: Bad head gaskets or user error?



arctic_man
08-09-11, 08:00 PM
Greetings Cadillac Forums,

Thought I would get the opinion from everyone here before I start to assume. I started thinking my car had HG problems about last week when "Check coolant level" displayed for not even a minute, and then went away. I didn't think too much of it but did check my coolant level the next day when the car cooled off. I was a bit low, but I was wondering if that was because the mechanics did not get all the air out when I had a coolant hose replaced a year ago.

So now tonight, I picked up a test kit and ran a few tests. I let my car warm up and threw the test on the cap. First test turned green, I waited a bit longer as the temp was only ~190, and ran the test again when the coolant was around ~210. As I was finishing up the test, coolant started spewing out of the cap and I got some into the test kit. I know this cannot be normal, I have not been losing coolant that fast. I pulled some coolant out using a turkey baster and tried the test one last time. During the entire time the test was blue, until near the end, when I am guessing I started picking up coolant, as even more coolant spewed out of the car. This time the temp was ~224.

What do you guys think? Am I being paranoid? Coolant not under pressure has a boiling point of 220, or is that the green stuff? Would that explain the overboil? Or with how much coolant on the garage floor am I looking at the dreaded HG failure?

I should note too that during each test, I could not even pump the bulb at the top of the tube that you stick in the engine. I picked up a test that you manually suck out the air, and on it it states that if you cannot pump out air or if it remains blue, you should be worry free.

arctic_man
08-09-11, 08:03 PM
I should note- otherwise the temp on the car stays at a perfect 12 o clock. No white smoke, as far as I can tell, no coolant is coming out of the overflow tube. But I am the biggest worry wart when it comes to this stuff. The car is a 99 concours with 111k miles on her right now.

Ranger
08-09-11, 09:39 PM
Coolant not under pressure has a boiling point of 220, or is that the green stuff? Would that explain the overboil?
Yes.


What do you guys think? Am I being paranoid?
Yes, you have a bad case of internetitis.



I started thinking my car had HG problems about last week when "Check coolant level" displayed for not even a minute, and then went away. I didn't think too much of it but did check my coolant level the next day when the car cooled off. I was a bit low
You might have an external leak. Radiator side tanks and surge tanks are known to crack after many thermal cycles. Dried Dex leaves a chalky white telltale residue.




but I was wondering if that was because the mechanics did not get all the air out when I had a coolant hose replaced a year ago.

Not a chance. Any air left in the system will purge itself in 2 or 3 run cycles.

I'm assuming this is a Northstar.

arctic_man
08-09-11, 10:03 PM
Ha, I can sense the blood pressure going down already.

I was thinking a external leak might be present... Sometimes during morning start ups, I can catch a sniff or two of coolant (again, may be paranoid. Reading about all these failures does not help me sleep at night) But it is not consistent and I just think I am losing it.

This afternoon I was poking around the engine and I smelled what I was pretty sure was coolant to the left of the engine by the air filter, but I did not track it down.

I am telling ya- I love this forum, great tips for an awesome care, but it is slowly driving me insane.

Also Ranger, yes it is a NorthStar. 99 Deville Concours.

Ranger
08-09-11, 10:38 PM
This afternoon I was poking around the engine and I smelled what I was pretty sure was coolant to the left of the engine by the air filter, but I did not track it down.

Check the water pump cover gasket. It's really hard to see, but run your fingers along the lower edge. My '97 was seeping there. It was very slow, not even enough to have to add coolant. Just enough to get a whiff of coolant when I shut it down in the garage. Never did get around to fixing it. The gasket is still hanging on the garage wall.

arctic_man
08-09-11, 10:49 PM
Thanks for the tip! I will see what I can find this weekend.

Submariner409
08-10-11, 10:11 AM
Thanks for the tip! I will see what I can find this weekend.

Thermostat and water pump cover. There's a new design cover that addresses slow leak complaints. Talk to Chris in Rippy Cadillac parts - Vendors ^^^

Click each thumbnail to enlarge

arctic_man
08-10-11, 06:08 PM
Awesome, thanks. I know what I will be looking at this weekend.

I should note that I feel pretty good right now with 2 of the top members commenting on my thread. :)