: VIN or other link to body stamped on block?



turbojimmy
05-15-08, 01:09 PM
Greetings all,

My mom was having trouble with her transmission in her '02 Deville. She had it repaired late last year under an extended warranty. 2 days before the warranty was to expire in March of this year the SES light came on again indicating a problem with the transmission (torque converter). Like a fool, I cleared the code. Luckily it came back, but by then she was outside the warranty period. The dealer was cool about it and said they 'talked GM into honoring the warranty'.

My parents brought the car in last week and had it fixed. Strangely it was done within a day. As soon as we got it back my dad noticed that a) it was using a lot of coolant, b) it was leaking a lot of oil and c) the engine was a lot dirtier than it was before. It has a bad headgasket. The transmission is fixed though :rolleyes:

I think they swapped the entire drivetrain out instead of repairing the transmission. I think that would be the quickest, easiest thing for them to do if they had one laying around.

So, is there any sort of number stamped on the block that would tie it to the VIN tag on the body?

Thanks,
Jim

Submariner409
05-15-08, 01:53 PM
Looking at the engine in the car: below the "left end" (actually the front) of the rear cylinder head there is a pad on the side of the block with a set of numbers called a "VIN derivative". You'll have to get the car up in the air in order to get light and angle correct in order to see it. There may also still be a tag stuck to the front of the rear cam chain cover which has the same number.

Scoot over to the dealer and walk around back.......drivetrain sitting in the junkyard ?????

turbojimmy
05-15-08, 02:10 PM
Looking at the engine in the car: below the "left end" (actually the front) of the rear cylinder head there is a pad on the side of the block with a set of numbers called a "VIN derivative". You'll have to get the car up in the air in order to get light and angle correct in order to see it. There may also still be a tag stuck to the front of the rear cam chain cover which has the same number.

Scoot over to the dealer and walk around back.......drivetrain sitting in the junkyard ?????

Thanks for that. By "left end" you mean as I'm facing it or do you mean the driver's side?

I talked to my dad and he also replaced his battery over the weekend because the car wouldn't start. Turned out to be a lazy starter - another problem he didn't have before it was 'fixed'.

I'll see if my dad will snoop around the dealer.....

Jim

Submariner409
05-15-08, 02:15 PM
The part of the block closest to the passenger's feet, technically the right lower side of the block.......near the front (accessory drive) end.

turbojimmy
05-15-08, 02:27 PM
The part of the block closest to the passenger's feet, technically the right lower side of the block.......near the front (accessory drive) end.

Got it. I was looking over there with a flashlight (from up top) and didn't see anything. I'll put it up on the lift when I get home to see what I can see.

Thanks,
Jim

AJxtcman
05-15-08, 06:23 PM
http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-tech-tips/123441-how-identify-northstar-power-train-parts.html

turbojimmy
05-15-08, 07:03 PM
http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-tech-tips/123441-how-identify-northstar-power-train-parts.html

Awesome! Thank you.

Jim

Eldo1953
05-16-08, 12:00 AM
Unreal. Now your mom needs a new engine. Please follow up on this story when you find out more!

turbojimmy
05-16-08, 05:50 AM
Unreal. Now your mom needs a new engine. Please follow up on this story when you find out more!

I know it's crazy. He asked to see the paperwork at the dealer and they said they lost it. My parents didn't get a receipt or anything other than the credit card slip. Again this is a DEALER, a well known one in this area I might add. My dad spoke with them last night and they said they're working with GM to see what they will do. I think he should get the car out of there.

Oh yeah - one other thing. The catalytic converter now has a rattle like a box of rocks. It's been a while since I've been under my car, but would it make sense that if they swapped the drivetrain over that the cat would go with it? It's attached to the crossover, correct? Would come out with the engine?

