yet own one, but have always wanted a 95 up touring coupe as a daily driver and autocross racer. I have been told you cannot take the engine out from the top side, but someone said they did that with an STS. Is this shop nuts for doing the head job “in car”? Can I assume they use inserts and are not placing oversized bolts directly into a tapped aluminum hole?

I just now started learning about the cars and the head gasket problems. The shop that does those repairs does not think the Northstar is the right choice for me because I will be driving a 66 mile round trip seven days a week and do not have time to work on cars. They feel the Northstar is unreliable. However, I have seen several for sale with above 240,000 miles that have good running non-smoking engines. Those cars were at the price I could afford, but I don’t want to race a car with a quarter of million miles on it. I’m thinking of buying a nicer car with blown gaskets and using this shop to (or a mechanic friend) to perform this type of repair job if it will work. That will make hot rodding this car affordable (IF this shop can do a REAL fix for $2500, that means my mechanic can do the same thing for much less). I would then have about $3,000 TOTAL in the car total (minus wheels/tires, wing, and other racing goodies).

I don’t want to buy a car, use my entire budget, blow the gaskets and park it. I want to drive care free and blow away a few Mustangs and Trans Ams in autocross races--- NOT a few head gaskets. I want a motor strong enough I can put a mild performance cam in and drive for years.

I have the reliability I need NOW with my unfinished hot rod project: a 3680 lb. 1982 Eldorado with a TBI injected 472. I can overhaul that engine, put on some stiffer torsion bars, monster sway bars, and 17 X 9.5” Vette wheels, for less money than it would take to buy and repair a 95 up Touring coup, but I will get 5 MPGs less and will not look near as good (In my opinion). Should I build that car instead? Or How do I get the Northstar hold up? No one has yet answered the question about a later model engine swap. If I buy a 95 Elo ETC, can I eventually put a 2005 engine in it when the budget allows? It there enough room under the 95 Eldo hood to convert the car back to an old school forward mounted 500 on the side mounted FWD transmission?

Sorry for the long post…

Thanks,
Cody

P.S. I wish gas was still cheap enough I could drive my 1970 Eldorado. It was the coolest car ever built.

mtgldr
09-21-08, 02:11 PM
SubMariner said it best. It appears that Even if you are willing to pull your motor and replace the head gasket, Your head bolts probably won't hold once threaded into the block for the 2nd time. They might hold for a while??

As above, Inserts should have been part of the original casting with studs instead of bolts. Imagine a bullet proof N* for your Cadi :dance:

Did Cadillac get over this Head Gasket problem in the 2000 N* redesign/2nd Generation business???

F*@%$! it, Buy a Reman motor for a late 90's Eldorado or STS and put it in?


That's what I'm wondering about, can a late model (non HG prone) motor be put in the car without having fabrication / pcm issues?

Is the Eldo or STS less prone to HG issues? I assumed a N* is a N* in the 96-99 model range.

Ranger
09-21-08, 10:21 PM
That's what I'm wondering about, can a late model (non HG prone) motor be put in the car without having fabrication / pcm issues?
No

Is the Eldo or STS less prone to HG issues?
No.

I assumed a N* is a N* in the 96-99 model range.
Correct.

mtgldr
09-21-08, 10:39 PM
No

No.

Correct.

Thanks. That's what I needed to know. Not what I had hoped for though...

skankyfrankie
09-22-08, 03:55 PM
How can you tell if your 03DTS has 11x1.5 vs the 11x2 head bolts.

Submariner409
09-22-08, 04:13 PM
CadVetteStang, Before you get into a vehicle with a FWD Northstar and then try to modify it, I suggest you do some extensive homework in here, up in Seville/Deville, down in the Cadillac Technical forums, and read the Cadillac Technical Archive, up ^^ in the lower left black bar. You may just stick with a RWD warhorse that has catalogs full of aftermarket parts, whereas the FWD Seville/Eldorado/Deville Cadillac has essentially none.

Your question about changing to a performance cam is telling......as the Northstar has 4 chain-driven cams, and there are no aftermarket cams or grinds for street, you're already behind the power curve (Refers to water across the reactor core vs. temperature developed for creating steam.......).

patterson
09-23-08, 03:23 AM
Like SubMariner said, do some research at this site, there is more here than you could poss. absorb. You'd have to quit your job. The Head Gasket talk is endless, it permeates in a lot of different conversations and threads. All things spoken, I will eventually need to find a new motor for Sadie, 1995 Eldorado....I priced rebuilt 2000+ N* at 3,500 + core, from Accurate Engines. Crate delivery.

Since my Cadi is the best ever... I will push the point and extract info from the Cadi Forum to do this!...With some help It can def. be done.
http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/hotpotatapie/HPNX0739.jpg
http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/hotpotatapie/HPNX0742.jpg
http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s222/hotpotatapie/HPNX0749.jpg

Johnson's91Coupe
09-23-08, 01:54 PM
My parents purchased my grandmothers Caddy when she passed away back in 03. It was a 98 Deville with only 37K very pampered miles. The coolant was flushed every 2 years(my uncle knew all about the N* problems) and the vehicle was taken out once a week by that same uncle to "blow it out". Anyway, fast forward to 05 and my parents are driving to Virginia to visit my sister. To make this trip they have to drive on I-64 through the mountains of West Virginia. Guess what happens? Head gaskets blow going uphill. After a lot of grief getting it to Virginia and back home they get it into the Caddy dealer. Exactly as AJ said, they had done quite a few HG's at this point and said that since the car had such low miles and was maintained so well(less than 42K when the failure occured) that the repair had a good chance of working, maybe 50%. Six months later my mom notices a coolant smell and the low coolant message coming on in the dash. Fast forward a couple of years when I move back to my stomping grounds and sure enough the timeserts have failed. The car at this point only has 59K on it, and Mom won't even drive it across town for fear of blowing it up. So, long story short, the timesert "fix" is definately a very expensive($3200 at the Caddy dealer, GM helped out a little bit because of the maintenance records, them being the selling dealer, and low mileage) band aid that can unfortunately peel off at any time. We ended up taking it to a local Ford dealer here that I used to work for that are known crooks and traded it in on a low mileage Mustang.(Mom always wanted one) What is really sad is that as much as I love Caddys I am scared off of the newer ones. I can afford a newer N* Caddy but will not buy one for fear of HG failure. That's why I drive a 91 with a less powerful and refined yet vastly more reliable 4.9. I love the N* when it's running right, not much can beat it for for power and effeciancy. It's too bad that GM won't(and with their current financial situation, can't) stand behind these vehicle and their owners by providing an extended warranty so that owners faced with this problem won't be left standing in the dark footing the bill for an admitted design defect.

