: Is it a head gasket?



petr0157
02-08-10, 09:33 PM
Hello boys and girls! I just obtained a '99 Seville STS for cheap because it is loosing coolant. I've read about the typical head gasket issues but I just cannot accept that is the case here. Here are the details:

no overheating - car runs excellent
no coolant being blown out the expansion tank
no coolant in oil (the oil is not milky)
there is white smoke coming out the tail pipe
coolant level goes down slowly (I don't see any leaks)

I took off the intake manifold and found coolant in it (maybe 2-3 oz) which would explain the white smoke. The question is where is it coming from. If it is the head gasket I don't know by which law of physics it would end up in the intake manifold (unless there is something specific to the Northstar that I don't know). I am suspecting anything that has coolant connection to the manifold - throttle body, EGR valve.

Am I wasting my time by avoiding the real problem (the head gasket) here? If someone can explain clearly how a bad head gasket can push the coolant into the intake, I will be convinced. This is the first Cadillac I bought so I am just a newbie here. An impressive car though... Thanks!

Ranger
02-08-10, 10:23 PM
Head gaskets rarely leak internally and almost never put coolant in the oil on a Northstar, but using coolant and steamy exhaust are not good signs. Not sure how coolant would get into the TB though.

Submariner409
02-09-10, 08:12 AM
Did 99 have the external coolant lines to and from the throttlebody casting ? 2000+ uses a passage cast into the water crossover manifold, but I think 99 had a different TB heater system.

zonie77
02-09-10, 11:39 AM
Hello boys and girls! I just obtained a '99 Seville STS for cheap because it is loosing coolant. I've read about the typical head gasket issues but I just cannot accept that is the case here. Here are the details:

If you read many of the HG threads they have the same theme...I cannot accept that's the case here.:horse:


no overheating - car runs excellent
no coolant being blown out the expansion tank
no coolant in oil (the oil is not milky)
there is white smoke coming out the tail pipe
coolant level goes down slowly (I don't see any leaks)

Nothing you said eliminates HG's, the last two indicate it.


I took off the intake manifold and found coolant in it (maybe 2-3 oz) which would explain the white smoke. The question is where is it coming from. If it is the head gasket I don't know by which law of physics it would end up in the intake manifold (unless there is something specific to the Northstar that I don't know). I am suspecting anything that has coolant connection to the manifold - throttle body, EGR valve.

Deceleration will pull some gases from the combustion chambers into the intake, if you have coolant in the combustion chambers...
This is the same way oil gets on the throttle body.


Am I wasting my time by avoiding the real problem (the head gasket) here? If someone can explain clearly how a bad head gasket can push the coolant into the intake, I will be convinced. This is the first Cadillac I bought so I am just a newbie here. An impressive car though... Thanks!

There are several tests for HG leaks. An exhaust gas test is the easiest and probably cheapest. Make sure the car is driven before the test, just idling it may not give enough combustion pressure if the HG's still have some sealing pressure (which yours probably do).

petr0157
02-09-10, 03:52 PM
What you guys are saying makes a lot of sense. Oil and HC do end up in the TB so with the water must be the same way.

The TB has coolant hoses going through it (to answer submariner409).

Now that the intake is off the engine I see that the crossover gasket is wet and I think I see traces of red coolant towards the intake manifold which is very close. I know that the intake gaskets did not seal very well because there is oil on the outside of the seals and the bolts were sort of loose. So now I am thinking that it might be as simple as an external leak being sucked right into the intake. I am almost tempted to replace the crossover gaskets (might as well do the water pump at the same time) and the intake manifold gaskets and see what happens. I hate to do unnecessary work but still my gut feeling is that the HG is good. Or maybe I should put everything together and do the exhaust test. We'll see...

Ranger
02-09-10, 04:22 PM
That crossover manifold is supposed to be a real bitch of a job.

tateos
02-09-10, 05:05 PM
That crossover manifold is supposed to be a real bitch of a job.

