: headgasket



davestpierre
02-11-10, 12:00 PM
I wanted to know at what year & if gm fixed the headgasket problem on the sts models? What years would be safe to buy a sts caddy. Thanks dave!

Ranger
02-11-10, 12:19 PM
They lengthened the head bolts in 2000 and changed to a coarser thread pitch in '04. While it is not unheard of, the 2000+ engines have FAR fewer failures.

mikelawson
02-11-10, 08:47 PM
The best buy is to purchase one that needs a head gasket job for a low price and then get it professionally repaired and then you don't have to worry about it again.

Mike

97EldoCoupe
02-11-10, 10:17 PM
Mike what type of Caddy do you drive? You should update your "Cadillac" status to include your toys!

Ranger's right, 00+ have a lot fewer failures - just make sure what ever N* powered car you buy has had proper cooling system maintenance and you'll be fine. If and when the time comes that your head gaskets fail, there are professionals out there ready to help without charging you an arm and a leg -and will back the repairs with a 5 year/100,000 mile warranty.

I'm keeping busy but I don't wish the head gasket failure on anyone. When you find a Caddy you like, change the coolant right aways (preferrably with green, low silicate universal coolant) and change it every two years. Long life with Dex is B.S. That's causing the problems.

kjasey
02-12-10, 08:52 PM
Hello all. As we speak Jake has my 99 sts in his shop. Im quite excited about getting it back. Ive got quite the story to tell. I basically had to tow my car there in pieces after a mechanic in windsor had it for month. I even took my frustration out on Jake, but after reading all the positive comments and referrals im once again reassured. I'll be sure to post more once i get my caddy back.

eyekandyboats.inc
02-13-10, 01:17 AM
you gave him a car with out the enigne? what was it sitting in the trunk! wow. man i would hate to work on some ones left over mess!
good for you! hope you enjoy your car.

97EldoCoupe
02-13-10, 10:44 AM
Yeah this is pretty much the head gasket job from hell. The guys who started need their a$$ kicked for what they did to Kal's car. I looked under the hood and there was nothing there. No engine, no trans, no steering rack, no brake lines, no abs pump, no A/C lines, no rad, no condenser, no fuse panel or coolant resevoir, NOTHING. They broke an oil cooler line, a driveshaft boot, sliced the body in the wheel well, misplaced bolts and brackets, removed the whole wire harness, and threw most of the parts in the trunk and on the back seat/floor. Now the trunk is soaked in oil and coolant.

This is why it is IMPERATIVE that you take you Cadillac to a shop that is experienced with the Northstar and has decent reviews. All shops will have the odd bad review because not all customers are reasonable - but there has to be more good reviews than bad. This is the third car I've seen butchered by inexperienced techs/ shops. An empty shell under the hood with the ass end nearly touching the ground because it's full of parts.

I'm half-way into this jig-saw puzzle and the drivetrain is pretty much ready to drop on to the cradle. All engine seals are replaced and the block is studded. I'll post pics later. Kal has a beautiful STS and with his patience and my expertise, it will run with the best of them again.

kjasey
02-15-10, 01:54 PM
The name of the shop is Adams Auto Service & Towing. Avoid this place at all costs. Just looking out for my fellow Windsorites. Trust me..the owners name isnt Adam and no one in the shop speakes english fluently.

97EldoCoupe
02-15-10, 03:40 PM
I'll remember that. Considering they went half way through this job they may start advertising they do Cadillacs too. I hope not.

Kal, the drivetrain is bolted to the subframe and I'm just waiting for stores to re-open after today's Canadian holiday so that I can get some parts. Everything is going good so far. Those heater lines are definitely going to have to be replaced. I think I'll just bend new ones- I did this for my '98 and it worked great, you couldn't tell they weren't factory.

I'll be keeping you posted but there's not that much left anymore.

-Jake

kjasey
02-15-10, 05:02 PM
Sounds like a plan. Do your thing.

