: 1996 Eldorado ETC overheating.



Rhuiefn
06-02-04, 12:31 PM
Hi all. I am new to these forums so if this has been discussed already, I apologize in advance. I have a real problem here. I purchased a 96 ETC about a month and a half ago. It has been running great until Sunday. I was stuck in traffic and it overheated on me. I pulled over to the side of the road and let it cool (doesn't help that it was over 90 degrees outside with a black car). Started it up and made it about a mile before it overheated again. I got it home and let it sit until last night. I figured the thermostat was bad so I replaced it. That did not help. The exhaust fumes seem to have a sweet smell to it like it is burning coolant. The coolant level is fine and it seems to be cycling it. Am I looking at a head gasket or a cracked head? I am trying to get a hold of a friend with a compression tester. If it is a head gasket, what is the normal price to have that replaced? Any suggestions would be great.

zonie77
06-02-04, 01:15 PM
There are a lot of threads about headgaskets on the forum. Look through them. Some are fresh, within the last 2 weeks.
Cost varies but will range from $2500 to $4500. If you are mechanically inclined you can do it yourself but it is a long job because you have to remove the engine (it has been done in the car but extremely difficult).

Daddytech
06-03-04, 01:20 AM
Just hoping that this isn't a common problem I have a 94 Eldorado and praying that i don't run into the same problem. for the price that was estimated here i could just go out and buy another car which is sad but must i am starting to think that this is a common thing with owning a cadillac. i guess luxury and quality really does have a price and it's an expensive one.

BeelzeBob
06-03-04, 05:54 PM
Did you check the water pump drive belt, the cooling fans for operation, the coolant concentration, the vapor vent line for proper flow....???

All these items are covered in multiple details in the archives if you use the search feature in the forum tool bar.

Why does everyone instantly think it is a head gasket when an 8 year old car overheats...???? There are many parts to the cooling system other than the head gasket....and a head gasket is least likely to cause an overheat at idle in a traffic jam. Check out the rest of the system.




Hi all. I am new to these forums so if this has been discussed already, I apologize in advance. I have a real problem here. I purchased a 96 ETC about a month and a half ago. It has been running great until Sunday. I was stuck in traffic and it overheated on me. I pulled over to the side of the road and let it cool (doesn't help that it was over 90 degrees outside with a black car). Started it up and made it about a mile before it overheated again. I got it home and let it sit until last night. I figured the thermostat was bad so I replaced it. That did not help. The exhaust fumes seem to have a sweet smell to it like it is burning coolant. The coolant level is fine and it seems to be cycling it. Am I looking at a head gasket or a cracked head? I am trying to get a hold of a friend with a compression tester. If it is a head gasket, what is the normal price to have that replaced? Any suggestions would be great.

Rhuiefn
06-18-04, 06:33 PM
I am following up to my previous post. I checked all the usual components like BBOB said to do. I finally gave up on it myself and took it to a local mechanic to have it checked out. He did a pressure test and was getting bubbles in the resevoir. So I guess it is safe to assume it is the head gasket... .or at least that is what the mechanic told me. Hope I could get a second opinion from you all. I am a computer technican, not a mechanic but man, I have learned a lot these past couple of weeks.

zonie77
06-19-04, 12:32 AM
Funny, I was a computer technician too...

If it's conclusive you have a few options...You can drive it short distances by carefully keeping the cooling system full and using stopleak. Some people have gone tens of thousands of miles this way.

You can fix it yourself. The heads are probably not cracked or warped. Caddy did an excellent job on the heads and noone on the forums has had a bad head. It is a long job but there is a lot of info on how to do it. Figure on it taking about about 40 hours if you only have a small amout of mechanical knowledge. It is a big job so you have to be committed to finishing it. Figure $500-$1000 for parts.

You can have a shop fix it. If you aren's too enthused about doing it yourself this is the way to go. Figure $3500-$4500.

You can sell it but you'll take a big hit. Where are you located?