AJxtcman
09-29-08, 07:24 AM
Sorry guy's for not getting back to everyone.
I am gutting my house. New pluming, wiring, Drywall, all new insulation, adding a bathroom, expanding a dormer, and all new trim inside and outside.

OK back to the Head Gasket suff.

Another tech (#1 golden boy) did a set of head gaskets and installed 20 TimeSerts on a 97 Deville last month. I would say that this tech is an average tech. I would not let him touch one of my cars, but he turns the most hours in the shop. Management like him and the help him out all the time. On this old slug the stock TimeSerts pulled out. The boss came to me for help. They wanted Norm's inserts. I didn't have any and it takes and act of god to get a check for something. This left us with using a PO. My boss bent over backwards to get this tech a set of BIG inserts. Myself and the #2 golden boy had asked for the BIG TimeSerts a couple of times before and never got them.

Anyway the Big Serts are a lot different then I thought they would be. I will get some pictures.

After seeing them I would say that they are worth a try. I would not try to install the original TimeSerts in a 1993 to 1999 block. The originals TimeSerts just don't fix this issue.

The BIG TimeSerts still have a 1.5mm thread pitch on the outside. This is good and bad.

Good: If the inserts turns when you are torquing the head bolt by angle the thread pitch will keep an even torque

Bad: The thread depth is still shallow and doesn't have the bite that Norm's does.

davz
10-26-08, 07:41 AM
where can you get the "norms " inserts and the stainless steel gaskets??

Also to the guy that pulled the engine out the top, was it worth it?

AJxtcman
10-26-08, 09:32 AM
where can you get the "norms " inserts and the stainless steel gaskets??

Also to the guy that pulled the engine out the top, was it worth it?

Norm always has them on Ebay
Search: NORTHSTAR ENGINE NS300L HEAD BOLT THREAD REPAIR KIT

The Head Gaskets come from. I would call them to make sure they fit the application. I know they fit 93 to 99. They may have other years also
http://www.cometic.com/images/domesticauto.gif (http://www.cometic.com/domesticauto.aspx)

ronbo
11-15-08, 11:34 AM
The Final Fix for Cadillac performance goals...

http://www.tallantsauto.net/572cadi.htm

All it takes is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

(sorry... off topic)

But an injected LSX conversion would save a lot of those $$$

davz
11-15-08, 11:25 PM
Thanks AJ. I got the norms inserts and am halfway through installing them. I ended up with Fel-pro Headgaskets. I've always used felpro gaskets and trust them.

By the way the FSM is wrong on the torqe for the m6 headbolts (by the timing chains). it says 106 lb ft! more like 10. I need to get 3 new ones now. I should have known. Seems really obvious now.

AJxtcman
11-16-08, 12:51 PM
Thanks AJ. I got the norms inserts and am halfway through installing them. I ended up with Fel-pro Headgaskets. I've always used felpro gaskets and trust them.

By the way the FSM is wrong on the torqe for the m6 headbolts (by the timing chains). it says 106 lb ft! more like 10. I need to get 3 new ones now. I should have known. Seems really obvious now.

That should be 106 lb inch

C0RSA1R
11-16-08, 10:21 PM
Would it be a good idea to make a Sticky out of 97EldoCoupe's 'studded block' repair thread?

As good as the Norms inserts sound, this sounds like a pretty kick@ss solution as well.


Photo of one of my studded blocks - this completely eliminates the need for inserts...

http://www.northstarperformance.com/img/studs3.jpg

This can be done even on engines that have had timeserts before. They are custom machined.

bpierson
12-05-08, 12:51 AM
We owned a '94 SLS that ended up with a cracked block. Traded that in for a 2000 DTS (we are 2nd owner) which has been at the dealers for going on 3 weeks now. Only message we got was coolant was low. We took it in and had them look at it. They said it might be head gasket blown, later they said 3 loose rear engine bolts and not head gasket, later they said no its a crack on the engine block.
So I asked some questions...

Did you magnaflux engine? no was visible

Was there coolant in the oil? no visible coolant in oil

Is the water jacket solid? no thats where it is leaking from

By what cylinders is the crack? if your sitting in the driver seat it is the back left cylinder.

Now they told me that all these where unusual for a Cadillac that has only 57k miles on it (2000 DTS). We also baby our Caddy's.

From what I have been reading here... cracked heads, gasket leaks, etc... seems to be the norm for Cadillac? Cadillac it's self refuses to do anything to help with the cost of repairs. The dealer quoted over 6k to put in a "new" used engine. So we went with the cheaper option of welding the crack. How long will weld last? Any input or assistance will be appreciated.

davz
12-05-08, 06:02 AM
How long have you had the car?

How long do you want to keep the car?

If you do the weld, sell it soon or trade it in. There may be more cracks on the horizon, or if thhey don't insert the bolt holes, the headgaskets won't last.

If you go with the new engine, keep the car.

I would go with the new engine if you have the money.
The remanufactured engines already have the timeserts in them, and are about 3600 dollars on ebay. Or a new engine is just that - NEW.

bpierson
12-05-08, 05:31 PM
How long have you had the car? going on 2 years.

How long do you want to keep the car? We still making payments on it, so at least another 3 years.

If you do the weld, sell it soon or trade it in. There may be more cracks on the horizon, or if thhey don't insert the bolt holes, the headgaskets won't last.
I talked to the tech and he said they will put new bolts/timeserts in and they are going to get me a price on a multilayer headgasket.
If you go with the new engine, keep the car.
They want to much for a 65k mile motor and install (the new engine price is just insane), we opted for the weld.
I would go with the new engine if you have the money.
The remanufactured engines already have the timeserts in them, and are about 3600 dollars on ebay. Or a new engine is just that - NEW.