97EldoCoupe
02-17-10, 12:32 AM
Kal the drivetrain is back in the car - not too much left before completion. As I go I find a few more things- there's an air condition refrigerant line missing. I think I have one of these in my parts collection.

Still haven't checked if i have an oil cooler line in my parts collection- I may have to order this from GM.

The boot on the one driveshaft is broken too far for me to just re-clamp it. I ordered another one, it'll be at the dealership in the morning. It's pricey at $102 (no mark-up, I'll show you the bill) but if the grease flys out of the universal joint, the joint will wear out fast. Rather fix it now so you won't have those problems (or a much less likely chance).

Your upper rad hose needs replacing. It has rubbed against the water pump drive belt and has a very thin spot. I might have a few around, good ones, free of charge if I do.

Other than that everything's almost done. I hope they were careful with your radiator because that's the next part to be reinstalled.

Oh and they broke the ball mount for the CVRSS sensor in the front (suspension height/position sensor). I think I have a few of those kicking around.

I'm looking forward to starting this car up and having it move out of the shop under it's own power. When it got here both front wheels wanted to go their own direction.

I have photos of the progress so far, I have to upload them to my server first in order to post.

Talk to you soon :)

97EldoCoupe
02-17-10, 12:33 AM
And my apologies to the OP for hijacking this thread....

ponyboyt
02-17-10, 02:57 PM
This is the third car I've seen butchered by inexperienced techs/ shops..

Was I number 2? haha

Hijacked threads make good conversation, oddly enough...

Jake, if you havent sold your Bonneville email me a picture and some details. Canadian price, warrenty etc....

And uhh.... some time in the next weeks (before end of march my god i hope...) make room for my 99....

As for the 2000+ (unhijack?) Ya i guess the fail rate is lower, but its a bit disturbing seeing what ive seen too, and im no Cadillac mechanic... I was staring at 7 2000+ engines a couple weeks ago... all dead, all head gasket... and those were just at a backyard mech's house.

Buy one with blown headgasket. They are easy to find. I wanted this black on black 99 i saw advertised freely... nice car but when they tell you they have offers on the phone for $800 (canadian) you know they will be hard to deal with. That car has 200,000km.

I picked my 99 up for $800, it has 146,000km, steams like a mofo when it runs. The car is almost perect besides that, except a small bubble in the drivers door and a missing peice of trim. (and im replacing the front bumper). The car lived its whole life in underground parking.

Look around, theres nice ones everywhere.

97EldoCoupe
02-17-10, 05:28 PM
Mason - look under Kitchener KIJIJI - type in Bonneville GXP - the photos are up there. $7500 (believe me it is worth over 10k - you can make some money on this if you want) Details - 121,xxx kms, small rip in driver's seat in the suede, body is 99.5% mint with no damage or rust, anywhere. Power moonroof, 12 disc CD changer in the trunk with in dash as well. She's a real beauty, I'm driving it now.

-Jake

97EldoCoupe
02-17-10, 05:31 PM
Oh - and it has two brand new heads on it, all new seals and gaskets, studded. The temp guage needs repair (it's pointing to neutral of all things)- I'll see if I can get this fixed soon. It peels through 1st, 2nd, and 3rd if you let it. It will smoke the tires right off those 18's.

Oh- and you are definitely not #2 - you got your engine swapped and driving, right? The 3 techs I was talking about (if you can call them that) never got the car back to the "running" stage -

kjasey
02-17-10, 10:34 PM
Okay Jake. Go ahead and order what you need and the oil cooler. I'll just have to pay the difference with the credit card:crybaby:

97EldoCoupe
02-17-10, 11:25 PM
The boot was $98 and not $102 - part guy was off by a couple of bucks.. I'll keep the parts to a minimal, as best as I can, while keeping your vehicle's reliability to a maximum.