Rhuiefn
06-20-04, 01:48 AM
I live in Franklin, TN. This stop leak stuff.... what type of side effects does it have? Does it gum up the coolant system? Think it might be worth a shot?

zonie77
06-20-04, 11:19 AM
The Barsleak Pellets are used by Caddilac. Look at some of the older threads. It is fine to use .

Rhuiefn
06-20-04, 01:26 PM
I think I am going to try the Barsleak. I have been talking to people around town trying to get an estimate for the repair and everyone I talked to so far will not touch it because it has a Northstar. Are these things just that hard to work on?

ShadowLvr400
06-20-04, 02:20 PM
A small shop wont touch it because of several reasons. 1 Computers from hell. 2 the job is a pain in the butt. 3 not only is it a pain in the butt, it's not hardly worth it to a small shop. The only have limited bays, and the longer any 1 bay is stuck on 1 job, the more money they lose. It's just not worth it.

Ranger
06-20-04, 09:38 PM
I think most independent shops don't want to touch a Northstar because they don't understand them. They are a "different breed of cat" so to speak. If indeed you need head gaskets replaced the entire drive train needs to be removed. It has been done in the car but I understand it is a real PITA. Keep in mind that if you have your heads removed you should insist that the block be "Timeserted" before they are put back on or you will be back in a few years when the threads pull (after the warranty has run out) or sooner if your lucky.
Here is a picture of one being "Timeserted".
http://caddyinfo.netgetgoing.com/howto/nsrepair.htm

zonie77
06-20-04, 11:09 PM
Most independents don't want to touch N*'s is right but only because they'd have to learn something a little different.That takes time and they feel they won't get paid for the time they spend learning. Plus the typical human response of being afraid of something they don't know.

I don't think the big job is as much of a problem unless they are swamped with work already. If they are afraid of computers they shouldn't be working on anything newer than a 1970 anyway.

My brother and I have done 2 of them and we are looking for more. Too bad we are so far! While it's a long job there is NO computer work involved. It is straight forward mechanical work that any competent mechanic should be able to do. Because it's FWD and a V8 it's just packed in a lot tighter. Maybe there's a reason there are so few FWD V8's!

Here's info on doing it. This is what's involved. We did this one outside...Sooooo why can't they do it ?

http://cadillacforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5052

Rhuiefn
06-21-04, 10:02 AM
Yeah... that is too much for me. I have no way of getting the car up or the engine out. I am going to try the Barsleak and keep trying around town. I am just trying to avoid the dealer because they charge so much for labor. Thank you all for your replies.

Rhuiefn
06-21-04, 11:56 AM
Ok... new update here. I just picked the car up from the mechanic (he was diagnosing the problem....). Anyways... on the phone he stated he did a pressure test. I assumed that he did it on the cylinders..... but no.. he said he just ran air through the cooling system because he thought there was an air bubble. He said that he got a air bubble out and it still overheats so he "knows" it is a head gasket. I said "so you didn't do a pressure test on the cylinders because I wanted to know what cylinder was leaking..." He said "it will cost $200 more dollars for me to do that and waste of your money because I know it is a headgasket.... All Northstars have this problem." I said "right....." and took my keys and drove it home (1 min away, hence why I took it there). So what the hell? Can we assume that it is a head gasket with that type of diagnosis or should I still just put the Barsleak in there and go from there?

ShadowLvr400
06-21-04, 12:34 PM
A compression test isn't all that hard actually. I did one myself in my own garage. You can get a tester for like $35 at most auto parts stores. Testing the front bank is easy on the northstar, the rear bank is harder, just takes some working. But the tester just plugs in where your spark plugs go, 1 at a time. Some hold their measurement, others won't. If you get one that doesnt, just have a buddy crank the car for you.

