: WOT vs HG preservation



bluegrasssboy
10-31-08, 10:49 AM
I'm a new owner of a 94 DeVille Concours. with 110k. I bought it from an elderly gentleman and it's a very clean car inside and out. From the carfax it shows it's had two alternators replaced, the tranny "overhauled" and the gentleman told me in the 10 years he's had it(since 30k) he's also had an AC compressor put on it and a new radiator last year.

I had read up on the N* and was a little reluctant to buy one. I was originally looking for a used Buick with the 3.8 as they are as reliable as the sunrise. However, this car was just so clean and the price was right, so I went with it.

I've read here about actually running the N* at WOT at regular intervals, but with a 15 year old car with a motor that's pre disposed it seems to HG failures, is it really something I should be doing? There's a thread right now on here about one leaking coolant only under a load. It seems to me I'd be tempting fate or asking for trouble to run it hard a lot.

A HG repair would cost more than I paid for the car, and I couldn't afford it anyway.

Just like to get the thoughts of you folks who know a lot more about the N* than I do.

Thanks,

Submariner409
10-31-08, 11:30 AM
Hard shot to call. The earlier Northstars aren't the worst in the HG department: it's the late 90's group. ALL the engines however, were intended to be a high performance powerplant, so there's nothing inherently wrong about asking the engine to do its job. There's a great difference between running an engine hard and abusing it and occasional, or as necessary, WOT is not defined as abuse per se. WOT of a sedan engine for hours at a time on the Bonneville Salt Flats is abuse, though.

Engines which have led a sedentary life generally don't react well to sudden changes in driving techniques, so you're in the driver's seat on this one........

Ranger
10-31-08, 11:52 AM
If the head gaskets fail, it won't be from an occasional WOT. It was designed to be run hard. When it was being tested, it was run at WOT for 300 hours (12.5 days). Personally, I would not worry about it.

bluegrasssboy
10-31-08, 12:07 PM
Hard shot to call. The earlier Northstars aren't the worst in the HG department: it's the late 90's group...

Engines which have led a sedentary life generally don't react well to sudden changes in driving techniques, so you're in the driver's seat on this one........


What is it about the late 90s N*s that is different?


I'm not real hard on my cars anymore. I quit that stuff years ago. But if running WOT every so often could actually be beneficial, then I'm all for it.:bouncy:

Right now the plan is to keep the car until our first child can sit in a front facing car seat. Then I'll probably buy something newer. My wife doesn't drive far to work, but part of me just would rather have her and the baby in something newer than 15 years old.

zonie77
10-31-08, 12:29 PM
The best thing you can do is change the coolant. Just drain and refill, possibly do it a second time to get most of the coolant replaced.

Edahall
10-31-08, 03:47 PM
What is it about the late 90s N*s that is different?



They changed the type of coolant from the good old green stuff to the more environmentally friendly orange Dex-Cool stuff.

tateos
10-31-08, 09:07 PM
Personally, I would baby it. Combustion chamber pressure is always at it's peak at WOT (maybe at the peak torque level - not sure about this), so I think you are correct to be wary. Sure, these engines were made to be able to run hard, but with a 15 year old HG problem prone engine with 110K on it, I would take it easy, or just be prepared to do the repair.

Ranger
10-31-08, 09:58 PM
Sub & Tateos make good points that are hard to argue with.

bluegrasssboy
10-31-08, 10:45 PM
Sub & Tateos make good points that are hard to argue with.

That's about what I figured. There was a 94 Concours on craigslist the other day with blown head gaskets for $300 If it wasn't almost Christmas and we weren't expecting a baby, I would have at least went and looked at it and probably bought just for the sake of buying it. I don't need it at all and neither the interior or exterior match mine.

One thing about my car I've noticed is how little effort it takes to shut the doors and what little sound they make when they do shut. I'm used to big ol GM car doors that you have to slam shut.