Please see notes above.

SCOTT2325
12-21-08, 09:38 AM
I have a 2001 SLS with 112k miles on it i guess this could happen to me at anytime now ?? I think i'll trade it in very very soon i have only had it about 6 weeks but after reading this i have stopped driving the car i have a car cover on it in my carport now .

Submariner409
12-21-08, 11:47 AM
Post-2000 Northstars are not as prone to bolt failure as the late 90's engines. There were quite a few mechanical changes during 2000-2001. Drive it.

See my post in the companion sticky.....these questions belong in the main threads, not the stickys.

Lebowski
12-21-08, 03:33 PM
I have a 2001 SLS with 112k miles on it i guess this could happen to me at anytime now ?? I think i'll trade it in very very soon i have only had it about 6 weeks but after reading this i have stopped driving the car i have a car cover on it in my carport now .

I would sell it ASAP if I was you. My '99 STS has 114K on it and needs a head gasket. I just bought it a year ago with 112K on it for $7500. Now I can only drive it to places within 5 miles of my home or it will overheat. The Northstar engine is a piece of shit. SELL IT ASAP!!!!

SCOTT2325
12-22-08, 12:56 PM
Post-2000 Northstars are not as prone to bolt failure as the late 90's engines. There were quite a few mechanical changes during 2000-2001. Drive it.

See my post in the companion sticky.....these questions belong in the main threads, not the stickys.
Submariner .. Thanks for telling me that i trust you very much so thats what i'm going to do is drive it .I like the car alot it looks good and drives great i just get upset when i read bad things about the SLS it worrys me but i'm going to try and not worry about it and just take good care of it and drive it . Thank you submariner !

NorthStarGXP
01-05-09, 07:48 PM
I have a 2001 SLS with 112k miles on it i guess this could happen to me at anytime now ?? I think i'll trade it in very very soon i have only had it about 6 weeks but after reading this i have stopped driving the car i have a car cover on it in my carport now .

I can understand that you don't want to drive a ticking time bomb. But on the flip side please keep in mind that most people posting on this thread are doing so because they've had problems, so it sounds more prevalent than it is. I'd say enjoy the car if it doesn't currently have the problem. At 100k+ miles, there is always some risk. Who knows, whatever you replace it with for the same money might drop a tranny next month.

BTW, my girlfriend bought a Land Cruiser Special edition brand new in 1997. Cost 50k, and that was absolutely outrageous back in 97. Had all the service done at Toyota and was going to keep it forever since the LCs are supposed to go 300k or more. Never towed or even went off road in it. It developed a piston knock at 130k (among other problems), and she had to get rid of it for $4k at 146k when the knock became more like a bang. Granted 146k miles is not too bad, but I'm certainly not impressed.

Destroyer
01-11-09, 09:45 PM
Submariner .. Thanks for telling me that i trust you very much so thats what i'm going to do is drive it .I like the car alot it looks good and drives great i just get upset when i read bad things about the SLS it worrys me but i'm going to try and not worry about it and just take good care of it and drive it . Thank you submariner !Sub is great but he loves these cars too much to call them crap. Either that or he never drove anything better (last car must have been a '79 LTD wood panel wagon or something). Best advice is to sell and get something else. It's not a matter of "if" only "when" with these cars. Do research here and make your choice.

planocolt
01-15-09, 10:35 AM
What is the difference between the 1999 STS engine block and the 1999 SLS engine block?



GM will not warranty the Big Timesert or Norm's. GM states that if the bolt hole has erosion you can not TimeSert it and you must Replace the short block.
From my understanding all 1998 cars are now out of Warranty. With in a year all 1999 will be out they will not have any more 1999 and older Certified cars left under warranty.
.
.
.
.
JUMPPED POST AGAIN
.
.
.
I would never purchase a 96 to 99 Cadillac unless it was a 98 or 99 Seville and that maybe limited to a STS.
You can buy a 2002 or 2003 Seville for $6500 with 100K+ miles. A 99 Deville maybe worth $3k to $6K. Subtract the $3000 to $6000 for head gaskets and you have JUNK.
A 99 STS with 100K will go for $9000 now you can fix the car.

The reason I say up to $6000 in head gasket repairs is because of the cam shaft failure in the 93 to 99 models.
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Northstarlifter11.jpg
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Northstarlifer41.jpg
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Northstarlifter21.jpg

the pictures are 4 years old. We had a higher level of zinc then.

Ranger
01-15-09, 04:26 PM
Nothing.

AJxtcman
02-14-09, 07:37 AM
Bad news Guy's
Very Bad News.

The LS1 (11mm X 2.0MM) type Head bolt won't stay in a block made of JUNK!

I see nothing good coming from this discovery. I can honestly say I don't see this being a one time case.

I have a 2004 Seville with about 80k on it that came in last week for a seat heater Element and something else.

It came back this week with the Seat Heater Module out and a Coolant Leak.
I found a Blister in the Side-Wall of the Surge Tank.
Think about how F'ing hot that coolant had to be that contacted the side-wall of the tank to cause a blister!!!!!
I used our "Block Tester" on it and the fluid turned from Blue to Yellow in just a few pumps. :nono:

I pulled the engine and the Head Gaskets looked OK. Nothing showing a MAJOR Gasket Failure. I saw some bunching of the head gasket and some signs of uneven crimping force/torque.

1 head bolt was just slightly little loose. It was a little rusty, but the hole was Dry. I mean Bone Dry. The Rust was not from COOLANT in my opinion. Maybe a wet bolt when installed.

I inspected the Block and ALL 20 bolt holes were JUNK. WTF:nono:

The threads were pitted and broken in all 20 holes :nono:
My Northstar savior is crumbling before my eyes.
I drilled out the hole that had the slightly loose bolt first and found a good sized void.

The zone rep came out and looked at it. He said lets try a TimeSert. Ok I will play along. I tapped the hole and the void doubled in size. :nono:

Now I had drilled out 2 other hole before the Zone Rep Came out and they both had small holes/voids in the casting. WTF THEY can't figure out how to pour a block you have been doing it since the 60's

I am overly irritated by this.

