: Northstar engine water flooded



Amitayus
02-26-10, 06:44 AM
My wife drove our 2001 Eldorado into a flooded street. She did not know how deep and thought she could get through. She was going slowly when the car stalled and would not restart.

The water was barely deep enough to enter the car when she opened the door. About to the middle of the front bumper. The car would not restart, so we had it towed home.

I immediately removed the spark plugs and tried to turn over the engine. Just a clicking sound. I replaced the starter with a new one.

I found water in the intake manifold and in the passages leading to the cylinders. I vacuumed out the water and cleaned everything, replaced the intake manifold, but car still would not turn over. Same clicking sound. The plugs are still out. We only have 60,000 miles on the car. I have checked the cables for corrosion and tightness. Everything seems ok.

I also repalced the battery. There seems to be a short, when I start to hook up the new battery, there is a spark and it seems the battery cables get a little warm. So I disconnected the new battery and just hook it up for a moment when I try to turn over the engine.

I drained the oil. No water in it, no smell of gasoline. The electronics all seem ok.

I love this car and really want to get it running. Any ideas?

Submariner409
02-26-10, 10:51 AM
You now have a "flood damage" car. Water entered the intake ducting through the lower cold air intake box. The water may have damaged the Mass AirFlow sensor (MAF).My guess is the alternator, which is very low on the front passenger side of the block, is destroyed and its internal voltage regulator is shorted, so every time you try to hook up the battery it sees a dead short to ground. The main transmission control harness has a multi-pin connector down low at the front of the transmission case. The ignition control triggers (CKP - CranKshaft Position sensors) are also on the front side of the block, down about halfway. The A/C compressor and clutch are also very low on the front side of the block. The Vehicle Speed Sensor is down low, on top of the right axle output shaft case.

This is only the beginning: all those suspension control and speed sensor connectors at all 4 wheel hubs may also be flooded. If water actually entered the car there's a good chance that some under-seat wiring and modules are wet. The brake wear sensors/connectors got wet.

Basically, every electrical connector "below the water line" needs to be checked for moisture - yes, they're all supposed to be weathertight, but.......

Bummer.............heck of a way to start, but Welcome Aboard ! ! !:welcome:

zonie77
02-26-10, 11:24 AM
If you have comprehensive insurance it should cover this...but they probably will total the car.

Amitayus
02-26-10, 03:11 PM
Zonie,
I do have comprehensive insurance and they did total the car. I get enough to buy another one and bought mine back. I have had this car a long time and have an emotional attachment to it. my first Cadillac. It has served us well, and my wife and I love it!

Had to look a while to find this car, black with black interior. Sweet!

I want to bring it back to life!:)


Submariner 409. Appropriate name to help me!
Your logic is very sound. A lot of what you mentioned is correct.

I have the additional input. I bought a "Code Key" and find the following error messages.

1. P0122 - Throttle pedal position sensor Switch A Circuit Low

2. P0103 (pd) (MAF) Mass Air Flow or (VAF) Volume Air Flow sensor circuit high

3. P0122 (pd) Throttle pedal position sensor Switch A Circuit Low (Don't know why it gave the same code twice)

4. P0340 (pd) Camshaft position sensor and circuit (bank 1) or single sensor circuit malfunction (I have some things disconnected on the top of the engine when I pulled the spark plugs.)

Is there any chance that the alternator, being frelled, that it is locked up, preventing the engine from turning over?

I guess it would be best to pull the alternator and see if it is seized. Something seized when Anne hit the water.

I understand this may be a "process," but, like I said, we love the car. I have it inside my garage and can work on it when I feel like it. Right now I DO feel like it! I am 67 and semi-retired. I have an Astro Van and am able to get around.

The car looks so right. CD/Radio work fine. Power seats, windows, everything seems to be working. Got the water out of the interior, it is dry and smell free. Looks like it always did . . . apologies for rambling.

Additional help gratefully accepted.

Amitayus
02-26-10, 05:18 PM
I talked with a Cadillac mechanic who suggested the engine should turn over easily with the plugs out and the serpentine belt removed. It will not move when I put a 3/4" socket (1/2" pull handle) on the crankshaft pulley and try to turn it in either direction.