Jim

Submariner409
05-16-08, 10:23 AM
Maybe cat, maybe not......but a used cat is somewhat fragile in that the core is a ceramic honeycomb plated with Rhodium, Palladium, and Platinum. After years or more of running around at hundreds of degrees temp it gets fragile. A few raps or a drop and gonzo.

I'll bet, from this side of the coin, that your dad got shafted. If you bird dog this I'll bet he can wind up with a new, not rebuilt, engine and transmission.

Technically the dealer has committed fraud. Pursue the end result.

BTW, I believe that year cat has a 4-bolt flange and flex on the front and is a welded, integral part of the entire rest of the exhaust system: My '02 is (was, CORSA installed) that setup.

turbojimmy
05-16-08, 11:51 AM
Maybe cat, maybe not......but a used cat is somewhat fragile in that the core is a ceramic honeycomb plated with Rhodium, Palladium, and Platinum. After years or more of running around at hundreds of degrees temp it gets fragile. A few raps or a drop and gonzo.

I'll bet, from this side of the coin, that your dad got shafted. If you bird dog this I'll bet he can wind up with a new, not rebuilt, engine and transmission.

Technically the dealer has committed fraud. Pursue the end result.

BTW, I believe that year cat has a 4-bolt flange and flex on the front and is a welded, integral part of the entire rest of the exhaust system: My '02 is (was, CORSA installed) that setup.

Thanks for the info.

I CORSA-fied my '01, too, but I don't remember what the cat arrangement was. I couldn't remember where the flange was - on the exhaust side or engine side of the cat.

I haven't heard from my dad today but I'd prefer that he get the car out of there.

Jim

turbojimmy
05-16-08, 04:53 PM
Well I'm sorry to say that it's a combination of conspiracy theory, paranoia and bad timing. According to the VIN derivative, the engine in the car is the one that belongs in it. The car developed a nasty oil leak and a blown head gasket while in the hands of the dealer, but there isn't anything more nefarious than that. The dealer said that GM was willing to 'help' with the repair cost but that's about it.

My dad thinks someone was beating on it, but no one beats on a Northstar harder than I do every day and I have to say they're tough to kill. But when it's time, it's time.

I think he might junk it. Not sure at this point.

EDIT: Get this for irony: me, my brother and my dad have all blown a head gasket in the past 30 days. Mine was in the Grand National and was much more violent at that hands of an apprentice at a transmission shop (pending lawsuit). My brother discovered his yesterday (Turbo Buick).

Jim

RickyHenry
05-16-08, 06:45 PM
Maybe a Lead Foot is a genetic disorder?

turbojimmy
05-16-08, 07:34 PM
Maybe a Lead Foot is a genetic disorder?

A lead foot will only break something that's not designed to hack it. The Northstars and the electronic engine management is a pretty stout arrangement (generally speaking).

I've raced my GN for the past 6 years without breaking it. Last month I left it with a transmission shop for a week and I get it back with 2 blown head gaskets, 2 broken pistons and 3 bent connecting rods. Oh yeah, cooked main bearings and demolished crankshaft.

I don't know what happened to my brother's car. I think it's been like that for years, frankly. He just noticed it yesterday while trying to find the source of an idle problem he's been haunted with for years. The gasket was blown out to the atmosphere and barely leaking. It was very subtle and just one cylinder was down about 20 PSI on compression. Plugs showed that cylinder bank was lean all the time though.

My mom's car is just BS. She's babied that thing all its life. If my DTS were to quit tomorrow I'd chalk it up to my driving habits. Maybe my mom needs a heavier right foot?

Jim

RickyHenry
05-16-08, 09:06 PM
Maybe a Lead Foot is a genetic disorder?

oops, i didn't mean to add disorder to that... just genetic. Wouldn't you agree that high RPMs tend to shorten the lifespan of an engine? In case, I deal in Boats... they have 2 gears... forward & reverse. The boat is normally always spinning around 3500 rpms. However; a lot of customers would preferr to go Wot on those things for the fact that there are only 2 gears. Short story, those blocks tend to lose their gaskets sooner than say, a car with the same amount of hours on the engine. Just imho, lead foot = shorter lifetime.

