: prospective owner with HG question



tjh8402
11-02-11, 02:22 PM
Sorry to be posting another head gasket related question, but trying to sort through all the threads and posts related to this issue would take weeks. I need a car and am narrowing down my list vehicles of interest. That the northstars have a problem with the headgaskets seems obvious, so as a prospective owner, I'm wondering the following. First, what if anything, can be done to prevent this? Based on what I've read, no amount of fastidious maintenance can stop it. At best, try to buy a post 2000 as they are less prone to it, but it's still something that should be budgeted for. How much should be budgeted for it? I've seen a lot of different prices thrown around. Once it happens, are there aftermarket parts that can be installed that will fix the problem so that it doesn't happen again? Would it be beneficial to install these parts upon purchase as a preemptive measure? Thanks for your help.

89falcon
11-02-11, 07:18 PM
Sorry to be posting another head gasket related question, but trying to sort through all the threads and posts related to this issue would take weeks. I need a car and am narrowing down my list vehicles of interest. That the northstars have a problem with the headgaskets seems obvious, so as a prospective owner, I'm wondering the following. First, what if anything, can be done to prevent this? Based on what I've read, no amount of fastidious maintenance can stop it. At best, try to buy a post 2000 as they are less prone to it, but it's still something that should be budgeted for. How much should be budgeted for it? I've seen a lot of different prices thrown around. Once it happens, are there aftermarket parts that can be installed that will fix the problem so that it doesn't happen again? Would it be beneficial to install these parts upon purchase as a preemptive measure? Thanks for your help.

1. It WILL happen eventually.....I haven't heard of too many cases where the bottom end went before the top end.
2. Price for the fix depends on where you live and what you want done....there are shops who specialize in Jake's suregrip studs (northstarperformance.com) or Norm's inserts....but most dealers will try to go the timesert direction.....if they are willing to work on it at all.

I LOVE my 97 STS....it is 10 times the car my 04 CTS is. But keep in mind that the headgaskets aren't the only expensive problem the cars have.....replacing the struts is silly expensive (like $3000) also, and may need to be done on a 10 year old car with over 100K miles. You can go "cheap" on the struts if you are willing to give up the dynamic suspension.

If you plan on replacing the headgaskets as a precaution, then you might as well buy a low mileage car with a known failure...it will be much cheaper. If you buy a ETS or STS, BUY A REAL SERVICE MANUAL (two big books....)!

If I were doing the headgaskets, my PERSONAL preference is:
1. Jake's suregrip studs......one piece solution, but issues with keeping them stocked for fast delivery. (http://www.northstarperformance.com/main.php)
2. Norm's insert's: big inserts with lots of contact with the block....I personally would use ARP studs with them....but that would be one additional set of threads over Jake's studs....otherwise, a GREAT reputation (http://www.huhnsolutions.com/INFOPACKNS300LIS.pdf)
3. Jake's inserts with stock bolts (NEVER EVER REUSE THE HEADBOLTS....not just because of the lubricant/threadlocker on the threads, but they STRETCH and once they do, the clamping force won't be the same the next time around)
4 Bigserts with ARP studs or stock bolts....designed to be a SECOND fix after the FIRST attempt at fixing the problem (timeserts) failed....should say a lot about a product when the maker also sells the fix for it's failure.....
5. Timeserts.....expensive kit, and you may even discover failed timeserts from a previous attempt to fix the problem when you remove a head...which makes the timesert kit useless.....

Do NOT attempt to fix with helicoils.......

tateos
11-02-11, 08:39 PM
Yeah - that

Ranger
11-03-11, 12:24 AM
It WILL happen eventually.
I would not say that, especially if you are talking about a 2000+.


Once it happens, are there aftermarket parts that can be installed that will fix the problem so that it doesn't happen again?
Absolutely, and Falcon has listed them.


Would it be beneficial to install these parts upon purchase as a preemptive measure?
Why go through that expense to fix something that may not fail? You wouldn't get a heart bypass as a preemptive measure would you? If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Deal with it when and IF it happens.