This is NOT the bad hole. The treads are junk in this one.
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/2004/HPIM3926.jpg

http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/2004/HPIM3927.jpg

BAD HOLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/2004/HPIM3931.jpg
http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd25/AJxtcman/Northstar/Block%20failures/2004/void.jpg

Hey the screen is broke on my camera so it is difficult to take pictures, but I will take some more of the nightmare

dyslimm
03-10-09, 04:18 PM
AJ, have any experience with sure grip studs, could this be a better repair than thread inserts ?


Thanks

AJxtcman
03-11-09, 07:41 PM
AJ, have any experience with sure grip studs, could this be a better repair than thread inserts ?


Thanks

Jake has a very good product. I haven't used it, but it looks to be 100% :thumbsup:

32vmonte
03-26-09, 11:54 PM
After reading every page of this thread, I discovered a couple back there is a head stud kit. Seems to be the only way to go.

With 13.1 compression, added HP from the cams im not risking these timesert deals slipping out again.

Hogg
03-29-09, 11:32 AM
After reading every page of this thread, I discovered a couple back there is a head stud kit. Seems to be the only way to go.

With 13.1 compression, added HP from the cams im not risking these timesert deals slipping out again.

I have had the Suregrip studs actually in my hands. They are nice pieces. They are a good idea as you install the stud into the block, then install the heads, THEN torque the nuts on the stud. This is a much better scenario than a bolt where the threads are experiencing both a torsional stress and longitudinal stress at the same time, all the while the bolts threads are engaging in soft aluminum metal.

peace
Hog

bacardi
04-17-09, 05:04 PM
A noob with new questions...I'm about to buy (and tow home) a 2000 sts with 110K miles and with a blown head gasket. I won't get a chance to do anything to it until next weekend. Perhaps you guys can sum this up for me.

If I take out the head bolts and see material on the bottom of them, I need to drill and tap the holes no matter what, correct? If there isn't any material, I can assume if I just use stock bolts it'll eventually break down again? But if I use one of the two insert kits, odds are greatly increased that it'll never break down again. Also there's a vendor who sells studs. Also ARP sells studs even cheaper, I can't determine if they sell them for a 2K?

A good plan of action would be to buy gaskets and ARP studs (if they make them) or just plain head bolts if they don't to hopefully have them here by next weekend. Next weekend, remove the bolts and if there's material on them buy an insert kit and redrill/retap. But if no material just move forward. Sound good?

AJxtcman
04-19-09, 02:09 PM
A noob with new questions...I'm about to buy (and tow home) a 2000 sts with 110K miles and with a blown head gasket. I won't get a chance to do anything to it until next weekend. Perhaps you guys can sum this up for me.

If I take out the head bolts and see material on the bottom of them, I need to drill and tap the holes no matter what, correct? If there isn't any material, I can assume if I just use stock bolts it'll eventually break down again? But if I use one of the two insert kits, odds are greatly increased that it'll never break down again. Also there's a vendor who sells studs. Also ARP sells studs even cheaper, I can't determine if they sell them for a 2K?

A good plan of action would be to buy gaskets and ARP studs (if they make them) or just plain head bolts if they don't to hopefully have them here by next weekend. Next weekend, remove the bolts and if there's material on them buy an insert kit and redrill/retap. But if no material just move forward. Sound good?


The first repair TimeSert inserts are a band aid repair that seems to fail at a high rate.

Because of expansion of aluminum hardened ARP studs with TimeSert inserts would cause them to pull out very fast.

bacardi
04-19-09, 08:21 PM
The first repair TimeSert inserts are a band aid repair that seems to fail at a high rate.

Because of expansion of aluminum hardened ARP studs with TimeSert inserts would cause them to pull out very fast.

Just trying to understand...Even if I'm lucky enough to successively remove every head bolt, replace the gasket and install new bolts there's a high rate of failure? Only norms kit or 97's stud kit will permanently (relative term) fix the problem? Am I correct?

ferchja
04-20-09, 12:11 AM
Jake has a very good product. I haven't used it, but it looks to be 100% :thumbsup:


AJ, I have a proposition for you. I am local to MKE, and was wondering for trade with your expertise and time, I would get the stud kit and you can have first hand experience. If not, I would understand.

I do have a 2 post lift, engine stand....etc in my shop and tools, maybe not all the tools to a certified mechanic, but enough to get it done.

I have your cell number, will call you this week.

Thanks,

Jeremy Ferch

AJxtcman
04-20-09, 07:20 AM
Just trying to understand...Even if I'm lucky enough to successively remove every head bolt, replace the gasket and install new bolts there's a high rate of failure? Only norms kit or 97's stud kit will permanently (relative term) fix the problem? Am I correct?

That is how I see it if you have a deteriorated block. That is why the bolts pull free

ferchja
04-20-09, 10:21 PM
After seeing the videos, I spotted this on Google Maps.

Anyone know who this belongs to?

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=658&pictureid=3316

Sorry had to do it :cool2: One great looking car, and one hell of a speedster. :nox:

Jeremy

ferchja
04-21-09, 12:34 PM
Thanks for the time today. I am interested in the thought of putting a 2005 engine in the 98 STS. What cost/parts would be needed? Before I dump $1G into this engine on the stud kit, if I can spend it better somewhere else with more benefits then I would.

If you have time, give me a call...262-825-8005

If not no worries, I know you are busy. If you have a link on this topic already let me know. Will dive into it deeper.

Thanks again.

Jeremy

tateos
04-24-09, 09:57 PM
jeremy:

A 2005 engine will not easily be installed in a 1998 car - AJ and Jake and others can elaborate, but the easiest and least expensive solution is to repair that engine or replace with a '97-'99 (not positive on the years) engine that can be and has been properly inserted or studded.

Richard Moore

dnihan
05-02-09, 10:48 PM
what about these stud kits im seeing, seems like they would be far better than any insert. i am about to do my 98 and i am planning on studs. dan

tateos
05-05-09, 09:33 PM
I did Norm's - worked out fine - I would have done studs if they had been available - excellent product!