He thinks maybe I have a bent rod. :helpless:

Hoping to have him come look at it this weekend. Think that I'll go have a beer or three. :crying: :hide: :hide:

STSS
02-26-10, 05:23 PM
Not sure what "Code Key" you bought, but the code reader is built into the car. Should be a sticky in the "how to" section.

I have had some issues with crankshaft position sensor codes in the past (bad harness I think) and while the car can normally crank over when the code is set for one sensor, if you have an error with both sensors, the car may not crank at all.

Pull the serp belt off to see if it will turn over without the alternator....

Sounds like you either have the connectors off of the TPS and MAF or the water trashed them... I would lean towards them being toast, though I wouldnt expect that to keep it from cranking.

Submariner409
02-26-10, 05:29 PM
If you're determined to try and resurrect the car, talk to Jake up in www.northstarperformance.com. He builds Northstars.

If the engine will not turn with the plugs out, you have serious mechanical damage. Water damage.

I'll go on record as advising that, with the car being submerged up to the middle of the bumpers, you now have many more problems to solve than just a broken engine. Many more.

Yes, your car has a complete built-in code reader/scanner/memory system - right from the factory.

Amitayus
02-26-10, 05:46 PM
If you're determined to try and resurrect the car, talk to Jake. He builds Northstars.

If the engine will not turn with the plugs out, you have serious mechanical damage. Water damage.

I'll go on record as advising that, with the car being submerged up to the middle of the bumpers, you now have many more problems to solve than just a broken engine. Many more.

Yes, your car has a complete built-in code reader/scanner/memory system - right from the factory.


I have bought the car from the insurance company for $492. I thought about parting it out, but don't have the heart to see it stripped. Since the insurance payout is still in process, maybe I should just accept the $492 from the insurance company and be done with it. Go find another one. Or something else.

97EldoCoupe
02-26-10, 09:50 PM
Amitayus - welcome, and good choice. Never scrap a black on black Eldorado, if you can help it. If the insurance co. has paid you enough, I have brand new 2002 casted Northstar engines (never installed, never built, still in GM packaging) that I'm assembling. Email me at info@northstarperformance.com and we'll work on a good deal.

Follow Sub's advice and clean/check your electrical connections, dry everything out, and make sure you can spin that engine by hand before you get that starter going... A starter will snap/bend connecting rods without hesitation. Your hand on the end of a 3/4" wrench will know when it hits a tight spot. If it won't turn, there's something wrong internally.

-Jake

Skiller.
02-26-10, 10:13 PM
Jake, I only now just noticed your location in relation to Buffalo. You're very close, which is good to know. If I ever need anything, you will be first on my list.

97EldoCoupe
02-26-10, 11:28 PM
Thanks Skiller. Good to have contacts in Buffalo as well. Guess where my first U.S. shop will be if I set up in America....

Skiller.
02-26-10, 11:32 PM
Good to hear :D

97EldoCoupe
02-26-10, 11:38 PM
Amitayus - you did right by removing the plugs before trying to turn it over. But I'd like to mention that if a cylinder was full of water, I'm not sure that it would evacuate the cylinder quick enough vs. starter rotation speed to prevent bottom end damage. Those pistons come up a pretty good rate of speed even just with the starter.

My advice would be to drain the crankcase and refill with fresh oil as soon as you get that water out. And get the engine spinning as soon as possible before rust begins. Spray a bit of WD-40 or the like through the plug holes or intake ports, and crank it over (again with the plugs out) once it's rotating freely by hand. It doesn't take long at all for corrosion to form. Just my .02 - I'd hate to see what could be still a good engine go to the scrap heap.

Amitayus
02-27-10, 06:31 AM
Amitayus - you did right by removing the plugs before trying to turn it over. But I'd like to mention that if a cylinder was full of water, I'm not sure that it would evacuate the cylinder quick enough vs. starter rotation speed to prevent bottom end damage. Those pistons come up a pretty good rate of speed even just with the starter.

My advice would be to drain the crankcase and refill with fresh oil as soon as you get that water out. And get the engine spinning as soon as possible before rust begins. Spray a bit of WD-40 or the like through the plug holes or intake ports, and crank it over (again with the plugs out) once it's rotating freely by hand. It doesn't take long at all for corrosion to form. Just my .02 - I'd hate to see what could be still a good engine go to the scrap heap.