Awful job, in the car.

Bypass the throttle body coolant as a test, to see if the coolant is coming form there, but I doubt it.

jeffrsmith
02-09-10, 08:20 PM
Awful job, in the car.


I didn't find it particularly easy even when the engine was out of the car, the wiring harness makes it a total PITA.

zonie77
02-10-10, 12:49 PM
What you guys are saying makes a lot of sense. Oil and HC do end up in the TB so with the water must be the same way.


Now that the intake is off the engine I see that the crossover gasket is wet and I think I see traces of red coolant towards the intake manifold which is very close. I know that the intake gaskets did not seal very well because there is oil on the outside of the seals and the bolts were sort of loose. So now I am thinking that it might be as simple as an external leak being sucked right into the intake. I am almost tempted to replace the crossover gaskets (might as well do the water pump at the same time) and the intake manifold gaskets and see what happens. I hate to do unnecessary work but still my gut feeling is that the HG is good. Or maybe I should put everything together and do the exhaust test. We'll see...


If you had an intake leak bad enough to pull coolant into the intake it would not be running very well. It took me a long time to accept HG's the first time but that is the likely problem.

tateos
02-10-10, 02:36 PM
I didn't find it particularly easy even when the engine was out of the car, the wiring harness makes it a total PITA.

Yes - I agree with you - in fact, I was going to say that, but I thought maybe my recollection was worse than it really was. Some of those bolts really are hard to get at.

petr0157
02-18-10, 01:51 PM
A little update: I cleaned the intake manifold (as much as I could) and put it back. I decided not to replace the intake gaskets and also I used silicon sealer in addition just in case. I bypassed the TB heater line, removed the EGR line and even the PCV lines. So basically the only thing connected to the intake manifold is the fuel pressure vacuum line. Everything else is pluged. Now the results:

Initially the car smoked just as bad but it was cold so all cars were smoking. Now it is quite warm (35F) and yesterday there was very little smoking. I think it smells more like exhaust/oil burn rather than a sweet antifreeze smell. Since this is my first Cadillac I just don't know how much smoke is normal (it is a big engine and known to burn oil). First I noticed coolant just under the EGR valve (below the crossover). Then the next time I drove the car the spot evaporated and is now dry. Sometimes it seems to use more coolant than other times.

One additional piece of information: it always misfires when first started. Then couple of minutes later it runs smooth. Still no overheating issues even if I floor it a few times.

Any thoughts will be appreciated!

Submariner409
02-18-10, 03:19 PM
Replace the EGR and any vacuum lines, including the PCV system. Your engine will never run correctly without them all, and the plugged PCV leads to crankcase overpressure which will wind up blowing oil out of ANY available weak gasket. The fuel mixture and vacuum will never be correct with a removed EGR.

Sounds more like you have a bad injector or fuel pressure regulator. Both diagnoses are posted in this forum as well as up in Seville/Deville.

DO NOT fill the coolant reservoir more than halfway, COLD. Check your pressure cap. It should hold 16 psi (2000 went to 18 psi.).

Ranger
02-18-10, 03:29 PM
One additional piece of information: it always misfires when first started. Then couple of minutes later it runs smooth.
That's a HG symptom. Buy or rent the block test kit and rule out or condemn the HG's. Then go from there.

petr0157
02-18-10, 08:32 PM
OK, thanks to everyone that contributed. I knew about testing for exhaust gases in the coolant but thought that repair shops do it with expensive emission testers. As soon as I read Ranger's comment I went and bought the test kit for $40 from NAPA. It's confirmed, it's the headgasket. Turned yellow at 5-6 squeezes. Now I will check which bank it is just to know but I'll probably just replace the whole engine with a used one from the local junkyard for $750. Since I don't have any money right now, I'll probably start ripping it apart but if I need to put in the time-serts it will be costly (the cheapest I found them was $400). Anyways, thanks again!

