: Headgaskets!

04-12-08, 02:33 PM
Well, the 98 SLS was overheating after my 40 minute commute to work/back home. I replaced the thermostat, but, it of course did not do the job.

I brought it in to my mechanic who had it for 4 days, before calling me up to tell me it was the head gaskets. The car just broke 170k. I owe nothing on it, but I have a decision to make and was hoping for some help:

1) Will the headgaskets fix the overheating, or do I have to have something done in the coolant system as well?

2)The car runs really rough at start up, which makes me think there might be some compression trouble? Will a headgaket fix potentially make the car run smoother?

3) The rough guess from my mechanic was $1500. Is this realistic?

4) What are the chances of a cracked head down there?

5) Is this repair worth it on a car with 170k miles on it? Should I bother?

Thanks for the in advance for any advice!

04-12-08, 03:12 PM
1 Yes it would if that is your only problem. you have told us very little about your situation
2Yes rough start up is a sign of failing head gaskets
3 i think that is CHEAP if he could do head for that. def. a good deal.
4 never heard of any one with a cracked head. if it is.
5 Sure do it you got toms of life left in the car with a fixed motor.

04-12-08, 03:27 PM
Thanks. here are some specifics of the problem: The car only seems to overheat after some substantial driving, and not at all if just idling, wthout having driven it somewhere. I am losing some coolant, slowly, and internally, i.e. no substantial puddles.

$1500 was his "rough guess." What seems to be the "going-rate" out there for a head gasket repair on a Northstar? Any ideas? He charges $65/hour. Is familiar with Cadillacs (his wife drives an El Dorado).

04-12-08, 04:36 PM

04-12-08, 05:06 PM
cadillach, Spend some time researching "head gaskets" to learn what you're up against. There are a few other items to be addressed besides head gaskets. Ask your mechanic about Timeserts and all new OEM ACDelco or ARP head bolts.

Big Ern's post is probably closer to the time/labor/parts truth. (To do this job correctly calls for removing the entire engine/transmission unit)

04-12-08, 08:11 PM
My niece got hers done for about $2700. It's an Aurora but the same job.

04-12-08, 10:52 PM
Whatever you do, be sure that he Timeserts the head bolt hole during the repair and it is not likely to fail again if you go ahead with the repair. $1500 is a steal if it includes the Timeserts.

04-12-08, 11:14 PM
i was always quoted between 2500 - 3500 just to change the gaskets on the heads. about 4500 to replace the heads. I decided to do it myself... check my current thread and my current status here:


04-13-08, 12:44 PM
Thanks. I should get more of a solid estimate than a "rough guess" from him. I'll be sure to mention the time sert.

04-13-08, 04:26 PM
Don't forget to add your car to the poll.