Here's the project from the start to what it is now:

http://www.northstarperformance.com/customers/50251/4.jpg
http://www.northstarperformance.com/customers/50251/5.jpg
http://www.northstarperformance.com/customers/50251/6.jpg
http://www.northstarperformance.com/customers/50251/3.jpg
http://www.northstarperformance.com/customers/50251/1.jpg
http://www.northstarperformance.com/customers/50251/2.jpg

97EldoCoupe
02-17-10, 11:28 PM
You'll notice the photo of the new heater lines I fabbed up - this will save you some money as well. The old ones were rusted way too far to trust re-installing. As part of your cooling system I need to make sure it won't spring a leak anywhere. I'm only charging for the cost of the tubing - $10 - not the oxy/acetylene gas, or the welding wire/C02, or the paint - and I believe last I checked this was a $70+ part here in Canada.

eyekandyboats.inc
02-17-10, 11:37 PM
OMG that trunk!

creeker
02-17-10, 11:50 PM
Mike what type of Caddy do you drive? You should update your "Cadillac" status to include your toys!

Ranger's right, 00+ have a lot fewer failures - just make sure what ever N* powered car you buy has had proper cooling system maintenance and you'll be fine. If and when the time comes that your head gaskets fail, there are professionals out there ready to help without charging you an arm and a leg -and will back the repairs with a 5 year/100,000 mile warranty.

I'm keeping busy but I don't wish the head gasket failure on anyone. When you find a Caddy you like, change the coolant right aways (preferrably with green, low silicate universal coolant) and change it every two years. Long life with Dex is B.S. That's causing the problems.


Jake,are you saying not to use dex-cool at all and use green instead,
it's kinda obvious what your saying, but this has been kicked around so many times, it gets confusing, I use green in my 4.9, so I could use the same stuff in my N*?, do you have a preffered brand name of green stuff?. Thanks

97EldoCoupe
02-17-10, 11:51 PM
It's been a challenge sorting through all of the nuts and bolts clamps and fasteners-, some were MIA, but I've scrapped a few cars too and I always keep the bolts I remove for spares in case I find a rusty/stripped/damaged bolt. This way I can replace with the factory specified bolts. If a head gasket/engine swap job goes well/ is done correctly, very few people should be able to tell the engine has ever been removed. Bolts in the wrong places is a dead give away, as with missing brackets/thread locker in the wrong locations/antiseize on threads, misrouted wires and hoses, etc.

97EldoCoupe
02-18-10, 12:05 AM
I use the number of HG's I've seen and radiators I've drained to form my own conclusions on the use of Dex and green. I'm not a chemist by any means. What I'm telling you is my own opinion developed from these conclusions.

The cars that have had pure green coolant (not diluted with dex) coming out of the rad have had the best head gaskets. No rusting around the coolant jacket areas on the gasket, just a bit of an edge from the lack of gasket compression in these areas and the constant thermal expansion/contraction (which plays a very small part in head gasket failure. VERY small). Most of these failures were the bolts and not the gaskets.

Take a head gasket from an engine that has had dex- old dex (infrequent changes) it's whole life - like the 2000 I've got in the shop now, and the '98 I worked on a while back. Rusted around the coolant jackets to the point where the gasket is a 1/4" thick or more - the rust is expanding and causing the gasket to swell into the coolant jackets- and the steel core to just float away in rust particles.

I tore a 93 apart that had run on green coolant it's whole life. Original HG's. The gaskets were PERFECTLY FINE but the bolts were pulled. No pitting anywhere in the aluminum surfaces.

Now look at the intake gasket problems on the 3800's as posted in the forums here and the rest of the GM dex problems. How many older engines had this problem, before Dex came around? Green was all we had and it worked fine!

I blew a customers coolant passages out and got some old dex on my black shirt. A few hours later I had a white spot every where a drop landed on my black shirt. Corrosive? I think so.