Submariner409
02-18-10, 08:46 PM
You need to look at Norm's Inserts and www.northstarperformance.com (cylinder block head studs) before you start a top overhaul.

Ranger
02-18-10, 09:43 PM
Keep in mind that you don't know what you are getting from the junk yard. You might get an engine that will run another 100K or you might get one that is 1K away from a HG failure. Buy your ticket and take your chances as they say.

97EldoCoupe
02-18-10, 11:11 PM
Rather than going to a junk yard, I can probably offer you a decent deal on a reconditioned engine - (factory build, low mileage, with all new gaskets and stusd intalled).

Stay away from timeserts - I am dead serious. The standard size doesn't hold and the larger ones not only don't hold, they tend to crack the block sometimes- I've heard this happen to quite a few techs. Heli - coils don't last either.

tateos
02-19-10, 12:58 PM
When my first engine's HG blew, I didn't know any better and replaced it with a used engine with 89K miles on it. Two years later, that engine's HG blew, I found this site, I became enlightened, I did the repair myself with Norm's, and two years after that, my car and engine are still going strong. Now that Jake's stud system is available, I would use that if my other N* car engine blows a HG.

97EldoCoupe
02-19-10, 09:26 PM
Now that Jake's stud system is available, I would use that if my other N* car engine blows a HG.

Tateos- I thank you. If either car has any issues ever again, or you buy another Caddy- mention your screen name when you call to place an order and ask to speak to me :)

zonie77
02-20-10, 09:59 PM
OK, thanks to everyone that contributed. I knew about testing for exhaust gases in the coolant but thought that repair shops do it with expensive emission testers. As soon as I read Ranger's comment I went and bought the test kit for $40 from NAPA. It's confirmed, it's the headgasket. Turned yellow at 5-6 squeezes. Now I will check which bank it is just to know but I'll probably just replace the whole engine with a used one from the local junkyard for $750. Since I don't have any money right now, I'll probably start ripping it apart but if I need to put in the time-serts it will be costly (the cheapest I found them was $400). Anyways, thanks again!

Your current engine is running fine with the exception of the HG's. Do not get a used engine that you know nothing about...fix yours. Several times people got junk from junkyards (HAHA), or the engine only lasted a short while. Fix yours right and you will be better off.

Also, read up on how to do it before you start tearing things apart. I recommend dropping the cradle if you are only doing the HG's. Lifting the body off is easier than lifting the engine out.

tateos
02-22-10, 11:47 AM
Your current engine is running fine with the exception of the HG's. Do not get a used engine that you know nothing about...fix yours. Several times people got junk from junkyards (HAHA), or the engine only lasted a short while. Fix yours right and you will be better off.

Also, read up on how to do it before you start tearing things apart. I recommend dropping the cradle if you are only doing the HG's. Lifting the body off is easier than lifting the engine out.

Yeah - check out Zonie's HG threads from a few years ago - they were the basis of what I needed to learn to be able to do the HG project.

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

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-tech-tips/31831-n-head-gasket-repair.html

Here's my thread:

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

juice881998
03-29-10, 12:03 PM
Hi guys, my 97 deville is doing the same thing. I still need to get the test and confirm a HG, but my question is how long do I have? I am not a mechanic at all and I can't afford to get it fixed. So how long can I drive it while I look for something else? Thanks.

Submariner409
03-29-10, 12:11 PM
Just as anything else mechanical it can sputter along for a month, six months or years. Or it can blow up tomorrow morning.

