: 2000 DTS plugs and hoses - tough job, I think



tateos
11-09-09, 01:51 PM
Summary: 2000 DTS - 78,000 miles, purchased new in 1/2000. Was my father's car in MA, he bought a new one in 2008, so he sent it out to AZ for me to use a year and a half ago. Now he's buying a place here in AZ, so he will be here for the Winter, maybe longer. He had the cooling system flushed once a few years ago. I did not trust the 10 year old hoses, so I decided to change them before a flush and fresh fill of coolant. Also, the plugs have been in there for 10 years, so I wanted to at least remove and replace them, before they get too locked on place.

Difficulty 1: The left bank was fairly easy, but the right/rear bank has this air valve thingy in the way, and it takes it's toll on knuckle and forearm skin and my back, standing on a step stool and leaning over the car, to get that apparatus off and out of the way. Next, the coil and module assembly has 8 bolts and an electrical connector that have to come off, but there still wasn't enough room to slip that assembly past the valve cover and firewall. That meant I had to loosen the sub-frame bolts and rock the engine forward enough to gain access. It's a good thing I am a HG project graduate, so I knew what to do and wasn't afraid to loosen those subframe bolts, but what a pain, just to change some plugs! The plugs all looked very good - good enough to re-install, in fact. This engine had been replaced by Cadillac under warranty fairly early on in the life if the car, so the engine, and so therefore the spark plugs, may only have around 50-60K miles on them. I cleaned the threads on the plugs and put a light coating of anti-sieze on them and re-installed them - I think they will easily last until the heads gaskets blow.

Difficulty 2: The coolant hoses actually seemed to be in pretty good shape - not soft or bulging, but after 10 years, I just don't have faith in them not springing a leak at the most inopportune time. Well, most of the hoses are in VERY difficult places to get at, and releasing and removing those OE spring clamps is not easy. I know there is some special tool made for them, but I was trying to get by with various slip joint pliers and needle nose vise grips, and honestly, those clamps are so hard to get at, I don't know how you would fish that special tool up to where it needs to go anyway. I am about 2/3 done with the hoses, but there are at least 14 that need to be changed!

So, all told, I have spent 1 full day and 2 partial days and I'm not done yet. Maybe I'm slow, but that seems like a lot of time and work to change plugs and hoses. I'll be glad when it's done.

Submariner409
11-09-09, 02:24 PM
You're a glutton for punishment - and people wonder why labor time costs seem excessive for a FWD vehicle.

tateos
11-09-09, 05:48 PM
Update:

I bought all the molded hoses I could from Rock Auto. Today, at lunch, I bought or ordered the 4 remaining ones Rock didn't have, at the dealership. They are all 5/16" or 3/8" molded hoses, no more than 10" long. They go from the coolant crossover to pipe for purge line, crossover to pipe for alternator, pipe to alternator, and alternator to radiator. The total came to $88.00, just for those 4 - yikes!

Submariner409
11-09-09, 06:44 PM
One or two of those hoses molded silicone (green) ?

ejguillot
11-09-09, 07:00 PM
I can sympathize - I had to swap the main hoses on my 2000 STS, and that was fairly hard to get to.

Tateos, not to thread jack, but I'm about to follow in your headgasket repair footsteps, with an added twist - my transmission is failing, so I get to replace it too! This is going to cost me...

I'll start a separate thread about that.

tateos
11-09-09, 07:32 PM
I can sympathize - I had to swap the main hoses on my 2000 STS, and that was fairly hard to get to.

Tateos, not to thread jack, but I'm about to follow in your headgasket repair footsteps, with an added twist - my transmission is failing, so I get to replace it too! This is going to cost me...

I'll start a separate thread about that.

You can look here for some ideas what to do, and, perhaps more importantly, what NOT to do:

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

I changed my steering rack while I had the cradle out of the car - it was easy. I don't think changing the trans will add a lot of complexity either.

PM me if you have some specific questions or need guidance.

Richard Moore

tateos
11-09-09, 07:39 PM
One or two of those hoses molded silicone (green) ?

No - none were silicone green like on my '97. I replaced the ones on my '97 with regular heater hose - seems to be just fine. Maybe that's why they stopped using them. The whole setup is different - I don't think there is one pipe or hose the same '97 to '00. There is one place on the '00 that has a short straight stub of heater hose, but it is just normal black heater hose, not the green silicone stuff

ejguillot
11-09-09, 07:45 PM
You can look here for some ideas what to do, and, perhaps more importantly, what NOT to do:

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

PM me if you have some specific questions or need guidance.