I greatly appreciate your advice. However the engine will not turn. I tried by putting a wrench on the crankshaft pully. Could not budge it. I think it has bottom end damage.

Trying to restart the engine when Anne first hit the water could have bent a rod. I don't blame her for the damage, it was impossible to see how the road dipped down and the water depth increased.

My concern is that even if I replace the engine, there are still a lot of sensors and gizmos that will also need to be replaced. I just had an ABS module replaced on my Astro van and it cost $1,000. Door lock modules were $270 each. Fortunately that was under warranty. I wonder how many similar items were damaged by immersion? :suspense:

97EldoCoupe
02-27-10, 09:41 AM
I don't know but if I were you I would not give up on that Eldo. I'm sorry but I absolutely love black 2 door Caddys.....

Get everything working one by one, maybe even leave the engine alone for now - start on the other stuff- get the rest working - and if it seems worth it, then deal with the engine...??

Amitayus
02-27-10, 10:44 AM
I don't know but if I were you I would not give up on that Eldo. I'm sorry but I absolutely love black 2 door Caddys.....

Get everything working one by one, maybe even leave the engine alone for now - start on the other stuff- get the rest working - and if it seems worth it, then deal with the engine...??


Thank you for your kind reply. This has been an emotional roller-coaster for me. This car is one of my very favorite possessions. Almost a member of the family. The Astro van could come and go, but the Eldorado has soul! :thumbsup:

I have a moonlighting Cadillac service guy with 15 years experience coming by soon.

Pictures show it the week before the immersion. Maybe with time, luck, and friends :highfive: like you all, it will live again! We can call it a Baptism, instead of a flood! :thumbsup:

kjasey
02-27-10, 11:54 PM
I have no doubt that Jake at Northstar Performance can fix your car. I just got my 99 sts in back mint shape. It was taken to him in pieces...all the drivetrain parts disassembled and put into the trunk and the engine ripped out with a blown gasket. I almost gave up. Its now restored to its original glory. Thanks Jake! People buy water damaged cars from auctions all the time and restore them for resale. You cant go wrong at that buy back 492.

hey submariner..you mentioned the alternator being low....i currently have my undercover shield removed cause i hate taken it off when i do an oil change. Should i put it back on...does it protect any of those parts u mentioned?

Submariner409
02-28-10, 12:08 AM
That "splash shield" does just that - it's designed to keep the inner water/snow splash from the front tires off the lower engine/accessory area.

It also acts as an air control deflector: it forces all the air which comes through the grille/lower grille to go through the radiator and into/around the engine, aiding engine cooling and A/C operation.

There should be no reason to remove the panel when doing an oil/filter change. The only time mine has been removed was for CKP replacements and fog light work :sneaky:. I don't remove it when I do oil changes..............

kjasey
02-28-10, 12:48 AM
thanks for the quick reply. its being put back on first thing in the morning. When i first started doing the oil changes i assumed the shield had to be taken off. Now i know:) Any idea where to buy more of those fastners for the spash shield?

Submariner409
02-28-10, 11:01 AM
Those fasteners come in bags of 10 from a Cadillac dealer or www.gmpartsdirect.com or call Luke in Parts at Lindsay Cadillac over there >>>>

GM P/N 14093088, retainer (If you also have 4 retainers in the lower front of the fenderwells they may be slightly different.)

Or, you can come close on the Help ! racks at a large parts store - they have several types of plastic push-pin rivets.

(A dealer or parts store is a lot cheaper than paying shipping................)

97EldoCoupe
02-28-10, 12:12 PM
Thank you Kal (KJasey) I really hope that Caddy lasts you a long time. Drive it for a while, get your A/C charged in the spring, and I may like to use your kind words for a testimonial page on my site, if you wouldn't mind.

Oh and just to let you know I re-routed that ground cable because the M10x1.5 bolt hole (body nut) in the body was stripped right out- it would not tighten. I wish I'd known that before I got the drivetrain back in place. The re-routed ground should provide more than adequate grounding for the engine and other electricals..

Amitayus I received your email and will respond soon...

Ranger
02-28-10, 10:23 PM
I found water in the intake manifold and in the passages leading to the cylinders.