Don't have the $$$ to repair it ??? As is, the car is worthless - less than $750, so you'll put out about $4,500 - $8,000 to get into something comparable, whether U.S. or ricer. If the car itself is in good condition and you like it for what it is, it's still worth repairing.

zonie77
03-29-10, 12:18 PM
OK, thanks to everyone that contributed. I knew about testing for exhaust gases in the coolant but thought that repair shops do it with expensive emission testers. As soon as I read Ranger's comment I went and bought the test kit for $40 from NAPA. It's confirmed, it's the headgasket. Turned yellow at 5-6 squeezes. Now I will check which bank it is just to know but I'll probably just replace the whole engine with a used one from the local junkyard for $750. Since I don't have any money right now, I'll probably start ripping it apart but if I need to put in the time-serts it will be costly (the cheapest I found them was $400). Anyways, thanks again!

You should be able to fix yours for about that price. The studs are the expensive part. Many of the gaskets are reusable. I tend to change as many as possible because with age they have hardened and I don't want to take a chance of the old ones leaking. You could take a chance on some of the easy to change gaskets. Definitely replace all the crossover gaskets.

petr0157
04-01-10, 07:42 PM
After taking a break from all this (actually I replaced the left axle meanwhile and wanted to testdrive the car before I dig into the engine) now I am almost ready to drop the cradle. A few quick questions though for anyone who's done specifically a '99 STS. I don't have the factory service manual and am kinda broke right now so here we go:

1. tatoes refers to some vacuum and electrical lines on the passenger side that need to be disconnected from under the dash. Not completely sure but it seems like I don't have that. There is a wiring harness on the driver's side but I can disconnect all wires from their connectors :hmm:

2. Power steering cooler? I don't see anything like that and looks like I don't have to touch any of the PS lines.

3. Brake lines - they run along the cradle between the engine and cradle and I don't see any way to leave them untouched. I am planning to disconnect the 2 lines at master cylinder and the 2 lines going to the back. Then I can drop the cradle + brake hoses, calipers, ABS module, etc.

Just looking for some reassurance from anyone who remembers doing this on a '99 STS If not, I'll proceed at my best judgment :hide:

My initial thought is to use the stud system as it makes the most sense not to tighten bolts against aluminum. All my bikes (and all bikes for that matter)have had aluminum engines with alloy steel studs having a nut tighten down the head. Anyways, I am planning on dropping the cradle by the end of the weekend. Still have to disconnect the exhaust, AC stuff, steering coupler and back O2 sensor in addition to the 3 things I mentioned above. But so far so good. Thanks!

zonie77
04-02-10, 01:30 AM
After taking a break from all this (actually I replaced the left axle meanwhile and wanted to testdrive the car before I dig into the engine) now I am almost ready to drop the cradle. A few quick questions though for anyone who's done specifically a '99 STS. I don't have the factory service manual and am kinda broke right now so here we go:

1. tatoes refers to some vacuum and electrical lines on the passenger side that need to be disconnected from under the dash. Not completely sure but it seems like I don't have that. There is a wiring harness on the driver's side but I can disconnect all wires from their connectors :hmm:

2. Power steering cooler? I don't see anything like that and looks like I don't have to touch any of the PS lines.

3. Brake lines - they run along the cradle between the engine and cradle and I don't see any way to leave them untouched. I am planning to disconnect the 2 lines at master cylinder and the 2 lines going to the back. Then I can drop the cradle + brake hoses, calipers, ABS module, etc.

Just looking for some reassurance from anyone who remembers doing this on a '99 STS If not, I'll proceed at my best judgment :hide:

My initial thought is to use the stud system as it makes the most sense not to tighten bolts against aluminum. All my bikes (and all bikes for that matter)have had aluminum engines with alloy steel studs having a nut tighten down the head. Anyways, I am planning on dropping the cradle by the end of the weekend. Still have to disconnect the exhaust, AC stuff, steering coupler and back O2 sensor in addition to the 3 things I mentioned above. But so far so good. Thanks!

On the 97 (newest I did) the brake lines and ABS stayed with the body and did not get disconnected. The calipers were hung from the body.

