: 99 Deville/Headgasket Issue

04-13-09, 10:05 AM
Greetings all...It's been awhile, all's been good with my '02 ETC, but Mom's '99 Deville is causing me grief and I'm not sure where to go from here. Okay, here goes: It started running rough a few months ago, and it took a long time to start when hot (excessive cranking). Took it to my mechanic, who said it was throwing codes for the cam position sensor. Oh, that and it had coolant in the # 3 and # 7 cylinders....What gets me is, there was no white smoke from the exhaust and no overheating...just a small loss of coolant and the faint smell of antifreeze on occcasion. My question I guess, is where to go from here. The car is beautiful, with 61k on it. I know what these motors cost, and of course I could replace it and she could just run it. I know the car isn't worth crap with a compromised motor, but I was wondering if we fix the cam sensor, is there something short term I can do to keep it running until I can trade it or sell it? I understand the implications, but I wouldn't sell it without letting the buyer know the problems it has. Your thoughts on this please, and thank you...Jim

04-13-09, 10:51 AM
Unfortunately, with coolant in the cylinders, there's not much that can be done now. The CMP might help something, but that's not the main problem.

Truck it up to Jake and let him stud the block and the car will run forever.

04-14-09, 02:50 AM

04-14-09, 09:42 PM
Thanks Guys, for your input...I'm not sure which direction I'm headed in...Jake must be the man...Nobody else I talk to wants to touch it.

04-14-09, 10:53 PM
Yup, Jake it the guy and the price is better than you'll find anywhere else.

04-20-09, 12:25 PM
Can I ask you guys, my 94 Concours is now running fine, except there is a bit of a lag or stall when rpm's are low (traffic) and I need to accelerate. I've had plenty of irritating problems, the latest was a fuel line harness(?) leak, but I am wondering, would a good preventative measure be to stud the block as submariner409 suggests. With the economy the way it is, and the overall condition of my '94, I want this "lady" to run 4ever. Appreciate any inputs.Thanks

04-20-09, 03:12 PM
If the engine needs a top overhaul, then that's the time to stud the block. If you want to perform some real excessive preventative maintenance, then go ahead and pull the engine - the lower ends are bulletproof, and if the half case and oil pan gaskets are not leaking, you won't have to go into the rods or crank.

That's a LOT of work and $$$ to prop up a '94 which has only a hesitation at this point........there's a lot of "if's" in here.......if it aint broke, don't fix it. You speak of studding the block, so I assume you have an early Northstar - the 4.9 is a different critter.

The true dedicated wrencher solution ???? Get another '94 engine, overhaul it, and store it somewhere. Use oil stablizer in the first oil fill, and make a pressurization kit which attaches to the oil filter adapter so you can fill the engine passages before first start. (There's no way to spin the oil pump in a Northstar like you could in an engine with a distributor.) "Hey, Joe.......Look what I got in the garage......."

04-27-09, 06:42 PM
Thanks submariner409. Sure I know a '94 is a bit long in the tooth, but I got a real "creampuff" as my NAPA mechanic tells it. I sure don't have the dough to go off dumping into "her" though, it does leak oil, but not a lot. I am told its at the mid level gasket. I want to learn more. One thing in particular (BTW this is a 4.6L 275hp N*) I would like to pass by ya: "Its a lot better to have an oil leak than an oil burner" says Nick the mechanic. Do you agree? When I was at the shop the other day, a gal had her ETC on the rack with the engine on the bench. I asked what was up, and was told "an oil leak" ouch! The advice they gave me: buy an $8.00 oil drip pan, and dont worry about it. Good advice? Course I check the oil level with each fill up. But?

04-27-09, 09:08 PM
Unfortunately engines, some Northstars included, tend to leak oil. I had a couple of late 50's Jaguars that leaked more oil than they pumped, and those puppies had 16 quart sumps !! (The cooling systems were so lousy that the oil did most of the cooling.)(Sort of like a Northstar........)

Run the recommended good dino oil and put a drip pan under it. Tries my soul, but that's the easy fix.

04-28-09, 05:46 PM
The "mid level" gasket you speak of is the halfcase. Somewhat common. As far as a leaker vs a burner, go to the Technical Archives at the top left of this page and read up on "Oil Consumption". Once you understand it, it does not seem so bad.

05-11-09, 01:21 PM
Thanks for directing me to a valuable article Ranger. I have to believe that since my '94 Concours was driven first by a widow, then a judge, by the time I got it, it was indeed pampered, having only a bit over 88K miles on the odometer. May I ask, regarding oil and changes: Since the "Oil Life Remaining" display, has learned from the other drivers, I have chosen to ignore it and change the oil and filter every 3,000 miles. I live in the California Desert. Question: is a standard 10-30 weight oil ok, or should I use the oil rated as "High Mileage Oil"? ANy opinions, Ranger, or anyone?

05-11-09, 05:26 PM
The oil you are using is just fine.

Your OLM has learned nothing from previous drivers. It uses it's own calculation and starts over from each reset. Use it and trust it. I just recently posted how it works. If I can find it, I'll post the link. I believe it is in the Northstar section.

05-11-09, 05:49 PM
3,000 mile oil changes in a Northstar that lives in a warm/moderate climate are way too soon. Trust the OLM. It works. Current manuals generally quote sort of like "by the OLM, 12,000 miles, or annually, whatever occurs first".

05-11-09, 05:58 PM
See post #25

05-21-09, 01:53 PM
Ranger, read the post you suggested ref OLM. Very impressive. Usually when I would hit 3K miles and head off to my local Jiffy lube, the life remaining indicates/indicated around 50%. So from what I gathered in the article, my oil was nearly as fresh as new!? I will say it is nowhere as dirty as say my '01 5.3L VORTEC engine in our GMC Yukon.
submariner409, regarding the climate I live in, I may have misled you, we live in the desert. That means we hit triple digits (>100degreeF) several weeks ago, and it will only get hotter. Typically in summer we average (true average) of around 110~112, with highs in excess of 120degrees. (I am telling you in the last 5 years it has been hotter each and every year, so much for Global "cooling"!). Anyway would you still recommend following the OLM, since as the article indicated, in additional to revs of the engine, it considers temperature at start, running, etc.
And Ranger given the clarification of the extremes my '94 is exposed to, including raging dust storms on a regular basis, is the standard 10-30W oil ok? You guys really make the effort or learning of this forum so worth while. Looking forward to gaining even more wisdom! Thanks

05-21-09, 03:00 PM
Yes - the OLM takes into account temperatures, and in fact, the warmer starting temperatures and less time spent in warm-up mode is easier on the engine and oil. I too live in the desert - Phoenix- so I know what you mean - the temperature gauge is above the lowest Cold mark, even when you first start her up in the morning. The only thing the OLM cannot take into account is a dust storm - if you have to drive one for a long time - not just pass through a dust devil - then I would suggest an immediate change of the oil and oil filter, and check out the air filter also.

05-21-09, 04:38 PM
Yes you can trust the OLM and use 10W30. It was tested in death valley for heat and some place up in Canada that starts with a K that I can neither remember nor pronounce in temps as low as -40.