Submariner409
05-16-08, 09:39 PM
Ricky........Good thing you added "same amount of time as a car engine"........Lots of people don't understand that a boat engine generally has about 2 speeds: Slow and Flat Out. It's the nature of the beast, and you're usually pushing 4 to 40 thousand pounds of fiberglass, wood, and stainless through an unforgiving medium: water. Couple that with the fact that boat engines operate with (usually) water wetted exhaust, lousy maintenance intervals and access, full blast starts from dead cold, full blast slowdowns from wide open, cheap old oil, and questionable marina gas/diesel and it's a wonder they last as well as they do. I build racing and cruising boat engines........here's one, a +060" Olds 455 for my boat. 1970 block +/- vintage.....built in '99 and currently at 1900 hours and still as new........click and scroll in........ all fun.

turbojimmy
05-17-08, 06:54 AM
oops, i didn't mean to add disorder to that... just genetic.

I think you were right the first time - it is a disorder. I can't stop myself from leaving a stoplight like it's the Christmas tree at the race track. I got stopped last week for doing it. Cop said "I heard you coming from a mile away (CORSA)....you don't see too many hot rod Caddies". Gave me a written warning for passing on the right (I did no such thing - no one was ahead of me leaving that light!).

I feel bad because my dad has loved his Caddies over the years but this '02 has been a nightmare since about the 90k-mile mark. He's really disillusioned over the whole thing. He's been a die-hard GM fan for 30 years but I'm afraid they may go Japanese this time around.

Jim

Submariner409
05-17-08, 09:14 AM
After reading your take on the possibility of your Dad going to a Japanese car, my bet is that the Cadillac Division of GM lost quite a few old faithful to other (non-GM) makes because of the constant problems with the '96 - '04 FWD Northstar drivetrain.

Hard to get figures, but if you figure that maybe 2% of FWD Northstar owners come and go in the relevant Forums here, then the real world numbers of problems is proportionally more......and some of them might jump ship. Your wallet can only take so much.......

I'm 35 miles east of DC, there are a lot of commuters, and I now see a fair number of newer Devilles in various model packages. Maybe there's some hope left :bigroll: . CTS's here are either red or black and driven by crazy blonde women with a latte' in one hand and a cell phone in the other, OR, the ultimate: latte', talking on the OnStar and applying eyeliner at 75.

turbojimmy
05-17-08, 09:52 AM
After reading your take on the possibility of your Dad going to a Japanese car, my bet is that the Cadillac Division of GM lost quite a few old faithful to other (non-GM) makes because of the constant problems with the '96 - '04 FWD Northstar drivetrain.

Hard to get figures, but if you figure that maybe 2% of FWD Northstar owners come and go in the relevant Forums here, then the real world numbers of problems is proportionally more......and some of them might jump ship. Your wallet can only take so much.......

I'm 35 miles east of DC, there are a lot of commuters, and I now see a fair number of newer Devilles in various model packages. Maybe there's some hope left :bigroll: . CTS's here are either red or black and driven by crazy blonde women with a latte' in one hand and a cell phone in the other, OR, the ultimate: latte', talking on the OnStar and applying eyeliner at 75.

They may buy with their emotions rather than dollars and cents. My mom loves the car and wants another one. We'll see what happens.

It's been out of warranty for less than a month, but they've been fighting a mysterious LOW COOLANT message for over a year. The dealer tried lots of things but never really fixed it. My dad didn't think it was a big deal because it's a common problem on the F-bodies. He drives a '99 Camaro SS every day and constantly gets the low coolant light. It's a well known problem with the sensors on those cars. I think maybe they've had a head gasket problem for a long time but it didn't really 'blossom' until now.

They're going to try to appeal to GM given the low coolant history.

Jim