Read the threads...they are full of tips!

petr0157
04-08-10, 02:17 AM
Just dropped the cradle this evening. I don't have an engine hoist so currently the cradle is lowered onto a couple of dollies and the chassis is sitting on 2 jack stands. I'll see if I can figure out a way to raise the chassis higher with my floor jacks. If not I'll rent a hoist.

I ended up disconnecting the brake lines and I am still convinced that with this model that is the only way to go. ABS module, brake hoses, calipers all stayed on. I did not have to disconnect the AC. I had to remove the alternator to get to the compressor which I just set aside on the lower radiator support. All this took an extra 1.5 hours but I think it was definitely worth it (I hate disconnecting ACs).

Never had to touch any wiring under the dash. Everything was disconnected under the hood. I had to open up the fuse box on the passenger side to disconnect the engine harness but no big deal. The 4 nuts holding the exhaust flange came off surprisingly easy even though they looked seriously coroded.

This is starting to sound like my diary but I hope it helps someone. It's a great help for me anyways when I find exactly what I am looking for on these forums. When I first started working on cars in the early 90s things were so much harder having on one to go to when stuck. You could do this :banghead: all day long.

petr0157
04-13-10, 05:01 PM
Work in progress! Notice the lifting straps hold on to the upper radiator support near the ends. I had bolts inserted in the square holes to keep the straps from sliding towards the center. Real simple setup! Another picture shows the AC compressor hanging from a rope tied around the radiator support.

Submariner409
04-13-10, 06:25 PM
Nice work. We know it's a PITA, but try to keep the pix coming - lots of people will thank you in the future.

tateos
04-13-10, 09:26 PM
Mmm - interesting - you picked it up from the top radiator brace - never seen that before. Does that cross support piece unbolt on the '99 STS like it does on my 2000 DTS? The setup on my '97 ETC is different - welded in place - does not unbolt

petr0157
04-14-10, 01:06 AM
Mmm - interesting - you picked it up from the top radiator brace - never seen that before. Does that cross support piece unbolt on the '99 STS like it does on my 2000 DTS? The setup on my '97 ETC is different - welded in place - does not unbolt

It is welded - no bolts. I figured if I picked it up close by the welds, there is no way that brace is going to bend.

tateos
04-14-10, 12:22 PM
It is welded - no bolts. I figured if I picked it up close by the welds, there is no way that brace is going to bend.

Sure - thanks for the reply. Like I wrote, I had never seen what you did...or at least I don't think so. I had read about people lifting from the radiator support, but I thought it was from the bottom - in other words, from the underside of the car. When I did my HG job, I wasn't comfortable using the radiator support to raise the entire body of the car, so I threaded my lift chain around the two bumper support shock absorbers - had to remove the 2 headlight assemblies to do that - took all of about a minute or two to do that part.

Ranger
04-14-10, 04:38 PM
That radiator support seems pretty strong. That is where I bolted my fabricated torque struts to and it barely moves when the engine torques. Coming close to a year now and it has stood up to WOT's just fine.

petr0157
04-21-10, 03:58 AM
My idea of a good setup for removing the harmonic balancer bolt. The pipe wrench grabs onto the thick washer. Also the key is a long extension pipe :)

petr0157
04-21-10, 04:13 AM
A few pictures here for your enjoyment. It seems to me the main problem was corrosion of the head gaskets. The front one had an obvious leak into cylinder #2 which was the one misfiring (I wonder why:suspect:). You can see that it looks washed out. But generally both head gaskets had failed between the water passage and the cylinder closest to the timing chain.

There was no aluminum stuck to the bolts but almost all were kinda wet and sandy and there was some bad smell when I took them out too. It looks like the aluminum in the holes was soaked (I guess deteriorated). So I am going to order the studs and go from there. I am planning to send the heads for resurfacing. For some reason I didn't find any threads mentioning that (maybe I just don't know how to look for stuff). I've always resurfaced the heads when doing head gaskets. Do you guys not do that or what is the deal here?

zr1mark
04-21-10, 07:40 AM
Petro,
Is that a Massachusetts plate on the front of your car ?
Just wondering cuz' I am from Mass. also...

