: Please take a minute and give me your opinion on head gasket job..



liverpoolslover
08-20-10, 10:39 PM
Hey guys,

I just bought a 98 STS with 127K miles as a project, beautiful car just needs a head gasket.
I have worked on a lot of cars in my life and did close to 10 head gasket jobs total, from Pontiacs to Camaros and Saturn, mostly GM cars beside one Taurus. I'm saying all that to give you an idea that I am mechanically inclined, however, NEVER worked on a Caddy.

Well, do you think I can replace the head gasket myself? Reason I ask for an opinion is because I found out that in the Haynes book, they said this job requires expensive tools, is that true or would it be no different than a normal headgasket job tools? I never ran into any problem having tools for a head gasket job so far, just trying to have an idea from you guys in order to get enough confidence to do it. (Oh well, if I can't no one else will, it will be sold the way I bought it).

If any of you guys out there experienced replacing a headgasket on this type (98 STS 4.6L) please let me know if it was something way way way out of the ordinary compared to other head gasket jobs on different GM engines.

Thank you guys so much.

Adam

turnne
08-20-10, 11:27 PM
First of all guy..let me say you might be lucky and it is not really a headgasket
Second of all you might consider asking the members of the pre 05 STS thread on here...
There is plenty of head gasket repair information in that thread as many of the 90's era North stars have seen this type of issue

My Cadillac dealer and independent shop both tell me its not a pretty job..you might be better served finding a used or rebuilt exchange engine
But ask in the other thread and good luck to you


Warren

malatu
08-21-10, 09:47 AM
I would do some research on this topic relative to the model you speak of. I was considering a purchase of older sts/sls and found out quite a bit of info as to why there was a large percentage of head gaskets failures with this particular model. I can't remember much of the details or terminology but if my memory serves me, the anchor set in the engine block was made from a different material than the engine block which in turn, over time caused head gasket failure (the anchors came loose from the engine block).

There is a thread dedicated to this subject at the appropriate area of this site. Check it out ... there will be tons of info.

malatu
08-21-10, 09:54 AM
Duplicate Post ... sorry

BaTu
08-21-10, 09:55 AM
I had it done in my '97 at the dealership. The car was under a warranty extension and they paid for it ($3200).

It was an aftermarket warranty (Warranty Direct), the car was nearly 10yrs old, and the service adviser said "We Only do it ONE way, we pull the motor, replace Everything, and TimeSert the block. No "warranty guy" is going to tell us different" (to their credit, WD paid for it all)

It's a Big Job, no doubt about it.... but, I wouldn't lay-out that kind of cash for it either though ;)

I'm sure you can do it yourself. The kind of job it will be will depend more on your tools & surroundings than your skill. I bet you could find the TimeSert tool on eBay or somewhere used. Getting the front subframe out without a lift might be tough.....

I Know I've seen tutorials on doing it, look around here and at caddyinfo maybe.

turnne
08-21-10, 11:10 AM
Well that's the lowest I have heard for that repair
be that as it may $3200 is more than the car is worth...fixed
So..hopefully he can find an alternative to that kind of cash outlay


Warren

EChas3
08-21-10, 12:09 PM
If you can replace it at a lower cost, it only makes sense to consider that. If the car is otherwise in good condition and the repair is less than what you would spend to replace it, that's another matter. What matters is what the car is worth to you.

liverpoolslover
08-21-10, 01:14 PM
Well, I appreciate yout inputs guys.

As far as the car, I picked it up for fairly cheap. Engine is leaking antifreeze from the water sleeve that's connected to the head closer to the firewall, I'm assuming there's a gasket between the sleeve to the head, it's shooting from there. That's the first thing.

Second thing is the water pump tensioner is shot, not sure if the previous owner saw it but when I picked it up I asked many questions and he knew I was going to buy it ANYWAY, but he did not mention the broken tensioner on the driver side very close to the front of the car, so right there I know there's some antifreeze compartment work to be done, whether it's gaskets, tensioner and or water pump.

Now third thing which led me to believe the headgasket is shot : COMPRESSION IS SEVERLY LOW on all cylinders, to the point that car sometimes doesn't have enough "energy" to move in reverse, for that reason I figured head gaskets are shot as a result of the antifreeze leak.

Owner said car was driven twice with an overheating problem, however, in both times he pulled over, second time he towed it till he got a quote of $5000 to replace headgaskets, then he threw it on craigslist, and from there I took it for a fairly cheap.