93eldodave
05-11-09, 06:32 PM
What about a stud kit? on a good block with no repairs..

stssteve
06-30-09, 07:58 PM
My 98 STS' head gaskets failed in April 2008 with 121K mi on the car, a couple of the original bolts had let go a bit as well. I had owned the car since 50K mi and am meticulous with the care and maintenance. Changed coolant every 2 years, car was 1 happy owner (bought a new 2003 STS when they sold me this one) before me dealer maintained and is dealer maintained religiously by me. I was smelling coolant on and off for almost 1 year before they actually failed, I was topping up the overfill with about 6oz every 2 weeks consistently. The dealer had replaced the water pump and gasket, thermostat housing, upper rad hose. I could still hear noise that sounded like it was coming from the heater core and made a slurping sound. I now know that was exhaust gas getting into the coolant. It eventually totally failed dumping coolant onto the ground on the front left side where the rad had also cracked.
I noticed Jake's ad locally when my car was getting the outrageous estimate at the dealer of over $4500 to do that and replace the rad which had also blown at the same time. Jake did the HG job with his stud kit and Fel-Pro's. It is now 25K and over a year later with mixed driving (city traffic getting to the highway daily) and not a hint of an issue. I truly believe this product will outlast any insert application. I would recomend his studkit and work to anyone.

mikelawson
09-12-09, 10:41 AM
How would a steel stud out last a steel insert of the same size? Both are 5/8X11 thread, so the weakness is STILL and ALWAYS will be the aluminum block. I'm not sure why people struggle with this idea. I have seen failed timeserts, but in reality the steel timeserts are fine, it's the block that has failed since the timeserts external threads are still fine threaded. Studs or inserts are not the end all solution. I feel confident that 10 years from now these cars that I have repaired and others with studs will still have head gasket failures. The bolts may not fail, but the weakness is obviously the graphite gaskets. Graphite is easier to seal, but why has the industry moved to MLS gaskets,...... simple reliability. If the original setup lasts 10 years, if get another 10 years out of the gaskets, isn't it best to use the cheapest repair possible? A 98 Seville will be 21 years old by then and worth about 500.00, so it's best to save every penny possible. I would love to use studs and cometic mls gaskets, but that would add 400.00 to the repair, and doesn't make economic sense. I've offered this to several customers (Norms inserts with ARP head studs), but once I explain this to them, they always choose the factory setup.

bigds01
11-09-09, 08:22 AM
Hey,

I am looking at using a 93 Seville SLS in a 24hours of lemons race. The car has the signs of a blown HG. If I do norm's kit, and replace the gasket is that enough to keep this car running well or do I need to do something else?

Thanks

Papi_MaC
12-19-09, 09:03 AM
Hey,

I am looking at using a 93 Seville SLS in a 24hours of lemons race. The car has the signs of a blown HG. If I do norm's kit, and replace the gasket is that enough to keep this car running well or do I need to do something else?

Thanks

http://www.24hoursoflemons.com/rules/
4: VEHICLE PRICE

* 4.1: Total Investment in Vehicle Can Not Exceed $500: Except for items described in Rules 4.2 and 4.3, the total spent to purchase and prepare any car may not exceed $500.
+ 4.1.1: Lame-Ass Rationalizations: Cars that "should be" worth $500 don't count; cars that "were worth $500" before you spent another $2000 to fix them don't count; cars you've owned for 20 years and spent more than $500 on during that time don't count; "it would have been worth $500 if it didn't already have a cage" doesn't count. Five hundred dollars means five hundred frickin' dollars.

Unless you want this to happen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4tuap8DVRQ"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4tuap8DVRQ

97EldoCoupe
02-16-10, 06:29 PM
How would a steel stud out last a steel insert of the same size? Both are 5/8X11 thread, so the weakness is STILL and ALWAYS will be the aluminum block.

Mike, there's a reason I have people emailing me who are practially your neighbors who say they would rather bring their Cadillac to me for repair than bring it to you and have inserts installed.

Inserts of any kind - this creates two sets of threads to fail. Do you know how fine M11x1.5 is? My patent lawyer in NYC set me up with an engineer who took the time (at my expense) to calculate the thread engagement surface area of various different thread types and the 5/8 coarse came out on top. I have the caculations, CAD files, etc. on DVD. Now how much surface area is the head bolt grabbing inside the insert? Are Norm's inserts quenched and tempered? What alloy steel are these made from? Will they expand at all in diameter once the head is torqued down? I had two engineers from that law firm visit my shop and I showed them my repair method - I explained the aluminum expansion issue and everything with them. The one engineer has a lot of experience in the automotive industry. Then I showed them a time-sert and told them about Norm's. I asked them if they would change anything with the studs. They said it was perfect- the thread type usage, the hardness, the alloy used,

What gives the best torque distribution? OEM head bolts that have threadlocker on them, as long and springy as they are, torqued inside an insert? Or a one piece, heat treated stud that's already fully engaged in the aluminum block- torqued with a fine thread nut on top?

Why are you only offering 1 year warranty on your repair?

Mike had you decided to switch to studs I would have set you up as an INNRS member and we'd be working together to help Northstar owners. I'd be sending you work when I get a call from someone in your area. I've sent GM repair center over 6 head gasket jobs already and a couple of engine swap jobs. I could have probably done this for you too. I don't charge them a dime for referrals because they use my studs and I stand behind them. You made your decision.

I don't say too much about Norm's, or you, because I don't believe in constantly bashing my competitors. Do you know that great things get accomplished when people work together?

I am passionate about what I do. I eat, sleep, and breathe Northstars. I have about 22 Cadillacs on my 1.67 acres right now, 4 Auroras, and one Bonneville GXP. And pretty much my whole family drives them. Do you at least drive one on a daily basis? I'm testing my own work every day with a WOT run...

You go your way, and I'll go mine. There's so many head gaskets failing that you will keep busy and it won't hurt my business at all. Just remember if you continue to bash the studs I sell, or ask me if I re-use old gaskets and cut corners, you are then giving me full rights to do the same. But I won't- because I don't need to. Most people can see the difference and why my studs are the better repair.

