: Greetings all, Newby here. Got a '94 Eldo Northstar w/ zero problems and...



eldoramous
04-09-11, 07:14 PM
Okay, I have a couple of Mitsubishi-built four cylinder Dodge Ram 50 trucks. During the winter, first one then the other overheated and almost instantly blew its headgasket (one was caused by a radiator leak, the other a water pump failure).

Not wanting to fart with either of them during the cold Delaware winter (I'm getting old), I went looking for another set of wheels and I found a '94 Eldo w/ perfect body, nice enough interior, and just 84K miles on it for $2K. I've put 3500 miles on her thus far and I love the car - it uses practically no oil and doesn't leak anything. It averages 30 mpg on the highway w/ the cruise control on. It starts and runs and drives perfect, and when I stomp on the loud pedal, she really responds!

But lately lots of people have been scaring me with warnings and tales of this Northstar head gasket failure stuff. I'm wondering if I should just avoid aluminum engines from now on since I've never heard of or experienced any such problems with any of the zillions of iron block motors that I've owned in the past.

I really have zero interest in dealing with a blown head gasket in the Eldo, so I'm wondering if I should:
a) sell the Caddy now while it's still going strong? I've had several offers...
b) keep the Caddy and pray that mine might not develop these problems

and most importantly...

c) what sort of preventive maintenance should I consider doing (such as changing the coolant or perhaps replacing the water pump) that might help me to avoid the head gasket headaches that so many have experienced?

Submariner409
04-09-11, 07:32 PM
The car came with good ol' green coolant installed. Change it religiously every 3 years - use a 50/50 mix of low silicate coolant and distilled water.

Depending on your driving habits, do an oil/filter change every spring and fall - 6 months - no mileage restrictions (unless you drive 20,000 miles/year). Use whatever 10W-30 oil you like - I tend toward WIX filters.

Use AC Delco #41-950 spark plugs and AC wires. If the plugs are original they are probably DENSO - same plug, now contracted by AC. You may find a bit of oil in the plug wells - not to worry - the wells are sealed with O-rings in the cam covers and they tend to weep over time. Common. Use the diagram for plug wire connections - Google "waste spark ignition" to find out why.

Take a good, hard look at the water pump drive pulley and tensioner - at the driver's end of the front intake cam. If that tensioner loses its sealed lubrication it will seize and cause all manner of expensive destruction. Look at the Discussions forums, Item Specific; Cadillac Tech Tips for water pump and tensioner work. 9 pages: read it all.

Once every 3,000 - 5,000 miles, run a 20 oz. jug of Chevron TECHRON along with a fillup of Chevron, Texaco, or Shell premium gas. Google "chevron techron" and "top tier gasoline" to find out why.

Keep it clean and don't baby it. The car was built to run........... get a GM/Helm Service Manual from eBay or www.helminc.com and/or subscribe the car to www.alldatadiy.com.
Welcome Aboard !!!:highfive:

Ranger
04-09-11, 10:41 PM
I really have zero interest in dealing with a blown head gasket in the Eldo, so I'm wondering if I should:
a) sell the Caddy now while it's still going strong? I've had several offers...
b) keep the Caddy and pray that mine might not develop these problems
That's a choice only you can make.


c) what sort of preventive maintenance should I consider doing (such as changing the coolant or perhaps replacing the water pump) that might help me to avoid the head gasket headaches that so many have experienced?


There is nothing you can do. If it is going to happen, there is nothing you can do to prevent it. That said, NEVER changing the coolant will eventually guarantee it.

eldoramous
04-10-11, 09:50 PM
Thanks guys, that sounds like the type of good, solid, meaty advice that I was hoping to find here.

My apologies for the double post.