: Need diagnosis - 98 STS overheating



VinnyT
06-05-08, 09:15 PM
I probably know the answer, but want a confirmation. My Dad just bought a 98 STS with 66000 on the clock. (Ambient temp, about 95) While driving home it started to overheat. We stopped and it started to cool down. Drove 20 miles and same thing happened. Now, the third time, he left the AC off and it drove all the way home with no issue. (80 miles) Temps stayed halfway. Fans are working fine, coolant is full. The dealer supposedly replaced the coolant prior to purchase. Wondering if the following could have happened to cause this:

1. Re-used old T-stat that is malfunctioning?
2. Installed the T-stat the wrong way?
3. Air trapped in system?

OR

4. The headgasket?

Thanks for your input.
V

misfit6794
06-05-08, 09:21 PM
Hard to say. If the thermostat was bad or installed wrong it would have overheated everytime you drove it. Check the purge line to make sure it isn't clogged and there isn't air trapped in the system. Once you have driven it a couple hundred miles have the coolant tested for exhaust gases, since the coolant was just changed it won't be accurate if you do it right away, its a very cheap test and will detect a failing headgasket. Or you can rub your finger on the inside of the tailpipe (when its cold) and see if there is coolant in there.

VinnyT
06-05-08, 09:25 PM
Thanks misfit. One thing I did notice is a white haze/film on the bumper right over the tailpipes. (The car is black)

Ranger
06-05-08, 09:27 PM
Yeah, if the dealer just changed the coolant prior to purchase, there is a possibility that the purge line is clogged and has air in the system. Perhaps it cleared itself. I'd check the purge line as suggested. If it is OK take it out and try to induce overheating again. If you can, then depending on your definition of "Just bought", I'd get back to the dealer and try to undo the deal.

VinnyT
06-05-08, 09:38 PM
Thanks Ranger. Just bought means 6 hours ago. I'm hoping it was just air. But what about that white film on the bumper?

Ranger
06-05-08, 10:05 PM
I'd take it back ASAP! Have them perform a cylinder pressure test. Have the results documented if they tell you it is OK. If not OK or they balk, undue the deal (if at all possible).

VinnyT
06-05-08, 10:12 PM
Unfortunately, the dealer is 130 miles away. I'm afraid to have him drive it that far. We are going to perform some simple tests first. (Wiping the tailpipe to check for coolant, pulling the purge line for a clog, pulling the plugs and check for coolant)

If it turns out to be a HD, it will be ratcheted up for sure. :mad:

Ranger
06-05-08, 10:26 PM
Time is of the essence. Don't waste it. Email them (save a copy). Call them. Document that it may have a problem hours after purchase. I WOULD NOT waste days checking this out.

Eld01
06-05-08, 11:35 PM
I agree with Ranger. Time is very important in this issue. Let the dealer know that there is a problem asap. They may be 130 miles away, but that is a short drive in comparison to the money you could be stuck spending to correct a problem like a head gasket. I hope that is just something simple and your Dad can enjoy his STS for many years to come, but safe is always better than sorry.

Destroyer
06-06-08, 01:08 AM
Ranger is right on the money. Get this back to the dealer ASAP, I think you have either 24 or 48 hours to be eligible to get your money back. At least in FL anyway. Good luck to you!.

VinnyT
06-06-08, 03:53 PM
I will be purchasing the coolant test from Napa tonite.

Will looking at the plugs show a blown gasket? White ash color?

Thanks again.

V

Submariner409
06-06-08, 04:04 PM
Hard shot.......white or gray ash is a normal lead-free plug, with the browns indicating a colder heat range. If you want, start the car cold, let it idle for 15 seconds and shut it down. Pull plugs. A leaking head gasket (coolant) will produce a wet plug.

BUT, be careful. If you're looking at a return warranty attempt, if anyone finds out you have been inside the engine (including plugs) you may be up a creek. Better to have had a licensed mechanic do a survey in the first place. Cheap term insurance.......

VinnyT
06-12-08, 11:40 AM
Well, I spoke with a customer service rep at Cadillac corporate. Worthless. Just canned talk, apologies, blah, blah, blah. They did give me a File number "in the event a recall is done". :bigroll:

Right.

I then asked to speak with Marv's manager. Another foreigner answers the phone with more canned talk. I asked her if I can speak with someone "human".

Silence.

I guess she couldn't find one....

I know they would do nothing, but they called me back so I explained how unacceptable it is to have a 67000 mile car needing a headgasket replacement. I also explained how many on here have had this job done, even when many went out of their way to prevent it.

Nothing.


On a side note, while I was waiting for the "supervisor" to pick up the phone, I received and email from a dealer in NC:




Hi Mike. Thanks for your request. My name is Tim and Iím the service manager here at Smith Stokes. We really donít do those any more because about Ĺ the time it donít work. It is a labor intensive job that requires the block to be drilled and threaded inserts put in where the head bolts go and sometimes they donít hold. What that means is you can literally throw away about $2600 for nothing. My suggestion would be to replace the engine with a known warranted good one. If you want to consider that let me know and Iíll see what we can find. Thanks.


The dealer that my father bought this from has clammed up, so it looks like he has a $6000 POS in the driveway. Nice.:mad:

krimson_cardnal
06-12-08, 03:27 PM
Have you done a test for CO2 in the cooling system yet to confirm your worst fear? K_C

tateos
06-12-08, 03:35 PM
I think it IS worth fixing, if the car is otherwise good and with only 67K miles.