Richard Moore

Thanks, I appreciate the support! I started my thread in the Seville/Eldo section. It'll be slow going for a couple of weeks, until I get the stud kit in hand and the transmission too (found one listed in Car-Part.com out of a 2000 DTS, 72K miles, local to me, and with a 6 month warranty for $350 + tax.)

tateos
11-09-09, 08:40 PM
Thanks, I appreciate the support! I started my thread in the Seville/Eldo section. It'll be slow going for a couple of weeks, until I get the stud kit in hand and the transmission too (found one listed in Car-Part.com out of a 2000 DTS, 72K miles, local to me, and with a 6 month warranty for $350 + tax.)

Sounds like a very fair deal for the trans. I had mine replaced the first time around when the original engine HG failed - 3-4 years ago - I think they said they paid $400 - had 69K miles on it supposedly. The original trans was fine, except for the P0741 lockup converter clutch issue. That trans had 122K miles on it, so it seemed easier and cheaper to just put in a lower mileage used trans rather than try to track down the problem with the lock up converter, and so far, so good 33K miles later.

Ranger
11-09-09, 10:46 PM
The more I read this stuff the more I like my if it ain't broke, don't fix it approach. Hoses and belts seem to be so much better than they where when we were younger and with leaner cleaner fuel, plugs seem to last almost forever as you just proved.

tateos
11-10-09, 06:38 PM
Yeah - I agree with you about the plugs - I just removed and re-installed them so they would not possibly get bonded right into the aluminum and I would pull the cylinder head threads out along with the plugs some day, but honestly, they weren't even that hard to get out, even now. There was a light coating of what I would say almost looked like dried out crusted oil on the threads - almost like a lacquer. I used a hand toothbrush sized steel wire brush to clean the threads on the plugs, put on a light coating of anti-seize compound on the spark plug threads, and re-installed the plugs; they should be good for a long time. Oh, and by the way, none of the holes were wet with oil - all the o-ring seals were doing their job of keeping the spark plug clean; they were very clean above the threads, in fact, since this newer design basically seals them off on the top also.

What concerned me more than the plugs were the hoses. I mean, if a plug starts to misfire, you can still drive the car. If a hose blows, you are pretty much dead in the water. It has happened to me twice with the HG failures, and I don't care what they say, when the N* goes into limp mode, it is barely drivable. Sure, you won't damage the engine, and it may be running on 4 cylinders, but it feels more like 2-3 cylinders - very rough and very little power. If a hose blew out going to or from any significant distance, it's still going to need a tow to get her home, or a visit to a repair shop. I've had the car here in Phoenix for a year and half, but I would never even dream of taking it to Las Vegas with 10 year old hoses. Granted, the old ones don't seem all that bad, but it just takes one to blow to screw up your whole day.

I removed and replaced the plugs on the right/rear bank mostly because they were right there and I had to R&R that air injection valve thing to get access to the hoses, plus removing the coil pack and rocking the cradle actually gave me even better access to the hoses - better, as in better than almost none!

tateos
11-12-09, 03:13 PM
The saga continues.

I worked on this thing for several hours last night, and I'm all done except for the radiator hoses (pretty straightforward) and the alternator coolant lines (awful!).

Believe it or not, there are 3 small (~3/8") molded hoses that connect from/to metal pipes, the alternator, and the radiator, IN ADDITION TO the 2 relatively easy to get at alternator coolant rubber hoses on the top of the engine. These three hoses are practically impossible to get at! Last night, I finally gave up and discharged the AC system, and removed 3 AC lines to gain some access - also unbolted a bunch of other stuff to get them out of the way; it's still no can do, as far as I can tell. Now I can see that I will have to remove the cooling fans and radiator and AC condenser to get at this thing - that means unbolting and removing a whole bunch of other stuff. WTF! I swear, this is the worst job ever - dropping the cradle for a HG job seems easier. I could give up and let the alternator coolant hoses alone, but that would defeat the purpose of this whole project to replace all the coolant hoses for piece of mind. As long as there is even 1 original, 10 year old hose on the car, I will not have the confidence I want to drive the car long distances, especially through the AZ and NV and CA desert in the summertime. I think I will take a couple days off to give the skin on my knuckles and hands and forearms a chance to grow back, and then tackle the job some more this weekend.

Submariner409
11-12-09, 07:15 PM
Why not completely delete the alternator cooling lines? The feature only lasted about 18 months, so it seems that it was a failure from the get-go.

UNLESS the alternator is so sealed and unable to ventilate, by design, that external cooling is necessary. Heck, I'd change alternators to do away with the 'feature".

Ranger
11-12-09, 08:58 PM
Why not completely delete the alternator cooling lines? The feature only lasted about 18 months, so it seems that it was a failure from the get-go.

UNLESS the alternator is so sealed and unable to ventilate, by design, that external cooling is necessary. Heck, I'd change alternators to do away with the 'feature".
My sentiments exactly and is what I plan to do if my AIR pump ever fails.

tateos
11-12-09, 09:08 PM
Why not completely delete the alternator cooling lines? The feature only lasted about 18 months, so it seems that it was a failure from the get-go.