Ranger
10-31-08, 11:33 PM
The doors are a matter of adjustment. I don't like slamming doors and always adjust them to close easily. They DO sound solid though. A buddy of mine bought a '78 a while back and I had forgotten how tiny they sounded.

codewize
11-01-08, 11:44 AM
I feel the same way as Ranger. The WOT treatment is not the cause of HG failure.

I'm not saying take it out first day and beat it to death but driving it like it was meant to be driven is not a problem.

Change the coolant and oil and have fun with the car.

brmurph
11-02-08, 01:23 AM
My head gaskets went on my 98 Concours right after I did my WOT procedure as described on this board. I am sure they would have gone anyway at some point but I am convinced the WOT pushed it over the edge. Now in my case this was a good thing as it happened with 99300 miles on the vehicle and my warranty was good to 100,000 miles :-) BTW aftermarket warranty and they coved it...

Good luck.

codewize
11-02-08, 10:20 AM
It was probably already breached and you didn't know it.

Aftermarket warranty's can be a great thing. I was going to get a warranty on my DTS when I bought it but the highest level which covered everything top to bottom was $3200. That's a lot of cash.

So in the end I decided to gamble and take a chance on a car with only 24k on it.

Now I wish to hell I paid the $3200. My transmission alone was $3200 +. Beyond that I could be having all the other stuff done as well like oil pan gasket or halfcase seal. Water crossover gaskets and so on.

I will never pass up the warranty again.

Destroyer
11-05-08, 09:33 AM
My head gaskets went on my 98 Concours right after I did my WOT procedure as described on this board. I am sure they would have gone anyway at some point but I am convinced the WOT pushed it over the edge. Now in my case this was a good thing as it happened with 99300 miles on the vehicle and my warranty was good to 100,000 miles :-) BTW aftermarket warranty and they coved it...

Good luck.WOT was the finisher for my '98. Wife complained the car would run hot while driving around. Finally I decided to give the car a test and took it on the highway WOT and she immediately overheated and I had to shut it off. Of course it wasn't WOT that made the car blow the HG but it definately worsened the problem to the point the car could no longer be driven.

codewize
11-05-08, 10:43 AM
If there is an existing problem then a) it doesn't' matter and b) obviously running the car with an already bad HG is going to make it worse.

WOT with an intact engine will do no harm.

mtflight
12-18-08, 04:53 PM
I have a gut feeling that the WOT does accelerate the headgasket issue. My ETC had no problems in the stale coolant department (2 radiator replacements in over 3 years, due to 1 of them having a defect). It also had the occasional WOT treatments (not abuse). Ultimately driving it hard, would result in overheating and coolant coming out the overflow, driving it easy did not--yet coolant hissed out the overflow even then.

ted tcb
12-18-08, 10:14 PM
What's the point of having 300 ponies at your beck and call, if you cannot occasionally unleash them?
If they're gonna fail, then get it over with, fix the problem, and start enjoying the car as it was designed to perform.

Submariner409
12-18-08, 10:45 PM
................Put this in perspective: Up in CTS, CTS-V, STS, STS-V there are folks blowing up differentials, breaking axles, and cursing about blower whine. Face it....If you're gonna run the snot out of a vehicle, something will break. Guaronteeeeed. Back in '65 we were bitching about 3.31 differentials, wheel hop, slow shifts, Posi, 327 valve float, Muncie synchronizers, phony duals, allee samee.
Nothing mechanical is perfect.....if the Space Shuttle can lose a tool kit, you can blow a head gasket. Fix it and get on with it. If you wanna bitch, compare the cost of replacing the (name your part) in a Seville/Deville or a Ferrari/Lamborghini. Get a life. We bought a $50,000 car and want to pay Civic prices for service. Phooey !!

eyekandyboats.inc
12-18-08, 11:37 PM
hey bluegrassboy. if you want there to be no speculation of engine problems , sell it.. try and get more then what you paid for it and buy a car that you know is pretty bullet proof. in terms of massive failures that randomly occure