Rhuiefn
06-22-04, 10:19 AM
Before I use this stuf I want to make sure I have the right kind of Bar's Leak.
It is a 11oz bottle (looks chunky inside) of "Heavy Duty" Radiator Stop Leak and it says that it is used for cooling systems and to stop leaks in head gaskets, radiators and to oil the water pump seal. 1) Is this the right kind? I didn't see any pellets. 2) Is that enough? Or will need to get another bottle? The bottle is about the size of a Coke can or something..

BeelzeBob
06-22-04, 10:42 AM
A compression test will not tell you if the head gasket is failed or leaking. You have to apply the air pressure to the cylinders individually to find out what cylinder is leaking.

JimD
06-22-04, 10:53 AM
Before I use this stuf I want to make sure I have the right kind of Bar's Leak.
It is a 11oz bottle (looks chunky inside) of "Heavy Duty" Radiator Stop Leak and it says that it is used for cooling systems and to stop leaks in head gaskets, radiators and to oil the water pump seal. 1) Is this the right kind? I didn't see any pellets. 2) Is that enough? Or will need to get another bottle? The bottle is about the size of a Coke can or something..

I use product G12BP on this page. Product HDC is the same material in tablet form. http://www.barsproducts.com/origin.html

propertypro
06-22-04, 12:08 PM
My 97 SLS overheated when a small (cheap) black piece of heater hose broke open.
I expected it to switch to the air cooled limp-in mode but it did not do as was advertised. The car ran great on surface roads but as soon as I got on the expressway, it would overheat and the coolant would boil out of the tank. In short, it was a pulled head bolt. The repair was more expensive than replacing the engine. (the engine has to be pulled and new timesert threads installed on both sides of the block)
I recommend pressure testing each cylinder with 120 lbs with an air chuck with plug adapter and hose extension. Check for bubbles in the coolant tank.
My new engine is working just fine.
I hope you have better luck! Wayne

propertypro
06-22-04, 01:55 PM
:banghead:
My 97 SLS overheated when a small (cheap) black piece of heater hose broke open.
I expected it to switch to the air cooled limp-in mode but it did not do as was advertised. After a hose repair, new thermostat and power flush the car ran great on surface roads but as soon as I got on the expressway, it would overheat and the coolant would boil out of the overflow hose. The cooling system pressure tested fine several times.
In short, it was a pulled head bolt. The repair was more expensive than replacing the engine. (the engine has to be dropped out and new timesert threads installed on both sides of the block)
I recommend pressure testing each cylinder (valves closed- of course) with 120 lbs.pressure with air chuck with plug adapter and hose extension. Check for bubbles in the coolant tank.
My new engine is working just fine. I still love my Caddy.
I hope you have better luck! Wayne

Rhuiefn
06-25-04, 12:11 PM
I still haven't done the cylinder pressure test but I added some Bars Leak (the chunky/liquid radiator/head gasket sealer kind) into the upper radiator hose. Let it run till the engine almost hit red then shut it off, let it cool and kept it up. Added some dexcool cause it lost some. System is still over-heating. Also started getting smoke out of the exhaust when we added the Bar's Leak.

RLLOVETT
06-26-04, 12:39 AM
Just dropped mine off at the shop this p.m. to get the head gaskets/timeserts done next week--what a relief! I could drive about 20 minutes (fortunately, enough to get to work) with an eye on the temp before it would shoot past 250, light up the STOP ENGINE light, and switch into Limp-Home mode. I noticed that I could actually bring the temp DOWN for a few minutes by running at about 3500 to 4000 rpm, which helped extend my driving range by about 10-15 minutes. However, all that extra shifting was causing something funky with the shift solenoids (I got a P028 code) so I'm hoping that's not next (I think it's an elec contact in the shifter and not the solenoids). I'm also hoping my repair is NOT $3500 as I was quoted 1500 and am comfortable with about $2k. My problem was only a little better with Barsleaks but I did notice a slight improvement and, believe me, I had LOTS of chances to experiment as I was using about 2 gallons per TRIP at the end...my 2 cents...