I talked with a Cadillac mechanic who suggested the engine should turn over easily with the plugs out and the serpentine belt removed. It will not move when I put a 3/4" socket (1/2" pull handle) on the crankshaft pulley and try to turn it in either direction.

He thinks maybe I have a bent rod.

I greatly appreciate your advice. However the engine will not turn. I tried by putting a wrench on the crankshaft pully. Could not budge it. I think it has bottom end damage.
This sounds like a classic case of hydrolock. I hate to say it, but it sounds like you have a boat anchor under your hood.

Amitayus
02-28-10, 10:45 PM
Had a Cadillac mechanic with 15 years experience look at the car today. He said the engine probably has a badly bent rod. Whatever. The engine is mostly toast. He suggested I find a good, used 2001 type 9 Northstar engine.

He will rebuild this used engine. Sleeve the block where the studs usually pull loose, make sure all the ancillary stuff, water pump, alternator, etc is in tip top shape. He will pull the locked engine and install the used, rebuilt engine. His price is $2,000 plus parts.

I am not exactly clear about whether the engine has studs or bolts, but whatever pulls loose in Northstar engines he will fix.

Jake sounds like he has some good parts to make the heads stay on. This might be a good thing to incorporate into my rebuild. Hell, if the guy is all that good, may see about Jake setting him up as a dealer for Jake's products. Seems like an excellent idea to fix Northstar engines!

I am feeling better, but kind of numb. The mechanic seems to know what he is doing. He is working, rebuilding engines for a GM dealer right now. How can you judge wheter a man really knows Cadillac engines?

Thanks again for all the advice,
Bill
Atlanta GA

Submariner409
03-01-10, 09:59 AM
You first need to look up the definition of "open deck cylinder block" to get a feel for what follows.........

The engine block has threaded holes for the head bolts. The threads in the holes are prone to slow corrosion over time due to coolant weep past the head gasket from one of two causes: either one or more holes has casting porosities and one or more head bolts lose clamping pressure or the coolant weep first corrodes the bolt hole threads, again leading to head bolt clamping pressure failure - the end result is exhaust gasses physically blowing into the coolant. Whenever a Northstar is dis-assembled you must insert or stud all the head bolt holes.

The "fix" was to insert the block with Timeserts, GM's first repair option. Then came Norm's inserts, a more robust version of the Timesert. We now have Jake's (NorthstarPerformance) head stud kits, the most elegant and probably the most durable of the 3 repair options.

Amitayus
03-01-10, 01:13 PM
You first need to look up the definition of "open deck cylinder block" to get a feel for what follows.........

The engine block has threaded holes for the head bolts. The threads in the holes are prone to slow corrosion over time due to coolant weep past the head gasket from one of two causes: either one or more holes has casting porosities and one or more head bolts lose clamping pressure or the coolant weep first corrodes the bolt hole threads, again leading to head bolt clamping pressure failure - the end result is exhaust gasses physically blowing into the coolant. Whenever a Northstar is dis-assembled you must insert or stud all the head bolt holes.

The "fix" was to insert the block with Timeserts, GM's first repair option. Then came Norm's inserts, a more robust version of the Timesert. We now have Jake's (NorthstarPerformance) head stud kits, the most elegant and probably the most durable of the 3 repair options.


Thanks for the explanation. I am better at other things than describing mechanical things. But your explanation is perfectly clear.

I have very good feeling about dealing with Jake. Seems like a nice guy and very solid in Cadillac knowledge.

Bill

tateos
03-01-10, 03:29 PM
Yep - Jake is a what would call a "righteous dude".

97EldoCoupe
03-05-10, 09:07 AM
I don't quite know how to respond - does thank you say enough? LOL - :)

Amitayus - if you can get all of the work done for $2000 including the engine, and the guy is a Cadillac tech, go for it! That is a really good deal - but please, if you can talk your technician into it, do the head gaskets and install studs into that engine before it goes in. The less an engine has to go in / come out, the better it is for the entire car and it's harnesses, hoses, tubes, bolts, brackets, etc...

Amitayus
03-05-10, 03:26 PM
OK, new developments. Another mechanic got the engine to turn over, so I may not be hydrolocked.

There seems something wrong with the terminal(s) on the battery. One terminal seems to be making a partial contact. When I try to turn the engine over, I get that clicking sound and everything goes out. We are replacing the terminals today and hopefully can get some results.

