: Can you pull the front head with the engine in the car?



atikovi
07-15-08, 10:44 PM
Only the front headgasket is leaking so is it possible to get the head off without pulling the engine? Its a '97 limo.

Raze
07-16-08, 09:14 AM
In short yes but you'll need to timesert the block or else you'll have the same problem in 10 minutes after putting it back together, and the spacing will be tight to drill/tap the bottom head bolt holes FYI...

1) remove front bumper so you can get in closer and not have to lean over so much
2) drain radiator
3) remove fans and radiator
4) remove water pump belt and pulley
5) remove valve cover gasket
6) figure out a way to get the timing chain off and mark timing<---- this is the hard part, someone posted how to do it but I don't remember where
7) unbolt your head

any other steps I'm missing???

misfit6794
07-16-08, 11:43 AM
If the front hg went, the back one should be following it shortly. Might as well drop the engine and do both if you are already gonna tear into the motor, and it will make it a TON easier with the engine out.

zonie77
07-16-08, 01:51 PM
When we did the first one we thought only the back one was leaking. When we disassembled we saw it was both of them, just that one was worse than the other.

Every other one was definitely both.

tateos
07-16-08, 04:26 PM
Zonie is 100% correct! On my '97. it seemed like only the front/left HG was bad, but I found there were actually more holes on the rear (right) bank where the threads were shot (mushy - did not snap when loosened). Not sure if the rear HG was actually leaking combustion gases or just coolant (the holes with the mushy threads were wet). Drop the cradle, insert all 20 holes, and you are done.


When we did the first one we thought only the back one was leaking. When we disassembled we saw it was both of them, just that one was worse than the other.

Every other one was definitely both.

atikovi
07-27-08, 12:41 PM
If the front hg went, the back one should be following it shortly. Might as well drop the engine and do both if you are already gonna tear into the motor, and it will make it a TON easier with the engine out.

I would be doing this outside in my driveway on a stretch limo. While I've replaced a tranny on a RWD Fleetwood stretch, I'm sure you would have to raise the body a whole lot higher to get the engine out from under it in this car.


When we did the first one we thought only the back one was leaking. When we disassembled we saw it was both of them, just that one was worse than the other.


Why did you think only the back one was leaking? Did you do a cylinder leak down test? I did and I can clearly hear the gurgling of coolant in the surge tank and hoses on two front cylinders and none of the others so I think I've pinpointed the bad gasket. Saying that the front hg went, the back one should be following it shortly is just conjecture, it could be 500, 5,000 or more than 50,000 miles before that happens so why do so much extra work if you don't have to. Even if I do have to do the rear head shortly afterwards, its not like I would be repeating most of what I did before. Probably the only major thing I would have to repeat is removing the intake.

zonie77
07-27-08, 03:00 PM
On the first one we never did a cyl leakdown test. Exh gas test and by the eventually a compression test showed one cyl about 25 psi low.

I'm only offering my advice based on my experience. If you are going to pull the timing chains, etc, then do both HG's.

Look in tech tips and you'll see it is not that hard to drop the cradle. Then the chains get much easier to do. It is easier to do both HG's out of the car then to do the front in the car.

jeffrsmith
07-27-08, 06:00 PM
I am currently in the process of changing the HGs in my Seville. I just finished putting the inserts in both front and rear today.

I just can't imagine how much of a PITA it would be to do this job with the engine in the car. Based on my experience so far, I think that if I had started trying to do this with the engine in the car I would not have gotten very far before I changed my mind.

Do yourself a favor, just drop the cradle and do the job properly.

When you go to buy your inserts, look on eBay and buy Norm's inserts, reasonably priced compared to Timeserts.

atikovi
07-27-08, 08:15 PM
Just how high do you have to raise the car? Like from the bottom of the frame to the ground? Do you have to raise the back of the car as well? What device do you use the lower the cradle? The manual mentions some type of table or cart? Once you lower the cradle do you work on the engine and heads right there under the car? If not, how much space do you need in front of or to the side of the car? And when you do drop the cradle how do you move it from under the car? It must weigh 700-800 pounds?

Submariner409
07-27-08, 09:54 PM
atikovi, Not to cause heartburn, but there are several long threads, with pictures, showing how to lift the entire car off the drivetrain and all....Go back in Seville, Deville, and Northstar performance for the last 2 years and search.....there's just a slew of good info back there....... It will take some homework, though. Far too much info for any one member to post in a heartbeat.........

zonie77
07-27-08, 10:15 PM
Atikovi, go to tech tips and you'll see a thread on head gasket repair.

tateos
07-28-08, 02:28 PM
Please take our advice - drop the cradle, insert all 20 holes - you will be better off in the long run - much better off.

Look at zonie's threads. Look here also - my head gasket thread:

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/northstar-performance-technical-discussion/126253-97-etc-n-head-gasket-project.html

antichip
08-30-08, 08:23 PM
Man, I'm reading this, and it isn't making me happy at all. I lost number six and I am planning to pull the head, clean it up and slap on a new gasket. I will send the head to a machine shop to make sure it is flat and sound, but I don't see much else. Am I wrong? Please email me at antichip at hotmail if I am stupid, because this misadventure is to begin soon.

Submariner409
08-30-08, 10:00 PM
What car, year, and mileage ??? IF you have exhaust gas in the coolant and an overheat/coolant loss condition, you are most definitely in the total engine/drivetrain removal mode which involves upper engine overhaul with new bolt inserts and gaskets.

One cylinder head won't do the job.....it's a complete top overhaul.

zonie77
08-30-08, 10:10 PM
Very few people had head problems. I never sent any to the shop. I just checked them for straightness with a level. By moving the level around you can be pretty sure you have a good straightedge and a good deck on the head.

Unless you have a reason to suspect the head save your money.

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/northstar-performance-technical-discussion/5052-n-head-gasket-repair-part-i.html