UNLESS the alternator is so sealed and unable to ventilate, by design, that external cooling is necessary. Heck, I'd change alternators to do away with the 'feature".

I thought of that too, Sub,, but your second point about really needing the cooling due to design also occurred to me. As far as changing out that sucker...don't even go there. This thing is a nightmare to work on - just no freakin' room at all. I'm into too deep now - I'm in for the duration - radiator and fans and condenser are coming out this weekend, one way or another, and that's that!

tateos
11-15-09, 11:56 AM
Update - I was able to get to the remaining hoses and hose clamps by removing the cooling fans and pulling the radiator and AC condenser forward on the passenger side - it's finally all apart and cleaned up and ready to go back together - just waiting for the remaining hoses to come in at the dealer. I ordered them at my local dealer a week ago - would have ordered them from gmpartsdirect.com, probably for a lot less, if I knew they were going to take so damn long to get them in.

tateos
11-20-09, 02:23 PM
It's done!

As an FYI for others, please note that there was one small molded coolant hose that is discontinued by GM and is not available anywhere in the GM dealer system; it is about a foot long and roughly "S" shaped, and goes from a radiator nipple on the passenger side tank, to a "S" shaped metal pipe, which in turn is attached to an "L" shaped elbow hose that connects to the outlet nipple on the alternator. I purchased some non-molded 3/8" coolant grade hose from a NAPA parts store worked just fine.

So, in summary, I got it all back together, re-charged the AC system, and it's all good, except: now, the low coolant level message keeps coming up. I have unplugged and re-plugged and checked the the connections for the sensor on the surge tank, but that hasn't helped. Tomorrow, I'm going to remove the tank and do some further investigation. Maybe the float got stuck in the bottom of the tank?

bigtone
11-20-09, 04:50 PM
Tateos, I drained and replaced coolant a few times on my son's 2001 Deville, and I notice that it definately takes a few cycles to get all of the air out of the system, and it accumulates in the surge tank, which lowers the level. Usually I have to top it up twice over a couple of days because the low coolant warning comes on. After that, the level stabilizes. I think there were a few posts on here covering it.

Ranger
11-20-09, 06:26 PM
Yeah, I just did mine this last summer and used the shop vac method to blow out the block. I had to top it off no less than 3 times before it stabilized.

tateos
11-22-09, 03:46 PM
I removed the surge tank and tested the sensor yesterday - the sensor was sort of gummed up with cooling system crud, but sort-of working. I shook the tank around and ran a lot of hot water and pressurize air through the sensor area, and eventually got it working more freely, but I guess I was too rough with it, because all of a sudden a heard loose rattling in the tank, and testing showed the sensor was then NOT working. I think I must have shaked or blown loose the float or something like that - nothing is visible, as it is a captive area, but something is definitely rattling around. I decided to re-install it and refill with fresh Dex for now. I put a jumper wire (actually a small piece of paper clip) in the connector to avoid the "low coolant" message. I haven't decided 100%, but I'm not sure I want to spend the $75 or whatever it is to buy a new surge tank, just to replace the level sensor, when the coolant level is readily visible from under the hood. Also, it is an easy fix, right in plain view and access, that I can do anytime.

Submariner409
11-22-09, 04:44 PM
Somehow, we survived almost a century without coolant level sensors. There's no more reliable level sensor than your eyeballs. If you let a car with a coolant level sensor, working or not, go until the "Check coolant" message comes on, you have NO RIGHT to own a car.

Ranger
11-22-09, 07:18 PM
I agree. I don't think it's worth a $75 fix. Mayb if you can find on at a junk yard it would be worth it.

tateos
11-23-09, 12:20 PM
I agree. I don't think it's worth a $75 fix. Mayb if you can find on at a junk yard it would be worth it.

Well, based on my experience with the "used" one I own now, I will either live with it as is, or replace with new.

Oh, BTW, the surge tank itself seems to be in excellent condition, especially considering it is 10 years old; it seems to be made of a different plastic than the tank on my '97 ETC, or at least the top clear half on the DTS is certainly different than the all black tank on the ETC. I had to replace THAT tank 4-5 years ago because the nipple for the purge line was cracked and leaking.

Ranger
11-23-09, 12:44 PM
Well, based on my experience with the "used" one I own now, I will either live with it as is, or replace with new.

Oh, BTW, the surge tank itself seems to be in excellent condition, especially considering it is 10 years old; it seems to be made of a different plastic than the tank on my '97 ETC, or at least the top clear half on the DTS is certainly different than the all black tank on the ETC. I had to replace THAT tank 4-5 years ago because the nipple for the purge line was cracked and leaking.
That seems to be the weak point. Same problem on my '97. Hairline crack at the nipple.