Thanks,
Mark

Ranger
04-21-10, 10:49 AM
I've always resurfaced the heads when doing head gaskets. Do you guys not do that or what is the deal here?
Never heard of anyone needing to have the heads resurfaced. After looking closely I can see the corrosion on the gasket. I wonder if the coolant was ever changed. I am convinced it is now going to be a bi-annual project for me. Kind of makes me wonder if since we can never get all the old stuff out, it might not be a bad idea to do it yearly, but maybe that's overkill, I don't know.

petr0157
04-21-10, 01:07 PM
Petro,
Is that a Massachusetts plate on the front of your car ?
Just wondering cuz' I am from Mass. also...

Thanks,
Mark

Nope! Minnesota - the gopher state.

petr0157
04-21-10, 01:18 PM
Never heard of anyone needing to have the heads resurfaced.

Wow, really? I was taught to always send them to a machine shop to mill the surface. They will check for flatness and correct any minor warpage not to mention they clean the surface real nice. Last time which was 8 years ago it cost me $50 for my little VW Jetta. But if no one in the history of Northstar has ever milled out the heads, then I won't do it either.

Stingroo
04-21-10, 02:00 PM
Odd that you wouldn't resurface the heads on a N*. What makes them so special? Maybe Jake will have some insight? (then again, he's rather busy at the moment with family health problems, so I wouldn't know when he could respond)

ejguillot
04-21-10, 02:04 PM
You can check for flatness and warpage yourself with a machinists straightedge and a feeler gauge. The specs are in the factory service manual. In my case, my heads and block were still within factory spec - no milling at all required.

For cleaning the gasket material off the block, a really good cleaner is Ford MLS gasket solvent, available at most Ford parts counters. That's what I used for my headgasket repair, and it left the block and head surfaces in pristine condition, with only a soft plastic scraper required.

Ranger
04-21-10, 03:19 PM
I was taught to always send them to a machine shop to mill the surface.
Maybe that was mostly for cast iron heads. I'm really not sure.

You can check for flatness and warpage yourself with a machinists straightedge and a feeler gauge.
:yeah:

with only a soft plastic scraper required.
DO NOT even think of using ScotchBrite. :tisk:

tateos
04-22-10, 01:22 PM
Petro,
Is that a Massachusetts plate on the front of your car ?
Just wondering cuz' I am from Mass. also...

Thanks,
Mark

I'm originally from MA - grew up in Lexington - moved to the Phoenix, AZ desert 8 1/2 years ago - love it here!

Richard Moore

Submariner409
04-22-10, 02:31 PM
There is no GM Factory Service Manual recommendation or procedure for head milling on a Northstar for either major overhaul or head gasket replacement.

The Northstar is a non-interference engine, but that value is so close that the tops of the pistons have fly-cut valve reliefs. Probably best not to tempt fate.........

tateos
04-26-10, 01:31 PM
The Northstar is a non-interference engine, but that value is so close that the tops of the pistons have fly-cut valve reliefs. Probably best not to tempt fate.........

Sub - what do you mean by non-interference? I thought that means the pistons will not contact the valves under any circumstances, even if the cams are not in proper relationship to the crankshaft timing; I don't know about other models or years, but that is definitely not the case with my '97 ETC.

petr0157
04-26-10, 04:41 PM
It looked suspicious to me also. The valves stick out way too much and will surely hit the pistons if the timing is off. The STS has the 300HP motor (VIN 9) which has considerably higher intake valve lift than the 275HP (VIN Y) motor used in the SLS and the Deville. Maybe that one is non-interference?

Anyways, I've decided not to resurface the heads and now I am just waiting for Jake's stud kit to arrive in the mail.

Submariner409
04-26-10, 05:31 PM
That's my mistake, troops - Freudian slip.