Quote:
Hi Mike. Thanks for your request. My name is Tim and Iím the service manager here at Smith Stokes. We really donít do those any more because about Ĺ the time it donít work. It is a labor intensive job that requires the block to be drilled and threaded inserts put in where the head bolts go and sometimes they donít hold. What that means is you can literally throw away about $2600 for nothing. My suggestion would be to replace the engine with a known warranted good one. If you want to consider that let me know and Iíll see what we can find. Thanks.

VinnyT
06-12-08, 03:37 PM
Have you done a test for CO2 in the cooling system yet to confirm your worst fear? K_C


Yes. It changed colors within 15 seconds.

krimson_cardnal
06-12-08, 06:30 PM
Not sure I follow it all, but no warranty what-so-ever??? That really sucks. They sold you a bad car, and just like that they're off the hook? Something is really wrong. Sorry man. K_C

Submariner409
06-12-08, 07:11 PM
I would have my contract in hand and head for the BBB. Read the fine print.

chubbyranger
06-13-08, 07:14 AM
Every car sold here is required to have a warranty declaration in the window. Besides BBB also check with your state attorney general office and find out if there is something like a warranty of merchanability and fitness that may cover this situation. They basically defrauded you by selling you a car that was represented as operable but which in fact is not. Phone calls from AG inspectors tend to get their attention much faster.

VinnyT
06-13-08, 08:42 AM
The warranty was "AS-IS" which is the dealers get-out-of-jail-free card. I was hesitant about him buying it, but everything checked out at that time, including an Autocheck. What the dealer failed to tell us is that is was a consignment vehicle. I think that nugget of info should have been relayed to us. That might have made me reconsider the sale.

My father is in talks with the dealer to try an trade for something else on the lot. Looking over this board, it seems that the 98 STS's are really prevelant to HG failure.

We'll see....

Destroyer
06-13-08, 08:42 AM
Every car sold here is required to have a warranty declaration in the window. Besides BBB also check with your state attorney general office and find out if there is something like a warranty of merchanability and fitness that may cover this situation. They basically defrauded you by selling you a car that was represented as operable but which in fact is not. Phone calls from AG inspectors tend to get their attention much faster.In Florida you have 24 (or 48, I forget) hours to return a car to a dealer for whatever reason. If that time passes and there were no other warranties implied or expressed the car is "as is" and there is no legal recourse.

VinnyT
06-13-08, 08:45 AM
Every car sold here is required to have a warranty declaration in the window. Besides BBB also check with your state attorney general office and find out if there is something like a warranty of merchanability and fitness that may cover this situation. They basically defrauded you by selling you a car that was represented as operable but which in fact is not. Phone calls from AG inspectors tend to get their attention much faster.

This is where the consignment comes in. The dealer will just claim that they were "unaware" of this problem since they were selling an owners car not a dealers car.

krimson_cardnal
06-13-08, 12:20 PM
Let them say what they will. They must have provided a contract of sale. All the details are in that. Ignorance is not truly a defense. If they balk then, possibly, it falls back on the original owner. Buyer beware is always in play but chubby's advice is solid. Don't give up the ship. This isn't chicken feed - though with corn $$'s where they are it almost is. K_C

chubbyranger
06-13-08, 11:40 PM
Even if they try the consignment angle, they were acting as the seller's agent in the sale which makes them equally liable. They should not be able to sell you the car and claim that any defects are the responsibility of the actual owner. Check with the state attorney general.

dkozloski
06-14-08, 12:01 AM
If you agreed to an as-is deal you are stuck. As-is means as-is. If you payed a higher price to get a warranty consideration you'd have a leg to stand on. Otherwise as-is means as-is. If you watched the small-claims court shows on TV you'd know how stuck you really are. All casual sales are as-is. Any sale that states as-is in the contract is as-is. To get more you have to pay more.

chubbyranger
06-14-08, 07:20 AM
If you agreed to an as-is deal you are stuck. As-is means as-is. If you payed a higher price to get a warranty consideration you'd have a leg to stand on. Otherwise as-is means as-is. If you watched the small-claims court shows on TV you'd know how stuck you really are. All casual sales are as-is. Any sale that states as-is in the contract is as-is. To get more you have to pay more.

If it was a private sale - yes. If it was bought from a registered car dealer they tend to fall under separate parts of the law. It will all come down to the paperwork. If it was a direct transfer from the previous owner it will be viewed as a private sale and the lying sack of chit in the middle walks away with his commission.

VinnyT
06-14-08, 12:00 PM
If it was a private sale - yes. If it was bought from a registered car dealer they tend to fall under separate parts of the law. It will all come down to the paperwork. If it was a direct transfer from the previous owner it will be viewed as a private sale and the lying sack of chit in the middle walks away with his commission.


Yeah, we're beginning to find this out. The registration/title was never in the dealers name. The owner signed it off to the dealer, but wasn't officially changed over.

The dealer is trying to work with us. They are part of the BBB, and I'd hate to have to report them if push comes to shove. But the more I dig, the more it was set-up as a private sale rather than a dealer sale.

chubbyranger
06-15-08, 08:47 AM
Yeah, we're beginning to find this out. The registration/title was never in the dealers name. The owner signed it off to the dealer, but wasn't officially changed over.

But the more I dig, the more it was set-up as a private sale rather than a dealer sale.

Your two points here seem to conflict. If the original owner signed the title over to the dealer it is now the dealer's car and they will have to transfer it to you. They may have done this for paperwork convenience but now realize they incidentally also accepted liability for the sale. If that's the case I think you have them because now it is NOT a private sale. It is only a private sale if the original owner transferred the title directly to you. The fact that they are willing to "work with you" means they know their liability and are trying to figure out how to extract some extra cash from you to offset what they may have to eat if you can nail 'em to the wall with consumer protection laws. Who is listed as the seller on the bill-of-sale?