I guess in a way I should thank you- when your competition starts publicly bashing your products/services you KNOW you're doing something right! :D

postman2000
02-19-10, 02:24 AM
I've been reading this thread, and feel that i will share my experience with jake(97 eldo). In june of 2009 i brought my 2000 deville up to him with my dad. It was about 650 miles each way.. We trailered it up there.. That was an experience! I had local options, but jake came highly recommended to me.. He completed the job in about 3 days and the car has never run better.. He treated me and my dad with the utmost respect and was a very friendly and knowlegeable person.. To date i have had no problems.. About 13,000 miles later.. Local caddy dealers wanted $4,200 to just do the head gaskets.. And they would only guarantee them for 3,000 miles.. I asked them why such a short warranty... And they said it was because the time serts have a history of pulling out of the block.. In my opinion, take the trip to canada.. Great man, great engineer.. If you love your caddy the studs are the way to go!!

ThumperPup
04-06-10, 04:48 AM
just thought id ask this how come a 2003-2004 wont drop into a 2000 wouldnt i tbe a direct fit and woulndt the engine from the 2004 be the Y wich is the SLS Onlymodel theymade for the U.S in that year work ?
or is there more to it just curious about tha

dlshande
05-16-10, 06:58 PM
I have a 97 etc and the hg just let loose on me. I have 112k on the motor and was wondering where I could find 97's head stud kit?

Submariner409
05-16-10, 07:18 PM
www.northstarperformance.com

Pete1996
12-04-10, 03:40 PM
Has anyone noted if it is the front or rear bank that fails more often?

Submariner409
12-04-10, 04:36 PM
Has anyone noted if it is the front or rear bank that fails more often?

No rhyme nor reason - some bolt holes fail, some don't. Some theorize that two cylinders, adjacent to each other in the firing order, might be questionable but that doesn't seem to hold water either.

tateos
12-06-10, 04:58 PM
No rhyme nor reason - some bolt holes fail, some don't. Some theorize that two cylinders, adjacent to each other in the firing order, might be questionable but that doesn't seem to hold water either.

"doesn't seem to hold water" - very funny Sub!

AJxtcman
12-09-10, 04:21 PM
Norm always has them on Ebay
Search: NORTHSTAR ENGINE NS300L HEAD BOLT THREAD REPAIR KIT

The Head Gaskets come from. I would call them to make sure they fit the application. I know they fit 93 to 99. They may have other years also
http://www.cometic.com/images/domesticauto.gif (http://www.cometic.com/domesticauto.aspx)

Norm has improved his kit http://www.huhnsolutions.com/

http://www.huhnsolutions.com/KIT_006.jpg

MaduraMi
01-20-11, 09:57 AM
Just installed the Stud Kit from Northstar Performance in my '99 Deville. I looked at all of the different options and just figured that since the pricing wasn't all that different between the various kits when you add in the cost of a new set of head bolts I'd go with the studs. Racing engines all get studded and I figured those guys must know what they're doing. When I had questions I was able to call and speak to Jake who didn't seem to be in a hurry and took plenty of time with me. I have driven a thousand miles since the repair with some WOT and long distances on the freeway and my temps have been rock steady. The motor purrs now. I'm very satisfied and confident that I won't have to revisit this issue again with this car. Now that I've done one I wont be afraid to do it again. If anyone has any questions about the process feel free to ask.

Paul

98eldo32v
01-21-11, 05:22 PM
AJ,

Nice posts. I can appreciate all the effort you put into the detail descriptions. I haven't gone through this section yet, but I will. You left some very good information.

Thanks

98eldo32v
01-22-11, 02:02 AM
Here are Jake's studs that I received for my eldo.

I took pictures of two studs, the plate and it's mounting hardware.

If you notice the mounting hardware has two sets of different size bolts. It's obvious the smaller of the two are the original size bolts.

Look at the larger bolts and the thread pitch. Look at the studs. The larger end of the stud is what is getting bolted into the block, now compare that to the fine thread on the mounting bolt(smaller threaded mounting bolt).

It's night and day.

studebaker
01-22-11, 07:25 AM
The stud concept seems to make more sense than using bolts.

Far greater strength, plus the torqueing action of clamping down force takes place without twisting on aluminum threads.

Studebaker

98eldo32v
01-23-11, 04:56 PM
Precisely.

Why take the chance of ruining the threads when you can tighten down the nut/washer combination?

In the end I guess it boils down to your preference. In my case, it's studs.

I'm now deciding whether to use that cometic multi layered steel gasket after reading AJxtcnman's post.

I was comtemplating it already but now he's almost shoved me in the corner with his pictures of the factory headgasket "crunching up" in certain spots.

I plan to keep this car a while and I'm NOT going back in to do this repair again anytime soon.

I like to fix it and forget it.

luminazkidd21
01-29-11, 12:02 AM
So my 01DTS has blown its gaskets, 99K never over heated, I want to do the studs and the composite gasket but because of my work and where i live theres no way id be able to do it on my own..Can ANYONE reccomend a shop between Austin or San Antoino that can do this work??? I LOVE MY DTS and makes me ill at the thought of getting rid of it

97EldoCoupe
01-29-11, 05:24 PM
I'm not the best with Texas geography but there's a shop in Dallas who will do the work for you. North Texas Performance. Also Crest Cadillac in Plano, TX.

Submariner409
01-29-11, 07:14 PM
I'm not the best with Texas geography but there's a shop in Dallas who will do the work for you. North Texas Performance. Also Crest Cadillac in Plano, TX.

Jake, he posted this somewhere else, too. I think there were a couple of replies concerning Texas shops.

luminazkidd21
01-30-11, 04:26 AM
Jake, he posted this somewhere else, too. I think there were a couple of replies concerning Texas shops

Yeah I found a listing for the shop in Dallas. I appericate all the help guys! I really do!

caddypit
08-19-11, 05:41 PM
Very informative,

I have a 95 sts, timeserts where done about 90,000 mile ago and it’s now leaking again, with your history in this problem would it be possible to do additional repairs at this point? I used to be a machinist so do as much as possible myself if possible and if having the specialty tools

Thanks

Submariner409
08-19-11, 07:06 PM
Very informative, I have a 95 sts, timeserts where done about 90,000 mile ago and it’s now leaking again, with your history in this problem would it be possible to do additional repairs at this point? I used to be a machinist so do as much as possible myself if possible and if having the specialty tools Thanks

Talk directly to Jake at www.northstarperformance.com (http://www.northstarperformance.com) or Norm Huhn at www.huhnsolutions.com

These are the guys who make the studs and inserts from scratch - they have the real answers.
(http://www.huhnsolutions.com)

Inkredible
09-15-11, 05:11 PM
MaduraMi,
did you pull your engine out the top or bottom?
Mark

Submariner409
09-15-11, 06:53 PM
MaduraMi, did you pull your engine out the top or bottom? Mark

He hasn't been here in a long time.............