You break a chain or grossly mis-time a cam and you got big problems.

sls2004
05-23-10, 11:50 AM
It looked suspicious to me also. The valves stick out way too much and will surely hit the pistons if the timing is off. The STS has the 300HP motor (VIN 9) which has considerably higher intake valve lift than the 275HP (VIN Y) motor used in the SLS and the Deville. Maybe that one is non-interference?

Anyways, I've decided not to resurface the heads and now I am just waiting for Jake's stud kit to arrive in the mail.

How is the HG job coming? Any updates or pictures would be appreciated!

petr0157
05-23-10, 03:18 PM
I was just about to write today. I don't have any pics right now but I might add later. I got the SureGrip kit. I did the threads, installed the studs and bent them in all the right directions (most of them needed a little adjustment). I had a long pipe over the studs to bend them.

Anyways, I might torque down the heads today. My only concern is the specifications. The original bolts were torqued to 30ft-lbs and then a total of 190 degrees. In the SureGrip instructions they go 30ft-lbs then 60ft-lbs and finally 75ft-lbs. I wonder if this is current information. Seeing how it is Sunday, I hope someone will respond. Otherwise I can call tomorrow to find out. 75ft-lbs don't seem like much for head bolts. Then again the thread is finer than the original M11 bolts so the resultant tension is greater. If Mr Jake has been using these torque values for all of his repairs, that's good enough for me.

petr0157
05-23-10, 09:57 PM
Nevermind you guys. I found the answer to my torque question in another thread. I guess the instructions are correct. I just torqued down the front head. It still seems like 75ft-lbs is not much but I checked the manual for my Bonneville and that's not to exceed 60ft-lbs. The last head gasket I did was on a 86 Jetta. As far as I remember that little engine had large bolts (at least M12) and I remember turning the last 90 degrees with a pipe over the breaker bar. Different specs I guess.

I would like to torque down the back head also, but it is so hot and humid here today that I am super tired already. We'll see, the night is young.

zonie77
05-25-10, 02:45 AM
Come to Phoenix...it's cool here!

tateos
05-26-10, 06:17 PM
Yup - zonie's not kidding - been in the 70s and 80s during the day, 50s and 60s at night, but getting warmer as the week progresses. Highs are supposed to be close to 100 (but still nice and dry, like always) by week end, so you may have missed your chance.

petr0157
05-27-10, 02:30 AM
No kidding??? Well, it hit 95 here with high humidity and that's why I was complaining. But now it is back to normal so things are good. I put in the timing chains today. Tomorrow I am borrowing a compression tester from a friend to test the compression before I put anything else together. Just a precaution...

tateos
05-27-10, 01:47 PM
I never really understood the need to do that. Setting the timing is very straightforward - either it's right or it's not. Make sure the timing marks on the gears in the timing case are opposite each other - nothing ambiguous there, right? Now make sure the 4 cam marks are at 12:00 o'clock - use a square to be sure - no way to screw that up, is there?. By all means, check the compression, if you want to, but I really don't know why you would need to...

Submariner409
05-27-10, 03:49 PM
Why everyone obsesses over this is beyond me.............

tateos
05-27-10, 04:04 PM
That's what I'm sayin' Sub - the only possible pitfall I can imagine is if the cam gear marks are not at 12:00 in relation to the cylinder head - the use of a square eliminates that...so what else could go wrong?

petr0157
05-27-10, 04:44 PM
I agree with you guys. Despite the 4 cams and 3 chains, this is the easiest engine to time that I've seen. I want to check the compression because I put kerosine in the cylinders to try to loosen the rings to reduce the oil burning (I had the heads off so might as well, right?) So now I just want to see if there is any improvement although I didn't really check the compression before. Also if it shows some obvious problems due to valves or who knows what, it is not too late to dig into it again.