Any green, automotive, universal antifreeze is fine provided it says low silicate, or safe for aluminum. I'll have to take some photos of my HG collection and post them someday. This is my opinion and not by any means proof of any type, but Dex is, or becomes very quickly, corrosive. Or it loses it's corrosion inhibitors. All I know is that with Dex in the cooling system the head gaskets rust BADLY. And I don't like to see that.

97EldoCoupe
02-18-10, 12:11 AM
I worked on one 98 Deville and the corrosion was so bad around the gaskets that the head had deep corrosion and pits over 1/8" deep. If I'm not making sense I'm over-tired right now. But I had to chuck the cylinder heads and the crossover. The block wasn't too bad so I did use that block but my gosh it was almost like someone poured sea-water in the cooling system or poured some type of acid in it. I'd never seen any piece of aluminum pitted so badly.

creeker
02-18-10, 12:24 AM
I worked on one 98 Deville and the corrosion was so bad around the gaskets that the head had deep corrosion and pits over 1/8" deep. If I'm not making sense I'm over-tired right now. But I had to chuck the cylinder heads and the crossover. The block wasn't too bad so I did use that block but my gosh it was almost like someone poured sea-water in the cooling system or poured some type of acid in it. I'd never seen any piece of aluminum pitted so badly.

You made perfect sense, thanks for that explanation, I wonder what caused the bolts in the 93 to pull when there wasn't any gasket failure?.

kjasey
02-18-10, 01:13 AM
OMG...thanks for posting those pics above. I cant believe what im seeing. I didnt realize the magnitude. I think a lawsuit may be in order. Ive never sued anyone...im a pretty passive guy, but this takes the cake. What do you think forum? Ive posted some pics below, just before the gaskets blew. I was considering selling the car but now that i seen what jake can do...i think shes a keeper. Youve probably done so already but a picture of that gash in the wheel well would be nice.http://img685.imageshack.us/img685/1484/caddy15.jpg
http://img696.imageshack.us/img696/9600/caddy21.jpg

97EldoCoupe
02-18-10, 06:06 AM
Kal I refuse to help sue anyone. I'm sorry but it's just not me. I know why they cut your wheel well opening (the subframe bolt "nut" was spinning and they tack-welded it so it wouldn't) and it's almost a legitimate reason but I would have done that much differently. A subframe bolt cannot be left lose for safety reasons, nor can a hole be left in the wheel opening. They hacked into it with an air chisel by the looks of it.

Believe it or not I've seen far worse. I've seen fuel lines cut right near the special connectors by the fuel rail. I've seen oily timing parts thrown across the back seat on the shale leather that stained the seats & carpet with oil. I've seen harnesses cut and cruise servos cracked. Oddly enough these guys did none of that. They lost a few parts, they removed WAY more than necessary, it looks like they had no clue what they were trying to do, but for the most part they didn't totally destroy the car. Am I cursing about these guys when I realize there's more parts missing? Or that they removed something totally unnecessary? Damn right I am...

Don't get me wrong I'm not sticking up for them, I don't appreciate what they've done (my job is that much harder) to your car, but I just won't help sue them. If more parts were damaged it might be different. If I were you I'd ask for my money back on what ever labor charge they slapped you with. and if they don't do it, threaten to show your attorney those photos and that you'll do what ever your attorney suggests- if they have more brains than it appears, they'll refund your money. If they know where you live, if they know where you park your car, you may want to avoid doing any of this. I can't stand to see what they did to your beautiful STS and I know this isn't fair to you- that's why I'm trying to go easy on extra charges to your bill. I'm trying to somehow rectify what they did.

But you know now for sure where NOT to take your car for service - and you can pass this on to neighbors, family, even their own clients if you know some of them...

Kal the photos show that your STS was beautiful - I'm glad you decided to fix and keep it. It's way too good to give up on.

Talk to you soon.

kjasey
02-18-10, 12:26 PM
Understood Jake. I would keep the facts to a minimum. Its just an inquiry..i doubt it would be much more than that.