It sounds daunting, but for the home DIY, dropping the whole drivetrain makes the most sense. You can stud the block without removing the engine from the cradle. If the lower end is tight there's no sense taking the engine completely apart.

You will need a real GM/Helm service manual - lots of settings and torque work to pay attention to.

Inkredible
09-15-11, 07:46 PM
Hi Sub,
I was curious how he did it. I know that it can be done in the car with studs, but I have heard that the engine has to be tipped forward, and wanted to find out if that was true. I have a chance to buy a nice 2000STS for cheap that has a blown HG. And anyways, can they all be done with the engine coming out the top is what I want to know. Does the FSM say to take the engine out from the bottom?
Mark

Carroll Cadillac
08-04-12, 12:42 PM
The finest Northstar Head Stud to date, correctly engineered to be installed at the correct depth.
No multiple types of studs to deal with.
No confusion or complications.
No expensive Jig plate to buy.
Installation takes less time.


Full tech support, we will always answer the phones or return your call within minutes.
Studs shipped immediately!!! (2-3 day priority)
Unlimited stock on hand.

95644

There is an alternative to both Timeserts and the studs in question.
In collaboration with the leading head stud manufacture, ARP, and based on GM's technology of proper depth.
There is NO other stud more reliable or easier to install.
Less expensive and over engineered to out perform all other manufacturers.

These studs are being sold world wide, with a lifetime warranty and they are completely utilitarian.
We have provided the complete specs on these studs for your convenience.
Why? Because Cadillac's is our hobby, and making it affordable to own one is our goal.
We are Cadillac Clubs Northwest and do what we do for the love of the car.

Call or email us anytime for a consultation or feel free to stop by our Cadillac Ranch.
Come and visit our Cadillac restoration department where Cadillac's is all we do!

Carroll Custom Cadillac
http://carrollcustomcadillac.com
503-895-2124
6610 NW 299th ST
Ridgefield WA 98642

Tankboy40
08-04-12, 03:15 PM
but ultimately, there is a cause of the failure... overheating mainly (right)

These parts dont just fail without some sort of precipitating factor.... yes?

phoenix.rj
08-04-12, 06:39 PM
I have a 97 STS. Two years ago ,it At 120,000k, it started using coolant through the exhaust at a rate of a gallon per 30 k. since the cost was prohibitive for a 13 year year old car, $6k-$10k, I took a chance on a formula out of California for $300. Although, I'm not a certified mechanic, I have work on about every aspect of cars, including repairing many heads throughout my 63 year, so I never believed in a cure out of a bottle. In this case, I love the car and to repair the "right way" was out of the question, so I tried a product called Thermo Gasket, and to my surprise - IT WORKED. Today I have over 150,000k on it, live in a cold climate, Canada, and my car is runs like a clock. I keep my eye on the coolant and have to add about a liter every 6 to 9 months. I can live with that.

RippyPartsDept
08-06-12, 09:20 AM
Tankboy, overheating is a symptom not a cause ... the cause is the whole reason for this thread

Submariner409
08-06-12, 10:48 AM
but ultimately, there is a cause of the failure... overheating mainly (right) These parts dont just fail without some sort of precipitating factor.... yes?

You have the cart before the horse: Overheating for some reason will NOT cause the head bolt hole threads in the block to fail; rather, the threads disintegrate for one of several reasons, one or more bolts lose clamping pressure, the gasket begins to fail, exhaust gas enters the cooling system and blows off coolant, leading to water pump cavitation and subsequent overheating.

The exhaust gas, in and of itself, does not overheat the engine. I believe the open deck design is contributory to gasket failure. Even though the head gaskets incorporate a stainless steel fire ring, perhaps the block (each cylinder) should also have been O-ringed - read up on the procedure.

Black Beauty DTS
08-07-12, 04:56 PM
I'm wondering if anyone knows if any lab tests were done to determine how corrosive the Dexcool becomes if left in the cooling system for 5 years or more. I know that it becomes more acidic, but test results would help to prove if this is one of the leading causes of thread failure.

Ranger
08-07-12, 09:01 PM
Not that I have ever heard of, but that does not mean much.

Submariner409
09-26-12, 11:17 AM
nyukcubed, Your post and coolant question has been moved to a new thread in the advice section, down about 8 threads below this one. "2000 STS coolant problems".

You'll get far more exposure and advice if you keep your questions out of the "sticky" posts.

1stkobefan
03-06-13, 10:59 AM
Thanks for the info.

I need to know what's a decent/avg price for head gasket replacement on an 02 DTS?

Is this something I should have done by a GM/Cadillac service center ONLY?

If I understood correctly the inserts aren't necessary if the block itself isn't damaged and the 2003 or later bolts are used? But if there block damage the inserts have to be used?

Submariner409
03-06-13, 11:15 AM
Inserts or studs are used regardless - the head gaskets fail due to cylinder block bolt hole thread failure, not the other way around.

A head gasket job at a Cadillac dealer will easily run $4,500 ++++.

Try to get in touch with either Jake at www.northstarperformance.com (http://www.northstarperformance.com) or Tim at www.carrollcustomcadillac.com (http://www.carrollcustomcadillac.com) or Norm at www.huhnsolutions.com (http://www.huhnsolutions.com) and find out if there is/are shops in your area doing the work and using their head stud/insert (bulletproof) kits. Usually half the dealer pricing.

Go back and read Post #159 - plus as much of this thread as you can ........... it's all in here.

jamie1
09-02-13, 03:13 PM
In looking at the 'solutions', huhnsolutions uses inserts, northstarperformance and carroll use studs with large threads for the block. Other than huhn giving you the option of studs or bolts, any reason to choose one or the other?