The other thing is that before I took the chains off I noticed that the timing marks on the sprockets inside the timing case did not line up at all. But then I thought about it and realized that the upper sprocket is just an idler so its positions doesn't matter. I didn't mess with the short chain so those timing marks are still out of alignment. I just turned the crank so the #1 piston is at TDC according to my dial indicator. Then I had the cam sprockets' marks at 12 o'clock. I am confident in this setup but like I said I want to check for other possible problems by checking the compression. Is that so wrong? :lol:

petr0157
05-27-10, 04:56 PM
Actually I just checked the timing marks again and now they line up. They must come together every 4 crankshaft revolutions or so. But again I didn't take the short chain off so that setup should be all good. Thanks for keeping me honest!

Submariner409
05-27-10, 05:12 PM
The kerosene (or a teaspoon of any light-bodied oil) will give you some wonderful compression readings for a while: that's the technique used to determine if a low cylinder has bad rings or bad/stuck valves. The kerosene/oil temporarily seals the wear tolerance in the cylinder and if compression comes up = ring problems. No (or very little) compression increase = valve problems.

It takes a pretty aggressive solvent to dissolve ring carbon and soot. Not kerosene - just make sure that you smear a fingerful of oil around the bore in each cylinder - no sense starting up with dry bores.

All the marks line up every 17 full revolutions.

tateos
05-27-10, 07:50 PM
All the marks line up every 17 full revolutions.

Sub is 100# correct as usual (but not always!)

petr0157
05-30-10, 04:46 PM
Compression results: 180-165-165-150-175-165-165-160 going ccw starting from cylinder #2. The cylinder with 180psi compression is the one that had coolant seeping problem due to the headgasket leaking. That coolant in the combusion chamber is the best cleaning agent there is. All the carbon was washed away and I bet the rings are like new giving the highest compression ratio.

Anyways, pretty happy with those numbers so I will continue with the assembly. It was cool to see the 4 cams and all moving parts synchronized during the compression test (the valve covers are still off). It is sights like this that made me decide to become an engineer.

Submariner409
05-30-10, 07:00 PM
The 150 is a tad low, but it's in the 10% window of average.

petr0157
06-07-10, 07:00 PM
All done - well almost. Everything is put together but because I had to disconnect the brake lines, now they don't work at all and will need to be bled. Also I had to break off the one grounding electrical plug that attached to the rear head because it wasn't coming loose at all. I took one from a much more accessible place but now will have to find a new one and replace.

I checked the engine with the block tester again after the repair and the fluid stayed blue :cloud9: The absence of exhaust white smoke was also a good indication. The only thing left is to have working brakes again and to post a picture of the entire car.:yup:

petr0157
06-09-10, 11:20 PM
There it is - took it for a test drive today.:)

Thanks everyone for the support.

STSS
06-10-10, 09:59 AM
Lookin Good!

Congrats on the fix! How's it feel to drive her again?

petr0157
06-10-10, 06:27 PM
I'll tell ya - it feels like 5 months of work was worth it. I'll drive it to work tonight to show it to my buddies and that's it for me. This weekend I am passing it on to my dad (well he is paying for it, only couple of thousands less than it is worth). Hopefully it'll last him through retirement in 5 years or so.

petr0157
03-29-11, 07:30 PM
I don't know if anyone does this but just a quick 1 year update since the repair. This has been my dad's car but I think his information is trustworthy. The coolant level has not moved at all since it was filled up last year after the HG work. This is a testimonial for the stud kit. It has gone 20k since the repair. Also it was using 1 quart of oil every 1500 miles immediately after the repairs but then it improved and now uses less than a quart in 3000 miles so no need to add oil between oil changes. Can't complain about that. The previous owner said it was using 1 quart every 1000 miles (I bought it with bad HG from him).

Submariner409
03-29-11, 07:58 PM
Thanks - that post is an example of the sort of closure that threads need.

JoeTahoe
03-30-11, 02:02 PM
Congrats on a good and clean fix!