Did I gamble on this project?!! Maybe yeah, however, even if I decide not to go for it I'll be able to resell it for same price or a bit higher. I'll dig into it and see what happens :). If you guys can provide me with links where to find more info I would really appreciate it, I'm mainly looking for someone who has done it before on this model and to tell me if it requires some out of this planet tools to be done, otherwise, my fingernails are so black this job won't make them any worse.

I appreciate all of your comments guys.

Adam

malatu
08-21-10, 02:43 PM
I hate to say you are wasting your time here at this forum but considering the wealth of info available at the correct section of this forum, you sort of are. Your time would be better spent at the appropriate forum section. This is for 2005 - 2010 sts's. The one you want is called the Cadillac Seville / Eldorado Forum. Good luck.



Link to main page.

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/forum.php

liverpoolslover
08-21-10, 03:42 PM
Thanks for the info.

turnne
08-21-10, 06:33 PM
If you can replace it at a lower cost, it only makes sense to consider that. If the car is otherwise in good condition and the repair is less than what you would spend to replace it, that's another matter. What matters is what the car is worth to you.

That would apply ..depending on what level of disposable funds may be at your disposal and what that means to that specific individual
My guess is that the average person driving a car that is worth $3000 would really think twice about putting that type of money into it
Either for the pure dollar amount of the repair being not affordable...or just frankly doing the math and not being able to calculate dollars and SENSE out of the deal

If I were a betting man..I would say in 9 out of 10 instances the $3000 car with the $3500 problem meets the junkyard

you ever wonder why you see so many Caddy's( and Lincolns) that are say 10 years old that are just complete POS?....Lincolns riding around needing $2500 worth of suspension work...Caddy's riding around with suspension warning lights on...or body damage on both that you can tell has been there for quite a considerable time

Money...simple as that


Warren

z06bigbird
08-22-10, 04:26 PM
Well, I appreciate yout inputs guys.

As far as the car, I picked it up for fairly cheap. Engine is leaking antifreeze from the water sleeve that's connected to the head closer to the firewall, I'm assuming there's a gasket between the sleeve to the head, it's shooting from there. That's the first thing.

Second thing is the water pump tensioner is shot, not sure if the previous owner saw it but when I picked it up I asked many questions and he knew I was going to buy it ANYWAY, but he did not mention the broken tensioner on the driver side very close to the front of the car, so right there I know there's some antifreeze compartment work to be done, whether it's gaskets, tensioner and or water pump.

Now third thing which led me to believe the headgasket is shot : COMPRESSION IS SEVERLY LOW on all cylinders, to the point that car sometimes doesn't have enough "energy" to move in reverse, for that reason I figured head gaskets are shot as a result of the antifreeze leak.

Owner said car was driven twice with an overheating problem, however, in both times he pulled over, second time he towed it till he got a quote of $5000 to replace headgaskets, then he threw it on craigslist, and from there I took it for a fairly cheap.

Did I gamble on this project?!! Maybe yeah, however, even if I decide not to go for it I'll be able to resell it for same price or a bit higher. I'll dig into it and see what happens :). If you guys can provide me with links where to find more info I would really appreciate it, I'm mainly looking for someone who has done it before on this model and to tell me if it requires some out of this planet tools to be done, otherwise, my fingernails are so black this job won't make them any worse.

I appreciate all of your comments guys.

Adam

1. You will need to pull the engine to remove head gaskets. You should do both sides even if only one is failing. Other head gasket will go shortly. Then again, maybe you like pulling the engine twice.

2. The tool to work on the timeserts and head gasket is about $1500. You could borrow this tool from any Caddy dealer, but they will tell you that "the guy who lends the tools is out for the year."

Headbolts on those early Northstars were too short, and they pull up through the block, stripping the threads every time.

turnne
08-22-10, 06:28 PM
1. You will need to pull the engine to remove head gaskets. You should do both sides even if only one is failing. Other head gasket will go shortly. Then again, maybe you like pulling the engine twice.

2. The tool to work on the timeserts and head gasket is about $1500. You could borrow this tool from any Caddy dealer, but they will tell you that "the guy who lends the tools is out for the year."

Headbolts on those early Northstars were too short, and they pull up through the block, stripping the threads every time.

Thats interesting that you mention there is a tool the Caddy's dealer have
As I mentioned before my local dealer say they "don't do them"...from what I see they do a rebuilt crate engine exchange

You mention the early northstars has this issue
As I recall there are guys in the Seville/Eddorado forum there are 98-99( perhaps 2000 models) that were affected. I have also seen in the Aurora forum where someone had a 2001 give them issues
North star came out 92-93?
As I recall it was the 1992 Allante..then the 1993 STS

Warren