Ranger
09-02-13, 08:41 PM
Not really. Either way will get the job done. Studs are far better if you are going to pull the heads again, but nobody ever plans on doing THAT twice.

P.S.
Timesert also offers the coarser thread pitch. That would be their Bigsert.

Tom's Caddy
09-09-13, 10:51 AM
Could someone please direct me to the thread about rwd or awd Northstar head bolt issues compared to fwd Northstar head bolt issues. Thanks. Or please give you're opinion on the matter.

97EldoCoupe
02-04-14, 01:33 PM
Not really. Either way will get the job done. Studs are far better if you are going to pull the heads again, but nobody ever plans on doing THAT twice.

P.S.
Timesert also offers the coarser thread pitch. That would be their Bigsert.

Not correct. The pitch remains at 1.5mm, unless you're using the M11x2.0 inserts, than the external thread pitch remains at 2.0mm.

Timesert has a patent on their inserts, that the external and internal threads are synchronized. You can't synchronize threads unless the same pitch is maintained externally and internally.

The coarser the threads, the less chance of thread failure again. That's why most inserts are considered a band-aid fix. Sometimes they hold, sometimes they don't.

M11x2.0 was an improvement. But it's far from the fix.

Nothing will beat a stud as far as accurate torque/clamp load distribution. Nothing will beat coarse threads in aluminum. Nobody want's something that is "almost as good as factory" or "might work". You want something that will not fail.

http://www.northstarperformance.com/sgstuds.php (patent pending).

jamie1
04-07-14, 03:49 PM
Looks like my son is one of the 'lucky' ones, car is starting overheat, losing coolant, white smoke when cold, seems to go away as it warms up, (for now). It's an '98 STS, 136k on it. We've recently changed out the radiator, alternator, power steering pump, tires, now this. Trying to decide if it's worth going with a remanufactured engine, not sure who even has them that are done right, probably nearing $5,000 for the whole job, right? And he's at college, just great!

__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________

Read back through this thread. Many options already posted.

virginiacaddi
04-13-14, 05:44 AM
Is their any insert that you can put in after shop has just done insert job head gasket failed in two days or is their any cheaper way to get kit for studs (wich my new mechanic believes is a better idea) any cheaper since Im only redoing the back head gasket that was leaking???? And if so can you install the studs and get heads on when the motors still in?? Since I just paid a guy 1400 when he didn't follow the procedure of my warranty CARS PROTECTION PLUS and my claim got denied AND was left with a car tore apart and a job that cost 1400 and a warranty company and a mechanic that screwed me over ..its been a nightmare and a expence I that has put me in debt so I need a good permenent cheaper stud solution...please anyone

maeng9981
04-13-14, 06:07 AM
Im only redoing the back head gasket that was leaking????
This screams for trouble. It's like replacing body parts on a car that has a frame damage. Do it right this time, and the car will last.

jamie1
04-13-14, 08:57 AM
Is their any insert that you can put in after shop has just done insert job head gasket failed in two days or is their any cheaper way to get kit for studs (wich my new mechanic believes is a better idea) any cheaper since Im only redoing the back head gasket that was leaking???? And if so can you install the studs and get heads on when the motors still in?? Since I just paid a guy 1400 when he didn't follow the procedure of my warranty CARS PROTECTION PLUS and my claim got denied AND was left with a car tore apart and a job that cost 1400 and a warranty company and a mechanic that screwed me over ..its been a nightmare and a expence I that has put me in debt so I need a good permenent cheaper stud solution...please anyone
If I understand you correctly, inserts were installed and then failed? Depending on the insert size, I'd think there might not be enough material left to drill, tap and install a stud. From what I've read, (after stepping into an ongoing 'conflict' between the two stud kit vendors, I did a lot of reading), studs require the engine to be removed on a N*, pretty common on most cars, I've installed studs on a couple of V8s, (no N*s). Sorry to hear about you're issues, sounds like you're getting hit big time, sucks.

Submariner409
04-13-14, 09:08 AM
Depending on the insert first used, you might be able to rebuild the engine using studs from a couple of suppliers discussed in several threads OR use Norm Huhn's NS300L inserts - www.huhnsolutions.com (http://www.huhnsolutions.com)

The big question - determined by a GOOD Northstar mechanic - "Is there enough block metal left to allow the larger diameter stud threads or NS300L threads to have sufficient "bite" in the newly cut block threads ?"

IF you can use studs, the engine probably has to come out of the car - there is no way to rotate it forward far enough to allow the right (rear) head to slip down over the studs. Some have opined that it might be possible to land the head (with the engine in the car) and then screw in the studs - but that precludes the necessary use of the head alignment locator dowel pins.

"Cheaper" - Unfortunately, good machine work is NOT cheap - neither are good parts. When I stud a marine Olds 455 it adds about $450 to the final price (about $7,500).

97EldoCoupe
04-14-14, 02:46 AM
Jim, it does work to stud the engine in the car. On some models easier than others. I've never done it; but my customers have done it and told me it was tight but it worked.

Personally it's just as easy to pull the engine. But for those who just cannot, it does work.

Submariner409
04-14-14, 09:39 AM
^^^ yep - that's why I posted the cautions.

That method isn't something that the once-in-a-while shadetree mechanic should attempt. Too much room for error, both during the necessary hole drilling/tapping and the actual stud+head insertion.

........... and my back wouldn't let me do it now, anyway ........... :devil: (I could hang Evrett upside-down with a chain fall, though ......)

04GrandAmGT
04-14-14, 10:27 AM
........... and my back wouldn't let me do it now, anyway ........... :devil: (I could hang Evrett upside-down with a chain fall, though ......)


BAHAHAHAHAHA, i Dont think my back would be able to handle that.


P.S. Thanks for spelling my name right.

JoeTahoe
04-16-14, 06:21 PM
you can do it all night Evrett lol

CadVetteStang
04-21-14, 10:12 AM
I may have missed this if it was posted earlier in this thread, but I now have a 2002 Eldorado ESC. I have heard that you do not have to worry about the headgasket failures from 2002 up models. Is this correct?

Submariner409
04-21-14, 10:23 AM
If head gasket worries is your thing, then you may worry about any car on earth.

As far as unofficial percentage data, read through the poll in the head gasket thread close to this sticky.