Hopefully there is a bad contact somewhere.

Jake has offered me a good rebuilt engine with his special head bolts at an attractive price and warranty. In the event I still need a new engine, I will go with him.

Hope to be able to post some good news tomorrow.

Necrosan
03-09-10, 02:48 AM
The suspense has me! Can't wait to see that car back on the road!

97EldoCoupe
03-09-10, 08:26 AM
Yes, let us know the outcome. Hopefully you can save that Northstar! :thumbsup:

Amitayus
03-21-10, 10:54 AM
Been busy with other things. Now ready to get back on my car!

Any ideas about what it should cost for labor to make an engine swap?

Number of hours in Cadillac manual? I have a moonlighting Cadillac mechanic who wants $1,000, but says it would only take him a day, maybe a day and a half. Seems like a lot of money for 8 -12 hours. I am sure he is negotiable, but I want to be fair to him and myself.

Submariner409
03-21-10, 11:22 AM
2002 Seville book rate, replace engine and transfer necessary parts = 16.4 hours. And that's in a Cadillac shop, trained tech, all special tools on hand.

Amitayus
03-21-10, 05:52 PM
OK, 16.4 hours. Dealer charges $100/hour. Mechanic makes $30/hour from dealer, less taxes. Seems like $500 to $750 is a more appropriate price. (?)

Necrosan
03-22-10, 10:49 AM
I don't know anyone that would do it for that cheap.
That's almost TOO low to offer.

Amitayus
03-22-10, 11:50 AM
Necrosan,

The dealer wants $100/hour. This would be $100x16.4 = $1640.

If the mechanic normally makes $30/hour and pays taxes, etc on that wage, he would clear about $20/hour or less. 16.4 times $20 = $328 or what he would make from the dealer to change an engine.

Since he would not have access to special Cadillac tools, I do have a large inside space, and a large floor jack.

Let's call it a 20 hour engine swap. $20x20 = $400. or $30 x 20 = $600. But I am just explaining my numbers.

I am a senior citizen on a fixed income so I have to watch expenses.

The bottom line is what he will take?

STSS
03-22-10, 01:17 PM
I've swapped a N* before... I wouldn't do it for $328 if it was my dads car.

tateos
03-22-10, 01:45 PM
$328? I've done it and I wouldn't do it for $600

Amitayus
03-22-10, 04:29 PM
Moonlighting Cadillac mechanic said $600 is fine with him.

STSS
03-22-10, 06:02 PM
Has he ever swapped a N* before? Can he give you some references? Alot of guys accept the job only to find out it's alot more work than swapping out a chevy 350, and you end up with your engine and trans in parts in your backseat and trunk (happened to a member recently, I dont think the car would have ever gotten back together if it wasnt for Jake from Northstarperformance)

Amitayus
03-22-10, 06:20 PM
Has he ever swapped a N* before? Can he give you some references? Alot of guys accept the job only to find out it's alot more work than swapping out a chevy 350, and you end up with your engine and trans in parts in your backseat and trunk (happened to a member recently, I dont think the car would have ever gotten back together if it wasnt for Jake from Northstarperformance)



He works for a Cadillac dealer. Has worked on Cadillacs for 15 years. Knows them inside and out. One of their top mechanics. Has worked on a friend's N*. He sure seems to know what he is doing. Happy with the price on mine.

I am going on the side for a while. Will get back here when this is completed.

Ranger
03-22-10, 06:34 PM
Moonlighting Cadillac mechanic said $600 is fine with him.

Sounds like a deal. :thumbsup:

Necrosan
03-24-10, 05:22 AM
Definitely a deal. Hope it all works out!

MiL32T0N3 iNDU2TRi32
03-27-10, 03:39 PM
Glad to hear your getting it fixed! I love hearing about a Caddy getting saved from the junk heap, cash for clunkers has already killed off so many of our beautiful cars, we cant have many more go down. Cant wait to hear when your actually driving it back down the road!

eldoradoin
07-09-10, 12:18 AM
I just ran into this post. $600 to swap out a N*? Three months later and I wonder where this project has gone.

tateos
07-09-10, 06:23 PM
Maybe the OP awoke from his dream?